I have vague but endearing childhood memories of carrying my dolls and stuffed animals around in a backpack with their heads peeking out, in an effort to emulate my parents, who consistently wore my little sister in a 1980s version of a baby carrier. They wore me as a baby as well. We experienced daily life this way – we ran errands, took walks, went to the park, did chores, and visited with friends. When I got pregnant with Essley a few years ago, I couldn’t wait to wear her. And while some things worked and some didn’t with her, and more recently with Emmett as well, babywearing has ultimately been an incredible bonding experience. It has also been a pretty freaking fantastic way to actually be able to get things done, if we’re being real here. Today I’m teaming up once again with my friends at Ergobaby to share our personal experience with wearing our babes – from the types of things we do and places we go while babywearing to the benefits we’ve experienced to the details of our favorite carrier.
For me, wearing my babies felt like second nature mainly because I just didn’t want to put them down – but how I wore them didn’t go exactly as planned. I had stocked up on wraps, slings, and carriers galore, thanks to gracious friends who gifted us and/or handed them down. I envisioned wearing Essley in every way possible, parading her down the street all perfectly boho in babywearing devices that accessorized my outfits. In the end, it was, of course, ultimately up to her, not me – and girlfriend just wasn’t a fan of wraps or slings. She did, however, love the Ergobaby Original Baby Carrier we had, first with the Infant Insert, and then alone as she grew. (And even as a very independent two and a half year old who likes to walk on her own when we’re out and about, we still wear Essley on occasion.) When Emmett came along, I knew that he could potentially be just as picky as his sister, but he ended up liking both wraps and the Ergobaby Carrier. When he was a couple of months old and we got the Ergobaby ADAPT, he preferred that most of the time (and it didn’t need an infant insert; more on that later in the post). So while the babywearing experience I anticipated when pregnant for the first time has been different in reality, it’s still been wonderful, because both kids have loved it – and we have as well.
I mentioned above some of the places my parents wore my sister and me as babes and some of the things we did – and to be able to do so many of the same things with my own kids has been so, so great. Just as my family did when I was little, we take a lot of walks. And while the stroller is good for that as well, there is just something about being able to hold Emmett close while we’re outside exploring together that both Robbie and I love. The four of us spend a lot of time at the park too (another place that brings back memories of my own childhood). When Robbie has breaks from the band’s tour and I’m working full days, the park is their favorite hang. The three of them can spend hours there, with him wearing Emmett while Essley plays (or more accurately, releases some of her intensely wild toddler energy). I also have fond recollections of shopping with my own mama while she wore my baby sister, and this is something I love doing with my little ones as well – something I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be able to do anymore once I had two kids. It’s absolutely blissful to be able to experience so many of the same places and activities while babywearing that my parents did. I’m truly grateful for that. I’m also grateful (like, eternally grateful) that wearing my babes – especially now that I also have a toddler with whom to contend on the daily – allows me to get stuff done. I can clean. I can garden. I can run errands. I can even work. My arms are free to be productive, but I’m also holding my baby close. And that, as my mom has always said about being able to do the same with us as babies, is a gift.
In addition to the convenience factor (being able to easily go places and get things accomplished as a family when babywearing is pretty fantastic, after all), there are countless other benefits. Especially during the newborn months, keeping your baby close through practices like babywearing strengthens the bond between parents and babe. This can even continue into toddlerhood! Babywearing also allows for easy breastfeeding almost anywhere (I love, love, love nursing Emmett while he’s in his carrier), and can increase milk production. Infants who are carried tend to cry less because their innate needs are being met. Babywearing decreases the risk of both plagiocephaly (“flat head syndrome”) and SIDS. It also helps to establish balance, and aids in neural development and respiratory and gastrointestinal health. Pretty great right? And aside from all of the studies that show how beneficial babywearing is, it’s just a really enjoyable thing to experience – both for the baby and the parent. To me, that is the greatest benefit of all.
No matter what (or how many, if you’re anything like I was with Essley) babywearing accessories you try out for your individual little ones, you will likely end up with a favorite. I told you earlier about how when Emmett was just a couple of months old, we got an Ergobaby ADAPT. Within a matter of days, this became our go-to carrier. The ADAPT is Ergobaby’s first insert-less baby carrier to carry your baby in an ergonomic spread-squat, “M-shape” position – from birth all the way to toddler. And this thing is so, so easy to use you guys. Only a few small adjustments need to be made to adapt it to your growing little one, and it allows for three (yes, three!) positions – front inward, back, and hip carry. (We carry Emmett in the front inward position and Essley in the back positions – and now that Emmett is six months old we can’t wait to start carrying him in the hip carry position as well.) The Ergobaby ADAPT also has new comfort features for parents, including crossable shoulder straps and a lumbar support waistbelt. It is truly the gold standard for babywearing (and toddler wearing!) in my opinion. We use it every single day, and we don’t leave home without it. It’s also one of the top products I’ve been consistently recommending to all of my pregnant friends and friends with babies.
Thank you for letting me tell you guys all about our babywearing experience (and allowing me to go on and on about all of the details, from how/where we babywear to what’s worked and hasn’t to our personal favorite carrier!). Just like with the swaddling and breastfeeding journeys I’ve shared here over the past few months, the babywearing adventure is one of those things that I most cherish as parent, because it’s something I profoundly enjoy that won’t last forever.
I would absolutely love to hear about your babywearing experiences as well! What is your favorite place to wear your little one? What is your favorite babywearing product? Who else has an Ergobaby ADAPT?
This post is in partnership with Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.