If there was only one piece of advice I could give all new mums it would be to carry your baby close to your heart. Babywearing has been around forever, it’s only in fairly recent western history that infants have been expected to be separated from their mothers, put to sleep in cots and pushed at arms length in strollers. Then there’s that nugget of wisdom that a baby will be ‘spoiled’ if you hold them too much. To me that just makes no sense. What does make sense is holding them close, letting them hear your heart, feel the rocking motion of your walk, and listen to your voice.
Like most newborns Lachie fed often, cried a lot and slept in painfully short bursts. Then a friend lent us a sling and suddenly caring for this tiny little human felt so much more natural. When he woke I fed him, often while I worked at my desk. When he started to cry I would walk with him, the gentle sway of the sling and the beat of my heart lulling him to sleep. I walked everywhere with him snuggled close to me, like he had been all that time in my belly. Everyday tasks and outings became so much easier. I didn’t have to choose between having an unsettled monster or the use of my arms. Eating out at cafes, going for walks, doing the groceries was so much more simple. And besides the practicalities, I loved having Lachie close to me that I could bend down and plant kisses on his impossibly smooth forehead and breath in that inexplicably sweet new baby smell.
As Lachie woke from his newborn haze and started to take in the world he would watch in amazement as we walked, taking it all in as I described our everyday adventures. And because he was up high, at adult level, people would often talk to him and even if they didn’t he was still there, part of the conversation, his sponge-like brain soaking it all up. As he has grown the carrying positions have changed but we still do things together with him cuddled close in the sling. I’ll admit that having such a physically active toddler does make it hard to ‘baby wear’ at times as he’s prone to try and backflip outta there but a pram often isn’t any easier. We’re planning some overseas trips in the next six months and I know ‘wearing’ the monster will be the best way to get around in countries that have notoriously dodgy footpaths. It will be a good excuse to finally get the highly coveted (in mummy circles anyway) Ergo Baby and maybe even one of these beautiful slings.
I’d love to hear about your experience of babywearing.