It amazes me how one little baby product has been so transformational for me. Babywearing in general has been extremely helpful, but it's really wrapping that has changed my life.
Wrapping let me take back my time again.
I started wrapping when my then-youngest was two years old, which seems kind of late in the game. I thought it would be practical because I had been having a really hard time making dinner lately because she wanted to be held - those early evening hours when I had just returned from being at work all day and my husband, her daytime caregiver, had left to go to work for the evening. For her it was a time of transition that required closeness, yet for me it was a time of day that required many chores meaning I had little focus for her. When I wrapped her on my back we could snuggle and talk and sing AND I could get some stuff done. I didn't worry anymore about tripping over my daughter as I moved about the kitchen. Life-changing multitasking.
Wrapping became more than just a method to make dinner.
There was also more than just a transition between day and night going on. My daughter had recently weaned. Our last nursing sessions were in the middle of the night and they were really the only time we got to spend together since I was gone all day. She weaned so naturally - just started sleeping through the night and that was it. Even though I could accept and was ready to wean, I felt like we lost so much time together. When I wrapped with her and we had that physical closeness, I felt like we were getting the oxytocin and all the good feels we had from nursing back except now we were totally awake and standing. Wrapping not only helped to preserve my relationship with my daughter but it changed it - it made me listen to her while she was worn and helped me remember she still needed my ears when she stood on her own. Wrapping ultimately led to me being a more present and aware parent.
Soon the very act of wrapping became a comfort.
Once I didn't have to think about what pass went where and in which order and how many there were... I could just enjoy the act of wrapping amazingly beautiful fabric around myself and my precious child. The way the texture of the fabric feels in my hand. The glide as I place a pass over my baby's back. How it stretches when I tighten it around me. The thickness or thinness of the bunching in my fist. The ritual of all these things is soothing for me. It gives my mind something positive and beautiful to focus on. After my son was born and I finally had an excuse for front carries, the emotional comfort of wrapping was a tool I used again and again...
Wrapping helped me cope with postpartum anxiety.
After my second son was born I started to have more intense anxiety than I did with the previous two kids. When I wrapped I wouldn't have to work at dismissing thoughts or trying to stay positive - my thoughts either had to focus on wrapping or they were distracted by the lovely textile I was using. Even after I tied off, when I was wrapped to my baby everything seemed a little more easy, a little less overwhelming. I felt that much more confident about my skills as a parent of all these kids when I wrapped. Without wrapping this baby I don't know how different my life would be. I would certainly not be getting much done around the house. And how different would my mood be, and my level of anxiety? I can't help but think wrapping changed my life there.
The community I've found through wrapping has changed my life.
The people I've met as a wrapper have taught me so much! I've learned a TON about wrapping from my local and online communities. It feels like the last of "old knowledge" - the kind that is passed from woman to woman through generations. Receiving and sharing knowledge makes me feel connected and empowered. Not only have I learned more about wrapping and other babywearing modalities but I've also learned about related topics as well: most of my leaning about social justice and my privilege had come from my babywearing circles. I've been introduced to concepts like ableism and I have been making changes in my words and behaviors - and influencing changes in my children's words and behaviors. Changing my life and changing the world, one small act at a time.
I'll be the first to admit: wrapping looks good and that makes me feel good. And on some days when I have really need that pick-me-up, wrapping really has changed my life. When I wore my babies in other carriers of course I felt more in control and it gave me a confidence boost for sure, but nothing like I feel when I tie on a wrap. Transforming that simple rectangle of fabric into a safe, secure, and beautiful carrier for my most precious cargo will never cease to make me feel like a ruck star (nice autocorrect I'm going to leave that one!). Even on the days when I can't work in a shower and I'm wearing clothes from the floor, being able to put on that pretty wrap has a life-changing effect on my self-esteem.
Wrapping has changed my life because it has become my greatest tool - my method to soothe a baby while being productive, to calm and distract my noisy mind, to help me become a better parent, a more involved and aware community member, and it changed the way I feel about my postpartum self.
This week we celebrate all things babywearing and postpartum during Postpartum Week, helped out by the fabulous Lalu Wovens who has provided wraps for us to use for the week. For more on what we're doing this week, see the Postpartum Week page - amywrapsbabies.com/postpartum-week
**Image of Amy, a thin white woman, standing in front of an old fence and wearing her baby on her back in a blue feathery pattern wrap Lalu Volare Indigo Bunting tied in a double hammock. Text over the image reads quote How wrapping changed my life by Amy Wraps Babies, end quote.