Where did you hear about babywearing?
I initially heard about babywearing from my sister-in-law. It was a relatively new concept to her at the time, and she's one to research a subject to death. Upon doing all of the research, she told me that she thought wearing my daughter, Eliora, would be helpful.
I was halfway through my pregnancy, we had just recently learned that my daughter had spina bifida (SB), and we were overwhelmed with the slew of special needs she could potentially have. Children with SB typically have developmental problems with their lower extremities, like severe low muscle tone, hip dysplasia, and clubbed feet. With that said, the mainstream concept of babywearing - using a narrow-seated carrier - was not an option for us.
I was not aware of any other type of carrier and was a bit overwhelmed with the thought of chasing after my 16-month-old with an itty-bitty squish to worry about. My SIL shared a plethora of information with me and pointed me in the direction of babywearing websites, Facebook pages, and blogs I could review. She even told me to pick out a carrier, any carrier, and she would buy it for me, for the baby, regardless of cost.
How did you decide it was right for you?
After researching the information my sister-in-law passed to me, I learned that there was an option out there for me and my daughter. An option that could do more than just provide a level of convenience to having two children, but also allow me to maintain a close relationship with my medically sensitive child and promote healthy physical development.
There were so many carriers and a lot to consider when it came to my daughter, Eliora. Woven wraps are what really jumped out at me because they seemed to provide the most body support for baby and options in terms of carries. Since the type of developmental issues Eliora could have were uncertain, I wasn't sure if mei tais, SSCs, or ring slings would be the best for her. With a wrap, I could do any carry that catered to my daughter's needs.
With that, I was sold. The beautiful wrap options also helped convince me.
Was there anyone in your family who was previously against it, and then changed their minds?
There was no one that was outright against the idea of babywearing - we're Peruvian, so babywearing is a common practice among the natives in our country. But the concept behind a wrap was so foreign to them that it did take them a little bit to get used to the idea.
I had a few tell me that using a wrap seemed like such a huge inconvenience when I could just bundle her in a stroller. They thought the cost of the wrap was a bit ridiculous, but eventually they saw the benefits.
They saw how I could strategically place her in the wrap so that her hips were in a more natural position. They saw how calm, comfortable, and happy she was as she was being worn by me - especially after her surgeries. She had 5 surgeries before the age of 3 months. I would try to wear her before and after to help soothe her, comfort her, to help her cope with any pain or bodily discomfort.
Now, even my mother enjoys wearing her.
I have to add that babywearing also helped the relationship between my son and me. At 16 months, he was still just a baby himself when Eliora was born and I had to spend a lot of time at the NICU with her. Asher spent his days with grandparents, so he received a lot of love and attention, but he clearly was missing mommy. He was acting out, extremely fussy, and a different child in general. I got a SSC to wear him in (babywearing was becoming an obsession!) and he was a different baby. It was amazing seeing the dynamic of our relationship change for the better.