I am going to be an aunt! I know I’m already a mother, so maybe this shouldn’t be so exciting to me. And I became an instant aunt back when I got married. But there is just something special about picturing my own little brother as a dad. Not to mention my adorable, sweet sister-in-law as a mother. She really made me feel like a big sister last week when she emailed me for advice about having a baby. My own “baby” turns four next month, so I enjoyed going back and reliving some memories of when he and his big sister were tiny and new. And I found I had plenty of advice for my sister-in-law, since she asked. I know you, my dear readers, haven’t asked, but I think I’ll share it with you too.
First, natural birth is not only possible, it’s wonderful. Not everyone wants to do it, and that’s fine too. But you don’t have to believe all the birthing horror stories. I had two beautiful home waterbirths, using self-hypnosis. You can read Axa Elisabeth’s here and Raj Dominique’s here. Here I am in labor with Dominique in the birthing tub in our living room, while Axa fills up her own little birthing tub.
Second, it’s O.K. to let your baby sleep with you. In fact, it’s great! If you need more space, you can always use a co-sleeper, like we did. And contrary to what some people might tell you, even though they slept with me for their entire first year of life, mine both now sleep through the night in their own beds, in their own room.
Third, cloth diapers are cute. Take a look at what’s out there, from Fuzzy Bunz to Swaddlebees. They’re not your mama’s cloth diapers (you know, the ones she used to put on you). Cloth diapers nowadays are adorable, easy to use, and still cheaper than disposables. What’s not to love?
And finally, wear the baby! I mean like this:
Babywearing keeps your baby feeling secure and connected to you, promotes physical and psychological development, and lets you get things done without worrying that your baby is crying or getting into things. I’ve cooked dinner, played the piano in church, gone hiking, traveled in various forms of third-world transportation, and done pretty much everything else while wearing a baby. And yes, the million dollar question I know you were just dying to ask, I’ve even nursed while babywearing (but you would never know from looking at the photo below if I hadn’t told, would you?).
Babywearing is common in traditional cultures, but integrates beautifully into our modern lifestyle too. Any baby carrier will work, other than the Baby Bjorn. My favorite is the didymos, pictured in the two photos above. It is a long (five meters. Yes, meters) strip of specially woven fabric that can be used to carry a newborn to 3-year-old in front, on the back, or on the hip.
A close second is the MobyWrap. It is a soft and stretchy carrier, snazzy enough for even the most formal occasions, which the below photo is not, although I am sporting a previous incarnation of my fashion blog sun hat.
Here I am though, wearing it at a wedding paired with pearls. (And no, I know we look like it’s our wedding, but it’s actually not.)
If you just can’t do the whole primitive-cultures-wraparound thing, the ERGO Baby Carrier may be for you. The ERGO (called the “snuggle backpack” by our children) is a buckles-and-straps kind of baby carrier with excellent back support. It’s my favorite carrier for an older child, because it distributes the weight very well. In fact, it’s the only baby carrier we’re toting around with us at the moment, even though both our children are long past babyhood.
The only caveat with the ERGO is that even though they sell an “infant insert,” my friends who have tried it say it doesn’t really work for a young baby. But after 4-5 months, the ERGO is perfect, whether you want to go out for a walk stroller-free, or need to catch a snooze in the airport after an international flight, while your baby snoozes too.
And finally, for my male readers (who might have been thinking that this post was not for them), believe me, there is nothing hotter than a babywearing dad.