Thursday, January 6, 2011

A year in the life of babywearing

Audrey recently turned one so I've been doing a bit of reflecting about the past year. She's growing up far too quickly (doesn't everyone say that!) and is being worn less and less. As she's going to be our last child, I thought I'd write a little piece about our babywearing journey over the last year.

In contrast to when Leith was born, I was well practised at wrapping by the time Audrey arrived. So less than 2 hours after her birth, she was snugly wrapped up in my Didymos shorty to come home from hospital.

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The first couple of weeks after her birth she was worn for practically the whole day, only coming out for feeds and nappy changes. It was so lovely to have a snuffly, tiny newborn wrapped against my chest again. This time around I was also a lot more confident about back wrapping, so on day 6 after birth I put Audrey in her first secure high back carry in my silk Indio.

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We flew to the West Coast for Christmas with my family when Audrey was 3 weeks, and wrapping proved to be indispensable during the trip. She could sleep anywhere, and having her asleep in the wrap in the evenings meant I could still spend time with my family.

I was also more confident about breastfeeding in a wrap this time, and fed Audrey in one for the first time walking around Thorndon Fair just after she was born. Since then, I've fed her while pushing Leith on the swings, while walking around the supermarket, while out shopping...basically anywhere, anytime.

Evenings for the first few months were relatively easy - I'd feed Audrey then put her in the wrap and bounce her to sleep on a swiss ball while Stu put Leith to bed. This way we could spend time together in the evenings without worrying about getting her to sleep or her waking up. From about 9 months or so, however, she was harder to settle like this and it's now easier to feed her to sleep in bed.

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With only 19 1/2 months gap between Leith and Audrey, wrapping has been really important for letting me still do things with Leith. In the early months, Audrey would sleep in the wrap while I took Leith to playgroup or music group, or be content to look around while I took Leith to the playground. We didn't have any jealousy issues when she was born and I think a lot of this is down to this. Having her wrapped on me also meant I didn't have to worry about her brother accidentally hurting her or waking her up. Also having her on my back has meant I can pick Leith up if he wants a cuddle.

As she's got bigger, the amount of time she has spent in the wrap each day has steadily decreased. I still wear her once a day or so while out and about places but she hardly ever naps in a wrap these days. She's been walking since 10 1/2 months and when she wants down, she wants down! I've stopped obsessively trawling TheBabyWearer to drool over latest limited edition wraps and have even started thinking about selling part of my stash! That said, whenever she's sick, cranky or teething, I'm very grateful for wrapping. And big girl wrap snuggles are the best. Having seen people still carrying their much older children, I hope we've still got lots of wearing ahead of us!

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