I have learned from my husband that in conflict or difficulty, just like in good times, we always turn towards each other, not away from each other, and so it made sense to me to apply the same principle to our son. Especially as a baby who came into the world having spent the first 9-10 months of his existence inside of me, never experiencing hunger, or cold or pain or loneliness… The world can be a scary place for a baby coming from a dark, quiet environment where every need is fully met.
So we ‘fall towards’ Kai. We always respond to his cries, we share a bed with him, we keep him close…
Long before Kai was born, I came across various babywearing groups on Facebook, became acquainted with the Indian brands available and studied longingly at all the amazing wrap jobs that mamas were posting of themselves with blissfully sleeping babies on their fronts or backs. There was a lot of talk about “sleepy dust” and the thrill of being able to do stuff with both your hands while carrying a baby.
I worried a little that perhaps every baby doesn’t take to babywearing as easily and maybe ours wouldn’t but I was determined to start trying as early as possible. I started researching different types of carriers, materials, brands, cost, etc and began investing in our ‘stash’. By the time Kai was born I had two ring slings from Soul, one cotton-silk woven wrap from Almitra, one 100% cotton woven wrap from Yaro Slings, one more 100% cotton woven wrap that I received in exchange for a shoot from Soul and one soft-structured hybrid carrier (SSC) from Emeibaby because you can use these from birth and I thought my husband would be most comfortable in an SSC (Turns out I was wrong about my husband’s preference! But my mum did use the SSC a couple of times and in those early days, it gave me at least an hour’s time to go out while Kai snoozed on his ‘Didu’.)
I first tried to wear Kai in a ring sling approximately 18 hours after he was born and I failed miserably. I found it difficult to adjust and clumsy so I gave up and brought out my Almitra and wrapped Kai up in a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) like I had practiced with a stuffed dog a couple of times while I was pregnant! I loved it. We’ve worn Kai pretty much every single day since then. I taught Robert how to wrap too and he’s pretty much an expert at the FWCC and given a choice between the different carriers, he will always choose a wrap. (Once he finds a comfort zone with one thing, he can sometime be a little stubborn to try anything else!) I rotate between our three wraps and eventually gave my ring-slings another go after reading a few tips on how to work them and now absolutely LOVE the convenience of quick ups in the ring sling and use them everyday. I’m also growing to love our Emeibaby and know we’re going to get a lot of use out of it. Wraps are still my favourite though. They are versatile and I find wrapping to be the most supportive for me and most comfortable and snug for Kai. We are now working on perfecting our back carries.
So why have a baby tied on to you all day long? Doesn’t it make them more clingy and dependent on you?
If babywearing makes him more dependent on me, I’m actually okay with that. I want Kai to know that he can depend on me. I will comfort him when he’s sleepy or cranky or tired or he just wants to be held close. I know he is only going to be this little for a very short period of time in the grand scheme of things and honestly it really does make our life a lot easier. On days when Kai is having a meltdown and unable to stop crying, I carry him around, bounce him until I’m achy and then think,”let me try wearing him” and within a few minutes, he’s asleep. On those days, I mentally kick myself for not having worn him at the onset of the meltdown and possibly saved us both a lot of grief! There are days when the house is a mess and no one is around to help and Kai won’t have anything to do with being put down, I wrap him on my back and do the dishes, or mop the floors or finish the laundry and Kai is perfectly happy because he’s close to Mama and he can watch what I’m doing. And of course, given the sorry state of our roads and sidewalks in Mumbai, babywearing is the easiest way for us to take our walks or go out.
There’s research to show that babies who are worn cry a lot less, are more organized, learn more… the benefits seem to be endless. Personally, babywearing really helped me to bond with K in the early days as I was healing from the birth and had my bouts of the postpartum blues that is so common amongst new mamas. I recommend that every parent at least gives it a try and, honestly, for the babywearing community, it’s an exciting time in India with brands scaling higher and higher limits with quality babywearing products, organising meets in cities all over the country, travelling carrier programmes and more. So…what’s stopping you?