Your Carrying Story – Megan
When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to babywear for transport, but I had no idea how much I would love it. I initially wanted to wear my son because we live in a 3rd floor flat and use buses a lot so a buggy was going to be a pain, but also, I wanted to keep being able to hold my husband’s hand when we walk together. We enjoy and crave closeness and babywearing has been such a natural extension of that to include our son. Carrying connects my family.
Our first attempts with our 5-day old were far from perfect (despite the Facebook algorithm helpfully having shown me a stretchy instruction video several times a week) but it felt so right for us. I am an anxious person and having my precious and terrifyingly fragile newborn so close meant I was constantly able to check on him to see that he was breathing and being carried kept him feeling safe and happy. My husband used to wear him while standing, swaying gently, and playing video games, so I could nap: bliss for us all, and our Witching Hours were cut very short by comforting sling cuddles. Carrying kept our newborn calm and safe.
As he has gotten older, I find it much easier to talk and sing to my son while wearing him as it’s just for us (whereas with a buggy I feel like I must speak uncomfortably loudly in public or not speak to him at all). Being able to go anywhere that I can walk to and not being restricted by narrow doorways, stairs or rough ground keeps me calm too.
We have taken him upstairs on buses, into normal seats on trains, over cobbles, gravel and sand, up ancient stone steps, round the grassy and muddy edge of my husband’s recent obstacle course race, into our favourite small shops, and through busy Comicon: an event we have always attended in the past and would have really struggled at with a buggy. As it was, my son slept on my back and my husband and I browsed, shopped and geeked out to our hearts content. Carrying helps us connect to ourselves as people, who we were before and who we still are outside of being parents.
When I tried my first woven at my local sling library I thought “I will never get this!” but we persevered, and it clicked! By 7 months my son was on my back for housework and cooking every other day allowing me to feel less trapped on days he needed closeness, but I needed to clean or eat. A wrap is his safe place when he is overwhelmed by the big world and being able to always feel secure in that way is helping him become a cheerful, sociable little boy. His sling cuddles with Daddy at home time have helped him take to nursery like a champ! I now do all sorts of carries, including fancy finishes (!) and I am proud of what I have learned, proud of how this thing I enjoy is so good for my son and more confident in myself and my ability to make decisions as a parent. Carrying builds our confidence.
The benefits continue to amaze me and the tasks which a sling makes easier keep on presenting themselves – just this week we have found that our now 1 year old submits much more easily to eye drops whilst being worn. And, 13 days or 13 months, his head settling against my chest to sleep is one of the most wonderful feelings I know. Carrying connects us to calmness and closeness and it is something I am so grateful to have found and plan to do for my son, and any future babies, for as long as they would like.
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