Tag Archives: Natural Parenting

Stefani & Babywearing: Part Two

Here is the continuation of Stefani’s babywearing journey in her own words, enjoy!

I [have] found that Edmonton has a great babywearing community. There were tons of people willing to help me learn to wrap my Hedgie. They became great friends and great enablers, too! I learned all different carries and how to use all different carriers. I started building a “stash”. I bought different colours of wraps, I bought a mei tai, I bought a buckle carrier. I had a bit of a shopping addiction, but I bought most of them used so that I could re-sell what didn’t work for us.

By the time our third boy, Mouse, was born, I was a pro. I started wrapping him the day after he was born. He has always been a way more relaxed baby, and I owe it in part to the fact that he was almost never put down. My husband and I joke around that we should have done an Indonesian foot-touching-ground ceremony for him, since he was always in-arms. We try to follow the Continuum Concept, and wearing Mouse made our lives so simple.

Necessity [really] is the mother of invention. I used a sling without ever having seen one, using the basic principles figured out by mothers centuries ago. Keeping a baby close just makes sense to me!

Stefani can be found wearing her youngest (and sometimes her toddler too!), whilst taking care of her sweet family.  When she has a few minutes to spare, she enjoys sewing, knitting and baking. She is currently in the process of becoming a La Leche League leader, and is an administrator of  both the Edmonton FSOT Babywearing Group and the Canadian Babywearing FSOT.

*All photos courtesy of Stefani

 

Stefani & Babywearing: Part One

Before I share my own story about babywearing, I want to shift the focus over to Stefani.  She is an extraordinary person, passionate about babies, children and motherhood. She is also a wife and a mother of three boys aged 5.5, 2.5 and 8 months. She is especially passionate about babywearing and has been a true inspiration and help to me and countless other mothers. With her zest for motherhood, and commitment to natural parenting, here is a glimpse into her babywearing journey. In her own words, here she is!

I was 18 when my first son, X, was born. I fell in love with him instantly. I felt drawn to keeping him close, opting for him to sleep in my bed rather than his crib and to practice more naturally-oriented parenting whenever possible. I think my dad influenced me that way. He believes strongly in the use of herbal remedies and [natural] preventions, along with chiropractic care and naturally-acquired immunities. I found myself wanting to follow that path.

At my baby shower I was given a gift card for Toys R Us and was so excited to be able to get myself a high-ticket item that I’d been lusting after: a Snugli! X was a fussy baby and didn’t want to be put down, so I needed a way to carry him around and still be able to use my hands.

I encountered a problem, though. The Snugli hurt my lower back and my neck. I found myself carrying X in my arms. One day when he was about five months old, out of desperation, I tied him onto me with a lovely African scarf I’d bought at a little shop. Riding sling-style, he got a good snuggle with Mommy while I could do everyday things like locking my door and carrying my purse!

By the time I had my second son, Hedgie, I knew I needed something better. My husband and I went into a natural baby store when Hedgie was a couple of weeks old and bought ourselves a Moby wrap. I loved how soft it was and how it held my baby right against my heart. I was free to run around after X, to do crafts, to do everything I wanted to do while fulfilling Hedgie’s basic need for me. He had moderate reflux and keeping him upright made him way less fussy and he spit up a lot less.

I went to a babywearing workshop at a friend’s house and was let in the door to the world of woven wraps, mei tais, and buckle carriers. The woven wraps were more supportive than my Moby and they could be used in a variety of carries, including back carries. The asian-style mei tais were much simpler and more Daddy-friendly, and the buckle carriers felt very different than the Snugli. They kept Hedgie up close like the Moby, instead of hanging off of me. I bought my first woven wrap soon after, and was hooked!

 

*All photos courtesy of Stefani.

Oatmeal, Pears and Routine.

This morning, baby M had some oatmeal and pear for breakfast at approximately 8:30 am. He is still breastfed on demand however, I am ensuring that he has his solid food at approximately the same time each day. The goal is to help him set his internal clock, thereby helping him sleep better.

I am currently reading “the no-cry sleep solution” by Elizabeth Pantley, a good resource for those seeking tips and practical advice for gently aiding their baby in the sleep area. Her introduction describes my situation fairly accurately. Between baby M’s frequent night waking to nurse/short naps during the day, and my need for more sleep but also my refusal to let him cry-it-out, I knew this book would right for me.

What I particularly like about this book is that the author herself is the mother of four children. She also practices similar ways of parenting, some of which include[d] breastfeeding and co-sleeping.  This book offers a balanced approach, none of which involve the cry-it-out method or the opposite spectrum of following the baby’s rhythm to the point of exhaustion (page 3).

At the moment, I am assessing baby M’s sleep patterns as well as his solid food intake and being very diligent about his bedtime routine.  As part of “the no-cry sleep solution” I am required to log his sleep in order to see what ideas may help him best (page 53). It is only day three, but he is already sleeping better and at longer intervals. In fact, as I type this he is already one hour into his afternoon nap!  I do realize that this is a process which will require time and that we are still in the assessment stage.

 

Nevertheless, I can see that baby M’s new routine is helping already and let us be honest, sleep is important to all of us, as it makes everyone healthier and happier. With all that said, I really am looking forward to a good night’s sleep in the not too distant future!

Our Journey into Natural Infant Hygiene

potty2Recently, a lot of people have been asking me about elimination communication or EC, here is my journey so far. I first became aware of EC shortly after my baby was born. I was talking on the phone with my older sister when the subject of my baby’s bowel movements came up. If you are a mother, then you understand that this is a standard topic of conversation, and if you are not a mother, then bear with me.  Since this is my first baby, I wanted to know if his grunting before a bowel movement was normal.  My sister took this opportunity to tell me about EC, and explained that when a baby is about to pee or poo they often signal by grunting or squirming, this signalling is their way of communicating. Each baby has a unique way of showing that they need to eliminate their waste and it starts as soon as they are born. By reading your baby’s cues, you are able to attend to his* hygiene needs by helping him eliminate in a designated spot like a potty or toilet instead of his diaper.  The goal of EC is not to potty train, but rather another way of meeting your baby’s needs. In essence the focus is on the relationship, and the communication, hence the name elimination communication.

I started EC with my son when he was about seven weeks old, I began by cueing him when he was going pee or poo by saying psss for pee or hmm for poo. I would also cue him when I changed his diaper.  Through my research on the subject I found some excellent resources on EC. Next, I made the switch to cloth diapers and began holding him in a position similar to the one seen in the picture above, only with his back resting against my stomach; to my amazement it helped him go.  Just before he turned three months old, I read Ingrid Bauer’s book on EC entitled Diaper Free and decided to practice EC full-time. For a about a week I held him over the tub to do his business before purchasing a Baby Bjorn potty. I should also note at this time, that a spray bottle filled with half vinegar and half water is invaluable for cleaning up misses as it helps neutralize the smell of pee.

At home, the practice of EC is fairly easy as the potty and the toilet are accessible however, practising EC outside the home does take some planning.  For example, before we leave the house, I offer an opportunity to use the potty and do the same once we arrive at our destination. When we go to a friend or family member’s house I try to bring his potty, otherwise I hold him over their toilet. I also time our walks so that he has just used the potty, which is usually in the afternoon as babies tend to pee a little less than in the morning. Since I wear my baby when we go walking, grocery shopping or doing chores I find that it is easy to keep in tune with his needs.   Although he is not completely diaper free (I use diapers as a back up), I plan on replacing his diapers for little underwear especially when I wear him.

Practising EC can be difficult at times as there are days when I seem to miss all his cues and we have a lot of wet diapers and the occasional soiled one too. These are usually days when I am preoccupied or busy with more than usual or he has reached a developmental milestone such as sitting or crawling. If this is the case, I simply cue him when I notice he is wetting his diaper or keep him close to me by either wearing or carrying him. I do this in order to take the pressure off of  him and me because EC should not be a stressful thing. Then there is teething, which is particularly challenging and exhausting as it causes him to breastfeed all night long, which means if he is not waking to feed, then he is waking to pee.   With that said, the benefits of being more in tune with my baby, having less soiled diapers, and minimum to no diaper rash far outweigh the so called challenges. If you are like me, then you will soon find that EC becomes part of a daily rhythm where you intuitively sense your baby’s needs. In other words, less guesswork and more ‘knowing.’

Now that we are almost at the nine month mark, I find EC to be easier than ever as my baby lets me know when he needs to use the potty by changing the tone of his voice. So, if you are looking for an alternative to potty training, or simply wanting to understand your baby better, or live a more sustainable life then I highly recommend EC.

*I use the third person masculine in reference to my baby boy.