My second daughter slept on my chest from the moment she was born. She screamed all the way home, in the car, from the hospital because she wanted to be near me. For months, she spent every nap and every night with her cheek on my chest.
When I look back I can see clearly why she fussed in slings, why I felt so uncomfortable too. I had bought a Moby wrap before she was born but had been too intimidated to try it out. Finally, I took her and the wrap to the shop. When the woman working there finished adjusting the baby and the wrap, all the tension left my body and everything felt so perfectly right. I opened up my shirt, turned her little head to the side and lay her cheek on my bare chest.
When my baby, was six weeks old our family moved to Ukraine. I felt like the only person in the country using a wrap — or carrying my baby. I was stared at. But the stares and the comments never made me feel uncomfortable. There was nothing better than having this baby next to my heart.
I walked my older daughter to school every morning. There were 180 stairs between our apartment and the school. With my little child on my chest, I quickly lost all the baby weight — and more.
Even the French women at our school made comments — perhaps even more than the locals. Most believed that my baby would never walk — nor be a social, autonomous being.
How marveled when that spring, following a long winter, I let my baby down and she walked all over the schoolyard. Until then , they had only glimpsed her face and legs. But when she emerged, the community was astonished and full of love for this little being who had spent the previous twelve months in a warm cocoon listening to her mama's heartbeat and blocking out the sounds of distrust. I doubt any of them decided to wear their future babies, but I am sure many still tell the tale of the cocoon baby.
My daughter continued to sleep "on me" until recently. Even after my mastectomy, nearly two years ago, I managed to find ways for her to be on my chest. Now, at four and a half, she is too heavy to lay there. It was a bittersweet night when I knew she would never say, "I want on you," again. But she still opens up my shirt and lays her cheek on my bare heart.
MamaShift, Vilnius, Lithuania
Welcome to the LuSa Organics Babywearing Celebration! The response to this joyful week has been astounding. I am so grateful for all who submitted or donated their writing, photos, baby carriers, materials, information, and support. Thanks to all who's eyes are here this day!
I am of the mind that wearing your child is nothing short of magical. Babywearing promotes bonding. Facilitates multitasking. Soothes fussy babies. Eases the life of multi-child parents. Connects your child with their world. Promotes healthy communication. Is simple (after you learn a few basic steps). Is affordable. Is low-impact. Is good for your body. Is phenomenal for your baby. And it is as old as humanity.
The age-old practice of wearing babies with a proven track record of safety and innumerable benefits has been underminded a bit by a single, cheap carrier. I mourn for the families effected, and also worry about new parents who are now confused about the safety of babywearing. This week we intend to clear that confusion and inspire you to pull out that carrier you've been nervous to use (or perhaps buy or make a new one). And we'll be showing off some beautiful babes while we're at it.
Is Babywearing Safe?
Yes. If you choose a good carrier and learn to use it properly. It's easier than installing your car seat properly, I promise you that. And I'd bet money that your newborn will take the carrier option over the car seat if given the choice every time.
For those of you with reservations on babywearing's inherent safety, Mothering Magazine is a perennial resource on all things mama, baby, and child. (If you don't have a subscription yet get on it! I'll be here when you get back. I mean it. Go. This magazine changed my life.) Mothering Magazine responded eloquently to the CPSC, and I will refer you to their response which includes six bullet points for fool-proof safe babywearing. Throughout the week's posts we'll address getting your child accustom to your carrier, safe wearing tips, making your own wrap or sling, and we'll share some amazing online resources for babywearing.
Today we are hosting three giveaways. One lucky winner will receive a Moby Wrap. This was my favorite everyday carrier for the first six months of Lupine's in-arms-life and along with Booty Balm is a favorite gift for new families. I LOVED my Moby. Love, love, love.
Another winner will receive the babywearing DVD Tummy2Tummy. This marvelous DVD teaches proper use of four different carrier styles (ring slings, pouches, asian carriers, and simple fabric carriers). I used this DVD to perfect use of my sling, my mai tai, and my Moby. It was indispensable.
A third winner will receive a digital copy of Mothering Magazine's Babywearing 101. This, too, is a fantastic, well written resource for new parents and experienced babywearers alike. We read it, used it, and shared it many times.
To be entered in the drawing please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on babywearing, something that inspired you to wear your baby, or a hope you hold in your heart. (One comment per person please.) Feel free to ask questions. I'll respond to just as many as I can.
Comments are closed. I'll announce winners later this week!
To let more families know about this week's events, I encourage you to re-blog, post to your Facebook page, and share on Twitter. Thanks for spreading the word! I will close comments on Saturday, April 17 and announce all winners the following week.
The Moby Wrap fits into a category of carrier I'll refer to as stretchy wraps. Made of jersey (heavy tee-shirt type fabric), they have a gentle stretch and give, making it easy to get a little one in and out of the wrap and making them forgiving and comfortable for the adult. I've worn Lupine in some amazing holds in a stretchy wrap – both front and back, facing in and (at home) facing out. Most of the time she was simply asleep on my breast, nuzzled in against my heart.
My Moby was my uniform for six months and I can't imagine that time without it. I've since passed it along to friends, who enjoyed it and passed it onto friends, who again used and passed along the wrap to another family. I occasionally have the pleasure of seeing other cute babes snuggled into our carrier and recall Lupine and I spent our loving days together, heart to heart when she was small. Four babies and counting? Not bad for a $35.00 investment.
I interviewed the folks at Moby Wrap about their carrier, benefits of babywearing, and tips for newbies.
Clean: What makes your carrier one of the best?
Moby: A Moby Wrap is a long piece of ultra soft, breathable cotton that is wrapped around the wearer to create a safe, custom-fitted and versatile baby carrier. Wrapping around both shoulders and the entire back, the Moby Wrap evenly distributes baby's weight making it comfortalbe to carry baby for long periods of time. All Moby Wraps are machine washable and provide one-size versatility. There are no buckles, snaps, or other fasteners, making a Moby Wrap simple and convenient.
Clean: Why do you believe caregivers should wear their babies?
Moby: Babywearing helps a baby develop a strong and secure attachment to parents. It meets baby's security needs: baby can feel, smell, hear, and see their parent. Babywearing communicates to children that they are loved, safe, secure, and cared for. It is a naturally soothing baby tranquilizer which helps fussy and tired infants fall asleep. It lowers the levels of stress in the infant and parent. It enables parents to accomplish their day to day activities while maintaining close physical contact with their babies.
Clean: Any tips for beginners?
Moby: The best time to start putting your baby in a carrier is when he is happy, fed, and rested. Use gentle movements to soothe baby. It is best to walk or slowly sway than to remain still. Always use your senses to be aware of baby. Look, listen, and feel baby.
Moby is offering 15% off your entire purchase at www.mobywrap.com. Use coupon code cleanmoby before April 25, 2010.
Your Stories, Your Poems.
Thanks to each and everyone of you who opened your hearts and shared your stories, your thoughts, and your images. We were all so touched. I put four friends to work reading your contributions (thanks ladies!) and I dare say we all cried. Frequently. If anyone has a creative way for us to share every entry let me know. (I am wanting the literary equivalent of Flickr.).
They were so lovely that it was nearly impossible to choose just five. In fact, I didn't. Today I selected two. And we'll have a bonus Haiku day (so feel free to submit to your heart's content. Please title your email "Haiku" to simplify my sifting process.)
Today we begin and end with a reader submission. I can relate to Meg and the feeling of expectations and life turned upside down with a first child.
Love to all.
Baby Carrying, by Meg Grant
I wish I could say baby wearing came to me from a place of love and warmth, rather than its true source…desperation. My first baby, Ava, took all of what I expected life with an infant to be and turned it upside down. She rarely slept, ceased to stop crying, and never simply relaxed. After many days of insanity, I finally asked my pediatrician what to do and his callous response was, “well, you need to remember who the parent is, you’re letting this baby dictate your life.”
Crestfallen, downhearted, and angry barely describes how I felt leaving that office. I could not believe he actually said what he said and could not understand how, as a new mother, my baby should not dictate my life. She was two weeks old, for goodness sake. I walked home in tears, along with Ava who was supremely quiet. The moment I stopped walking, she would scream. This was probably the closest I’ve ever come to an epiphany, with the realization that movement was the only way to soothe her. I raced home and opened the carrier I purchased, never really sure I would use it. I strapped it on myself and put a very calm Ava in, holding my breath. Not a peep, not a scream, just a quiet, content baby. For the rest of that day, I found myself overwhelmed by the freedom the carrier provided while simultaneously allowing me to be close to this little creature. It was truly the first time I relaxed as a new mother. I accepted that this beautiful baby was forever going to dictate my life, a fate that I was more than happy to accept.
It is hard to believe, but that little baby is turning six soon and I have two other little babies that I have been lucky enough to carry. With my second baby, Lillian, carrying her was a necessity; Ava was only nineteen months when she was born and I quickly learned a toddler waits for nothing. Lily lived in the carrier a good portion of the day and in the quiet moments of bedlam, the love and warmth I felt from her soft breath and quiet coos on my chest got me through the day.
Today I sit here writing this while my nine week old son, Oliver, sleeps soundly. I have since updated my baby carrier to the Moby Wrap, which is my new accessory I wear with pride. Although the carrier has changed, my feelings of carrying these precious babies has remained the same. I am a better mother because my hands are free, my heart is warm, and my baby is happy when I have them close to my heart.