3.26.2012

essential baby wearing

i have learned that baby wearing is absolutely essential to being a mommy of two. when austen was a couple weeks old, my husband had to go on a photo session for a couple hours and i was left alone for the first time with the two babies while both were awake. river was filthy from playing outside and also needed a new diaper, so i decided to give him a quick bath to clean up, and i had to put austen down. she was not happy about this at all. what started out quiet grunts of protest lead to full-on screaming, and by the time i was finished with river and could pick her up again, she was crying so hard she could hardly catch her breath. her entire little body was red and hot -- it broke my heart! she was a generally a content newborn and i had never seen her so upset. river certainly never got to that point, because my arms were never busy with another child. i scooped her up and calmed her, then situated her in my sling and went about picking up the house while she cuddled contentedly against my chest.

when i first tried the sling it was incredibly awkward. i felt she either wasn't secure enough, or it was too tight, or the sling felt too tight on my shoulder, or she seemed to be in an uncomfortable position. i had same the problem with river and quickly gave up, feeling discouraged. but this time i decided it was essential that i had something to do with this baby who wanted to be close to me, since i couldn't hold her in my arms and at the same time, tend to all the things my toddler needed. after a few tries i finally found a great position -- one that we both loved. when she was teeny tiny, every time i wore her in the sling, she was close to me and my hands are free to do other things. often, she would fall asleep, and slept great for a couple hours. during our trip to olympia, i wore her in the sling while river rode in the stroller in the airport. if it weren't for my sling, i don't know what i would have done!


i love baby wearing for a few reasons, and found it absolutely essential during the first three months of her life.

she is close. call me a paranoid parent, but during those first couple weeks of life, i am constantly checking my babies to see if they're breathing, or to make sure they're not too hot or too cold. i loved having austen right here with me, knowing i am aware of what she is doing and how she is doing.

she is swaddled. the womb is not a very roomy place. during the last couple months of pregnancy, baby is pretty snug inside. they are used to this feeling and suddenly, they are in a wide open world where limbs flail and they feel like they are falling. baby wearing allows them to be in a comfy fetal position against the warmth and heartbeat of the body in which they were growing for nine months.

there is constant movement. there is hardly a time when a baby in the womb isn't experiencing constant movement. even sitting at the computer with austen in my sling, i had two hands free to type, but i could rock her back and forth or even bounce, and the movement was very relaxing and comforting to her. and of course, it doesn't take a consious effort to keep baby moving while walking around wearing the sling. the rhythm of walking is the most soothing thing to a newborn being worn.

during those first three months i used a sling ezee ring sling, and now that she is bigger and wigglier, and isn't too fond of being so contained, she frequents the water wrap (which is designed for use in the water, but is also great for every day dry activity ;). there are so many options out there. i really hope to make my own mei tai carrier someday!

    

if baby wearing is something you do with your little ones, what is your favorite kind of carrier? have any advice or tips for successful baby wearing?

5 comments:

  1. I have a 5-week old son and we have been using the Maya ring sling: http://www.amazon.com/Lightly-Padded-Sling-Carrier-MEDIUM/dp/B002ITDA9Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332867043&sr=8-1

    I have mixed feelings about it, but overall am very glad that I have it. For me, it is much easier to learn how to use than a wrap. I can throw it on an adjust it very quickly, without assistance. He does seem to like sleeping in there. Breastfeeding in it, however, is not as convenient as I would like. It is kind of difficult to shift him around in there to get him right where I need him and I can really only seem to nurse him on the non-ring side. Keep in mind, however, that I am still pretty new to this. Since he can be pretty darn squirmy and because it is already getting pretty warm (don't ya just miss San Antonio?! not...), I don't anticipate being able to use it much longer. The next one we are trying out is the Beco Butterfly II carrier, more backpack style but still can be worn with him in the front. It's very similar to the Ergo. And lastly, I definitely plan to get the water wrap for the summer!! I hope it's pretty easy to use, since I am somewhat spacially challenged.

    And thanks for your lovely blog!! I love it! I have blog envy since I have ignored mine now for months. You are definitely talented, a writer and photographer! On a side note, can you find the link for your husband's review of San Antonio good eats spots? We are new here and would love to check some of them out. And your favorite dog park?

    Thanks!! Hope Washington is treating you well.

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  2. aww, i wish i could say "welcome to san antonio" but since i am not there anymore, i don't know what to say...! haha! i never thought i would say it, but i am aching for texas. :) i hope you enjoy living there! and thank you for your sweet words. i will try to find that link for you. until then, *definitely* try out these places:

    the cove (http://thecove.us/ sooo delicious! their sweet potato fries with their zesty dip is to.die.for.)
    beto's (http://www.betosinfo.com/#!gallery excellent mexican cuisine. not tex-mex... different. fresh, simple ingredients. unique. we love this place.)
    green (http://www.greensanantonio.com awesome, delicious vegan food! mm, i could actually think about eating vegan if i could eat from green every day.. :)

    and for some amazing texan food, el chaparral (http://www.elchaparral.com/) and bill miller's (http://www.billmillerbbq.com/). :)

    our favorite dog park was on the SE side at mcallister park. we LOVE it! it's like a playground for dogs. the one at hardberger is nice too, mainly because hardberger is a beautiful park & has a great play area for little ones. here's a link with addresses to both: http://www.sanantonio.gov/parksandrec/dog_parks.aspx

    that's one of the reason i didn't wear my son a lot, because of the heat. i'm expecting to be able to wear my daughter for a while, since it's still in the 50s and nearly april... *le sigh* definitely look into getting a water wrap! it's nice and light, breathes well. i was actually kind of wishing i had a moby for winter since the water wrap really offers no warmth.. which is perfect for san antonio summer! it took a few tries but eventually i got the hang of it. i am very new to baby wearing as well, so i totally know what you mean! i was able to breastfeed easily in the ring sling (only on the side without the ring, like you said) but i have no idea where to even start with the wrap! i guess i'll figure it out eventually. :)

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  3. oh! one more... the adalante has amaziiiing food! great vegetarian option. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/39/430020/restaurant/Alamo-Heights/Adelante-Mexican-Food-San-Antonio

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  4. I'm such a slacker! I have totally forgotten to write you back. Yeesh. And I was so stoked that you wrote me back, with all of your suggestions! It sounds like we would've run into each other if you were still here. We go to dog park at Hardberger a lot, since we live off of Blanco. That way we can walk the trails after. We just started exploring McAlister not too long ago. I took my son there to take his announcement pics in the bluebonnets. I'm sure it looked a bit odd, me setting down a 5-week old baby in the grass! Nah...not in Texas. Ha ha. San Antonio is just okay so far, but that probably has more to do with the fact that I don't know anyone rather than the city itself. I lived in Austin a long time, so it's hard to compete with that. (just sayin'...don't mean to offend ;) We have been to the Cove. What a great place! Betos a few times as well, also wonderful. I will have to try the others. I have heard great things about Green.

    I set out to try my new Beco Butterfly carrier this morning and yet again, it just wasn't meant to be. I was determined to get him in it and head out for a test run, but when he spit up all over it, well, it was a sign. I think I need to wait until he's a bit bigger for it. We will enjoy the ring sling for now and then move on to the water wrap.

    I love your "go to sleep Austen" playlist! I did not love the fact that it took two run cycles of it to get him to sleep this afternoon. Haha. A good gauge, in that regard.

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  5. i just saw your post & cute pics of Austen in your Water Wrap, Whitney! So glad you are getting some use out of it! You look great! Miss you guys!

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