I have been wrestling with this post all week. The elitism, privilege, and expense of baby wearing ultimately make it a very exclusionary hobby. My liberal heart struggles with owning first world problems. However, baby wearing is more than a hobby, and it is enormous part of my world, and in the spirit of International Baby Wearing Week I wanted to share what it means me to me.
I have a newish, but 6-year-old hobby. I babywear. Six years ago I wore babies, but it was not a hobby, and it was not fancy. It was awesome, but it was ordinary. Today, it is anything but ordinary; it is a huge part of our daily routine. Several times a day I superman toss my tiniest human onto my back, or snug her against my chest, or wrap her tight on my hip so we can chat. I wrap her against my body with several yards of gorgeous supportive material, at least half a dozen times a day.
I started wrapping when she was 6 days old, because children with older siblings have to go places everyday at a really early age. She had to go kindergarten, and the grocery store, and the family still expected meals to be made everyday! So I started wrapping her to get all of the things done.
During her fourth trimester, my tiny human likely spent at least five hours a day wrapped in a Milky Way patterned wrap. She could nurse at will, she could nap whenever she wanted, she stayed toasty warm during the New England winter, and she developed an unbreakable attachment to me, her mama.
I quickly realized that I could go anywhere with her wrapped on me. I attended all the traditional family and kid outings motherhood requires, but I also did way more. I planned the holidays, made Christmas gifts, and hosted gatherings. I went to libraries and browsed books, I sat in coffee shops, I ate dinner with two hands, and I attended lectures and taught a class. I went to the movies, on walks, to a funeral and a wedding. I went to parties. I attended several meetings, and the national zoo. I planned school functions. I served food to needy families. I house hunted, bought a house, and moved! I worked from home to provide for my family. I did all of these things with my tiniest human wrapped tightly against me.
It is a hobby that has birthed a village of the kindest mamas I have ever met. We meet regularly to geek out about baby wearing, but the connection is more than that, because in our busy world, in our busy lives baby wearing has carved out a niche for us to make time to sit, and listen, and share – to mother together.
My wraps are merely the tools I use to baby wear, just like your shoes are the tools you use to take you places. The act is way more than the tool. Baby wearing defines my relationship with my tiniest human. Inside each wrap, deep within each pass of fabric stretched over our bodies is our love for each other. Baby wearing is how we interact with the world. She is closest to me, and I bring her everywhere.