Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Transition to Mommyhood: A series

Part 3: Baby-wearing!

This post is an impromptu topic that I hadn't originally planned for my Transition to Mommyhood series. However, just as I posted about my good sleeper giving me a run for my money the other night, we have also noticed an increase in general fussiness at some times of the day. In comes.... baby-wearing, to the rescue!

Now that we've gotten a sort of morning-afternoon-evening-night time pattern happening with our little lovey, I've started to notice that somewhere around early evening through bedtime (not always the duration of this time span) she has scheduled her fussy time of day. She's usually very happy or sleepy throughout the morning and afternoon hours. Granted, mommy is most available to snuggle during this time and it's nice and peaceful around the house. Then in the evenings she begins to get fussy and is not happy to just be held or to have her pacifier. She will take the pacifier but will still have regular bursts of crying. She is calmed by being held, but again still cries periodically. When I say "bursts" of crying or that she cries "periodically" generally she'll calm down for a few minutes, maybe 3, maybe 10, and then she cries for 2-3 more minutes. It's pretty exhausting and worrisome.

I've considered a lot of different culprits for this behavior because it's the most unnerving experience to hear your baby cry. I'm sure it's nature's way of making sure they are cared for. The best I can describe it is to say that I want to crawl out of my skin or scream with her. I just can't stand it. Josh on the other hand, sleeps through her crying in the middle of the night. Mommies must just be wired differently. Anyway, in an attempt to make her feel better and stop whatever is causing her to cry, I've done some reading and research. It hasn't been incredibly fruitful. Some things have said to eliminate dairy from your diet for 2 weeks to see if it makes a difference. I'd have a really hard time with that, so I'm leaving it for a last resort. Others recommend warm baths, swaddling, singing, diaper changes, burping, feeding, etc. I know at least for her, it's not a basic needs issue. In my research, I also came upon the suggestion to wear your baby. Now, I know that a whole bunch of slings have just been recalled, but if you read about those carefully a lot of those cases could have been avoided if the people using them had been a little more attentive to the baby in the sling. Of course its dangerous to drop a baby in a sling, go shopping for 5 hours and then check on them to discover they are no longer breathing.

I found the case for baby-wearing to be quite compelling. The underlying concept is to basically recreate the environment your baby is used to and comfortable in. Think about it- when being worn the baby is snug and bundled, just like in the womb. They are warm against your body. They hear your heart beat and other noises that they were used to hearing before birth. They feel the motion of you walking and doing regular activities like they did in the womb. Plus, babies are content because they know that their caretaker is right there if they need something rather than sitting in a bouncy seat or swing somewhere and having to "call" their caretaker with cries.

With all that said, I do have a Moby wrap (not part of the sling recalls). This morning at the first sign of fussiness (which probably wasn't really anything) I decided to put her in it and give it a whirl! Well it's been 2 and a half hours, friends, and this girl is still sleeping happily. Don't worry - her face is completely exposed and resting on my upper chest so I can see and hear her breathing, her chin is off her chest by at least a finger's width, and she is in an upright position in the event of any spit-up. So far I've done laundry, made and ate lunch, answered two phone calls and written this very blog post! So the benefit of baby-wearing is not only to the baby.

When I first heard of baby-wearing a few years ago I kind of thought it was one of those new-age weird parenting things. It seemed like a bad idea to get a baby used to being held all the time. Plus, my mom never did it so I probably wouldn't either. I'm here to tell you: I am a believer. Not because my baby has been asleep for 2 1/2 hours. This certainly isn't the first time that's happened. But because I've read compelling information that has convinced me of the benefits of baby-wearing. I want my baby to feel safe, secure and comforted all the time. Sure there will still be times when that isn't possible. But while she's an infant I want to build a bond with her and do what I can to make sure she feels that she is being cared for adequately. New mommy friends, could you even imagine your tiny helpless baby thinking for one minute that you're not there to take care of them? If nothing else, that is compelling.

And before I go, let me just say congratulations to four of my five friends who were expecting babies anyminute and are now happily snuggling them! Just waiting on one more little darling to make her appearance! :]

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