Following in the footsteps of our ancestors

One of my favorite aspects of babywearing is the connection I feel to my ancestors. I know that my ancient mothers must have worn their babies as it’s such a logical way to deal with that fact that there is much to do and babies like to be held. I just have to load the dishwasher, sweep the floor, spend 20 minutes cooking dinner, throw a load of laundry in the washer and vacuum. I can only imagine what our foremothers had to do without the modern conveniences.

We all know that the Asians wear their babies.

362377_110

Photo: Little Seouls Boutique

We know that Central and South Americans wear their babies.

peru

Photo: Corbis image

We know that Africans wear their babies.

Somalian woman

Photo: Corbis images

THOSE people wear their babies.

But, believe it or not, people from the Northern Hemisphere have a tradition of wearing their babies.

woodcutter

On a favorite blog about cleaning up clutter, I found a link to Celtic Babywearing. A woman from England captures old images of Europeans wearing their babies. And some are very interesting.

And interesting enough, I found a link to Welsh shawls, which are wool and used to wear babies. Here’s a link to a Welsh shop: The Great English Outdoors. It is very tempting to try one because I bet it also doubles as a cozy blanket for the couch.

I also thought it was neat that she had a link to her local babywearing group in England: White Rose Babywearers.

Enjoy exploring her blog. On her blog I also found a link to a blog post about the cultural history of babywearing.

My mother, grandmothers and apparently great-grandmothers did not wear their babies.  But it’s quite possible that going back a few more generations and there were probably babywearing mamas. What about your family? What’d you think of the Celtic Baby blog?

Advertisements

Carrier for the Car

Getting out of the house with everything because an even more challenging feat once kids are thrown into the mix. Two kids vs. Mama….look out! Mama loses every time.

I have found that the best way to get out of the house mostly on time with everything that’s needed (included the baby carrier) is to keep a carrier in the car. I have two carriers that I use the most, a Catbird mei tai and an Ergo. I really like the Ergo, a structured carrier, for back carries and for times when I wear my little one for a long time.  So the Ergo ends up in the car.

Which carriers end up in your car and which in the home?

Babywearing Elevator Speech

I recently went to a networking event. I had signed up because I didn’t have a job and had heard that networking meetings could help. I learned so much about networking there! I learned about handbills, that I should leave a networking event with two appointments for coffee and I needed an elevator speech.

An elevator speech? It’s a brief way to explain who I am, my skills and the value I’d bring to a company.

While wearing my daughter Anna, I have found that I need an elevator speech. My conversations about babywearing are usually started by others, but I  need an elevator speech about babywearing. So, after much thought, here it is.

Both Anna and I are happy when I wear her. I get done what I need to accomplish and she feels so content next to me. I have made friends by learning about babywearing. How can I help you find a carrier that works for you?

My elevator speech helps me accomplish the goals that I want to when I talk to a stranger or friend about babywearing. I’ve explained how babywearing is such a positive experience and brought up two things all women crave — a happy baby and friends. I open the door of possibilities for them.

What’s your elevator speech?

How I learned about babywearing

When I was a mom-to-be four years ago and pregnant with my son Jensen, lots of women had advice and stories about caring for babies and raising children. People talked about sleep training, how breastfeeding didn’t work out, encouraged me to “take the epidural!” and how life would never be the same.

One seasoned mom handed me a stack of books, which included Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears. It’s a small book and as I read it, the concepts made sense in a way I couldn’t explain. So I set out to be an attached parent.

Breastfeeding — Check
Bedding close to baby — Check
Belief in Value of Baby’s Cry — Check
Beware of Baby Trainers — Check (I prepared my arguments against it.)
Birth Bonding — Check (I hoped)
Babywearing — Um, let’s go to Babys R Us

When I was pregnant with Jensen, Baby Bjorn was all the rage. All the cool people were wearing them. I wanted to be cool. But $80 plus seemed like a lot of money at that time. In retrospect, it was good I couldn’t afford it. I learned later that there are so many different types of carriers that are more comfortable and better for the baby’s spine.

One Sunday, we were visiting our friends in Madison and after enjoying breakfast at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner, we walked to Happy Bambino. I went there with the intent of buying a Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch. I found a pretty yellow one, and put Jensen in it (he was a little more than one month old). He HATED it and cried until I took him out. So I tried a Maya Wrap ring sling. We both loved it!

Babywearing — Check! I completed the Attachment Parenting checklist!

Me and Jensen

After working all day at my job, I cooked dinner, did laundry, vacuumed and picked up clutter. Jensen sat on my hip, strapped to me with the Maya Wrap. He was peaceful and content. He didn’t want to be anywhere else and it felt nice to be close. My nanny wore him a few times, though the Maya Wrap didn’t seem to fit her perfectly. Now as an experienced mom who better understand the benefit of babywearing, I would have bought her a carrier that worked for her.

Anna was born in March 2008, and after her birth, I expanded my babywearing repertoire as I discovered local stores that sell carriers and our babywearing group. I’ve used a Moby Wrap, Catbird Baby Mei Tai and found the Ergo love. Both the mei tai and the Ergo give me the ability to have both hands available and wear her on my back. I love being able to keep her happy and get housework done! The mei tai is handy and I can easily tie her on. The Ergo is the most comfortable carrier if I’m going to wear Anna for more than an hour.

I’m happy to say that I still satisfy the requirements of Dr. Sear’s Attachment Parenting checklist:

Breastfeeding — Check
Bedding close to baby — Check
Belief in Value of Baby’s Cry — Check
Beware of Baby Trainers — Check
Birth Bonding — Check
Babywearing — Check

I look forward to seeing where my babywearing journey goes and exploring wraps.