Just like many other parenting-related topics, babywearing is something new parents are interested to find a timeline. When do I start and when do I end it?
You`re breastfeeding and when it stops, you wean the baby. But what do you call it when you start babywearing and what do you call when you stop doing it? Because this is a very similar process that keeps both the baby and the mother in true connection.
When do we start babywearing?
Babywearing first appeared with newborns, when the mother had to care for the new baby and also find means to survive. So the handiest option was to keep the little one close to her so she could watch and feed them. The means were adapted to the times and had to improvise.
Nowadays, we have not only a large range of products to choose from, but there are also fabrics, colors, patterns, motifs that make the babywearing easy to deal with.
When babywearing became a trend among parents, the most recommended carriers used to be the elastic wrap, the woven wrap, or the ring sling. They are, indeed, the most supportive and softest categories of carriers to use with a newborn.
The elastic wrap would be perfect at the beginning because it usually is very soft and easy to tie around.
The woven wrap may sometimes need a bit of breaking in before using it, as the weave could be a little stiff (depending on the provenience of the thread and the type of weave).
The ring sling is very classy and once you get used to it, this turns out to be quite an easy in-and-out exercise.
But not everyone can tie a wrap around, or figure out the deal with the rings in a sling. Or even if they can, they would much rather prefer an easy alternative.
And though not long ago, the soft structured carriers (the buckled ones) were considered inappropriate with newborn babies, the babywearing industry did its research and developed buckled carriers that were to be used for infants.
Giving the classic buckled carrier adjustable features, and making sure that the fabrics are baby-friendly, but most of all testing them for safety issues with newborns, now the parents can enjoy all types of carriers right from the start.
Moreover, in order for them to rapidly adapt and fit a carrier, babywearing consultants are always available in one on one consultations or even online, just to make sure that the parents make the best choice and the babywearing journey is ready to begin.
Once everything is settled, the baby enjoys being close to his parents, knowing he`s safe while carried and always looked after. The parents are happy to have their hands free and even more time for themselves, as many things can be done while the little one rests quietly in your arms, that`s a fact.
When do we stop babywearing?
Just like in the case of breastfeeding, I think that this should be a mother-child decision, agreed with on both sides.
It is not supposed to be a limited period and when the day arrives the parent just says: That`s it, this was the last babywearing day. It doesn`t go like that.
Because most of the parents that ended their babywearing journey try to recall with melancholy after a long time: “When was the last time I kept you in a carrier?”. Parents don`t mark their last babywearing days, I think because even when the kids are older, they still want to hold them in their arms, close to them. It`s addictive and hard to give up on.
Although for many people babywearing can be just a means of transportation from one place to another (for example from home to kindergarten) many other parents and children grow into loving babywearing so much, that it becomes a daily routine.
However, kids do grow up, and even if for sleeping or when they`re tired they still ask to be carried, at some point they will slowly begin to walk by themselves, and run and be more aware of their independence. And from hearing a little voice: “Up, mommy, up!” asking to be carried, up to being informed: “I`m walking to school with my friends today, you don`t have to drive me”, that`s just one tiny step, even though years have passed between these moments.
In the end, the things that will matter the most will be not the ending of this period, but what all the babywearing experience has brought along. And you, as a parent, will remember that you enjoyed a midnight party in the park with your best friend, both with sleeping babies in the carriers, you will remember how easy it was for you to reach in time to the kindergarten with the baby in your arms, you will remember all the trips and all the wonderful things your baby could see while you were carrying him. And the baby may remember how sweet his naps were in the carrier, how soothing it could be when having a tantrum, and all he could wish for was a strong hug that the carrier provided him with.