My Experience with Babywearing – 15 months in

Having worked with young families for almost 10 years, when I became pregnant I had a checklist of things, I had experienced through work, that I wanted to incorporate into my motherhood. The list of things was something like this:

  • Babywearing
  • Breastfeeding
  • Open to co-sleeping and bed-sharing if it felt right
  • Homemade baby food with as much organic ingredients as possible
  • Working out regularly post-partum
  • Cloth diapers
  • No screen time!!!

15 months into motherhood and pretty much all of those things on my very realistic list look nothing like what I thought they would look like. Each one came with its own hurdle. Luckily babywearing has been one of the easiest things to stick to.

Our journey started a couple days after Simone was born. It was a cold and sunny January day. I had been instructed by my midwife to spend the first week postpartum in bed, only going up and down the stairs once a day. The second week postpartum I could hangout around my bed and the third week postpartum I could go for a very short walk. Well, anyone who knows me, knows that at times I can be fairly impatient.

So, despite my midwives very practical advice we wrapped Simone to Nathan’s chest and headed out to soak up some winter sunshine. The first few steps were magical. I felt so accomplished. There I was, a couple of days postpartum, out with my beautiful new family. Quickly I started to feel light headed and exhausted. I was amazed at how weak my body felt, something that was so easy for me to do, even right up to the day I was in labour was suddenly hard. So we made it about one block, took a few pictures and headed home.

Once, we were home. I hopped right back into bed and realized that my Midwife’s advice was not over cautious – it was realistic. My body just grew and birthed a tiny human. I had a wound on the inside the size of my baby that my body was working to heal, all while feeding this tiny new human. Three weeks later, when Nathan returned to work and I no longer had the extra hands to help out around the house. I tried it again. I wrapped my lovely little baby into a stretchy wrap and did the dishes. After that, I was wrapped. The momentum started to build and I was babywearing daily, just as I had imagined I would.

Our first grocery trip together

Have you heard of the witching hours? These hours were the longest and hardest part of my day and they just so happened to fall when Nathan was at work. So, I was often on my own trying to figure out how to comfort my daughter while my dinner of leftovers blackened in the oven. My baby would be in a repetitive cycle of nurse for 30 minutes, cry for a few minutes, sleep for five minutes and up to nurse again. This went on from about 2 pm until 11 pm.

At first, I was certain I was doing something wrong. One brave and fed-up day I ventured out to a drop-in breastfeeding clinic with a lactation consultant. Simone and I sunk into a big comfy couch surrounded by a small group of woman and their babies. The lactation consultant made her way around the room addressing every woman’s query. One woman with a baby about the same age as Simone gave me a comforting smile and told me I was in the right place. This group had helped her find the tongue and lip tie her baby had. After weeks of struggling her baby was finally gaining weight and she was able to stick with breastfeeding. Another mom was fed up with her one year old biting her as she nursed. Another mom was wondering if it was a problem to only fed her baby from one side.

I sat there patiently waiting for my turn, feeling at home. When the lactation consultant made it to me I had already felt a weight lift. Breastfeeding wasn’t easy and I wasn’t alone. After going over our latch and positions she re-assured me that this would pass and that it was very normal. She recommended practicing how to breastfeed in a wrap or sling. During these hours I could go about some of my regular business while wearing my little one. This is exactly what I did. I figured out how to breastfeed in my Boba wrap.

Looking back, these evenings are one of the times I miss most from the baby days. I would pre-load the bachelorette (thankful for the extra long episodes) pop my dinner of leftovers in the oven and Simone and I would sway around the room as I took bites of my dinner and she nursed while laughing at the shenanigans on the bachelorette. Just as the lactation consultant said these days would quickly pass, and they did just in time for the grand finale.

Months passed and Simone grew. We started to using a structured carrier. I had purchased the

Around 8 months we reached another hurdle with breastfeeding. Simone decided she only wanted to breastfeed lying down. This became very difficult to manage. She was still nursing frequently (no idea how often as I feed on demand, but it felt like every 5 minutes she was looking for a boob). After doing some research I decided to make a BIG purchase and bought a brand new Tula. This is one of the only baby items we purchased brand new – and I am so happy we did. The woman working at the babyshop we purcahsed it from even showed me how to feed Simone in the carrier and before we left the shop I had it down. This carrier is part of my daily outfit. I am happy Nathan convinced me to go with a neutral pattern. Although, the flower patterned Tula will be on the top of my list if we have another baby!

It even helped us get through many sleep regressions. For a couple of months, I would put Simone to sleep 90% of the time by wearing her on my back as I cleaned up the kitchen or puttered around the house. This really helped when Nathan was working evenings. It meant that by the time she was asleep I had a bit of time to myself and the house was somewhat cleaned-up. With practice (and a boob) I become the master of transferring her from the carrier to the bed.

Now, my baby is 15 months old and we still use our carrier almost daily. I don’t need it as much during the day to get things done as she is walking and happy to play on her own or help me while I cook dinner or clean. But we use it instead of the stroller most of the time. Which means no loading the stroller into the car. It has also been great during the Canadian winters. I am thankful to not have to push a stroller through piles of snow and slush.

The first year of parenthood was a huge adjustment for me. It took me a long time to find my rhythm and figure out how to go about regular daily tasks with a baby who always wanted to be close. For Simone, no toy, bouncy chair or activity center could replace the comfort of my body. I am thankful that babywearing allowed me to balance my everyday tasks and attending to Simone’s needs. If it wasn’t for babywearing I am pretty sure I would still be eating burnt leftovers for dinner. We have reached a place in our babywearing days where I can see the carrier slowly fading out of our routine and I know I will miss holding my baby so close. What about you? Does your baby love to be worn? Do you have any local babywearing groups?

Trying out our woven wrap

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