Thursday, March 31, 2011

Babywearing Bliss

When I found out I was pregnant and thought about the arrival of our new baby, I will honestly say that with my excitement came a fear that I'd never get to participate in my own personal interests again. Walking, anything outdoors, painting, all would be thrown out the window because I'd have a little baby to feed and hold all the time. I know this sounds selfish, and it is, but I wasn't sure how to go from having a job and doing whatever I want in my free time to taking care of our little baby not only in the day, but all through the night. Those first days and weeks were filled with an abundance of love for our new child, challenged with sleep deprivation and painful breastfeeding, but being in awe of my helpful and caring husband and our sweet baby was thrilling! Instantly my fear of never having time to myself dissolved, and all I could think about was how to keep this precious baby close to me as much as possible. I suppose it was my motherly instincts kicking in, but I found myself feeling an urgency to receive the sling (a Christmas gift) that was coming with the in-laws shortly after our baby was born. My achy body recovering from labor and sore arms from marathon nursing were ready for some relief. Once we got used to positioning our newborn in the sling, it was wonderful. The baby felt secure and would sleep away in there, and we could go about our business hardly needing to fuss with him at all. It was bliss, and it gave me a new sense of freedom. All of a sudden I could see a bright future in participating in varied activities while our little one was cozy in the sling right next to my body as if I was holding him. We've even been able to take him hiking up Kennesaw Mountain when he was 2 months old. He just slept peacefully in the sling the whole time. Later, when hanging out with some old college buddies, I wore our baby while we played bocce ball at the park. Its been wonderful being able to do things with family and friends without needing to lug around our giant stroller. Or feel like he is stuck being dragged around from one sort of baby contraption to another all day long (i.e. crib, bouncer, swing, stroller...). From the sling he can sit up and view the world at my level, and learn new things about the environment. Also, babywearing promotes one of the eight principles of attachment parenting, use nurturing touch.

As our baby grew, I quickly realized a need for something more secure, something that distributed his weight evenly. Especially for longer trips like grocery shopping or on walks around the park. He is in the 90th percentile for height, so you kind have have to support his bobble head in the sling since he prefers to sit upright (which means I'm not completely hands free). I started putting him in the bouncer more often when making meals since he was in the way being in front of me in the sling, I couldn't reach the sink to do dishes and it probably isn't safe with him being so close to the stove. I began researching other carriers online, one where he could hang out on my back, and tried some out at nearby stores. Growing up in in Korea, I remembered seeing my halmoni (grandmother in Korean) and most others wearing grandchildren all over. It had been so many years since I had this memory of the podaegi. My husband was concerned with the soft structured carriers not having a liner for him to "sit" in. So I found one that did, the Beco Butterfly II. It did cost a pretty penny, but its worth being able to be hands free while he sleeps away in there. When I received it in the mail from Heavenly Hold (with superfast shipping), I was so excited that I tried it on (having previously watched the video's online) immediately... still in my pj's! My 2.5 month old baby didn't seem to mind all the fidgeting of the straps to get him in place for our first time, and shortly after I wore him around, he fell asleep. In fact, almost every time I put him in there he falls asleep. Our baby is such a light sleeper, normally I would often find myself stuck sitting in the place where he fell asleep after nursing, afraid to lay him down since he'll just wake right up and be cranky. Although I love holding my sleeping baby, that also meant I couldn't get much done around the house. My husband is a pilot and is usually out of town for several days in a row, so most of the week I am by myself without an extra pair of helping hands. So now with the baby asleep in the carrier, I can do so much more. I've even started painting again. I am excited about things I can do now with my baby in the BBII. Besides being hands free and the secure inside panel (and infant insert), I also like the removable head rest (with a pocket to store in the BBII). It's useful to block the sun as well as hold baby's head when he's sleeping. One helpful addition to get for the BBII is a drool cover for the straps, my baby likes to suck on the fabric, and the covers will help reduce the amount of times I have to wash the carrier. All in all, babywearing has definitely enrichened our time as a family.

This was a guest post by Sheena.

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