Her Bad Mother

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Arms And The Mom

I love holding my baby. Holding my baby is one of the sweetest pleasures that I have ever known. Holding my baby fills my heart with an almost unbearable joy. The sweet smell of his tiny head tucked into my neck, the perfect fit of his wee body tucked in tight against my chest, his breath rising and falling with my own - this is bliss.

It also makes my arms hurt.

My first baby - my sweet, fearless tornado of girl - is not and has never been a cuddler. She has striven for independence and freedom from the moment she shot - eyes wide open - out of my womb. We have had our moments of physical bonding, she and I, but not nearly so many as I would like. I have craved her embrace, and I have, more often than not, been denied that embrace. So it was that I wished, with this child, for a cuddler. I wished for a cuddly snuggle-monkey of a baby; I wished for a clingy mama's boy who would press himself against me and not want to let go. I got what I wished for.

My little man is a perfect marsupial. He clutches, he clings, he cries when he is compelled, under anything but the most agreeable circumstances - another yielding set of arms, a toasty blanket, a full belly and deep sleepiness - to leave the comfort of mommy's embrace. He curls his little arms over my shoulder and grips me with his little fists of steel; trying to remove him from his perch on my body is like trying to loose a recalcitrant parrot from a branch made entirely of crackers and peanut butter. And I love it, I do - I sometimes stand with him in front of the mirror, turning just enough to see the contented look on his little face and the grip of his fists on my t-shirt and I thrill to our bondedness, our two-ness - but as I said, it hurts my arms. And my neck, and my back and some of the muscles beneath my ribcage and also the boobs, when he pumps his little legs against my chest in order to push himself further up my shoulder.


I love it, but it's exhausting. Physically exhausting, and more than a little mentally and emotionally tiring. Unless he's sleeping, I can't fix myself a sandwich or a drink or go pee or - and this is the most challenging - pick up or hug my tornado, who has all of a sudden decided that she is a cuddler, and why can't she cuddle Mommy now? I have mastered the art of one-handed typing, but there is no such thing as a one-handed cuddle. And that's hard.

I want to put him down. I want to settle him down beside me, just for a little while, just for some stretch of time that is not the middle of the night, so that my arms can rest and I can stretch and move freely. So that I can go get a sandwich and some tea and a cookie maybe and also - sweet merciful heavens - go pee and take a shower and let hot hot water run down my neck and ease my aching muscles. So that I can crouch down and wrap my tornado-girl in a totally unrestrained bear hug until she wriggles away and I am left, arms dangling, empty, free.

At which point the emptiness of my arms will become too much to bear, and I will pick him up again and he will glue himself to me and we will stay, locked together in our love, tired and sweaty and sore and happy.


Mostly happy, but a whole, whole lot tired.

No, I have not figured out how to use a sling. I have been trying. I have been failing. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get him in and get him comfortable. I am desperate. I need to figure out how to keep him close and free my arms, all at once. Short of sewing up Velcro jumpsuits for the two of us, I don't know what to do. Suggestions?

88 Comments:

Blogger Sass E-mum said...

I loved slings that were just a long strip of jersey material. Wrapped around and knotted at the side.

They hugged Peaches close - as tight or as loose as I wanted. Because they were wide strips of fabric it was possible to keep her up high to my shoulder, more like how I'd hold her my self.

But I did need someone to show me how to use it... have you got any attachment mums nearby?

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to watch the videos here (http://zolowear.com/Wearing.aspx)many, many times. It takes practice and patience. But it is worth it to have your arms back.

Of course, I just had to set my baby down in order to type this!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Backpack.

Nah, not until he's 5 months old or so.

My wife tried all kinds of slings. The hardest part was for her to accept just how bendy our daughter was, and that what looked like torture to mom was totally awesome for baby.

I hate the way that paragraph sounded. Much too normal and preachy and plastic.

Baby swing, Rainforest bouncer, big ol' tummy time mat. Those gave us a rest. Me carrying her half the time helped (I used to just carry her carseat around with me). Do you have a 200 lb dude around?

5:53 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

OMG I just wrote a huge reply, and lost it because Blogger is down. DAMN.

Ok, it needs to be tight - really tight. Don't try the cradle position, because you're not ready for that yet. Put him in the sling in the exact position he's in in the photos. His head (facing one boob, not your spine) will be between your boobs, his feet will be folded up under him, and his butt will be on the seam of the sling (usually).

Put him in over a bed, so that he has a soft place to fall if you screw up. He won't fall. Lean forward and adjust his position, then stand up and move. Dance or walk or something until he falls asleep. Then you can do what you want.

The LLL taught me how to use mine. I'll bet your local group would teach you, too. :)

Amy @ prbabies at gmail.com

5:53 PM  
Anonymous MrsWaltz said...

You don't need more suggestions -- go with that velcro jumpsuit thing! And let me know if it succeeds, because I'll buy it off you when you're done, if you want :)

5:55 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Ok, good, we're on again.

What kind of sling do you have? That would help me help you. I've used several. My favorite is the adjustable pouch from kangarookorner.com, because once you get it in the right size and adjusted, it stays adjusted.

Also, you'll be able to use the cradle hold, and nurse, etc. when you and the baby are more confident with the sling. The upright chest-to-chest carry is like training wheels.

Keep trying, and enlist the LLL. You can do it, and it will be SO much easier!!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

BP Dad - I do have a 200lb dude, but he's not around so much time these days (very busy time in his industry), which is part of the problem. If I could unload the marsupial on him, life would be much much easier and I'd be much more regularly showered.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous crunchycarpets said...

You need a sling...really..you do...

6:11 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

My daughter was a preemie and needed to be held all the time, but I needed a break. The sling was hard for me to master, but it's a must. I was lucky that there was a class on slings at the local "Yay! Breastfeeding!" store, or I, too, would have been lost. It's a lot like what BPD said up there - the baby TOTALLY looks all smushed and uncomfortable, but actually is fine. I needed about eight "baby sling experts" to confirm this for me, and a pediatrician, but they all said it was true.

6:15 PM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

Oh, how I know this. (With the exception that my baby is the size of a small Sumo wrestler..) I could never figure out the sling either. I gave up trying. I tried the Ergo out in a store and loved it. I didn't buy it - yet - because I mistakenly bought a brandspankin' new Bjorn in the early days. You can wear it front, back or hip. Try it. You might like it. Very comfortable. I want it.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous GeekLady said...

Moby Wrap. It looks like a pain to get used to, but there's a hold that is essentially tying the baby to your body, and I think once you've got it on, you can slip him in and out of it without taking it off. Lemme check my instruction booklet.

Okay, back. Kangeroo hold is the one I was recalling. Hug hold might work too, but I've tried putting my wrap on alone, it is not for the faint of heart.

It won't help with the showering, but it will allow you to hug the tornado and make sandwiches and pee, if you don't have qualms about peeing with your child tied to your chest.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Ergo, Ergo, Ergo, Ergo. =) My gigantic baby was out of the sling at 2 months--wouldn't fit in a cradle hold. I got an Ergo, rolled up a receiving blanket to support her head, stuck her in there sideways and was able to run around after my two and half year old.

Could have written this post verbatim. Well, except that you're a way better writer than I!

Good luck!

6:43 PM  
Blogger Mouse said...

(Arma matremque cano...)

To echo a few others: The sling took practice. I was never in danger of dropping the baby, but his position looked odd to me and felt a little off at first. A few infinitesimal adjustments and it felt just right. Also big agreement with the suggestion that you practice over a bed. Once Scooter was in the sling, I never felt like I would drop him, but getting him in and out was a bit precarious for a while.

I used the sling a lot! Once he was a confident sitter, I used it to help hold him on my hip. I didn't put it away until after he turned two.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Listen Up, MoFos! said...

I can't believe no one has suggested this: the Moby Wrap. Just Google it. It absolutely rocks! It is super easy to wrap, it is 100% safe for the baby, and it was the only way our daughter would go to sleep for a while. Also, the hubs is almost 2 feet taller than I am (ok, maybe 1.6 inches) so anything with buckles proved impossible for both of us to use. I swear it will rock your world! [And no, I do not work for them or anything]

Good luck! Your babies are both beautiful, I especially love your daughter's hair, so bright!

7:05 PM  
Blogger KLS said...

I second the Moby! Looks intimidating, but is easy after the second time, and you can pull him in and out of it without unwrapping it. Great for running errands too! Sorry for the abrupt sentences - nursing and typing isn't my forte!

PS - Moby is relatively cheap too!

7:06 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Not that you need any more assvice, but here goes anyway:

I totally failed at the sling the first time around, so I was determined to make it work. Kristen (MU) recommended the Rockin Baby Pouch, which I like because it doesn't have any rings - I was always too afraid that I wouldn't adjust it correctly and the baby would fall to the ground. I've been practicing, and it's working out ok. I got a full 30 minutes in the sling - both hands free! - earlier this week. The micro dude is grouchy and makes disgruntled noises while I stuff him in the sling, but he's pretty happy and comfortable once I get past that part.

7:26 PM  
Blogger kgirl said...

I learned to love my ring sling, but at almost 20lbs, we're lookin' for something new. But listen, being a mom of two, you now simply have a new set of skills to learn. So let me know when you've mastered peeing with a baby on the boob.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Jerri Ann said...

I'm certain that if I could find some bell-bottomed pants that my 3 1/2 year old boy could fit in the leg of, he would be content to stay right up my britches leg 100% of the time. He is clingy, oh is he clingy. We own a daycare and there are days he doesn't want to go into his room, he simply wants me to sit and hold him....all day.....loooong. At home at night, he wants to sit in my lap, or beside me, he sleeps with us and will not allow the 5 year old to sleep beside me. The 2 boys fight when we go out to eat over which one will sit by me. Needless to say, the 5 year old rarely wins. The 3 1/2 year old is dead set about holding on to him mommy as tightly as possible.

So, with that, I say good luck! And, maybe you can find some big legged pants.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

I second (or third, or fourth...didn't read the replies) the Moby. I never could get the sling down to where we were both comfortable, but the Moby was a godsend.

I'll never forget the day I called my husband with pure joy "Honey! I'm nursin....and cooking! At the same time!" Anyway, it was wonderufl. Until he broke my back and I got the Erge, which is totally the runner up for wonderful.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

ergo super good. moby good. if using sling put it on you, then put him in it, upright with knees tucked, put him high up on your chest- between your breasts and cinch like hell. My only advice - I did love the ergo, moby more complicated for wrapping, but a nice snug fit, which does save the arms!

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

When my now 18+ lb/six month old was a newborn I used the Hotsling (www.hotslings.com). It came with a book of how-to-wear images AND a DVD which was fast and easy to follow. It is more simple than some of the other slings but possibly, not as versatile as the Mobi (Moby?). They have sale right now on the website, some are $24 and $30 --
I highly recommend it. It was the ONLY way I was able to type more than three words with two hands.
Good Luck ... Hang in there :) You are doing a beautiful job.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Erika Jurney said...

Well, I kind of like the velcro suit idea, but you seem to be against it for some odd reason...

Try going to one of those horrendous baby-superstores. There's one near us which has a whole rack of 'testers' that you can try on to see which one works for you.

Good luck.

8:57 PM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

It all depends on the type of sling you have. With the Jolly Jumper style (the one with the ring for adjusting) my wife could NEVER find anything that worked. However, with her Star Sling (which was admittedly more expensive and sized) both of them were quite happy.

I totally recommend it: http://www.starslings.com/

9:03 PM  
Blogger The Estrogen Files said...

try a different kind of carrier? Mei Tai, perhaps? Especially if he likes you to carry him upright and he can face in or out - and it's suitable for a newborn!

http://hip2bebaby.com - complete with instructions and personalized help as needed. The owner is an awesome friend of mine.

9:11 PM  
Blogger TZT said...

You're getting all kinds of good advice about what to get and who can help you with a sling - I would just add that whatever you end up nestling him into, if he doesn't like it at first, try walking for a few minutes. The movement and the closeness together did the best soothing for me.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Ah, my son was the same way. I also had trouble with slings and carriers and gave up on the couple I had, but, I think I should have tried harder. If I get another clingy kid someday I'll definitely try harder with the slings.

I was 15 lbs UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight by the time my son was eight months old. From not eating much because it's was too hard to make food and hold a baby at the same time.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Syko said...

Catherine, your face looks so thin, are you losing weight? You look tired too.

They didn't have slings around when my kids were small, the nearest thing we had were godawful backpacks that required two to get the kid into them, and then the baby was up on your back, not suitable at all for an infant, and break-your-back heavy for a toddler. So I have no advice. Except just enjoy that mama's boy you've got going there. My mama's boy is 36 now and after all those years of detention, wrecked cars and speeding tickets, finally he is the one who looks out for his mama as I segue into elderhood. He was almost worth it all!

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MOBY!! I now have the ergo because I can get it on and off faster, but the moby was PERFECT for my child who loved to be held. And the PP was right about the kangroo hold. Some people make their own, but the company ships fast and the material is SO comfy.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Mama Luxe said...

You always have a way with words that makes me feel bad about offering up advice. Like it breaks the perfect expression of the moment...

My girl (who ended up not being a cuddler) always needed to be held and the sling is what saved us. I also couldn't figure it out at first but then fell in love with using one.

I wore her until she was about 16 months, at which point she decided she wanted to walk everywhere.

What kind of sling do you have? What issue are you having with it (getting him in? feeling comfortable? making him secure?)?

Can you get to a LLL meeting so someone can show you how to use a sling and/or (I forget where you live) go to a store where someone is likely to know how to use one and/or ask a lactation consultant?

There are a few great videos out there that helped me. If you want to drop me a line and tell me the type of sling, I can give a few pointers, maybe recommend some videos or online videos or loan one out to you...

9:55 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

I bought some sort of wrap when I was pregnant with the Pie, but I never could figure out how to use it. I'm just not in a figuring-out kind of MOOD when I have a newborn. So I went back to the good old-fashioned Snugli, which is cheap and very easy to use. Yes, it put some strain on my back, but at least it kept my hands free. As for the propaganda about developmentally warping the babies ... pshaw.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

C.C. is the same way. The only time she sleeps at night is comfortably (for her) on my chest. We both wake up sweaty. Really sweaty.

The sling is essential for a child like this. Chicky was also clingy and needed to be held and the sling saved my sanity. Force yourself to learn, it will be so worth it.

10:10 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

I have a totally different idea (based on a study of one child, my second, who was also a serious cuddle monkey), buy one of these, swaddle him super tight, and then try the most radical thing I ever did: put. the. baby. down. to. go. pee. It was the only way I could put my daughter down in the early days; she wanted to sleep on me and everything. But with this, she actually slept for 4 hour stretches at a week old in her bassinet. Seriously. Godsend. Even Houdini babies can't escape this swaddle, and the tight snuggling seems to work as an acceptable substitute for being held. Best $10 I ever spent. Seriously.

10:16 PM  
Blogger No Minimom said...

Get a Moby. Watch the videos on how to wrap it and put the baby in. Then enjoy hands free baby carrying that doesn't send you into a panic that the baby is going to fall out at any moment. Because once that baby is in, he ain't going nowhere. The Moby wrap is da bomb, fo shizzle.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

i know by now you have heard of every single sling wrap etc out there.

Ergo- good but expensive and hot.
Bjorn- your back will kill you but ok for short trips and around the house also HOT

Ring sling- OK but the ring seems to get close to the baby?? and always feels like baby will fall out, also constrics one shoulder so it is hard to do anything with both arms

Maya wrap- ok but LOTS of fabric! also constrics one shoulder so it is hard to do anything with both arms

Hot sling- ok but only comes in sizes and not the right size for everyone

Mai tie- like an ergo and a wrap combined I am personally going to try this one next... if you sew you can make it yourself.

I got pretty good with the sling with Kya but you have to pull it really tight and be confident.. :)

10:54 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Syko - yes, am losing weight faster than expected. It's hard to eat when your hands are always occupied ;) (also, tho', recovery has been hard, which has kind of blunted the appetite and the general health)

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Bloggymommer said...

Moby Moby Moby Wrap.

You can wrap it over both shoulders and hips to distribute baby's weight.

"slings" over one shoulder can kill your neck and shoulder.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Pgoodness said...

my first was not a cuddler either, and I was thankful my second was...but yes, the broken arms, neck, back? horrible. I wish i could remember the slings i tried, and finally settled on...i'm sure the advice you've gotten is more current anyway! either way, i loved having him that near me and being able to do things! It was sweaty, but worth it.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous supertiff said...

you make me glad i don't have kids, but not for the reasons you might think.
the thing is, i find myself so moved by your words, i can't imagine how i would feel if i REALLY had any idea what you were talking about.

you, my dear, are going to make a good mint one day off of these words.

and, yes, i know that's not what it's all about.
but, it's not a bad little extra, right?

12:00 AM  
Blogger theHBlady said...

K - this will be long, but it is what I do all day long, so here goes...
:)

Important things to keep in mind -
*the sling is there to replace your arms, the best positions will be those that are just like when you're wandering around carrying him, thus chest-to-chest is a great carry to start with
*you're not using the sling like a hammock, rather think of the sling as a way to tie the baby to your body, ie the sling will be tight and the baby pressed super securely to your body

To start - make sure that in the threading the edges of the fabric are to the outside of the rings. This means that when you pull one edge of the fabric, you tighten just that edge of the sling.

When you put the sling on, make sure that the fabric is capping your shoulder so that the pressure is sitting on the outside bone of your shoulder rather than on the muscles where your bra strap is or up on your neck.

The rings should be as high up on your shoulder as they can get without digging in - you look like a petite mama, and this will ensure that you have as much room for baby as possible.

Do as much adjusting as you can before you ever pick up baby - that way you are good to go and there isn't much time for the baby to sense any uncertainty.

The sling is not a contraption - no need to dangle baby trying to get them in just the right way. Remember that the sling is there to replace your arms, thus settling the baby on your body just like you like to carry them will mean you know already that they are comfortable and positioned correctly.

So - to get started, once the sling is on your body, and the tail is threaded through so that the edges are on the outside, pull the edge that is closest to your arm - this should tighten the edge of the sling that is running between your breasts. Tighten it all the way to your body, snug.

As you tighten your sling, the rings may pull down. You can prevent this by holding on to the rings with one hand as you tighten. If they do pull down, simply reposition the sling before you pick up baby.

Once that lower edge is snug, you can go ahead and settle the baby on your body - high and tight in your center of gravity, just like how you carry him around. His head will be somewhere between the bottom of your chin or even with your breasts. Usually they end up even with your heart, though more centered.

His butt should be resting on that lower rail.

At this point all that is left to do is pull the edge of the tail that is closer to the babe snug to his body. Gathering up the extra fabric and bunching it near the rings to be pulled through will ensure that the baby's head and upper body don't get pulled towards the rings thus getting baby all crooked.

The babes head will be poking out, but that is generally fine - our body's are sloped so that babe will curl in, just like they do when we just have them in our arms.

Usually when we carry newborns, we have a hand under their butt and one behind their back. The sling edges should be doing this - one under their butt and the other across their back.

The babe should be super snug and high and tight. This will be easier on your back and will keep baby super secure.

Most newborns frog leg up, and that is fine. The babe can also have their legs out the bottom of the sling however, if they are into straightening themselves out. Just make sure that they have a "chair" inside the sling, ie their calves and feet are hanging out, and their butt is even or below their knees. This means they straddle our bodies - this is plenty secure, and for a colicky or gassy babe this helps them get air up (or down) and out and puts their tummies tight against yours which provides pressure and relief to sad bellies.

Okay - if any of this kinda clicks but you need pics, lemme know - it'd be the kick in the ass I need to get good illustrated pics done.

:)

2:08 AM  
Blogger theHBlady said...

oh! that long ass set of instructions was assuming you had a sling with an open tail (ie not sewn shut like the old style over the shoulder baby holders or slingezees). open tail slings: maya wrap, ellaroo, taylormade, zolowear, etc. lots of people call a whole variety of carriers "slings" - so as other people have commented, letting us know exactly what you have will help with instructions. :)

2:15 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

HBlady - I have an EllaRoo.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

I used a pouch (hotslings, but now there are many types) for the first few months. I had a child I couldn't put down, so I had no choice. (I also had a wrap, a mei tai & an ergo).

My first was not a cuddler either, and my second is. He's kissy, and cuddly, and it's AWESOME. And, like you, my older boy sometimes decides he wants to cuddle and even gives random unprovoked kisses sometimes - when I'm otherwise occupied, of course!

6:42 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

There doubtlessly is a Toronto mom reading this who would be more than happy to come over and help you with your sling dilemma. In the meantime, maybe your little girl could fuss over a doll (possibly a new one, "from" the baby.) while you look after him.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

I literally JUST remembered: when I first had the Girl and was having SERIOUS problems with the sling, I would lay the sling out on the bed with the pouch open, place the baby in the open sling on the bed, and then kneel and carefully put the baby on THAT way.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Carmen said...

HBM, I give lessons on sling usage all the time. Seriously. I used to sell them.

I have two or three different ones I can send you, if you want to try them. Also, I'm glad to give step by step consults, if you want - I'm just an email away.

If, by some poor luck, you haven't figured it out by blogher, I'd be delighted to help you. I slung all six of mine for two years minimum - it is certainly the way to go.

Carmen, Mom to the Screaming Masses

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baby Bjorn. This will free your arms but it won't ease the pain in your shoulders & back.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Thea said...

My daughter is the same way and I love it, but it does get tiring, especially as she gains more and more weight...

I actually took my sling and my baby down to the store where I bought it and had the woman there show me how to load the baby up. That was much more helpful than a DVD demo.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Viv said...

Just popping on to suggest the Mei Tai. I didn't get a Moby because the Mei Tai works for newborns up to toddlers (One vendor has a picture of her husband carrying her in her carrier. Mind you, she's a pixie of a woman.).

I used it with Benevolent Dictator and I can't say enough good things about it. They're a little unweildy with 18-gazillion feet of straps, but once you master it, it works out fairly well.

10:11 AM  
Blogger tallulah said...

Izzy wouldn't use a sling but loved the Baby Bjorn. When he was young, he would face me...as he got older, he liked to face out, but I swear to jesus that the child lived in it for the 1st year of his life. I cooked, walked, cleaned - everything.
Hope you find something that works!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Nina said...

What kind of sling are you using? I love the long strip of cotton jersey kind. They're a bit confusing to figure out at first, but once you do, it's simple. And they're hot in the summer so I'm just not wearing anything on underneath (except a nursing bra, of course) when I'm at home.

I miss cuddling with my first too. Sigh.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Oh this gets me all teary-eyed. You brought back some snuggly memories.

Love those pics of you and your little man!

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck the sling. My son was never comfortable in on. Baby Bjorn is the only way! He was comfortable in this when he was small too: http://www.hello-sunshine.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HS&Product_Code=JJCPBO&Category_Code=BG
Although, he outgrew it soonish (3 months old).

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh catherine he is such a sweet little boy.how precious. i hope some of these ideas from other mums and dads help you out. LAVANDULA

11:59 AM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

go to www.thebabywearer.com

LOTS of advice on slings, wraps, etc. - what would be best for you and instructions on how to wear and etc.

good luck!

12:09 PM  
OpenID FishyGirl said...

I had slings, but I found the Mei Tai much much better for making the baby secure to me but allowing me to be completely hands free. Babyhawk has a version with some head support. I still use mine with my 19 month old, and will until he kicks too much. Babyhawk also has really good pictures on how to use the darn thing, so that helped when I was trying to figure out how to use it. Good luck.

Sniff that yummy head for me a couple of times, okay? I so miss that.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

MommyTime - ah, the swaddle. How well do I know the swaddle. We swaddle him at night. I'll have more to say about swaddling later - my struggles with swaddling (weaning the girl OFF the swaddle) are epic, as anyone who read this blog two years ago will tell you!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nine wraps (including a Moby) two Mei Tais, an Ergo, a ring sling, and a Beco Butterfly. I also have a son about the same age as yours (he's three months). So, take my work on this.

Skip the Ergo, they're not great for little babies and often don't fit women's shoulders right. Skip the wrap. Yes, wraps are The Awesome, but if you're new to babywearing and also have a toddler to deal with, wrapping up might take too much time and energy. Try it later, when things are more under control (ha ha!). Get thee to a Beco Buttefly and a Babyhawk. Try both, buy one or both. In a couple of months get a woven wrap - a Didymos in Indio weave is good for little babes, and can be purchased at Lemon Balm Essentials or Birdie's Room. With those two/three carriers, you'll be set. Bonus - you can also carry your big girl in the Beco or Didymos.

If you need more help, check out www.thebabywearer.com. Seriously. Go there.

- V

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take my *word*. But you can take my work, too, if you're so inclined. ;-)

- V

1:23 PM  
Blogger Tiaras & Tantrums said...

Man, that was from my brain TOTALLY!!!!! Love this post!
Boys are so snuggly!
JUST THINK OF YOUR BICEPS NOW!!!!!!

1:34 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Carmen, could you send me your e-mail? I've misplaced it.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Candygirlflies said...

Hi, Catherine-- The sling didn't work for me, either... although my first child loved it. I have a bad back, and so my doc recommended a carrier that would hold the baby right up front, instead of slightly to one side, or on the back. I bought a Bjorn, and my second and third babies loved it! It is a bit cumbersome to put on, but the babies were happy, I felt great, and had some "hands free" time to get stuff done!

Each baby has different likes and dislikes, and so it's really about the two of you trying lots of different options, and finding the one that works best. If you like, I have a nearly-new Bjorn that I could send you, and you could see how you like it.

I'm so glad you're feeling a little bit better... Being a "new mum" is so hard, but you're doing a wonderful job!

xo CGF

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Pamela said...

HBM, you are channeling me and your son, my son. I got a kangaroo corner sling and it is actually simple enough for me. Previous attempts with the nojo sling=fail. Ok, must stop one handed typing/nursing now. Enjoy the cuddling. My older boy is a cuddler too and it is great!!

2:24 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I can't lie without my Bjorn.
I use it all the time. Chloe is constantly in it because she wants to be close and my hands are free.
It's fantastic.
I can't figure out the sling either - and I have tried. I used it with my son also. Love it.
But holding the baby is really great for your arm muscles. So there you go.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Probably the one true thing that Rebecca Eckler has ever said that didn't make me throw her books across the room was that whenever she was away from Rowan, her strongest urge was to pick her up again, hold her in her arms. And then, inevitably, 10 minutes later, to be desperate to just put her down.

Dude, I've been there. I carried colicky and clingy Munchkin around nonstop for about four months. I loved it, but god, what I wouldn't do for someone else to just hold her for 10 friggin minutes, so I could stand up straight and just swing my arms ....

But oh, it's sweet to snuzzle them, isn't it?

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Rich said...

UGH...that brings back memories. I had some major biceps when my big bear of a son was that age. (We had to completely stop carrying him around age 4--even with a sling--because he was 60lbs and nearly 4 feet tall.)

Took us a bit of time to learn to use the sling...but it was really the only choice for my wife, because Bjorns etc. were not available for large women back then. I used a store-bought one, and she made some really interesting larger ones.

Can you find someone nearby who uses a sling and who can help you get it to work? (Try shooting an email to your local La Leche leader.)

Best of luck!

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Email Stephanie at www.adventuresinbabywearing.com

She knows more about slings than anybody else I can think of, possibly because she seems to own and have tried every style imaginable. She has plenty of information on her website and links to different websites with information as well. She also has some pictures of the different types of slings. I guess a blog based on wearing/slinging your baby would be a good place to start, right?

That's where I started when I had to choose, anyway. I think that everybody has to find the system that works best for them, but there are some great resources out there so just keep plowing ahead and you'll figure something out soon! =)

5:51 PM  
Blogger Kaza said...

I can relate. My girl never wanted to be put down for a second (and never wanted anyone but me to hold her). She also craved motion, and cried if I sat down (it's making me tired just to remember it!). I too could not get the sling to work in the early months, but I've heard great things about the kangaroo pouch style carriers. I couldn't find the kind I was thinking of, but check out this site, their stuff looks great and possibly easier to use than a sling? http://www.goo-ga.com/

I kept a bouncy seat in the bathroom so I could pee without holding her, lol! She still protested but at least I could get the job done. We tried getting her used to swings & bouncy seats in general, but she was not having it. She became happiest when she was old enough to ride in a Bjorn facing forward. It's an intense time, amazing closeness but can become suffocating at times. ((Hugs))

6:16 PM  
Anonymous winomom said...

That exquisite head is worth it all, is it not?

7:27 PM  
Blogger Annie, The Evil Queen said...

My snuggler loved a baby Bjorn and so did I. I used it for ages. And your hands are free. Also- he used to fall asleep on top of the boppy pillow and I could sometimes slide him off my lap but still on the cushion to rest on the couch. So I could escapse to go potty or grab a snack.

11:43 PM  
Blogger b*babbler said...

I'm sure you've had a ton of suggestions (and unfortunately I can't re-read all of them) but I loved my Hotsling. Buy the right size, and then no adjustment necessary. I'm *still* using it with Peanut in hip carry now.

The key is to hold him cradled in one arm, open the sling with your other hand, and then (and I know this sounds awkward) jam him in butt first. Then let his legs drop into the sling, and lastly use your other hand to help ease his head off your arm and into the sling up around your boob/shoulder area. Voila! He's in. Try it a few times in front of a mirror, it really helps.

I hope that helps. Peanut needed a lot of cuddling when she was little, although now she's quite the tornado herself.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Kim/2 Kids said...

I really have no suggestions but I also have snuggler. At 9 yo she still wants to crawl back in my belly. I just enjoy it while I can, it won't last.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous ::::wifemothermaniac:::: said...

I don't think you need to switch to any other kind of sling, we all end up prefering what we get used to, for me it was maya wraps but that was what I used and knew. I find the instructions here http://www.taylormadeslings.com/instructions.html to be really clear and helpful, for newborns I've always found that the vertical hold is best since it's how they usually want to be held as newborns anyways. Keep his head off your boob when you're slinging or he'll fuss and want to nurse instead of cuddling :)

1:16 AM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I second and third the Moby wrap. Never could get my kid to like a sling, but he loved the Moby, for about the first five months. I would put it on in the morning over my bra and not worry about a shirt if I were at home. Didn't need to take it off. Could put him in and out of it with ease.

Looooved it.

10:05 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I'm wondering, if he likes to bne high and right up against you, if a wrap might work better than a sling for you? I only had a bjorn last time and Pumpkinpie was not into it, this time I bought a sling and hope it works out, but they are not as snuggled then as it seems a wrap does.

And you may find, too, that E gets nugglier as she grows a bit. Pumpkinpie wasn't a snuggler when she was two-ish, but more so at three, and even more so at four. This past month, she's constantly patting, hugging, and kissing, while declaring her love and that we are her favourite people. (And yes, I am lapping it up!)

If all else fails, just think how strong your arms will be!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous roz said...

You GOTTA get a wrap. Yes they're long, yes it's a bit of work to learn, but the 2-3 days of learning is soooo worth it. My girl was colicky and I swear that's where my PPD started. My boy- might be colicky too if we didn't use some sort of baby-wearing device. The Kangaroo pouch, the sling and BabyBjorn all work fine, but hands down, the wrap is IT for endurance and comfort. It's like wearing a tight tee with your little guy snuggled inside and because it distributes the weight over your entire back you can go for so much longer than something with straps. If you have a friend with one, ask them to try it or go to a store with them and try it out. I had my doubts the first time around- looked way too complicated and kinda granola, but my bro-in-law had one a year later. I tried it and was instantly sold. I just wish I had had it the first time around.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous duff said...

My now two-year-old has made an attachment parent out of me, against my will.

I never learned the wrap, either. Avid Bjorn user here.

You get really, really used to it. I appreciate it far more this past week as her canines are coming in than I ever did before she could say "uppy".

The Child Who Wouldn't Be Put Down is one of the things no one tells you about.

But you can definitely pee while Bjorning.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Jozet at Halushki said...

I had to use different wraps/slings/holds with different kids. You'll figure it out. I did find it easier to have someone who knew what they were doing help me the first few times. I'm helpless when it comes to following printed directions.

And those photos are gorgeous. What a sweet, beautiful baby.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

get different slings-- if you have a high needs baby, he'll like a different sling every month or so-- or day-- mine (now at 12 mos) swears by the bare-bones cotton rebozo-- it's easy enough to use while sleep deprived, and you can use it many different ways. I couldn't live without my sling!

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

I'm not much help on the sling front, my little one is riding around in a 25 yr old snugli - that he adores. But I know that EvyMama (Jane & Annette, north of Bloor west village has a Thursday morning Baby carrier walk where you can go to the store any they'll help you try out oneo f their sample carriers with your little one and then you go on a walk with other mothers around the neighbourhood. They are also very breastfeeding friendly and have some really cool nursing clothes (Sorry, do I sound like an ad? I don't work there or anything, just live arou8nd the corner!)

I'm also blessed with a little marsupial, and I know the exhaustion of the arms that you speak of very well. My favourite is at 4:00 in the morning.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

I agree with the 1st commenter, I liked my sling - The Ultimate Baby Wrap. It's a long piece of jersey fabric with a buckle thing, also with a convenient pouch in the front for storing pacis or burp rags. It was super comfortable and super easy to put on, and came with a video to show you, and a handy website. It held my baby super close, warm and comfy with his little face on my skin while totally freeing my hands. Good luck - your arms need help! :-)

8:23 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

The upright position in the sling is a good place to start. Just expect that the baby will look like 1)his head is going to roll off or 2)he is going to suffocate from buring his face into the sling. Babies love to be crunched up and contained, in their own special favorite fetal position. It will be great, and you will have one arm free. Once you're good at this, you will also have the hand on the arm that is behind the baby's shoulders.
My sling, my very first for my fourth baby, was a pink and white striped percale bedsheet torn down the middle lengthwise. I tied a big knot in it, adjusted it until it was just right, and my restless little dude lived in there from about age 5 weeks to four months. He loved to eat on the go, as it were, and I had no time to shop for a "real" sling. We went everywhere with it. He was just like a little !Kung, and nursed about every 20 minutes, lol.We graduated to a strip of gold, double knitted cotton material, sewn together. It looked like a pillowcase, but open at both ends.
I find commercial slings much harder to use, and always seem to put them on backwards. (But the baby grandsons didn't care.) I DID love putting my daughter in the old, traditional Snugli on my back, but her three brothers hated the Snugli. (Except for the time we went for a walk, and I came home pushing her in the Umbroller, and carrying her two-year-old brother on my back in the Snugli.)

10:31 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Ok, so I was just about to lend my expertise, cuz I have a 7 month marsupial. But i see that you have that covered :) It took me a long time to figure out my ring sling, but my babyhawk mei tai was a LOT easier (got that one down pat in 2 days), and more comfy.

Just know that I sympathise... with everything. I wish i could shower more often, or pee by myself, or eat when I am hungry. But I know that I would not trade it for anything in the world :)

2:54 AM  
Blogger Alexa said...

You are the most beautiful writer. Your writing about my life as well! Only good thoughts going your way...

1:56 PM  
Blogger Mitzi Green said...

i hear you. my #2 is also a cuddler, and wants to be held ad nauseum. most of the time i am happy to oblige him, but tonight--our air conditioning has shot craps, we've had much rain and as a result, it's hotter than hell in this house and i'm pretty sure i could wring out every room like a sponge. so the last thing i want to do is hold another sweaty human, even if it is my sweet fantastic wonderful love of my life baby.

oh, and he also hurts my arms. seriously. i'm developing cubital tunnel in my left as a result of his rapid weight gain.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Kmommy said...

Oh man. My little D was the same way. I got a front pack carrier, but it too was difficult to use. I just got used to doing everything one-handed. Then got used to my mom saying I spoiled him, and my husband's family calling him a momma's boy :) He's still clingy at almost 3. My little girl B - same as yours... she actually shoves me away :( After my experience with D I bought a couple of slings so I was prepared with baby B, but pretty useless as she's happiest off doing her own thing :)

10:22 AM  
Blogger jenB said...

that sweet little candy baby head. so sweet. And you look pretty good yourself, mom of two.

love,

jen

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMFG go to mamatoto.org it is a great babywearing learning site.
Just go buy 6 yards of a light weight natural fabric ( linen or cotton gauze) and make sure it is 30-40 inches wide. It's called a wrap, and so much better than a sling. You can tie baby on just the way you hold him so he is nice and snug and you have both hands free, he can nurse in the wrap hands free as well. The mamatoto site will give you good instructions on age appropriate carries. When he can hold his head up well and has a good strong neck (and nurses less) he can go on your back, nice and high to see over your shoulder.
It's the way people al over the world have been toting babes since forever and still you know able to hunt and gather:)
If you'd prefer something ready made, get the Ergo baby carrier with the neborn insert, it's much better than those weird baby bjorn things, it has much better support and coverage, kind of like a puch for baby, and straps on very securely. I've seen people use on on the back for a big kid like wonderbaby and one on the front for a newborn.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i forgot to mention, the jersey material wraps are hard to get tight enough (like a moby), they tend to sag and be too loose, also very bouncy when baby gains weight. Better to use a woven fabric that stretches only when pulled diagonally (from the weave).
Once you've tied Jasper on snug for the first time and are able to have a "normal" day of doing whatever you want with your hands you will never go back!

6:55 PM  

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