Living naturally, most of the time.

I’m no one with out my sling

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I don’t know how some people get through parenting without babywearing. Seriously. I couldn’t do the mama thing without my sling.

It’s not just a temperament thing; my son was clearly more intense and had a higher need for touch than my 6-month-old daughter does, but chill-baby still needs to be worn to keep the day from falling apart. Or my arm from falling off.

In the early days, I used a Hotsling in a cradle hold to get both of my children to sleep: my son when I just wasn’t up for lying down with him, and my daughter when that simply wasn’t an option. If big brother needs to run off some steam at the park, so go mom and baby. The new one actually enjoys being in a stroller, so we do use it (this fancy one I won at a mommy blogging event), but it was never an option with her brother. He screamed his head off in a stroller. But put him snug as a bug and next to my heart or his dad’s, and he was happy. I’m much more active in my community with this second baby, and wearing her in the sling has let me successfully run Holistic Moms meetings and even appear on CNN!

Matching hotsling and water bottle at Birth Options Holistic Moms meeting

My daughter slept in the sling through almost my whole interview with CNN on high fructose corn syrup

Now that my daughter can hold her head up, she frequently rides on my back in the Beco while I’m making dinner. A number of times, she got in her third nap this way without my son having to get “lonely” while I put her down in the other room. Although there was no sibling to appease when her brother was little, he could only be happy in a Pack N Play for so long (or only safe creeping on the floor for so long), so into the Ergo he went at dinnertime, too.

Many are the moments when I need extended time with both hands, and leaving the baby confined in a bouncy seat or Pack N Play is just no fun for anyone. She doesn’t cry much, but if I didn’t pick her up and put her on me, I’m sure that would be different. As long as she’s not hungry or wet, the carrier is practically a fail-safe option. As a new baby, she might cry being carried but immediately find peace in a sling. Today, even if a babysitter has her, she feels much more secure in a sling than in arms.

Us in the kitchen, over four years ago!

If I don’t need her on my back for safety around a hot stove, I wear her on my front in a Maya wrap or Mei Tai (and maybe someday I’ll conquer the Moby). She adores watching my many activities, and she gets to see the work of the home: smelling ingredients, hearing the sound of water as she sees it running, and generally seeing the world from where the action is. All the while, she’s spending happy time next to her mama, who is known to be a little scattered and not always as in touch as I’d like to be, trying to do too much. Wearing my baby adds back in some of what I’m missing by being overextended with work and volunteer responsibilities.

I won’t say that babywearing is easy; the extra weight on my body is, well, weight, which counts more on a small frame like mine than it might for a bigger parent. It is a relief to take off the carrier, I admit. But it’s also joy to a kiss a smiling baby’s head instead of watching her crying face from across the room.

Now that she’s turning so grabby, I have to be careful what she can reach on the counter. But that’s a phase, and babywearing can outlast it. Even with preschoolers, it’s a great option to throw your child on like a backpack. When we knew my recently ill four-year-old son wouldn’t be feeling well enough to walk back home up a big hill last spring, on went the Ergo. All was well in the world – no whining or overexertion.

Babywearing has gotten much more common in my area since my son was born in 2006. I remember people in my mainstream moms club looking at me a little funny for always having my son on me, but I know of at least four people who bought Ergos — and have raved about them — after seeing me with my son in one all the time.

This year's Christmas Day hike on Teddy Roosevelt Island

I am so thankful that I saw my sister wear her firstborn in a Maya wrap over 12 years ago, just like I’m grateful I saw her and my other sister nurse for so long and that I saw my niece born at home 13 years ago. Seeing is teaching, or at least making the unknown seem possible.

I’m so glad for these smart pieces of fabric to help my children feel safe and loved. And me feel sane.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

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7 Responses to “I’m no one with out my sling”

  1. Isil says:

    Slings are such an important tool for me as well.My little boy really craves human touch and is in the sling most of the time. Right now he is napping in the Ergo :)

  2. I don’t know where I’d be without my baby carriers! Kieran is also one of those kids who likes to be snugged up close – ever since he was newborn. At 3 yrs old, he still requests the Ergo quite frequently :)

  3. Tashmica says:

    There is absolutely nothing like a warm, sleeping baby tied to your chest. I miss that now that my boys are more mobile. I didn’t use my sling as regularly as you did but I loved it. It made parenting more than one child easier. Especially at events where I only had two hands to three very active boys!

  4. Kim says:

    I love that you had her in the sling during the CNN interview! Babywearing has been a key part of parenting for me as well, both from the practical and the sheer yummy standpoints. You’ve got to love being able to keep baby with you in such an easy way!

  5. Having recently rediscovered the joys of a ring sling with my toddler, I couldn’t agree with you more. When my son wasn’t feeling well but we had an obligation to attend to, I wore him close to me and he enjoyed the extra snuggles that day. Such a great experience.

  6. Great post; isn’t babywearing awesome? It allows us to give our children the closeness they need and allows us two free arms to do what we need to do. Perfect!

  7. I love how you connect it to having seen babywearing in practice, and how you, too, have inspired others to take that leap. There really is something about modeling that means more than just saying you like something. My son wanted to be carried and bounced constantly as a newborn; there’s no way I could have handled his (high) weight without our carriers! Even now at 3 and a half, we occasionally have back rides in Ergo, so I was glad to hear you found opportunity to wear your 4-year-old! It’s still useful and snuggly.

    P.S. How cool that you were interviewed while babywearing! :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Loves Books, Loves People « The Practical Dilettante - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  2. Unimaginable without him Hey Red {365} : Hey Red {365} - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  3. I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without… - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  4. Eco-Mama Online! - Child of the Nature Isle - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  5. It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo! - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  6. Stopping to Listen « Knocked Up – Knocked Over - [...] Trackback: Crunchy Chewy Mama » Blog Archive » I’m no one with out my sling [...]
  7. The Gift of Shared Time | momgrooves.com - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  8. Why I’m a Babywearer « Becoming Mamas - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  9. Ode to the Loo | Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  10. My Parenting Necessity « The Adventures of Lactating Girl - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  11. The Internet as our “Village” | Monkey Butt Junction - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  12. Grace, Love, and Coffee « Fleeting Moments - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  13. Parenting Essentials | LivingMontessoriNow.com - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  14. The Essence of Parenting - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  15. I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without… | Diary of a First Child - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  16. 10 reasons why I chose breast over bottles | Old New Legacy - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  17. Top 10 Montessori Principles for Natural Learning | LivingMontessoriNow.com - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  18. Ten Top Ways to Connect Kids with Nature - Child of the Nature Isle - [...] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …
  19. CNP: I cannot imagine parenting without ________. | The Artful Mama - […] I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at …

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