In which we wear our babies

Long before I read any books or articles about baby wearing,
when all I had was a very cheap and likely uncomfortable Snugli for Anne
(there must be a special grace for the eldest child as we first-time-mamas figure it out)
I instinctively knew that the happiest place
for my wee baby
was with me.

So that’s what we did.

She lived in the sling,
perched on my right hip as
I vacuumed and picked up,
stood up to sing in church,
debated between types of apples at the market,
wandered the bookstore,
talked on the phone.

When she was teething
or miserable
and it was snowstorming outside,
I put her in the sling and
got on a treadmill and just
walked for an hour
until she was asleep
and happy.

Annie at 11 months old.

Later on, I learned about
how baby wearing
makes breastfeeding easier
promotes security
and bonding,
and experienced how it made life easier for me.
It was so practical and easy
and convenient
to have my hands free while
still satisfying her need
(who am I kidding? Mine, too)
to be close to my heart.

Once I knew that
(and I had a good comfy carrier)
and Joseph came along,
he lived on me

and my husband

and even my mother.

But it was never about just
being able to get things done
or leaving the bulky stroller behind
or solving the problem of the screaming baby at your feet
right when you’re trying to make supper
or being “a good mother”
or anything really
but instinct.

It’s just this: my instinct said “Pick them up”
and, like most mothers,
I’ve learned to listen to that Voice.

Love felt like the heft of the tinies
on my back and my hips,
about my biological need to hold
and theirs, to be held.
It felt like kissing their heads as
we walked around the Fair.
And patting their bums absently, always swaying,
and keeping them happy,
about knowing that
the only place they really wanted to be
from the time they were brand new freshies
to even now, at busy-rough-and-tumble two years old
was close to someone who loved them.

Linked up at Adventures in Babywearing’s Call to Action for International Babywearing Week.

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babywearing, parenting
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