Friday, June 25, 2010

Babywearing Journey

My name is Betsy from Funky Mama Bird. I'm a babywearing mama to a toddler, but did you know that while I intended to use slings and wraps right from birth, I had never heard the term "babywearing" until he was a few months old? I had no idea that there was a whole community out there dedicated to educating women and helping to ensure safe babywearing practices.
During the last year, I've become a huge advocate for babywearing and I'd love to share with you my story.

I was unable to work during my pregnancy, since I'd had a partial placental abruption and was on bed rest. Money got very, very tight and we still had a lot of baby purchases to make. So when it came time to buy the car seat, I wound up considering convertible seats. They would take him from birth to age 10 for one price, rather than having to buy multiple seats. I also found one on super low clearance to meet our budget. There was only one problem: How was I going to carry the baby once he was born, since the seat stayed in the car?

I knew about the Baby Bjorn, and we in fact were given a hand-me-down model, but it didn't look comfortable to me. So I did a little Googling and found the Moby Wrap and a pouch sling. I haunted ebay for a few days until I scored both for cheap and put it out of my mind.

Fast forward to my son's birth. He had somehow gone full term, but he was very small and blue. They wanted him on oxygen, and for me to hold him skin to skin.
I was feeling some major post partum anxiety, my baby is blue with a tiny mask on his face, and I'm trying to keep him to my chest. Things did not feel like they were going well, until I remembered the Moby Wrap. I tied it on and tucked him inside.

It was almost magical how fast my baby settled down and turned pink. He fell asleep pressed to my chest, no one was able to tell I was naked to the waist, and we started breast feeding right inside. I was hooked.

I started wearing him daily. I would tuck him in the wrap and curl up to read. I wore him in the Moby to go for hikes, and I won countless rounds of Mini Golf with him in a Hot Sling. The more I wore him, the more I wanted to; I actually found it addicting. I came to crave the feeling of him in there.

He was a few months old when I learned that there were whole communities out there dedicated to babywearing. Around the same time, safety concerns began to pop up about slings and I became an outspoken advocate for babywearing, writing articles for one of the magazines I work for to help moms (and dads) understand about safe and proper babywearing practices.

I still wear my toddler everyday (and that is a whole other story!) and I still enjoy it and look forward to our outings together. We've added a few more items to our arsenal of wraps and slings and are looking forward to trying out a few more as he gets heavier. I hope to inspire others to give babywearing a try, especially moms with small or sick babies, or moms suffering from post partum anxiety or depression. Babywearing can help you both to thrive.



natalie said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Betsy! :) I loved it! The internet was how I discovered babywearing, too... but kind of the reverse from the way you did, because I read the term and all about it and THEN tried to figure out which carriers... but they all seemed so expensive, so I ended up going the DIY route, which had it's own trial and errors!

Funky Mama Bird said...

I've gone the DIY route as well, making a custom ring sling that puts some of the weight on my back, and ties between his legs before coming back to the ring. It's my son's favorite sling and he brings it to me or grabs it off the hook when we go out the door!

Debra Worth said...

Thanks for the story.

Lisa said...

I love all 5 of my slings and so did our daughter. She was really in need of skin to skin contact for many months and i don't think I could have survived without them. Even as a toddler, they are still a staple of our lives.

natalie said...

Debra - I'm glad you liked it! So happy that Betsy shared it with us. :)

Lisa - thanks for visiting, and thanks for sharing... my toddlers love being worn too!