Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A New Mother’s Entry into the World of Baby Wearing

“We don’t need to register for bottles. We’re going to breast feed until the baby is two.”

“If the baby is a girl (but I know they’re not), we aren’t going to be doing all the ruffles and baby bling.”

“Oh sure, it’s nice that we were given a swing and a bouncer. But we’ll never use them.”

As a first time mom, I’ve spent the past few months eating a lot of crow. Tearfully, I would admit to my mother “Without that swing, I would not be getting any sleep.” I would burst into tears as my husband came home from work and say “I just know she is going to hate me. I had to put her in that bouncer while I showered.” In brief moments of postpartum happiness, I would laugh at the pile of pink and frilly laundry...before tearfully remembering all the thank you notes I had to write. The baby blues hit me hard and all that help I didn’t think I needed became really important.

Recently, with my hormones more in check, I had to accept, after a long bout with bizarre and serious breastfeeding complications, that it was okay to stop nursing and give formula, if it meant that I was no longer in pain and could be a more involved mother.

I struggle to think of one area of my life that hasn’t changed, one area that doesn’t involve me doing something I never thought I would do. 

I say all the above to say this: I always knew I wanted to wear my baby. The research about the benefits of close contact, the first hand experiences from mothers I knew and the happy inheritance of a sweet stash of wraps, slings and SSCs really got me amped up. So after I was able to wear clothes that were not pajamas and consider life beyond the couch, I started playing around with my new toys. My daughter was about one month old when I first wore her and though it was anti-climatic (she just kept on sleeping and we didn’t even go anywhere), I felt like a successful mommy. Finally.
At first, we used the Moby wrap. I had seen a good video about how to tie and practiced before she was born (although I never thought to wear my cat, like I’ve seen some people do). She seemed secure and never woke up, so it was good for me. The immediate downside of the Moby, the incredible heat, lead me to yearn for a cooler option. Enter the ring sling.
Upon making my first local “mommy friend”, I saw that she had a Maya ring sling, like mine. She was able to show me how to get the little one situated and give her a good seat. I loved the freedom and comfort for both DD and myself. So a week later, as she fussed in church, I knew what I could do. I put her in carefully and watched my rails I gave her a good seat and then walked, bounced and danced her around until I realized I could hear the music clearly. She had fallen asleep. Her little head was thrown back and it seemed she was in the midst of fighting her nap when the warmth and security snuck in and lured her to sleep. I tucked her little head closer to me and kissed her. She has been up in her sling many times since and always ends up napping.
Since becoming a member of Baby Wearing Around Tulsa, I’ve seen many beautiful carries and heard many great tips. I’ve also developed a curiosity about Tulas that may be endangering my future relationship with my Ergo. I’ve been so grateful, as a new mom, to have such a resource and look forward to all the friendships, advice and stash building to come. I would say that, as a first time mother, one needs very few things that come from the store. What you really need are: mommy friends to support you, information and support about your options and maybe a good ring sling.
I wear my baby because it gives us some security and cuddle time in the middle of our day. As my life resumes it’s former pace and I introduce my little girl to the world around her, I am grateful to have that time. Maybe I’ll use baby wearing to help me clean the house. When I start to do that again.

My name is Alicia Kobilnyk. I've always worked with children, except for a brief foray at a Zoo, which can be quite similar. I especially enjoyed teaching toddlers but recently got promoted: to Mama. I'm on my journey into the land of baby wearing, cloth diapering and all the yummy goodness that crunchy motherhood brings.

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