Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Head to Heart

"I don't know how you are going to manage with all those children and a newborn," she remarked.  I made an offhand joke about how newborns seem easy compared to 2 and 4 year olds.  But the real reason that the newborn stage no longer terrifies me is that I've learned quite a bit about what works - and what doesn't.  That's one of the main reasons why it gets better with each one.

What works for me may not work for other Mamas.  I have a certain personality and a certain way of mothering, its true, but I've also changed a lot of how I do things over the years.  I went from very mainstream mothering to extreme natural parenting and now have settled in a happy medium somewhere in between.  In a place that works for me.


Early in my parenting career, I tried every baby item known to man.  My house was littered with bouncers, swings, playmats, jumperoos and exersaucers.  My babies seemed to like them for awhile, but after a bit would cry when I put them down on their various playthings.  That's when I realized: my babies want me to hold them.  Of course 24/7 holding isn't always possible, right?  Enter the baby carrier, one of my tricks for a smooth and happy newborn through toddler experience.  I wore my oldest in a snuggli front carrier for a few months before my back started hurting, and then I stopped.  It was years before I tried my very first sling.  I was then hooked.  Babies love to be worn by their Mamas.  My newborn son will go from asleep to quietly awake back to sleep again as I go about my day, his head to my heart.  Add that to the ease of nursing while holding baby so close, and there really is no need for the baby to cry.  So they don't.  I still use a bouncer or swing occasionally, but for the most part we go with what works best - holding close.

Sometimes the price tag on the nicer carriers can seem daunting, but they are frequently up for sale used online.  Also, you get your money's worth.  My cheapy snugli was not worth the $20 I spent on it.  The Ergo we purchased a few years later has been used more than an infant car seat and has been well worth every dime we paid.  Look for carriers that can hold up to 35 or 40 lbs to ensure you can carry your child long past babyhood.


"You look so well rested.  Are you getting sleep?"  You wouldn't think that would be a question posed to a Mom of 5 little ones, one just under a month old, who's husband works nights.  But it was.  And I am well rested.  The trick to this is keeping baby close at night - at very least in your room, if not right up beside the bed (or in it...but that is a bit more controversial and I'm not looking for debate here).  The baby and Mama go from sleeping to nursing back to sleeping again nearly seamlessly.  And when so near to Mama, again baby has no need to fully wake and wail.


Recently I've discovered the biggest way to have a peaceful newborn experience is to relax - and not sweat the small stuff.  I love cloth diapers and used to be quite militant about their use.  This time around, I'm a bit more relaxed.  I use them when I want to, and don't sweat it when disposables are easier.  I find that the more strident and strict I am about small issues, the harder it is for me to just relax and enjoy my baby.  Which is really the most important thing of all.

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  1. Agreed. My husband wants no more children. When he told me, my thought was, "but I'm just getting good at all this." You do get more seasoned with each one.

  2. I agree that babies get easier the more we have, although I think it's more that we're just more relaxed about everything.

    I'm glad that you're babies like to be held so much, but mine certainly didn't. My oldest was struggling to be let go of when she was just six weeks old. My youngest would cry in the Ergo until she fell asleep. Oh, well. Maybe this last one will like to be held.

  3. Great post, and nice restful looking mama. Each baby is different, my last two grandsons did not want to be held or rocked at all and it was a battle to even try, they did some front pack/back pack time but they really did not want it. If you can do that it is awesome because it really does free up many busy moments along the day.

  4. Lovely, and so true. I was open to doing whatever worked for us and for the particular baby we got when we had Olympia, and the sling wearing co-sleeping mostly but not always cloth diapering life has been incredibly peaceful, and full of sleep. Glad to hear it is still working with this later baby for you! I keep thinking sometime I will get walloped since my first was so easy.

  5. Ah, yes, baby wearing! There were days when my newborn would sleep nowhere but in my arms. My sling made it so much easier! I am looking forward to wearing my new babe in a week or two!

  6. oh I couldn't live without our slings! Love your blog btw:-) one of my absolute favs!!


  7. I love my sling but there are many down sides to wearing it on one shoulder. Looking to invest in an ergo or beco carrier. Do you have any recommendations/reviews as to which one to get?

  8. i know this is an old post, but do you mind telling me what baby wrap you're using in the first photo? it looks like a moby, but i wasn't sure if it was a woven wrap, and if so, what brand...


  9. Hello Rebekah!

    The first photo is of me with Peter in a Moby wrap, good eye! It wasn't until after I posted this that I read elsewhere that stretchy wraps like the moby are not the best choice for back carries like the one I'm doing in the photo. For those, sturdier wovens are supposedly safer.


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