You know your favorite pair of blue jeans? The ones that you wore until you they were super soft. And then you wore them some more until the knees got thin and the cuffs were frayed. Before you knew it there was a little hole by the pocket, but you still really didn’t want to retire them until one day, you had a catastrophic shopping experience. And by catastrophic, we mean you mooned everyone at the Safeway when you bent down to pick up the cereal box on the bottom shelf.
Well, with any luck, you have found a baby carrier that you will love as much as those blue jeans. It is comfortable, and grows softer and better every day. Your sentimental attachment will be even greater, because it will hold precious memories with your baby. You (and probably your baby too) just have to look at it to feel better.
A well loved and worn in baby carrier is the best feeling- but what happens when broken in becomes worn out? When your favourite pair of blue jeans wear out, all you risk is momentary immodesty, but a baby carrier that reaches its limit can drop a baby. Just like with jeans, the fabric around the seams will wear out first, but eventually, every part of the carrier will grow thinner and lose its integrity. Perhaps this may eventually lend new meaning to catastrophic.
So, how can you hold on to all those fabulous memories, and pass this precious legacy of babywearing on to the next generation? Why not start with pictures? Snapshots, and even portraits can help to capture a moment in time. But of course, a picture cannot capture that feeling of security that you get when wrapped in your favorite bit of cloth. So, what about turning it into a skirt, a shawl, a scarf or a quilt? If you just want to be able to see and touch your carrier, what about a wall hanging, or pillow? As far as passing the legacy, this will happen naturally as you model babywearing and encourage your children to wear their dolls and other favorite toys.
“But,” you say, “I’m just going to buy a brand-new carrier that I love or has special meaning to me and not use it. I’ll just put it away for future use.” Obviously, a carrier that is never used will not be subjected to the same stress and wear and tear as a much-used and much-loved carrier. However, storage conditions and time are not always kind to textiles. Factors that affect the deterioration of textile products over time include exposure to light, storage temperatures (and temperature changes), relative humidity and humidity changes, dust and dirt, insect or animal exposure, and more. Folding can cause creasing that over time produces weakened areas along the fold. True preservation of textiles requires archival quality materials and methods–and this is only for items intended for either future wear (i.e. a wedding dress) or display (a quilt displayed on a wall). A textile that is used for carrying a child has a much greater job than simply adorning our bodies or delighting our eyes as art, and any possible degradation of it’s strength and integrity is simply not worth the risk.
Far in the future, that happy day will come when you receive the news of your upcoming grandchild. Imagine the fun you will have shopping for just the right new baby carrier that matches the taste of both parents, and fits their needs for bonding with their precious new baby. That bond is a legacy that cannot be beat.