As we walked home from the village Memorial Day parade the other day, J. on M's back in the Ergo and C. in the sling on my front, kangaroo style, a woman came up to us and asked about the sling. "Do you trust it?" she said. I kept it short, telling her, yes, I do absolutely trust it to hold my kid. But my response to that question could have been much, much longer.
Frankly, I'm in love with our sling. I bought it a month or so after J's birth, after figuring out what I wanted in a carrier. It was one of the only new baby items I really knew I wanted and why. The Maya Wrap Sling was my choice. I chose it because it is beautiful and multicolored, because the fabric was fairly traded, and because it is adjustable and good for lots of holds. I also really wanted something that kept my baby close and snuggled.
It took me some time to become dexterous with it, but once I did, boy! did that baby spend time in the sling! First, in the cradle hold, nursing when she wanted, dozing when she wanted, as we spent time around the house or out at gatherings at friends' houses.
Then, as she got a bit bigger, we discovered that she was, in fact, a joey! The kangaroo hold was a fixture for quite some time. Then, sadly, she got too big, and we had to upgrade to the Ergo (which I also love, but it is more fixed in its applications and not so simple and beautiful).
One of the things I looked so forward to with the birth of C. was the return of the sling to my daily life. And, indeed, we use it constantly. However, delightfully, C. is her own person. She will have nothing to do with being cradled, preferring to be upright. In the last month or so, the world has beckoned, calling, "C.! Find your joey-self!" And now, nothing but the kangaroo will do!
I'm savoring this time of holding C. close and feeling her drop off into sleep while I'm baking or helping J. "cook" or "go to work." I love this middle time of her drinking in the world but also snuggling close to me. It is so lovely to delight in daily attachment. All that I have read in pyschology textbooks and social work journals about healthy attachment and the need to nurture this bond becomes so real when I'm baby-carrying.
So, the more complete answer to that woman's question the other day goes something like this: Yes, I do trust it because I trust myself. Although I sometimes question my decisions about sleep, about limit-setting, about this about that, I really don't question my decision to carry my girls as much as possible. I know that this is the right thing for us. It allows them to balance connection and exploration, and it allows me to balance getting things done and providing attentive nurturing.
I will miss these days of babywearing when they are done. My back will be relieved, and it'll be exciting to see my girls take on the world on their own two feet, but the sweetness of the sling embrace will be a delicious memory I hope to keep for a long time.