A personal story from our very own Beth Leyba, in celebration of International Babywearing Week:

I remember a pivotal moment when my firstborn daughter was just a few weeks old. I was very young when I had her, nineteen in fact, and though I often felt like I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, I also parented her from a very instinctive place. In those early weeks I realized that she liked to be held, pretty much all the time. 

Even though she was a little peanut, my arms and back quickly got very tired. Someone had given me a ring sling, so I decided to put it to use. It was an instant hit. She loved it, and I was able to feel attached to her and like I was meeting her need to be held without also feeling like my arms were about to fall off. 

Anyway, there was a particular moment one evening when I managed to nurse her in the ring sling, mostly hands free, while cooking my own dinner—mac and cheese, as I recall (I was a teenager, remember) and I suddenly had this rush of feeling accomplished and literally threw both arms up in the air as “We are the Champions” drifted through my head, and thought,  “Yeah! I got this! I can do this thing.” I even got to eat my mac and cheese with a contented baby at my breast. Win/win! 

Over the next couple of years she practically lived in that sling, observing the world while feeling close and connected to her mama. Many of my memories of her during that time are of her sweet little face being so close to mine, as she would look at me adoringly and eventually started asking questions about the world around her. “Wat dis?” was my favorite. 

That sweet little thing turns 16 next week, and though our days of baby wearing are long over I cherish the memories so very much. I suppose I could try again, but she is taller than me now and would likely give me the “Mom, don’t embarrass me” glare. That or she would dare me to try. I have enjoyed every age and stage with this kid. Being her mama just gets better and better. 

I am here to tell you, dear parents, that the years fly by so incredibly quickly. You’ve got to get those snuggles and cuddles and adoring glances in while you can, so strap those babies on and go about being awesome, mamas and papas. 

You totally got this. You are the champions!