Babywearing for us has been such an incredible journey. I was blessed to have been exposed to babywearing before our first child was born and so had the opportunity to wear both children from birth. But the first is special, different.
The journey of becoming a mother is beautiful, frustrating, enlightening, discouraging, glorious, and messy. Babywearing my newborn, as a brand-new, first-time, frazzled and scattered working mom, was my LIFESAVER. Babywearing brought peace to our time together, supported our bonding, encouraged our breastfeeding relationship (that lasted for 3 1/2 years!), and helped settle my new-mommy fears.
Through babywearing, I learned how to hone in on my newborn daughter’s subtle cues and understand her needs. She grew to trust me and I grew to trust myself. She looked forward to any opportunity to “bump-bump” and, since she was never super cuddly to begin with, I relished every chance to snuggle her.
As she grew larger, so did the carriers that carried her. We cycled through several delightful, toddler sized carriers from many different brands and even a DIY wrap converted mei tai (pic above). But we carried on (pun totally intended!).
Then came the day, I mean THE day when she no longer preferred to be worn. Her little legs turned wiggly and her body became a constant time bomb of energy. Gone were the days of drifting off to sleep in a carrier on mommy’s back. Oh no… my toddler was no more. My gorgeous, brilliant, stunning daughter was a KID!!!
Despite the fact that I LOVED her independence, watching her come into her own, the loss of a babywearing relationship was so very hard. I bribed. I pleaded. I begged. But, no, my little girl had grown up…
But one day, one blessed day, after nearly a year of babywearing boycotts, my beautiful little girl asked to be worn one last time. She was exhausted from the day and overstimulated by all the demands of her 4 year old life. I happily popped her into our preschool sized Kinderpack and we set out on our errand. I held her hand. I talked with her. WE shared this precious moment. And then it happened… she drifted off to sleep. On my back, snuggled against my neck, nose buried in my hair. I could feel her warm breath brush against my skin. In that moment, tears nearly fell as I realized – this is the last time I get to wear by first-born, my gateway into babywearing, my beautiful daughter – to sleep. The last time that my body and her carrier were her safe place.
Most times, we don’t know when that last experience will be but I am so blessed to have an exact moment in time where our babywearing relationship went out with a bang!
And now starts the next adventure….
Written by Jennifer Hoover