Sunday, October 3, 2010

Babywearing Needs YOU

Every family has a story, and babywearing is intertwined through ours.  We knew from the first awestruck moments after birth that this precious little one needed us and we scooped him in and never wanted to let him go.

Unfortunately, we didn't really want to let the laundry, dishes, housework, etc, completely go to pot either.  Also, our arms got tired.  He was born 8 pounds, 3 ounces and gained a pound a week for his first several weeks of life!

So babywearing entered our lives, and we are profoundly grateful for the connection, for the ease, for the bonding, for the portability, for the natural-ness, of the babywearing way of life.

From chasing cows to coping with a child in the hospital, babywearing is an integral part of how we parent.

Our first baby, pictured in the first two pictures, is now 2 1/2, and most of the time much happier to be on his own two feet (which is fine with us, since he's also 30 pounds now)! 

Our second baby, who was born 12 months after our first, is in the next photo solo and in the one after being worn with her older brother.  By the time she came along, I'd really found my babywearing groove, and was excited to be able to wear her a lot more than her brother. Tandem babywearing really made our year of two under two much, much easier.

When our second was born, our first had been walking for a week.  There was no way he could toddle all the way across a parking lot, far less walk through a store.  And if you've ever tried to navigate a stroller through a crowded, treasure laden thrift store (starting by getting in, the doors aren't automatic!), you'll understand why strapping 35 pounds of baby to your torso is comparatively easy.

I didn't want to be homebound just because I had two very small children, and thanks in large part to babywearing, I wasn't.

And I not only shed the baby weight pretty quickly (try squatting down to get a can on a bottom shelf at the discount grocery with 35 pounds of extra weight and you'll see why!), I enjoyed making fun memories with them at the same time.

When we recently found out that we're expecting #3 next spring, among all of the wonderful things we're looking forward to one of them is wearing a snuggly little newborn again!  My husband laughed at me when I said that... and then later admitted that he's really looking forward to getting to babywear a newborn too!  He loves the Moby wrap, and this time around I'm trading another carrier with a cousin for a pretty indigo Moby.  Can't wait!

I know I've been rather silent around here, between morning sickness, a horrific cold *achoo!*, and a broken camera, so you might be wondering what brought me out of the woodwork today.

Babywearing is in crisis, and just as babywearing helped us, we need to turn around and help the babywearing industry stay beautiful, vibrant, and diverse.

While I've made many of my own carriers, not every mama can, and we need a variety of big and small babywearing businesses that can provide those families with the tools they need.  When I'm stopped on the street and asked about my carriers, frequently I say, "I made this one, but you can buy a similar one from (fill in the blank depending on the type.)"  Often that person will write it down or take one of my babywearing cards with more information.

Losing those businesses due to expensive testing, prohibitive regulation, or sheer bureaucracy is not acceptable. 

What will I do if I can't refer them to somewhere they can buy a similar carrier anymore? Or if eventually even sharing patterns and tutorials for DIY carriers is curtailed because of regulation?  How will that harm babywearing?  Quite frankly, I don't know and I don't want to find out.

Long story short, the CPSC is trying to regulate the babywearing industry, and there is a huge risk that many of our favorite carriers will go the way of the buffalo (or Hotslings.)

 Babywearing is a safe, traditional way of parenting babies, and the CPSC needs to let parents parent.  Babywearing is a parenting choice, and by restricting our access to carriers, the CPSC is going to limit our ability as parents to choose what we feel is best for our babies.  This is totally unacceptable.

Please go connect with the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance on Facebook to stay updated with what is going on and how you can help!  All babywearers really need to rally and unite right now.  As things develop we may need to write letters or make phone calls, but right now, we need to connect, share our stories, and speak out about the joys of babywearing. 

If you are a blogger, the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance needs you... please go here and read their call to action - and then act on it!  We need to be very vocal right now about how important babywearing is to us! If you do write a post, be sure to post it on the BCIA Facebook page AND put it on the linky over at Adventures in Babywearing... Steph is going to randomly choose a linky participant to win a Sakura Bloom ring sling, so you definitely don't want to miss out on that! 

Also, if you share your babywearing story and link up at the Wrapsody Baby blog you'll be entered to win a Gypsy Mama microfleece wrap (perfect for fall!)

Important update 10/4/10: Action needed: 

A recall of a major baby carrier is being forced through this week in a very underhanded way.  Word on the babywearing street is that this is not an unsafe carrier and the CPSC has overstepped their bounds in how they've gone about this.  If you are represented by any one of these legislators listed here, PLEASE call and write them.  More details over at the link, please take the time to read and act.  If this can happen to one carrier, it can happen to them all.  All our carriers are in jeopardy.


Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, your photos are beautiful, and you got me choked up! It is in crisis, I am touched by the unification of us all, but of course... babywearing and babywear-ers are so incredibly awesome.


Kat said...

Wonderful post! And what great photos. I love seeing pics of babywearing dads too! :)

Anonymous said...

I tried babywearing with my first, and it worked OK for us, but I always had trouble when I was alone....getting him in and out, struggling in the parking lot of a store, etc. I ended up just holding our baby in my arms most of the time.

If we are lucky enough to have #2 (11 months of EBF and no cycle yet!) I plan to really put a lot more effort in to learning and making it work, because I'm sure babywearing will make my life a lot easier, and I believe it really is best for baby.

Thanks for an informative post!

natalie said...

Steph - thank you, and thank you for rallying the troops! :)

Kat - thanks! Me too... :) I loved your post as well!

Wendy - it really has a learning curve...especially if you're learning on your own, as I did. I didn't have the best carrier with my son when he was small, and it took a while to figure out what worked for us. Now that I have a little more experience under my belt, I know it could have been SO much easier had I connected with people in my area (not that there are many local babywearers, though) and gotten some hands on help. Best wishes for #2 and hope that you can find some solutions to make babywearing work for you! :)

designHER Momma said...

it's an important part of how I parent as well. Love your photos.

Sarah Partain said...

wow! two in twelve months! i bet you're quite busy! congrats on #3, too. I love the pics of you wearing them both. awesome and so very sweet!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Oh gosh, look at that pic of you wearing two. I couldn't love that any more! So sweet!

fairymom said...

Thank you for your post, with out it I never would of known about the blog wearing movement. Again your blog has given me new info! I also wanted to make sure I gave credit to the place where I heard about it al and have gotten so much great info from- so I've linked to yours! <3

Tristina said...

I love babywearing so much! To think some future new mommas are at risk of never knowing what joys lie in it!

Makes me sad.

And angry.

Then sad again.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I love the photos on your hubby's blog, too!