Wednesday, September 10, 2008


In labor, the hardest part is usually towards the end of dilation, right before the woman announces that she has to push. More often than not, she actually announces that she has to poop, as the sensation is about the same. Everyone is afraid of this period of labor, but only about a 1/3 of women will actually have a difficult transition -- throwing up, nausea, shaking, hot/cold flashes, and generally freaking out! We laugh about it now-- it's funny when you are not in labor, but not so much when it is your reality. It is also typically the shortest (roughly 10-30 minutes), but most intense, part of labor.

And so it was with the months after Daymon was born. When I left the hospital, there was this part of me that could not believe they were giving him to me. I was in charge of this little person. I honestly didn't have a clue! I remember laying him down in his crib, all bundled up with a little "tuke" on his head for warmth, and saying to him, "OK... Good night." His eyes were as big as quarters. I just looked at David like, "How do we make him go to sleep?" He shrugged. Beats me.

Thus began the nights of rocking, nursing at 2:00 a.m. (and 3:30, and 5:00), only for him to wake the minute I laid him back down. If anyone had ever wished that their baby came with a manual, it was me. This baby wanted to be with me all the time! (We'll address this later.)

Looking back, I don't remember how we survived those first few months. When Daymon was four months old, I was telling my hairdresser that I wished there was a "manual," an all-in-one book that I could refer to. This was my turning point. She told me about her favorite book, "The Baby Book" by Dr. William Sears. I think I bought it that same day.

I learned about cosleeping/bedsharing and babywearing, which have been life-changing know-hows for us as parents. Daymon started sleeping in our bed, and for the first time in months, we were all sleeping! I searched everywhere for a sling (this was 1996) and finally found one from a lactation consultant. It was bright tye-dyed, so you better believe that absolutely everyone stared at us! I couldn't get in and out of a store without people wanting to know how it worked. I've tried a number of slings since then, but I always come back to the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. I have taught, literally, dozens of people how to use theirs' over the years. (I made a DVD showing how to use it with babies of all ages, sizes, and positions so I can send one anywhere.) Each of my children has had their own sling which is packed away with their baby stuff.

I was comfortable with attachment parenting. It felt natural and right. I wasn't letting my baby cry. He knew he could trust me. And I learned to trust myself. I carried him a lot in the sling -- the car seat remained in the car where it belongs! -- and I found myself talking to him because he was right next to me. To paraphrase Dr. Sears, your baby is a player, not a spectator, when he's in the sling. That has been such an important parenting tool for me.

To be continued...


Sonia said...

I have to say, I totally LOVE the over the shoulder baby holder, and I think every mom should own one! When you showed it to me and showed me how it worked with Avery, I was immediately sold! I don't know how I ever got along without it when Adam was a baby! I seriously love it! And, I am sooo happy you're blogging! I've got soo much more to learn ;)

Donna Ryan said...

So glad you are enjoying your sling. I took a picture of Darcy this morning with her "puppy" in her little sling, but I don't know how to put a picture on here, or even how to get it from the camera to the computer. Boy, do I have a lot to learn!