This following post was an entry in our Blog to Inspire contest. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.
“Baby wearing? Umm. Can you repeat the question?”
This stuttering response was the sum-total of my knowledge surrounding baby wearing. Expecting our first child, my husband Jeremy and I thought we had covered everything: A plush stash of cloth diapers, classes on labour and breastfeeding, a safe and toxin-free nursery, and the loopy naive grins of a couple who had yet to hit the delivery room. Given that we had a fresh-out-of-the-box stroller and able arms, we were assured that transporting our baby would be both simple and efficient (as parenting is supposed to be…right?).
Now, eighteen months later, I am on my way to living as an accomplished baby wearer.
What stimulated this unexpected choice? Perhaps it was the deep and lasting life-shift we experienced soon after Jeremiah was born; conversations, choices, and events leading us into a new journey and life-style which shaped our family into something much more fluid and organic than we had ever expected. Changes from synthetic products to natural, consumer roles to producer, urban living to mountain ranch, and employed to…not, may have played a role in nudging us towards adopting baby-wearing so enthusiastically. Or perhaps it was simply embracing the fact that when you’re a parent on the move your babe needs to move with you. While I remain unsure as to the specific event or reason motivating us to step into this incredible mode of interaction, I am confident that it will remain within our family as long as there are babies to wear.
Throughout the past several months, the following notes have been left scribbled for my husband Jeremy.
“Down at the lake, 5:00am, baby with me…”
“Took Jeremiah for a hike, back for breakfast…”
“Checking fences, 6:30am”
“Trail ride. Jeremiah’s with me.”
Through forests and across lakes, on horseback and at the kitchen sink, while nursing, cleaning, and conversing, in the company of mop, dog, or guest, my baby boy has been tucked in closely with those who love him. Beginning with a beautiful sling (presented as a gift from Jeremy after delivery), and currently with the oh-so-hardy Ergo, Jeremiah has been bundled, strapped, snuggled, and packed. On my back or his Papa’s, he knows he is safely stowed. Sleeping, observing, feeding, or simply soaking up whatever activity at hand, he is able to participate within the community of his family and with his world first-hand.
For many families, baby-wearing may be a pre-birth decision or a personal preference. For us, it has become a beautiful constant within our way of life. As a woman, and as a mama desiring to pursue natural parenting, I know this: Wearing my baby has introduced a freedom, strength, and unity to my life and family that was entirely unexpected and completely unplanned. There is a beautiful centeredness in the snuffling snore of my son dozing against my chest as I wander down our lane. There is a gentle respect and partnership as his Papa shares in carrying him through our journeys. There is secret warmth in the knowledge of Jeremiah nursing on the move; hidden and tucked away. There is an exhilarating strength in carrying my son’s growing frame upon my own; aware that my body continues to contribute to his.
“Baby wearing? Yes!”
As we journey onward, as our families grow and change, we will carry our babies close. As they outgrow their slings and wraps and carriers, we will continue to hold them; wrapping their dreams and cries and steps next to our own, wearing their lives next to our hearts.
Why did/didn’t you choose to adopt baby-wearing in your own family? What is the greatest benefit that you have experienced? What has been the most significant challenge? I’d love to hear your experiences surrounding this topic, as well as other areas surrounding natural parenting and our shared life!
Read about the Blog to Inspire contest and read posts by the finalists and by the rest of the entrants. Forty-four bloggers reached out to inspire on the topics of cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.