The Accidental Babywearer | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

July 20, 2011

The Accidental Babywearer

I never set out to be one of those Moms who wears her children.  

When Little Chica was born, her personality was apparent.  She was vocal, energetic and despised being contained.  Like all first-time parents, we used the Babies R Us registry advice, and registered for every conceivable item: pumps, bottles, pack-n-plays, high chairs, creams, lotions, wipes, strollers, cribs, bedding, pacifiers, diaper bags and about a thousand other items we eventually deemed unnecessary.  

One of the items we registered for was a carrier.  Nothing special. We were afraid to register for the more expensive Baby Bjorn (Why?  I have no idea. Registries are the time to milk loved ones for every penny they are worth. Right? Just kidding!), so we went with the less expensive (but similar in form and function) Chicco Carrier.  

Once Little Chica came, we were excited to try all of our new parent toys.  We had to wait until Little Chica plumped up to 7.5lbs (she was a skinny minnie, born at 6 lbs 5 oz , a week late, no less) before we could try out the carrier.  And it was fun for a little while.  We used the carrier to go on walks or just to be hands-free around the house. But it was not terribly comfortable on my back, and Little Chica never seemed completely happy in it.  I'm not sure if that was due to the carrier or to her personality, but our carrier days were short-lived. 

2 years passed, and I was soon pregnant with Bitty Bug.  I wanted to try using a carrier again when she was born, as I could not wrap my mind around trying to wrangle Little Chica in public while being tied down carrying (or pushing) a baby.  It had disaster written all over it. Luckily, in the time since Little Chica's birth, I had nestled into a great community of Moms.  Every Mom in my life brought new insight and wisdom into different parenting areas.  Some were great with research, knowing the breaking-edge of what was best for children. Others always had the scoop on fun happenings in the area. Yet others were great examples of being relaxed and showing me a different side of parenting.  

One of my friends, Maria (who, by the way, has an awesome music studio if you are local and are looking for private instrument lessons for your children), is a baby wearer.  The more time I spent watching Maria use her different carriers and learning the benefits of carriers, I was excited to upgrade from my less-than-savory front carrier to try on some of the "big guns."  

I came to understand that different carriers serve different purposes.  Maria really likes several carriers, some of which are no longer available. Most of them are of the Asian-Style (also known as mei tai) variety. I tried on a few once Bitty Bug was born to see which style I liked best.  

One of them, the Beansling, has no buckles, just a pouch for the baby that is attached to very long straps that you strategically wrap over your shoulders and around your middle.  I was skeptical at first, but was surprised by how secure it felt and how comfortable it was.  It was also not NEARLY as complicated as I had believed it would be.  It takes some time to learn how to tie it, but once you've figured it out, it is like second nature.

The Beanslings are difficult to find, since the woman who created them no longer makes them. So while I liked the carrier, I didn't want to have to scour babywearer forums to find one (usually you have to buy them off of someone who is no longer using theirs).  So, next I tried the Connecta (which is styled after the "traditional chinese 'mei tai,' but fastens with buckles for ease.") and Ergo carriers. Both were super comfortable, as well as more easy to purchase.  I also liked that they utilized buckles for fastening, which gave me a better sense of security while wearing them.

One of the main differences between the Connecta and the Ergo is the ability to breastfeed. Many of the mei tai style carriers give moms the ability to breastfeed their babies while they are in the carrier.  Some carriers, like the Ergo, have a panel between the child and the mother's torso, which would obviously hinder breastfeeding. 

I know. Breastfeeding in a carrier made my head spin, as it was totally out of my element.  Until I met Maria, I had unfairly lumped all baby wearers into one category: they were a crunchy bunch of hippy moms who wore their babies, breastfed all over the place and spouted theories on attachment parenting.

Am I an awful Mom or what?

I have obviously grown both as a mother and a person since then, opening my mind and heart to not only embracing different parenting styles, but celebrating them.  And as I opened myself to the experience of using a baby carrier, I became more open to trying other facets of parenting as well (such as breastfeeding. In a carrier. WHAT?!?).

To date, I have not actually tried nursing Bitty Bug in a carrier. But as I was deciding on carriers, I wanted to keep my options open. I really liked the Ergo, but decided to go with the Connecta carrier just in case (note: all the carriers I have mentioned are great options for any mom). I was all set to purchase one, when Maria said that she had a different carrier all together that she was getting back after having loaned it to another friend. I was more than welcome to use it indefinitely (for free), if I wanted to.

So, after research and trying on many carriers, I went with the one at hand:  The Dream Carrier.  This carrier is a great marriage between a tie carrier and a buckle carrier.  The carrier buckles around the waist (much like a hiking backpack) but has the long straps that go over your shoulders, cross over your back, and tie around your middle.  It took a little bit to get used to.  

Photo courtesy of my friend, Marta :)
The blue straps are NOT part of the carrier
- they are the straps to my backpack that I use as a diaper bag.

But now I am HOOKED.

I love love love how comfortable it is.  I believe that the structure and comfort of it has allowed Bitty Bug to really enjoy being in the carrier.  She has a more laid-back personality than Little Chica. But I have found myself wondering if I had obtained a mei tai carrier when Little Chica was a baby, would she have enjoyed it more?  My back never hurts, even when I wear it for hours.  There is adequate airflow to the baby, which also serves to keep us cool despite having our bodies close together.  

One of my favorite qualities is that using a carrier allows me to be completely hands-free to wrangle Little Chica.  There is no stroller to leave unattended when I inevitably need to chase my 3 year old, nor do I have the burden of taking said bulky stroller in and out of the trunk of my car.  I can throw the carrier in my back pack and have it anytime I need it.  And, if I ever decided to be adventurous and nurse while Bitty Bug was in the carrier (eeeee!), I could do so using the Dream Carrier.

Did I mention even Hubby likes carrying Bitty Bug in the Dream Carrier?

Bitty Bug has learned to really love the carrier.  She could use it as soon as she was born, and we've adjusted the use as she has grown (she now, at 6 months old, sits with her legs hanging out instead of being tucked in, frog-style). When she is older, I can wear her on my back with the carrier (which you can also do with the Connecta, Ergo and Beansling carriers mentioned earlier). If she is overly tired in the afternoon or early evening because she woke up early from her afternoon nap, I can put her in the carrier for a catnap.  If she is fussy, she likes being in the carrier for a change of scenery.  It instantly calms her. It's a win-win situation.

I wouldn't say I am a babywearer in the true sense of the word. I don't use the carrier all the time, mainly when I am out in public (shopping, getting groceries, at the park, etc) or when Bitty Bug is particularly fussy.  I have come to really understand and appreciate that babywearing is not just something you do, it's a lifestyle.  Many attributes of breastfeeding and attachment parenting go hand-in-hand with babywearing,  but are not mutually exclusive. I really appreciate that this journey to find a baby carrier has taught me not just about babywearing, but about being  more open-minded and understanding of all moms.  

I've stated in previous posts how much I value community, and how I believe that moms need to support one another. We all do things differently as parents.  We encourage sleep differently. We feed differently.  We discipline differently.  This experience showed me how easy it is to judge others, and humbled me as I learned how wrong it is.  I had boxed babywearers, breastfeeders and attachment parents into one pretty little box.  

But we as parents are not pretty little boxes.  We are not easily defined.  We are complicated.  We mess up. We learn from our mistakes.  We try different avenues, and surprise ourselves when one of the roads we end up taking is so far off the path we had firmly mapped out for ourselves.  Parenting is part nature and part making-it-up-as-you-go.  We do what we need to do to survive. 

The greatest lesson I learned from something as simple as deciding to get a new baby carrier is this: until you've walked a mile in another mother's shoes, you cannot judge the roads they've decided to take. How can we say we wouldn't make the same choices if we were put in the same parenting situations? I am grateful that I was gifted this lesson.  It was eye-opening.  And I've come to realize we all could be opening our eyes a bit wider, our hearts a bit deeper.  

Especially to other parents.  

I also hope I've encouraged some of you to step out and be open to trying new parenting experiences.  It might be uncomfortable. You might be totally out of your element. You may absolutely dislike it.

Or, you may be pleasantly surprised :)

You can read more about how to safely wear your baby and babywearing guidelines on the welcome page of


  1. Visiting from Feels Like Home. I loved this tale of babywearing! I, too, never thought I'd be a baby wearer and I got hooked, too.

  2. One question I always have about using a carrier is: What about the summer heat? How do you endure it?

    (I found you through the Sunday Best link up.)

  3. Your baby is GORGEOUS! She has the most beautiful eyes.

    I am a baby wearer, too. I love it. I think it was easier to wear my first daughter as she got older (until she was too big, around 2). She didn't want to be held, but she didn't mind being in the sling or the front pack we had. It worked.

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