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Slinging blues

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I have a problem that has brought me to tears over the last many weeks. I am a first-time mom to a 3 1/2 month old girl. Before she was born, I read as much as I could about parenting babies. I decided to breastfeed, cosleep, use cloth diapers and do elimination communication, and wear my baby. I bought 7 different kinds of slings/babyholders: a new native, a maya wrap, a mesh shower sling from taylormadetreasures, a nojo, a baby bundler, an african-style front/back carrier, and a plain old snuggly. As you can tell, I was determined to wear my baby! I had an unmedicated, zero-intervention birth (unless you count directed pushing) and was breastfeeding within 20 minutes. My daughter did not leave my hospital room for any reason until she was 2 days old and I took her down to the nursery myself and held her hand during her PKU test. (I chose an extended hospital stay because I found that the hospital was the ideal place for me to bond with my baby with no distractions and complete room service, all completely paid for by insurance.) I strode out of the hospital confidently with my baby in a sling (after signing a waiver that allowed me to take her out of there *not* in a carseat) and went home.

Well, 3 1/2 months later I am cosleeping, breastfeeding, and ecing + cloth diapering just fine and have no plans to cut back on those whatsoever. But I feel incredibly guilty that I am not wearing her like I thought I would. I find all the carriers to be a strain on my back and shoulders, plus I can't seem to get them to where I don't still have to use one arm to stabilize her. I have *tried* all the different positions, and most of them I just can't get to work or my daughter doesn't like it/ can't get used to it. I can't get any kind of chores done with her in a carrier. I don't know how anyone does the dishes or laundry with a baby in a sling without killing themselves. Dr. Sears says such encouraging things as, "Wearing your baby several hours a day will increase her IQ" (not an exact quote) but I can't help but think he's either unrealistic, magical, or physically miserable doing that. (Of course, there are moms who say they do this, and I just don't get *how*.)

Meanwhile, my house is falling apart because she wants to be held all the time, and I can't get anything done. The dishes go undone for DAYS, until I can get a volunteer to come over and hold her while I do them. (And that is very difficult to find.) She cries while I rush to switch the loads of laundry and rush right back to pick her back up, and if I'm lucky enough to be able to fold them it is days before I put it away. We are living in a mess, and every time I set her in the swing (a gift I thought I would never use) or the bouncy seat (ditto) while I try to catch up I feel like a complete failure. When I go for a long walk (more than 2 blocks) I do use a stroller (yet another gift I didn't want to use!), and it is SO much more comfortable, not just for me, but it seems to be for her too. I'm even thinking about *buying* a johnny jump-up, which would be my first "plastic baby holder" purchase besides the carseat. Sometimes I think that reading all this "earthy mom" stuff has just set me up for undue guilt. Don't get me wrong, I do use the slings sometimes: I shower with her in the mesh sling and do quick errands with her in the maya wrap. A few times I have breastfed her with her in the maya wrap while I push the grocery cart in the supermarket, so I *know* I'm more edgy than most... so why can't I get this babywearing thing down? I wish there was a La Sling League.
post #2 of 35
Try not to beat yourself up. You sound like you're doing fine. My son didn't really like the sling until about 7 or 8 months, now at 11.5months he loves it.
Listen to/watch your baby's cues, if a stroller makes her happy, use it. We couldn't have lived w/o our swing, ds loved it as a tiny babe. When he didn't like it, we didn't use it.
Remember, being a mama is a journey, you learn as you go.

post #3 of 35
my sling wearing time has diminished with each of my babies, and I sometimes feel the guilt you mention. i wear my baby in the stores, but push him in a stroller in the mall. i put him in a basket on the floor for a nap. i am tired of being pregnant and nursing for six plus years. we wore our first a zillion hours a day, but we still NEVER did chores with him in the sling.

things will get easier as your baby learns to sit up and amuse herself for five minute spurts while you half wash one pan LOL. we live in an apartment that looks like it recently hosted a tornado. my first baby did not like the sling until he was your daughter's age and he could sit up and look out at the world a little more.

your baby is benefitting from each moment that you are with her that close whether or not she is slung. eventually you will figure out those moments that it is perfect to wear and those moments where your babe can explore the world in different ways and your back can rest and your laundry can get done.

ps are you in az because you mentioned a local woman's website (taylormadetreasures)...maybe we could keep company in our messy homes, judgment-free.....

post #4 of 35

you sounds like a *wonderful* mom!! don't beat yourself up, please!! i think the most important part of AP is listening to your baby- and if your baby is not a fan of the sling, so be it. it'll be ok, your angel will still grow up to be beautiful, sweet, smart, and all those other things we moms worry about!! really, it sounds like you are an amazing parent, who has does alot of thinking and considering how to parent consciously and your ds/dd will definitely see that special love.

honestly, i own a swing. my son LOVES it. i was totally against them- until i found out all my AP mama friends have them. the AP mama dirty little secret, i guess. i *never* leave my son alone in it- i sit right across from him as he swings and play and it works out well. he didn't like his sling until he was about 2 months- i carried him for that first two months and is was very hard. i have chronic pain and my back hurt so bad, but he loves to be held and i love holding him basically i am just sore alot, lol, but my boy is happy.

i think we chose our style of parenting for many reasons- but i also think our lil' ones come with ideas and needs and desires of their own, and we should listen to those. my son does want to be held most of the time, but there are so those moments when he just wants to lay next to me and chew on a cloth toy, knowing i am near, but exploring who he is as well.

maybe your lil' one will like a backpack later on, or maybe not- either way she/he is loved and cared for and that matters so much.......

as far as chores, lol- i do mine when my son sleeps. i only use water/vinegar, but i still won't clean with him in the sling/being held as i am still too scared. my friends tell me about cooking (not hot foods though) with a babe in the sling, but i am too worried to do that either. hehehehehe, i eat alot of fruit and trail mix

wishing all you mamas the best
post #5 of 35
oops! premature send-button-hitting! :LOL
post #6 of 35
ITA with all the other ladies here! Don't worry about it. I personally own a bouncy chair, swing, activity gym, exersaucer & am planning to buy a johnny jumper soon! I don't use these all every day, but they are convenient for small bits of time. For example: when I shower, he is in his bouncy chair (love the vibrating thingy) in the bathroom so I can talk to him/hear him if he cries. I usually play with him when he is under his activity gym, but it is nice to run into the other room to change out the laundry, or sit next to him & fold laundry/pay bills, etc. The swing is great for times when he wants to be lulled WHILE asleep (not just TO sleep). He often takes a nap in it. I put him in when he starts rubbing his eyes with a ***gasp*** pacifier!!! He looks around, but there is nothing stimulating near him, so he is able to relax & nod off happily. The exersaucer I see as being like an activity gym, but upright...he just started using this & loves being able to "stand" & swing his rattle-keys without hitting himself in the head!

Personally I prefer to have several different things to put him in as he is less likely to get attached to just one thing. Same thing with his sleeping -- sometimes I put him down, sometimes I hold him, sometimes he is in the swing, etc., etc.

That said, it wasn't until just in the past few weeks that he has started being happy for longer periods of time without me -- so I didn't leave him alone very often. Yes, the kitchen has very few clean dishes, the laundry is done only when we run out of clothes, and you have to dig for miles to find out what our coffee table looks like!

I've found that he likes to look at new things -- he actually gets bored when we're in the house all day -- then he fusses. If I go out for an hour or two -- or even for a walk, when we get back, he is happier. Also, at about 3 - 3 1/2 months, I started slinging him where he sat cross legged with his back leaning against me. I had to hold him a bit as he wasn't really great at head support, but he d to look out at everything -- although we still couldn't get anything done -- we'd just walk, back & forth, & back & forth &.....

K, I've rambled on terribly & need to make a point, so let me be succinct:

1. Change Dr. Sears' "Wearing your baby...." to holding your baby or interacting with or touching your baby.
2. I think the johnny jumper is probably one of the best baby holders - if she's anything like my ds, getting to jump up & down would make him laugh & laugh... but check them out first, cause I thought you weren't supposed to use them until 6 months.. or maybe it was 4?
3. I think everyone would agree that AP is first & foremost about responding to the needs of your child. If your child prefers not to be slung, & would rather a stroller, than you would be doing her a disservice to insist on the sling...
4. I don't know how others sling their child & do housework, but the only thing I could do was vacuum -- anything that required bending necessitated me holding my ds with one hand, which made it difficult /impossible to do the task!
5. I live on fruit, granola bars, string cheese, canned soup/stew, & slimfasts some days!
post #7 of 35

y'all rock

carolynn mama you ROCK!! i loved reading your post

ds also fusses if we stay at home.....he have been out and about since he was 2 days old, and he loves it. he loves watching new people, seeing new things, etc
post #8 of 35
Hey, I just got to this sight a couple of months ago and have only been here for receiving help and ranting a little. I’m here today to try to help with as many threads as I can until I get interrupted – giving back! One tip I got on the sling, which was the only thing that worked for me was to use it BACKWARDS. I had an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder and I wore it backwards successfully with my daughter for 19 months until I changed to the Maya Wrap, wearing it the normal way. Hope this helps.
post #9 of 35
Thanks homegrownmama -- it was a rare moment where my ds was actually asleep by himself for an extended amount of time -- he's getting MUCH better at it! :LOL It's nice to be able to post more than a couple sentences coherently!!

Hannah -- welcome!! I just found this site a few months ago as well! That's a great idea about turning it around, you never know what they'll like sometimes!
post #10 of 35
i am not sure where you are from, but maybe there is someone local to show you how to wear your babe so your back doesn't hurt. maybe any sling moms at your LLL group? or there might be an API or NNN group. i don't know a link to api but here is one to NNN

here are some links that might help:
baby wearing group

kangoroo korner has a lot of pics

apconnect group to find local ap moms

also try out different positions, my dd hated cradle holds, she only liked to be upright. maybe your body will like other positions.

the woman from taylor made treasures is very nice and i bet if you call or email her she will be able to give you advice

also just wanted to add.... maybe try to only do small projects at a time and take breaks though out the day. or maybe wait till dh/dp comes home and can hold the baby while you clean up the dishes

my kitch is a mess, but i personally think that this in arms time is important and dishes can wait. i had a great back carrier, www.packababy.com , annd was able to get a lot of housework done. but my packabay got stolen, along with my diaper bag, and my kitchen has been a mess since i couldn't wear her on my back. but i let the dishes soak untill dh comes home, then they are easier to clean.

good luck
post #11 of 35
just thought i'd add that my dd and i didn't really get slinging down until about three or four months. it really hurt my back at first, but eventually, my back muscles built up and i can now (at ten months and 20lbs) wear her for hours. i think, like anything, it just takes time to build up the right muscles and learn what works.

also, i think that you may want to just stick with one (i'd suggest the maya), and really get it down pat. it may be a little overwhelming to try and learn all of them at once. if you're really invested in it, it will happen, or you'll find something else that works for you.
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everybody, for the ideas, encouragement...

No, I don't live in Arizona, if only!! I live in northern Minnesota (Two Harbors). Sometimes feels rather lonely up here.

I go to the LLL meetings in Duluth. I haven't found any dedicated sling users there to guide me in that department. I did sign up on that yahoo apmomsconnect, Bowen, and there were 2 Duluth moms listed so I'll probably email them.

Thanks for the tips about slings everyone. Sounds like there are others who can't just pop baby in a sling and do all their daily tasks hands-free and comfortable. I *will* keep trying and as she gets older, I know I'll be trying more positions and we'll see how it goes. I did try wearing the Nojo (which I believe is practically the same as an OTSBH, correct me if I'm wrong) "backwards" but could never get her comfortable. I like the Maya best anyway, although I have managed to get her into the New Native and then pull her around to my back and did the dishes that way... it hurt pulling on my shoulder like that but the dishes got done and she wasn't fussing.

It is good to know there are other moms out there who use swings and bouncy seats etc. in a loving yet realistic way. I realize that using these things does not constitute neglect. But some of the AP literature sure makes it sound that way!

I think I will look into some kind of framed backpack carrier for doing chores. The idea of having dh hold her while I do chores is fantastic, except that he is working 3 jobs nowadays (2 from home) and when he has a spare moment to hold the baby I use that to spend time talking to him! I've tried getting his mom to come over more often but she is a very busy person.

You guys are all great! Thanks for the help and the hugs
post #13 of 35
I totally felt and still feel exactly like you, dubylyu. Like you I read everything and planned to be super AP-mom. I bought 2 slings as well....

just like you I could not figure out how to get dd in the sling and stable enough to do almost anything around here! My house was a wreck for weeks. All she wanted and still wants is for me to hold her. She doesn't even like the sling very much. She hates to be alone even for a minute. I have a bouncey chair and a swing and she really loves those things. In fact I probably couldn't have gotten her to sleep without that swing some days. She is a high needs baby of sorts.

There have been and are times I feel like a total failure at this ideal AP stuff. Times I am doing things I never thought I would do. I just accept them now, though. I try and listen to her and meet her needs; that is the best anyone can do. If that isn't attachment parenting then I do not know what is. You have to do what works for you and your baby, period. Not what Dr. Sears says, or your La Leacha League leader, or some MDC member.

post #14 of 35
there are some great back carriers out there for when your babe is old enough. i see you do ec , are you on the ec list at yahoo? the moms there could probably help a lot with slings, as well as ec.
sorry to hear the your dh needs to work three jobs , it must be really hard! have you ever heard of a mothers helper?
basically it is a young girl who can help around the house or help carry/entertain the baby while you work. these are usually middle or high school kids so they usually won't be too exspensive. do you have any young family members that would fit the bill?
post #15 of 35

woo hoo

i found this for you, i have no idea if they are close to where you live but thought i would link it

i am a part of our local (ct) nurture by nature network and the mom's are great! they do play socials, batch cooking, and momma's night out get togethers.
most of the moms sling and breastfeed, it is really awesome to find other ap/cc moms in real life!

edited to add~ i linked to mn page, but it linked to the main page. you'll have to go to chapters and then mn
post #16 of 35
What a wonderful thread! It's heartening to read others put to words exactly how I feel. I have a four-week old daughter, my second child, and I think (it's easy to forget!) she's more high needs than my son was. She wants to be held all day, which is of course fine, but the sling is NOT working for us. She doesn't tolerate it even for a minute! I carry her in my arms all day, but she still squirms and fusses the entire time. I can't seem to do anything to calm her. We have a swing--she hates it. So, unless she's sleeping, she's in my arms and seems miserable. I don't know if it's colic--she's not actually crying.

Anyway, I'm hoping that she'll eventually learn to like the sling. I try her in it every couple of days.
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
Bowen, a mother's helper is exactly what I need! Unfortunately I don't know anyone who would do. I guess I could advertise, but the problem there is they'd have to be willing to work for VERY CHEAP. I mean dirt cheap. I could perhaps arrange to exchange their time for tutoring and help with homework, but it is summer now so that's not likely to work.

I've been thinking about how unnatural it is for people to live such separated lives, everyone cloistered in their own house with friends and family members spread out for miles and miles. That's what makes this so hard. In a more natural society there would always be a pair of arms to hand the baby over to, right there willing and available.
post #18 of 35

more ideas...............

~*morning mamas*~

one place you might try for a mama's helper is a local volunteer organization. where i grew up, there was one for high school kids, and we signed up for volunteer jobs that most interested us. we were "screened" (to make sure we were in school, no problems, etc.) and the program was funded through the city. i LOVED it- a mama's helper woulda been exactly the kind of thing i would have looked for b/c i love kiddos.

another cost-free option would be to look for an adopt-a-grandchild program. thus not only would you get volunteer help, but your kiddo(s) would be exposed to cross-generational love and support. it might be easier for the elder as well, since they'd just have to be at your home, and not worry about planning too many outings, etc.

bartering for tutoring sounds great-- honestly you might get some more "driven" ppl- i.e. kids who want to get a bit ahead at school. this would also work if you have a unique skill/talent.....like if you could teach them some basic spanish, for example, if it wasn't offered at their school.

post #19 of 35

Baby Bjorn

My son did not like the Nojo sling, or another one I bought at Target that was like a bag with leg holes and a strap. It didn't *look* comfy either, what was my first clue??

Anyway, a good girlfriend gave me her old Baby Bjorn (which is nice, because apparently they cost a flipping forture of $80!!) So, we tried that. Hallelujah, it works! Also, we used a fisher-price dealie for a while, but now that he is 20 lbs, it's only the BB for us. It doesn't hurt my back, and I can bend AT THE KNEES to change out laundry loads, and I stand sideways at the sink to rinse off bottles, dishes, etc.

I have seen the BB carrier in secondhand stores, and maybe someone has one you can borrow. My little guy really was happy because he could look around and see. Now that he faces out, he's dangerous! Literally, almost seven months now, and he grabs at everything!

You can't get any housework done, so what?? So, stop crying and worrying about it. You are doing the most important job ever, raising your daughter!! Just keep telling yourself that. I wonder who has these amazingly clean houses we see in the media. Not me, not my family, not my friends. I swear, these are figments of someone's imagination. And Dr. Sears is great, he's smart, he's wonderful to promote AP. Do you think his mother held him all day long? Or how about Einsteins mother? Just something to think about. You sound like a great mom, and it does get easier with each passing month. I wish that someone, just one person, had said to me that you won't be able to do anything but nurse for the first six weeks, and after that not much more. It would have helped me let myself off of the hook.

Having said all that, I will now get off of the soapbox.
post #20 of 35
i just wanted to post this link. i post it whenever i see baby blorn type carriers mentioned....

these type of carriers are not good for babes developing spines and can cause spondilolysthesis (discss in thier lumbar spine to be out of place)
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