Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Babywearing as a nanny

Here's a lovely story from Isa about her introduction to babywearing while working as a nanny:

A few years before my own baby was born, I worked as nanny in a nanny share situation. I looked after two little boys from two different families, one was 22 months when I started, the other 15 months. The families provided me with a twin stroller – a total disaster in Wellington, in my opinion, unless you're using one to stroll along Oriental Parade. So I opted to try the single mountain buggy and a framed baby backpack. It worked, but was very tiring. I really didn't like trying to push (and hold on to) a heavy push chair up and down the hills of Wellington and the framed backpack was killing my back. It hurt the whole time I was using it, and then for days after. But it was better than the alternative. So I taught the older boy to walk on his own, and by the time he was 2 ½, I usually carried the younger boy on my back while the older one walked.

After a year of working with them, the younger boy's family told us they were moving overseas in a few months time. Another family was found, with an 11 month old, and for a while I had the three of them. This little baby cried for eight hours the first day. It was awful. He only wanted to be held (because he was so miserable, not because he was necessarily used to being held). My arms and back ached, and when I came home from work that day I researched ways to carry online and found – wraps! I bought five metres of woven fabric, folded it over lengthwise and stitched it together. My first sling! It was pink with little flowers on it, and I was very proud of it. The little baby liked it too, he stopped crying and rested against my chest, and I wore him all day in it, with no pain at all. Yay! The first few times it was a hassle trying to tie it on right but I soon I got the hang of it and could do it anywhere.

This was early in 2007 and I'd never seen anyone around Wellington with a wrap or sling or even an Ergo. My home-made sling got quite a bit of attention at music groups and playgroups, as well as out in public. It made my life a lot easier. For the time I had all three boys, the middle child went on my back in the framed backpack. It allowed me to do projects with the older kids, or prepare meals, with the baby tied to me, resting and cuddling. It made outings easier, and I could get involved with the older children at music and other activities.And I found that babywearing is a wonderful way of bonding quickly with babies and young children. This makes a huge difference as a nanny, when you are usually left on your own with children who do not, at first, know you very well. It benefits the child greatly, as there is a much shorter period of adjustment so less stress all around.

The wrap quickly became an important part of my life as a nanny - easy, nice, gently. And I couldn't
wait to have my own baby to wear!

(Unfortunately when my own daughter came along she hated my lovely wraps with a vengeance! But that is another story...)

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