Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Snugli Babies

Babies are so cute, but they can be a lot of trouble. I once read where a scientist said that babies, both animal and human ones, were cute by design because if they weren't so cute then mothers would just chunk them. Babies require much care in their first years, and crying babies are no fun; it's hard to decide just what they want sometimes. Although I loved caring for my children when they were young, I'm glad they're older now so I can relax and just enjoy their company.

I found a Snugli carrier to be a lifesaver when my children were babies. The Snugli is a backpack-type carrier that can be worn on the back or chest. It holds the baby close to the mother (or father), and is comforting to the baby since it can hear the mother's heartbeat if carried on the front. The Snugli is great for nursing babies, since the pack covers the mother and the baby can nurse while concealed.

The Snugli is great in winter; it keeps the mom very warm as well as the baby. I used to go out in freezing weather without a coat; everyone would say, aren't you freezing? And I'd say, no. The baby's warmth keeps me quite toasty. My two youngest kids practically lived in the Snugli, and when I'd try to put them down when they were asleep, they'd wake up and want back in the Snugli. It's an awesome bonding experience for mother and child to be that close; it's actually a continuation of carrying the baby around for 9 months, just in a different place.
Having the baby in the Snugli was a lifesaver when I was having a busy day. There's hardly anything that can't be done while carrying the baby in the pack since the baby becomes like an extension to the mother's body. I've cooked many meals, done housework, shopped at the mall, hiked up mountains, and participated in many outdoor activities with a snuggled baby. For small babies, the Snugli can't be beat; once the baby begins to get heavy, he'll want to be getting out of the pack anyway. It's easier to carry larger babies on the back, and letting the dad do that is a good idea too.

Once I saw a couple of dads carrying their toddlers in Snugli packs. We were at Chimney Rock, North Carolina on top of a mountain, and the babies seemed much safer in the packs than the others who were toddling around on the rocks up there. A large church group was there, and they had a guy with them who was in a wheelchair. There was a steep set of stairs that had to be climbed to get all the way to the top of the rock, and although a good view was possible from the lower levels, this guy really wanted to go up the summit. The leader of the church group sympathized with the young man in the wheelchair, but he and the rest of the group could offer no solution to the problem since he was much too heavy for them to lift.

The dads saw what was happening and had a solution. They said, Hey, we'll help you up to the top. Both dads put down their Disney diaper bags and each grabbed an arm of the wheelchair. Still holding their kids in the packs, the built dads lifted the wheelchair and walked up the stairs all the way to the top. They deposited the beaming young man at the summit, and told him when he was ready to go back down; they'd be there to help him. The church group leader and some of the other members thanked the dads and helped the guy in the wheelchair navigate around at the top of the mountain. I was thinking, What great dads! They're good examples for their kids. The babies had the best view, riding on their fathers' backs. Later on I saw the two dads hiking up the trail to the waterfall, speeding past everyone along the way, diaper bags swaying as they passed. The babies seemed to be having a great time on their outing.

I think a good idea would be for Snugli to make a swimming carrier. It's so hard to properly watch more than one child at a time while swimming. My child once was in a floating inflatable animal in a pool, with her legs securely stuck through the holes and floaties on her arms. I turned my back to check on another child, and when I turned back around, my child was upside down in the floating animal, her feet kicking the air and her head underwater. My heart stopped. I turned her right-side-up and no harm was done except for both of us being totally frightened, but I thought, "There" got to be a safer way to let a baby play in a pool. I have had my Snugli in the water before; it's machine-washable so it doesn't matter if it gets wet, but it does get a little saggy and then after getting out the baby can't ride in it since it's sopping wet. I guess a solution would be to have 2 Snuglis; one for swimming and one dry.

I still love Snuglis, wet or dry, and I love to see young parents wearing them. I hate to see crying babies stuck in strollers at the mall or tiny newborns in a grocery cart; I always think, "You need to be close to your mommy in a Snugli!"

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