I recently had the privilege of traveling back to my hometown to spend a week with my sister, Chenika, a new mom of a 2-week old baby, whom I’ll call Baby C. I brought my daughter, Ziona, with me. The four of us spent some time at home and some time out doing errands and having fun. Chenika has four types of carriers, so at the end of the week I interviewed her about babywearing and about life with Baby C.
Cynthia: Firstly, how does it feel to be a new mom to Baby C?Chenika: It’s mostly joyful and sometimes challenging. She’s so sweet and small. I’m in love with her. But it gets tough when she cries inconsolably at night.
Cynthia: Most parents definitely understand that. Now, will you tell me about how you first learned about babywearing?
Chenika: I first learned about babywearing from seeing your Facebook pictures of using carriers with Ziona. The first time I used a carrier was when I visited you in D.C. when Ziona was about four months old. Babywearing made it a breeze to maneuver around D.C.’s Metro system.
|Chenika with her niece, Ziona, four years ago|
Chenika: Babywearing did not come easily to me even though I was excited about all the carriers I had before Baby C was born. I learned from you that the both the pouch and the mei tai were too big for my little peanut. I was too nervous to try the ring sling and the wrap by myself.
Cynthia: During this week that we spent together, when has babywearing come in handy the most?
Chenika: The carriers were helpful whenever we did errands. They were really helpful when went out to lunch—you or I could keep her calm while having our hands free to eat (and talk on the phone). At home the carriers help Baby C to calm down quickly when she gets upset...especially if she’s on the front porch.
|Baby C with Aunt Cynthia and cousin Ziona|
Cynthia: Do you want to talk a bit about your first “real” day out after she was born? When we went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens?
Chenika: It was definitely helpful to have her in a carrier as we visited the Missouri Botanical Gardens (MOBot). Baby C’s pediatrician recommended that I don’t let her get too close to many people right away. When we were in the lobby of MOBot one boy form a large school group on a field trip was overly interested in Baby C. I was able to engage him in conversation while putting some space between him and my baby. Also, we had to walk a couple blocks since the parking lot was full. It was easy to maneuver without a stroller.
|Snuggling with mama while waiting in line|
|Ziona and her Aunt Chenika with Baby C at the MO Botanical Garden|
Cynthia: What made you go out with your newborn?
Chenika: I thought it would be good for all of us because. Baby C often gets calm being outside on the front porch—so I thought it would be good for her to get some fresh air and vitamin D. Also, we had our big kid, Ziona, who needed an outlet for some of her energy. Plus, I’d been cooped up inside for 2 weeks.
|All the beautiful ladies|
Cynthia: When has Babywearing been the least helpful?
Chenika: So far it has only been helpful. I accidentally went out one on Sunday without any carriers at all and immediately knew that it was a mistake. I held her throughout the entire church service while she slept. Then there was no convenient place to put the car seat while she slept when we went out to lunch after church.
|Chenika can eat out with Baby C|
Cynthia: I’d like to hear about your experience using your various carriers. Can you talk a bit about your pouch?
Chenika: Before you arrived I tried the pouch several times, but I couldn’t figure out why she disliked it so much. It was helpful to learn that the pouch I have was too big for me. I didn’t realize that she shouldn’t be so low on my torso. I noticed how the pouch was a better fit for you. I’m going to exchange it for a smaller size. I think I’ll enjoy having something that I can pop her into quickly.
|Aunt Cynthia shows how the pouch fits her better than her sister|
Cynthia: What about your mei tai?
Chenika: I really like having an easy-to-use, two shouldered carrier. It has really come in handy. She’s still a bit small for it, but the modifications that you taught me really help.
|The mei tai was a versatile option for both mama and auntie|
Cynthia: What do you think about the ring sling?
Chenika: I like how small it folds and how snug she is in it. I’ll keep practicing how to adjust it properly.
|Aunt Cynthia could snuggle baby AND do her hair|
|Snuggles with Aunt Cynthia|
Cynthia: Will you talk a bit about the wraps you have?
Chenika: I’m looking forward to learning how to use them. I love the versatility, though. I have the woven wrap that you used with Ziona, as well as a hybrid stretch/woven. I’m happy that I have something that I can pre-tie and then pop her into.
|Aunt Cynthia demonstrates the stretchy wrap|
Cynthia: It was fun spending the week with you two. Thanks for trusting me with your baby! I am excited that there are carriers that these two cousins will have both been carried in.
I’m also proud that I was the second person to hold Baby C—and the first to wear her…within hours of her birth. I love you two, sis!
|Cynthia with a Baby Ziona, 4yrs ago|
|Aunt Cynthia and her beautiful sister with brand new Baby C|