Tenielle Reid is the mother of Ianto and Amelia. Ianto was sadly stillborn at 32 weeks in February 2010, and Tenielle's blog Sweet Soft Smudge was born of that loss. She's been called "brave" for being able to write through her grief, but she doesn't see it that way. She just plods on with life, takes what she gets, and tries to learn from it. Amelia helps. Tenielle is hopelessly in love with her husband Scott, her two babies, and her baby carriers. And chocolate. And Doctor Who. And...
1) When you were pregnant, did you plan on wearing your baby?
Definitely. When I was pregnant the first time, I didn't know much about babywearing, just that I instinctively knew it was the right thing to do. I bought a "bag sling" from eBay and thought that would be enough. I didn't get to use it because my son died, but it sat and waited for the next baby. When I was pregnant with my daughter (Amelia), I researched a few more carriers and bought another eBay dealie, a second-hand ABA carrier. Once she was born, I tried the bag sling and it was terrible. She hated it, I couldn't work out all the straps, it went straight to storage. The ABA carrier was great, but she got too big for it too quickly. That led to me buying my first Hug-A-Bub when she was about three months old. I agonised over the decision for ages - how does the baby stay in? What if I drop her? How am I meant to tie it? It's too complicated for me! - but it was one of the best parenting decisions I think I've made.
2) What do you love about babywearing?
I love being so close to my baby! I love that I can just walk straight up stairs instead of struggling with a pram or stroller, and I can move around small shops very easily. I love that she falls asleep on my chest listening to my heartbeat and knowing she's safe and warm.
3) What is the most common comment you receive when you are out and about babywearing?
"Oh, that's so cute!" or "Aww, look at the baby near her mummy!" I've also been asked "Where would I get one of those?" and (from a little boy) "Why did you buy that?"
Last Saturday, I had Amelia in our ring sling and was walking in a rather dark area. I was trying to work out why this woman was frowning and staring at me. She just kept staring, staring, and I was getting a little nervous because we were walking towards each other and I thought she might be planning to hurt me. As we got close to each other,she suddenly smiled and said "Oh! It's a baby!" - She'd been trying to work out what the "thing" hanging off my hip was!
4) Is your partner a keen babywearer?
Oh yes. When we go out as a family, I'm usually the one wearing Amelia, but I know he'll swap with me in an instant. He loves wearing her, though at the beginning he was very scared of dropping her. He didn't want to take his hands from around her until I prised them away! He's perfectly fine wearing her in our pink pocketless wrap, he loves it almost as much as I do. He hasn't tried the ring sling though. I'll get him one day...
5) How many carriers do you own? Which one's do you use the most?
Six or seven. I use the wraps more than the structured carriers (again, too many straps and buckles for my liking!), but since getting our ring sling a few weeks ago, that's been my carrier of choice. Amelia's started to be a lot more interested in the world around her, so a hip carry is great for her. I haven't quite worked out a cradle carry, so I make sure to have one wrap in (or hanging from) my nappy bag in case she gets sleepy.
6) What's the first thing you'd tell someone thinking about trying babywearing?
Do it! It's the best feeling, being so close to your baby but being able to do so many things around/with them. For a newborn, I'd recommend using just a wrap (only because of my aforementioned difficulties with cradle carries), then moving on to a combination of a wrap and ring sling. Maybe a structured carrier for back carries, but I haven't got to that point yet.
7) What activity are you most likely to rely on babywearing to get done?
Shopping, walking anywhere further than next door... I suppose if I ever did housework, that would be one (haha), getting Amelia to sleep when I need to be up and active rather than able to lay down with her.
8)And lastly, what's your favourite babywearing photo.
I have a couple.
My husband wearing Amelia for the first time and rocking the pink pocketless.
Amelia sleeping soundly in the ring sling. I had half worked out the cradle carry, but was sitting down anyway so didn't feel the need to do it all properly.
And Amelia peeking up at me two minutes after the last photo with her big sleepy blue eyes.