Back when she was still small, I wore my eldest daughter, Digna, in a stretchy wrap but had to stop as soon as she got too heavy. The first attempts to wrap her were far from smooth. I learned to wrap on my own, from a booklet packaged with the wrap. Unlike Digna, I quickly found wrapping with a stretchy wrap uncomfortable and at the time, I had no idea that it was possible to seek advice from a specialized babywearing consultant and had no knowledge of woven wraps either. As a result, we had to take an unplanned break from babywearing. Luckily, I eventually discovered back carries in woven wraps and quickly started wearing her again. I kept on wearing her throughout my second pregnancy and did so as long as my body would let me. After Silvijn was born we kept wrapping her fairly frequently. Digna is now 4,5 years old and she still enjoys being worn by me or her dad. When she sees one of us reaching for an SSC she asks instantly if she can go up on the back.
I’ve worn Silvijn, our second child, in a woven wrap ever since he was born. During the first year of life, he spent at least a couple of hours inside the sling every single day. Needless to say, we were both delighted with that state of affairs. He was most content when he was in close contact with my body and I had my hands free to play with Digna. Silvijn was very curious about everything, so I started wearing him on my back fairly early on. While on my back, he could enjoy a better view of his surroundings than in a front carry. When Silvijn was 10 months old, I started training to become a babywearing consultant. I kept on learning more and more as I wanted to be able to answer all the questions that I received from fellow mothers. I enjoyed the training very much and so six months later I went on and completed the second level course. My babywearing consultancy thrived but soon balancing both my workload and my family life became too cumbersome and I started feeling bad about the fact that I couldn’t reconcile the two. But I still help out friends and family from time to time when they need some advice about babywearing.
Our third child, baby Alinde, was in a rush to join us—she was born two months premature and had to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital. One day I found a basket full of goodies in her hospital room, sent over by a group of babywearing friends I met online. Among all the lovely gifts there was a gift card for a Rocking Horse Wovens sling, handwoven by Rinske. I chose the Jazz wrap, woven over the course of Alinde’s hospital stay. The Jazz wrap found its way into my hands shortly after we were allowed to bring our baby girl home. It has tremendous sentimental value to me and I will never ever sell it, I see it as a symbol of the tough times we went through and the strength and endurance Alinde showed during her stay in the hospital, before she grew strong enough to come home with us. Once my babywearing days come to an end, I will keep this special wrap for when Alinde herself becomes a mother. It may not be safe for babywearing by then, in which case I’m sure it will make a lovely blanket or something else with which to snuggle Alinde’s little ones.
That time at the hospital was tough but I really enjoyed staying in skin-to-skin contact with Alinde for hours at a time. Every single day she spent long hours sleeping on my bare skin. We keep saying that Alinde grew stronger on large doses of hugs. I did not wear her at the hospital, as she was not allowed to leave the neonatal unit, so we just sat together in her room. After a couple of weeks the doctors finally let her go home, I will never forget that day. I no longer had to leave my vulnerable baby girl behind when heading home in the evening to my other two children. I no longer had to suffer the heartache stemming from not being able to be with all my children. Alinde left the hospital in a wrap. I remember the moment very well, I wore her in Barbie Dots, my very first Artipoppe wrap. The nurses complimented us on keeping Alinde warmly nestled inside the wrap. Walking out of the the hospital room with Alinde snuggled in the wrap was unforgettable. I enjoyed wearing her so much that if I could, I would have walked back home. Unfortunately, the first time was painfully short as we had to unbundle her already in the parking lot.
Once home, she enjoyed being wrapped every single day. In the early days she was much too small to fit in a soft carrier, so my partner Bart learned to wrap as well. There were days when only nursing or wearing her in the sling could keep her calm. I cannot imagine going through these fussy days or taking care of three children without wrapping. Wraps allowed me to be the mother I wanted to be. Even with my hands full I can still be there for all my children and give all of them the care and attention they need.
THE BABYWEARING BAG
I remember an older couple making a funny comment once. I had my son Silvijn wrapped on my back and wore a babywearing coat over him. “Your coat seems handy,” they said. “But won’t your baby fall out when he decides to stand up in there?” They thought I had a pocket in my coat in which he was sitting. I had to show them that there was a wrap involved and that there was no way that he could ever fall out.
Wraps give me ultimate freedom. I can take care of my horses and still keep my children close. Alinde is often wrapped on my back when I feed my horses or ground train them. Once, I even took her with me while working out with my personal trainer. We both ran very hot in that setup but we enjoyed it and Alinde kept on smiling while observing everything from my back.
I have loved riding horses ever since I was a little girl, back then it took up all of my free time. After a couple years of riding at several manèges, a dream of mine came true: my parents bought me a three-year-old mare which I had known since her birth. She is sixteen years old now and still belongs to me, always will. Before I became a mother I used to ride everyday. I still enjoy it very much, but these days I only manage to go out for a ride on just a couple of days each week. Being outside and enjoying the bond and the synergy between horse and rider cooperation is pure relaxation to me. My mare bore two foals in her lifetime and both births were an amazing experience. One of her foals is still with us, while the other one was sold. We keep several horses and a pony for the kids at home. Feeding, watering, grooming, and training them takes time and I simply cannot imagine how I would have ever managed to take care of my children and horses without babywearing. The only thing I cannot do while wearing Alinde in a wrap is the riding. The rest of our daily barn routine is perfectly workable.
Not only babywearing is addictive, so are the wraps. I love looking for new wraps, prowling for the the right combination of colors and especially the blend. Aside from the Rocking Horse Woven wrap, I have a couple of Artipoppe wraps with the Argus pattern. Artipoppe has everything I look for in a wrap. Not only are they very comfortable but extremely beautiful as well, wearing them give you this exquisite feeling of wrapping your child in luxury. I don’t know any other brand with so many different and excellent blends. Even though I have tried a lot of wraps, there are still quite a few left on my wishlist and I really hope to get my hands on these before my babywearing days come to an end.
ARTIPOPPE WIZARD KING
I instantly fell head over heels when I saw the Artipoppe Argus Golden Mermaid and Wizard King for the first time. The colors were stunning and the blend of cotton, babycamel, and silk was exquisite. That is the ultimate blend for me: it is soft, strong, and easy to wrap with. Artipoppe wraps are highly sought after so it took me about a year to get my hands on the Golden Mermaid. Wizard King was out of reach for a long time and frankly, I gave up all hope of ever having this beautiful wrap in my stash. Then, out of the blue, it was offered to me, in my favorite size no less! I still cannot believe my luck. My children do not care what wrap I use to wear them, but I find it delightful to be able to snuggle them in my favorites wraps.