That first baby sling wrap and this wonderful business was created not only from a love for babywearing, but for the owner of AmaWrap, a way to both combat postnatal depression and more easily leave her apartment!
If you can relate, read on…
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was so happy! Like many of you soon to be mums out there, I got the cot ready, the clothes, all of the tangibles. There were some things that I took for granted. That it was going to be a “natural” birth. That I would breastfeed my baby. I had never even heard of a baby sling or wrap
An emergency caesarian later, I also found my breastfeeding journey cut short. The first few months were not easy for this mama! There was a lot of crying, and a lot of guilt.
Some months went by and I made a concerted effort to get out more – but faced a problem! Getting the baby, the buggy, and the bags down the stairs in my apartment block, especially since I was still paranoid about my caesarian scar. Does this sound familiar?
My family were born in Africa and it was common for them to pop their newborns into a baby sling wrap and get on with things. “It’s worth a go…” I thought to myself when I first bought some fabric from my local market, wrapped it around me and popped Anara in for the first time. I even managed to snap a quick picture in front of the mirror – what do you think of my first attempt?
What I didn’t expect is how it changed my life.
All the time when she had been in the pram she could have been snuggled against me? It finally allowed me to feel a bond that I didn’t even realise had been lacking due to the trauma of the first few weeks. Up until then I had simply been trying to survive as anybody with twenty five stitches from hip to hip would – it was all about pain management. But now – for the first time, I felt like a mummy. How could a simple piece of cloth have helped my state of mind so much? Well I could tell you now (see benefits), but at that point I had no idea about oxytocin, the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, all I knew was this: When you look down and see that your baby has fallen asleep on your chest, you feel the most amazing sense of peace.
At that point I started experimenting with different fabrics and styles. Comparing other wraps on the market, and sourcing in my own fabrics. I had my own groups of local mums who loved the idea and started buying from me. I realised that I was in the honoured position to be able to help mums who were in my position – who struggled initially and needed babywearing to establish that bond that was lost through the traumatic birth.
The news of my sling company and ability to help other mamas in their babywearing journey grew, and eventually I was in a wonderful position to be able to have my own fabric created just for AmaWrap! That and having my slings manufactured within the UK meant that not only did I feel that I was contributing back into our economy and found a couple of wonderful small businesses to work with, but I was able to achieve exactly the type of wrap that I felt best supported a baby – exactly the right fabric, with exactly the right amount of stretch, both vertically and horizontally. I really didn’t see the point in all of you lovely ladies having to do a market job like I first did to find something that was only half suitable! (Click to see benefits of the AmaWrap over market bought fabric)
I now provide my wraps to local hospitals in order to encourage them to use them with their premature babies, a method called “kangaroo care”, and provide wraps for charities. What a joy! I don’t know how I got from such a negative place to to this wonderful business, but one thing is for sure – I feel blessed and I want to help other mums to not have to go through what I did.
Shabs is also a babywearing consultant and is part of the local MSLC (Maternity Services Liaison Committee), bought together by the hospital and outside services to help to drive improvements.
She also donates her wraps to a number of hospital Neo Natal Units.