By Wendy Cray Kaufman of ABCs and Garden Peas
This post about babywearing was made possible by Catbird Baby, who provided the mei tai carrier for my review. All opinions are my own and honest based on my personal experience.
Sometime between last week’s snowstorms and freezing rain, we were lucky enough to spend an afternoon outside. The whole family, outside . . . . together. How rare these days! Appropriately enough, we went to a local Ice Festival where we searched for ice sculptures, visited some local businesses and watched the chilly thrill seekers take the Polar Plunge into the Susquehanna River.
Getting out and about after a long winter got me really amped up for spring. Elliette was so tiny last year, but now she’s a year old so we’ll have a lot more freedom to roam. And no matter where we go, I know I can just pop her into a carrier and let her enjoy the view from the catbird seat!
Wait, what’s the “catbird seat”?
The story mentioned above is what inspired the Catbird Baby name, and it’s so fitting. I’ve always loved babywearing in a soft-structured carrier because it really does put baby in the prime seat for exploring and interacting while staying safe and comforted, but my Catbird Baby Mei Tai makes it easier than ever. It’s my first mei tai, and I am so glad that I finally know how easy they are to use. No buckles, no adjusting, no confusion. I guess I always thought you had to be some kind of knot-tying genius to use one, but nope. The third time I used it I was alone with both kids and got it on and off perfectly with no help. Easy like pie.
Babywearing allows me to keep my baby up near my eye level, so she can see everything and everyone I see (instead of the knees of everyone in the crowd coming at her, and not me, which can’t be fun.) No strangers touching her, no worrying about where she is . . . because she’s always right there. No matter where we go this year, she’ll be there, close to my heart, where she’ll drink in all the new things I’ll show her, where she’ll show me the things I miss, and where I can quietly calm her with whispers and kisses when that excitement gets to be a little overwhelming.
But the best thing about babywearing is that it really puts me in the catbird seat, too. I can’t think of a more “advantageous position” than right next to the eyes and curious face of a small child. There’s no better reminder of the eye-catching world we (as adults) so often miss in our rush to do all those things we always seem to be doing.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that babywearing allows the whole family to benefit from that catbird seat vantage point. We’ll be exploring the best our state has to offer this year, and whether we’re shopping at the farmer’s markets in Lancaster or cheering for chocolate at the Hershey attractions, my baby girl and I will be having fun right along with the rest of the family.
I’ve gotten sidelined with strollers in the past, only to have to stay back while my son went off and had fun with Daddy. We’ve had trouble fitting on trams and let’s not even talk about those places where you’re allowed to park your stroller and just leave it. (Talk about anxiety!) Babywearing solves all of those issues for us, and allows me to go anywhere and do just about anything my family is doing. I can breastfeed on the move, and never get stuck on a bench or backed up in a crowd, which is good for the whole family since it keeps sibling resentment to a minimum. When we do have to use a stroller for longer outings, we can get away with a compact single. We don’t even own a double!
I often hear remarks as we walk through crowds and browse stores together – “Look at that neat contraption! Oh, the things they have these days!” – but keeping baby close is parenting wisdom as old as time. After being so intertwined during pregnancy, it’s pure instinct to want to keep my baby wrapped up tightly against my body, and it comforts me as much as it does her. So, until we walk side-by-side, my little bird is riding with me.