As I mentioned in a previous post, Alex and I are into transporting and holding our baby in a carrier, also known as "babywearing". Although Alex has found his preferred carrier, I was still looking for something that facilitates breast feeding, both around the house and on the go. With a baby that feeds every two hours or so during the day, not much gets done if both of my hands are occupied. When he's hungry he lets me know, and while he's eating I'm pretty much stranded on breast feeding island.
So today we ventured out to Milkface to try out a ring sling. The owner will tell you that baby carriers are like shoes--you can't really get by with just one. I think that they are also like shoes in that you really need to try one on to see if it's right for you. After trying a couple of models, the Maya Wrap Padded Ring Sling was determined to be a good fit for me and for Oliver.
I put it to the test right away, and here are some of the reasons why I am loving my ring sling:
1. It allowed me to easily feed the baby standing up, and even walking. Although feeding on the move is not ideal, sometimes you just need to get going or even walk across the room. And taking a boob out of a baby's mouth when he's not done with it, well, how do you feel when someone pulls your plate away while YOU are still eating?
2. He stayed in the sling during most of our lunch out, which consisted of an appetizer, mains and a dessert (boldly stretching out lunch despite having a baby in tow!) and barely made a sound. Having him in the sling not only allowed me to feed him discreetly, but also provided him with a cozy place to doze while we ate. And since the sling can easily be adjusted to hold him lower on my body, or in a cradle hold as opposed to holding him upright, I was able to eat my lunch without being too awkward. I admit that I did get a few crumbs on him.
3. When we got on the bus to head home, we had been out for several hours and we had entered the dreaded "witching hour" when he's prone to a meltdown. I was able to feed him securely (honestly I don't know how I would have managed to feed him on a moving bus without the sling) and unless you looked closely, you wouldn't have known that I had a baby with me. After we got on, two women with strollers got on, which filled up the front of the bus. At a later stop, a man with twin boys was turned away by the bus driver because there wasn't room for a third stroller on the bus. At that moment I was so glad that I wasn't standing in the way of this man getting to where he needed to be. I have a HUGE capacity for guilt, and feeling a little less conspicuous makes getting out with a baby a little less stressful.
At the end of the day, we needed to change two poopy diapers while we were out, we needed to stop a few times to feed him and we had no illusions about staying out late. We admit that we're parents now, and life has changed accordingly, but wearing our baby makes getting out a little easier.
Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I'm also hoping that carrying him in the sling might help sooth him at the end of the day, and get to sleep a little easier. Oliver will be six weeks old tomorrow, and although I've learned to survive on 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, I'm certainly open to other options.