Friday, November 11, 2011

A Year Of: Baby Wearing

Brees Elizabeth will be a year old on November 15.  I know that every mother says this, but
I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed.  As I reflect on this last year and all
the adventures and milestones we have experienced, I hope that you enjoy this series of
posts about our family and all the things we have learned this past year.
A year of baby wearing...
When I was pregnant for Brees, I thought a lot about how I would juggle two children.
Not only was I about to become a mother of two, but my children were going to be 6
years apart and in completely different phases.  Isabelle is extremely active and, just like
her mother, is very involved and social.  We spend many of our weekends and
some weeknights at Girl Scouts, dance class, festivals, fundraisers, and local events.  I
started looking at different baby carriers because I liked the idea of having the baby
close while still being hands free.  With a carrier, I could breast feed in public discretely,
run after my school age child, and enjoy the closeness of having my baby near.  It seemed
so practical and efficient to me and I spent hours researching and narrowing my choices
down until I found the carrier that fit our needs best: the Ergo.
What started as a smart and easy way to manage two children on the go has become a
love affair with baby wearing for me.  This practice has been around for centuries and
exists in many cultures around the world.  Most attachment parenting gurus promote
and encourage wearing your baby because of the security experienced by both mother
and child.  Having your child so close has proven to increase oxytocin levels, resulting in
more balanced emotions and a significant decrease in postpartum depression.  Read
 more about this philosophy here.
For me, I see the benefits because I can compare my public outing experiences between
my two kids.  I never wore Belle, I either held her or pushed her in a stroller.  With Brees,
I wear her almost everywhere we go.  She has only been in her stroller a handful of
times.  The difference: Brees is must more calm and content on public outings.  She is
easily pacified because when she gets tired or overstimulated, she simply lies her head
against my chest and goes to sleep.  I don't worry about strangers touching her or placing
her in danger because she is right up against me.  When she is hungry, I can nurse
her without any fuss.  At a year old, the ONLY time she has ever had a public meltdown
was when I placed her in her stroller and stood in a busy line with a dozen kids ahead of
us.  The noise level was insane and there was so much activity buzzing around us: she lost
it.  I can't really say that I blame her, my nerves were on edge as well.  Had she been in
her Ergo, she probably would have just put her head down and watched curiously from
the safety of my arms.  I honestly attribute her easy going nature on the go to the fact
that she feels secure and confident in her sling.  She can curiously look around at the
big bright world but then, when she feels overwhelmed, she has my heart beat to soothe
her, my warmth and voice to feel safe.
I've read many articles and talked with people who feel that baby wearing makes
children insecure, shy, and passive.  They feel that carrying your baby all the time will
stunt their development, both physically and socially.  Brees Elizabeth is living proof
that these fears are unfounded.  She began walking at 9 months old and is very curious
and active.  She is always exploring, observing, and on the move.  I feel that our
attachment parenting methods have actually made her MORE independent because she
feels secure, her needs are always being met.  When I am wearing her, she has the chance
to look around and absorb her surroundings without being overwhelmed, she can control
how much she experiences.
As with all things parenting, baby wearing may not be for every family.  For me, it
has allowed Brees and I to build a rich and solid bond, given me the ability to move freely
and tend to my older daughter while still  nurturing my babe.  I love being able to kiss the
top of her head every time she looks up at me and smiles.  I love watching her take in
the sights and sounds of each new adventure.  But most of all, I love how happy and
content this sweet little girl is, making me a happy and content mama.

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Anonymous said...

I have many friends who used this technique and they just loved it. I remember my parents carrying me too and actually my dad recalls I loved it, as you say you can do many more things, your baby is safe close to your chest and can enjoy the world or relax depending on how he feels.
Always a pleasure to read about you and your little family.
A beautiful week-end to all!

Little Gray Pixel said...

I'm curious about the breastfeeding. Alexa is weaned now, but back when she was younger and I had her in a Moby wrap or other baby carrier, I found it way too awkward to do discreetly. I'd love to hear any tips you have on this so the next time around I might not be so clueless. :-)

Anonymous said...

I already bought my sling and i dont have kiddos yet.. lol im planning on being a baby wearer.. :D

I hope you have a wonderful weekend my friend.

Hannah said...

i am an advocate for baby wearing! my mom held my sisters and I all the time even before baby wearing was a thing--whenever we cried, she just held us. She did not try and train us to sit alone. I seriously think it actually turned us into more confident, secure people!

Hannah said...

probably because we felt so loved! :)

Anonymous said...

I did not wear my first but did wear my second. While I think it made me much more comfortable I really don't notice a difference in the two.. I think it really depends on the child's personality also...but regardless, I think it is a good decision. You are right, it is much nicer to know that rather than having your baby in a stroller where any stranger can walk up and interact with them they are right with you at all times ( call me crazy but when mine were babies I reeeally disliked random strangers walking up to talk to or touch them.. i know they meant well but it just creeped me out lol) btw i just love the name Brees... very cute!

Nessa said...

I wore my daughter all the time... first in a ring sling and K'tan and then in a Bobo carrier (just like the Ergo). I can only imagine how great it would be with your second. If you met my daughter - she is the oposite of clingy. She is super independent. Silly people.

Jennifer said...

I will probably do the same thing when we have kids! It seems so much easier!

Randalin. said...

It's so nice to hear about your experiences wearing Brees (and to see all the cute pics!). You know I've loved wearing Kale, but I imagine babywearing becomes even more essential with your second!

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