Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adventures in Babywearing

Looking back, it seems crazy to me that I even have a story to tell about how I started babywearing. I do it almost every day, and it's such a natural thing to me that I can't remember a moment in motherhood that I wasn't doing it (but there were many moments!).

Me + Baby Henry in August 2011

When I'm out and about, I'm always wearing my baby. I hardly ever see other worn babies (and I see my preferred carrier even less, which is crazy to me), and I wonder if other parents know what they're missing! Please don't mistake this as me saying, "YOU NEED TO WEAR YOUR BABY," but simply an understanding that unless you know where or how to find out about baby-wearing, you probably won't think of it on your own. But it's life-changing.

During my first pregnancy, I registered for a baby carrier. I had NO idea what kind to get, or even exactly what to do with it, but I knew that I wanted to give it a shot. My husband and I stood in the baby carrier aisle at Babies R Us with our little scanning registry gun, scratching our heads. We finally chose one that was a Jeep brand, simply because my husband loves Jeeps and it was a pretty affordable option. I ended up getting it for my baby shower, but had no plans to use it for more than hikes that we'd never take. I mean, what else do people buy these things for?

We stuffed a tiny Luke into it a few times for walks around the neighborhood with my husband being the one wearing it. I was recovering from my c-section, and thought it would be better if he used it. For a couple months, that was all it was used for. When Luke was around 4 months, someone suggested to me that I use it around the house so I could actually get things done. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't know what I was doing, or it was uncomfortable for him, or if it was just Luke's personality, but he hated it. He'd cry as soon as I started strapping him in, and he'd complain the whole time I wore him. It was easy to give up and say forget it, because the carrier hurt my back, too. So by the time Luke was 5 months old, our carrier was in the closet.

I didn't take it out again until my second born, Henry, was about a month old. I'd started out using a Moby wrap with him when he was teeny-tiny, which was incredible for newborn closeness, but complicated to get it done "just right", and it also hurt my back. He took some glorious naps in that thing, but since I needed to carefully watch myself in the mirror to get him in it correctly, I only ever used it at home. I wanted to wear him on other outings, so I broke out the old Jeep carrier. I really enjoyed it at first. Henry took to babywearing in a way that Luke never did, and I figured out how to position the carrier in a way that didn't hurt my back as much.

I wanted to know more about other types of carriers, so I turned to my local mom's group to do some research. And horror of horrors - I discovered that my Jeep carrier was a crotch dangler! (Insert embarrassingly shocked emoticon here.) I'd done some babywearing research before Henry was born, knowing that I wanted to give it another shot, and I'd seen the term being tossed around before but never really understood what it meant. If you're confused, too, it basically means that it's a carrier designed to put too much weight/pressure on a baby's groin area, thus the term. It's not ideal for a baby's physical development, and can potentially cause problems.

Learning this, I had to get a new carrier!

I discovered that Boba (specializing in soft sided carriers - or SSC in babywearing lingo - similar to the popular Ergo design) was selling carriers on Zulily for only $45 right before my birthday that year, so you can guess what I asked for! I didn't realize that the sale was likely making room for their new version (the 3G), but it didn't matter to me - despite the added benefits of their 3G model, the original was exactly what I'd wanted.

Three years later, it's still my favorite carrier!

When my Boba came in the mail, I tried it out that instant, and haven't stopped using it since. I wore Henry until he was 18 months old (only stopping because I was pregnant with Jake and it made me more nauseous to have something on my stomach), and I've been wearing Jake since he was brand new!

Me + Baby Jake, Easter 2014

I wear it around the house to get cooking and dishes done, I use it to take my kids grocery shopping or to Target, and when my older kids have gym class, I wear the youngest one in it. It's incredibly simple to use (just two buckles with extremely easy to use adjustable straps), and super durable. It never bothers my back, and my kids are always angels when they're in it! It holds them super close to me, in a baby-happy position, makes for super-simple breastfeeding, and lets me keep my hands free.

I love it!

This whole post probably sounds like a giant ad, but believe it or not - I'm just sharing my personal experience! I shared it with Boba as well, and because they are wonderful (and also want to spread the word about babywearing!), they sent me one of their newest SSCs to try out - the 4G! I'm currently falling deeply in love with it, and next week I will share my full review of it PLUS I'll be offering you a chance to win one of your own! Stay tuned! ;)

What's your favorite baby carrier?

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