Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Babywearing Me Out

I've been meaning to blog about it for awhile, but I finally found something to "wear" Graves in that he and I both like and I'm fairly thrilled with it.  Regarding the titular play on words, the part that has been wearisome was really the search for that elusive perfect babywearing apparatus, not the actual wearing of the Babykins, although even Peyton admits he is getting quite heavy.

Crunch, crunch, crunch goes the granola, right? SD's embracing another crazy crunchy practice, huh? Actually, this (like the cloth diapers) was just an issue of pragmatism more than anything else.  There are obviously parenting issues that I feel varying degrees of passionate about, but this is not one of them.  It works for us and it is what it is.

 I decided pretty early on that I wanted to invest in some sort of wrap or sling because as much as Graves likes to be held and as much as I obsess over my ability or inability to accomplish things I deemed it a beneficial alternative to a) holding him and obsessing or b) letting him scream while I rushed around attempting the bare minimum to keep our heads above water.  Peyton and I have REALLY tried to limit our purchases for him because he is the second child and much of what we truly need (and plenty of what we want) are things we already have.  In effort to be better stewards of our money, we decided to forgo a double stroller and an infant bath tub (the bathroom sink is sufficient for now), but the more time went by the more I decided this was a non negotiable.

We actually already had a carrier of sorts.  We had on of those "packs" as I call them that can be worn on your chest or your back- ours is an Infantino knock off of the classic Bjorn.  We used it once on a trip when AP was about Graves's age and Peyton has sworn he's going to hike with it, but it's bulky and hard to get on and overall, just not practical for day to day use.  Honestly, I'm not sure I even can get it on by myself. 

I also borrowed a friend's Moby Wrap.  It was definitly an improvement!  There's a lot of good to be said for the Moby- it's super easy to transport and launder, it's soft and comfy and it's very versatile in that it can be worn a bunch of different ways.  Now I know some people swear by their Mobys, but it did have a few weaknesses, in my opinion.  For one thing, it's a bunch of fabric and so it's really hot in the Summer and being as small as I am I had to wrap it around me a gazillion times so it wouldn't drag the floor.  Also, it was hard for me to get it on where it's not too loose or too snug.  It seems like every time I put it on it took me two or three tries to find that magic balance.  I'm sure with practice it would have gotten easier and faster, though.  Also, it's just a piece of stretchy fabric, so I didn't feel like it was as supportive as I really wanted it to be.  I knew Graves was going to stay in there, but as I walked around and moved he would kind of sink lower in it and I wanted him to be up closer to my face, where it was safer and more comfortable.  Also, he'd move around so that I couldn't see him as well and I felt like I was constantly monitoring his breathing.  Again, this is probably less of a weakness of the wrap and something that patience and practice would have taken care of.

After that, I decided to go over to my sister in law's house for a baby wearing tutorial.  She's an avid baby wearer and very active in the Attachment Parenting community, so I knew she'd have some helpful advice.  I tried on two of her ring slings and I really liked the feel of them.  I liked that you could adjust them one time and then you just loosened it a tiny bit to put the baby in and tightened it back up.  It wasn't like the Moby where I had to get out the instruction book every time.  With the Moby, I felt like I was reinventing the wheel and it made me not as inclined to actually use it. Elizabeth told me that Dr. Sears, attachment parenting guru,  reccomends putting on your sling/wrap first thing after your clothes and basically just wearing it all day, but I'm not quite that devoted of a baby wearer, so I felt like something I could take on and off easily would be desirable.  I also felt like Graves was more comfortable and more stable in it; he didn't move around as much and his face didn't slip under the fabric when he or I moved.  It has many of the benefits of the Moby- it's also easy to wash and small enough to tuck into my diaper bag.  The only drawback that I can think of is that there aren't as many ways to wear it.  Since it's a sling and not a wrap it really only fits one way.  Of course, there are different ways to position the child in it.  Graves liked the tummy to tummy "newborn hug hold" best anyway, though,which is basically how I wear him in the sling, so it worked out great.

There are lots of really fancy, high end slings on the market, but for our purposes, I just wanted a nice, cotton sling.  I decided to try to find one in town and I ended up finding a reasonably priced one in a pattern I loved at a shop in the area.  It was actually made by a local lady and that worked out nicely because we love supporting small businesses and cottage industries.  The lady who made the sling actually saw me wearing Graves in the Kroger near our house and stopped me to ask about it!

The sling is able to hold a child up to thirty two pounds and I've put Ann Peyton in it several times just for funsies (she's twenty two pounds).  Unlike most toddlers who were not worn as infants, she actually really likes it most of the time.  I think it's just that she has a sort of snuggly nature and likes to cuddle.

Overall, I have been VERY satisfied with my cute little sling and I've gotten a lot of use out of it.  I'd say it was worth it's price in full just on our first real family vacation and then it's been great at different events- birthday parties and such- as well as just around the house when I'm trying to get something done. I honestly would say it may be the best fifty bucks I've spent in some time.  Fifty dollars for an extra heaping of sanity? Yes please!


Anonymous said...

I hope this comment isn't obnoxious (know it all)...but if you spread the shoulder of your sling out more it will probably be more comfortable. The way it's shown in the pictures probably digs into your neck but if it's over your shoulder and even a bit down your arm, it'll distribute weight better and not dig in. :)

Again, not trying to be annoying, just want to help!

Sarah Denley said...

Kristal, thanks for the tip! Really, it hasn't bothered me and once he's in and adjusted it's not at all uncomfortable as far as digging in. Of course, like I said, I'm not wearing him all day or anything. And it's definitely worth spreading it out more to see if it will distribute better- he does get pretty heavy in there! Thanks again and it's not obnoxious; I'm VERY new at this (OBVS).

Sarah said...

This was interesting because I've been thinking about getting a Moby-type thing for our new baby. I like that you can also use those types of wraps for nursing. But I'm a small person like you are and wondered if all that fabric would be too much. Too bad they don't make the Moby wraps in different sizes for smaller moms.

Anonymous said...

Do you mind telling where you got it or if the local person who makes them has somewhere she sells them (etsy or something). Thanks!

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

Hi Sarah! Ran across your blog from a comment you left on Heather's (Running with Sass) about birth control. I appreciated what you wrote so I thought I'd check out your blog and I'm so glad I did! I just read your "about" section and I absolutely love your honesty. I love that you don't sugar coat things and pretend like things have always been perfect. It makes the fact that life is so beautiful for you now, just that much more of a testimony of God's goodness! Love it. :)

Also, I'm not a momma yet, but I am really excited about this whole baby-wearing business! I've never seen a sling as cute as yours, though. I absolutely love it! And by the way, your whole family is beautiful. :) Have a great Thursday!