I finally got myself to bed around midnight last night, and woke up at 2:30, wide awake and convinced I needed to check on Gwyneth. Who was sound asleep, swaddled in her crib. I woke again at 6:30… still sleeping soundly. She finally woke around 7:30, and we got up and started our morning. Pausing to do the math, she slept for 8+ hours straight despite the fact that she fought the bottle last night. (We give her 4-6 oz of formula at bedtime because I was struggling with supply and because it lets Justin do bedtime and because I needed some sleep, dammit, and it’s become a good part of our routine that works for everyone.) I don’t know if she hated the bottle last night because it’s got Enfamil in it instead of Baby’s Only Organic (because we ran out of the good stuff), or because Mama doesn’t do bottles so give me the boob, dammit, or what… but she only ate 2 ounces of formula before I gave up and nursed her (which worked because my supply has rebounded), and she slept straight through anyway. Good job, kid.
I tried to convince her she wanted to go back to sleep with me in the big bed around 8:30, but she was having none of it, and when I sat up to play with her (since there was going to be no sleeping), Malcolm realized it was morning. So instead of my dream of a lazy morning of sleeping babies and my bed, I got up and put on a pair of jeans and found the baby sling and got Gwyn into it and then got Gwyn out of it and untwisted the baby sling… yeah. That kind of morning. But we did make it outside, and Malcolm was a perfect gentleman today. No pulling on his leash, no running after birds, just cheerful trotting and wandering and peeing on things and eating The Grass That Is For Dogs.
Of course, I put on my Keen minimalist sandals, and so I promptly slipped on the wet grass in the front yard — I went fully down onto both knees before I could rebalance and get back up, and Malcolm thought I was playing, so he was bouncing vigorously around me while I tried to regain my balance and hold Gwyn steady and Oh God Don’t Fall On The Baby. It was all fine, just a bobble, but it did aggravate my left foot pretty badly — I’m fighting plantar fasciitis there — and scared the shit out of me. I got over it. It was too pretty out to be upset.
The truth is, in a baby sling tightened right, the baby ain’t goin’ nowhere if you slip. I pretty much love the ring sling. I took G to Michael and Amy’s on Wednesday evening for a drinks-and-cheese party, courtesy of a cheese shipment from Amy’s dad. (Which I call “Va Cheese”, as she calls him Va and it’s his cheese and I’m easily amused.) I spent the first hour I was there wearing her, and she passed out on my chest while I drank beer and ate Caprice des Dieux and talked to adults. Today I walked the field with Malcolm, with Gwyn on my chest. It’s easy, it’s comfortable, and it’s almost entirely hands-free.
Justin prefers the Baby Bjorn, with its adjustable straps and more structured shape, but the sling works great for me and what I want to do with G when I’m wearing her. I do choose one of the Bjorns (we have two, both used, both gifts, bless you, our village) when I’m going to take her for a real walk, out on the road or somewhere not just our backyard. It feels more stable for that more exposed kind of movement. I could be making that up, but it feels true to me. The Bjorns also allow her to ride facing out, and man, does she like to be facing out. But for around the house, around the yard, and in generally “indoor” kinds of environments, the Sakura Bloom ring sling (also used, also a gift) is my clear winner. Easy, simple, and sturdy. Linen is awesome. G gets to do what I’m doing, see what I’m seeing, and be present in the activities of the house, and I don’t have to sit on the bed and play with her in order to be interacting with her. She has enough mobility to look around, and she can look over my shoulder to some extent. And the dog gets walked. (He likes that.) When she was teeny tiny I used the Moby wrap, because it made such a great nest for her to sleep in. I suspect I may use it more again as she gets bigger, as it’s a more adjustable way to carry and wear larger infants. We’ll see.
So I guess that qualifies as a commitment to babywearing, but bleh. I have no interest in declaring that we are a Kind Of Parent. These ‘movements’ around how you raise your kids — Free Range Kids, Attachment Parenting, Baby-Led Parenting — have no appeal for me, in large part because I’ve never been the kind of person who needs to identify with a larger group. I don’t need a pile of initialisms to describe my family (“My DH is SAHD but we EBF our LO as much as my supply allows” is accurate, but makes me want to gag), and I don’t need a label to describe how we’re raising our kid. Instead, I’m interested in learning about what other people have done, understanding the biological drivers of child development, and seeing what works for us. And part of what works for us is baby carriers.
We have a stroller — the Quinny Zapp — and it’s a great stroller. I like it bunches. Our Maxi Cosi baby bucket snaps into it, and later, it has a real stroller seat, too. Generally speaking, it strolls. As strollers do. But I’m not gonna put G in a stroller to walk Malcolm. I’m also not interested in leaving her strapped into her baby bucket in the corner of the room while I drink beer and eat cheese and talk to grown ups. Slings and carriers have been our lifesaver in the quest to ensure that we give Gwyneth the things she needs to develop confidently and comfortably, but also allowing us to be functional human people with lives we want to be living.
And the dog gets walked. He likes that.
What we’re using for baby moving:
Quinny Zapp and Maxi Cosi Mico Travel System
Sakura Bloom Ring Sling
Baby Bjorn Original, and Baby Bjorn Miracle (we have both…)