Our babywearing chronicles 

This week is International Baby-wearing Week.  I’ve been wearing Thandiwe since she was a few weeks old and it has been an amazing hands-free way to keep her near. Baby-wearing has also been an awesome way for my partner to bond with the baby when he’s with her. He loves how it easy it is to keep her close and it makes putting her down for a nap much easier.  Thandiwe enjoys being worn too, she often comes running when she sees me grab a woven wrap or stops fussing when she sees me buckle the soft structured carrier to my waist.

Finding a carrier that works for your body type can be a challenge which is why I am a fan of trying before you buy. Buying second-hand is also a good way to be eco-friendly and economical. Seeing everyone share their baby-wearing stories all over the internet this week has made me reflect on our baby-wearing journey as well. We have one soft structured carrier, one woven wrap, and one ring sling. I also enjoy trying different carriers from my local baby-wearing chapter’s lending library since I am training to be an educator and need to be familiar with all kinds.

Scroll down to see some photos of us baby-wearing and an inforgraphic from momlovesbest.com about the benefits of babywearing.

Anthony wearing Thandiwe

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Farai wearing Thandiwe

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Peace and baby snuggles,

Farai

My First Year Baby Essentials

I’ve been a mom for almost a YEAR now. Holy crap. It’s been amazingly fulfilling and challenging. My daughter is growing into a smart, beautiful, hilarious ham and I am so glad I get to be her mom.

I thought I’d share some products, services, themes and advice on what got me through this first year of motherhood.

 

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Thandiwe and her fur brother Duke (my middle baby)

Mind

Therapy – I started seeing a therapist a few weeks after she was born to get a handle of my PPA, and PPOCD. It was amazing to have a professional assure me that I was not alone and that other mom’s went through what I was going through.

Baby bookworms – A free book club for infants at my local library that introduces literacy. It was a perfect FREE excuse to get out of the house and be around other parents and babies.

Minimalism – I have written about this before here but minimalism freed my house and mind of clutter. I only allow items that are useful or bring me joy in to my house. That goes for Thandie’s clothes and toys too. I have a clear idea of what I want for her (the strict african mom in me dances with joy) so If she is gifted something that does not fit then it gets passed on to another kid who may enjoy it better.

Lactation Consultant – Thandiwe spent the first 9 days of her life in the NICU and I had to pump every  2-3 hours so she could be bottle fed. When she came home, we struggled to latch. Without the help of Gale, the amazing lactation consultant from the hospital and her continued support and encouragement I think our breastfeeding journey would look a lot different.

Body

Toy and Clothing Rotation – This has been an amazing money saver for my friends and I. Thandie gets hand me down toys and clothes from my friends kids that have outgrown their stuff and she passes them on to my friends with younger kids when she has outgrown them too. I rotate her toys around weekly so she has something different to play with often.

Buying used – Kids are gross. Thandiwe is almost always covered in cantaloupe stains (she’s obsessed with cantaloupe) . My parents encouraged lots of outside play and I was a filthy kid too, which makes me a big fan of letting her be outside and exploring. My head would explode if her brand new items got holes and stains on them too. Buying used toys and clothes when you can-is better for the environment and my wallet. Her summer wardrobe for this year was almost completely second hand and free except for a few new gifts.

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Me being a filthy kid. Check out my cool sagging cloth diaper lol

Baby wearing – Ive written about my love for babywearing and its benefits before here.  I had Thandiwe at work with me for 6 months before I became a SAHM. My lillebaby  carrier was a life saver. Now that she is older I am excited to try out different carriers.

Baby wed leaning – I had this beautiful vision of me feeding my baby pureed organic foods that I made myself. She quickly squashed that by refusing all pureed foods. She only wanted what was on my plate. I learned about baby led weaning and started giving her soft hand held vegetables and fruits that she could eat when she wanted at meal time and she has been happy as a clam ever since. She loves cucumber, potato, broccoli, melons, and apples.

Mango butter – The main component of my handmade diaper cream. I love a good multi-use product.  I buy mango butter in bulk and make diaper cream, body lotion and hair moisturizer for my family. I use different essential oils to tailor the butter for its different uses.

Chewelry – Chewable jewelry made of silicone or wood are great to have around if you baby wear or breastfeed. It is entertaining for little twiddling hands to explore and to soothe little teething gums. I have a coupon for 20% off some cute pieces from Okrosh etsy store if you are interested in investing in some pieces for your wardrobe. The code is HILBILL20

Cloth diapering and wipes – We’ve been cloth diapering since Thandie was 1 month old. I was cloth diapered and I knew it was something I wanted to do so save money and reduce my contribution to landfill waste. My favorite diapering system is pocket diapers followed my covers. Learn more about different types of cloth diapering options here.

Envelope System – I am a fan of the envelope system for keeping things organized. It allowed me to keep my diaper bag/purse in order. My diaper bag was very minimal. One pouch had her wipes, cream, diapers and wetbag, another -my wallet, keys and lip balm. Id use the pockets to keep a water bottle and some toys for her and that was it.

Honorable mentions

Daniel Tiger – Shout out  to PBS for producing sweet, educational content. Daniel Tiger has provided many a distraction while I attempt to manage Thandiwe’s thick curls and his catchy songs have brought many smiles to her face.

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Thandiwe loves Daniel Tiger

Lullaby renditions of Rihanna has brought on many naps for which I am ever so grateful.

Discovery Center and other free programs – It is so fun to watch my little one engage with toys and other kids. Free programs and places like splash parks and drum circles are a great way to socialize your kiddo.

BWI – My local chapter of Baby wearing international was a great help in teaching me how to safely use and try out different characters as well as meet parents with kiddos of similar ages.

Podcasts – For keeping me company and making me laugh and cry.

Online communties – For advice about cloth diapering, to breastfeeding and meeting kindred spirits.

I hope you find a simple system that works for you and your littles.

Peace,

Farai

 

Why I Babywear

Our ancestors have worn their offspring for thousands of years. Growing  up, I watched countless babies on the backs of their mothers and knew that I would carry my own children. But I live in the mid west. All I saw was babies in strollers. Luckily enough, after I went to a La Leche Leauge meeting, I met women in my local baby wearing international chapter and joined soon after.

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Here is what I love about baby wearing

  1. I get shit done. I would not have been able to work at my office with Thandie for 4 months if it was not for my ability to wear her. Thandiwe is content to hang out on my back while I do chores, blog (i’m wearing her right now), grocery shop, or walk my dogs.
  2. Unlimited snuggles and kisses
  3. Babies who are worn cry less, they feel safer, they learn faster. Learn more here
  4. Hands free breastfeeding! I’ve given presentations standing and moving around in front of groups of people while Thandie happily nursed.
  5. Its simplified my travel with an infant. I don’t have to worry about a stroller. She is going on 8 months and we still have never used one.
  6. Baby wearing builds a bond with her dad. Because I am her primary source of nutrition and comfort, Thandie spends most of her time with me. Baby-wearing brings my partner closer to her.
  7. Baby-wearing allowed me to meet a new community and make great friends.

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*full disclosure – I am a chapter support volunteer for my local baby wearing international  chapter so even though I am not getting paid for this I am completely biased*

If you are interested in baby-wearing, here are some tips:

Try out different carriers until you find the one that works for you. That is what is great about the baby wearing international organization. Its a non-profit that focuses on education surrounding baby wearing. Most local chapters have lending libraries that allow members to try out carriers for a period of time before they make their own purchases. I tried out several different carriers for 30 days before I settled on the best one for my family.

Look for a local baby wearing buy sell trade group so you can buy a pre-loved carrier second hand. It is cheaper and better for the environment.

Join a support group like babywearing while black  or a chat group so you can ask questions online.

Don’t give up, at first, Thandie hated being worn- but after I found the right fit for us, she loved it. I will write a post about my favorite carriers soon.

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Peace and baby snuggles

Farai