We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Baby Wearing

After talking with a friend the other day I realized just how much baby wearing has become a part of my life. I thought I'd share.

Since Baby Boy was born, Hubby and I have been learning about attachment parenting and finding that it's definitely more our style. We're both comfortable with the idea of keeping our children close and secure with baby wearing.

The Samoan culture I grew up in was definitely pro attachment parenting, although without the convenience of wraps and slings. From infants to about 4 years in some cases, a child is held almost constantly and there are no negative affects that I saw or experienced. It actually seems to help young children feel safer and confident in themselves once they are too old to be carried. Almost everyone in Samoa practices attachment parenting and I was an attached child (if that's even a term) although I never knew the official terms. It is simply the way most Samoan children are raised. My sweet mom made a sling for me out of some spare fabric (hand sewn!) when Baby Boy was born, and little did I know that it would spark an active interest in me to apply attachment parenting.

Spring 2008.
Going to my very first check up after having Baby Boy. That's the sling my mom made! Isn't it lovely?

In the elevator at the doctor's office. I loved that sling, and constantly found ways to show off that I could get things done and still hold my baby.
Yes, yes, I'm strange. But you already knew that.

Winter 2009
Practicing how to wrap for an overseas trek. Baby Boy was a lap child and having him safely wrapped in front of me was such a huge relief during all the plane rides.

This is the wrong way to wear a wrap! Wearing it incorrectly had my back aching in less than 5 minutes and I had to take it off pronto. We didn't go anywhere, I was practicing (badly).

The striped wrap is a jersey/t-shirt like fabric I found on the WalMart clearance rack. I was so excited! I had been stalking keeping an eye on the fabric clearance for material with the right amount of give.

Summer 2010.
The photos below were taken just the other night as we headed out for a walk.
We like to take walks, especially in the evening. Baby Boy loves running around and I like that he has a healthy way to burn off the last of his energy before bed.

This day, though, Baby Boy had spent a hot day outdoors and had gotten slightly overheated. The entire afternoon I was giving him sippy cup after sippy cup of fluids to rehydrate my sluggish boy. When it was time for our walk, I hesitated, thinking, what's the point of letting him sweat out all the water that had just been replaced in his system?

I was about to cancel our walk when Baby Boy tiredly tugged me over to the linen closet where his wrap is kept. I was surprised he remembered it. We hadn't used the wrap for a while. 
What a smart little guy, I thought. Now we didn't have to give up our walk, and I didn't have to lug both him and the stroller up and down the stairs. 

Photos were a last minute decision so forgive the angles. Click on images for a larger view.

Same wrap that we took on our overseas trip.
This tibetan carry is my favorite at the moment. Baby Boy is nearly 40 pounds and this particular style of wrapping the fabric evenly distributes his weight and supports both his back and mine, so there is no strain, even while taking the stairs. He was quite comfortable, waving and chatting to everyone we passed, while taking swigs of his juice.

I'm working on teaching myself to sew and hopefully will be confident enough to make myself a fabric carrier when we have another child. I'd love to try them all!

Where to find information:
There are so many wonderful sources out there for homemade wraps/carriers! Etsy.com is full of people selling them, as is blogger. Thebabywearer.com is also a great resource for someone curious about free patterns to make their own carrier. I know I'll be using a lot of suggestions from there to form my own machine sewn wrap. Wrapyourbaby.com and youtube.com have been a huge help for me with their free videos and photo tutorials on tying different carries. I recently stumbled on Cuddle Wraps and am in the process of ordering one for my sister (I'm going to be an aunt again! Yay!) through amazingly helpful Christina who makes them. I just love the fact that attachment parenting is 'catching on', not just because it makes it easier to buy well made wraps and such, but also because I think attached kiddos are so happy! Not that other children aren't, but I love seeing the security children express when raised the attached way. There I go, making up my own terms again, but by now you understand what I'm saying. Hubby and I love it! And are excited to continue raising our family this way for many more beautiful years to come.

I joke about being a baby wearing grandparent someday, but I'm totally serious. If my grown children don't mind my toting my grandkids around in a baby wrap on my day to babysit, I will rock that fabric swathed around me! If it doesn't suit my children's style, I won't sweat it, just pull out the stroller and off we go to spend some grandparent/grandchild quality time. The thing is, it's just a preference. Other people may prefer not to participate in attachment parenting, but it doesn't mean either preference is wrong. As long as children are happy and well cared for, that's all that matters.

What things have you learned about raising your family that you've unexpectedly come to love?

Note: I don't receive any type of compensation from the above mentioned sites. I'm simply sharing the resources I've found personally helpful. Enjoy!

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