Babywearing - one of my many passions

I'm pretty sure babywearing is what keeps me sane. How else can I nurse my 6-month-old while playing catch with my 2-year-old? How else can I play with my toddler at our playground, knowing all the while my baby is right there against me? How else can I enjoy my hobbies - knitting, blogging, Facebooking - while fulfilling both my kids' needs simultaneously?


I was introduced to babywearing rather serendipitously. I had attended a Pregnancy and Baby Expo while I was pregnant with Aqil in the States and entered my name into a lucky draw. Now, I never win at anything - lucky draws, talent shows and especially athletic events - so it was a huge surprise when I actually won something this time! I had won a Maya Wrap Ring Sling from a vendor there. I remember how I thought the lady was a "strange hippy woman" while she nursed her toddler in a sling. Little did I know that it was a foretelling of my own future.

When we got home, I placed the sling onto a shelf and promptly forgot about it. I'll never need it, I told myself, after all, that's what strollers are for. Hah! If I only knew!

A few months later I gave birth to Aqil. We stayed in the NICU for a while, where my firstborn would sleep so contentedly in his incubator that we would hesitate to pick him lest we disturb his deep slumber. What an angel, I thought. Then, on his 10th day on this planet, he was given a clean bill of health and we were allowed to bring him home. He was so quiet on the way back, not flinching once throughout the bumpy journey. But then we brought him into the house....and something happened. Our calm little baby started screaming at the top of his lungs, startling his parents, grandma and pet cat. What's going on?! I wondered, What happened to my mellow little angel???

So we picked him up. He calmed down. We set him down in his bassinet. He starts crying again. So we picked him up again. He calmed down again. We set him down in his bouncer. He starts crying again. Then his mama, a lot less glamorous then and suffering from post-partum blues, starts crying too. Everyone starts pulling their hair out. So we (being my hubby, mother and I), take turns carrying him throughout the day and night. Two weeks and three pairs of painfully aching arms later, I said "There must be a better way!".

It took a few hours to find that darned sling that I had foolishly hidden away. When we found it, I was grinning with glee - this contraption will make our lives so much easier! And it can't be that hard to use, right? Right? Err...Wrong. While I laugh now at how difficult it was for me to figure it out then, at the time I was frustrated to the point of tears. That is, till I remembered this little thing called the Internet. After a brief amount of rolling eyes at myself and sighing, I went about searching for instructions. I found a few websites, but still didn't get it.

For a week or so, I put him in the sling in what obviously was the wrong way. I still had to put one hand on him, and it was so uncomfortable. I knew that it was absolutely vital that I learn how to use this sling properly if I wanted to keep my high-needs baby happy and relieve my achy shoulders. So I went on an Internet search again and found TheBabywearer and voila...all my questions were answered!

From then on, I became an avid babywearer. I've tried almost every type of carrier out there and I wear my kids all the time.







Why do I need a carrier if I have a stroller, you ask? Well, there are quite a few reasons, but here are four:
  • My kids hate strollers. Apparently I never liked them as a baby either.
  • I couldn't bring a stroller into my cramped kitchen when I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • I couldn't push my stroller up and down two flights of stairs when I do laundry in the basement level of our apartment
  • Babywearing has become a form of exercise for me - resistance training! Think about it - they are constantly gaining weight and your body always needs to keep up. This & breastfeeding are my post-partum slimming secrets ;)

So, you see, babywearing has done a lot for me. Other than affording me a lot of convenience and freedom to multi-task, here are a few other benefits of babywearing:
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  • You are able to bond with your child, even when you're doing other things. Those instances where you coo at them or kiss their forehead are priceless bonding moments that you wouldn't get if you leave your baby in a bouncer, stroller or playpen while you go about your business.
  • Your child gets a better view of the world. Imagine, they are seeing the world at the same eye level as you, compared to seeing the ceiling and peoples' knees if they were put in a stroller, etc.
  • Infants learn the intricacies of social interactions more quickly when they are worn as they are able to observe facial expressions, understand & learn languages faster as well as become familiar with body language.
  • For younger babies, it has been reported that wearing your baby tummy-to-tummy is akin to tummy time on the floor, which strengthens their back & neck muscles.
  • Generally, infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met by their caregiver, who is very much in tune with the child's cues. When wearing a child, you are able to meet their needs a lot faster too.
  • In my opinion, one of the best perks of babywearing is that you can breastfeed on the go!

There are so many other benefits of babywearing, but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. My passion for babywearing has led me to learn about so many other alternative parenting practices and meet other like-minded people. Before I came back to Malaysia, I scoured the Internet for Malaysians who are into babywearing. I befriended Jess, and a couple of months after my return, she formed Malaysian Babywearers, a non-profit organization that promotes babywearing. I'll be talking a lot more about Malaysian Babywearers (MBW) later on, for sure!

If you're wondering why I wrote this out of the blue, it's because the 2009 International Babywearing Week just ended, and it prompted me to think about how I started out babywearing and how far I've come since then. So here's to babywearing and making my life extra-glamorous!