I didn't know that I would become so excited about baby wearing, or even advocate for it at all. Starting out I simply wanted an easy carrier and a way to avoid always using a stroller or car seat when taking Squeaker out. It began as a simple curiosity, but here I am writing a long post about how much I love it.
Baby wearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or in another form of carrier. My story of baby wearing starts with facebook news feed, where I saw a friend asking about carriers (which one she should use, what other people found useful, etc.). At this point I was still pregnant and starting to put together my baby shower registry, so I followed the line of comments with some interest and started to do some research as well. The verdict of most comments came out to be the Moby wrap carrier. I registered for one, but thought little of it later and ended up not getting it for my baby shower. I wasn't too heartbroken and figured I could get one later if I decided I wanted it.
After Squeaker was born (within the first week, after seeing her pediatrician for the first time) I went to the store with my mom to pick up some baby and breast feeding essentials that I hadn't thought were essentials before, plus some things the pediatrician recommended for me (nipple shields, lanolin, Aveeno baby wash and lotion, more burp cloths, etc.). While we were there I saw the Moby wraps and suddenly realized all of the things I could do if I was wearing my baby, such as simply having my arms free while she slept because at this point she would hardly sleep at all unless I was holding her. I could read, do dishes, the laundry, go on walks, the list grew rapidly in my mind and I decided that I needed one. They aren't supper cheap, my mother generously bought me the one I picked out for $47.99 (which was the cheapest version without special colors or prints), but I honestly think it was a worth while investment and would have bought one even if my mom hadn't offered to get it for me. Thank you mom!
All of the things I listed before did become more practical while using the Moby and when Squeaker was going through that difficult phase of always wanting to be held this wrap was ideal. She felt warm, with some skin to skin contact, and swaddled, which meant that she slept well in it (falling asleep within minutes of putting her in it and walking or bouncing her) and as long as I secured her head, and made sure she didn't have her face squished against me, I could do pretty much anything I wanted while wearing her. I used it a lot for going on walks, especially when it was cold and I was trying to take off the baby weight anyway. The fabric is stretchy, but not too stretchy, and very easy to wash. My husband has used it several times and feels comfortable using it as well. The Moby comes with a detailed how-to instruction booklet that provides pictures and step-by-step descriptions of different ways to wrap it. It also explains how to put the baby in it and take the baby out of it. I found it fairly simple and only had to try it once or twice in order to find the ideal way of doing it for us. I think that a homemade wrap could work well too if you have the time, energy, and a sewing machine available, but I haven't seen a homemade one that was as durable (so far) or as easy to use. I guess it just depends upon your preference and craftiness. I like to think that someday I will be better at sewing and making things at home, but for now I am a consumer.
The reason I am blogging about this now is because I used my Moby wrap to take Squeaker to the zoo last week and found a new appreciation for it. At first I was nervous about using it because the weather was so warm, I thought the extra body heat would make life miserable for both of us. However, I took Squeaker to the zoo with some family back in May as well, which lead to me regretting taking my stroller and car seat because it always seemed to be in the way. Plus, when I actually wanted to show Squeaker something I had to take her out of the stroller anyway and then carry her while pushing the stroller. Since this time she was almost twice as old and not going to sleep as much, plus she could participate even more by looking at the animals, I decided that avoiding the use of a stroller would be for the best. So, I took water and stayed hydrated, I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible and had Squeaker wear a little sun hat. I also got her out of the wrap for awhile to be held by the other people I went with and prevent getting too sweaty. I as able to take her out and put her back into the wrap with little difficulty. The experience was actually a very good one and I am grateful that I was able to carry her around while she was awake and when she took a short snooze, while still being able to use my arms. It is A LOT easier to carry a baby around in a carrier than trying to hold them in your arms the whole time, which end up getting tired after about 5 minutes. I also found it a lot less precarious wearing her instead of taking in all of the unnecessary/bulky equipment.
For those future parents, or parents of small children, who are wondering about baby wearing, stop wondering and just try it! It is a wonderful experience to be so close to your little one and I have found it to be useable in all weather now. I'm glad that I don't have to carry Squeaker around for a long period of time without one. I can see myself using it until she is ready to walk the whole park on her own, but we'll see how it goes (especially when we have more than one kid).
Possible helpful/interesting links about baby wearing:
First baby wearing experience! Squeaker was less than a week old.