Aviana has started to like being carried facing forward so she can see what is going on…and I find carrying her that way quite exhausting, which is crazy considering she still doesn’t weigh much more than an average newborn baby! So I asked my Doula if she was familiar with the many multitude of baby carriers available out there. Yes she was, but she told me about a real good nugget of useful knowledge – Baby Wearing International. She had been to a meet with one of her clients before and recommended it as a good place to try out carriers before buying. A great idea considering how expensive some carriers are, how picky babies can be, and how different our bodies are.
The very next weekend Chris and I took Aviana to our first meeting of our local Baby Wearing International group. Here is what happened…
First we signed in at the welcome desk. The meeting is free and open to the public! We were given a name tag and a slip of paper telling us how to get the best out of their two hour meetings. Of course Aviana had to be hungry just as we arrived, so Chris fed her (we are trying to get her more accustomed to the bottle). There were all sorts of people there with their newborn babies and other toddlers running around playing with each other. It was very noisy! Probably about 50 or so people. But this didn’t seem to bother Aviana. In fact she seemed to like watching all the other babies.
About 5 minutes after we arrived a lady announced what was going to happen and what we could do. There were ‘stands’ with qualified baby wearing educators depending on what type of carrier and carry you needed help with. So for example if you had a moby wrap you could go to the wrap stand and be shown how to use it, or if you had a soft shell carrier such as a Tula then you can be shown how to use that properly. There was also a ‘lending library’ for members to use. You pay $30 a year for membership and that allows you to borrow one carrier from the lending library for one month 11 times in a year. This sounded ideal because then you can take it home and if it doesn’t work out you haven’t wasted lots of money!
One of the educators helped us out with our requirements – we wanted something that would be suitable for Aviana’s small size, forward facing, and easy for both Chris and I to wear. Chris tried three different carriers, the third one he tried was the most comfortable. All this time Aviana was quite obliging being put in and out of a carrier! Which was surprising to me. I tried the third one on too and found it easy to use and tie. off. It was the Baby Hawk Meh Dai – it doesn’t have buckles, just ties. It is soft but gives Aviana some support with the front panel head piece. It was also adjustable in different ways of tying it so it suited both Chris and I without faffing with any buckles. We decided we would borrow this one from the library and see how we all get on with it.
We met a couple of new people which was nice, it was very welcoming. The whole meet lasts for two hours and at the end a photo of the group is taken. We had to go before the photo because Aviana (and me) was hungry! So not only did we achieve something practical, we also met some other parents which was nice. I also joined their local facebook group and everybody helps each other out with how to wear their babies and toddlers.
Since taking the Baby Hawk Carrier home, Chris has used it once carrying Aviana forwards, I have used it once at home where she slept for two hours in it facing inwards on my front, I have also used it in the ‘witching hour’ to calm her down facing forwards. Finally, I had some partial success using it when I went out shopping to Petsmart which required me to use the trolley (shopping cart!) for items that required me to be handsfree! She lasted about 5 minutes before getting pissed off at the world. I started to queue and of course everyone was staring at me as if I am torturing my baby! It was at that point that I felt absolutely helpless because I had to pay for my items and I didn’t want to give up!!! So I stuck it out and tried to keep her from wriggling out through her screams! The only downside to this carrier is that the ends of the wrap are long and so can easily drag on the ground, so not good if it is wet outside. Perhaps it will just take a bit more practice.
I plan to take this carrier back to the UK with me, I anticipate needing it when I get on and off the plane and for when I go through customs and need to pick up my bags as I go through immigration.
I return the carrier in one month when I go to the next meeting. So if you borrow one you need to go to the next meet which you drop off in the first 30 minutes of the meeting or arrange to give it back earlier if necessary. I think this system works nicely and I’m looking forward to going back again to try some of the other carriers!
Find out more about your local meet here www.babywearinginternational.org