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Posts Tagged ‘babywearing’

As I walked into a restaurant the other day, the lady greeting me asked “Don’t you have a car seat to bring in?”

“No, I prefer to hold him,” I answered, and she smiled.

It’s so funny to me that these detachable car seats have become a part of the developed world’s parenting culture.

Even at our first trip out to the store when the baby was two weeks old, my husband just assumed we’d take in the car seat and put it in the cart– which I hate doing– while I made sure to have my wrap with us. If I’m going to be somewhere for an hour and a half, I want the baby with me, smelling me, feeling close to me– not enveloped in a plasticky, impersonal car seat, and– at least in my mind– more likely to need to be held when I’m at home and may want to put him down for a minute.

I don’t have a huge objection to detachable infant car seats, and our car seat does detach, though I could take it or leave it more than most people. My husband definitely wanted the detachable car seat, but we use it mostly for the advantage of bringing it in the house when it is cold outside and taking him to the car from our house to a warmed car than anything else. I don’t really cart the baby around stores or restaurants in it at all.

I think people tend to think this is convenient, especially if the baby is sleeping, but I’d rather babywear. It’s more convenient to me. The car seats are heavy and cumbersome to me. And then you have to take them out to feed them or change them anyway. I always put the baby in a wrap and keep him next to my chest while we are out. It keeps me in tune with him– I know when he needs to eat before he fully wakes up and gets upset, and I know if he needs to be changed.

Part of it is the paranoia that this baby will be how his older sister Ada was in the car seat. She had so much tummy trouble and “colicky” behavior because of her then undiscovered gluten-intolerance that car drives were hell. Literally. I’d put her in at the very, and I mean *very*, last instant and drive as quickly as was safe because she’d scream for far more car drives than she didn’t. We switched her from the detachable one to a Britax convertible car seat at 6 months old anyway. It may have help but that’s also the time we started figuring out her stomach problems, so who knows.

Either way, I think I’m becoming more entrenched in the baby wearing subculture with each baby. I wore my first in a ring sling, and would nurse her that way because it helped with my over-active milk ducts– nursing upright and while walking. I wore the second in the wrap because it would soothe her to sleep with her tummy pain and my first was only 2 at the time. It was much easier to keep track of them both at a store and to get work done at the house with one strapped to my chest.

This time I’ve been wearing the baby just about anytime I get up to do anything. Clean the kitchen, do some work for my business, vaccuum. He’s been in the wrap a better part of today so far, and is still there now, which is why I decided to go ahead and write a blog post. He’s snoozing away.

I still make a lot of milk– too much again, for the third time around, to have a baby that can effectively comfort nurse. Often, as a baby nurses off to sleep the milk flow tapers down and they drift off well. My breasts will continue to bring more and more milk until the baby is overfull and hurting and sometimes gagging. He’ll either spit it all up, or cry until he falls asleep and the food can digest, or come off to burp and I can put him in the wrap and walk around. This soothes him to sleep without getting such a full, painful tummy. Thank goodness. Usually when he does spit it all up it’s because it’s nighttime and I’m tired and therefore let him continue to nurse b/c I don’t want to get back up again!

Between working at home, trying to get housework done and having two other kids to keep track of, I think he’ll spend a good part of his first year in the wrap. I still put him in a swing or bouncer some, but I’ve just never succesfully had a baby that will sleep that way– not next to someone– though he will sit there for a bit. He’s the most easy-going baby I’ve had. I obviously missed the mommy class on how to have a child sleep without me being close, b/c it does seem that other people accomplish that. It is beyond me.

What baby doesn’t want to be snuggled up on their mother anyway? With my first I always wanted to put her down. She slept well in the car seat or co-sleeper, and mildly tolerated a bouncer or swing, and was mostly in the wrap at stores or if I really wanted to get something done. Now fast forward to the third, and I no longer care about anyone’s assertions or advice that I should put him down, and it doesn’t bother me as much either to have a baby that wants me just about 24-7. He gets to be held all the time just because it’s easier. And he’s still quite good about going to my husband at nighttime when I put our 4-year-old to bed and give her some one-on-one attention.

My oldest truly has the position of oldest. More responsible. She had to share me at age 2– and with a colicky sister, she cried to sleep with her father b/c she wanted me so much. The second one is 4 with an easy going little brother that I hold all day and is happy to go to his father at bedtime. Both the younger ones hugely benefit from the experience we learned from having the first one. It seriously makes me want to go snuggle with her and tell her she’s the most amazing 6-year-old there is.

It seems each child I have gets more of me because I get better at taking care of babies and know already which tools– like the baby wrap or sling– I plan to utilize.

Even the eldest’s attitude towards the baby benefits him, because my 4-year-old mimics her. If she didn’t have such a sweet example to follow, I’m not sure that she would be quite as positive to the new baby. But so far there have been no hard feelings at all. There is a little insecurity and both older girls have needed some time with me, alone, that I’ve tried to give them. Baby wearing does make that easier.

It honestly makes everything easier. On the one hand, sure, it’s easier to clean the kitchen without a baby tied on my chest, but if having him there makes him happier to be put down when my older girls need me, or when I need to do something for me— you know, like, *shower*, then baby wearing makes life better.

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Going out and about lately I’ve been running into people and having some nice conversations about parenting and such.  Mostly I think its my banana-yellow baby wrap.  You can’t help but to see me and Ada coming a mile away.  I want to buy some more fabric and make another one so I have one for home and one to keep in the car instead of carrying the same one back and forth.  I think I’ll get some bright orange or pink fabric for this one– that should help me stand out less. 

Today at the Dogwood Fest three people commented on me and the bright yellow baby.

One woman pushing a stroller said, “I thought you were pregnant until I saw the legs sticking out!”  That was funny.  I had Ada’s head covered from the sun, it was hot today.

Then later on, I sat under the Rock N’Rest tent, a very nice service (new this year, I think) that had baby changing tables and rocking chairs to nurse or otherwise feed a baby in the shade.  I rocked Ada for a while and someone came up and halfway through changing her baby kind of exclaimed “You’ve got a baby in there!”. 

It’s funny.  It didn’t even occur to me to take a stroller.  I actually don’t even have one that fits Ada’s carseat and Azita’s is too big for Ada.  Azita has only used hers around the neighborhood anyway.

The Dogwood Fest was inundated with strollers.  And not that I’m knocking that.  I wish we’d thought to bring Azita’s, atleast for water bottle storage and a shady place for her.  She spent the day on my husband’s shoulders getting lots of vitamin D.

I finally saw another slinged up baby just to realize when the woman turned around, it was a small poodle-type dog being happily carried around on her chest. 

And then, just as we were about to leave for the day, a young woman stopped to ask what Ada’s carrier was called, could she nurse in it, did I like it, etc.  It was really nice.  I told her that it keeps Ada happy.  That’s really why I’m so into babywearing anyway.  Because it keeps the kid happy and comfortable. 

She’s all wrapped up now.  She was having trouble getting to sleep so I just popped her in there and cleaned the kitchen.  Now she’s out and the kitchen is, well… it’

Sleeping peacefully with her little smooshed face!

Sleeping peacefully with her little smooshed face!

s less dirty than it was.

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There are so many green and interesting and kid things I want to write about in the course of a day.  That’s why I started blogging– so that I could get these thoughts out that I think aren’t half-bad– eventhough I’m not organized enough to be pitching many of my ideas to magazines and freelancing for more than just the Fayetteville Observer.  Not that I don’t love freelancing for a newspaper. 

It keeps me busy, gives me something to make me feel like I am continuing a career that’s important to me while I nurture my children the way I want to and I enjoy the types of stories I write.

Actually, if I wasn’t writing 3 or 4 articles for them a month I’d probably make more blog posts!

That’s what I’m thinking about today.  Nurturing these little needy guys and getting my work done.  It’s something every mom has to figure how to do, whether its housework she needs to do or if she works outside the home or what have you.

I am learning to work in small, digestible chunks of time the past month.  Ada is almost 4 months, the household is adjusting well to having two kids.

I’ve told many of my friends, when asking how we are handling it all, that it is much easier for me to have two children than it was for me to have one and complete my Bachelor’s degree.  Atleast now I can focus on one main thing.  And I don’t have to stress about homework and articles and whether or not Azita is waking up from her nap before I’m expecting it and pumping her a bottle for her sitter the next day.  I wouldn’t change any of my decisions the first time, but it’s so much easier having a little one and, choosing to parent the way I do, just being at home with her.

The few articles I do a month have been hard to get out on time.  So like I said, I’m learning to simply switch my brain when a free moment arises.  With Azita, and no other kid to worry about, it was simply the housework that got sacrificed and I did nothing but write for UNCP’s Pine Needle and do homework when she slept.  And of course, the house was a wreck!

Now with Ada, when Azi is sleeping she needs me.  They don’t often sleep at the same time.  And when Ada is asleep it is hard to resist just turning on the TV for her and doing my writing or housework.  But I usually don’t.  She needs me too. 

I finished my last article by simply telling her that I needed to work but that we couldn’t watch TV and she could play by herself on the floor– and much to my delight, she did.  I’m afraid that TV teaches her not to be able to entertain herself, because she “zombies out”, as one of my friends put it.

So whether or not Azi is sleeping, if Ada is happily scooting around the floor for 20 minutes, I’ve learned to take that 20 minutes and write what I can.  And now she is asleep on my chest, I’m taking these few minutes to write.  She doesn’t take nice, long 2 hour naps the way Azi did.  She likes to sleep for 45 minutes, give or take, at a time.  (But she sleeps through the night well, so it’s a trade off I’ll be happy with).

I was very resistant to this grabbing a minute here and there philosophy, but since accepting it, I’m much more relaxed.  I just do what I can when I can.  I’m sure that’s what just about every other mother out there does.  And I make it work with my parenting style too.

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog knows I’m not often going to leave Ada to be unhappy in the swing and on the floor so I can clean the kitchen or write an article.

I’ve become quite the babywearer this time around– more than with Azita.  It helps me to have more time with Azi too.  And no, its not going to end up “spoiling” the baby.  Research supports that babies cry less when worn and it helps a baby’s development.

That’s where my slings and wraps come in.  This kid lives in ’em.  I wrote almost a whole article with her happily (for the most part!) snuggled up to me.  She’s getting held and thinks she has most of my attention, and I’m accomplishing something.

That’s how I manage to attachment parent and be a work at home mom.  But of course, because of my work, the house is still a wreck and a half!

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