I have always been passionate about babywearing. I enjoyed wearing my first daughter well past her second birthday. However, I had no idea the integral part babywearing would play in my life when I had my second daughter. I was in a car accident while pregnant with Baby L. When she was 4 months old, I underwent surgery to repair the damage to my pelvis that was done in the car accident. While recovering from the surgery, I was in a wheelchair for 10 weeks and I continue to use a walker. Babywearing has been invaluable as I can keep my baby kissably close while maintaining some mobility.
I initially tried the O & A while still in the wheelchair. I found it slightly more cumbersome to put on than if I had not been in the wheelchair. I had a little difficulty adjusting the straps to achieve the best fit within the confines of the chair back and arms. Once Baby L was positioned well, we were both very comfortable. The symmetry of the straps allowed me full use of my arms to push the chair around while keeping my babe close. One of the best feature of this carrier for wheelchair use is the sleeping hood. It is difficult to nurse discreetly while sitting in a wheelchair when everyone around you is standing up. The sleeping hood was perfect for allowing a bit more privacy when nursing in the carrier. It also added a little support for Baby’s head when she nursed herself to sleep in the carrier as I didn’t have my hand to support her head while pushing my chair around.
Even though I found the O & A to be very comfortable, I often turned to the ring sling instead of the O & A when at home. With the ring sling, I could pop Baby in, roll into the next room, and pop her back out. The O & A took more time and effort for me to get positioned correctly so I didn’t go to it for the quick in-and-outs. For longer babywearing, the O & A was a champ for wheelchair use.
And if I was fond of the O & A while in the wheelchair, I absolutely loved it once i was released by my doctors to start using the walker. I had missed walking around with my baby in tow so much that i couldn’t wait to get her in the O & A. I first tried Baby L in a front carry in the O & A. It was easy to get on and achieve a comfortable fit. I loved having the symmetry of the shoulder straps which made it comfortable to use my arms with the walker. However, having the extra weight (all 15 pounds of her) on the front of my body was painful due to the nature of my injuries. So I tried a back carry.
I absolutely loved the back carry in the O & A. Having the extra weight on my back was no problem and was comfortable even with my forward posture, leaning on the walker. It was super comfortable for both of us. Baby L fell asleep and I was able to wear her longer than I have since her birth. Again, the symmetry of the shoulder straps was a big plus for use with an assistive device. I was able to walk with the walker around a grocery store, bending and stretching to reach items with no fear that she would shift or fall out of the carrier.