I stumbled upon baby wearing accidentally… I had never heard of it before I had my first born, I’d seen the traditional mainstream ‘baby hulster’ style carriers but that’s about it. To be honest, it wasn’t really something I’d given much thought to. My little man spent 7 weeks in special care before he came home- 5 weeks before his due date. Those weeks felt like an eternity. I desperately wanted to do something to help him grow and be well but in all honesty, aside from making him milk …waiting, waiting and more waiting became new hobbies of mine.
The neonatal nurses that cared for my boy were incredible. There are no words I can find to thank them for what they did. They took care of my son, they took care of me- and there will always be a special place in my heart and thoughts for every single one of them. When little man was well enough, they encouraged me to hold him. They talked about ‘Kangaroo Care’ to me, this is where mums and dads put their babies against them; skin to skin. Research has found many benefits to this type of care for premature babies; it was incredible to watch all his vital signs steady whenever we held him in this way. Time sped up and hours would pass in a blink before we would have to reluctantly put him back in his plastic house. I read online all about Kangaroo Care and this is where I discovered ‘Babywearing’…
Spending long nights on a Special Care Baby Unit, meant I had plenty of opportunity to shop online… so I bought my first wrap; it would have been rude not to. A navy blue- moby wrap. Undoubtedly the best baby purchase I ever made. Fact.
At first, I wasn’t too sure how much I liked the term ‘babywearing’ it kind of implies that I’m wearing my baby as some kind of accessory to my outfit… which despite their overwhelming beauty- and the fact they complement every outfit I own… I genuinely am not. To be fair though… I’m not sure there’s a better way to describe it… by ‘wearing’ your baby- they are so close to your body that they are practically clothes. .. they are tied on too…looking a lot like a rather cumbersome jumper I’ve wrapped round myself in a totes casual way… in a similar style to a plus size manakin in the window of United Colours of Benetton; tres Europeany… so in the end, it came to to pass- that I was throwing the term ‘babywearing’ round with the best of them.
I’m a social media fan, and it does make me chuckle when I read mums’ profiles where they describe themselves as a ‘babywearer’… I ‘wear’ my baby on a regular, pretty much daily basis, but I’m not sure I’d define myself as a ‘babywearer’… in a similar way to the fact that I wouldn’t boast about being a ‘sock wearer’ (which for the record. .. I also do on a pretty much daily basis. .. although much to my husband’s distaste ..not always my own… ♥love you darling…)
I am however…for so many reasons… 100% in love with wearing babies.
When little man came home; he weighed just 4lb 10 oz… tiny. He had to have a special insert in his car seat that’s how mini he was. His moses basket was like a kingsize bed in comparison to him, and he understandably wanted to be held… A LOT. I loved spending hours holding him close to me and in the ‘Times of Firstborn’… everything was put on hold to carry out this arduous activity. (Tee-hee!)
Unfortunately, there were of course times when frankly you just had to get stuff done… and in the ‘Times of Secondborn’ stuff needs doing pretty much all the time…and this my friends, is where my beloved Malcolm the Moby comes into his own. You can pretty much do anything whilst wearing your baby…. More to the point… You can pretty much do anything whilst wearing your baby and they love it!!!
The first time I tried to tie Malcolm, I watched about 15 different You Tube videos and it took me 45 minutes to do it:
This, understandably puts some people off. It is worth persevering though guys and gals..these days- I am practically a ninja at tying Malcolm round me- takes literally seconds. He has been everywhere with me for the last 2.5 years, been covered in all sorts of residue of both known, unknown, pleasant and unpleasant residue- and with a quick machine wash looks as good as he did on day one. (He is if you like… the Pharrell Williams of the textile world… can you believe he is 40 years old… 40????)
Both my babies love and loved being inside the wrap. They usually fall asleep within minutes or if not- are happily carted around for hours at a time inside. Sometimes, especially in the early days- it was the only way to soothe them both. I love it too; it’s comfortable, convenient- leaves me with both hands free and I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE having my little one so close and cosy. For my little man, I kind of felt that by wearing him so close to my skin; I was re-creating- as best I could- what it should have been like for him inside my tummy.
Now, I don’t know if it’s just because I live in Yorkshire, where they have only just stopped keeping babies in drawers (Just kiddin’ … love you guys… ) but I often get a few looks and bizarre comments when we’re out and about…
One Wednesday morning, I enter my local supermarket of choice… Morrisons. (Love a spot o’ Morrisons…) I uneventfully fill my trolley (with two hands… BOOM… Hooray for Malcolm!) with a weeks worth of shopping, load it all on to the conveyor belt and look up. I immediately get that heart sinking feeling you get when you didn’t suitably assess the person on the till before committing to their checkout… and you realise you really have made quite a significant ‘school boy error’…
I wait to be served by a tight lipped lady who really does have quite a monstrously incredible pair of flared nostrils… ( I can talk- I am plagued with a very similar condition myself) and a facial expression that suggests she is surrounded by some kind of faecal matter which –alas-only she can smell. She turns out to be one of those who you have to ask for bags- you know the sort– the sort who with a very loud inhalation- and echoey flared nostril snort; make you feel singularly responsible for the hole in the o-zone layer-… after flinging what I can only describe as a chunk of carrier bags-at me- I begin packing up my shopping… wondering whether I have beaten my personal best Morrisons Multisave or not. I get to the last one, load it into my trolley- poise ready to get my card out to pay- and I notice ‘nose’ eyeing me up and down before incoherently mumbling something at me…
“Sorry?” I say
(Loud snorting and flaring of nostrils- which actually made the hair on top of my head gravitate toward her slightly- followed by an actual tut…)
“I SAID… I think you’ll find it’s Illegal to drive with a baby down your top…” ‘Nose’ replies crossly.
I would like to have said:
“Yes, Yes old lady, it would be illegal for me to drive with a baby down my top, and perhaps more importantly; highly irresponsible! Whilst we’re discussing the matter of irresponsibility…I feel your employer is being negligent by allowing you to serve customers with a nose that should have some kind of health and safety warning attached to it!!”
Unfortunately… what I actually said- and what I would like to have said differ greatly.
I think I actually just pulled some kind of confused look, smiled politely and explained that my baby went back in to the car seat. It was at this moment that I vowed never to be served by anyone other than Dorothy… who is frankly the nicest checkout lady on the planet…she always packs my shopping without asking, and ties knots in the handles so its easier for me to lift bags into the car…. Ledge.
Another of my most favourite bizarre comments occurred whilst shopping in York city centre;
A beautifully sunny day at the beginning of August. A dear friend of mine has come to stay; we take her in to York for a stroll and an ice cream. York is not the most baby friendly of city centres… cobbley streets- dodgy pavements, narrow shops.. the list goes on. We stop on Stonegate, a cobbled, very English, oldy-worldy street- notorious for having one of the largest footfalls in Europe. My friend and husband go inside a shop to buy an ice cream- I wait outside with the boy in the pushchair and the girl in the wrap so as not to totally block the doorway. My daughter is a month old at this point. Lots of women comment to their friends and partners as they walk past to “look at the tiny baby” “all snuggly” “wrapped up”…
One couple approach, I happen to catch the lady’s eye… she squeezes her husband’s hand and says…
Her husband looks over and replies… in the broadest of Yorkshire accents…
“Bloody Hell… you’d think we were in bloody Africa!!”
Now it took me a while to clock what this lovely gentleman had said… at first I was genuinely concerned I had somehow got confused and was holding a pushchair containing an African toddler… a quick look over the pushchair canopy confirmed that it was definitely my child; who clearly is not of African descent… I looked around me and my surroundings could not have been more typically English… then it clicked… how could I be so stupid??…
By wearing my baby in a wrap… I clearly looked like an African woman?!! Thank goodness the man didn’t have X-ray vision… or he’d definitely have an additional pair of reasons to consider me a member of a Masai Mara tribe… I have been breastfeeding for 2 years…
Mother with a child (Vladimir Nardin)
Mother with two children: A selfie (Me)
To my darling Nephew… born just 2 days ago..
I hope you enjoy your baby wearing adventures as much as your big cousins. We got you a navy blue Moby like us… so your mummy and I can pretend we are twins. Unfortunately please be aware the name Malcolm is already taken.
Love you too much already ♥