Babywearing Love, by Kendra Ortner
we were fortunate enough to have a friend gift us a moby wrap. i think this really helped us enjoy babywearing from the beginning. we practiced before our baby came, but with our newborn, some days we just couldn't get it. (the learning curve was steep on many accounts in those early days!) i wanted a pocket sling, so i could meet our baby's needs faster when i just couldn't seem to get the moby working. so my husband made one.
and another one. and yes. you read that right. my husband. he bought the fabric, he found directions online, he sized the slings to our bodies, he sewed. he did it all.
i attended a local babywearing group and was introduced to all different types of carries. the leader was a devout wrapper, and her enthusiasm was catching. the wrap could go anywhere, do anything. and what's more, i learned, the woven wrap's diagonal stretch lends better support to the wearer and the baby than my moby could, especially considering how heavy my boy was getting. i had also begun facing him out, according to moby directions, which the leader told me could be stressful to his pelvic bones and his senses. on the front – facing in, on the back – facing in, and on the hip are the most psychologically advantageous ways of wearing (on the hip being the best for older babies), because the baby can hide if s/he wants, and interact if s/he wants. plus, our leader said she didn't feel the moby was safe for back carries with it's stretchiness. i was so impressed. this extraordinary mama helped me with my homemade slings (which she also checked for safety), and even magically wrapped my boy on my shoulder (the only place he cared for), which i was never able to replicate. now i wanted a woven wrap! since we didn't own a stroller, nor intend to, we splurged on the most inexpensive one we could find.
again, there was some learning, especially as we began back carries, but i kept attending the group. watching other mamas really helped, and luckily for all of us, many have shared videos online too. i even got to try other carriers, and plotted to sew (or get my husband to sew) a mei tai some day. as babies do, our son grew and grew, and he was becoming too big to comfortably carry on our chest. when we switched to primarily back carries, i pined for a shorter wrap that wouldn't drag on the ground. not in our budget… soooo, you know what?
he made one.
as an anniversary gift, my husband presented me with this gorgeous fabric he had bought to make a new wrap. he talked to the shop owner to find out which materials were woven, and they tested to find one with the same diagonal stretch as our wrap. a gift of pure love – my heart swelled.
these days, this wrap is so nice because i can take this little strip of fabric with me when we are out on our journeys. if my boy, who is now two, wants to be held, i can get a little help from a quick sling tie and hip carry. or if we are really truckin', i can wrap him on my back. we use it on hikes, in the kitchen – we've even used it for family bike rides!
learning to wrap has been so empowering. it has given us security, intimacy, peace, and real connectedness. i just love it. and i feel incredibly lucky to have such a caring and crafty partner, whose support in this has over-exceeded my wildest expectations. spread the love, wear your baby!
Sure, I deeply adore(d) my Over the Shoulder Baby Holder, my Ergo, and my Moby. But truth be told, Kelley from Kozy nailed it when she said, "…all a new mom really needs is a set of lactating boobs and a good sling (…though even a bedsheet will work in a pinch)." (I've worn Lupine in a bedsheet on more than one occasion.) And I've made some rockin' carriers too and seen some wonderful ones made by other mamas (and papas like Marc in the story at top).
Our ancestors made their own. Now its your turn. Here are three great resources if you're up for the challenge:
If you are ready to get sewing, one of my favorite place for all-things baby is Sleeping Baby. I've sewn several of Jan's free patterns with ease. There is even a crochet sling, several mei tais, and a no-sew fabric sling on her site. The mama made set donated today is from one of Jan's patterns.
Another priceless resource (for both holds and carrier making instructions) is Mamatoto. My experience was that navigating their site took some patience at first, but once I found my way around I spent hours there – and found some amazing tricks to tuck up my sleeve.
While not a sewing resource, I need to also mention another great resource for connecting with other babywearing families and troubleshooting, asking questions, choosing a carrier, etc. Check out the Babywearer.
Today one winner will receive a gorgeous mama made ring sling (and matching toddler doll sling), generously made and donated by my friend Denise. A second mama will receive a one year subscription to Mothering Magazine, and a third winner will receive a digital copy of Babywearing 101.
But wait! There's more! (Said in my best infomercial voice.) We have a wonderful last-minute donation from Sling Rings: not one, not two, but three winners will receive sling rings to make their own safe, comfortable, affordable baby carrier.
Each ring set includes a pair of large rings for an actual babywearing sling and a pair of small rings for a toddler doll sling. (If you aren't up for making a doll sling, simply tie some ribbon to each ring and give them to your toddler. A wonderful and simple open-ended toy.)
Sling Rings is giving all Clean readers 12% off through the end of June. Enter coupon code Celebr8 during checkout!
To be entered in today's giveaway please leave a post with one thing you are thankful for at the end of this babywearing week. (Today is your last chance to add your name to the other posts from the week. You may enter once per day to be entered in each day's giveaway.)
Comments are closed. I'll announce winners later this week!
I will close all comments tonight at midnight CST. I'll announce winners as soon as I am able to next week, so keep checking back.
I'm thankful that you all showed up this week, day after day to hear (and share) these inspiring stories. I have an inbox full of stories I wasn't able to share, so if anyone has any ideas how I can post them, do let me know. When I announce the winners for the zillions of giveaways we did this week we'll have one last baby-fest with a haiku collection.
I'm so inspired by each of you.Thank you for all that you shared.
Since my blog readership has tripled in the past week (!), I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself to those of you who are new and to throw a coupon code of my own into the giveaway mix. I am Rachel Wolf, mama of Sage (7 1/2) and Lupine (3 1/4). Lupine + Sage = LuSa (Organics), my organic body and baby care business. We are a work-at-home unschooling family based in Wisconsin.
So why the babywearing week? I think my mom would say it's because I'm idealistic, but I would say I'm just extremely passionate. I feel the choices that I make in this life deeply, and my decision to babywear (and nurse, and cosleep, and practice EC, and homeschool, and…) was one based out of love and gentleness and best-possible-outcome-for-all-peole-involved.
I wanted to share this week with you because I believe that babywearing is magical – as long as we keep it in the hands of the mamas, papas, and small businesses out there with baby love in their hearts. As I reflected on each interview I posted this week, I realized that without exception they all talked about their inspiration: their babies.
I hope that this week inspired you towards something better as well.
With my deepest thanks, I am offering you all a coupon to LuSa Organics for $10 off any order over $45. Use coupon code "babylove" before the end of April.
And check back with me on Clean, won't you? While it won't be a babyfest over here again, it will continue to be a lovely place to come and be inspired.
Peace and love,