My absolutely favourite thing about having little babies? Babywearing! Now, I am not an exhibitionist, but I feel like it, wearing my wrap carrier. Despite the proliferation in recent years of Baby Bjorns and similar carriers, not so many people around here have seen the style of carrier I wear.
This is a Hug-a-bub, made here in Australia, but there are now heaps of other makes of wrap carrier around, and I’m planning to make my next one (the red one here is the larger size of Hug-a-bub, and I’ve lost some weight (squee!) since I carried Finn, so I’m planning to make a shorter one in a lovely green and brown – the fabric has been sitting in my living room for several weeks now!)
We started carrying Finn like this when he was only about a week old, because he would not sleep anywhere, not at home, not when we were out, if he was not being carried. He loathed our stroller until he was about 4 months old! This picture was taken when he was about three and a half months. The wrap makes it easy to do pretty much anything as normal – I can stitch, read, eat, drink, do most housework (dishes are a challenge, without a dishwasher), go walking, go (ahem) to the bathroom 😳 , even sleep, if I arrange myself ‘just-so’. Carrying a baby this way is immensely more convenient than getting a humungous stroller in and out of the car and wheeling it around. And they sleep so beautifully in this.
I first went out shopping with Niamh in this when she was 5 days old. She was such a little thing, you can imagine the attention we got that day! People do tend to notice us a lot when we go out in this. But that’s definitely not why I do it. In fact it makes me a little uncomfortable. On two levels – one because as I said, I am not by nature an exhibitionist. I’d prefer people not be looking at me all the time. And two, because some people seem to think they have a right to touch the baby when it’s at their eye level. Like a woman’s pregnant belly, I have found there is little respect for the private space of young babies, and it’s a little confronting for me. I do like it when, as happened the other day in Target, people ask me if they can have a look at her, or touch her head. If people are respectful, I don’t mind it so much. Mostly though, I do my best to look oh-so-busy so I don’t have to stop and talk to every person who does a double-take when they see us, and I just smile when I hear the ‘Awwww’s that follow us around.
I have to tell you, though, about some of the strangest interactions I’ve ever had with people while wearing this. Once I was wearing Finn, and he was soundly sleeping away while we shopped for groceries. An elderly lady saw us, and muttered something under her breath. I ignored her, but it seemed for the next few aisles she was following us around. Eventually, she gathered up the nerve to actually say out loud that I would “smother that baby”! 😮 I admit, the fabric can cover up part of the baby’s head while they’re asleep (to support the head while they don’t yet have a strong neck). But the baby is right there – on my chest – I can feel every breath, hear every little snore or whimper, feel if anything goes wrong. If you think about it, this is the safest place for them to be while sleeping! I can’t recall, but I think I just glared at her and continued on my way.
Another day, I was at the market, and one of the vendors freaked out when she realised I had a live baby in there – for some bizarre reason, she though I was carrying around a doll! Hmmm.
But the absolute strangest of all happened to me a couple of weeks back, with Niamh in the carrier. I was walking into a shopping centre across a car park. A woman to my left gave me a strange look – from a certain angle, you can’t see exactly what’s going on, because you can’t see the baby’s head (and while they’re still tiny, I carry them with the legs in – later, they hang out the bottom like a Baby Bjorn). Anyway, she wandered over, and then realised what I had there, and proceeded to tell me “Oh, it’s a baby… I thought you had a lump there. I thought ‘Oh that poor girl, she’s got a big lump on her chest’…”.
So… not only did she think I had a big lump… she actually felt the need to come and tell me about it?! How strange 😆
I’ll leave you with this picture of Niamh in the carrier – taken yesterday at the Zoo. Please rest assured she is dressed – the camera just over-exposed her pale-green jumpsuit a bit, so she does look a bit nude! The camera also made me look a bit like a dork (that’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it!)