Friday, November 2, 2007

The Accidental Babywearer

I remember quite well that when my first son was just two weeks old I told my pediatrician that I was apprehensive about breastfeeding in public. Quite matter-of-factly he explained how his wife wore a sling and breastfeed while shopping. The whole idea of wearing a sling was unthinkable to me at the time. I was not an overly "earthy" and "hippy-ish" person and the styles of slings back then were bulky and plain.

Flash forward 1o years later. It is my second son's birthday party and my childhood friend Jane shows up with her 2 girls and is using a funky patterned pouch sling. I had no idea that two days later I would find out that I was pregnant again. So for the first time I flirted with the idea of "babywearing" although, at that time, I did not know yet what babywearing was or the many benefits. What I did know was that I was clueless to how I was going to chase my rowdy 3 year-old (not so coincidentally named Chase) and hold onto a newborn baby.

So I bought my first pouch sling when I was five months pregnant because it looked like something I might actually be able to figure out and I loved the fabrics and designs. It arrived at my doorstep and then I waited. Finally Cooper was born and about one week later I decided it was time to try the sling. The first time I put him in it I kept my arm under him the whole time afraid he'd fall out...of course there wasn't any good reason for this fear, it just felt strange to hold your newborn baby without, well, actually holding your newborn baby. And then that was it......we both fell in love with babywearing! Cooper was soothed by the rocking motion of the sling and being held close to me and I loved the freedom to go about my normal day while holding my baby. The first 6 weeks of his life we flew to Michigan for a wedding, spent a week at the beach for Jonas' Surf Camp and then took a family vacation to Maui and I don't know if I could have done it without my sling.

As he has grown, so has our babywearing "know how" and comfort level. We soon branched out to a SlingEzee Ring Sling which was great for breastfeeding and longer trips! Once Cooper reached 4 months, I decided to try a hip carrier. At first it seemed foreign to have buckles after using a sling so often but it quickly became a favorite of ours! It provides great support and is really simple to fuss at all once you adjust it to your size. In fact, I found that I loved the hip carry so much that I started using my slings in this carry style as well!

My newest favorite is the Ellaroo Ring Sling. It is more of a splurge but it is made from the softest organic cotton I have ever felt on a carrier and it is truly beautiful on. Definitely worth it once you find that a sling works well for you.

If you were to ask me what has changed my experience the most as a mother this time around, it is babywearing, no doubt about it. I never leave home without a carrier, I even keep a spare pouch sling in my car at all times! Once you are accustomed to babywearing, it becomes a part of your everyday life, and takes seconds to throw on. I use a sling just to run into Starbucks or the Post Office!
I actually almost feel sorry for my $500 stroller system that sits in my garage gathering dust. As much as I love it, I love being able to move through the aisles and through the crowds at the zoo even more! I also don't miss getting it in and out of my car and I can use the trunk space for more shopping bags!
So, that is how I became a sure to vote for your favorite type of baby carrier on the left. It is great for moms to see who are considering trying to wear their little one!

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