I was fortunate enough to have helping hands around for my first, my family allowed me to basically have my child held by myself or them for most of the time. needless to say, we’re very close. now that my second is due in august, im wondering how my 20 month old is going to accept mommy wearing a baby all the time. what can i do to help her adjust (i didnt use one with her) and what problems if any should i be prepared for? I can’t help but imagine her hiding the sling out of jealousy.. lol thx!
Congratulations on the impending arrival of #2! In my experience, babywearing is a luxury if you discover it with baby #1 but an absolute necessity for baby #2 (or higher). I can understand your fears, but I think that babywearing will actually help ease your daughter into her new role as the older sister and one of two children.
Finding a good sling or carrier will enable you to have one or both hands free to take care of and do activities with your daughter while you hold and nurse the new baby. Getting out and about to the playground, the pool, the library, or whatever your older daughter likes to do will help her learn that the baby carrier makes it possible to do fun, “big girl” activities. Even if you’re just sitting down and playing with or reading to her at home, wearing your new baby will give you the ability to meet both children’s needs at the same time — at least most of the time!
You’ll even be able to pick up your older daughter with your baby in the carrier for a quick hip carry. (Just make sure your baby is secure and not at risk of getting bumped by your older daughter.) If your older daughter is interested in being carried more you can even tandem wear — newborn on your front and big girl on your back. Two-shoulder carriers usually work the best for this for comfort and security. Some good combinations include stretchy wrap or mei tai for newborn in front and mei tai or buckle carrier for toddler on your back.
If your daughter likes to take care of baby dolls or stuffed animals, you can get a toy sling for her, so that she can carry her own “baby” while you carry yours. There are toy versions of ring slings, pouches, stretchy wraps, and even buckle carriers. Although there are matching mom-toy slings on the market, though, I would focus first on what’s the best type of carrier for you and then secondarily on the doll carrier for your daughter.
Transitioning to two can be challenging, both physically and emotionally, so cut yourself some slack if there are hard days even with the help of a baby carrier. And expect a bit of a learning curve for babywearing, and for nursing in the carrier, as well — I recommend that first-time babywearers practice the nursing part and the babywearing part separately at first rather than put pressure on themselves to master nursing in a baby carrier right away. With practice, it will come together!