Babywearing International of Hampton Roads

Keeping caregivers and children close since 2013

Babywearer of the Month: Candy

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Meet Candy!

We asked Candy to share a little bit about herself.  Here’s what she had to say:
I am originally from Argentina, where I was born, raised and where I learned English from a very young age at a private school.  My name is Candela, but my nickname took over 4 years ago when I came to the US as an Au Pair (exchange student/live in nanny). Ever since then I am known as Candy by the adults or “Nana” how the little girls I took care of then, called me. 
How/when did you start babywearing?
Here is where my baby wearing journey started, at age 19 and with a 2 year old girl named Lily and a fresh out of the oven baby named Sophia. Taking care of a newborn and a toddler was very hard and I knew I had to do something to keep them both happy and taken cared of. Sophia suffered from reflux so an up right position after feedings was very necessary.  It was with this that a Baby Bjorn came in handy to multitask and have two happy girls. At the moment Sophia’s mom offered this carrier I was so happy, I knew things would get easier and I would have two hands open to help Lily with her new potty training adventures while Sophia was content and snuggled sleeping next to me. I didn’t stop with the everyday tasks of childcare; I wore her down hills and up hills in San Diego while pushing Lily in a stroller. Our trip to visit their grandparents was a breeze thanks to that carrier. We flew six hours away to Maui when she was 10 months old and she was a happy camper in there. Lily was happy too, I think the fact that I wasn’t interrupting our games to take care of a fussy baby made their bonding easier. It help me connect with a new little person as well.
How has babywearing helped you as a mom and what have been your biggest accomplishments and struggles?
During the exchange program I met my now husband Matt and we married almost 3 years ago. We moved to Virginia Beach from California in 2011 and we absolutely love it here.  In April 2011 we started trying to conceive, I knew then I wanted to wear my baby, so I made a very brief research on carriers. A pouch sling ring caught my attention but the ring part scared me to death, I didn’t know how could I use it without dropping my baby, but the Bjorn carrier didn’t feel like a good match to my plan of breastfeeding and baby wearing at the same time. A friend gave me her Evenflow carrier but I wasn’t sure it was for me and just put it in storage for months to come. I made my first sling out of recycled fabric and it was custom to my size, something that I would learn later on that wouldn’t work for my husband’s needs. 
I cut the fabric and set it aside and forgot about it for months. In October of the same year I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. I quickly went back to finishing the sling I started months before and waited anxious for our little princess to be born; her carriage was waiting.  On May 2012 I gave birth to a premature baby named Claira Luna, who has changed our life for the best. She weighted 5lbs 5oz at birth. I knew skin to skin would help her feel tune to my breathing and heart beat and the pouch I made was a perfect fit to help me bond and get to know my munchkin. It was my favorite, and it turned into a life saver. As a newborn she had the need to eat constantly, I see right now that baby wearing helped survive the first weeks of her life without starving. I had to hands free to eat and a content baby.
Claira grew like a normal healthy baby and the laying position wasn’t appealing to her anymore. With so many things to see who would want to stay hidden in mommy’s pouch for long? I then went back to the Evenflow carrier and she was happy again like she was with our first pouch. Later on I learned about proper (ergonomic) baby wearing and we grew apart with the old carrier. I was desperate to find a new match. I didn’t want to put my baby down in a bouncy chair when she could be with me learning from seeing my regular activities. I needed something that would help me reconnect with her and also would give my husband the opportunity to wear her as well.
I needed a wrap. But the same hesitation of not knowing how to safely use it, remind me of the sling ring fears. I kept using the home made sling but it didn’t have enough back support since Claira couldn’t really hold her back straight yet. The Evenflow made me feel guilty until I tried to wrap her legs around my waist so her legs would be in the same position as if I was holding her. Slowly but surely Claira started to outgrow this carrier and I knew it was time to face my fear to the spooky wrap. So I took a trip to the fabric store and bought 5 yards of gray wool. I hemmed it with fear, and on January 2013 I was starting my new chapter as a wrapper. 
When I wrapped her for the first time I had my husband right next to me to catch her in case I dropped her during what I though, would be harder that brain surgery. It was not hard at all. After a couple of videos tutorials about front wearing and a lot of practice I mastered a comfortable way for the both of us to wear my baby. Even my husband likes it as much as I do. By the time the first baby wearing group meeting of the year was hosted I had lost the fear of dropping my baby, I am still trying to loose fear to back carrying.
Now with the excuse of seasons changing I am going to need a linen soft wrap for the summer. (Hint, hint I am getting addicted.)  I still want to explore as well as a “real” wrap and I am very excited of learning more ways to carry and what’s out there. Hopefully one day I will be able to tandem wear and enjoy double the hugs. My biggest baby wearing goal is to get an original Bolivian wrap and learn how to wear it from a native.
If you were going on a big trip (tell us where!) what carrier would you take with you and why?
If I had to choose a carrier to take on a cruise to Hawaii I think I would take my home made pouch, it is fresh because it is a thin cotton and now that Claira can sit in it, it would be comfortable for her look every way possible as If I was holding her. It is still my favorite.
What is something you want others to know about babywearing?
Everyone should know that there is a carrier or carry for each need, person, and baby. It is all about losing fear, forgetting about stereotypes, and trying something new without judgement. There is so much empowering to gain as a parent when you wear your child.  It makes you feel in control and protective.  We feel like nothing can happen to her when she is in our arms. There is an ease in the way baby feels and how they are at peace when so close to their parent/caregiver, they do feel protected. They are simply happier, and I am all for making my baby happy.”
Candy and sweet Claira in their homemade pouch sling.
Thank you for sharing Candy!!!

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