Category Archives: babywearing

Social media make my maternity leave so much more enjoyable!

I’ve written before that when BlueEyes was just born I had a hard time enjoying all of it. Now that Little Brother is over two months old I think it is safe to say that this time I am enjoying my maternity leave. So what is different this time?

First, I think a major difference is that I knew what was coming. I’m already used to the fact that I am someone’s mother: my personal space is no longer mine alone. I no longer decide when I wake up or how long I sleep, and I got used to caring for someone without having that feel like a huge burden. Also, Little Brother’s birth was a lot less intense than BlueEyes’.

Second, when you’re used to dealing with a toddler, a newborn is really not that much work: they eat, sleep and need clean diapers but that’s it. No arguing about what to wear, no wanting to climb in the carseat by themselves, etc. I have to add that I’m lucky that BlueEyes continues to go to daycare while I’m home with Little Brother. I get quite a lot of work done while Little Brother sleeps in the sling or on my lap. And this is nice, because then at the end of the day I feel like I did something useful.

Third, what really helps is that in my mind, Little Brother going to daycare is really far away. With BlueEyes I felt like I HAD to enjoy every second that I was home with him because soon he would go to daycare. Now, Little Brother is only going to start daycare after we have moved to Europe. And I can tell you that a looming transatlantic move is a really good way to keep your mind off of other things (I have to add though that it is also quite an expensive and time-consuming way to keep your mind off of other things).

But the most important difference is that when I was home with BlueEyes I felt pretty lonely. Going from a busy lab with colleagues to being home all day with a baby was quite a shocking change. Now on the other hand I feel surrounded by funny, interesting and caring people through social media. When I feel lonely I know there’s always people on twitter I can talk to. There’s blogs to read and Pubscience videos to watch. Even though I might not actually see someone IRL all day, at the end of the day it feels like I’ve interacted with lots of people and I find that this makes me very happy. So thank you!

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Filed under attachment parenting, baby, babywearing, birth, blogging, daycare, maternity leave, Pub-Style Science, twitter

Babywearing a newborn

My newborn is not so new anymore (already 6 weeks old!), but I started wearing him in a sling for the first time when he was just 5 days old.

5-day old Little Brother in a woven wrap

I often get asked on what the best way is to wear such a tiny baby. I already wrote previously about how important it is to position your baby in the correct way: with their back arched and their legs spread so their knees are higher than their bottom (froggy legs). This is hard to accomplish in most of the structured carriers (like Ergo), because the baby’s legs are too small to fit in the carrier properly when they are newborns. The Ergo does have a baby insert, but even there it is quite difficult to get the baby positioned properly. Many people use a Babybjorn for their newborn, but with those it is impossible to attain the recommended position for the baby. So my answer is always that it’s best to wear your newborn in a wrap.

Wraps come either stretchy (like the Moby) or woven (like the one I’m using in the picture). I like woven wraps better because once you know how to tie them you have more control than with a stretchy wrap. Also, BlueEyes was born in the middle of the summer and where we live a stretchy wrap, with three layers of thick cotton was WAY too hot. Tying a wrap might seem challenging at first, but with a bit of practice it’s almost like tying your shoe laces.
Here’s a good video (that’s not me) of how to do an FWCC (front wrap cross carry) using a woven wrap. I sometimes put a rolled up wash cloth in the top rail of the wrap to add some head support.

And here’s a good video (also not me) of how to put your newborn in a stretchy wrap:

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Filed under attachment parenting, baby, babywearing

On babywearing – infant positioning


I’m finally going to do something about the lack of babywearing posts on my blog, so if you’re not here for that, feel free to leave now. If you are here for that; today I’ll talk about how to properly position your baby in a wrap or carrier. How do I know all of this? I had 3 months of maternity leave and lots of procrastination time after that learning about babywearing online and by doing it myself.
Position of the hips and back
When a baby is just born, his spine is in a C-position as opposed to our adult spines that are shaped like the letter S. So to optimally position your baby in a wrap or carrier, you want to imitate as best as you can the natural C-shape of your baby’s spine (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Source
In order for that to happen you want to make sure that his knees are higher than his bottom, which is the way most babies are positioned in the womb too. When a baby grows up and learns to hold his head up and when they learn to crawl their spines are starting to curve more like our adult spines, however even with older babies and toddlers you want to make sure that they are in this position, because it is not only key for proper spine development, but also for the development of their hips (Lots more about his, including references can be found here). So it is important to make sure you have a carrier with a wide seat that supports baby’s legs from one knee to the other. Carriers with a narrower seat will cause your baby to have their knees lower than their bottom, which may cause hip dysplasia, and causes most of baby’s weight to be on their pubic bone instead of divided over their entire upper legs and bottom (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Source
Position of the neck and head
Especially with a really small baby, it is important to make sure that you are not blocking their airway when babywearing. Make sure you can put a finger under their chin and when you’re just starting to wear your baby be mindful of their breathing. The best way to carry a newborn is tummy-to-tummy (like in Figure 1), and not in the cradle carry that is often recommended by manufacturers of stretchy wraps. When wearing your baby tummy-to-tummy, for example in a Front Wrap Cross Carry in a stretchy or woven wrap, make sure he is high enough on your chest that you can give him a kiss on the top of his head.
Facing forward
With what I discussed before about the position of the hip and spine, it is easy to imagine why carrying a baby facing forward is not recommended. It is nearly impossible to get baby’s back in a C-shape when he is with his back against your tummy, and it is also almost impossible to get the knees higher than the bottom in this position. Another argument against having your baby face forward is that it is impossible for the baby to ignore all the stimuli around him, whereas if he is facing you, he can much easier look away in crowded situations. Many people argue that their baby wants to look around and that that is impossible without having them face forward. However a high back carry of hip carry is much more appropriate for this and allows for good positioning of your baby.
Next time I’ll talk about the different carriers and wraps that are out there.

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Filed under attachment parenting, baby, babywearing, toddler

Post-holiday blues


Nothing says back to work after a good nice vacation like a good spell of the post-holiday blues. When I thought about going back to work yesterday all I could think was: ”Yuck!” The feeling that you have to do actual work again, and that the choice isn’t beach or pool, but lab or office. Not caipirinha or mojito but paper or grant. Yuck again. I have been complaining about this after every vacation I’ve been on, but only found out today that it’s actually a thing. According to WebMDyou should set big goals to fight it off, like change your career (if that means become a professor, then yes please!), make more money (also yes please!), or plant a tree. I just made artificial cerebrospinal fluid to keep my slices in, does that count too?
That’s me with BlueEyes on my back in flip flops with a palm tree in the back, just strolling.

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Filed under babywearing, life in the lab, travel

Worse than discussing politics or religion?

Etiquette tells us not to discuss politics or religion during dinner, and I don’t think I always follow that rule, but I have found another topic that is about as sensitive as politics and religion and that is parenting.  
Yesterday the AttachMode family went to another family for dinner. We don’t know them very well but met through a mutual friend and they invited us to their mansion (yes, they have ‘real’ jobs and therefore earn real money) for a barbecue. And as you probably know from reading this blog, BlueEyes sleeps in our bed, is being worn in a sling and drinks my milk. You can call this attachment parenting, although I don’t necessarily want to be associated with people who think their parenting style is superiorand who are needlessly spreading diseases by not vaccinating their kids.
Anyway, the dad of the family that we visited proudly announced that they started the “Cry-it-out method”. Since I didn’t want to be judgmental (and since I was at the same time trying to persuade BlueEyes not to throw wooden blocks at a huge flat screen TV) I didn’t say anything but just asked how that was going for them. He said it went well and that the night before it only took 15 minutes of crying before the kid succumbed to sleep. At 5 they decided the baby was sleepy and they put him in bed. He immediately started crying and they set the timer for him. After 5 minutes one of them went upstairs and came back within seconds, only to leave the baby crying for another five minutes. At 6 the baby was brought downstairs again to drink some milk, but after that he was immediately placed back in his crib and continued to cry. When we left at 8 the baby was still crying but the parents didn’t go upstairs every five minutes any more, but only occasionally and they always came back really fast and left the baby there crying. 
The whole thing broke my heart, and I’m not sure if this is what the CIO method is about. I don’t think crying for 3 hours straight is still considered self-soothing… I didn’t dare to say anything about it yesterday, and today I’ve spent the whole day wondering whether I should have. And that’s why this made me realize that talking about parenting is an even more sensitive subject than talking about politics and religion.

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Filed under attachment parenting, baby, babywearing, breastfeeding, sleep

On babywearing

When I started my blog I was planning to write way more about babywearing. It’s even what the header of my blog says this blog is about. Because I’m enthusiastic about babywearing to the point that I don’t understand how people get things done (or even eat food) with a baby when they never put them in a carrier or a wrap. Or how you get a fussy baby to sleep when you don’t put him in a sling. But even though I still put BlueEyes in a woven wrap almost every day for a little walk around the neighborhood or to get him to go to sleep when that is really problematic, I rarely ever write about it. So here’s a recent picture of BlueEyes in our Didymos Indio Silbergrautied in a double hammock. I sometimes wish there were babywearing labcoats so that I could even go to the lab like this!

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Filed under baby, babywearing, sleep

Parenting for lazy people


Since Time Magazine came out with a mother breastfeeding her child on the front cover yesterday , people have been shocked, excited and grossed by this and the debate aboutattachment parenting seems to continue. A lot of people make it seem like attachment parenting is something you can only do when you have endless time on your hands, meaning when you’re a rich, stay-at-home mom.  
If you are preparing organic baby food, breastfeeding on demand, washing cloth diapers and co-sleeping, there’s little time for writing, filing, painting, data entry, making music, nursing, engaging in politics, teaching or appearing on TV to tell other women what to do.
 I think this is not true; I think attachment parenting is excellent for lazy people. Because if you breastfeed, you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night to make a bottle for your baby. You don’t need to wash an endless number of bottles, and you don’t need to buy formula. When you go somewhere you don’t have to bring bottles, formula and water. When you nurse on demand, you don’t have to watch the clock and remember when you last fed your baby. You don’t have to listen to a crying baby for an hour because only then will it be time for his feeding again.
When you co-sleep, you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night when you hear you baby cry in another room. You will attend to your baby’s needs even before he wakes up, and after a while even before you wake up yourself. To me, co-sleeping was inevitable when I had to go back to work; I just couldn’t make it on even less sleep than I was already getting.
Yup, that’s me cooking dinner with BlueEyes on my back
When you carry your baby in a sling, you don’t have to worry about bringing the bulky stroller. You don’t have to worry if you go somewhere with a lot of stairs. Also, you can get a lot done in and around the house with a baby on your back so you don’t have to prevent the baby from burning his hands on the oven while you are cooking.
When you have your baby eat by himself from when he is 6 months old, you don’t have to simultaneously feed a baby and try to eat yourself. You can sit down at night, eat dinner and have a conversation while the baby is playing and eating his food (okay and then the dinner table/floor is going to be a huge mess for a while, so this is the part that is not really for lazy people, but having a quiet dinner is worth it for me). To this day, we have never given BlueEyes baby food from a jar. Not necessarily out of any type of principle, but just because he eats what we eat, and otherwise we have some frozen purees that we’ve made before (which literally takes maybe 10 minutes to make).
So I think we shouldn’t make attachment parenting bigger than it is: parenting for lazy people. And by the way, attachment parenting is NOT deciding not to vaccinate your children.

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Filed under attachment parenting, baby, babywearing, breastfeeding, working mom