27 November 2011
Babywearing - A Personal Experience
By: Tanya Fyfe (B.Eng(Environmental))
Babywearing is the practice of carrying a baby on your person using some form of sling or baby carrier. During my son’s first year I found this to be a hugely valuable and versatile parenting tool and I’d like to share some of my experiences with you.
Before I get stuck into my own story, please be aware that there are a range of slings and carriers available, or you can make your own. There is alot of information available online, in magazines and in the parenting community about babywearing, types of carriers and safely advice. Please do some research if you think babywearing may be helpful for you. Selecting the right equipment will have a huge impact on your babywearing enjoyment.
We were given a basic front carrier before Billy was born, and used it a bit when he was tiny but not very much because it gave me sore shoulders even then. This nearly put me off babywearing but I liked the concept so I began to investigate other options. I tried the ERGObaby carrier after a recommendation from Laura at Sustainababy and haven’t looked back. We wore him occasionally on the front until around 6 months, but it really came into its own once he was big enough to go on my back and become truly ‘hands free’. I love the ERGO because it is comfy to wear for extended periods even now that Billy is nearly one and weighs over 11kg. We use it most days.
How we use our baby carrier:
- The main place I use our carrier is around the house. You know those times when all baby wants is to be cuddled by Mummy, but there are still things you have to do? Wearing your baby (especially on your back) allows them to relax close to Mum and ‘be in on the action’ while still allowing you to do what you need to do. I often put Billy in the carrier while tidying, doing the dishes, hanging out the washing and cooking tea (being very aware of safety risks like hot or sharp things). Until recently, Billy was scared of loud noises like vacuum cleaners and blenders unless he was being cuddled or in the carrier. He sometimes goes to sleep in the carrier, but usually he is happy ‘just chilling’ for a while.
- Great for travelling, airport transfers, public transport and anywhere a pram would be unwieldy. An added bonus is that you can breastfeed on the go in many front carriers, which I found handy when Billy was younger.
- Excellent back-up for when you discover the pram has a puncture just as you’re trying to leave the house! Some advocates of babywearing say it can completely replace a pram. This may be true in the city, but I much prefer my pram for daily walks as it gives better sun protection, allows me to jog if I feel like it and even carries home the groceries.
- Billy has also ‘helped out’ in the percussion section of our local Brass Band, on Daddy’s front or back.
Babywearing is a versatile parenting tool that can be used in many different ways to complement any lifestyle and parenting style. Maybe it can work for you!
About the Author: Tanya Fyfe is an eco mum and environmental engineer and lives in the WA goldfields with her husband Andy and son Billy. The family’s aim is to live sustainably and for Billy to grow up understanding where food comes from and how it is produced. They generate solar electricity and have an organic vegie garden and modest orchard irrigated entirely with grey water.