Happy Babywearing Week, Holistic Living readers and Dodge Family Chiropractic family! This is a happy week for me, indeed, because I absolutely LOVE babywearing. I just want to share a little with you as to how babywearing became such a big part of our lives!
My babywearing journey began with my experiences in college – I majored in Psychology and Education at William and Mary, and I took a number of child psychology and development classes. In many of these classes, theories of attachment were discussed – how infants and parents bond and interact, and how those attachments affect all areas of development, especially psychological and emotional development. What I learned made sense – babies cry because they have needs, and these needs are met by the caregiver. I liked the idea that babies that were held “all the time” and didn’t “cry it out” weren’t being spoiled, they were simply being babies, and their parents were simply being responsive. These concepts made so much sense to me that I remembered them when Daniel and I began to dream of a family. I eagerly looked up “attachment parenting” and found books by Dr. Sears and other professionals. The idea of “babywearing” came up then, as one of the tenets of attachment parenting.
The more I read about babywearing, the more it made complete sense. There was no question in my mind – I was going to be a babywearer! The physical, emotional, and neurological benefits of babywearing were exciting and encouraging – wear your baby and they will be happy and healthy! When we were expecting our son in 2010, my husband was in the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) diplomate program. In this program, chiropractors learn how to meet the needs of expecting mothers and growing children. With all of the well-documented research out there for babywearing and the infant’s development, Dr. Dodge (aka Daddy) was excited as well. He wasn’t too sure about the stretchy wrap I had picked out, so we also registered for a soft structured buckle carrier. One Moby and one Ergo in tow, and we were ready for that baby! After our son was born, I started wrapping him in the Moby wrap very frequently. Dr. Dodge and I agreed to only use the car seat in the car, so that meant more babywearing and holding. I wrapped Charlie up to do dishes, make dinner, and other household chores. I wrapped him up for naps, especially when he was very little. I wore him while we went on walks, I wore him at the grocery store and in the mall, I wrapped him up at church. We went to Disney World as a family when he was four months old, and I am pretty sure my in-laws and sister-in-law thought we were nuts for basically never putting him down! Dr. Dodge was always eager to have his turn wearing Charlie too, and especially enjoyed using the Ergo when Charlie was a bit bigger. Charlie loved (and still loves) to be worn. When awake, it would calm him down and entertain him. Often, with some bouncing and back-patting, he’d fall asleep while being worn and take lovely two+ hour naps (where did those go, little son?!). It’s hard to explain, I just knew how much he loved it. As he got bigger, the stretchy wrap became uncomfortable and I switched over to the Ergo with Dr. Dodge. We continued to love babywearing, all three of us! When we discovered we were expecting our second sweet little one, I wasn’t ready to give up babywearing, but the design of the Ergo wasn’t going to work anymore. A phenomenal leader of the Fort Worth Babywearers taught me how to wrap with a woven wrap (similar to the Moby wrap, but not stretchy and therefore safe and supportive for heavier babies). I learned a back carry that ROCKED MY WORLD. I was hippy dippy crazy love HOOKED on wrapping! He could see over my shoulders, he (at 20+ pounds) felt much lighter, and there was less wiggling and more security. We continued to “wrap up,” as he called it, until I was about 34 weeks pregnant and it was just no longer a smart thing to do. Now, as you can imagine, I am still hippy dippy crazy love addicted to babywearing Charlotte and Charlie in one of our two woven wraps. I have a favorite front carry for her and sometimes put her on my back as well. We are probably wrapped up at least six hours a day. Wearing bitty Charlotte allows me to take care of both of my children the way I want to – I can give Charlie attention, I can hold him, read to him, play with him…I can even chase him around while nursing Charlotte in the wrap, hands-free! There are so many more reasons babywearing has helped me get through these early weeks with a new addition, but you get the point. It makes my life easier, she is much happier being held than anything else, and Charlie likes that I can still give him both of my arms when he wants them. Babywearing is more than a “parenting choice” for us – it is a lifestyle, and it makes our lives easier and more enjoyable.
Now, as much as I love babywearing and wrapping, I am also a bit pushy an advocate for other mamas to learn to love babywearing too! I am still sorting out life as a new mom of two, but as I get the hang of it and Charlotte becomes more independent, I look forward to teaching free wrapping classes in Coppell! So many women approach us and ask about our wraps and how they work, or ask for me to teach them how to do it! Learning how to wrap definitely takes a little practice and is best done with direct, personal instruction. Once you get the hang of it, though, it is completely awesome. So get ready, DFW families – we’ll have you wrapping soon! If you want to learn how to wrap before I start teaching group classes at DFC, just give us a call and I’d be happy to set up a wrapping play date!
– The Doc’s Wife, Claire