You Are Not Alone

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Snuggling My Baby

I'm a Baby wearer, but I hate saying that, because I think it sounds like my Baby is an accessory, which he certainly is not. Still, that is the accepted vernacular, so for the sake of common words, I will use the term, "Baby Wearing".

I cannot recall when I first learned of Baby Wearing. I've been wracking my brain, trying to remember the first moment I learned of it, but try as I might, that memory is long gone, replaced by better memories of my Son's smiles. However; I do remember purchasing the Jelly Bean Sling at the Baby Depot, inside of the Burlington Coat Factory at my local mall during one of my, "baby stuff" shopping forays.

I remember standing in the aisle, staring at the sling, considering its use while my Son rested snug in my womb. Looking at the picture on the packaging, I thought how nice it would be to carry him around with me, and placed the thirty dollar sling into my arms for purchase.

After Colin was born, I actually started using the sling quite often. He was so tiny inside of it, snug and warm, and I found myself worried about whether or not he was getting enough air, or if I would smother him. In light of the recent recall of the Infantino Baby Bag, my worries no longer seem unfounded, but I didn't know that at the time, and made sure to lift the lip of the sling and check in on my little angel often to make sure his nose was angled away from my engorged breast. Often, he was fine, or I would shift him so his sweet little face was turned up to mine and then, with my arm snug underneath his surprisingly light body, I would carry on with whatever it was I was doing.

When I wasn't walking around Wal-Mart, or going to the beach, I would place Colin in the sling while attempting to do chores. The sling wasn't as secure as I wished it to be, so I didn't do this much, only when I couldn't stand the "filth" of my home, which in retrospect seven months post Mommy, was not much at all.

A friend of mine mentioned that she was looking into a Sleepy Wrap. Sleep Wraps are one long piece of slightly stretchy fabric that you wrap around your shoulders and torso and then place your baby in. Because the fabric is slightly stretchy, you can get a more secure feeling hold on your baby. The cost of the Sleep Wrap was a bit higher than the Jelly Bean, but I had already found that I loved being able to carry my Son around with me, hands free, and so I purchased the Sleepy Wrap in practical black. When it finally came, I studied the booklet included to learn how to use the wrap, and the ways in which it could be used, and tried it out. Unfortunately, after several uses, Colin developed prickly rash, and stopped using the wrap. The Sleepy Wrap was not only to blame for Colin's prickly rash, I did overdress him, but the Sleep Wrap did exacerbate matters, even after I dressed Colin in only a onesie and placed him in it, it still left him hot and flush. The Sleepy Wrap left me hot and flushed too, the tight fabric, warmth of my Son and my own body warmth causing us to be one toasty duo!

I was sad to have to put the Sleepy Wrap away, because it had been so wonderful to use, despite how hot it made me and Colin. It was a snug baby carrier, and aside from some lolling head issues at the beginning, it made me and my Son feel secure. So, I went back to the Jelly Bean Sling, and waited to do housework until he was asleep.

My Sister-in-law gave me a Baby Bjorn, and I did try that out a couple of times, but neither me, nor Colin enjoyed it as much as the Jelly Bean or the Sleepy Wrap. Besides, it was difficult to put on easily, and who wants to be struggling with buttons and latches while standing in the parking lot of Wal-Mart? Not, I! So, the Jelly Bean sling it was, and continued to be throughout the winter, into the spring when my little linebacker grew so heavy that wearing him in the sling caused my arm to go numb because his weight was cutting off the blood supply from the neck to it. I was sad to put away the Jelly Bean, because it had become a sort of security blanket for me.

I didn't have to worry about strangers touching my baby when he was in the Jelly Bean. They would remark on the sling, lean toward my chest, invading my personal space, (if only I was an actual Lioness...doubt anyone would leer toward me and my young if they knew I’d give a warning swipe with my clawed paw) and try to peer between the folds of the sling. I would politely open up the slit of the sling, allowing light to pour in and make Colin wince and shift in disturbance of comfort and security, allow them to coo over my Son, and then close the sling back up with pride, joy and relief.

The sling also afforded ease. Instead of perching my son on a precarious cart seat, I could carry him safely and snugly in the sling that I threw on in the parking lot and safely placed him in. I could shield him from the cold. Several times, I nursed him while he was in the sling, offering my breast with a bit of slight of hand in IKEA, and on the beach. As Colin grew older, I shifted him from a cradle hold to a sitting position, affording him new sights from a safe and secure perch. If Colin grew tired while in the sling, he would rest his head against my breast, pop his thumb in his mouth and go to sleep. Once asleep, I would lift the edge of the sling up, shielding his face from light, his ears from sound and creating a warmer and secure place to get much needed rest.

I don't know how I would have survived without the Sling thus far. I can say, without any doubts, that using the sling strengthened and reinforced the bond I have with my child, prevented illness, and gave me a priceless peace of mind. I honestly don't know why more people who can use them, don't. It is one of the things I bought for my baby, that I actually used and he loved. I hate to give it up, but he's too big, so I recently purchased an ERGO carrier, off of a bargain site. I can't wait to get it! It has a hip carry; back carry and front carry option! It's safe, secure and ergonomical, and it can carry up to forty pounds! Not sure if i'll wear it that long, but my Husband might, and we'll still get to be close to our Son, and he'll still get to snuggle with his Mom and Dad.
Sure could have used that ERGO today at Publix! Hurry up and come already!!!


  1. I do hope you like your Ergo. We have used our Beco almost every day since we got it. At 27 lbs we are now finding her too heavy to carry around all the time, but fortunately she loves her buggy as well.

    I have spent an enjoyable few minutes reading some of your older posts. You sound so much like me. All new mothers go through such profound changes and we all feel alone, like we are the first to feel like this. In our society we often talk about the nappy changes and the sleepless nights but we don't talk about the massive psychological upheaval of having a first child. I feel a lot more human than I did a year ago, and I'm sure the time will come when you feel normal again.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. Cave Mother! I'm so honored that you've visited my blog and read my postings! I feel a kindred spirit in you too! The last post of yours I read, you talked about how you weren't posting so much because you didn't feel the need to vent as strongly, and I identify with that passionately. Thank YOU for sharing too!

    I do love the Ergo, it's just been an akward transition from the sling to the Ergo, since the sling is so much easier. I wish I had purchased a Beco instead, but i'm getting used to my Ergo, and my little lovey is happy with it!

    Thank you again, for honoring me with your viewership and thank you for sharing your journey too!