Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Baby Wearing

Well we've passed the magic six month mark which I had in my head as the time I would probably have brought a buggy by and still, no buggy. Meanderingfather and I were thinking about it but as I'm obviously the one who carries Jess the most it's probably me who does most of the decision making around this. Nothing to do with the fact that I'm a control crazed freak.

Anyway, I thought about it, I did a bit of research and I've brought... a new sling. Some may say it's unnecessary and I only brought it because it's very pretty (which it is) but I like to think I have some arguments in my favour. My Moby wrap I adore and will continue to use, especially if we're out for long periods of time (it spreads the weight a bit better, especially for my lower back and Jess sleeps a bit better in it), and if it's very cold as it keeps the heat in very well. And that's one of the arguments in favour of the new one. It's called a Mei Tai and effectively a big square with a tie coming off each corner. It therefore doesn't wrap round you and has a bit more in the way of natural ventilation! It's hard to argue how great slings are when your baby has a beetroot face and you're sweating buckets.

Meanderingfather has been his usual lovely self so I have another wrap on the way which is a cross between a stretchy wrap (like the Moby- good for newborns) and a woven wrap which can be a bit more technically difficult but is good for bigger and heavier babies. So this will be a good wrap as Jess gets a bit bigger and wrigglier. Again, it's also damned pretty! I will, of course, post pictures on its arrival.

The Mei Tai is easier than a wrap to get on quickly and I can carry Jess on my back with just me to get her on and off. I tried this once with the Moby and somewhat predictably only narrowly avoided Jess hitting the decks. And the Mai Tei's just so pretty, did I mention that already? It was made by a company called Funky Slings (see the link) and I spent hours deciding what fabric to get, they have a huge amount! They're also a small business employing work at home mothers to make the slings which is the kind of business I like to give mine (or Meanderingfather's) money to.

Jess trying her new Funky Sling Mai Tei.

On the back. She's asleep here she's so comfy!

And on the front (looking pissed off because I wouldn't share my icecream).

I now feel that what was a decision to carry a small baby in a sling for convenience purposes is fast becoming a lifestyle choice and predictably one I have to defend to people so I have tended to get a bit more bolshy about it. There are times when I wonder why I'm carrying my 7kg nearly seven month old child around. Surely it'd be easier in a buggy, she'd be more comfortable, she's sleep in there better, she could play with her toys in there, I wouldn't be risking my back etc etc. Am I insisting on carrying her for selfish reasons? I like to chat to her, I like to be able to kiss her little head and hold her hands and cradle her in my arms while she sleeps but is it just me that craves that closeness?

There are obvious practical benefits; we don't have anywhere to keep a buggy at home and I can only imagine that hauling Jess and a buggy up the stairs to the flat would be a bit of a mission. I also thank my lucky stars for my weaving abilities when attempting the buggy slalom that is Stoke Newington Church St at the weekend. Or when watching anyone manhandling buggies on and off buses. And do I feel smug when I'm nipping through the gridlocked buggy brigade? Of course I do.

I've also discovered the joys of being able to pop Jess on my back while I "get on" as my mother puts it. Although she is usually very chilled out and happy to entertain herself there are times when she wants a bit of company and interaction. Usually these times correspond with when I'm trying to make dinner or clean up so now she can go on my back like a little monkey, I can have a little sing and dance while I'm cooking or whatever and she's quite happy. Whizzing the hoover around with a baby on your back is quite a workout too!

Apparently wearing your baby is also good for their development and if the nice ladies in Born say they think babies in slings are more aware of the world around them and more interactive then who am I to disagree?! Jess is very aware of what's going on, she's very smiley and she's what I can only describe as a very confident baby but she may have been all those things if she had been in a buggy, it's hard to know. Proponents of the attachment theory swear by the usefulness of wraps and slings to keep your baby with you at all times. I don't go by any particular method of parenting and I like Jess to have her own time, as I like to have mine too but I do believe that wearing your baby against you really gives you a closeness that I don't believe you'd get pushing them round in a buggy all the time. But that's just me!

So for now we sling and I think we've reached the stage where it's an all or nothing thing. She's at a weight that if I started putting her in the sling only occasionally it'd get harder, the very fact I do it everyday means I'm used to it and I don't really notice her weight. And I'm not ready to stop with the baby wearing!

Meanderingfather turns the Mei Tai inside out and rocks the goth daddy look.

1 comment:

  1. Meanderingfather - love it! And if you publish these blog posts in a book you must consider calling it 'Meandering through the Buggy Slalom' - best phrase I've heard in ages...!