Thing is, the answer for me isn't give up babywearing/breastfeeding or just getting a break from the kiddos. I need day to day survival...
So how can I build in moments of self care throughout the day, even while babywearing, to allow me to get through the next moment, while still being attached (physically!) to my baby? Because sometimes I’m the mum who is st the end of her tether, surviving needing some care so I can carrying on carrying and caring for the baby!
1. Good pair of headphones and a podcast or your favourite music
I love listening to a podcast. It feels like escapism but without needing to leave the baby behind!. A long walk, baby asleep, big kids at school, headphones on. Wonderful. I love listening to "mummy" podcasts and also science-y ones. Makes me feel like my brain is working, and I remember I'm more than just a mummy. I'm a wanna-be space geek who loves trying to learn and remember the differences between dark matter and dark energy... by the way, it’s totally ok to put baby in the sling and headphones on when baby is crying. I’ve done it. Not because I didn’t want to comfort the baby but because other than slinging, I was out of ideas. Sometimes they just cry, so self preservation in those moments is key.
Check out Scummy Mummies, Infinite Monkey Cage, Mother Pukka, dessert Island Discs (what are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!)
t’s worth saying too that these tips put the babywearer first on the understanding that babywearing is comfort and useful for your child...(what I mean is, if baby is hungry we’re not wearing the baby with headphones in and ignoring hungry cries 😂)
2. Go somewhere beautiful/makes you happy
That's one of the brilliant things about babywearing. You can really go places. Long walk in the woods - easy. Getting on the tube in London, no problem. The beach. A museum, the zoo. Whatever works for you. Wrap and go! Even getting your nails done. After I had Samuel, I really was at breaking point. (3 children 3 years and under was not easy), I was sent to a local beauty place by a couple of friends who saw I was close to loosing the plot, and while I wore Samuel in his stretchy sling I had my nails done. And then had lunch. Felt sooooo good. A change of scenery is good for us. Babywearing totally helps feeling free to do that.
3. Baby in sling - eat the cake.
See my picture. That was actually taken during a very very long night of no sleep from Anna, and she was becoming increasingly more fraught. I wrapped her, she settled and I ate the cake. A few moments of bliss to get me through whatever was going to happen for the rest of the night. I learnt to ditch the guilt about eating the cake. Make it a healthy cake if you like?
4. Surround yourself with those who support you.
I had a great "new year" chat with a lovely friend a few years ago about spending time with those people who make you feel good about yourself and not worse. It was such a great life lesson. The days are hard enough without someone making you feel down about your parenting choices. (Come along to a sling meet!)
5. Protect your back.
This is so important. You don't want to be babywearing because it works for your baby but so sore afterwards. Babywearing should be comfortable for you both. Get a well fitted sling or carrier and take the time to make sure you've go it on 'just right'.
6. Insulated cup
I don't know why I even bother with mugs. Tea always goes cold. We found some great insulated mugs in Costco a little while ago which are non spill and double lockable. Make a cup of tea that stays warm and is safe to drink while babywearing. Pass the tea.
7. Netflix saves sanity
I have spent many many hours walking around the lounge and down the hallway with a baby in a sling trying to settle them. It is sooooo freaking boring at times (can I say that? Just did). So, Netflix. I shudder when I think of how much money we spend a year on TV type watching but it saves my sanity. Baby in sling, settling, mummy distracted by watching the latest Star Trek Discovery (see told you, wanna-be space geek). or a marvel series, or suits. Sanity saved.
8. Naps save lives
I kinda hate the advice to "sleep when the baby sleeps" cos when do I get all the shit done I have to and also, how long will they sleep for? But I have also learnt that sometimes, especially in the early days, naps save lives. Get good at slinging baby to sleep and practise the transfer from sling to bed and then lie down yourself!!! (It is totally a ninja babywearing skill that takes time to find your method!) It's ok to do this. It really is. And that horrid feeling of a thudding heart when your laying down just waiting for your baby to wake up. Urgh its awful isn't it. Try and breathe through it. Acknoweldge it and try and let it go. Even laying down resting while scrolling instagram is a good thing.
9. Be kind to yourself.
Trust that babywearing is good for you and baby. Believe that cuddling your baby to sleep is a good thing. Let go of any guilt. Be kind to yourself if you are learning a new babywearing skill. You can totally do this.
10. Soak up the oxytocin.
Actually babywearing is good for you too. Holding someone close is an oxytocin trigger. The love/bonding hormone. If I'm feeling stressed, being held by my husband works to give me a moment of calm. And the same can me said when you're babywearing. The oxytocin works both ways. for you and baby. Love all round!
I'd love to know any of your day-to-day tips.