Maternal attachment


Baby and Me

 For more carrier pix click on the photo.

Thinking of CW’s girth gave me a pang in my chest. See, I’m (mostly) an attachment parenting mom. I came to be one by accident, or maybe by Fate. My husband works at one of the glossy parenting magazines and he was very much into the AP ‘style’ of parenting. (Only someone preparing for their first child could think parenting had a coherent style. First goal: having a coherent day.) I had never heard of Dr. Sears, or his books about breastfeeding on demand and carrying baby in a pouch. In my mind, kids belonged in strollers. Otherwise, how would you lug bags of groceries or haul around all the gear they supposedly needed? Two things changed my mind:

#1, I live in a fifth-floor walk-up. You try hauling a baby, a stroller and a diaper bag down (and back up) four flights of stairs. And don’t even think about the subway.

#2, A dear friend had loaned us a ton of cool baby items, one of which was a New Native Baby Carrier, a navy blue sling that kept CW from crying ferociously about the fact that he’d been turned out of the womb.

Carrying CW around the city in my blue sling (which people routinely mistook for a pet carrier…I know, only in NYC) allowed me the freedom of movement no stroller could provide. I had one small bag with bottles, diapers and clothes, and my baby on my chest. I was a moving mama, and CW slept like an angel.

When he got bigger the sling hurt my neck, my shoulders, my back–and then I found the Patapum. I had seen a dad at my daycare wearing it, so I looked it up on the Web. Surprisingly, only one ‘store’ in the entire tri-state area sold the things, Slingzilla, which turned out to be a lady’s living room in Queens. Bianca was totally cool, letting me try on other carriers, teaching me how to adjust them, showing me her little-used Bugaboo stashed in the corner, inviting me to her slings in the city group. (A great bunch of women who are now hosting a Babywearing Bonanza complete with fashion show and chances to try on every sling, carrier, and Asian wrap known to woman and child.)

CW and I both love the Patapum. It’s a front carrier that places his hefty weight on my hips and shoulders evenly, and doesn’t hoist him from his privates like the Bjorn. He can sleep on my shoulder, look up at me and blow bubbles, play vowel games or lean way back to look at ceiling fans, lights and trees. I’ve come to enjoy my times with him attached to my body, snuggled close for a perpetual hug. We explore the city together, face to face. I can see when he’s enjoying it, when he’s bored, when he’s cranky, when he’s sleepy…I have come to know my baby through wearing him. I hope he stays under 30 lbs for a long, long time. (And when he goes over, there’s always the hip carry…)

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