Lately babywearing has been getting attention.
The funny thing about that is that I always wore my babies. Some just as newborns, and others well into toddlerhood. My friend Gretchen even asked me to write a post on Adoption and Babywearing, which is linked at the end of this one.
I don’t recall where my first baby carrier came from. I’m sure someone gave it to me. It was called an Evenflo Aviator, and it resembled a big pouch, with two straps that constantly slipped off my shoulders, and a zipper up the front. I figured out how to criss cross the waistline straps so that I didn’t lose it–and baby–and I grew to love having my little one close.
Even more than that, not too long after she was born I decided I just could NOT carry that carseat ONE MORE TIME. So maybe my babywearing tendencies came from a little bit of selfish exhaustion as much as from a desire to keep my baby close.
It’s not like I set out to be some hippy-attachment-parenting-babywearing granola Mom. Babywearing just made sense to me.
My second daughter also lived in that pouch for several months, and still I never heard the words “attachment parenting” or even “baby wearing”. It wasn’t really A Thing yet mothers were doing it and no one seemed to be talking about it.
At the time, what I really wanted was a sling but I couldn’t afford one. There was a local mom who made them, but she charged $40 and I just could not afford it. I carried baby #2 in that Aviator until she grew too heavy for my shoulders and back to bear the straps any more.
When we decided to become foster parents several years later, I knew that a sling was going to be part of my parenting approach, with little ones who had more intense needs than the ones I’d given birth to. I’ll never forget that yard sale, with the giant box full of baby items when I spotted the rings of an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. I pulled it out– brand new!– and asked the man how much he wanted for it.
“Oh I don’t know. What is it?” I told him that it was a baby sling. He replied, “How about $3?”
I handed over the money and walked away very happy. An OTSBH cost $60 new. That sling became a constant part of my wardrobe, as our first foster baby lived in it and continued to do so all the way up through and after we adopted him.
I bought a new sling when his wore out, because we brought in more babies and with a toddler and newborns I needed to be able to hold a baby while tending my toddler, folding laundry, grading math papers, and everything else my life was consumed by in those days.
Fast forward 15 years, and I have 9 (yes NINE!) grandchildren. I pick up ring slings in secondhand shops when I see them. I usually end up giving them away to friends, but it isn’t out of the ordinary to see me snuggling a little one close in a sling, but this time they’re my grandbabies… and their mommas are now babywearers too.
Adoption and babywearing go hand in hand. I’m over at Gretchen Louise’s blog today talking about Attachment: Why Adoptive Moms Should Babywear.
Do you babywear? Tell me about your favorite sling or wrap! I’m in the market for one (maybe one of each) to keep here at home for the babies!!