Thursday, June 18, 2015

Babywearing: Lots of Ups and Downs

We started out on our babywearing journey with an Ergo I found on Craigslist while I was still pregnant with my little man. It was a great carrier and it served us well, but then my son started protesting it. He was never really content if I was just standing around, but things deteriorated until he was crying, running away, or putting it away every time I pulled it out. I thought he was done with babywearing altogether and that made me really sad.

Then I found Babywearing Around Tulsa and read the term knee-to-knee. I googled it and instantly realized the problem. Silly me, before that I thought that an Ergo rated for 45 pounds could actually be used until a child weighed 45 pounds. Once I knew that the Ergo was probably super uncomfortable for my 2 year old I dug out two ancient ring slings I’d been gifted and started trying those. They were not at all ideal for a 2 year old either. (I actually think one of them might be a converted bedsheet.) Caelan did tolerate them for quick ups but they were really, really unsupportive and uncomfortable. I started looking for other options.
I bought a Tula from a sweet BWAT mama and got a quick lesson on SSCs and tried out a wrap. And I was hooked. I started out slow but I’ve collected a stash of several wraps and a wrap conversion Mei Tai. I can’t claim that my toddler was always cooperative- each time we got a new carrier or wrap, I would be sooo excited to try it, And Caelan, with his inconvenient mind of his own, would tell me “No carrier!” or “No, THIS
carrier!” THIS carrier was never the new one I wanted so badly to try on. But we’ve made so much progress. Caelan has gone from refusing all carriers to accepting (almost) all of them. At first he only wanted to ride in front, but he’s willing to do hip and back carries now. And the big one: he tolerates wrapping! Front, back, or hip carries. He often still wants to choose, but I’ll take it. There were plenty of times when I was building that stash that I wondered if he would ever let me use them. My husband was amused at the irony of me having a new hobby that relied on the baby when the baby didn’t like it.
I have no words to describe how happy I am that babywearing is working for us. I hope our story encourages others to keep trying when they hit a rough patch. (I should note: a lot of white chocolate, marshmallows, and highly preferred activities have been used to encourage the little one to go up. It’s worked!)  
Babywearing is one way we can maintain the closeness of our bond as we approach weaning. As a working mom, I’m always looking for ways to connect with my little. Babywearing overall and BWAT has been a really fun way to do that and make friends while exploring a practically unlimited number of cute options.
Wear all the babies!

Lisa is an extended nursing, full-time working, full-time grad student mom of one ridiculously cute 2.5 year old boy. She actually can NOT do it all, but babywearing allows her to almost keep her head above water.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nursing in a Ring Sling

In this video Renee gives you tips on how to nurse in a ring sling.  The ring sling is often the easiest carrier for new moms to master nursing in but it certainly isn't the only option.  Stay tuned for more videos from Renee with tips and tricks for nursing in other carrier types.

Renee Owsley McBay is a wife and mother to 1 year old Jemma. She enjoys the closeness and convince of babywearing and sharing it with others. In her free time she volenteers for BWAT, loves watching Doctor Who, crafting, and reading just about anything she can get her hands on

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wherever Ergo, I’ll go: Evolution of a Babywearing Mama

Wherever Ergo, I’ll go: Evolution of a Babywearing Mama

When my daughter was born, I was given several wraps and babywearing items: a Moby, a Maya ring sling, a Seven sling, a custom work-at-home-mom sling and and
Ergo (with infant insert). From my little collection, I chose to begin with the Moby wrap. I’d see a good video online and had practiced before the baby came, although I never thought to wrap the cat. (Pregnancy regrets: #thestruggleisreal). When she was nine days old, I wore her for the first time. She snuggled into the Moby with ease and enjoyed her new nap locale. “Great!” I thought. “She loves being worn already.” Eventually, I came to dislike the radiating heat of the Moby while out and about in the summer. It was like laying belly-first on the surface of the sun. I searched for a new option from my repertoire and reached for the Maya ring sling. A new friend showed me how to wear my little in the sling and I loved it. The baby would sleep on me at church, her little feet sticking out under her round little rump. The catch was that A) she did not want to be worn while awake and B) my husband wanted nothing to do with wearing her  in the sling. He even mentioned that she seemed to dislike it and would offer to carry her for me. I saw this as an attempt to “rescue” my baby from my ill-advised intentions and took umbrage. I know now that he was just trying to give his sleep-deprived wife a few minutes of rest and wanted some of those delicious baby cuddles he missed while at work. Yet the sling worked wonderfully for us for months. It even lived in my car.
As my girl grew bigger and more physically active, she would throw HUGE fits as soon as she realized I was getting her saddled into the ring sling. She wanted to look around, having long since decided my chest was not as fascinating as she had once thought. I tried to do hip carries with her, but she was just not feeling it. Meanwhile, I started to notice that my lower back hurt after a few minutes and chose not to subject both of us (and all of the grocery store patrons around us) to the torture. I resigned myself to putting Little Miss in the cart (#babywearingfail) and tried not to look the other
moms in the eye. It seemed like we’d reached an impasse when I remembered the Ergo. I had
tried to wear her in it a few times when she was little bitty, but the infant insert was like calculus-- Calculus while holding a mad, squirming baby. But now she was over twelve pounds and had perfect head control. It had to be worth a try. I worked on my technique for a quick strap-in and jiggle-to-sleep dance. It took some time. But I persisted. As I grew in confidence and she learned that cuddles can still be nice, it got better. When another friend showed me how to clip the back clip myself, it was no longer an ordeal to wear my baby. It was enjoyable. I’d strap her on at the store, jiggle her to sleep and stroll the aisles, head held high and soaking up the drooly, drooly snuggles. I felt like I
suddenly understood all the mamas who mourn their growing, walking children. I was a complete convert. I felt this would be my pinnacle of babywearing glory. Surely, this was enough for me. So I cannot describe my pure delight when my husband expressed willingness to try carrying our little one in the Ergo. I showed him how to strap in, saddled up the baby and got her situated. I dropped technical phrases like “knee-to-knee” and “seat” to make sure he knew I had done my homework. He stepped back, looking first at his girl calming down and dozing off, then studying his free hands. He wiggled, checking his back for discomfort. Then he looked at me and said “Hey, this isn’t bad at all. Have I reached my babywearing nirvana yet? My high note? I don’t think I have, as I’ve been eyeing some linen and woven wraps on the Babywearing Around Tulsa Facebook page. Maybe I will become a wrapper. Every day, my little one gets better at sitting up unsupported. Soon we will be able to start back carries in the Ergo. I may even get brave and borrow a woven from our lending library. Have I reached the end of my quest for babywearing bliss? Not even close. There will be more carriers, more developmental milestones and more babies to be worn (whether mine or no). I’m
looking forward to a long and beautiful relationship with babywearing. Off to the next great adventure!

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.