Today I was on the bus to Tzfat (Safed) and was thinking – as I do almost every single time I have a lengthy trip somewhere and have to spend hours away from home – how glad I am to be able to wear Yirmiyahu in a wrap.
I wrote about babywearing with a stretchy wrap when my ds3 was little, and at the time, I found it hugely helpful in freeing up my hands and taking care of things around the house while keeping the baby happy. As useful as it was then, it’s even more helpful now! When we moved to Israel, I got rid of all of our baby stuff in our ruthless downsizing, with the exception of three things – one of them was the stretchy wrap, and one was a mei tai. I knew that if we had another baby, it would be expensive to aquire these again and that I’d really regret not having them. I’ve so many times thought how glad I am that we brought these along, because with all of the traveling in the city as well as outside of the city, it’s made my life so much easier. Now that we don’t have a car, the helpfulness of a wrap has skyrocketed!
I started wearing Yirmiyahu when he was less than two weeks old, at our first post-hospital doctor visit. Every time I needed to take a bus to another city for another appointment for him, I felt so grateful to have the stretchy wrap – the option would be taking a bulky stroller that I’d have to fold with one hand while holding him with the other, while simultaneously try to board the bus and pay without falling over! Not a fun thought. Like this, he’s securely held in place even when my hands are full or occupied, and I don’t have to drag extra baby paraphenalia around with me.
I also find it useful for when I need to get around locally, like trips to the store or for my daily walk to pick up ds5 from kindergarten. He stays cozy snuggled against me while I get my errands done. Today I tried a new way of wearing him, which I think is an improvement for him. Since babies with T21 have more flexible joints, you’re supposed to keep their legs together as much as possible. When I would put him in the wrap facing towards me, I always arranged his legs so they would be together, but now I’m wearing him facing sideways (similar to the cradle hold) and it’s easier to be sure his legs stay together the entire time. Both positions are comfortable for me since my back is well-supported. (See picture above.)
Not only is it practical, babywearing is helpful for a baby’s development in a number of ways. Dr. Bill Sears says that babywearing stimulates the baby’s vestibular system, and that the stimulation “helps babies breathe and grow better, regulates their physiology, and improves motor development” (Sears and Sears 2001). At the same time that babywearing offers the baby stimulation, it’s also calming for them.
I think that because he’s in the wrap versus a stroller that Yirmiyahu gets noticed alot, because he’s at chest level for people walking by so they don’t have to look down and into a stroller to see him. That means lots of smiles and comments about how cute he is, as well as comments about the wrap itself. Today the bus driver asked me as I was paying, if the baby was comfortable. I’ve had people tell me he’s too hot, too cold, too squished, too young to be out, his head isn’t supported enough,his head should be covered because of the sun or air conditioning, his legs should be hanging out, his legs shouldn’t be hanging out, he’s not secure enough – but since they usually tell me how cute he is at the same time, I don’t mind too much! I think of it as a nice thing about living in Israel, that strangers care enough to tell you how to take care of your child.
I was fortunate to be given this wrap by an online friend (who is also a blog reader) when she finished using it with her son, and it’s gotten tons of use since then! I’ve shared it with a friend in Michigan, who used it for months and then mailed it back to me when she finished with it. Then I moved to Israel and I shared it with two different friends here. And now I’m using it once again. It’s gotten lots of mileage and I anticipate that it will get a lot more usage before I’m ready to move Yirmiyahu into the mei tai.
I’ve been asked by lots of people if I use this in the house, and the answer is, rarely. It’s really useful but when the kids are home, there’s always someone (usually more than one someone) who is waiting to hold Yirmiyahu. He’s rarely put down unless he’s sleeping, though sometimes someone will put him in the baby seat and rock him. More often, when one person is finished holding him, they pass him to the next person waiting. Now that the kids started school, I’m hearing daily complaints from several of them that they hardly get to hold him anymore. Problems, problems.