Thursday, November 15, 2012

Babywearing at Home

While babywearing when traveling can yield spectacular photos -- "Baby's first trip to the Grand Canyon" -- and fervent devotion to carriers -- "I never would have gone there if I used a stroller" -- I find that the best place to wear my baby is at home.

Yes, at home.
Consider an average weekday in my family, with two kids to get out the door to school and one crawling, would-be-cruiser. If I carry the littlest one, she will not get stepped on by everyone hurriedly dashing about. I do not have to worry about her getting into the dishwasher. We avoid the choking hazards as the big sisters decide to dump the Legos or play a board game on the floor in the few minutes I take to scramble them up some eggs. Also, because the baby is attached to me, and at this stage she is on my back, she has a great view of all the action, freeing up my hands for buttons, zippers, shoelaces, and hairbrushing. Wearing-carrying her also allows me to grab all sorts of things as we head out the door -- "Oh wait, my phone/grocery list/library books/bills to mail/etc."

When it comes to chores, I find it much easier to sweep without a crawling baby chasing the broom and sitting in the pile of dirt and crumbs. The noise of vacuuming is somewhat tolerable when she is wrapped up snugly, cheek on my shoulder. I can carry laundry baskets around -- who wants to? but it is apparently a major part of my job description -- while wearing the baby. I also think more about what cleaning products I use, and would potentially be inhaling, when she is attached to me in a carrier, and that is better for everyone in the family!

Then, if she refuses to nap in the crib, no need to worry. Carried, rocked by my motion, she sleeps just as well. This option for napping was very important recently when nearby residential construction was constantly startling her awake. In the crib she would just cry, heavy head knocking her little fists, as she wanted sleep but could find no peace. Wrapped or Mei Tai'd to me, her little body would jump at the sawing or nail gunning, but snugged up in the carry, she had nowhere to flail off to, and so she quickly sagged back into slumber.

On any sunny day I can look out the window and see another mommy walking her dog and struggling to steer a stroller. Now jogging strollers definitely have their place for serious exercise, but for simply walking the dog, I would wear the baby, freeing up hands for the leash(es) and bagging of leavings.

One of the best parts of carrying my baby much of the day is that I know when she is hungry, and so I tend to take a break, sit down, and nurse her right away. There is no ignoring a holler in the ear, no "just a minute... after I finish this..." As inconvenient as this might seem, I know that forcing mom to sit down and take a nursing break is good for both of us -- keeping my nursing supply strong and making me rest. And play with her! Once she is full of milk and out of the wrap, she wants to explore and test her mobility, and when she is done, she starts pulling a carrier off the sofa, eager to be in it again. Many times she giggles when I swing her up on my back, a really wonderful sound.

Then when it comes to meal prep, babywearing really works for me. She is not climbing up my leg trying to see what I am doing. I am not trying to one-handedly balance her in my hip as I mix, chop, or open the oven. Carried on my back, she can watch, snooze, or play hair dresser. (This is the only drawback of carrying her; she gets her little fingers in my hair, yanks, creatively twists up tangles, and adds baby spit to my, ah, unwashed mommy tresses.) At the fussy end of a day as I oversee dinner and homework, carried she will often catch a catnap or just calm down. It makes the end of a day just a little bit saner.

And at the end of the day, as I fold up or pile up my carriers for tomorrow, I am thankful for the people who have lent me carriers and taught me how to wrap my baby. Wearing my baby lets me keep my household running, and carrying her reminds me why I do it. I'm not a maid, I'm a mom. There's love in that baby carrier.

Posted by Maria


  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience. I too couldn't function without wearing my LO at home. And he is 21 month.

  2. I love love love this post. I wear my youngest around while I clean too. I can't wait until he's big enough for me to carry on my back! I'm sure I'll get a lot more done.