This post was written before George’s arrival…we are now 6 weeks into our babywearing adventure so I will post a follow-up ASAP!
This is hard for me to admit…but…I hate pushchairs and I don’t want to be a pushchair user.
There. I said it.
I hate it when they fall over backwards because they’re laden with bags. I hate that their occupants usually have to stare at a forest of knees (or worse, at the back of their sibling’s chair). I hate that you have to have a special one if you want to use it on anything other than pavements. I hate that most of them cost more than a half-decent second-hand car.
I’m not judging people that use them because I know that most people are considerate and careful, but I also hate it when they’re used as battering rams, and when they get pushed into the road slightly when traffic is still going by. I also hate having to dodge past them because the people pushing them are too busy looking at their phones.
Luke and I are both pretty set on not wasting our money on a pram, pushchair or buggy unless we absolutely have to. Instead, we are embracing babywearing and plan to transport our boy around in wraps, slings and carriers on our own bodies. People tend to think of wraps as unsafe (the baby could fall out!…what would you do if you fell over with him on your chest!…surely he’s overheating in there!), but if you’re mindful of the equipment you use it’s incredibly safe, and although we see prams and pushchairs as being the ‘norm’, babywearing has been around far far longer.
I wanted to start off with a stretchy wrap as they’re cheap, easy to use, and great for newborns. You can put them on and then pop the baby inside, and then also take the baby out again without removing the wrap – a quality known as “popability”. This is great if you want to wear your baby round the house, transfer them to a car seat for a car journey (in which you can leave the wrap on), and then pop them back into it once you reach your destination.
You can get a new one for as little as £20, and second hand ones for even less if you join the right groups on facebook. The only problem with them is that theyre not so supportive once your baby gets past about 20lbs.
After looking online for a while and asking the advice of some babywearing mothers on facebook I was offered this “hybrid” stretchy for £50…
…not only is it BEAUTIFUL (and vaguely reminiscent of Doctor Who with its TARDIS blue) but, because it’s a hybrid, it is more supportive than a regular stretchy and can be used up to about 35lbs.
We also got a Close Caboo for Luke to wear our newborn in, because he’s more into the idea of a “carrier” style rather than a wrap. It’s made up of two pieces, one that
…and once again bought 2nd hand from a lovely lady on facebook who was selling it for £25. Like the stretchies though, the Caboo will only last until our little one is about 20lbs.
There are LOADS of different types of carrier, sling and woven wraps on the market (some of which are almost as expensive as the pushchairs) which can be a bit confusing for a babywearing newbie, but there is hope. Just like the cloth nappies there are such things as sling libraries where you can learn about different carriers and wraps, get advice on how to get the best from them, and even hire them out for a small charge so you can decide if you like a certain type/brand before you buy.
In fact, while we were waiting for our midwife appointment last week I noticed a poster urging dads to bond with their babies by wearing them AND advertising a hire service. Wonderful stuff!
From everything that I’ve read I’ve learnt that carrying your child (both inside the house as well as outside) is beneficial for:
- helping to regulate their temperature, heat rate and breathing…
- making them feel secure and attached to you (which is especially important during their first three months, aka the 4th trimester)…
- reducing crying and therefore helping them to keep their stress and cortisol levels low…
- developing language skills – babies that are worn are often interacted with more than babies that are in pushchairs or lying in baby gyms, and so usually develop language skills a little faster (this is obviously not a hard and fast rule though)…
There’s benefits for us too as we don’t have to wrestle with pushchairs, or worry about getting the wheels stuck if we want to go for a walk on rough terrain. We also don’t need to leave our little boy napping on his own as he’ll get used to falling asleep in his carrier as we’re walking around the house doing chores. The only thing I’m really worried about is that he’ll get upset when he’s put in his car seat and one of us has to take him somewhere alone. If he’s used to being near to us all the time it won'[t be nice for him to be rear-facing in the back of the car on his own. I can’t see it happening a lot though.
Of course, it might not be plain sailing. There are babies who hate being worn, or who grow out of liking it, and so although we will persevere with it as much as possible, we’re prepared to give in and buy a pushchair if we absolutely have to. Also, we will have a backup in his first year as my friend Adele is lending us her Quinny Buzz frame (which our Maxi-Cosi car seat fits into) so we do have the option to use it if needs be…
We’d both much rather have him nestled on our chests though.