Friday, July 30, 2010

Babywearing Stories: Lessons from my daughter

raspberryIt isn’t much of an exaggeration to say my daughter taught me nearly everything I know about babywearing. After all, babywearing can vary greatly between mothers and children—even children in the same family. It only makes sense to begin the learning process with the baby.

I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I made the decision to wear my daughter. Prior to her birth, I was interested in slings, registered for a Hotslings pouch sling, and thought that, yes, this is what I would do—for convenience if nothing else. How useful was my stroller going to be during a New Hampshire winter anyway? I didn’t really know any babywearers—I had seen celebrities wear their babies in slings, but that was the extent of my experience. Well, that and reading the Sears' Baby Book.

C was born in late January, no complications, no problems—she was completely perfect. She ate well, which is to say she ate all the time. This led to lots of holding. My mother would tell me, “Put that baby down. She needs to sleep. You need to sleep.” And these things were all true, but when I put her down, she’d wake and cry. And I’d pick her up and nurse her and the cycle would begin anew.

By two weeks post-partum I had lost over 30 pounds and started thinking that I should really be better about eating. After all, if I didn’t eat, the baby wasn’t going to eat. But how do you eat when your arms are full of sleeping or nursing baby? That’s when I remembered the sling that I registered for and someone kindly purchased prior to the baby’s arrival. Lo and behold—it worked!

Many babies dislike pouch slings. They’re deceptive in their simplicity. For me, it was a good first sling, because all I had to do was put it on. I was fortunate that the one I had fit correctly and that my daughter liked the cradle hold. Many babies don’t—and, in fact, it’s a hold that you need to be particularly vigilant when using to make sure the baby is positioned correctly and her airway is clear.  But C loved it. And, with the use of a hand (and sometimes two hands), I got to start eating occasional meals again. And read books. And knit. All while holding my baby.

My town is not stroller-friendly, which I discovered the first (and last) time I tried to take her for a walk downtown and a cup of coffee. Brick sidewalks, steps, curbs, and small shops do not contribute to a comfortable experience for a brand new mother and a brand new baby. With the sling, I could be an all-terrain Mama. And if the baby needed to nurse, I could do it discreetly—without having to take her out of an infant seat or a stroller.


Eventually, we added other carriers to our mix. I bought a mei-tai for gardening so I could wear her on my back—C hated it. I bought a Scootababy hip carrier because C favored hip carries above all else. I bought a ring sling when it became clear that the pouch sling, though it says it works for kids up to 35 lbs, wasn’t cutting it any longer. I asked for (and received) a Beco for Christmas so that I could wear the squirmy Miss C on my back when she needed holding and I needed to cook dinner or do laundry. I bought a wrap carrier because I thought I should try it out, and I recently bought an Ergo because I’ve been having back troubles and wanted to try one more thing before I cut back on the babywearing.

My husband rolls his eyes at my collection of carriers, but he also recognizes how important babywearing has been to me and to our daughter. From the very beginning, she has been a child who thrives on touch and who needs to be held. When I went back to work after my 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave, I worried about how she would adapt and how I would adapt to the hours when she wouldn’t be in my arms. Every night when we got home, I would nurse her and wear her until it was time for bed. When C became mobile, she would bring me a sling if she wanted to be held.

My daughter is a cheerful, social, and active 18 month old. She still loves to be held and I still love to hold her. Because she is used to being worn, she is used to being where the action is, and she has a smile and a wave for everyone we meet. Everyone knows C—which I’m not sure would be the case if I had kept her knee-high in a stroller. What’s more, everywhere we go, we receive compliments on how well-behaved our daughter is. And I’ve had people ask my secret. Well—here it is: Listen to your child. When C gets tired or overwhelmed, she starts to melt down. Babywearing gives her safety, security, and a way to recharge. Babywearing can bypass a tantrum. Because at the end of the day, no place is better than Mama’s arms and nothing is better than a snuggly baby.


This post is part of the July Series Babywearing Stories. You can read more about Saisquoi and her adventures in parenting at Saisquoi?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home again, home again...

Thank you all for your comments and prayers during Nathan's hospital stay. We are HOME! And he is doing very well. We are still adjusting into a new routine, of weighing him daily, checking his blood pressure, and giving him (only one!) medication, as well as needing to go to pediatrician and kidney specialist visits.

(As a humorous aside, at his kidney specialist appointment yesterday the nurse loved my sling and I shared one of my babywearing info cards with her... she was interested in making a sling for a niece, I believe! I was happy that she was interested and more than happy to share a card with her that had some pattern links and my contact info.) :)

Anyway, his wonderful pediatric kidney specialist has repeatedly assured us that he is extremely happy with Nathan's progress, that he thinks that he will have no lasting damage, and that he is recovering quickly.  We are going to have to have his peritoneal dialysis tube removal surgery in a few weeks, and then I know that I will feel like we're getting back to normal.

In the meantime, as things in our life get back to normal, so will things around here. So stay tuned for posts on babywearing the hospitalized child, babywearing the sibling of a hospitalized child, and babywearing ages and stages!

Happy babywearing, all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nathan Update

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth many many more, right? Here is Nathan this afternoon.  Off dialysis (for today and tonight... praying that his levels will have continued to improve by tomorrow so that we can stay off altogether!), unhooked from all the wires (for at least part of the day) and able to get up and play!  He is a bit wobbly and needs close attention (he thinks he can do everything, but he's still a bit weak and his balance is a bit off.  Anyway... here is some amazing Nathan cuteness.  Thank you so so so much for your prayers.

We are hopeful that if he continues to improve at this rate that we may be able to go home soon.

Please pray that...

  • his blood pressure would stay within the normal range so we can stop the blood pressure medication
  • his body would be able to heal itself from this point, and his kidneys would be able to handle things from here on out without the help of dialysis.
  • that his anemia would go away without another transfusion (we've had 4 so far)
  • that there would be no long term damage to his kidneys or his health
  • that we would be able to go home soon!
  • that we would be able to find a good doctor to have follow up/monitoring visits with, and that we would be able to establish a good relationship with them.
Thank you so much!


Friday, July 9, 2010

On Break, and Babywearing in the hospital...

Hi everyone - I wanted to let you know that there will most likely be little to no content posted here for a while.  My two year old, Nathan, threw up Monday morning, had traces of blood in his diarrhea, and was admitted to the hospital Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning we were transfered to a larger hospital, and Thursday night we were transferred again.

Nathan has something called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which means he got a bacteria his body couldn't handle and his kidneys went into shock. The bacteria is gone, but his kidneys are not doing well. He is going to need dialysis, which they cannot do on a pediatric patient at the second hospital we were sent to, so they transferred us via ambulance several hours to our third hospital late last night.

They are saying he seems to be stabilizing, but at this point but he is definitely not improving. Hopefully dialysis will give his body a big boost and turn things around.

Please please pray.

 from a few weeks ago...

 And from last Sunday...

Yesterday, he was only hooked up to an IV, so when he said "mei tai?", I was easily  able to put him in my mei tai in a front carry and give him some closeness and snuggles.  That was very comforting for both of us.  My husband has been doing a lot of wearing too, with our 14 month old.  He's been using the mei tai and our HugaMonkey as well to give her some security and comfort and have hands free for carrying bags, etc.

If you want to keep updated, I am updating my twitter fairly regularly... follow me @babywearingitup

Thursday, July 1, 2010

 If you know me, you  know that I frequently have a baby on my back.

That's how we roll - babywearing makes it easier to snuggle with my babies and get things done.

It was a lifesaver about a year ago when the cows got out into the road and we had to get them back in unassisted and I had to go in and out of ditches and open gates and move quickly, oh, yes, and the baby was hungry, too.  Babywearing means I could burn calories marching all over chasing cows, while breastfeeding at the same time.  ;)  What's not to like?  Oh, yeah, the cows were out...

Babywearing isn't just for mamas, though.  Micah babywears- one of the many things about him that makes me all weak at the knees. ;)

I think a stretchy wrap is the best newborn carrier of my stash.  There is a bit of a learning curve, but the incredible comfort is worth the effort.  A friend gave me a Moby wrap for Miriam and I loved it!  My second recommendation would be a ring sling.  They're great for shorter chunks of time when you don't want to put on the wrap.  Plus you can use it well into toddler hood for a hip carry! You can make one (my mom made me my two), or buy one.  I also love our mei tai and podaegi, and want to experiment with woven wraps.

Miriam loves being worn... and wearing, too! ;)  Here she is with her baby in a doll sling. :)

This post was written for the Babywearing Carnival hosted by Jami of Babywearing Videos and posted on my personal blog.  Comments here are closed, but you can comment on the original post here. :)

July Series: Babywearing Stories!