Negative responses to babywearing

It strikes me that an awful lot of people are too interested in how others are bringing up their children, I try not to concern myself too much with how others do things, mainly because I had a hard time early on getting to grips with all the different ‘types’ of parenting approaches and settled for the mantra, it works for our family so this is how we do it!

I was saddened to hear this week about a local mama who experienced a very negative response to babywearing, most of the responses I’ve had have either been very positive, or people have simply been interested in the how, why and wherefor of carrying a baby/ toddler. We do get a lot of questions though, some are interesting, some are just plain silly, so I had to share our experience from earlier this week.

We were up at Aldi waiting to pay, behind me I heard “look at that I couldn’t be ar**d with all that”, turn around, “sorry, I was just saying I couldn’t be faffed with carrying mine everywhere!” She was concerned that Joss would struggle to learn to walk being carried and that she will be clingy. I replied that she is learning to walk just fine and once she wants to be down and on the go she will be carried when she wants to, and that she’s a really independent little thing so I have no worries there. It did make me laugh though when she rolled out one I hadn’t heard before, “how does she eat?!”
Total comic timing Jossy pops her head out of the sling and both arms – with not one but two tickets to the gun show – a breadstick in each hand, big gummy grin! I told her that the crumbs are a bit of a nightmare and she just looked really bemused!

A conversation with my husband

She’s only happy in the sun… – Ben Harper

One of my favourite songs popped into my head today, by Ben Harper. It came to be there because the hubby and I were talking about how much happier, more productive and generally nice to be around I am in the summer in comparison to the winter. In the Summer I take on new activities, at the moment I’m parenting, studying, working, and volunteering and feel like all these things are very manageable, a stark contrast to winter-me, summer-me is sunny and bright. Winter-me doesn’t do much, doesn’t take on new things, hibernates and eats.

“Shall we move to Spain and you’d have a happy wife all year round?” I asked?

“No, we’d have no money, and we’re OK”

“Alright then, make the most of summer-me then, I won’t be around for long!”

It’s a bit of an epiphany, I read somewhere and must hunt it out that some people plan the running of their own businesses around their seasonal mood swings, taking on new work and hence profitability in the summer, taking a rest and therefore a hit in the winter…I’m off to work on one of the many ‘excellent’ ideas that I only have at this time of year!

Joy and Joe Maxi-Roses Woven Wrap Review

I got in touch with Adebisi from Joy & Joe Baby who was looking for testers for stretchy wraps, she told me about their new Maxi-Roses wrap, part of the woven-J collection by Joy&Joe and asked if I’d help supervise testers and try out the wrap myself, and here it is! I’ve tried to show the detail of the weave and the colour way in these photos.

Lovely Joy & Joe tote bag:

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Braided wrap:

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Priced between £44 – £94.99 this affordable wrap is made from 50% cotton and 50% lambswool but the blends can be adjusted on request. A great price but no compromise on quality, woven not far from where I am in the North East I actually found this 50/50 blend worked really well for us, slightly warmer than a cotton wrap and I like a slightly heavier wrap too, it just feels really supportive.

The design is a gorgeous maxi rose pattern with a red warp and weft in varying colours, I tested the purple weft wrap, it was really vibrant and a great colour blend, I’m looking forward to seeing the other colour ways, cream weft sounds lovely, but I’ve always likes purple and red together. Maxi-roses has been designed to be used straight from the box, it was a super soft wrap and as Joss proved came with added sleepydust with immediate effect, I’ve only ever used preloved wraps and this did feel ready to use. The wrap I tested was 5m, with slightly tapered ends which I’ve not wrapped with before but I did find it easier to knot and I quite liked the finish it gave.

I’m not as confident at back carries as I was now Joss wants her arms out so tend to prefer a shortie, so excuse my slightly looser than I’d like ruck, it was sufficiently stretchy to wrap with but the dense 3d jacquard effect of the weave made it feel really well supported and grippy.

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We popped out for a long walk to enjoy the sunshine, as the Maxi-Roses is a wool-blend it was lovely and warm so we didn’t need coats, and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon with Joss in a FWCC.

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All in all, smily faces for a lovely snuggly new wrap! We’ll be taking the wrap to a local sling library or meet to ask other mamas their views to feedback to Adebisi, the wrap will then be making its way to the next mama on the list who I know will enjoy trying it out as much as we did, we’ll be sad to see it go but are sending it on its way with sleepy dust and love!

Joy & Joe recently announced that the wrap goes up for pre-order on 19th June. Do check out http://www.joyandjoebaby.com/ for more details about the pre-order, get your order in quick, we think these will be VERY popular!

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PND and Mother’s guilt? When does it get too much?

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock

(This post is written purely from my own experience, it is about mental health, it makes no claims to advise, only to encourage parents who may be experiencing PND)

When I had Joss I quickly developed an early onset anxiety. In the early days I worried I wasn’t going to be a good mama, when she was six months old it got too much to bear. These six statements are intended to encourage and support mamas experiencing similar feelings and issues. In my case this was probably more postnatal anxiety than postnatal depression, but I hope that talking about my experiences might help other mamas, without the labels as I’m no expert!

Number one: You know more than you think you know
This has become a bit of a mantra when I meet new mums at baby groups and the likes. I remember Joss being about five days old and I couldn’t rest, couldn’t sleep, I was frantic, reading books about breastfeeding, routines, anti-routines, turning night into day and day into night, child development, I felt overwhelmed! Things came to a head when my husband hid a copy of Gina Ford under the bookcase and a copy of Your Baby, the First Year in the shoe cupboard. How could I be the best for her? Was I meeting her needs? What more did she need? What about her development? Her weight? Oh my, her weight, was she putting it on, was she swallowing milk, how could I keep her awake to feed, questions, questions, questions. It was that classic anxiety, that old what if? that has followed me through most of my life. It was back, last seen at uni, 2005, back in 2012 with a vengeance. Looking back I knew more than I gave myself credit for, she is my daughter, she just sort of fits with me, I got to know her whims, wants and needs quickly and all seems to be well, so have faith mama, you know more than you think you know.
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Number two: You’re doing the best you can
Try to let bad days be just that, a bad day, don’t fret and let it turn into a bad week, a bad month, this too shall pass and you are doing the very best you can.

Number three: If you’re worried it’s a good thing, it shows you care
When I was really really anxious, I remember it well, it was about weaning and whether Joss was eating enough and whether I was feeding her a good enough balance, at that time I was really worried that I was worrying too much. Someone said to me, what would happen if you didn’t worry about your little girl? It taught me that worry is on a continuum, too much and we tip over, too little and we don’t do enough, so a little worry is healthy, don’t beat yourself up if you’re an anxious sort, we’re ok, there are a lot of us out there!

Lesson four: You know they will do it in their own time
Someone asked me recently whether Joss is walking, she isn’t. You know at baby groups, there’s always someone who wants to know what all the babies are doing, usually because their child is ahead? That used to get to me, not anymore, I look at that smiling face and think to myself, if I can make you smile every day and you make me smile too then the rest will follow, and it will!

Number five: If mama aint happy aint nobody happy
We had this on a babygro, I liked it, when I read it and realised it meant I needed to slow down and have some time for me it sort of became a mantra. Don’t burn yourself out, I sometimes (ok often) worry that I shouldn’t be away from Joss, mamas at baby group would gloat about never having been away from their little ones. If you want to stay with your baby that’s cool, if you want and need a break then ask for one, and don’t feel guilty, a little time may just refresh you, this is especially important for me now Joss is teething – on those days when you can do no right you sometimes just need five minutes peace and quiet just to catch your breath and head back into the fray with a smile.

Number six: It might help to do some sense checking
This won’t work for everyone, I used to do my sense checking via Google, see something I didn’t like and spiral away into anxiety. I learned through CBT to do it in my own head, so when I was anxious that Joss wasn’t eating well and skipping meals I looked to how energetic she was, windmilling away and rolling, I learned that babies can regulate their own appetites quite well thank you very much, and let her take the lead, it helped to work through my worries logically sometimes.

If you’re interested in CBT you could speak to your GP, many areas have self-referral into CBT now too. There are also lots of mental health and post partum networks online, just search #ppd or #pnd on twitter and a lot comes up.

A picture for Daddy

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Today we did a spot of finger painting for Father’s Day, I thought Joss did very well to keep herself so clean til I saw the back of her little head was orange!

We’ve stopped handprints for a while because she just grabs and scrumples the paper, but this worked OK, we made a good crafty team!

Work again tomorrow and Friday, it comes around too too fast each week but I’m still so grateful to get the balance between five days with her and two at work, I know financially it can’t continue but its been so lovely to have this precious time, I’m a lucky mama.

Just heard the Joy and Joe woven wrap is headed our way, looking forward to putting it through its paces hopefully this weekend!