Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wherever Ergo, I’ll go: Evolution of a Babywearing Mama

Wherever Ergo, I’ll go: Evolution of a Babywearing Mama

When my daughter was born, I was given several wraps and babywearing items: a Moby, a Maya ring sling, a Seven sling, a custom work-at-home-mom sling and and
Ergo (with infant insert). From my little collection, I chose to begin with the Moby wrap. I’d see a good video online and had practiced before the baby came, although I never thought to wrap the cat. (Pregnancy regrets: #thestruggleisreal). When she was nine days old, I wore her for the first time. She snuggled into the Moby with ease and enjoyed her new nap locale. “Great!” I thought. “She loves being worn already.” Eventually, I came to dislike the radiating heat of the Moby while out and about in the summer. It was like laying belly-first on the surface of the sun. I searched for a new option from my repertoire and reached for the Maya ring sling. A new friend showed me how to wear my little in the sling and I loved it. The baby would sleep on me at church, her little feet sticking out under her round little rump. The catch was that A) she did not want to be worn while awake and B) my husband wanted nothing to do with wearing her  in the sling. He even mentioned that she seemed to dislike it and would offer to carry her for me. I saw this as an attempt to “rescue” my baby from my ill-advised intentions and took umbrage. I know now that he was just trying to give his sleep-deprived wife a few minutes of rest and wanted some of those delicious baby cuddles he missed while at work. Yet the sling worked wonderfully for us for months. It even lived in my car.
As my girl grew bigger and more physically active, she would throw HUGE fits as soon as she realized I was getting her saddled into the ring sling. She wanted to look around, having long since decided my chest was not as fascinating as she had once thought. I tried to do hip carries with her, but she was just not feeling it. Meanwhile, I started to notice that my lower back hurt after a few minutes and chose not to subject both of us (and all of the grocery store patrons around us) to the torture. I resigned myself to putting Little Miss in the cart (#babywearingfail) and tried not to look the other
moms in the eye. It seemed like we’d reached an impasse when I remembered the Ergo. I had
tried to wear her in it a few times when she was little bitty, but the infant insert was like calculus-- Calculus while holding a mad, squirming baby. But now she was over twelve pounds and had perfect head control. It had to be worth a try. I worked on my technique for a quick strap-in and jiggle-to-sleep dance. It took some time. But I persisted. As I grew in confidence and she learned that cuddles can still be nice, it got better. When another friend showed me how to clip the back clip myself, it was no longer an ordeal to wear my baby. It was enjoyable. I’d strap her on at the store, jiggle her to sleep and stroll the aisles, head held high and soaking up the drooly, drooly snuggles. I felt like I
suddenly understood all the mamas who mourn their growing, walking children. I was a complete convert. I felt this would be my pinnacle of babywearing glory. Surely, this was enough for me. So I cannot describe my pure delight when my husband expressed willingness to try carrying our little one in the Ergo. I showed him how to strap in, saddled up the baby and got her situated. I dropped technical phrases like “knee-to-knee” and “seat” to make sure he knew I had done my homework. He stepped back, looking first at his girl calming down and dozing off, then studying his free hands. He wiggled, checking his back for discomfort. Then he looked at me and said “Hey, this isn’t bad at all. Have I reached my babywearing nirvana yet? My high note? I don’t think I have, as I’ve been eyeing some linen and woven wraps on the Babywearing Around Tulsa Facebook page. Maybe I will become a wrapper. Every day, my little one gets better at sitting up unsupported. Soon we will be able to start back carries in the Ergo. I may even get brave and borrow a woven from our lending library. Have I reached the end of my quest for babywearing bliss? Not even close. There will be more carriers, more developmental milestones and more babies to be worn (whether mine or no). I’m
looking forward to a long and beautiful relationship with babywearing. Off to the next great adventure!

My name is Alicia Kobilnyk. I've always worked with children, except for a brief foray at a Zoo, which can be quite similar. I especially enjoyed teaching toddlers but recently got promoted: to Mama. I'm on my journey into the land of baby wearing, cloth diapering and all the yummy goodness that crunchy motherhood brings.

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