From the moment I gave birth to my first child, in December of 1994, I knew that I would want to keep this child always close to my heart. I knew nothing of babywearing. All I knew was that being attached to my child made sense. It felt right. It made me happy. I was babywearing before babywearing was cool or hip. It was, in fact, quite hippy - a bit granola, even, for the Dallas suburb where we lived at the time. But then again, I was parenting by instinct - an AP mom before I'd even heard of Dr. Sears or Attachment Parenting. I just followed my heart. And I knew my baby belonged close to it.
I have been wearing my babies for almost 14 years, now. It all began with Sarah, and a Snugli. Yes, I know. Please don't throw anything - I was young, and didn't know any better. It was a front-and-back carrier - very versatile. I had wanted a Bjorn, but they were very expensive, and the Snugli was about half the price. I couldn't find a pic of my first one, which burned up in the fire (it was similar - but blue chambray with white trim). So here's the one I replaced it with.
I loved it. Yes - I know... How much more I would have loved a ring sling, an Ergo, even a Bjorn... But it did what I needed it to do... And I even got Brian to use it. Yes - real men *do* wear their babies! He liked to wear them on his back, mostly. But hey - I think it's sexy when a man wears his child...
I used it everywhere - to the grocery store, on walks around the neighborhood, at the mall. It was just so much easier than dealing with the stroller. This was back in the dark ages - before travel systems where you could just pop the bucket into your stroller. I simply buckled on the Snugli, and tucked Sarah in. I was able to do laundry, cook, and clean, all without putting my baby down. I put her on, and she was happy. She slept. This was ingenious! Why wasn't EVERYONE doing this???????
And when Amanda came along, I was able to wear her, and keep Sarah in the stroller. When you've got a newborn, and a 20 month-old, babywearing is a lifesaver. When we found out that Nathan was on the way, we went ahead and bought a double stroller. So I was still able to take all 3 kids out by myself. (By myself??? What was I *thinking*???) Having a 3 year-old, a 21 month-old, and a newborn -I could not have survived without the Snugli!
And after the fire in the fall of '98, I replaced my Snugli, but not the swing. I found that I would rather wear my babies than put them in the swing. We both liked it better, actually. And I've had 3 more kids, and still no swing. But my collection of baby carriers has increased exponentially... *grin*
I truly love wearing my babies. It just feels so natural - keeping them close to my heart, where they grew for 9 months. And a carrier is much more user-friendly that a swing or a stroller, and takes up much less space than either one. And I've grown accustomed to the inquiring glances and the strange looks - even gotten to enjoy them. Kind of like nursing in public... *grin* Like I said - I never knew any better. I just did what came naturally. And babywearing did. Still does. In's a wonderful fringe benefit of my job. I love it.
Tomorrow - My first ring sling - and beyond...