Tuesday, May 19, 2015

That's a Wrap!

I have a confession to make. Almost every day I pretend I'm an animal. Can you guess which one? You might say a giraffe would be logical since I'm tall, or perhaps a bird because I really do love them, but both are incorrect. No, I dress up as a kangaroo. 

Well, not literally - but I do put my Teeny Little Super Guy in a baby wrap or carrier regularly, and since "baby wearing" is right up there with "we're pregnant" on my nay-say list, I call it kangarooing. It's more accurate anyway - I make a little pocket and pop Super Guy inside, and he rides along, cozy and comfortable.

me and my joey
Wrap up the goodness - Remember all the skin-to-skin talk in your parenting class? This is a variation on that (and hey, when it's hot, you can put Baby in a diaper and tie him on, using the wrap as a shirt). Super Guy can hear my heart, and I can feel him breathing. Even if I'm vacuuming, kangarooing is physical bonding time, and we both enjoy essential physical contact. After nearly nine months of hosting Super Guy, it's nice to approximate the closeness again. 

Choose an appropriate carrier... - I use the wrap when it's just the two of us, or I throw it in the stroller basket so Super Guy doesn't have to be lying down the whole time we're out for a walk. When it comes to hiking or longer excursions, a backpack carrier is more comfortable. 

...and a matching diaper bag - By that I don't mean colour or print! I'm talking form, because you don't want the bag to be bumping into Baby the whole time you're out. Best case scenario, someone else is carrying the diaper bag, but if you're on your own, pair wisely. When Super Guy is on my front like a little joey, I take this little back pack from 31 (in red, with a maple leaf and Super Guy's name on it!). When he's older and I take him on my back, I'll take a cross-body bag.

Try it out at home first... - I worked out how to tie the Moby wrap with a baby-sized teddy bear before Super Guy arrived. Then I tried it with him at home a few times. There's a lot of fabric to get tangled up in but it's really simple once you know what goes where. Same for backpack carriers - who wants to be fiddling with clips and straps when you're out and there's a real baby in there? If I'm planning on using the wrap when we're out and about (as a break from the stroller or if we go someplace in the car and don't take the stroller), I'll put it on at home so the ends don't drag on the ground and get dirty.

...but don't be afraid to go out! - The baby is not going to fall out. The extra weight will not make you tip over. You'll both be fine. In crowded places I tend to keep one hand on Super Guy, just so he doesn't get bumped. 

Be one with the sling - Obviously don't go riding a bike with a baby in the wrap, but you can definitely try some gentle exercise. This video and this video have some yoga moves that you can do with a baby in a wrap. 

Leave early - baby carriers are gaining popularity in Madrid but still are rare enough that people will stop to comment. Reactions range from mildly surprised to generally interested and once even horrified. I've had everything from people stopping and pointing from across the street to people coming right up and trying to pet him in there, to people thinking I was pregnant and making some weird fashion statement until his little hand popped out and surprised them.

Don't worry about your back - you've carried Baby around for nine months, and the right wrap will distribute the weight in a similar way. If you're letting someone else carry Baby, they might find a wrap is very comfortable, or they might like to try a sturdier backpack. Tall Guy prefers the Stokke carrier, and not just for fashion objections to my girly wrap/scarf. It is heavily reinforced along the wearer's spine and has lots of possibilities for making minute adjustments, not to mention the tiny little pockets, perfect for storing... who knows what? Tall Guy will probably put a tiny flashlight or something in one of them.

Change it up - One reason I love the wrap so much is that there are different ways for Super Guy to ride along in it. He's nearly too big for the "newborn hug hold", so soon I'll use a different hold - forward facing, back facing, on my back, or on my side. He can be lying down or even feeding. Certain backpacks permit different holds as well. This is important, as different positions are appropriate according to social as well as physical development. If Super Guy is feeling overwhelmed, I can hold him in such a way that he can hide his head.

Tie one on for some shuteye - Super Guy is a very good baby, but if he has a fussy moment, I can count on a walk using the wrap to calm him down and actually put him to sleep. 

So there you have it - now go get a wrap or a carrier and have some kangaroo time with your baby!

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