Oct 31, 2009

Wearing my baby

We have found a better way!

MrBaby has settled into a cosy new routine. He'll happily sleep in his bassinet (in our room) at night for 3 or 4 hours, from about 10 or 11 pm until about 3am. Then he'll have a long lazy feed (he doesn't feed any other way) and about an hour and a half later will usually settle back into the bassinet for another couple of hours sleep.

That bit of his 'routine' is unchanged - the new and better bit concerns what happens for the rest of the day...

The first feed of the day is followed by an extended wakey time - he's very happy to lie with his pants off and kick for a while on the change-mat - or the babygym for variety - or being held (with pants on) by his sisters, while Merl and I buzz around getting dressed, dressing children, eating breakfast and generally getting started on the day.

I used to then put him back in the bassinet (following the exalted 'feed, wake, sleep' rhythm that worked so well for Miss2). Cue much unsettled crying, which stopped when I picked him up, and started as soon as I put him down, and continued in this pattern until he was obviously out the other side of 'tired' and was now also 'hungry'. This continued for much of the day, while I completely failed to get anything else done as I spent most of the day either on the couch feeding, or standing beside the bassinet trying to get him to sleep.

Now I might have a go at settling him in the bassinet, but if he doesn't settle fairly happily (i.e. still not happy after a couple of attempts to resettle him) I give up, give him another feed and pop him into the baby wrap.

Baby wraps are magic!

If I get the position right, he can feed whenever he wants to have a wee top-up, and he sleeps very happily tucked up on my chest. Instant quiet, instant peace, and I am able to read stories and play games with the other children without continually yo-yoing into the bedroom. And at the end of the day, he still cluster-feeds himself into a coma and I can pop him into bed. Bliss.

Now the girls have got their own babywraps for their own babies...

...and their elephants too. (Miss2 has got a little pink elephant tucked into her wrap in this photo). She then proceeded to jump around like a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch. Extremely cute.

My first foray into baby-slinging involved a 4m length of fabric which I had in my fabric stash. This was long enough to wrap over one shoulder, and around my middle, but not both shoulders. It was okay, but not very comfortable for more than an hour or so, and I felt a bit lop-sided. So I looked for improvements, and found a couple of great websites showing lots of different ways to wear your baby (links at the end of the post). I'm borrowing wraps from a couple of different friends to see what works for us, before getting my own.

This was the first 2-shoulder wrap I tried. A friend made this wrap using a 6 or 7 metre length of muslin. I can see this being a good one for summer, being a lovely open-weave cotton. It is comfortable, but not very stretchy/flexible, so I found I needed to tie it just right or it pulled quite tightly in places.

This one is the Moby wrap, borrowed from another friend. It is awesome. Its a soft, tight-knit cotton which is not very stretchy at all, but is stretchy enough to easily adjust around the baby and myself. Folks, we have a winner. Now I just need to decide whether I can be bothered making one myself or if I'll just buy one (they seem awfully expensive for what they are).

I know, I know 'making' one only involves going to the fabric shop, choosing some fabric, slicing it in half lengthwise and overlocking the edges - but that's possibly more hassle than I can be bothered with just right now. And by the time I have enough headspace or time to do something like that, the baby won't be a baby anymore!

Babywearing sites:
Wrap Your Baby - Very clear step-by-step instructions, with photos, for lots and lots of different ways to tie the wrap.
The Mamatoto Project - Includes instructions for using different types of cloth, including shorter scarves and traditional wraps from baby-wearing cultures. The videos are particularly helpful.
La Leche League NZ - Articles on all things baby, including babywearing
Make a Babysling - instructions for making your own.


LoopyNZ said...

If you're investing in a new wrap, you might want to consider a less stretchy style (Didymos, Storchenwiege, etc.) for when baby is bigger and see if you can get by just borrowing a Moby. The wide, unstretchy ones are great for back carries and toddler carries - very handy when you have other children to chase around!

homehandymum said...

Thanks Loopy

Good to know. I might see about that. Is there anywhere in Dunedin that stocks a range of wraps to have a look at? And about what weight would a moby-type wrap be useful for?

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