Before I had children, I thought people put their babies in wraps and carriers mostly for snuggle time. That sounded adorable, so I registered for two (baby wraps, not babies). It was only after I opened one of the boxes and unwrapped a single piece of fabric longer than the entire first floor of our house that I realized I may have made a huge mistake.
Four years later, however, my trusted baby wrap has gotten tons of use by both my husband and I, and not for the reasons I thought it would. Yes, snuggle time with a new baby is precious, but wearing my baby in a wrap is also completely necessary if anyone is going to be fed any food around here (#thirdchild). Now that doesn’t mean babywearing is all smooth sailing. It’s often a roller coaster of emotions that usually starts like this:
1) Your baby is fussing. They are fed, they have a clean diaper, and still they fuss. Are they tired? Are they teething? (They will never not be teething.) BABY WRAP TIME. Baby is going to love this. Baby is so lucky to have you as a parent.
2) Rummage through laundry pile to locate wrap. Good thing you registered for a black wrap that is exactly the same fabric and color as every legging and pair of yoga pants you own.
3) Got it! You tilt your head and kind of lift one end of the fabric out in front of you… for the next four minutes…
4) YouTube a babywearing how-to video to make sure you’ve got it right. Your favorite part is when an invisible pair of arms enters the screen to hand over the baby at just the right moment. You reflect that maybe if this woman has an extra set of helpful hands that she probably does not need to be wearing her baby. You digress.
5) Game time. You grab the baby, lift the baby over your head, and gently sort of dangle them in one appendage at a time. This does not work. Baby can smell your fear and is crying harder now.
6) You pull their legs in a little harder until they are really, truly wailing and you are concerned that you might be doing some serious limb damage. You tuck their head, smush their arms, shimmy them down, and voila! Now there’s a screaming baby strapped to your chest. Problem solved.
7) Baby is still crying, and now you are sweating. You cannot confirm that you remembered deodorant this morning. This makes you sweat more. And what’s this? Tiny razors clawing at your chest? Note to self: cut baby’s fingernails.
8) The baby is crying, you’re crying, you’re a terrible parent, and this whole thing was a bad idea, not just the babywearing part but the whole having-children part.
9) Pace around, shush aggressively, pat their bottom, administer paci, say a prayer, text an SOS to your husband. Thank goodness for Sia who pops onto your playlist to remind you not to give up; you’ve got stamina.
10) Silence. It must have been your sweet Sia moves, because you look down and see that the crying has suddenly stopped (yours and the baby’s). Your angel is sleeping, your hands are free, your heart is full. You’re wearing that baby like a boss and should probably have six more children. You text a picture of this maternal moment to your husband who responds that he’s “glad things are ok now?” And they are, at least until you have to take the darn thing off. Because there had better be a YouTube tutorial for that.