Hell’s Gate and Babywearing

 

In honor of International Babywearing Week, I’ve decided to pull out some of my old babywearing posts.  My favorite places to wear my babies were always out and about, so it was a guaranteed adventure.

When we finally got out of Chilliwack and headed back home, I had put the freshly laundered Snugli infant carrier and the ring sling in the back of the van.  The husband had declared that we would not be stopping on the way home because we both wanted our puppies back.  Surprise!  We stopped at Hell’s Gate, so he grabbed out the first babywearing thing that he could find.  I strapped on my ring sling carrier, put Norton in, and began my journey of babywearing in Hell’s Gate.  Babywearing in Hell’s Gate is kind of a necessity.

I suppose I should start by explaining what Hell’s Gate even is.  Hell’s Gate is a narrowing of the Simon Fraser River in BC, and it got its name because of how treacherous the river is to travel by canoe.  The river narrows in that gorge to 110 feet wide between solid rock.  The explorer Simon Fraser described the area in his journals as travelling through “the gates of Hell” and suggested that no man ever try that again.

Now, Hell’s Gate is a wonderful little road side destination.  You take an air tram down to a little land strip almost at the bottom of the gorge on the opposite side of the river.  It’s a beautiful view.  However, because it’s in an air tram, there’s no way to have even an infant umbrella stroller.  Well, I suppose maybe you could fold it and carry it with you in the tram, but it’s really not even entirely convenient for something small like an infant umbrella stroller.  Babywearing is much easier.

Anyway, once you’re down in the gorge, there’s a cute little shop, a fudge shop (which offers postpartum diet friendly sugar free fudge, among other things, a restaurant, cool things to take pictures of, and this awesome suspension bridge that goes over the river.

The view over the river is absolutely a delight.  Here’s a picture of Norton in his sling with me at the bridge.

 Hell's Gate and Babywearing (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

As far as road trip stops go, this was a rather nice one.  Norton slept pretty much the whole time in his sling, and Andy and Brittany were rather cooperative.  (Brittany was also rather appreciative of the young German guy who was there for a summer job to improve his English.  We’re still teasing her about finding a German.)

One thing for sure, though: babywearing in Hell’s Gate is the only way to go with a baby.  What was your favorite outdoors place for babywearing?

Originally written June 26, 2010.

You Have Failed As A Parent. Really?

Yesterday, I’d written about the parenting fail of not buckling your child in their infant safety seat.  That post was inspired by a thread on my home message board.  While there are a couple of truly heinous instances of parenting fail, most of the comments added are things that wouldn’t exactly cause a reasonable person to point and say “You have failed as a parent.”

Sure, maybe some of them aren’t sterling examples of good parenting skills, but really, I can’t say that you have failed as a parent because you let your dog lick the baby.  Honestly, with Winston the Wonder Chihuahua in my house, I’ve already realized that trying to get your dog to keep his tongue to himself is often a losing battle.  At this point, I just try to keep the dog from licking Norton’s face and hands.  Anything else is pretty much fair game.

Other instances that mothers cited when posting in the bad mommy thread were letting their babies co-sleep.  Okay, fine, I’m not a fan of baby bed sharing.  I feel that it’s a nasty habit in terms of being hard to break (I co-slept until Kindergarten, and so did my oldest child), plus it’s not safe for me to do this in my house.  But, then again, I also tend to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics to the point of insanity.

However, there’s a whole school of parenting thought that centers around concepts like baby bed sharing and babywearing.  I’m not going to say to someone that you have failed as a parent because you’re into attachment parenting.  Just because it’s not right for me or my family doesn’t mean that it’s not right for you.  I’m not willing to slam your parenting skills because you follow the advice of a different doctor.  I just hope that you at least attempt to follow Dr. Sears’ guidelines for safe baby bed sharing.

Another common one that was listed in the “I’m a bad mommy” thread was letting babies sleep in the swing.  I confess, I’m guilty of that one.  You know what?  He doesn’t sleep very well or very long in his crib, even though we’ve set the mattress up on an incline.  He doesn’t sleep at all in his pack n play.  He seems to be showing signs of infant reflux.

I’m not going to apologize or refer to myself as a bad parent because I want to sleep and not have my kid covered in baby barf all the time.  I’m not going to apologize for wanting food to come out the back end after digestion instead of out of the top end before digestion.

In short, give yourself a break.  Ninety percent of the time, whenever you think that you have failed as a parent in the infant stage, you haven’t.  But if you did commit a major act of parenting fail and post that you are a “bad mommy” because of it, don’t be surprised when people agree with you.

How do you convince yourself to give yourself a break on minor parenting flops?

Originally published on What to Expect on April 13, 2010.

Adventures in Babywearing – Facing in or Out? (Hot Topic Tuesday)

Today my friend Heather at Parenting Patch asked a Hot Topic Tuesday question: do you wear your baby facing in or out?  I’ve been fairly variable with adventures in babywearing.  I’ve done a lot more adventures in babywearing with Eudora than I did with Norton, but that’s generally because Eudora is much clingier than Norton ever was.  My style of babywearing has changed quite a bit with each of my children.

[Read more…]

Adventures in Babywearing – My Velcro Baby

Adventures in Babywearing – My Velcro Baby (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

Norton and me on the trail up to Bridal Falls. Sling: Heart 2 Heart

When Norton was tiny, he was okay with not being held.  In fact, he preferred it.  We didn’t do a whole lot of babywearing, but when we did, it was because we were going to truly have some adventures in babywearing.  Our adventures in babywearing were of the outdoor variety.  I carried him in a Heart 2 Heart ring sling when we went to Hell’s Gate and Bridal Falls.  I wore him in a Snugli when we went to  the Ancient Forest.  (I’ve since learned that the Snugli style of carrier are referred to as “crotch danglers” and are not the best option.)  Our attempts at adventures in babywearing with a Moby wrap didn’t go so well, but probably because I waited too long to try it.  It was okay when we got the Ergo carrier, but again, at that point, he was over being worn.

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The Baby Gear List and What I’ve Learned

I’m really enjoying going through and migrating my old posts.  It amazes me how many of my ideas have changed in the last couple of years.  When I was pregnant with Norton, I wanted to do everything perfectly and make sure that I’d gotten him all of the things that he’d need.  I found this baby gear needs list on iVillage (can’t link to it because it’s no longer there), and I made my own edits.

It turns out that the reality of what I thought that I’d need and what I’d actually ended up using at some point in time varied greatly.

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Approaching Crunchy Parenting – Me? Really?

I always scoffed at crunchy parenting.  I mean, sure, if crunchy parenting is your bag, no problem, but I never, ever considered myself to be even remotely crunchy.  I’m noticing, though, as I get older, I seem to lean more towards crunchy parenting than I had ever thought possible.

Cloth diapers – With my first born (who is almost 14), using cloth diapers never even occurred to me.  I thought using cloth diapers still involved those awful Birdseye diapers with pins that my oldest sister and my mother had used.  Fourteen years ago, I suspect that it still did.  I exclusively used disposable diapers, just like most other people.  Now, using cloth diapers means vibrant choices, a variety of closures, and different levels of absorption and dryness.  I love using cloth diapers, and have way too many because they are just so darned fun.

Breastfeeding – My mother had some pretty strong anti-breastfeeding biases that I grew up with.  She passed those biases on to me.  With my firstborn, anyone breastfeeding made me uncomfortable.  (I’d never actually say anything; my discomfort was not their problem, of course.)  With Norton, I was still disgusted with the idea of myself breastfeeding, so I exclusively pumped until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  It was seriously effecting my mental well-being to the point that my lactivist friends encouraged me to quit.  But I was okay with other people doing it.  This time around?  I’m thinking that maybe, possibly, I might consider trying it.  But it still scares the crap out of me.  After all, I tried once with Norton out of desperation, and I almost threw up on him.

Approaching Crunchy Parenting (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

Wearing Norton in a Snugli in front of Lake Louise, Alberta

Babywearing – With my first born, the possibilities of babywearing never occurred to me.  It just wasn’t really done then.  With Norton, we did some babywearing when he was tiny and we were going on some outdoor adventures.  Our adventures in babywearing happened in Hell’s Gate Canyon, Bridal Falls, the Ancient Forest, Lake Louise, and other wondrously beautiful places.  I kicked myself for letting the husband talk me into trying to bring Norton up to the Seattle Space Needle in his travel system since they didn’t allow strollers.  I always wished that we’d gone with babywearing instead of the husband lugging Norton around in his bucket.  I started out with a ring sling and a Snugli.  Now I’ve got a ring sling, a Snugli, an Ergo, and a Moby wrap.  And I really, really want to do more babywearing with this baby.  I figure it will make it easier to chase after Norton.Natural childbirth – I had never in my life really given much thought to looking a natural childbirth option.  After my oh so horrible vaginal childbirth, I knew that I would never have a baby without an epidural.  But now?  I’m bound and determined to have a VBAC delivery.  It was the husband’s idea, but I’m running with it.  Since we’re not able to get a midwife (which has me starting to think about a career path), we’re considering a doula and hypnobirthing.

I’m not sure what’s changed.  Maybe it’s education.  Maybe it’s age.  Maybe I’m just hanging out with cooler friends to influence me rather than my mother’s archaic prejudices.  It’s all possible.  The end result, though, is me sitting here scratching my head and wondering how close to crunchy parenting I’m going to come.