Growing up I never saw anyone carry their baby in a sling, wrap or carrier. I am an early 80’s baby. The baby was either in a swing, a pen or a stroller. When I was pregnant it was this vague things I heard about and was like what?! I am hypermobile, once this baby is out of me I am done carrying it 24/7. Little did I know. Hypermobility sucks. Pretty much all of the ligaments in all of my joints are a little too long. It means that I can wiggle my pinky finger really fast until it becomes a blur as a party trick. But on a more serious note it means I have trouble walking. Growing up I was the kid that would run off and fall flat on her side without hitting anything because my ankle collapsed. I imagine it looked like I would get hit by an invisible mac truck and it felt about just as bad. As I got older when either of my ankles collapsed the muscles in my legs would just catch me. I might look a little funny for a second but at least I didn’t fall. Now that I am older it means I am in a lot of pain. I have plantar fasciitis in both my feet, I have arthritis in my left knee, I have had bursitis in my right hip and my lower back pretty much always hurts. If I sit too long and I stand up I have this stiff crumpled walk because I have to ease back into walking. I am not telling you any of this to make anyone feel bad for me, but it is for these very real reasons I was so against baby wearing for myself. I always thought it was a lovely idea but just not practical for me, so I didn’t put a carrier of any sort on my baby registry.
Fortunately for me I have a lot of friends. One of my previous coworkers had had her two children and knew she was done and was moving to California with her family. She had all sorts of amazing things for me. One of them being a Moby wrap. When she handed me this folded piece of fabric I just thanked her politely and thought to myself well it doesn’t hurt to have it just in case. I was surprised at how heavy the small little rectangle was, but it just went into his closet on the top shelf and was forgotten about.
My husband and I signed up for the Babycenter and What to Expect When You Are Expecting emails. One day he sent me an email for a free 7 sling, all we had to do was pay for shipping. I figured, hmm whatever I can give it a try for that, I went online and picked out my style. When it arrived I had a small circular piece of fabric that I was supposed to somehow carry a baby in, OK…into the closet it went.
Well then baby was born. And baby wanted to be held ALL the time and he nursed all the time. Like for 45 mins each side every 45 mins. That was exhausting in it of itself, but then not being able to put him down for long after feeding him was just draining. He lost a lot of weight when he was first born and my milk took 7 days to come in. I didn’t like the Lactation Consultant I had through the hospital and I decided that I had to find a new one. It turns out that I have something called a delayed letdown and I was a severe under producer. I will go into that in more detail in another post, but quickly – if you are nursing find yourself a Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. (LC from here on out) The one I found was covered by my insurance and she taught me so much about my newborn in general aside from just how to feed him. She made me feel confident in my ‘mommy skills’.
My LC was the one that told me just try wearing him. She told me about something called the fourth trimester. That babies are born 3 months early because our heads would be too big to pass through the birth canal otherwise. In other words we are all born premature. We aren’t accustomed to the sounds, smells, light, dryness or coldness of the outside world and we need about three months or so to adjust. Once she said it, it made sense. Inside the womb is warm and dark, feeding is instantaneous so they are never hungry or thirsty, and its tight. Well my baby never liked swaddling even in the hospital. I will never forget the time he came back from the nursery with a foot swaddled out. I tried it in the hospital and he got out of pretty much every swaddle I ever tried. He just wanted to be on my chest all the time. I spent a lot of time topless with a naked baby on my chest. If I couldn’t get him to go to sleep I would put the Moby wrap on and walk up and down the hallway with him. We would get so hot in it. I figured out that the best way to go was topless with him naked. I would throw this huge sweatshirt on over us so no one knew how under dressed we really were. He just wanted my heartbeat, my sweat, my smell and my walk. As soon as I stopped moving he would stir. I carried him for about four months before he got too heavy for my back to handle it anymore.
The 7 sling we got in the mail I tried and I wasn’t a huge fan of it. I tried it a few times and I never felt as comfortable with it as I did with the Moby. I used it mostly for night time when I was too delirious to put the Moby on. (They have videos online of how to put them on correctly, and it took a bit of time to master it – but there was no way at 3 am I was tying that thing properly). My kid woke up like clock work at 3 am and did for YEARS. It wasn’t until he was about 2 1/2 years old I got him out of waking up during the night.
After his infancy I carried him, but not in a wrap or a carrier. I had such terrible back and hip pain from the Moby that I was not going to try anything else. I put my 4 months in and I was done, or so I thought. My husband and I decided to become season ticket holders for New York City Football Club (NYCFC) in 2015. They play at Yankee stadium and we would take the subway down to the games. We used to take him in the umbrella stroller and carry him up the subway stairs and leave the stroller at the top of the stairs in our section. Unfortunately my husband couldn’t go to all the games with me. So I went alone, well with Spencer. At the end of the season they stopped letting me to put my stroller at the top of the stairs and now I had to carry my son and a stroller and my bag down the stairs. That season we sat in row 7 and it was a lot of stairs. At half time most people have had a few beers and they aren’t necessarily looking down to see a stroller. I foresaw a big problem if someone ran into my stroller or dropped something on my baby, so something had to change. I couldn’t carry him on my hip all the time he was just too heavy.
The end of 2016 we moved because my husband got a job working for a local utility company. We now lived on the fourth floor of an old walk up building. What this meant was 1. a LOT of stairs and 2. no closets. So I couldn’t use my amazing Uppababy stroller (which you can read about here) because no matter how much I loved it I couldn’t lug it up four flights of stairs and then once it was up all those stairs I had no place to store it. I was hoping for another baby and I knew the 2016 season was going to start up in March. So I started thinking. I knew that I didn’t want to be bringing the umbrella stroller to the stadium anymore cause I was quite likely to punch someone if something happened. I started researching carriers for toddlers and the one I really liked was only available in England and they wouldn’t ship it to the USA, total bummer. Honestly I didn’t like the price point for a carrier, and I really didn’t see me carrying my toddler all that much. I like to get as much bang for my buck as I can. Enter the Lilliebaby 6-in-1 Complete. It can carry a baby from from 7 lbs – 44 lbs. It can be worn in 6 different positions including a back carry. I found a couple of other options in this category and went to Buy Buy Baby to try them out. The Lilliebaby worked best for my son and I, so we bought it.
Our maiden voyage we went for a walk down to the high school and back. Its a little over a mile walk there and back. Man was I exhausted, but I felt exhilarated. He sat so perfectly on my back that his weight didn’t put added pressure on my joints. I felt like I could do this. I started taking him every where in his carrier not just to the games. It made going up and down the stairs SO much easier because we went at mommy speed not toddler speed. I would throw him on my back and purposely take walks to exercise. I would bring him to the supermarket and carry him the whole trip. Let me tell you how much easier that made shopping. No more worrying someone was going to take him out of the cart if I wasn’t paying attention, no more little hands grabbing at everything on the shelves, no running off. I was totally converted to being a baby wearing mama. My husband can also wear this carrier, the waist belt is large enough to accommodate his belly. If you need a little extra room they sell a waist band extender. They also sell stirrups which we did not get at the time but I think I need now. I haven’t been putting Spencer in the carrier because his legs come down past my knees now and it makes climbing stairs hard, he is 37.5 inches tall. The last time he was weighed he came in at a whopping 30 lbs.. hehehe…so we could potentially use the carrier for a significant amount of time. About a month ago he asked about the carrier when he saw it hanging in my closet. I asked him if he wanted to go on Mommy’s back again and he said “Yes!” I put him on my back and he still felt nice and comfy. I may just be bringing him to games on my back again for the 2017 season.
This was definitely the perfect solution for me to get him up and down the stairs, go to games and it takes virtually no room to store it. If you aren’t a baby wearing mama you should set your prejudices aside and give it a try. There is a baby wearing group that will help you find a carrier that works for you. There is a membership fee and I think you can only borrow a carrier if you are a member.