Babywearing as a Nanny
By Candie O’Dell-Scherer
I have been in the childcare industry for almost 20 years, and don’t know how I did it before babywearing entered my life. I had a friend in grad school who said to his wife one day as they were leaving, “do you want to wear her?” I responded, “is she an accessory?” That comment opened my world. I started paying attention to carriers and how they were being used, though I didn’t have any nannykids at the time who were babywearing age. Then I started with my last nannyfamily. I knew they had a couple carriers, but I hadn’t taken the plunge to wear the then 6 month old.
While being home with my family while my grandma was passing, my cousin had me try on carriers and wraps. I couldn’t wait to get home to my nannyfamily. I started first with their DIY ring sling and occasionally their older model Ergo. I’m plus-sized and it didn’t fit well without an extender, and my bosses are petite. I absolutely loved that ring sling. We used that everyday until she was about 18 months.
The bond between me and the kids, doesn’t come as naturally as it does with their parents. But I can’t begin to describe the bond that babywearing created between me and my nannykids. I quickly grew addicted to snuggles, sleepy hugs, and my hands being free. We use public transit, and quickly found that babywearing was way easier for us than lugging a bulky stroller; it’s so much easier to throw a carrier in the diaper bag. As she grew older, it warmed my heart when she brought me a carrier and asked to go “up.” How quickly “going up” calmed tears, stopped temper tantrums, and became her favorite place to be.
My love for babywearing and trying different carriers grew. I joined BWI of Chicagoland, to learn about even more carriers, and meet people like me. I don’t know how to convey how much babywearing has changed my nannying life, to the point that I became personally invested in carriers and furthering my training, when I don’t have kids myself.
I am currently with a new family and had the pleasure of wearing the baby since he was 3 days old. There are no words to describe the sweet baby snuggles. It also really helped us bond from the beginning, and helped when my boss went back to work. I also wear the toddler almost daily, and love her excitement when I get a new carrier to add to our stash. I even pick patterns I know she would like. I now own lots of carriers, but each holds sentimental value with the kids I have taken care of, and the ones I will care for in the future.
Thank you Babywearing for changing my life!