The Weight I Carry
Right? Like, the levels of awesomeness can’t be described.
Because he’s is a babywearing guru, I am thrilled to be having him post on wearing his son Isaac in different carriers – and the ups and downs that go with them (the 2,347 foot Moby wrap you stare at helplessly). With pics. Please to enjoy:
I started baby wearing 5 years ago, when my oldest nephew was born. My wife bought her sister a Moby to wear him around and I would, on occasion, wear him in it. It wasn’t long before he outgrew it and my sister-in-law never bought another carrier, so it kind of left my mind.
When Erin got pregnant, however, the Moby was handed back to us. Not only that, Erin went all out researching wraps and slings and every conceivable thing that you can wear your kid with. By the time Isaac was born we had a Moby, a sling and a Didymos Waves wrap.
Here’s the deal with baby wearing. It’s intimidating.
That’s just a fact. You’re presented with a huge piece of fabric and told “Okay, tie knots around your body and hold your baby up.” I was scared out of my mind when I first put my nephew in the Moby. It’s all so simple until you get a baby in one hand and a 12 foot piece of fabric in the other. Then you’re staring at Sanskrit. I would listen to my wife talk about this carry and that and how this one was different because you spun the wrap this way or that and I would, for all intents and purposes, just shut down. It seemed like so much.
So I did the only thing I could that would let me ever wear Isaac. I told her to teach me ONE front carry. That was it. I didn’t need to know 5 ways to carry him, I didn’t even need to know TWO ways to carry him. I only needed one. Isaac wouldn’t mind and I’d be sane. Win-win. When Isaac hit 6 or 7 months it was time to start wearing him in back carries and I discovered that I was not nearly flexible enough to tie Isaac in a wrap on my back. That’s when I discovered the genius of Soft Structured Carriers and I now wear him on my back in either a Boba or a BabyHawk Mei Tai.
Baby wearing paid quick dividends for us. When Isaac was first born he always seemed hungry and put his hands in his mouth all the time. He was fussy and one of the few things that calmed him down was to be worn (we found out later that a tongue tie issue was not allowing him to eat effectively, so we were essentially starving him the first few weeks). One night I put him in a wrap and literally walked him around the house for 3 hours to keep him asleep. It was a lifesaver. Now we don’t wear him around the house much, but when the witching hour comes and he’s fussy at the end of the day, going up on one of our backs is just the solution to make it through until dinner time.
As Isaac got older and started crawling (and started staying awake longer, allowing us to go out more often), baby wearing became even more important. As pretty much any parent knows, other people LOVE to touch babies without asking. They come up, tell you how cute your child is, and either pinch their legs, pinch their cheeks or maybe muss their hair. Fairly innocent, but strange nonetheless. I’ve noticed, however, touching drastically decreases when I’m wearing Isaac as opposed to him being in the shopping cart or even being held in my arms. I’m not one to worry about Isaac being around germs, I just don’t like strangers grabbing at my kid.
What’s even nicer is that I can go to the store (or anywhere really) and I have both hands free to do stuff AND I don’t have to worry about Isaac leaning out of the cart to grab stuff. When he’s on me I know pretty much exactly what he can grab and I don’t have to worry about how I position the cart or stroller or anything else. If I can grab it there’s a good chance he can at least get close.
Those are some of the obvious perks to baby wearing. There are also more subtle benefits.
First off, as a stay at home dad, I’m responsible for dressing Isaac. To put it mildly, I’m a typical guy. My fashion sense is limited and if I’m wearing anything with a print on it I still ask my wife if what I’m wearing matches. Now that I’m responsible for dressing Isaac it’s even more pressure. Wearing him, however, PRETTY MUCH HIDES THE OUTFIT. With Isaac wrapped up on me, all you can see is below the knee and his arms. Pressure averted.
The second benefit is the ability to leave the stroller at home. I mean, have you seen the size of strollers these days? I’m pretty sure that after putting in and taking out a stroller from your car 100 times you probably need back surgery. You also need a large SUV just to fit it in your car. You know how much room I need for my wrap? If I really wanted to I could fit my Mei Tai into one of the pockets in my cargo shorts. Seriously. When we go out and I see parents with these ginormous stroller blocking all sorts of space, I think of how much easier and simpler everything would be if more people wore their kid.
Finally, there’s the awesomeness of having your baby close to you. It’s a great feeling to have your child wrapped up on you and have them playing with you or laying their head down on you to go to sleep. Once you’ve worn your child for a little while they start getting excited when they see you pull out the wrap or soft structured carrier. With Isaac, Erin bought a wrap called Spring that was a limited release around the time of Isaac’s birth. She wears him in it now and it’s the wrap she’s planning to hand down to Isaac when he grows up and has kid(s) of his own.
If that’s not a good enough reason to baby wear, I don’t know what is.