“Your baby is so happy! He smiles all the time! I’ve never seen such a cheerful soul!”
People laugh at me when I say I have an “easy” baby… they roll their eyes as they do. But there is a reason why he’s so easy.
I wear my baby. I carry him for most of the day, apart from when it is dangerous to do so. So far I have spent 14 weeks (2352 hours) attached to him day and night. Literally. A couple of hospital visits to see my grandparents, the odd nap in a pushchair (which generally he doesn’t like doing) and some riding lessons, in total he’s spent about 15 hours in total away from me. That’s just 0.63% of his life.
I have 3 slings.
A Moby, so cozy and comfy for those cooler days. A water-mesh ring sling for when it’s el-scorchio! And an Ergo for on the go! I don’t have a favourite, I love them all.
“Don’t you get fed up? Do you feel like you need some me time? Do you get touched out?”
Yes. I’m human.
“So he’s not that easy then?? You’re making a rod for your back”
Hmmmm… let me tell you a tale of rods and backs before you judge me, my baby and our sling obsession:
On 27th August 2012, our beautiful baby girl was born. She was perfect. The birth less so. A sweep (naive 1st time mummy attempt to dodge induction) at 42+1 dragged her out just hours earlier than she should’ve been born. She wasn’t positioned well, It almost ended with forceps, I lost a litre of blood and needed 2 hours of stitching. This was due to coached purple pushing and waters being broken without my consent, but that’s another story…
We soon discovered that our daughter was a high needs baby. She screamed. And screamed. And she screamed. She would only sleep on me, not off me, I would feel suffocated and chained to the sofa. I was a mess, the house was a mess. My brain was slowly becoming a very tangled mess.
From all angles (media, Facebook, Gina “The-Devil” Ford, family) I was being told to put my baby down. To let her cry. That she had to sleep alone. That holding her was spoiling her. That I was making a rod for my back.
But every time she cried it broke my soul.
Why couldn’t I do this? I tried everything. Why did my baby shout for a whole hour before passing out with exhaustion for 20 minutes, before starting up again? What was I doing wrong? Was I such a terrible mother?
“I am a terrible mother”
I felt like a pathetic loser for not being able to get my baby to sleep alone. I felt even more pathetic for not being able to just let her cry. I felt horrific for letting her cry, just those few minutes before I caved in.
Every day I went through that thought process several times. Many many times..
My milk supply dried up from rapidly developing PND, stress and coupled with the word “routine” that I was also getting bombarded with, and a counsellor (yes a professional NHS perinatal counsellor!) telling me to “just give her a bottle”, my breast feeding effort failed at just 4.5 months.
“I’m a failure”
The next chapter in my life:
It took 9 months of screaming and sleep deprived hell for me to give up. I let her sleep with me. I let her sleep on me. I carried her. I discovered I am an attachment kind of parent and my daughter thrives on this!
Slowly the screaming stopped. She learned to trust me again. She started sleeping better. Slowly I realised I am a fantastic mother. For holding my beautiful baby girl. All hours. That in doing so I was not weak, but more strong than I could ever imagine.
So on 20th March 2017 (it took me over 4 years to get over my fear of PND and he brave enough to become pregnant again) my beautiful son was born. 42+2 weeks, perfect home birth. No interfering, no stitches.
I had already bought the Moby and had been practicing wearing it with a doll. It was perfect for those early spring days. Keeping us both cozy on chilly morning school runs!
Being held makes my boy happy, being mobile makes me happy! It is a dream come true! I can go about my day and snuggle him for all of it. Heaven!
My baby sleeps. All night because I now bed share and he naps properly all day because I keep him with me in the slings. I can do my housework, and walk places a buggy could never permit… he doesn’t cry himself to sleep.
Hubby wasn’t too keen on the colour of the Moby, or it’s girly looks. He also found it fiddly to do up. So we went and bought the ergo. This clicks on so easily and it has now become our go-to sling for trips to the supermarket and hikes in the woods.
Then the heat wave hit. Boom! I felt like the Moby had too many layers even with naked baby in 30 degree heat, and the Ergo left a nice sweaty ring around my middle… so i invested in sling number 3! A water mesh ring sling. It’s the cheapest one at £6.50 including postage, but I love it! I feel confident my babe won’t over heat in this no matter what the sun puts out. It’s also super for taking to cafes and restaurants as it fits into a bag easily, doesn’t take long to put on and when I sit babe on my lap it acts like my arm gently supporting his torso leaving my hands free to eat.
Our son is now 14 weeks old. He is just like our daughter in that he is strong willed and sensitive. I have tried putting him down to nap in the swing, the cot and on the floor. (You have to try otherwise you don’t know). He fights it like his life depends on it. I wear him for both of our sanity. I know without our slings I’d be on a fast train to nervous wreck again, so would my son. Plus I actually love it. Nobody in my family gets that, they just don’t understand. The close bond I have with my son is beyond magical.
People can think what they like about my hippy-freak, natural, earth mummy attitude. It’s amazing and I have my gorgeous daughter and the hell we survived to thank for it! ?
I am wiser,
I trust myself.
I follow my instincts.
I wear my baby.
I sleep with my baby.
I have a happy baby.
I am a happy mother.
So I’ll make this rod for my back
and I will own it.
Because it’s way better than Gina Fords.
And it makes me feel like a goddess!
(Plus, I kind of need it too)