Babywearing the Second Time Around.
To be brutally honest I really struggled to carry my first baby. The first few months of her life for me were a roller coaster of the usual post partum hormones and wanting to function ‘as normal’. As mothers we all know that once you introduce a new baby into your life you have to find a new normal!
In those first few weeks and months I attempted to use a stretchy and a couple of less ergonomic options but found the whole experience hugely stressful. Both Ivy and I got hot, flustered and inevitably ended in tears... usually from both of us. In the end I just gave up and fell in love with my buggy which gave me the freedom to roam the streets and Ivy learnt to sleep in there too. The need and want for babywearing was not something I continued to long after.
When Ivy was around 5 months old my friend and I decided to give the sling library a go. Here I discovered a way to carry Ivy in a way that we were both happy with. The Boba 4g was the carrier for us and we quickly discovered back carrying which revolutionised my babywearing experience. We used the Boba on and off until she was about 18 months old.
My love for all of the pretty fabrics and patterns made me persevere with babywearing and slowly I got tempted to branch out into trying other types of slings and carriers. But honestly at this time it was never about holding my baby close for me., that part was still unnatural and cuddles did not come easily.
Before I had children I vividly remember seeing a babywearing Mum out and about in Chelmsford. We were in a queue to pay for something and there she was with her three children. One of which was being carried in a woven wrap. In that moment I thought ‘that’s what I’m going to do’. She looks so in control and her baby looks so happy.
This experience combined with the fact that my Mum used to carry all of her children, including me way back when... made me convinced that it would come easily to me. But it didn’t and I felt like I had failed.
This was until baby Fern came along. Baby number two, another chance to fall in love with babywearing and holding my baby close. The day after Fern was born she was in a stretchy wrap up against me and that is where she has stayed. All through the summer months. All through weddings, parties and family walks. It’s only been recently (6 months later) that we have started to use the double buggy. Not a day goes by when I don’t use a sling or carrier in some capacity.
What a revelation.
What’s changed? Well I guess the answer to that is, I have changed. I’ve changed hugely as a mother and a person from those first few weeks of Ivy’s life. Fern’s birth did not bring on the same feelings of stress, worry and there is nothing like the benefit of a bit of experience. As a result Fern cries less, is more content and so am I.
Do I feel guilty about Ivy? Sometimes. The logical part of me knows that I did the best I could to stay sane at the time. Ivy is feisty and independant, maybe this is because of me not babywearing but maybe that is just her. Fern is just as eager to explore the world as her sister was. You can never ‘do over’ with a baby so who can tell what it could have been like.
Learning to love babywearing is an experience that has made me some wonderful new friends and helped me introduce a lot of first time mum friends to slings too. Without the encouragement to go to that first sling meet all that time back, I would never be where I am now with babywearing.
Thank goodness for sharing, thank goodness for Mum’s helping each other and thank goodness for being able to learn from your experiences. Maybe I’m that lady in a queue that someone sees and thinks ‘I’m going to do that one day’. Perhaps they will have a similar journey to me. A journey that is nowhere near coming to an end. There is so much still to learn.
I’m so grateful for babywearing second time around. It’s not only saved my sanity on numerous accasions but it’s helped me to be part of a community. Don’t tell anyone but it’s also made me love the cuddles too....