AP Ambassador

All wrapped up.
All wrapped up.

Whenever I pack our diaper bag, I include only necessities: two or three diapers, the changing pad, a handful of wipes, and a small notepad and pen. The notepad is a new inclusion, and is totally necessary. Anytime I forget it, I totally regret it. Why? Because every single time I snuggle Sweet Pea into his Moby Wrap at the store, or the park, or the university where Daddy teaches, someone says, “Wow, where’d you get that? My sister/my friend/my daughter could really use one!” This conversation though, is where my dilemma begins, because I am SO SOLD on the benefits of attachment parenting.

Snuggling at home
Snuggling a month after coming home

I long to share with them how much babywearing and AP have changed my life. It’s hard not to tell the random strangers our whole story about overcoming the challenges of Sweet Pea’s very premature birth.  In some ways, he is a poster child for using AP with premature babies.  My baby born at twenty-eight weeks is still exclusively breastfed (with the addition of a few avocadoes and pears) at a year old.  He’s had a single cold in his first year and never been re-hospitalized.  His growth rate is the same as that of his term friends.  Wearing him close against me in the wrap in the early days when he came home was balm on the wound of our early separation and the subsequent two months we had to spend with limited physical contact.  I am so proud of my family for overcoming the overwhelming odds against us, and I am so grateful for AP for giving us the great tools to do so.

Helping to clean the house
Helping to clean the house!

Instead, I watch my happy, secure, attached baby smile at everyone who comes near him and know that his sweetness speaks volumes for the benefits of babywearing. I can see how he brightens the days of the grandmas, mamas, friends and aunts who go out of their way to satisfy their curiosity about his unique method of getting around. Instead of the personal ways that babywearing has worked for me and my family, I talk in more general terms and try to be an ambassador rather than a missionary. I tell them the terms “attachment parenting” and “babywearing,” and share how the wrap enables me to get more done around the house, how much easier it makes trips to the store. If they seem interested, I’ll talk about studies that babies who are worn close most of the time are typically more content, and maybe mention the tradition of babywearing in other societies. After all, these were the things that drew me to wearing my baby. Once he was snuggled against me and I could feel every breath he took, I knew that helping me to clean the house was, for me, the least of the joys of wearing my baby. These joys are individual and family-specific, though, and I don’t want to overload them with our family’s story: I want to help them find their own.

Action shot at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA
Action shot at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA

While they talk to him and he coos and gurgles back, I use my two free hands to find the notepad amongst the diapers and wipes and write down a few websites with information about babywearing and AP.  I hand them the paper, and they give Sweet Pea’s chubby foot a squeeze as we make our goodbyes. As we walk away, I hope fervently that they will pass on the information to their friend or sister or daughter and get to discover their own unique joys of babywearing first hand.

Edited to add:  After posting this and checking out the links, I read the “Babywearing Ambassador” article for the first time, and was incredibly amused at how AP minds think alike…and how similar the reactions to seeing AP in practice are all over the world, apparently!  Do you have a similar story of your experience as an AP Ambassador?  Please share!

Author: Kelley

Kelley lives joyously with her Sweet Pea and husband in northern Pennsylvania after surviving preeclampsia and sixty-seven days in a NICU. She hopes to one day be living totally sustainably and cruelty-free while teaching yoga somewhere warm. She loves nursing her baby, the Roomba vacuum cleaner, being an Obamamama, and rocking totally impractical shoes. Her infrequent blogs about life after a NICU are posted at www.petergwydion.com.

6 thoughts on “AP Ambassador”

  1. I find that babywearing is nearly always a sure-fire way to get questions and positive feedback. Whether I’m wearing my wrap, ring sling or mei tai, someone nearly always wonders about it. However, I’m not in the habit of carrying around a notepad and now I think that maybe I should. Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  2. its a wonderful idea to carry a little notepad. we even have a local babywearers introduction course that has a meeting every saturday. they let you try 4 different types of carriers and tell you pros and cons of each. i love to share with people who are interested. every time i am out at least 1 or 2 people ask me what my mei tai is all about (usually they are pushing a child in a stroller 🙂 ).

  3. This reminds me of when I got my set of Bose headphones. They included a set of business card sized info sheets for people to give out to curious admirers.

    Maybe us babywearers should do the same thing?!

  4. I wear Peeper (10 month) exactly the same way in my GypsyMama / Wrapsody and we get SOOOO much attention!

    I bought it from my doula / LLL leader who sells carriers, cloth diapers, etc online, and I actually carry a stack of her business cards in my wallet for just that purpose!

    Now, if I could just get the “travel light” thing down….

  5. One of my babywearing momma friends just had business cards printed with her name, email, blog, etc… and on the back she writes down whatever pertinent info she wants to share with the particular mom/family/grandma/aunt/curious bystander. As soon as I get the time I am totally going to do the same thing! Sure beats writing stuff on old receipts, gum wrappers, and juice-stained napkins!!! I had a small notebook for writing stuff in if needed, but my 6 year old filled it up with “important drawings” before I even cracked it open!

    Love the pics of you and Sweet Pea in the wrap! Both of your happy faces are indeed two very persuasive reasons to practice AP!

  6. My oldest daughter was born at 30 weeks gestation, and I totally credit AP for how well she grew and developed. I was unfortunate that I could not breastfeed with her — oral aversion — but I did pump and bottle-nurse my breastmilk…and followed all the other seven API Principles. She, too, did not get her first cold (outside the NICU, where she had an infection three times) after coming home until more than a year old. And she grew and developed at an unbelievable rate for a preemie. The doctor said she was healthier than most term babies. And I have one friend who insists a research journal should include Rachel’s story, for how amazing her growth curve and development have been despite being a preemie. I know it was AP, tho.

    I have met many parents of preemies who used AP, and each have a similar story. I’m sooo glad to hear of another parent (you) and to hear of your ambassador stories. You, being the parent of a preemie, are a powerful voice for AP!

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