I am an architect by profession. I have two sons aged 9.5 & 5.5 yrs. To manage both, work and home, I work from home. Going to site, or meetings or any sort of work that requires me to be away from home, if required, happens when my kids are away at school or on holidays when my husband is home to be around them. Though I do have reliable house help and my sweet mil at home, I prefer to be around my kids and choose to work in such a way that I am almost always around for my kids. There are days when I don’t get to manage the house at all. But there are other days when I do. 🙂 What really helps is that I have a husband who is extremely supportive, and he understands (well, at least most of the time) the challenges of trying to set up a business and be a homemaker, mommy, wife all at once. Different roles take up priority and it can be overwhelming. A regular exercise routine and the need to look at the larger perspective, higher vision makes it easier. My gurus, my family, and friends and all the babywearing parents who come back and share their awesome babywearing stories keep me going. 🙂
I would like to share my story of Anmol Wrap, and how it happened.
I started the search for a comfortable way to baby wear soon after I had Miit. Miit was a preemie iugr baby, who I was determined to breastfeed and be the mother bear to, and give strength and courage so that he could thrive. Born at 32 weeks at 1 kg, that’s all that I could do.
A LLLI( La Leche League International) person somewhere in the universe told me just before I had him, that the best thing I could do for my preterm baby was to breastfeed. It made sense to me, and found out the only LLLI person in Mumbai, Kavita Mukhi, who sent me the book, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” .
I scoured, scanned and devoured every bit of information in their book. In that they mentioned that some African tribes wear their babies and the baby feeds every 15 / 25 minutes or so and hence seldom cried because they were so content and happy, thrived put on weight easily etc. I wanted to baby wear too.
The best I could manage was with a front pack baby carrier, which was painful to use. And so I discarded it after one use. Because I was very in tune with giving my baby a lot of nurturing, breastfeeding, skin to skin etc., I was making myself more and more aware of the benefits of baby wearing. But I didn’t have the right baby wearing gear. I didn’t know wraps existed. The ones I saw or knew of were the labourers babywearing their Los on the construction sites or beggar women on the streets of Mumbai. Apart from a faint recollection of tea estate workers. And a fun fact: when i was in Nursery , aged 3and a half, my parents had dressed me up as Rani Laxmibai as the UBER Cool Babywearing Warrior Queen for my school fancy dress …haha….that did have a profound impact on me albeit unconsciously .
So, all that I could manage for Miit was lie bare-chested on my bed giving him kangaroo care. Without moving without doing anything. It was well worth it. But if I had known better, I would do better.
After much reading, here is what I found. “A premature baby, especially one with medical problems needing weeks or months of intensive care, is deprived of those final weeks or months in the womb. Instead, baby must grow in an outside womb. The problem is that outside wombs are static. They don’t move. Research has shown that a premature baby whose “womb” moves gains weight faster and has fewer stop-breathing (apnea) episodes. A group of newborn-care specialists in South America made an ingenious discovery. Some hospitals could not afford incubators and all the technology needed to care for prematures. They were forced to use the mother. These preemies were wrapped around their mothers in a sling like wrap, a custom called “packing.” To everyone’s amazement, the babies thrived as well as, or even better than, the technologically cared-for babies.
The researchers concluded that the close proximity to mother helped the babies thrive. Being close to mother entices baby to feed more frequently. Mother’s warmth kept the baby warm; mother’s movement calmed the baby, enabling the baby to divert energy from crying to growing. Mother’s breathing movements stimulated baby’s breathing, so that these babies had fewer stop-breathing episodes. Mother acted as sort of a respiratory pacemaker for baby’s breathing.”
That compelled me to look for a good, comfortable babywearing device. To my huge disappointment, I couldn’t find one!
Fast forward to pregnancy #2. And I was keenly searching for a comfortable, pain free way to babywear all over again. Now the focus was on having a quiet baby, and being able to take care of his/her older sibling. And to find a carrier so that, I could hold my baby close, really close, without baby being on the carrier, instead of up against me! (like the pictures of the front pack carriers) The second requirement was that the carrier was one that was kind to my baby, my back, and my shoulders, and all of baby and me! I still couldn’t find it. Dev was out. And I still did’nt find one. Then someone showed me the ring sling. So, I bought myself a ring sling, but I couldn’t handle the weight of my baby on just one shoulder. So that didn’t work either. At last, luck was in store for me. At my breastfeeding support group, a visiting mum showed us the Wrap she had as a means of babywearing. Instantly fell in love with it. Tried it and thought, “Wow!! My search ends here. I have to find one for myself. “ But I Didn’t.
So after understanding what that was and many months of trying to figure out the hows, wheres, whens, ifs and buts, I finally made my own with the help of a friend. I remember I started dancing with my baby in it when I finally could have my own. Because I didn’t feel the weight of the baby at all. It just met the needs…Kept baby close. I used to go for a one hour walk with my baby in the Wrap every evening. And it was so so delightful for me… and the baby of course J
All the relentless effort was worth it because my baby and I were happpppiest in it. Being perfectionists about some stuff as architects usually are, the Wrap made complete sense to me as a fabulous ergonomic babywearing system to me.
It did take tremendous effort to make it here, since these are unavailable in India. And my friends at La Leche League in Mulund, Mumbai, and Dr Manisha Gogri ( my dear friend, LLLI leader and Lactation consultant) urged me and encouraged me to make more…. and I do now, for any parent who asks for it. I want all my efforts to be of use to others who are in the same line of thought and I really want other moms and babies to benefit- so I have decided to actually make them available for other moms. They go by the name of Anmol Wrap – For a Precious Bond.
Why would I? – I had to give back in some way to LLLI because I had gained a lot from their knowledge about breastfeeding. Fed both my kids. Tried to become / study for becoming a leader, but couldn’t, But this I can. (I am an architect, and I understand, appreciate the great ergonomics of this baby wearing system.) So a part of the profit I make goes to LLLI or any other breastfeeding support system. Also it promotes a secure attachment, which I wish to have with my kids…..Karma!!