I am a huge fan of babywearing and we’re currently working our second adoption from foster care.
With the first baby, we picked the baby up from the hospital. He had already suffered his first trauma: the loss of his biological/first family. I wanted to help him acclimate to our family (we’re a bit scrunchy) so we started babywearing with a no-sew rebozo wrap when he was about three months old. He took right to it and we changed to a mei tei when he was about six months old. He’s 2.5 years old and we’ve worn him all over the world and are still going strong.
With the second baby, we picked her up when she was eight months old. Coming to live with us would be her second trauma (loss of biological/first parents, loss of foster family) and I was expecting that there might be some hesitance on her part. The first day of our visit, we just looked at her. The second day, we spent almost seven hours together and spent most of that time playing with her, but letting her lead. The third day, we had an overnight visit and picked her up early. We wanted to head to a store or two so I babywore her on my chest in the mei tei. She seemed okay for the first (her foster parents didn’t babywear) trip but I intentionally kept it short. The fourth day, we went to the store again and I did a brief babywear in the mei tei. The fifth day, we picked her up for her last overnight visit before placement. I wanted to go grocery shopping (babies eat a lot!) so I tried a back carry in the mei tei and …. she loved it! I think babywearing is good for all babies, but especially important for adopted infants and toddlers because:
They can smell you.
Regardless of how old the baby/child is when they come to live with you, they’ll have to adjust to your smell. Smell is one of those animal things. It’s hard to define but you know when you’ve been around a smell that’s familiar. You want your smell to become the familiar, comforting smell for your child.
They can feel your gait.
Babies like car rides, washing machines, etc. Being carried by you should be one of those good feelings. When you babywear, it puts the baby right on your body and helps lull the baby. Many babies will fall asleep while being worn. Bonus!
They can explore you.
You’ll find that babywearing provides a child the perfect vantage point for looking at you and touching you. They will touch, pinch, stroke, lick, and anything else while being worn. I think this is really important for children that are being adopted because they have to get to know you. What a non-confrontational way for them to explore!
Since I’m into gentle parenting, I’ll also just leave this article about Why African Babies Don’t Cry right here.