Thursday, September 24, 2015

Confessions of a Babywearer: Nursing Troubles

This is the second post in our series of anonymous posts.  Sometimes after baby is born everything doesn't go as perfectly as we hoped, and we need to adjust our world view.  And sometimes, babywearing helps us find our way to the parent we want to be.

I just had my second baby in June. I wore my first baby, my son, a little bit with the Moby and had started to get involved in the babywearing group but it took me a long time of borrowing a couple times to buy a carrier I knew we would both like. This was a whole new world to me because I didn't know anyone who did it. I ended up with the a Mei Tai wrap conversion and love it! Then I got pregnant with my second baby and just didn't have time to make it to a meeting to figure out how to wear my son while pregnant.  But I knew that I loved babywearing and the whole concept of it and that I had to learn more.

In June I had my beautiful daughter. I identified myself as a sort of a natural mom...a nursing mom, a babywearing mom, a part time cloth diaperer. When my daughter was born we had trouble with nursing. I had trouble with my son as well but we worked through it and I nursed him till he weaned himself at 18 months. My daughter ended up having a lip tie, a tongue tie, and a high pallet. Some well-meaning but not so great advice from an LC resulted in our nursing getting way off track and she started to prefer the bottle after 1 month.

I'm exclusively pumping breast milk for her and have felt like I lost my natural mom/nursing mom "card". I felt like a huge failure, like I failed her. She is two and a half months old now and I continue to try to get her back to nursing but I have also accepted the fact that exclusive pumping might be our journey and I need to be proud that I can still provide her 100% my milk. Babywearing comes into this equation by being one of the ways I remain bonded with her and in tune with her. We do skin to skin baby wearing in the house and I try to baby wear whenever we're out and about to get better at it and to encourage her to love it. When she falls asleep against my chest I feel so connected to her and proud of myself for learning this method to care for and be close to my baby. While I still feel saddness about our nursing troubles, I don't feel as much in despair as I did in those early days and I look to baby wearing as one of the ways to bring my confidence back as a loving mama to my beautiful girl.
I'm looking into a second carrier so I can tandem wear with my toddler as well! Thank you to all of the leaders for volunteering your time to share baby wearing with all of us!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Don't say it's over...

Just as I thought my babywearing time was coming to an end I get a second chance…

When my daughter was little, from the time she was born to about the time she was two I wore her all of the time. Wearing an infant and having two hands to get things done around the house definitely makes life easier. As she grew bigger and began asserting her independence she wanted to go up less and less. And finally around the age of two she let me know that she was no longer interested in uppies…and I cried. I put my carrier away in the closet with little hope of using it again. But, I refused to let it go just yet for hope of a chance to wear her again.

Fast forward a year and a half. My daughter is now a full blown threenager and going through the developmental and emotional stages that all three year olds go through. The emotional ups and downs of a three year old can sometimes lead you to believe that they might be bipolar. Because of the increase in extreme emotions we have had to have a lot more snuggle time.

The other day we needed to go shopping at Costco. Usually, she loves the idea of running through the store and trying all of the samples. This day she had no interest in going at all. I talked to her about the trip and tried to see what would make her happy and how I could entice her to go. I tried every trick and bribe in the book. Then, I opened the closet and saw the carrier hanging there. I pulled it out and asked her if she wanted to go uppies on my back for the Costco trip. She finally agreed. We arrived at Costco and she rode on my back for the entire shopping trip. It was great! She was able to get the extra time and I was able to complete a Costco shopping trip without having to wrangle a crazy three year old! WIN WIN!
Three Year old asleep on dad's back while dad enjoys a beer.

Since that day we have used the carrier more in the past couple of weeks than we have in the past year and a half. Last weekend we went to a craft beer festival. The festival happened to cut right into nap time. Usually, my daughter would sleep in the stroller or our wagon but she asked daddy if he could hold her and she could sleep on his shoulder. Thankfully, we had the carrier and she went up on daddy’s back and fell right asleep. It was the best hour of the festival for us…no stroller to push, no child to wrangle, and two free hands.

I am so glad that we have had the option of babywearing to help us get through some of these tough times.
This theme repeats throughout our blog, here's an oldie but goodie story of a similar bigger toddler wearing.
Posted by Lindsey

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Babywearing Saves the Day! Touring Europe with a Toddler in Tow

I was fortunate enough to recently embark on a week-long trip to Europe with my children (ages 6 years and 19 months), husband, and in-laws. In a period of nine days, we experienced three countries, four cities, two transatlantic flights, two shorter flights, two train rides between cities, and rides on trams, subway trains, water buses, and a gondola. We visited countless museums and churches, ascended bell towers, and ate a lot of gelato.  We didn’t bring a stroller, carseat, or any other baby gear except a soft-structured carrier and a pouch sling. The ways in which babywearing  helped make this trip possible and enjoyable are too great to innumerate, but here are the top ways babywearing made this an awesome, doable trip.

With toddler in SSC about to climb some stairs at the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy

1. Stairs, stairs, and more stairs:  As many know, Europe has a lot of stairs. Every few feet in Venice, one must cross a bridge with stairs. There are stairs—and often no easy access to elevators—in subway stations, train stations, and within museums. We even boarded the huge airplane for our flight back to US from the tarmac… using stairs.  While a free-ranging toddler (or one trying to wriggle free from your arms) or a stroller are less than ideal in these settings, a carrier makes stairs a non-issue.
Mom, toddler, and big brother all stand atop one of the many bridges in Venice, the canal can be seen below
2.Naps on the go:  In addition to normal napping, babywearing allowed my daughter to conk out whenever needed as she adjusted to the 6 hour time difference. She could sleep contentedly on my back (or front), and we could keep sight-seeing or go out to dinner—a win for everyone.
3.Art museums and glass shops:  No one wants a one-year-old running free when priceless works of art or breakable merchandise abound. No better way to contain the child and still experience the artwork than to toss the toddler into a carrier. An added bonus is that having the baby up at your level allows you to share what you are seeing with one another.

Toddler in front in SSC pointing to art with brother at art museum with religious icons in the background

4. Transportation:  This trip involved a lot of transit time in a variety of vehicles, and babywearing helped us get through the airport, to the train station, or onto the water bus with ease. It freed up our hands to carry bags and kept the baby content and contained as we traveled around.
Toddler in front in an SSC on a gondola ride in Venice, Italy
Toddler in SSC next to 6yr old brother on train to Florence
5. Climbing stuff:  Some of the most fun things we did on this trip, especially from the perspective of my 6-year-old, involved climbing bell towers and the Duomo (dome) in Florence. Taking my toddler up the hundreds of steps through narrow passages would have been basically impossible (and unsafe) had she not been securely strapped to my back.
Toddler barely visible on back following 6yr old in a dark narrow staircase climbing the Duomo in Florence, Italy

Toddler grins in SSC in dark hallway climbing Duomo in Florence

Mom with sleepy toddler on back and beaming 6yr old boy atop Duomo after climb,
the city and mountain view spreads below

Toddler can be seem reaching towards the view atop the bell tower in Florence with a church dome and the city beyond
6. Crowds:  August in a crowded time of year in Europe, and keeping my baby close and safe in a carrier (and not needing to fight my way through the crowds with a stroller) was invaluable.
Toddler enjoys a snack from the safety of mom's back during the trip
7. Sharing:  As is always a benefit of babywearing, having my daughter up on our level, where we could tell her about what we saw and listen to her reactions to what she was experiencing, meant that she came on this trip as an active participant (albeit a young one), and we got to share the places and sites with her up-close. Fun examples include when she noticed an elaborately decorated ceiling in the Vatican Museum and proceeded to point it out to us from my back saying, “See? See?” and her signing “horse” (with sound effects) when she noticed statues of horses.
Back wearing underground in the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey
Toddler on mom's back as they stand before the lit Colosseum in Rome in the evening

8. Peace of mind and lack of worry:  This one is difficult to articulate, but having babywearing as a tried and true option made situations on this trip that might have seemed complicated or problematic with a toddler, non-issues.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip, and babywearing was an invaluable asset that helped make it that way.





Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Oh! The Places We Go (on public transit)!

With our babies we love to vroom,
C wears Z on her back in an SSC on the Metro

Public transit helps us zoom.

D wearing her toddler in a wrap on the Metro
M wears her little on the NY subway

We love to visit lots of places,
where we see exciting new faces.

We wear our babies on the bus,

Woman in wrap paying for the bus
Z rides on C's back in a wrap on the bus
L wears in an SSC on the bus

it gets us there with no fuss.
A wears A in a hip rebozo carry on the bus

On the platform we often wait,

S wears an SSC on the DC Metro platform
D wears her toddler in a wrap on the Metro platform
L wears her daughter waiting on the Metro platform

So we can head out on our date.

Woman wears baby on train while husband looks on
Mom and Dad both wear babies at the subway station

 We can wear our babies on the train,

Dad with baby in front carry on Metro
Mom wears baby in SSC on the Amtrak
S wears baby in front with Grovsner Square station visible through train window
R wears baby on back on Metro
M wears an SSC with her toddler on Amtrak
Baby on front of woman in SSC on Metro
Man wearing baby in a wrap on Metro

and wrap them before we board a plane.

Toddler wrapped on front on plane
Newborn in stretchy wrap on plane

We wait in ports and stations,

A buys tickets at the station
Toddler on back in wrap at airport
Toddler on front in SSC at airport
Toddler on back in mei tai with big sister at Metro station
Mom with newborn at Metro station
Dad wears baby AND kilt at the Metro platform
Mom wears toddler in wrap on front at Judiciary Square station

then we're off on our vacations.
A wears newborn under babywearing coat at station with suitcase

We carry babes on things pulled by bikes,
E wears baby with friend while riding a bike carriage (modern rickshaw)
We wear on trains designed for tikes.
A and A wear babies on toddler train
A wears S with big sis S on the mini train at Burke Lake Park

We wear our babies when they are merry,
and wear them when we ride the ferry.
G wears her toddler on front on the vaparetto (water bus) in Venice, Italy
Mom wears sleeping baby under hood on ferry in San Francisco

We wear our babies close to home,
we wear them wherever we roam.
M wears toddler on the platform for the NY subway