Wednesday 30 January 2008

My Little Kangaroo

Babywearing has saved my sanity. I can't imagine what I'd do without it. There are few days where my son doesn't end up in a carrier at some point - on my back while I do some housework, cuddled in a wrap while he's teething or sick, bundled up nice and cozy while we go outside. It saves struggling with a stroller through the snow or onto a crowded bus or around a busy store. It saves lugging around an awkward heavy infant seat. It allows me to have two free hands while still keeping baby close when he needs it. It makes naps easier for those babies (like mine) who don't sleep well alone. It just makes life so much more peaceful and simple.

Worn babies also benefit from this, mentally, emotionally and physically. Mentally, they spend more time in a quiet alert state and receive more stimulation. Emotionally, they quickly develop a sense of security and trust, becoming more attached which, in turn, allows them to become independent earlier. Physically, newborns adapt better by being so close to their caregiver's heartbeat, breathing, and voice, and older babies develop a better sense of balance.

Ring sling

First up, our ring sling. This is great for quick trips - fast and easy to get on and off. Because it's a one-shoulder carrier, however, it's not great for long trips, especially for older/bigger babies.

This particular ring sling is a Didymos wrap, Lena print, turned into a ring sling by Sleeping Baby Productions.

Sleeping after a walk this summer

Front, side, front

Mei tai

Next, our mei tai. This two-shouldered carrier is great for people who find wraps too challenging. They can be worn easily on the front or back, and are generally faster to put on than a wrap. Definitely a husband-friendly carrier.

This particular mei tai is a Kozy brand, Windsor print.

Sound asleep


Wraps are my favourite. They are so versatile. They can be worn on your front, back or hip in a nearly infinite variety of ways. We have four wraps - a soft stretchy one that's great for cold weather and for newborns (a red Moby), a short one that's good for taking places to wrap there (an Ellaroo LaRae), a thin one that's great for warm weather (an Ellaroo Christiane), and our new (to us) German woven wrap that's nice and supportive for my growing boy (a Paul Didymos). Four wraps is not a necessity - one would do easily. I'd pick a long woven wrap if I have to pick just one. There is a learning curve to wraps, but perseverance and practice is so worth it in the end. When I can scoop up a crying baby, flip him onto my back, wrap him up and get back to cooking supper in no time at all, life is good. Wraps are our most commonly used carrier. I personally prefer them to mei tais because I find them to be cozier and softer.

My son, several months ago, in our Ellaroo brand, Christiane print.

More recently, same wrap.

Our new German woven wrap, Didymos brand, Paul print.

And back home, rosy-cheeked, after a walk in the cold.

Hanging out on mommy's back

A great place to learn more about babywearing is, particularly their forums.

Saturday 5 January 2008

The Definition of "Risk"

I'm trying to be patient. I really am. But when people can't even understand a concept so basic as "risk"...well, it becomes rather difficult.

Risk is the possibility of an event occuring. When I say there is a risk of such-and-such, I don't mean that it will happen. I mean there is a possibility that it will happen.

So the fact that it didn't happen to your sister/mother/friend/etc is, I'm sorry to say, really quite irrelevant.

There are risks associated with epidurals. There are risks associated with being induced. There are risks associated with medical tests. With formula. With babies watching television. With vaccines. With leaving a baby to cry alone. There simply are.

I just want people to think. To have all the knowledge they need to make an informed decision. Not to necessarily make the same decision I would - just to make an informed one. Maybe for you the benefit is worth the risk, while for me it isn't. That's fine - just be willing to recognize that the risk exists in the first place! I can respect that sort of decision. What I can't respect is the poor logic of "such-and-such didn't happen to so-and-so, therefore there is no risk", or, perhaps even worse, "it won't happen to me."

Those two statements are so hurtful in the way they completely disqualify and invalidate the experiences of all those to whom it did happen. So it didn't happen to your sister - that doesn't mean it won't happen to you. That doesn't mean it hasn't already happened to countless numbers of other women. Show some respect for those women - recognize that the risk exists. Just recognize that it exists.