|Ardyn asleep in Hotsling|
Every babe is asleep tonight so I am going to write a little bit about Babywearing. It's something I've been doing since Ardyn was born 5 years ago, and it's something that I am passionate about. I don't wear my baby all day every day, but I do believe in closeness with your baby and bonding and snuggling, and I do believe that wearing a baby can help you accomplish much more than you would accomplish if you have a fussy baby, a cuddly baby, or even a special needs baby or toddler. I've found that when babywearing I have a much happier, calmer, less fussy baby, especially compared to other babies who are always stuck in their stroller or carseat. I have a smiley baby instead of a fussy one. I find the right carrier to be less cumbersome and more freeing than dragging around an infant carrier or a stroller. ESPECIALLY a large stroller when in a crowd or dealing with other toddlers. Although my toddlers learned at an early age "hands on the stroller!" It's much easier to navigate a theater, museum, etc. without the awkward stroller that won't fit the aisles. And you get a LOT less dirty looks from other peeps when your stroller isn't in their way all the time. My favorite is that you don't have that problem where the baby gets fussy and wants out of the stroller and you end up carrying the baby while also pushing the stroller one handed and trying not to crash in to anything. I've also found that because we are MOVING so much of our day (the two older kids are in two different school districts, and we have violin lessons, dance class, and T-ball) the baby just has to go with the flow most of the time. He spends enough time in a car seat, and I want him to feel like he is loved and that he still gets that mom time that is so important to both his development and our bonding. It's also easier for me to know that he is hungry or needs a change when he is truly WITH me instead of always in a contraption. The more time that I can be holding him, and that he can be feeling my skin, my warmth, my kisses and hearing my voice, breathing, and heartbeat... the better we both feel and the more confident and happy he becomes. Babywearing and Breastfeeding are THE reasons I believe I have a happy, confident child! (three of them to be precise!)
|Marek asleep in the Hotsling|
|Ardyn in the Newborn Hold in a Ring Sling|
First I will start with my Hotsling. I have two hotslings. One patterned and one black. They are easy on, easy off. No long fabric, no ties. They have padded leg openings for softly resting against chunky toddler thighs and they carry babies in a side lying hold or toddlers on your hip. I really like the hotsling for a quick carrier for a side lying baby who is lightweight. I am not a fan of the toddler as much because the entire weight of the child is put on one of your shoulders, similar to a ring sling. using a hotsling and a ring sling frequently with my first child actually put me in chiropractic care and eventually physical therapy to straighten out some serious pain caused by back strain from one shoulder bearing all that weight. I would not recommend a hotsling as your single baby carrier. I like that I can get the baby to sleep in the hotsling and easily (EASILY!) remove the hotsling and lay the baby down while keeping them asleep and undisturbed. It is not a handsfree carrier in my mind as I was not able to bend over without putting a hand on the child to steady and secure them.Also, because the hotsling is a sized carrier, you purchase them to fit your body size. it is not adjustable and therefore isn't always good if you and your husband or partner want to share in the babywearing. It also isn't good if you lose weight and gain it between kids, OR if you want to wear it in cold weather and put it on over a jacket or heavy sweatshirt... because it is not adjustable.
|Washing Dishes with Ardyn on my back in the Babyhawk|
Ring Sling. There are SO many ways to wear and adjust a ring sling. I really did enjoy my ring sling, and all the ways I could use it, and the ease of nursing in a ring sling. But I didn't always enjoy the ring digging into my shoulder. Everything I read EVERYWHERE said that if you could feel the ring, you weren't wearing it right. I adjusted that thing a thousand ways and looked all over the internet reading information and watching videos on proper use. I couldn't see anything that I was doing differently, but with extended wear the ring always bothered me. I also had the same "one shoulder" weight bearing issues that I had with the hotsling, and I never used the ring sling with my second or third child because along came....
That said, the Moby is a pretty awesome carrier. I purchased mine used from a friend who was selling it. For her (she is short) it was way long and cumbersome, and too much fabric to deal with. What I really like about the MOBY is that it's great for newborns because you can really tuck their little head inside the fabric and still feel confident that they can breathe, but allowing you to be COMPLETELY handsfree. It is also so supportive and covers every inch of them and makes them feel very secure and cozy. It's comfortable to wear and can be worn a HUGE variety of ways. It also allows you to wear your bigger baby facing OUT in the front, which the other carriers don't allow for. I've also found that this video (and this one) for nursing a baby in the Moby wrap is very nice... especially when you have to nurse at places where you might not have any privacy.... church, school functions, the grocery store, etc. Strangely enough, the older I get the more I worry that I might offend someone by nursing. I don't know why that is. I am pretty adamant that it's the right thing to do, but I didn't cover up much when nursing my first two kids, and I am a little more discreet this time around. It's nice to be able to nurse without feeling like everyone in a ten mile radius is watching you and scrutinizing how much skin you show :) But in the right crowd I don't cover up. That's where I am most comfortable.
|Trick Or Treating as a Family of 5 with Ewyn in the Babyhawk|
The Moby wrap is a great all around carrier. It's not the best when you will be in and out of the wrap a lot. It gets tiresome to be wrapping and unwrapping the carrier all the time with all that extra fabric. But it often is my carrier of choice when I have a little one without head control, when I want to nurse in a carrier OR when I am around home. Another thing I have discovered (with age and experience) is that I can put the moby wrap on at home, but not put the baby in it. Then I can put him in his carseat and drive to my destination (while wearing my moby wrap) and take him out of the carseat and put him right into the Moby when I arrive. The thing is, you have to be able to tolerate that knot in your back while driving, or tie the moby in front (if you're not me, but are skinny and have lots of extra tail fabric) or you can knot it on one hip instead. I think the hardest thing is the in and out of the carseat in order to babywear. But for me, I always end up having to take them out the nurse them or change their diaper or just because they get sweaty or uncomfortable in their carseat... and so being in the wrap isn't such a big deal. Plus I like to have them close over carrying that stupid heavy seat anyway. Plus I transition my kids to a convertible seat way before a year, usually at about the time they can sit up (6 months) so that I don't have to carry the seat anywhere and I just carry the baby.
Wearing your baby allows for handsfree help to older siblings as well, and anyone who has kids close together can understand the difficulties that come about when you have to help a toddler, OR when you have to cross a parking lot or the street with a toddler who likes to run (or even one who doesn't!) you need free hands to be able to maneuver and hold little hands, and keep them in line. And even now, with a 5 and 3 year old, TWO empty hands is imperative at times. I love being able to wear the baby and still do what needs to be done to help out big siblings.
|Ewyn in the Wrapsody at the Ped Ophthalmologist.. in the SUPERMAN Hold|
One thing that I find is that often moms say "I don't want to spend that much on a carrier" and I can honestly say that a good investment in babywearing will almost always pay off. Especially if you are planning on having more than one child and will be using it for several babies, or if your kids are close together in age and you will need those free hands. :)
Just in the first month after Ewyn was born, I attended the community Halloween party with him in a carrier, as well as helped out at Marek's class Halloween Party, went Trick or Treating with the family, attended Family Reading Night at Ardyn's school, and got groceries without crying.... all with him wrapped to me. Without a carrier, lots of those things wouldn't have been possible or wouldn't have gone nearly as smoothly. The carrier allows me to handle all three kids on my own, which is important when Evan is working a lot!
|Asleep in a Chest Hold at Key Lime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort|
UPDATE: Since this post I have also purchased a Wrapsody Baby Woven Batik Wrap.I have a Wrapsody BREEZE Carrier in color scheme "Hope" and I purchased mine from Amazon.... It is the same type of wrap as a moby, but isn't stretchy. This is BETTER Because the wrap stays nice and tight and doesn't stretch with wearing, and you can safely do back carries and many other carries that can't be done with the Moby. (watch THIS video that shows you why it is not safe to do back carries in a stretchy wrap like the Moby!) I sold the Moby wrap and I've now found that I actually wear this Wrapsody MORE than my beloved Babyhawk. The versatility is AMAZING. Their product comes with an very thorough and easy to follow DVD. Check out their website at http://www.wrapsodybaby.com/ and it doesn't hurt that it is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! AND Hand Batik! I love that it can do back and front carries, in and outward facing, sling style newborn holds, hip holds, and also how it is versatile to wear over one or both shoulders. You can carry twins in this, and even two toddlers or older children because they show you how to carry one on front and one on back!
|Ewyn in the Wrapsody Front Chest Carry. Asleep after two hours of Helping Mom and the PJWC on Adopt a Highway Cleanup Duty!|