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From The Journal

Education

Embrace the front carry

By Liz Taylor

Scenario 1: You’re feeling comfortable with the wrapping basics. You know the difference between a rail and a tail. Your seat creates the perfect ‘wrappy bum’, and your selfie taking skills are coming along nicely! Your wrappee is less of a fragile, sleepy newborn and more of a robust, alert baby, fascinated by the blossoming world around them. You’re excited. The time has come. Time to branch out into back carries!

Scenario 2: You’re feeling comfortable with the soft structured carrier or buckle carrier basics. You know the difference between an Ergo, a Manduca, and a Tula. Your straps are tightened to perfection, and when your buckles click into place, you get a tiny shiver of satisfaction. Your baby has outgrown the infant insert, is less of a fragile, sleepy newborn and more of a robust, alert baby, fascinated by the blossoming world around them. You’re excited. The time has come. Time to branch out into back carries!

Do either of these situations sound familiar?

One of the wonderful things about the practice of Babywearing is the versatility of being able to both front and back carry your child. And let’s face it: after day in, day out, of doing the good ol’ Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC), or buckling that SSC, it can get kind of boring. You’re in the online support groups. You’re in your favourite brand’s chatter group. You’ve seen the capabilities of this Babywearing caper. You want more!

So, you ask the question; when can I back carry in my woven/buckle carrier And the responses are mixed, and often confusing. Some say “Not yet”. Others say “Go ahead!”. Probably the most sensible response is most likely going to mention a Babywearing meet, to get some hands on, face to face support. Whatever response you listen to though, the truth is that if you’ve had these thoughts about moving onto back carries, you’re going to likely attempt one sooner rather than later.

The day you try your first back carry, you’re both eager and nervous. You take a dozen photos from every imaginable angle, and rue the fact you’ve never contemplated buying a Selfie Stick, until now. You post some pics onto some (or all!) of your Babywearing groups, asking for feedback, advice, critique. The Babywearing community responds in kind, with helpful tips and hints. You excitedly practise getting your baby onto your back at every opportunity you can find.

Then, quite unexpectedly, your baby refuses the back carry. You try putting her into your favourite wrap or buckle carrier on your back, but she’s screaming. Leg straightening. Arching herself backwards. You shush, rock from side to side, distract with a teething toy, everything you know works. But today, nothing is. Is this the dreaded ‘wrap strike’ they talk of? Isn’t that not supposed to occur until toddlerhood? You’re confused. Frightened. You need this Babywearing to work! How are you going to be able to look after your other children, do your housework, feed your family, if you lose this most amazing parenting tool?

You turn to your chatter groups. What are you doing wrong? “Nothing!” they assure you. You sigh with relief. Your practising has paid off. Your skill is sound. “Try again tomorrow!” they tell you.

But there’s one person who stands out in the crowd of reassuring wearers; that person, somewhat timidly, asks you: “Have you tried wearing him on your front recently? Perhaps he is seeking comfort from you. #Embracethefrontcarry “

So why front carry?

Studies have shown that the more a baby is held, the less they cry. When your baby is attached to you in a front carry, he is completely in tune with you; your breathing, your heartbeat, your scent. Wearing your baby in a front carry promotes his happiness and well being!

Your close proximity to your child when you are front carrying permits you to be in tune with her in a more immediate way. You are able to learn her tired signs, her hunger signs, and her happiness signs, enabling you to be more aware of her ever changing needs. Wearing your baby in a front carry assists your communication with her!

Aside from being an excellent tool for comforting your baby, a front carry is also an extremely safe place for them to be. The front carry allows your baby to feel secure in your embrace, providing time for them to develop their sense of independence at their own pace. Wearing your baby in a front carry provides your baby with safety and security!

And who doesn’t love the cuddles?

Wearing your baby has several health benefits for both you and your child. But the front carry is special for many reasons, not all of which have been discussed!

So,

Kiss their sleepy head and breathe in their smell, the fleeting scent of babyhood that leaves as their independence grows.

Brush the lock of hair from their face. Wipe their eyes when they are despondent or bewildered.

Behold the wonderment in their eyes, as they realise day after day how big their world really is, all the time nestled in the warmth and security of your arms.

Feel the warmth of their soft skin on yours. Hold them while they still allow you to, before their feet run them away from you, rather than towards.

Embrace the front carry.

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