Thursday, October 3, 2013

Babywearing Love.

I passed my VBE (Volunteer Babywearing Educator) skills assessment (demonstrating varies carries in all of the main types of baby carriers) this morning, so it seemed like an appropriate time to write this post.  I'm certainly not a subject matter expert, but I have learned a lot in the past 6 months or so!

First of all, what is babywearing? Babywearing International's (BWI) definition is pretty straightforward: "Babywearing" simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child using a cloth baby carrier.  You don't need super expensive wraps or carriers to babywear (although you can use those if you want!), you just need to wear your baby.  Wraps/carriers hold their value very well, I mean very well, so one can make back most of the investment if something isn't working.  I've been able to try quite a few different wraps by buying/selling/trading them without losing any money in the process, besides the initial purchase.  I know some of you might be thinking "I'm not into all that," or "I don't have time to learn," "my baby is too big," and that's totally fine, but it has been very helpful around here.  Luckily, Myra is a very happy baby, but I can just imagine how much more helpful babywearing would be if she were fussy, colicky, reflux-y, clingy, etc.  What's more, there will be a baby #2 someday, and babywearing will certainly come in handy as a parent of two!

My preference is using wraps (woven wraps these days, but I did use a Moby wrap and a K'Tan when Myra was a squishy little newborn) and soft structured carriers (or SSC, my polka dot Beco Gemini, Ergo, etc.).  I was tested on a those two as well as a mei tai, pouch sling and ring sling today.  I had to demonstrate front, hip, back and cradle carries in each of the carriers (as appropriate, one doesn't do all of those in each carrier).

For the written test/application, I was asked why babywearing is important to me.  I explained that it allows me to get stuff done around the house (cook, dishes, get ready, vacuum, etc.) while snuggling my baby.  (Who doesn't love snuggling babies?!)  It makes running errands/shopping much easier, too!  I have noticed I interact with Myra more while wearing her than I do when she is in a stroller (I have no issue with strollers though, I use ours a lot when it's too warm for me to be babywearing! I do not like heat one bit.).  Also, I can go places with her that aren't so feasible with a stroller (beaches, hiking, even our county fair was much easier without a stroller).  Walking Rowdy seems easier when I'm not pushing a stroller, although I use it if it's even a tad warm and it is nice to have a place to put things if needed.  I was also asked why I wanted to become a VBE.  I have met such wonderful people through our chapter of BWI (South Metro Minneapolis) and the group leaders and members were so helpful when I was frustrated trying to figure out my first woven wrap (and even helpful when choosing my first woven wrap!), I want to pay it forward and help others in the same way.

So, as for the "I don't have time to learn" - you can put as much or as little time into it as you'd like.  SSC's are very easy and very comfortable.  Once I saw things demonstrated and watched some YouTube videos, it clicked quite quickly.  "My baby is too big"...a friend of mine wears her 40 pound toddler.  With the right carrier and knowledge, it can easily be done (many people may say when their toddler is that big, he/she can walk, but the reality is there are many circumstances where a parent may still want to wear their child at that size, for example, when it's nap time and you're all out and about-kiddo can nap and wearer can be hands free, or when you're doing something where it's not reasonable or even safe to expect them to walk-a long family hike or a full day at the zoo, navigating the airport, or maybe when your child is sick and just wants to snuggle but you have stuff that needs to get done).  "I'm just not into all that"...totally fine, too! Babywearing isn't for everyone, whatever works best for you is exactly what you should be doing. But, how adorable are these photos...

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