Not me, I’m Rachael not Rachel, see the difference? 😉 Anyway, Rachel volunteers at the St Helens meet and I’ve had the privilege of being part of her family’s entire babywearing journey (so far) from the first visit avec bump all the way to “You know how you strongly advised me not to pick an impossible to find wrap and fall in love with it… Well…” I also rather like the idea of us doing “Wrapping Busking” to raise library funds, anyone in? (Read the post to see what find out what I’m talking about!) – Rachael
I’ve started, restarted, deleted, rewritten and discarded this more times than I can count. If this were 1990 there would be a large pile of screwed up paper surrounding the bin (not in the bin as I’m a terrible shot!)
I want to tell you about all the early years development research I’ve read (partly for work, partly as I’m a geek and love that sort of stuff) about neural pathways; connection; speech, language and social development; and how all of that led me to babywearing…
…but it all just sounds really dull and impersonal when I write it down! What does sound much more appealing is the amazing warm fuzzy feeling I got watching my partner wrap our little boy for the first time when he was four days old (when he was very small and wriggled in the wrap, I found it felt a lot like him wriggling in my tummy, an experience which Daddy loved being able to have); the closeness I felt when I had recovered enough from the c-section to be able to put the wrap on and carry him myself; the confidence I got that he was warm and comfy through the winter with him next to me under my coat (and not having to fight him into a snow suit); and the contented feedback our son gave us when he was carried.
All the science stuff really just confirmed our instincts, that babywearing was right for us.
We’re rock climbers and was just 9 days old when we took our son to his first crag – before anyone panics (Rachael!!) we would never climb whilst babywearing but carrying him allows us to introduce him to all the things we love; the countryside, the moors, mountains, beaches, being out in the fresh air. That first trip out climbing I simply sat on a rock and breastfed (random places I have fed is probably another blog entirely!) whilst Daddy climbed but just to be out on the hillside looking at the view and feeling the wind on our faces gave us a sense of normality and in a world that we knew would never be the same again, it reminded us who we are.
Our son loves being carried too. When we’re out and about people stop and speak to him much more than they do when he’s in a pushchair. He’s a very sociable little boy and loves being in on the conversation which when he’s carried is much easier as he’s at the same height as us.
Even around town I find carrying easier. No scouring the shop for the lift only to find it is full of boxes; no wandering up and down the pavement trying to find a dropped kerb or risk stopping in the middle of the road whilst I bump the wheels up and down; no worrying that we aren’t going to fit in the cute little coffee shop that has amazing cakes; no scratching the car and damaging my back humping the pushchair in and out of the boot – but may be I’m just rubbish with a pushchair!
We started with a stretchy wrap which Rachael (very patiently) taught us to use and then went on to a connecta which my partner still uses all the time. Now our son is a bit heavier I find wrapping him much more comfortable as I can spread the weight out. Wrapping looks complicated (I am going to start putting a hat on the ground like a busker when I wrap him in public, it always attracts an audience) but it’s really not. I would recommend a consultation so that you have time and space to find the ways of wrapping that suit you. The only health warning that should come with wrapping is for your bank balance – wraps are lovely and trawling the internet looking at new patterns and wondering if a size 4 or size 6 will change your life is addictive.
I’m trying to think of some profound statement to close with and I can’t, if you persevered with my ramblings this far then you’ve suffered enough. Go out, enjoy the freedom of being able to go pretty much where you like and having your hands free whilst doing it and my favourite bit, having a little head over your shoulder chatting in your ear whilst they share it all with you.
P.S. if anyone is interested in the science bit, Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk is a research scientist at the University of Dundee specialising in human connection and babies’ ability to communicate. http://suzannezeedyk.com/