Today marks the start of International Babywearing Week. This “week-long opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing” will be all over my social media and in my life. Why? Because the babywearing community is my tribe; it is where I talk to other moms, it is where I turn to for support. Babywearers are the moms and dads from all walks of life who have helped my transition into mommyhood. As I lay here at four in the morning, trying to get back to sleep after a middle of the night feeding, I know my tribe is close at hand, a facebook chat, a call, or a car ride away, ready to help me if I need it (or simply just talk me off the edge).
I can’t remember how I stumbled into the world of babywearing but it was well before my baby arrived. Wraps and slings and carriers have enchanted me from the start and it’s one decision I have never questioned. My little dude is two months old and in those two + months I have worn him a lot. Wearing my son means helping him when he’s tired but it hurts his tummy to lie flat. Wearing my son means doing the dishes and keeping the chaos of neglected chores to a minimum, it means pushing the shopping cart by myself and leaving the stroller in the car. Wearing my son means soothing him when he’s grumpy, helping him get to sleep when he’s overtired and can’t get there on his own, and it means taking walks around our neighborhood to satiate his nosy curiosity. Later this week babywearing will mean our first family trip, our first flight, our first time through the airport with an infant, and so many other firsts that we will navigate together.
Eventually babywearing will also mean play dates, mom friends, and friends for my baby. For now babywearing is keeping my son close and helping his transition into the world from the womb; he is safe, he is secure, he is protected. When my baby can stay close to me he can trust me to help him when he’s sick or fussy or overwhelmed with the task of growing. For me, it keeps him close enough to kiss and close enough to develop a deep emotional bond that will, hopefully, last a lifetime.
So this week, as babywearers everywhere talk about how wearing their children has affected them, know that it can run deeper than mere function. For many moms (and dads!) babywearing has kept us connected, not only to the babies we wear but also to our greatest allies, the the parents and families of our communities.
Information about International Babywearing Week:
A few articles about the benefits of babywearing: