I’ve worn all my babies in carriers. My first was a clingy baby and my Snugli saved my life (and his) but it wasn’t the perfect answer- or comfortable to wear all the time. When my second was born only 13 months after the first, I had to have my hands free to chase a toddler! So I got my first ring sling. With number two I learned to nurse in the sling; hands-free. Freedom! My third lived in the sling all day and I learned to wrap him for more adventurous activities.

With my fourth, it’s different. I wear him for convenience like all the other boys but babywearing has taken on an entirely different meaning to me this time around. Due to Clayton’s cleft lip and palate I’ve been unable to nurse him. Breastfeeding is more than just a feeding method. With a new baby whose life revolves around food, breastfeeding is a parenting method. I couldn’t nurse my baby to bond, to sleep, for comfort or closeness. So I did what I could: I wore my baby. All the time.

From birth to about 5 months Clayton lived in the sling. He curled up against my chest, lulled by my heartbeat and the sound of my breathing. Just like before birth. Just like a breastfed baby. He even attended the birth of his friend in the sling!

From 5 to 7 months he lived in the wrap. Perched up on my back he took in my world. The familiar rhythms of my body putting him to sleep quickly or keeping him content.

At 10 months he is more independent. He wants to crawl, cruise and explore. But any time you find us out and about, Clayton is likely still on my back in his happy place.

I might feed my baby with a bottle — my feeding method had to change — but thanks to the blessing of babywearing, I get to mother the way I always have.

Happy International Babywearing Week!

A couple of old articles I wrote about babywearing:
A beginner’s guide to babywearing options (Raising Arizona Kids)
7 reasons to wear your baby (SheKnows)