We carry our babies for 9 months, maybe more. Regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not, growing our precious minis is a pretty level playing field and things take care of themselves for the most part.
We all look forward to delivery day when we get to snuggle our precious cargo, see and feel all that gorgeousness. As a wheelchair user with limited dexterity and non-existent balance and as a first time mum, the prospect of holding a wriggly baby safely, while also navigating my own mobility challenges, was something that filled me with dread. How could I keep my baby safe, meet all their needs and still fully participate in my own daily life?
We all know that babies love to be held close and there’s plenty of research and science around oxytocin and brain development etc. But for a mum who very often needs at least one hand free in order to be able to move at all, babywearing is one of the most empowering and liberating elements of our parenting toolkit.
10 Reasons Why Babywearing is a Lifesaver for Mommas on Wheels
- Babies are small and squishy and cute but they need almost constant cuddles in the early days and let’s face it, they get HEAVY! A baby sling or carrier takes baby’s weight safely and still gives them the closeness to momma that they crave.
- A sling or carrier (especially a stretchy wrap or a ring sling) is very versatile and allows for lots of different carries and positions. Whilst back carrying is obviously out of the question for me, a ring sling or stretchy wrap is particularly useful if you have less strength on one side or if you’ve had a caesarean birth and need to make sure baby isn’t against your tender areas.
- Carrying baby in a sling leaves your hands free to move your chair or use a walking aid with baby still totally safe and close, as snug as a bug.
- Carrying baby close means you don’t need to worry about dragging around heavy prams or pushchairs or super expensive pram attachments for your wheelchair. Let’s face it, even pre baby, getting out of the house was slow enough, now we have impromptu nappy explosions to contend with just as we’re about to leave the house too; the less heavy equipment we have to lug with us the better.
- Slings and carriers are much cheaper (and prettier) than prams. Leaving you more cash to spend when out shopping and more space in the boot for the shopping bags!
- A stretchy wrap can be put on in the morning while you’re getting dressed and worn all day. It’s barely noticeable and would pass for a nice scarf or shawl. This means you have minimal fuss wrapping and unwrapping and you can just pop baby in and out as needed throughout the day.
- Carriers are designed for even weight distribution which means they’re good for posture and take the pressure off Momma’s back and shoulders.
- Similarly, baby is always in a good position (when the correct guidelines are followed) meaning they are comfortable, will sleep well and will be upright and able to deal with wind better.
- With a bit of practice it’s very possible to breastfeed discreetly in a sling. Without the sling there is nothing subtle, graceful or elegant about me preparing to feed my babies. With a beautiful carrier encasing us however, I’m Mama Earth personified!
- Best of all - baby carrying means extra cuddles! What’s not to love? Baby has spent the last 9-10 months as close as they can be to you with your heartbeat as their soundtrack. The closer they can be to you on the outside, the happier you’ll both be.
Sarah Griffiths “Wheelie Momma” Author, blogger, speaker and intuitive empowerment coach. https://wheeliemomma.co.uk/