Navigating military life with babywearing by Tasneem Muhammad

Editor’s note: This post is dedicated to all military families out there, for whom babywearing has been a great help as they navigate all the intricacies of military life — the multiple moves, the solo parenting, deployments — we thank you for your service!

Image of Tasneem, a bespectacled brown skinned Asian woman with black hair and in a blue shirt, wearing her biracial son on her back in a stripey rainbow wrap. Tasneem is a military spouse and currently volunteers as a VBE with BWI of Colorado Springs.

 

As a military spouse, babywearing has definitely become one of my go-to parenting tools. When my son came along, we had just moved to the Deep South and barely knew anyone and didn’t have family living close by. I grew up babysitting my younger siblings, and used to teach small children so I felt somewhat adequate to be a parent, but still, the thought of an inconsolable crying newborn was scary!

Babywearing is not new to me — I had seen my elder sister wore her children, and our parents had worn her when she was a baby, so I knew that babywearing can help me parent. So as a part of our preparation for the new baby, I got a linen ringsling, thinking it would be good to use in the warm heat of Savannah. Through videocall, my sister (who lives on the other side of the world) helped me ensure I was using the ringsling correctly.

My husband was open to the idea as well, especially after seeing how our son quickly fell asleep as soon as he was in the ringsling. We got a soft structured carrier that we both could use since it is adjustable. My husband was so tickled by the fact that our son fell asleep on him when he wore the carrier that he was sold on babywearing! Many days after that, he would come home to find me sitting on the couch with our newborn son in the ringsling, sleeping contentedly. I remember our house looking semi-okay, since babywearing allowed me to tend to my son while taking care of other things that need to be done.

While my husband and I are both babywearers, our reasons are different — he’s more of a practical user, while I’m more on the “practical+hobbyist’ level. He is however very supportive of my love for this amazing practice — I’ve gotten woven wraps as gifts, and he would often geek out on carriers and wraps with me. Sometimes he would come back from work with stories about how he had talked about babywearing with his colleagues; I still laugh whenever I remember how he had described a carrier as a ‘baby assault pack’ to a colleague and that one time we almost traded a ringsling for 2 hens.

Image shows a white male smiling at the camera wearing a sleeping biracial toddler in a soft structure carrier with owls on it. They are in a living room and behind them is a TV showing a football game playing.

 

When my son was three months old, I went to a babywearing meeting hosted by BWI of Savannah where I learned how to use a woven wrap. I was always intrigued by woven wraps but it looked too complicated to me so I never tried it before. As a volunteer helped me wrap my 3-month-old son using a size 5 wrap, he fell asleep before I even finished wrapping and stayed asleep the entire time! I was so wowed by that by the next meeting I had bought a linen woven wrap. We would often take walks with my son wrapped in the wrap, and he would fall asleep by the time we get home.

Family trips are now easier. No more running after an escaping toddler. Most days it is just the two of us, since my husband’s job on the army base often means long hours and sometimes out of town trips. So babwyearing definitely has helped me keep my wits, and oftentimes my go-to whenever my son is upset. Sometimes when it’s late and he is still awake, I’d wrap him and he’d be asleep in no time.

Image shows Tasneem, a brown-skinned Asian woman smiling into the camera. She is wearing a biracial toddler on her back in a colorful soft structured carrier, and her hands are resting on a cart with multiple bags on it. They are in an airport terminal.

Seeing how beneficial babywearing has been to our family, I became a volunteer with Babywearing International so I could help other caregivers wanting to babywear. I’ve met many babywearing military families and heard so many amazing stories from them on how babywearing has helped them take care of their little ones and create new meaningful relationships.

Photo of Tasneem, a bespectacled browskinned Asian woman with black hair tied in a ponytail and a blue shirt helping a white woman who is wearing her daughter in a dark blue ringsling.

 

The friendship I have made through the babywearing world is definitely real and I can think of so many instances when babywearing friends have come through for us. It’s nice to have likeminded people to bounce ideas with, and help quell any worries you may have. For example, when we found out we were moving to Colorado, I reached out the chapter there and they were very welcoming and helped dispel any worries I had about moving to a new place. Instant friends – what is not to love, right?

In short, babywearing has helped our life as a military family tremendously. Moving every few years means making and losing friends at every station, which while it is sad, we are forever thankful for social media and the Internet because it allows us to keep in touch regardless where we are!

For more stories from military families, read about them here.

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