My partner Kirsty has been an avid babywearer from the beginning; she wore the twins home from the hospital when they were born and they’ve been carried on her body almost every day since. The ease with which she manages the twins has convinced me to give it a try and I do wear them occasionally – only one at a time, mind! – but it’s still very much her thing. I asked her to write about babywearing for me – the words below are hers.
“Before our boys were born, I was adamant that I wanted to wear them to encourage our bonding, to give them a chance to learn the rhythms and warmth of my body, too. When they were 23 hours old, I wore them both home from the hospital in a tandem hip carry and though having them both snuggled up on my chest asleep fostered an instant love for babywearing, it would be a while before I would feel confident enough to manoeuvre their two tiny bodies into a double carry again. They felt so small and almost weightless; I was terrified of dropping or hurting them in some way. I wore them one at a time for the first six or so weeks and both together from then on.
They are now seven months old and I still wear them both every day.
“They must be heavy!”
Whenever I get the wrap out, I am met with two delighted grins, with arms waving in the air, with happiness. They love to be up close, to be where I am and see what I can see, to listen to my running commentary, to be shown things, until they get too tired and they fall asleep softly, enveloped in warmth. It’s important to them. Lysander loves to meet new people from the safety of his ‘pouch’ and Balthazar loves to tip his head right back to look at the sky and the trees. He always smiles and laughs when they wind catches his hair.
I love having them there. I love that I can kiss their tiny faces and tickle their little toes, that I can point things out to them, that I can talk and sing to them and tell them stories. I love having their warm little bodies snuggled up against mine when they sleep. I love that we all love this so much.
They are heavy, but they are not too heavy.
“That must hurt your back!”
Babywearing makes things easy in this household. One boy wants to sleep and the other wants to play very loudly? No problem. Tired boy goes up on my back and I have my hands free for playful boy. Tiredness has crept up on them quietly and suddenly they are both distraught and roaring, both wanting mummy, both wanting to be held to sleep? It takes me around four minutes to bundle them both safely in to a tandem hip carry. If we want, we can take the dog for a stroll at the same time and the boys can fall asleep with fresh air on their faces. The boy with the separation anxiety doesn’t want to be left whilst I go to the kitchen to make lunch? In to a quick hip carry he goes, with the added benefit that he can see what I’m doing in the kitchen, so it’s a learning experience too.
If it hurt me to wear them, then I wouldn’t do it. I am not a martyr.
“You’ll make them clingy!”
Developing strong, healthy attachments is important for children, and shapes how they form relationships in their adult lives. Their first and strongest attachment is (usually) to one or both parents. I don’t believe in “making children clingy”. I believe in nurturing a child gently through expected separation anxiety, and I believe that being worn can help with that.
They are both showing signs of growing independence. Babywearing doesn’t seem to be hindering this.
“You won’t be able to do that for much longer!”
When the boys were born, I formed relationships with them. Every passing week, those relationships change and grow, just like the babies do. Fostering these relationships is an ongoing process and for us, babywearing is a huge, important part of this. I am still learning who these little people are. They don’t even know themselves yet.
I will carry my children for as long as we all are in love with it.”
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