From Tett Inntil, a Norwegian internet forum for babywearing, I got a challenge: Write about babywearing this week.
Well, here comes my contribution. A whole bunch of pictures, of me wearing my youngest, me wearing my 4 1/2 year-old, and some of my husband babywearing. (I only have digital pictures from the last two years, maybe I'll get around to scan older photos.)
Babywearing, not only to carry a baby, but to wear him or her, is the default way of relate to infants and toddlers all over the world. In our western culture, however, there has, for the last generations, been a tendency to treat the newborn as a "seperate human being", not only in the real sense of the word, but also by the way of keeping babies away from the mother.
Babies who are carried, cry very little, sometimes never, they have less stomach problems, they evolve better and sleep better at night. Breastfeeding comes easier to them, and they develop strong bodies. Babywearing makes life easier for parents!
I've carried all my four children - a lot. I went to Kenya before I became a mother, and I saw the way small children always were wrapped onto some grownup's body, and how they never seemed to cry or fuss. It amazed me, and I was really frustrated when I, a year later, stood in front of the mirror with my baby and my african kanga , trying to wrap it on me. I wasn't able to figure it out, but luckily I had a Baby Björn front carrier, and with this my daughter was worn while I wandered the streets of Paris. Until she became heavier, and heavier still, and my shoulders couldn't take it anymore. I had a backpack (bæremeis) which was used a lot, but was really unconvient to take anywhere, because of it's size. On hiking trips, however, it was great.
When my second child was about a year, I got my first ring sling , and that was great for hip carry. I used it until he was way past his 2nd birthday. The sling didn't so easily make my shoulders hurt, because the large fabric spreads out the weight in a good, ergonomic way.
I wanted to wear my third child in the sling from the very beginning, but again, I couldn't figure out how to arrange that tiny bundle in all the fabric, so she was worn in the Baby Björn, until I could move her to my hip in the sling.
When my youngest child was born, there was suddenly a whole lot of people to ask for babywearing advice, there was the internet forums, (A good English-speaking one: thebabywearer.com ) and I learned how to wrap my newborn from the very first hours. He has been worn in different wraps, slings and meitais , and I still wear him several times a week.
I'm certain the babywearing has been beneficial, not only for the one who is carried, but for the rest of the family too. The babywearer has his or her arms free, is available to the other children, and doesn't have to stress because a crying baby has to wait while he/she is busy helping another child, cooking, writing on the computer...
And, I think I'm stronger physically now than I've ever been. My toddler is heavy, but with the wraps and meitais, I can carry him for hours.
Here are links to other bloggers who took up this challenge: