This is written by Arabella Greatorex who runs the Natural Nursery – fantastic Lactivist Sponsors!
(For those who don’t “know” us, we are a family living in Devon with one nearly 10 year old, one 16 month old and assorted chickens, cats and dogs.)
The toddler is teething badly again which means she is feeling very sad for herself. I am never sure how families that don’t babywear cope with illness/teething/under the weather babies; I find slings let us have all the snuggles that the poorly one needs but I can actually move around the house a bit.
The teething is making her very restless overnight and wanting to feed like a newborn, so after lots and lots of snuggled up together in bed breastfeeds, we are all rather tired in the morning.
Normally the toddler runs around like a manic thing during breakfast time but today she really didn’t know what she wanted. One minute she wanted a cuddle, the next to be down playing with the dog or feeding the cats, then back up for a breastfeed, then demanding fruit juice, then at the table for some breakfast, then back up for another cuddle.
It is pretty full on in our house before school – there are 13 of us that need to be fed, watered, walked, nappy changed, dressed, school bags packed, lost PE kit found, etc so I really need to be able to crack on and get things done.
To enable me to move about the house, I popped her in a ring sling, so we could have quick up and downs and she could nurse if she wanted. Once she realised she could have all the cuddles she wanted, she did cheer up until it was dog walking time.
DH normally takes L out with him in the Ergo when he walks the dog in the morning but today we decided that it was too cold and she was too poorly for this. Cue one heartbroken toddler who actually brought me a Didy wrap to put her in – from as soon as she could crawl, she has always fetched slings (or rucksacks or cardigans) when she is upset and wants help to calm down.
After the DH and nearly 10 year old left for school and the house calmed down, I kept the toddler in the Didy (in a front carry for snuggles) while I tidied up the kitchen, put a load of washing on, chased a cat round the house to stop it sneaking into one of the bedrooms and generally fluffed the house.
Then it was time for another feed which made the poorly one sleepy. I put her in the Ergo on my back so I could get on with some work – having her on my back means I can just about sit on a chair at the desk to type (she is currently asleep on my back as I write this) and also pack parcels, deal with deliveries etc.
Within 10 minutes or so, she fell asleep and I was able to do a solid 90 minutes of work before she woke up.
After nappy change and a play, it was time to prepare lunch but grumbly toddler didn’t want to be on the floor and started scrabbling at my clothes as I was cooking. I REALLY can’t bear to have my clothes pulled (as she knows), so it was back into the ring sling which just about gives me the ability to cook something simple. If it is a full on meal, I tend to put her on my back as she has a habit of grabbing for knives, pans etc.
After lots more playtime, it was off for the school run. I don’t drive, so we walk which takes about 55 minutes each way, going along the Quay and through the park.
Although L is big for her age at weighs in at around 2 stone, I tend to keep her on my front still for long trips like this – I like to be able to talk to her, show her things and gauge her reaction plus there is little chance of her going that long without a feed.
So back into the Ergo – the pocket on the front has just enough space for a washable nappy, wipes and my purse so I don’t need to take a bag, and we set off.
It is raining by the time we get to school, so we bus back – the sling means we don’t fall foul of the 1 (or 2 if you have a nice driver) prams on a bus rule and we sail past the 2 prams that aren’t allowed on the bus as the buggy space is already full.
L falls asleep while we are on the way back, a bonus as I can help the 10 year old with homework when we get home.
The rest of the afternoon/evening is pretty much a repeat of the morning – up and down toddler in a ring sling and on my back for cooking then oodles of daddy cuddles once DH gets home.
All in all, L spent about 6 hours being carried today, in 3 different slings. If we didn’t use baby carriers, I would have still had to carry her in my arms for all that time as she was in too much pain/too miserable to be on the floor. With the slings, she gets the comfort and reassurance she needs to help her through this time, my back is protected and I can actually get things done.
A winner all round.
Owner of www.naturalnursery.co.uk
Retailer of baby carriers and reusable nappies