Ringsling – tummy to tummy/ front carry

This front carry is commonly used for little ones. I’m still using it because I don’t want to put weight on my right hip, which is where a lot of my pelvic problems are!

Ringslings are a great, quick way to babywear – but I personally found that it took me more time to learn to use them than it did any other type of sling! I’m still not incredibly confident with them. They are good for quick up-and-downs, or doctor visits, etc etc. Because I like weight evenly distributed across my shoulders and back, I’m not sure I would choose a ringsling for a long bout of babywearing! (At least not yet. Once my SPD clears, I may use them more often…)

Using a ringsling, you can carry your baby or toddler on your front, hip, or back. I’ve never tried a back carry with a ringsling – and I once read somewhere (?) that it’s not advisable for babies under a year. I’m not going to mess with back carries with ringslings yet, because their extreme wiggles and leg straightening tricks of a few months ago meant we went on a ringsling hiatus – so until I know they (and I) are good with ringslings again, I’m not risking them going on my back!

Coming very soon is a video of the aforementioned screwed up, painful carry, which also involves a ringsling! Stay tuned…

April 4, 2010 at 7:54 am 2 comments

Best babywearing day EVER!!

I fully planned on sticking up a video, but I had to come share our morning’s babywearing experience with you all!

We live in a town where the only other babywearing parent we’ve seen has been someone we know. There is a large shopping centre in the centre of town, and we always stop for paninis and things (this time with the babies eating as well – we love baby led weaning!) in an open plan muffin/coffee place in a pretty busy part of the centre.

When we were done eating, my wife got Coconut on her front first – as I wanted ‘spotting’ for flinging Snort onto my back as it was the first time I had back wrapped in public and the floors looked hard. *grin*

I was holding him in one arm, trying to sort out the wrap with my left hand, looking for the middle. My wife said people were already staring at that point. I spread the middle of the wrap on the table, put Snort on top of it, and apparently more people started looking. She said when I swung him onto my back, mouths dropped open and one woman exclaimed, ‘That is FASCINATING!’

I am a bit of an exhibitionist (obviously!) so enjoyed performing in public.

Then we were walking around a bookstore, and an interesting family was there as well. They were clearly Orthodox Jews, though there was no mother. The dad was leaning heavily on a cane, and had two gorgeous little daughters. He said, ‘Look! There’s a baby on her back.’ He glanced at me. ‘Do you mind if my daughter has a look? She loves babies.’

We had a nice little chat, and then wandered away. I ended up bumping back into him when my wife was nearby with Coconut, and he said, ‘There are babies everywhere today!’

I smiled and said, ‘These babies are actually twins!’

He said (clearly joking), ‘Oh, how’d you manage that with two women?’ He laughed.

I said, ‘Well, she actually is my wife and these are our kids. I just happened to give birth to them.”

He immediately knelt down by his daughters and said, ‘Did you hear that? These babies are twins, and they have two mummies. Aren’t they lucky? They have two mummies, and you have one daddy. There are all different sorts of families.’

I swear to god my heart nearly melted.

He then said, ‘This is so great. It’s their first time experiencing these things.’ I wasn’t clear if he was referring to twins, babywearing, or two mum familes! *wink*

It’s so nice for me to get out of the house at all, and when it is one nice experience after another, oh, I’m a happy woman.

April 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm 7 comments

News & things.

So….we’ve got family time for the next six days as we’re all home together. I am busy, busy, busy uploading a lot of new babywearing videos – both solo and tandem carries. These tandem carries work for twins, or a toddler and a newborn.

I tried out a new carry just for a lovely Mama named Catherine, who has a gorgeous son and is very, very close to her due date! She wanted to tandem wear, and I thought I might give her some other ways to think about wearing them both. And to my surprise, I found a new carry I love and it has even given me new appreciation for my semi-stretchy wrap.

A sneak preview:

Perhaps a slightly dodgy picture, but a lovely carry that is eminantly suitable for an older child and a baby. Or, you know, two babies!

As of this past Wednesday, Snort is a whopping 19 lb 7 oz, and Coconut is 17 lb 4 oz (@ 33 weeks old).  And I can honestly say that though this was my first time trying this and no doubt I can improve my technique, it was so bloody comfortable I wore them for ages! Such a delightful surprise.

So thank you, Catherine, for getting pregnant and chatting with me. I’m sure I have not ‘invented’ this as a carry, but I know I’ve never seen or heard of it. Bless me in my ignorance, maybe, but I think it highlights something lovely about babywearing:

There are a lot of ways to do it. A lot.

And sometimes you’ll try and screw it up (perhaps I will upload my ‘oh, fuck it!’ video too), sometimes it’s just be normal and lovely, and sometimes you’ll try something new and want to marry it.

Something I tried and do not like (yet?) is this:

Oh. There is no picture of it. That’s how much I did not like it. There is a video, though, and I have yet to decide if it is a ‘how to’ or a ‘babywearing fails’ video. Or perhaps a ‘how to NOT do it.’

Or a ‘how to do the most painful and screwed up carry in the known universe’ video.

The other big news is that within about week, this site will be shifting to a new domain. All the same entries and features, but perhaps a bit more accessibility. I’m very excited about it and the countdown is officially on!

Hoping you all have lovely long weekends! I will not be online as much, but am still available in the Facebook group ‘babywearing twins’, on Twitter as @2moms2babies, or email 2moms2babies@gmail.com.

April 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm 2 comments

Facing out in a ringsling?

Crunchy Nurse asked in a comment a few entries back:

What about when a baby is sitting with his legs crossed in the sling, facing out? I have done that in the Maya wrap for short periods of time. Not my favorite position, but the baby isn’t supported by the crotch. I agree that facing the parent is much more comfortable for the parent.

I’m going to just shamelessly copy and paste from the excellent resource, slingguide.co.uk page on FFO (front facing out) carries.

They say:

A further alternative to FFO, but not one that SlingGuide would wholeheartedly recommend, is the Buddha or Kangaroo style carry in which the baby faces outwards but with her legs crossed under her inside the sling.

This position has the merit of supporting the baby’s weight across the buttocks and thighs rather than just at the crotch, but the sling user would need to be very aware of the baby’s reactions and be ready to move her when she has had enough of the outside world.

It is also still open to the objections that it does not provide sufficient head support or allow the baby’s back to assume its natural, slightly rounded shape.

Moreover, it is a carry that could allow the baby to tip forwards out of the sling, so the wearer would always need to have one hand free to keep the baby in position.

While we at SlingGuide feel the Buddha or Kangaroo style carry is better than FFO, we would still always recommend the alternatives outlined above as being more comfortable for the baby and the sling wearer.

The reason I have ripped off someone else’s info is that I probably would have said the same thing, but I’ve got no personal experience with wearing either of my babies facing out.

If you like ringslings and your baby has good head control, have you tried a hip carry? With the legs out, one is straddling your front, one your back. This gives kids a really good vantage point to check out the world!

Thanks for your excellent question…

April 1, 2010 at 7:57 am 5 comments

Will post again tomorrow, and in the meantime my babies hijack the blog.

Thank you so much for all the support on my last entry. I read every comment with immense gratitude – including comments here, twitter, by text, on facebook, and email.

I will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow, but today am in seventh heaven over my TALKING BABIES! Heh. Going crazy posting about it in other places.

They’ve both got a few small words, but the words for us (me and my wife) are reeeeally the only regularly repeated ones, aside from Coconut’s ‘aaht?’ for our cat. She even tries to call the cat by slapping her leg and repeatedly saying ‘aaht? aaht? AAHT?’

And Snort JUST SAID ‘cat.’ Several times. While vainly trying to reach the cat and pet her, who happened to be just out of reach.

All of that seems a lot more important than the lovely Ocah I received today in the post, or my new babywearingtwins blog that I’ll tell you all about, or anything else babywearing related.

Today is babysays.wordpress.com, and also on mamasays.wordpress.com? I say: Wow. These little people are growing up so fast I’m shocked.

(Seven and a half months old, and suddenly I wonder where all the time has gone. Where are my two tinys that could fit in one goldfish thingy at the hospital? Long gone. This is sweet, of the sugary and bitter varieties.)

March 30, 2010 at 5:32 pm 3 comments

In reponse. (Or, my experience with breastfeeding.)

So, two posts ago, I asked what kind of parent you were and what choices you were making. Much more interesting to me than what I wrote, was what you wrote.

We’ve got pro-vax, babywearing, amber loving and hating, organic, cloth and disposable diapering, baby led weaning, veggie, strollering, cosleeping, natural parenting, breastfeeding, bouncy chairing, attachment parenting, non cosleeping, organic, green living, spoonfeeding, non circumsizing, homeschooling, non homeschooling, fence sitting people out there.

But those are how you are doing it – because the one thing everyone seems to have in common is they are doing the best they can with the knowledge they have.

I think judgment is a tricky thing, and I’m not just talking about what other people think. I’m talking about that more damning sort of judgment – self-judgment.

There are degrees. There’s your pride getting wounded when someone has suggestions that are actually pretty good, but you resent them for suggesting you aren’t doing well enough in the first place.

And then there is the big stuff.

MY big stuff is that I am not breastfeeding. My breasts were damaged by a past surgery and milk ducts were severed. I fought with midwives and doctors. I got two lactation consultants, I took meds to boost my milk supply, I rented a hospital grade pump. I bought books, I cried. But most of all, I breastfed two babies around the clock – and it gradually became a horrible struggle.

I loved breastfeeding in the beginning. My favourite times were the middle of the night in hospital, a baby nestled along each side, two tiny mouths firmly latched to my breasts. I initially thought of breastfeeding as the best choice for my babies, and was surprised by the fierce swiftness and depth of love I had for the experience, the three of us connected in such a vital way.

That was before the babies were weighed on day five – in preparation for going home – and we found out they had both lost very dangerous amounts of weight. Snort was starting to get dehydrated. Neither was peeing. They refused to let us leave the hospital, my wife fought on my/our behalf against formula top ups, we had daily weighing and it was a nightmare.

My babies screamed from hunger all the time. They would nurse for increasingly longer periods of time and still be hungry when they finished.The staff took them away to give them the odd top up while I sobbed in my room, overtired from not sleeping days at a time.

I shudder when I think about what their first couple of weeks were like. Constant hunger, a mother who loved them fiercely but was crying about her breasts all the time, them screaming and nobody understanding why.

My wife was there to offer them hugs, spoonfeed me while I used my hands to keep both babies in place at my breasts. Her gentle presence always, always trying to support me and our family in any way she could. Every feed required her assistance – I needed my hands to help the babies latch on, she needed her hands to hand express as I fed, helping the babies to more effectively feed, to get more milk. She also gave them their top ups from little cups, because I could not bear to do it.

I have still not come to peace with the fact that we are now bottle feeding.

But my friend having a baby three months after I had mine opened my eyes a bit. When she nursed her baby, milk flowed copiously from the other nipple. She can casually sit in my lounge and hand pump for a few minutes and get a full bottle of breastmilk.

I would pump with that hospital grade pump, twenty minutes on each boob (or tandem), and get MAYBE 50 ml on a very good day.

I blame myself, I think, for the choices I have made. I had elective surgery on my breasts – a breast reduction. My massive breasts caused tingling in my fingers (they pulled down on some nerve-or-other), they caused constant back pain, etc etc. Now I think back and believe I would have been able to exclusively breastfeed if I’d not had that reduction.

And yet another part of me feels a relief about formula feeding. There was a relief in being able to start sleeping more than five minutes every three hours when I stopped exclusively breastfeeding (after trying for a good hunk of time once home from hospital, with a private lactation consultant. Always I feel the need to justify and explain.) When I made my babies their bottles and cuddled up one at a time with them, for the first time since that blissful, ignorant week in hospital I knew what it was like to feed my babies and have their tummies get full. My wife  got to hold and feed her babies for the first time, smiling into their eyes and holding them close. I got to feed one baby at a time, totally focused on their needs and experience.

I feel guilty about how formula has changed our lives – because everyone I know is so anti-formula feeding and not afraid of condemning mothers who do it. But for us, it worked. Is still working. We have two happy, healthy, strong, vibrant, smart beams of sunshine. And two moms who are a lot happier about not having to compromise on their babies’ health and development because they are so firmly pro-breastfeeding.

I miss breastfeeding though. Tears are in my eyes as I write. I still wonder, if I’d done this, what if I’d tried that, is it too late to try now? Even though I know my breasts were so damaged, and I know exclusive breastfeeding probably could never have happened with twins. With one baby? Maybe, maybe not.

When I stopped pumping it felt like being punched in the guts. It also meant I had an extra forty minutes several times a day to cuddle my babies, to kiss them, to love them.

I am giving them sustenance the best way I know how, and for us, that comes from my heart…not my breasts.

Now if only I could figure out how to forgive myself and my body.

March 29, 2010 at 8:28 am 23 comments

What my babies do when they’re not being slung:

(Snort is watching this right now & laughing. I’m dying from the cuteness!)

March 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm 2 comments

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