Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Babywearing Through Pregnancy (and a brief update)

Double hammock carry in our woven wrap-24 weeks pregnant


27 weeks pregnant, hiking in West Virginia....due to a more mama-centric week than usual, I wore her a lot this week.


Bad picture, but...26 weeks pregnant and using our Kozy mei tai....and, we were at the Kozy Carrier warehouse helping out for the afternoon. How cool is that?!


38 weeks pregnant- everyone has their babies! :-)

It’s been a long time since I’ve written much of anything. Partially because of being busy, but mostly because of not being overly inspired on any particular topic. My thoughts are becoming consumed with baby thoughts…and the days are filled with normalcy, sharing life with Ben and Vivi. Challenges and blessings….changes and same-ness. We’re eagerly looking forward to meeting our little one, and starting a new season of life. Due date was yesterday, so any time now!
In the meanwhile, one topic that has been on my mind some, is babywearing through pregnancy. Especially now that I’ve hit the 40 week mark and can still wear Viviana. It looks different than it used to….it’s probably been at least a couple months since I wore her for more than 45 minutes at one time. It often only happens once a day, unless she’s having a really clingy day and I’m attempting a really productive one. Otherwise, she loves to play together, or spend time near me exploring the world herself. I still usually wear her when we go shopping, but have used the cart a couple times now. She thinks her new cover, and the new experience aspects are pretty cool! Of course, when I’m wearing her, I don’t have to worry about her eating random grapes off the display while I’m bagging ours… :-) But when she needs mommy snuggles…I’m grateful I don’t have to listen to anyone who tells me you can’t babywear while pregnant!
Babywearing has made it much easier to hold Vivi close when she needs it and I still need to finish something. With my large bulge and depleted energy, it’s much more practical to put Vivi in a carrier on me than to hold her (though I still end up doing hours of that per day, too- especially since we’re still working on the walking deal) with one hand and do something with the other. I don’t get tired nearly as fast when I use a baby carrier instead.
The ergo has been my standby in recent months, but we’ve also use the mei tai and woven wrap (double hammock position) a fair amount as well. I’ve pretty well stopped using the sling with Vivi, since I almost exclusively wear her on my back. Anything else works, but isn’t very comfortable- and she’s happy on my back anyway. She loves nestling in back there!
Although I did recently discover that at 38 weeks you can still nurse in the ergo (which means other carriers would be, too). I think I even surprised myself. :-) We were hiking (and Ben was wearing her) and for some reason she suddenly got really hysterical. It was obvious she needed her mama, and furthermore, she really wanted to nurse. I believe it was a teething-related issue, but regardless…she needed me and “niss”. There wasn’t anywhere to sit right where we were, and the ground was really wet, so I put Vivi on my front in the ergo, with the band below my bulge. Having to wear the ergo so low on my hips in order to avoid the baby bump put Vivi at almost the right height already- I just had to loosen the shoulder straps on one side, and reach my breast up to her a bit. Instant satisfaction for a sweet little girl…. Granted- it wasn’t comfortable, and I walked like a snail the entire time she nursed, but….I was so excited that it did still work, at least. It was still doable to meet my little girl’s comfort needs, in spite of being huge- many thanks to a great baby carrier!
I don’t share to elevate us. We are definitely not the first or only pair to keep up our wearing relationship during pregnancy….even if I haven’t gotten to see it in action around here (yet). I think on it out of an abundance of gratitude….I feel so blessed that God designed my body to be able to nurture Vivi in the ways she needs. I’m so grateful for His perfect timing, and that even though our two little ones will be closely spaced (17 months) I still have the energy, tools and support to continue meeting Vivi’s high touch needs. I know part of that is in being blessed with relatively uneventful pregnancies thus far, other than 1st trimesters…no premature labors, bed rest, major blood pressure issues, etc.- and I’m very grateful for that.
I also wanted to share because babywearing through pregnancy- and tandem wearing beyond it- is really rare. I would daresay a lot of people would just assume you can’t do- especially if they’re told so by plenty of well-meaning people. In a society where wearing one is strange (and hardly ever seen), you don’t see pregnant mamas all over Walmart wearing their toddlers. Just like breastfeeding during pregnancy and beyond- more women need to know that they can do it. More mamas need to be told that God created their bodies for this season of life…and fully enabled them, with the right tools and mindset, to continue holding their toddlers.
*Disclaimer: assuming a healthy body and pregnancy, any woman should be able to do extended babywearing. However- in an imperfect world, I know plenty of women do have real health issues that restrict their ability to lift/carry anything, etc. It doesn’t make you less of a mom…and it doesn’t mean you can’t meet your toddler’s needs! There are lots of ways to get touch time in with your little one- babywearing is just one of those avenues. And lots of toddlers like to spend a lot of time exploring on their own, too, making babywearing something they wouldn’t want as much as Vivi does. The important heart behind babywearing….meeting your child’s emotional needs. Even a bed-ridden mama can do that, her relationship with her child(ren) just looks different.*
And lastly….for those moms who are interested, I know personally it’s really helpful to see how it actually looks for someone. Hence, the pictures. It’s not the one right way to babywear while pregnant….it’s really just the way’s we’ve found, through messing around, that are comfortable for my body. I know some women like to wear the waist belt of the ergo super high, on top of their bulge….same for mei tais- but I have yet to get good at tying that high. If you decide to try….play around with different carriers and positions till you find something that works for you and your little one. As long as it’s comfortable for both of you, and holds your toddler securely, you’re doing it right.
Happy babywearing!




40 weeks pregnant and in the double hammock....baking bread with mama! Double hammock works really well for avoiding the belly bump.