Thankfully, although I was clueless, I did have (and still do) a crazy lioness mother side when it comes to listening to my babies cry, or handing them over to someone else, or putting them down when they need to be held. Remember how Joey doesn't share his Food? Well Chiara doesn't share babies! So I held, and cradled and rocked. It freaked me out if someone else wanted to hold her for slightly longer than I was happy with, or if she cried in someone else's arms I needed her back. My husband very quickly learnt "the look" when he needed to get the baby back for me if someone was giving her a cuddle.
Enter the sling.
Ok, so I struggled to start with but once I got the hang of using a sling, it solved these issues. Bethany wanted to be held, I needed my hands = put her in the sling. I knew we would be seeing lots of people and she might get overwhelmed = put her in the sling.
So here's why this is more normal than I thought or gave myself credit for. When in the womb, baby is used to being constantly with you, they are never hungry, they are never cold. They are curled up all tight and snug, they hear the regular thudding of your heart, and the gurgling of your tummy. They are rocked by your movements, and soothed by your voice. All needs are met and there is no stress or anxiety or separation for baby.
Once they are born, the world is a very different place. It is bright and loud. It can be too hot or too cold. They feel hunger for the first time. They have to wear clothes and nappies. And possibly the hardest transition is being separated from that permanent human contact. Have you heard of the fourth trimester? The idea here is that baby needs a fourth trimester to make that transition into the world and to do that we should try and help recreate the womb like environment for baby.
Baby wearing is an awesome way of doing that. A newborn baby tucked up inside a cosy stretchy sling, beautifully supported, warm and cosy will generally instantly settle. At sling library sessions one of my absolute favourite moments will always be when a new mummy puts her new baby into a stretchy for the first time, she places her hands over baby's back and sighs and says "that's lovely". Then we are creating a womb like environment for baby. They are curled up tight and snug, can hear your heart beat, they are rocked by your movements and soothed by your voice, there is no separation for baby.
What about the hunger issue? Baby wearing can be a brilliant way to help you learn your new baby's feeding cues. When they are super close to you, you will notice the "pre-cry" or the slight fussiness sooner and able to respond to their need for milk before they get over-upset. Amazing!
Baby wearing from the beginning is awesome.