I love the month of October because it is such an eventful month for our family with a birthday and a wedding anniversary to celebrate. But aside from that, October is babywearing month! And the week of October 5-11, 2014 is the International Babywearing Week with the theme Share The Adventure. 🙂
One of the things that I advocate since I gave birth to my second child is babywearing so anything related to this make me all happy and giddy. 🙂 Just to give you an idea, babywearing is “the practice of keeping your baby or toddler close and connected to you as you engage in daily activities through the use of one of a variety of types of baby carriers” (Babywearing International).
Our Babywearing Adventure
Since the theme this year is Share the Adventure, let me share with you our adventure on babywearing. 🙂
When I became a mom for the first time, I’ve already heard about babywearing but I didn’t know much about it or even bothered to research about it. I somehow had an idea on it because but I’ve seen Igorot moms in Benguet walk down the zigzag road of Marcos Road going to Baguio City with their babies wrapped at their hips or backs in a piece of cloth or parents walking down the street or in malls in Manila carrying their little babies in backpack-like carriers (called soft-structured carriers in babywearing jargon) strapped in their bodies, like the one in the movie The Hangover (remember Zach Galifianakis with a cute little bunny in sunnies buckled on his tummy? 🙂 ). In my mind, “That looks cool. I would like carry my baby boy like that, too.”
The first carrier we had was a “backpack-like” or soft-structured carrier (SSC) which was gifted to us by my good friend on our baby shower. It was a Disney Baby carrier with straps. However, I was only able to use it once with my Big Boy Joshua when he was 2 months old and for a very short period of time because when I thought he could already fit in it, he had already grown big as if he was pumped with air that he didn’t seem comfortable in it anymore. That was the start and unfortunately the abrupt end of Joshua and I’s babywearing experience.
When I got pregnant with my second child, my Little Princess Aia, my curiosity about babywearing sprawled so I researched about it and it’s benefits. Here’s a quick visual info on the benefits of babywearing:
Armed with this knowledge, I decided and was determined to babywear my little girl. My research also gave me a headache upon learning that there are different types of carriers: the buckled ones like the SSCs and the cloth type such as the pouch, ring sling, wrap, hybrid and mei tai. I’m not going to discuss each type of carrier (you can just google them. Hehe! 🙂 ) but I was predisposed to try the cloth carriers or slings. Which one? I had no idea yet. So blog after blog and reviews after reviews I read until I decided to buy a hybrid carrier, Baby K’Tan Breeze from My Baby Dragon. I was able to convince myself that it was the carrier meant for us because its mesh material is perfect for the tropical Philippine weather and it was 20% off at Multiply.com at that time! Hihi! 😉 So I scored it at around Php 2,100+ if I remember it right. I also bought an affordable pouch at Php 350 from Tickled Moms in the hope that my Big Boy who was a clingy 2 years old then would agree to be worn but I was wrong. I ended up using the pouch with my Little Princess when she turned 4 months as pouches are advisable to use when babies have strong neck control.
It took me several sneaked-in moments in front of the computer to watch video tutorials in between breastfeeding and nappy changing, a lot of simulation using a bath towel or a blanket as an imaginary baby and loads and loads of courage and confidence before I could finally scoot my 2-week fragile baby girl into the Baby K’Tan into a tummy-to-tummy position. After our first successful attempt, I have fallen in love with babywearing. 🙂 I love the closeness it brings between me and my baby while she soundly sleeps on my chest. I love how it helps me make her feel secure by constantly being close to each other especially when everything around her was so new for her. I love how I can carry her with my hands free such that I can do other simple things like reaching for something while carrying her.
Do you know that feeling when you fall in love with someone and you want to know more about that person? That’s what I felt with babywearing that I got curious with the other types of slings that we could use and the other different ways I could carry my baby such as the front carry or tummy-to-tummy, cradle, hip and back carries. So to learn more about babywearing, I joined our local babywearing group on Facebook, the Filipino Association of Babywearers and attended one of the pocket babywearing meet-ups to get coached on how the different carriers are used. Apart fromt he K’Tan and the Tickled Moms pouch, I also got a Next9 ring sling which is a newborn-to-toddler carrier and fell in love with it as well because it allowed me to wear and nurse my little koala at the same time. I also bought another hybrid carrier, the locally-made Saya Baby Carrier Versatekk Blend (VTB). I love how comfortable the Saya VTB is on my shoulders as if it were massaging me while wearing my baby. And blessedly, I won another pouch from Mamaway during the FAB Babywearing Event that I attended! 🙂 The Mamaway pouch has a seat padding and a stretch that make it comfortable for me and Aia to babywear.
When Aia grew bigger and heavier, our babywearing needs evolved. There are instances when I needed to back-carry her instead of the usual tummy-to-tummy or hip carry for more comfort as baby’s weight is supported at the back like when we are malling or grocery shopping or when the helpers are off for the day and I have to do some house chores. Hybrids like the Baby K’Tan and the Saya are difficult to use for back carries and are pretty unstable so I personally do not prefer and recommend using it for such carrying position. So I added in our sling stash a Tickled Moms mei tai which fulfilled the back-carry purpose particularly when we are at home (though I also use the mei tai for front carry).
Another carrier which I learned is perfect for back carry that provides utmost comfort and security is the SSC which I mentioned above particularly the likes of Ergobaby, Boba, and Tula to name the popular recommended ones. Just a side note, these carriers allow proper squatting straddle position or spread squatting position (SSP) for babies (where the legs and bum form a letter M with knees higher than the bum) and are not crotch danglers that may cause hip dysplasia. Plus these SSCs are more appealing to the dads. As my husband puts it, they’re more “manly”.
So I contemplated on getting one for back-carry purposes and for my husband who prefers “manly” carriers but I find them too steep at Php 6000+ so I set aside the idea of purchasing one for a time. Until one glorious day, the Group Buy (GB) group I’m a member of on Facebook, the MCNP Group Buy, had a GB on Ergobaby carriers at 50% off (I’m a sucker for sale items! Who is not?! 😀 )! I hurriedly secured a slot, paid my order and waited for around 2 months until our Ergobaby Original in Camel arrived at our doorstep. I couldn’t contain my happiness for having an Ergobaby for half the price so we tried it on right after unboxing it. 🙂
I was actually trying to convince my husband to babywear and hoping he would agree since he verbalized he prefers an SSC. He did babywear Aia but only once at a hardware store. He said he finds it hassle to put on a sling or a carrier with all the straps and would rather prefer to carry our baby with his bare arms. Okay, fine! 😀
By the way, I also got to back carry in our Ergo my tired Big Boy during our trip to Baguio. 🙂
Just an important note: Acquiring several carriers or slings is my personal choice. While I have the different types of carriers, one does NOT need a lot of carriers in order to babywear. One is enough for as long as you and your baby are comfortable with it. Baby carriers also need NOT be expensive. You can get an excellently used one or DIY with a fabric but whether it’s brand new, EUC or DIY, you need to ensure that the carrier you are going to use is sturdy and will not compromise your baby’s safety.
Why Do I Love Babywearing?
Babywearing helped a lot in my breastfeeding journey with Aia. Like any other newborn baby, the Little Princess would like to breastfeed or be cradled or both almost all the time and wearing her in a sling particularly the ring sling was a great help. When my arms get numb from constantly cradle-nursing her, I would put her in a ring sling in a cradle position and let her continue to latch and my arms would get to have some rest. And when we are out and mobile, babywearing makes it easy for me to breastfeed without the need to look for a breastfeeding station or a spot to sit and nurse. I can continue walking or shopping especially when pressed for time while carrying and nursing my little one at the same time. I just adjust the sling a bit, scoop out my boob, let baby latch and continue doing my thing.
When you are a working mom of 2 kids and you want to go for a walk or run around the village to get some exercise but by the time you are about to leave the house early in the morning to jog, you’re cute little girl wakes up and cries and wants to be carried by you? Babywearing is the solution. 🙂 I’m able to exercise while being close to my Little Princess.
Household chores are also made easier and manageable with babywearing when our helpers/yayas have their day off. One time, I was about to make our dinner while the kids were taking their afternoon nap when Aia woke up and didn’t want to be put down. So I propped her up in our mei tai and started to prepare our dinner with her at my back.
Babywearing also makes going out with a baby much more convenient for us. Instead of bringing a bulky stroller, we just carry with us the diaper bag with the space-saving sling folded inside. It also made possible for our family of four — Me, Joey, my Big Boy and my Little Princess — to go out and get around without a yaya. I’m in charge of the Little Princess who I wear in a K’Tan, Saya, ring sling or Ergo while Joey takes care of the Big Boy who is just too heavy already to be worn.
Aside from convenience and other functional benefits of babywearing, I love that it could be used as an accessory to my kids halloween costumes! 🙂 During our company’s trick or treat last year, I dressed up J as a farmer and A as a chick and put her in our ring sling which I decorated as a “nest” (I shredded brown envelopes and taped them on my belt. 🙂 ). Then off we went trick or treating around my office. 🙂
Babywearing is indeed love. It keeps me bonded with my little girl and makes getting around a whole lot easier especially with 2 kids. I’ve been babywearing for 17 months now and I love and enjoy everytime I put the sling on and scoot my baby girl in. It’s such an adventure and I don’t think I’d be giving it up anytime soon. 🙂
Share the Adventure
In celebration of this year’s International Babywearing Week, the FAB will be “Sharing the Adventure of Babywearing” through it’s annual FAB Babywearing Fair on October 11, 2014 at Rennaisance Towers 3000. Let’s share the fun and adventure mommies! 🙂