Tuesday 22 January 2013

Carried, with love

One of the best things I bought for Ellie (and me) was her Ergo carrier.  Being a borderline premmie baby, she was small and just wanted to be close to her mama all the time.  Some days, I would wear her from when she got up until when she went to bed, popping her out only for nappy changes and feeds, and she would happily nap in there.  Having the Ergo meant that I could have her snuggled in with me and still have two hands free to do other things.  In the early days, there were many times when Mr Fork would come home and panic over what he thought was cradle cap and I had to admit that it was me, eating toast over our daughter and couldn't he tell cradle cap from toast crumbs?!

She's about 7 weeks old in the below picture. Yes, I may or may not be in my pyjamas. Don't judge.

Anyway, she hasn't gotten over her love of being carried and I have to admit it's not something I want her to anyway.  It's an instant calmer for her - when she's screaming in her pram in the middle of the shopping centre, she'll stop as soon as she's picked up and held.  It's annoying to have to carry both pram and carrier, but really, there aren't many things better than being able to tilt my head down and sniff her baby smell or drop random kisses on her head. When she looks up at me, it's one of the sweetest feelings in the world and makes it all worthwhile.

Lots of people told me that I should learn to let her settle on her own and I'd regret it if I always held her to calm her. The way I see it, I carried her already for nine months and we're pretty used to each other. If being next to me, touching, hearing and smelling me makes her calm down, who am I to deprive her of that? I'll be back to work sooner than I want to, and won't be able to cuddle on demand then... and when she's crying and upset, I'd rather hold her than let her think she's alone. (As an aside, she has learnt to self settle herself anyway, but I don't regret ever holding my daughter when she wanted comfort).

We chose an Ergo for a couple of reasons.  One, with the infant insert, it was suitable for use from birth, and could continue to be used until about 20kg. Two, as new parents, we didn't want anything complicated and we wanted something we both could use. This particular model is suitable for tall people as well as short, so suited Mr Fork and I. Three, the performance model (which we have) has a cool mesh insert which supposedly makes it cooler for baby. I can't really compare to anything, but I know that Ellie is a sweaty bub and even on hot days she loves her carrier. Four, it's easily washable if/when she dirties it and five, it comes with good reviews for infant positioning and ergonomics.

However, now that I am a stay at home mama (at least for the present), I have time to trawl forums and see what other things are out there.  Now that I have a baby and I'm not just buying theoretically, I can evaluate products a little more accurately and think about how they would work for me.  While I still love the Ergo, I find as Ellie gets bigger and heavier, I want something that is a little more multipurpose and portable. It's not exactly huge, but it is bulky to carry around and only serves one purpose. After Mr Fork has worn her, I have to spend time adjusting the carrier back to the exact way that I like it. While it's adjustable, you can only carry baby on the front, back or hip and those positions aren't adjustable. It's not a deal breaker but it is annoying.

So after much thought and research, I made the plunge and purchased a woven wrap.  Essentially, it's a long piece of fabric which you can wrap around yourself and baby.  Yes, there is a bigger learning curve, but I figured it would also double as a blanket, a pram liner and a sunshade if necessary. They're meant to be very comfortable because there are so many different wrap methods and carries - you can even carry a newborn on your back if you're brave/talented enough.  Looking online, they're quite the fashion accessory too, coming in different fabrics, weaves, colours and lengths.  I wasn't really fussed about all of that, but I'm still happy with the one I chose. It's grey with a sort of shimmery pink... I can't wait for my new wrap to make its way to me so I can play.  Expect a review soon!
Didymos Indio Porrinho

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