The Weight I Carry

September 21, 2011

Adam is a dad blogger at Hanging with Dad. Which, in itself, makes him awesome. But on top of that? He’s a crunchy, cloth diapering, babywearing, stay at home dad.

Right? Like, the levels of awesomeness can’t be described.

Because he’s is a babywearing guru, I am thrilled to be having him post on wearing his son Isaac in different carriers – and the ups and downs that go with them (the 2,347 foot Moby wrap you stare at helplessly). With pics. Please to enjoy:

I started baby wearing 5 years ago, when my oldest nephew was born. My wife bought her sister a Moby to wear him around and I would, on occasion, wear him in it. It wasn’t long before he outgrew it and my sister-in-law never bought another carrier, so it kind of left my mind.

When Erin got pregnant, however, the Moby was handed back to us. Not only that, Erin went all out researching wraps and slings and every conceivable thing that you can wear your kid with. By the time Isaac was born we had a Moby, a sling and a Didymos Waves wrap.

Here’s the deal with baby wearing. It’s intimidating.

That’s just a fact. You’re presented with a huge piece of fabric and told “Okay, tie knots around your body and hold your baby up.” I was scared out of my mind when I first put my nephew in the Moby. It’s all so simple until you get a baby in one hand and a 12 foot piece of fabric in the other. Then you’re staring at Sanskrit. I would listen to my wife talk about this carry and that and how this one was different because you spun the wrap this way or that and I would, for all intents and purposes, just shut down. It seemed like so much.

So I did the only thing I could that would let me ever wear Isaac. I told her to teach me ONE front carry. That was it. I didn’t need to know 5 ways to carry him, I didn’t even need to know TWO ways to carry him. I only needed one. Isaac wouldn’t mind and I’d be sane. Win-win. When Isaac hit 6 or 7 months it was time to start wearing him in back carries and I discovered that I was not nearly flexible enough to tie Isaac in a wrap on my back. That’s when I discovered the genius of Soft Structured Carriers and I now wear him on my back in either a Boba or a BabyHawk Mei Tai.

Baby wearing paid quick dividends for us. When Isaac was first born he always seemed hungry and put his hands in his mouth all the time. He was fussy and one of the few things that calmed him down was to be worn (we found out later that a tongue tie issue was not allowing him to eat effectively, so we were essentially starving him the first few weeks). One night I put him in a wrap and literally walked him around the house for 3 hours to keep him asleep. It was a lifesaver. Now we don’t wear him around the house much, but when the witching hour comes and he’s fussy at the end of the day, going up on one of our backs is just the solution to make it through until dinner time.

As crunchy as I have ever been, baby wearing a cloth diapered, home birthed child and bouncing on an exercise ball to calm him.

As Isaac got older and started crawling (and started staying awake longer, allowing us to go out more often), baby wearing became even more important. As pretty much any parent knows, other people LOVE to touch babies without asking. They come up, tell you how cute your child is, and either pinch their legs, pinch their cheeks or maybe muss their hair. Fairly innocent, but strange nonetheless. I’ve noticed, however, touching drastically decreases when I’m wearing Isaac as opposed to him being in the shopping cart or even being held in my arms. I’m not one to worry about Isaac being around germs, I just don’t like strangers grabbing at my kid.

What’s even nicer is that I can go to the store (or anywhere really) and I have both hands free to do stuff AND I don’t have to worry about Isaac leaning out of the cart to grab stuff. When he’s on me I know pretty much exactly what he can grab and I don’t have to worry about how I position the cart or stroller or anything else. If I can grab it there’s a good chance he can at least get close.

Those are some of the obvious perks to baby wearing. There are also more subtle benefits.

First off, as a stay at home dad, I’m responsible for dressing Isaac. To put it mildly, I’m a typical guy. My fashion sense is limited and if I’m wearing anything with a print on it I still ask my wife if what I’m wearing matches. Now that I’m responsible for dressing Isaac it’s even more pressure. Wearing him, however, PRETTY MUCH HIDES THE OUTFIT. With Isaac wrapped up on me, all you can see is below the knee and his arms. Pressure averted.

The second benefit is the ability to leave the stroller at home. I mean, have you seen the size of strollers these days? I’m pretty sure that after putting in and taking out a stroller from your car 100 times you probably need back surgery. You also need a large SUV just to fit it in your car. You know how much room I need for my wrap? If I really wanted to I could fit my Mei Tai into one of the pockets in my cargo shorts. Seriously. When we go out and I see parents with these ginormous stroller blocking all sorts of space, I think of how much easier and simpler everything would be if more people wore their kid.

Finally, there’s the awesomeness of having your baby close to you. It’s a great feeling to have your child wrapped up on you and have them playing with you or laying their head down on you to go to sleep. Once you’ve worn your child for a little while they start getting excited when they see you pull out the wrap or soft structured carrier. With Isaac, Erin bought a wrap called Spring that was a limited release around the time of Isaac’s birth. She wears him in it now and it’s the wrap she’s planning to hand down to Isaac when he grows up and has kid(s) of his own.

If that’s not a good enough reason to baby wear, I don’t know what is.

19 Comments

  • NikkiG

    September 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    My son is now 7, and I’m pregnant with our second child. I carried my son in the sling most of the time. I didn’t know if there were other options back then. It seems like they are more versatile now. I recommended a sling to a friend and touted it “greatness” and she asked me about all of the ways to use it. I said I didn’t know. I only used the one. With the sling, I never attempted the back wearing ability, nor did I like the baby carrier that I had to stick the legs through. It was hard to keep the legs warm and almost always woke up him when trying to take him off. With the sling, I could almost completely just roll him out into his bed. We never used a stroller. When he could walk (which was at 9 months), he hated to be confined to it, so I either carried him (when he slept) or he would walk.

    Great post!

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    September 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I’m a recent baby-wearing convert. I thought it was just for super crunchy parents and couldn’t understand how a person could ever favor it over the stroller. Now that I have a fifteen pound three month old, a Honda Civic and a stroller that needs to be dismantled to fit into said Honda I get it. And seriously there is nothing better than when my daughter falls asleep in the sling. I can literally watch her sleep. I’m also way more mobile now that we have the sling.

    I’m like you though…I only need one way to carry. I returned my Moby because I was so intimidated by it and just got a pouch sling instead.

    I also thought I was imagining things when I would pull out the sling and my daughter’s eyes would get wide with excitement but I guess I’m not. 🙂

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      Baby wearing: Not just for the crunchy 🙂

      Isaac hasn’t fallen asleep on me in a long time, but I love when I have him on my back and he starts getting tired and lays his head down on my back. When he was younger and would fall asleep in the wrap I was just like you though, I’d tuck his head in and pretty much just stare at him for a bit…then I’d get back to housework.

  • Daneilia

    September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I wanted to try the baby wraps but I was highly intimidated and so I never got around to it. I just always stuck with my Baby Bjorn which wasn’t bad but the straps were overwhelming to my shoulders (even though she wasn’t heavy) once my daughter started walking. But by the time L turned 9 months she was already walking so letting Mommy put her in the baby sling was a no go haha.

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      That’s the common complaint with the Baby Bjorn, they hurt like hell after a few minutes (there’s also some evidence that it’s not good for hip development, but that’s a whole other, huge, topic).

      Even though Isaac is a mover and a shaker (but not a walker…yet), he still loves to be worn when we’re out. He can see everything better and can point and talk and smile at people at face level. It’ll also come in handy when he is walking but gets tired. Since my carriers can fit in the diaper bag I’ll have them at the ready.

      But each kid is different, sorry your daughter decided being worn wasn’t for her. You never know though, she could come around 🙂

  • Chris Tilley (@HHTales)

    September 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I do cloth diapers but I never got into the baby wearing. Thought about and even tried my wife’s wrap once. The 100lb difference between me and my wife made it difficult to use and pickish purple pattern is really not my color. Ended up using a stroller.

    You know you are a SAHD if you know the carrying capacity of your stroller and proper load balancing.

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      Wraps come in many different sizes. The purple Didymos Waves wrap we have is a 6 or a 7 and it’s the only one I can use (other than the Moby) to wrap Isaac. My wife has some wraps that are smaller sizes (4s and 5s, with one 2 that was converted to a ring sling), but she’s not allowed to sell the Didymos unless she gets one that’s the same length.

      If you’re interested in baby wearing, look into Soft Structured Carriers. Those are generally more “manly”. My Mei Tai, for instance, is a dark brown with a blue pattern in the middle that’s not girly. The Boba is also not girly at all. If you want to ditch the stroller, that’s what I’d recommend.

  • Katrina @ Hix in the Stix ~ Army Edition

    September 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I LOVE baby wearing! My husband wouldn’t wear them much when they were babies because they both had reflux and he just couldn’t handle the spit up (it was actually really funny to watch him gag and try to NOT throw up at the merest dribble of spit-up!) but now we both wear them! Especially if we’re going to be doing a lot of walking.
    My son actually doesn’t really like to be worn in the summertime, though, because he gets so hot (seriously, if it’s over 70 degrees he looks like he’s sitting in a sauna with the amount of sweat pouring down his little face…and he’s only 1!)…any suggestions on baby carriers that would put a little cooling distance between us? I’ve used a Mai Tei (SP?) and a sling.

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      I am completely with you on the sweat issue. I sweat pretty much every time I wear Isaac, but he doesn’t mind and I would be sweating even if I weren’t wearing him so it doesn’t bother me.

      As for cooler wrap solution, I turn the keyboard over to my wife…

      Ring slings are good for warmer weather. Also, some WAHM soft-structured carriers (such as Bamberoo) have solar veil which breathes well and also has some UV blocking properties.

      If you’re looking for a warm weather wrap linen blends or even all linen wraps ( like Oscha) are great. Just know that if you buy a linen wrap/blend new if will take a bit of breaking in before it gets soft. I have a Didymos Agave which is a 50% linen wrap and it’s very thin and great for the Texas heat. Didymos waves are all cotton but have a looser weave so they tend to breathe a bit more as well. Vatanai wraps are very thin and can be good warm weather wraps, too. Basically things that help a wrap not be super hot are loose weave, thin, and linen blends. Thinner wraps tend to get pressure points so you do have to wrap a little more carefully. Further if you do single layer carries that helps too so you only have 1 layer of fabric over you and baby as opposed to 2 or 3 layers. Hope that helps!

      People on The Baby Wearer are very helpful as well if you need guidance with wraps or carriers

  • Not There Yet

    September 21, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I love baby wearing! And it is so nice to hear a dad getting in board too. My DH is going to start wearing our son very soon – exciting!

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Your husband will love it. I don’t know how you can’t.

      I know my brother-in-law (who is in NO WAY crunchy) plans to borrow my Boba the next time he goes camping with his kids. The last time he went they were hiking and the 4 year old decided he was done walking and wanted daddy to carry him. My BIL carried the 4 year old sitting on his shoulders the rest of the way.

  • Alexia

    September 21, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Yay for baby wearing!! And baby wearing Dads!! My husband and I both LOVE wearing our little girl. Though he wouldn’t touch the Moby wrap, he loves the Boba and even rocked the Baby K’tan for a little while. The thing is if more people knew how easy it was and how much more comfortable for you and baby, I think they would try it. I can take my toddler out of her carseat and into a Mei Tai and into the grocery store without ever waking her from her nap. It’s fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Wow, Isaac in no way sleeps that well in his car seat. He does, however, LOVE coming off my back in the Mei Tai. While it might freak everyone out, I make sure the straps are under his arms, hold the straps up and swing him around to my front. He always gets a big smile on his face when I do it.

      And I 100% agree with you about how many more people would baby wear if they knew how easy it is. It looks hard, it takes a little while to learn, but then it’s a breeze. People ask me about my carriers all the time when I’m wearing Isaac and say it looks so great and easy. I try to tell them they’re right and they should try it, but I doubt anyone has taken up baby wearing because of it. It’s different in America and different takes a while to catch on.

  • Michelle

    September 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Awesome! I have some basic experience with babywearing but have already bought a 2nd hand Moby Wrap for this new baby and I am undecided about the sling for the newborn phase. I feel like the Moby Wrap may meet my needs for the newborn phase and then get a Mei Tai or Ergo for when the baby is bigger. Any thoughts anyone?

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

      The Moby will definitely meet your needs for the newborn phase. I love ours.

      I can’t speak directly about the Ergo (I’ve only worn one once for a grand total of 2-3 minutes), but you can’t really go wrong with either it or a Mei Tai. What I really liked about the Mei Tai is you can tie them up higher on your back. If you start wearing your child in a back carry when they’re around 9 months (that’s when I started), a Soft Structured Carrier will probably leave your child staring at your shoulder blades. With a Mei Tai, since you tie it around yourself, you can set them up higher so they can see over your shoulder. That’s why I ended up getting both.

      I’ve worn a 35 pound kid in my Mei Tai and it worked just fine, but the Boba is definitely the more comfortable of the two (to me at least) when they get bigger.

  • Jen

    September 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Great post! We have both worn B since birth and love how easy it can make things. We have a Oh Snap now which makes it easy for both Joe and I to wear him on our back.

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

      I looked at getting an Oh Snap but I couldn’t find a store or friend with one for me to try on. There’s a place near our house that had Boba’s, Ergos and Beco’s in stock and I tried them on a little bit before Isaac was big enough to actually ride in it. I didn’t really notice much of a difference between the 3, so when Boba had a sale and I could buy it for $60 we jumped on it.

  • Samantha @Yoga Mama

    September 21, 2011 at 8:06 am

    This is a fantastic post. We have two boys and have baby worn (?) them both, and with another on the way I’m on the lookout for new wraps.. I love that you and Diana paired up for this – you two are my baby wearing gurus now. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Adam @ Hanging with Dad

      September 21, 2011 at 8:38 am

      I love to share baby wearing talk with anyone willing to listen. One thing I didn’t write that I should have is that there are baby wearing groups all over the country. We joined one in town and the ladies have tons of wraps that they bring to someone’s house and just play with them all day.

      That’s how I learned that I liked the Mei Tai (I actually traded some Rocky Mountain cloth diapers that didn’t fit Isaac right for the one I have now) and that a back wrap wasn’t going to work for me.

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