Accepting Yourself

“Accept yourself as you are. Otherwise, you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it – you will feel you are not deserving.” Maxwell Maltz

I feel a bit philosophical today. Maybe it is due to food poisoning: I feel weak and dizzy lying on the couch, and not capable of any physical activity. Today, I can relate to all pregnant women with morning sickness, and it’s not fun…  Thank god, I didn’t have one when I was pregnant with Sophia! Anyhow, I’m shifting towards psychology in my attempts to help Mothers. When I attended an online seminar conducted by Founder and CEO of Motherhood and Breastfeeding Support Center in Russia, it was revealed to me that technologies don’t work. We can teach mothers the same breastfeeding techniques, but results will be different. Some women just can’t do it, while others succeed, following the same advice. It proves that there is more to it. There are issues that are sitting way deeper than actions that we take on surface.

I have a lot of great teachers, and I learn a great deal from people around me, as well as I learn from reading and simply observing life. The truth is that we ALL have the resources and answers within us. Everything we need is within our reach, but there are obstacles that we must overcome in order to get access to our limitless potential and knowledge. There are numerous subtle moments to discuss, but I want to start with the most important idea that usually interferes with the woman’s ability to be happy and fully realize her Motherhood potential. This is the ability to accept yourself.

This is a genuine ability to love yourself and be free from guilt, shame, anger and other unpleasant emotions. Making peace with yourself comes with conscious admittance of problems and complexes. For example, people who show aggression and hate to others, in fact, hate themselves. Our feelings are being converted outwards to protect ourselves. If you hear someone saying that they want to kill everyone, or they hate everyone, they are really saying that they hate themselves and want to kill themselves. When you accept yourself, you accept others. You develop tolerance to others when you are in peace with yourself. Tolerance is when someone tells you to go to hell, and you come back tanned and rested J That’s tolerance.

Accepting yourself, frees energy to flow in a more constructive way. Instead of wasting it on beating yourself and others, we can direct this energy towards positive changes. If we are stuck on negativity, it leads to stagnation. Life becomes a swamp, sucking us into more and more negativity and darkness. Eventually it brings disappointment and even disease.

Accepting yourself gives hope for a better future. People, who read Bible, for example, are more accepting, thus have more hope. Hope defines quality of life. How would you live if you didn’t have hope for the future? People who despise it and try to understand Bible with logic are usually cynical and bitter. Reality doesn’t have right or wrong, it just exists. It is much easier to be critical, to be cynical, to be hateful, but in the end the person hurts himself. Hope and tolerance are healing. It takes effort, though, to be open, and accepting. And we all should start from accepting ourselves and loving unconditionally. When you love yourself unconditionally, you become selfless, and want to serve others.

Accepting yourself also means reserving a right for mistakes. Many people are afraid to make mistakes. But making mistakes is a very quintessence of a learning process. Zig Ziglar said “failure is an event, and tomorrow really is a new day!” So don’t try to be perfect, as it is the most common complex for a woman….;) I am very familiar with this oneJ

Roots of all complexes, self-limiting beliefs and problems usually come from early life experiences and certain events in life of an individual.  You can’t change the past, but you can control what’s happening to you today. There is no need to fight with it, or get rid of it. The philosophical position is to gain, not to lose or “get rid of” something… Watch yourself from aside and notice when anger, shame, fear, or hurt enter your consciousness. Then you can use your will and stop it, and try to understand why this feeling occurred. For example, today, I got mad at S, I was extremely irritated and wanted to yell so much. I stopped by asking myself – what is really going on? I realized that I’m really mad at myself for not keeping up the order in the house. But why should I? Again, a striving to perfection, gone too far, was causing neurosis and everyone to suffer…

Another dangerous one is to think that you’re a bad mother. This doesn’t bring anything but trouble. By just acknowledging that we are not perfect, and still learning to be wise mothers, will relieve hard feelings and sense of failure. Then we can focus on changing things…

So, accept yourself, it will do good for you and everyone around you!

Happy Motherhood!

Sinserely yours,

Valeriya Isernia

 

The Main task of the Mother

Nurturing Mothers Network is a Natural Parenting and Breastfeeding Support Group and Educational Center.

As you all know we are a community of like-minded women who share their passion for breastfeeding. Our mission is to support and educate mothers about breastfeeding.

Today, I want to talk about the main task of the mother, or Mother’s Mission. If you ask any mother what does she want for her child, she will say: I want my kid to be happy, healthy, socially adapted, morally sound; I want him to live in harmony with himself and those around him, and I want him to be capable of building and nurturing long-lasting relationships with other people. Generally, any mother would want her child to be the best he can be and release his life potential to the fullest extent.

The important moment is to realize that we can only convey qualities to our children that we possess ourselves. We can’t give them something we don’t have, right?

So, the real question is – are you happy? Are you socially adapted? Are you living in harmony with yourself and others? Are you morally sound individual? These are the real questions to ask!

We, as Nurturing Mothers, believe that the main task of the mother is to never stop growing as a person, as a Woman, as an interesting individual, so you can become the best you can be, and your child will become the best he can be by looking at you.

Jim Rohn said – “the book you missed won’t help!” This is true! That’s why I encourage you to read a lot, to keep developing yourself, to live your life to the fullest. Great news is that it’s never too late to start, and anybody can do it. None of us is perfect. We can all strive to perfection, but we can never reach the perfection, and that’s ok!

You can turn yourself into anything you want to be, and you can become the best Mother you can be, every woman has a huge motherhood potential that needs and can be awakened and refined. Nurturing Mothers Network is here  to help you achieve that goal! Sincerely yours, Valeriya Isernia, Team Leader of Nurturing Mothers Network

Why you need to burn your crib, or make it an awesome laundry hamper!

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It seems to me that everything in western civilization is done backwards. In the beginning of life, when infants are the most sensitive and need physical touch and affection, at the point when their wants ARE their needs, parents refuse them this closeness, motivating it by the need to make them independent and for their safety. Then, when the baby is past this dependence stage (in most cases, with already developed sense of “wrongness”) and ready to become independent, parents all of a sudden, start following them around, constantly repeating disturbing messages like “don’t touch this, you going to hurt yourself”, “Don’t touch that, you’re going to break this”, “be careful, you’ going to fall” – basically setting them up for failure and undermining their sense of competency and self-confidence!

The truth of the matter is – holding your baby, breastfeeding your baby, sleeping next to your baby, isn’t just a nice social idea or a new trend. It’s physiological regulation for the baby’s body. It is what baby’s system expects to experience, so its heart rate, its breathing, its body temperature; his hormonal state and immune system will function efficiently.

It is not just an interesting innovation that someone, a middle class, white doctor, thought that the baby should be elsewhere, except where his parents are, but this was an unfortunate belief system that was just a few people’s ideas of what the relationship should be between the parent and the baby at night. But this belief system is completely in odds of what the biology of the infant is all about, and the biology of the mother is all about.

Here are the most popular arguments against bed sharing:

1 .It’s not safe

2. You will spoil them

3. Kids, who bed share with their parents, grow up too dependent.

4. They’ll never want to go to their own bed

5. It will affect unfavorably your intimate life with your husband

6. It’s uncomfortable

I will address every one of them:

  1. It is safe to bed share with your baby unless the mother is drunk, or on heavy medications, which will affect sleeping patterns, and make a person sleep heavier. Other than that it is safe.
Co-Sleeping

Co-Sleeping (Photo credit: Sugar and Vice)

Can you imagine that a pregnant woman would lay on her stomach while asleep, if she’s in sound mind and memory? Of course, not! We can say that a woman, who gave birth, already has an experience of bed sharing with her child. The only difference now – the baby is outside, not inside. Research was done on infant’s deaths from bed sharing, and it showed that all of them had a common feature – they were bottle-fed, not breast-fed. Breastfeeding mother lays her baby upper, close to her breast, so it’s impossible to roll over. Second point – is that breastfeeding mother is more attuned to her baby, and her sensitivity levels are higher, especially when asleep. From my own experience, I can share that even when I was deeply asleep, I’d grab my husband’s shoulder every time he rolled at night! It was so quick and automatic; I would wake up immediately, if my daughter sighed at night.

2.“You will spoil them”. I knew a mother who decided to put her baby in a separate crib in a separate room at three months old. She figured it was time to start incorporating discipline. The baby was screaming and weeping every night, but as she put it she “toughed it out” and he got used to it. She toughed it out… what about the baby, who was left alone screaming his lungs out? Usually this kind of ideas comes to individuals who are hurting, and have wounds from the past. This girl had a history of horrible family relationships, and subconsciously we always want to match our previous experiences with our present reality. You can’t get mad at those people either – the same was done to them, and they don’t know any better.

It is important to understand that at this age baby’s wants are their needs, and they are not trying to manipulate. His crying reflects his state. We all know what it means when the baby is crying, yet we don’t pick them up, because we listen to the “experts” with their parade of theories on how to treat an infant. Instead we should listen to our instincts, which know precisely how to nurture a baby. Every man, woman, boy and girl knows how to take care of the baby. But our instincts are shut down by the Intellect that reasons everything, and attempts to approach and analyze child care with logic.

Babies have certain inborn expectations that match their evolutionary experience and biology. When the expected does not happen they signal us by crying. Every baby cries when we put them down, this way they let us know  NOT to put them down. All babies do that, could they possibly be all wrong? No! This is a call of nature, pure and ultimate.

The baby knows what it supposed to get, his skin is crying out for nurturing touch of an adult, caregiver, he wants to be next to a live body, not in a lifeless box, wrapped in a lifeless cloth! When baby’s crying goes unanswered he develops a sense of wrongness, and the whole world becomes horribly wrong. It leads to multiple disorders later in life and turns on compensatory mechanisms that I can talk about for hours, but mainly, this kind of mistreatment causes the loss of natural ability to be happy.

When natural state of happiness is lost, it becomes a goal. Look how many books are written on subjects like – how to be happy, find happiness, etc! We are so used to our own misery, that we consider ourselves lucky if we are not homeless or in pain. And what was once man’s confident expectation on how he’s supposed to be treated, is now shut off, he’s told what he is supposed to have and want. But there is in him a sense of loss, a feeling of being off center, an intuitive longing for something he cannot name. Asked point blank he will seldom deny it. If I can contribute to my child’s happiness by simply responding to his genuine needs, I will take my chances!

3. Forming child’s independence. A child can become independent only after passing a stage of complete dependency from caregiver. Co-sleeping, and bed sharing as a form of co-sleeping, satisfies one of the basic needs of the child – is being close to his mother, being in constant physical contact. Besides hormonal and biological benefits of co-sleeping that ensures efficient development of all baby’s systems and reduces the chances of SIDS, it offers emotional and bonding benefits. Giving this secure base for the child will help him to feel secure within himself. Children who co-slept with their parents are more affectionate; easier self-disclose themselves to others, more trusting and capable of building long-lasting and harmonious relationships with others.  Another moment – by leaving a baby to sleep alone, we handle to him a responsibility for his own safety, which he’s not ready to take just yet. They are ready to take responsibility at around three or four years of age.

4. Children who successfully passed the stage of dependency will easily go to their own bed when the time comes. It doesn’t happen overnight, and takes certain steps that you can find here. At first the child goes to his own bed during day naps, and slowly transitions to sleep there at night. There are common sense rules that make this process easy and natural for both – mother and child. For example, mother and father need to take up the most of the bed, not giving priority to a child, this way it gets crowded and not very interesting for him, and eventually he leaves.

5. It won’t really affect your love life, considering the fact that there are plenty of different places, besides the bed. That’s all I have to say about that 😉

6. In fact it is extremely comfortable not to have to get up at night to nurse your baby. Sleeping through the night is not recommended for tiny breastfeeding babies. Dr. Sears explains that whether this is desirable or undesirable depends on parent’s mindset, but the facts state that breastfed babies wake more frequently for good reasons. Breastmilk is digested faster than formula, so breastfed babies get hungry sooner. Also, one of the main milk producing hormones – prolactin – is highest at night hours (usually between 1 and 7 a.m.). Could it be that a mother’s body is designed for night feedings? The focus in the first months of breastfeeding, should not be on getting the baby to sleep through the night, but rather learning to cope with his normal nighttime infant behavior. Besides, night feedings satisfy your baby’s emotional need.

Conclusion: Every family is different, and should find a sleeping arrangement that works for them. At the same time, it is important to remember that infants biology and expectations as well as mother’s biology and expectations should work together to reach optimal health, development and overall well-being.

Bed sharing can be really comfortable if you know how to breastfeed when lying down. I was very uncomfortable at first, and lactation specialist showed me the right position. Since then, night nursings are my favorite! Bed sharing is one form of co-sleeping, some people sidecar a crib next to their bed, so the baby is within arms reach. I hope you find the one that works for you. Happy Motherhood! Always yours, Valeriya Isernia

Co-sleeping – it’s safe and even useful!

When organizing bed sharing with your baby, you must be wondering – if it’s safe, and when will it end?

Safety wise there must be one condition met: the woman must be in sound mind and memory.

If certain areas of the brain are shut off, especially the ones that control sleeping, it is not safe to bedshare.

So as a result of alcohol, drugs usage or other conscious altering psychotropic drugs, a woman can accidently lay over the child, which is dangerous and she should not put the baby in the same bed.  All other cases are safe.

Can you imagine that a pregnant woman would lie on her stomach while asleep being In the right mind and memory? … No! Such cases are not known.

You can say that a woman who gave birth already has an experience of co-sleeping with her baby, right?

Only difference now is that the child is outside, not inside. And he continues, as before, to sleep next to his mother!

Now – when will it end?)))

The child goes into a separate bed at 2.5-3.5 years if:

  1. He was sleeping with his mother from birth
  2. There was no forced weaning or putting him in a crib initiated by both child or the mother
  3. Mom promptly established absences from the child, including absences at night.
  4. On the 3rd year the child has his bed for a day nap and he can go there at night, when he wants.
  5. The bed has always belonged to the mother, and the child wasn’t put to sleep there without her by saying: “This is mummy’s bed”
  6. The child was not imposed to separate sleeping before 3 years old.
  7. Father and mother of the child sleep in the same bed with the mother sleeping in the middle.
  8. Mom and Dad take up most of the bed, not giving priority to the child. It becomes crowded, not very interesting for him and he goes away.

The second and third children of the same woman go into a separate bed at an earlier age than the first one.

Just remember to treat your child appropriately to his age, and remember that it is necessary to sleep next to your husband, after all it’s all about balance! The baby’s there temporary=))

Breastfeeding – Great gift of nature

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Topinambour)

Breast feeding – an evolutionary fixed optimal form of nourishment for young children. Breastfeeding has a multifaceted impact on the physical and mental development of children, shaping their behavior, resistance to unfavorable external factors.

No words, even the most scientific, can possibly describe fully how breastfeeding is good for mothers and children. It’s not only food given to us by nature, but something greater. The woman is not just feeding her child, giving it a part of herself, but also provides many different aspects of his future life. She invests love, and creates a psycho-emotional bond, provides physical and mental health, a sense of well-being and ability to develop both physically, intellectually and emotionally. Most of these aspects are known to a wide range of modern moms, but I still really want to reiterate that this is not only useful but also enjoyable. And once again show just how unique this simple-looking action as breastfeeding really is.

One of the most well-known advantages of breast feeding – a special composition of breast milk. It is because of the amazing ability of mother’s milk characteristics to adapt to digestion and metabolism, and because of a unique composition, it is the ideal food for infants. While scientists are trying to make formula as close in composition to human milk as possible, formula is still just a generic substitute and leads to changes in the processes of digestion, metabolism and composition of intestinal micro flora. Most of the ingredients produced from cow’s milk, some based on the goat’s milk. In this case, for example, breast-milk proteins contain alpha-lacto albumin and cow’s milk proteins and, therefore, formula instead contains beta-lacto globulin, often causing allergic reactions in children. Carbohydrates in human milk are 85% beta-lactose based which is slowly digested and thus promotes the growth of beneficial micro flora, particularly bifid bacteria. Cow’s milk carbohydrates are presented by alpha-lactose, which is rapidly broken down and absorbed. Unique absorption of iron from human milk – 50%, whereas formula iron is absorbed only 10%. Thus, breast milk prevents the development of anemia in infants. As for the biologically active substances, mother’s milk is not at all apart from the competition. A huge number of hormones, enzymes, as well as protective and growth factors are simply impossible to replicate artificially. Finally, breast milk is a unique composition of each woman and each child will have their own unique balance of nutrients that is appropriate for this child.

Another important advantage of breastfeeding is a unique formation of complex psycho-physiological relationship between mother and infant. Think of paintings depicting women who are breastfeeding: just how much affection in them, a special intimacy and love, ineffable spirituality. Breastfeeding continues physical and also spiritual contact with the mother and the child after his birth. It has a profound emotional impact on women, providing a stable balance of psycho-emotional sphere. It’s safe to say that nursing moms have a state of happiness and life satisfaction, and their role; they enjoy the process of motherhood. Breastfed children are breastfed grow calmer, friendly, spiritually rich, maintain a close relationship with their mother, have more profound emotional reactions. This means that at an older age they will easier communicate with others, fewer problems will arise in interpersonal relationships, and life will be filled with positive emotions.

The third advantage is the effect of breastfeeding on health. Again, the positive effect of breastfeeding is manifested in a woman, and child. For example, breastfed children rarely suffer from intestinal, allergic diseases and colds. Breast milk promotes harmonious growth and development of the child, gives it a high resistance to infectious agents and environmental hazards. It is proven that breastfeeding prevents the development of anemia, rickets, and is the best prevention of metabolic diseases in adulthood. For mother breast-feeding affects the normal course of metabolic processes and optimal hormonal status reduces the risk of obstetric complications and diseases. In lactating women smaller the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. And these discoveries, scientists are finding more and more, each time re-affirming invaluable breastfeeding for physical health.

Finally, breastfeeding is just convenient and profitable. If, however, breastfeeding is not organized properly, then many of the benefits of breastfeeding may be unattainable. When mother does not know how to properly latch the baby to the breast and he damages nipples, causing pain, talking about the health benefits and receiving pleasure from communication with the child may sound as a joke. When the mother feeds the baby on schedule, not allowing to breastfeed for more than 15 minutes, it does not allow him to obtain a sufficient number of hind or fatty milk, and thus does not take full advantage of the uniqueness of its composition. When following the rules breast-feeding is not only useful for mother and child, but also provides a lot more advantages. One of the pluses is that breast milk is free, and mother will not have to spend money on breast feeding. It’s always ready for use, and never goes bad. It gives the mother the opportunity to live an active life with her child, because the breast can be given in any situation, visiting, traveling, and even making a purchase, or when visiting an exhibition of paintings. With the help of the breast is much easier and faster to calm the baby, or put it to sleep. Accustomed to close contact with the baby mama easily understands his needs and feels better his condition, and therefore knows best what her baby needs to be happy. Lactating woman effectively loses weight, feels happier and lighter, easier develops in the role of a mother, and thus is fully aware of herself as a woman. So she has plenty of time, mood and energy for her husband, which helps to maintain a favorable climate in the family.

Therefore, breast-feeding does not require much effort, is the perfect food, and creates a positive emotional background, helps preserve the health of mother and child, and it is given to us free of charge. Do you appreciate this sacred gift of nature and ready to care for it?

How often should my baby nurse? – Basic breastfeeding rhythms

A mother breastfeeds her 2-month-old baby girl...

A mother breastfeeds her 2-month-old baby girl at a UNICEF-supported breastfeeding counselling group in Vinzons, Camarines Norte province, the Philippines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“On the rhythms of breastfeeding”

This is the most frequently asked question on breastfeeding forums. Every mother wants to know – “how often a child should nurse? And how often mother needs to offer the breast? I’ll briefly review the basic rules of rhythms in breastfeeding a baby.

Home Formula – nurse around naps and to soothe. I.e. nursing rhythm tied to the rhythms of naps (see the post about baby bio rhythms).  For each age there is a different characteristic of attachment, which is necessary for the child’s development.

Here are the examples of rhythms for different ages:

Newborn usually breastfeeds around naps. He sleeps a lot, stays awake for short periods of time, and relieves his needs, nurses and goes to sleep again. Sucking duration can vary from 20 to 40 minutes, sometimes less. Total, during one day and night the baby breastfeeds about 12-17 time, at this period he nurses to eat, to get full.

4-month-old baby sleeps 5 times a day, always breastfeeds before going to sleep, after sleeping, between naps and sometimes in the middle of the nap. During the day there can be 16-18 feedings, plus 5 at night, a total of 21-23 a day. Sucking duration reduced to 3-15 minutes.

7 month old baby sleeps four times a day, i.e. has 8 nursings around naps. At the age from 6 to 8 months, there is a reduced contact with the breast in the first year of life. It is due to the beginning of solid foods and start of crawling. While awake he may not require to nurse, or it can happen only 2-3 times a day. He can chew on a carrot, an apple, or even the chicken bone. He may already drink sips of water from a small glass. Next – is nursing in the evening to fall asleep, during the night – 3-4 times, and nurse before waking up. Total is about 15. Here, too, the duration of sucking will be minimal.

9-month-old baby sleeps 3 times a day, and has 6 nursings around naps.  During awake period he’ll need to latch 1-2 times. 4 times waking up with 1-2 nursings – is about 7 nursings for comfort. Then he will nurse to fall asleep, during the night 3-4 times, and again whenever he wakes up. Total: 6 + 7 + 5 = 18. The longest nursings that are associated with saturation shift to the daytime nap nursing and nursing to go to sleep for the night. The child nurses mostly when waking up or for comfort, to sooth.  The value of milk as primary food starts to decrease.

Nightly nursings – are very stable and stay unchanged up to a year. Obviously, all of the above would be characteristic for the child who sleeps at night next to his mother. If not, he will have other rhythms. But this cannot be called rhythms. This is a schedule-based model proposed by mom and pediatricians. Initially, this model has been set for children on formula.

A child of 1.5 years has one nap. If the mother is at home, there will be two nursings around this nap and 1-2 in the day for comfort.  Night – remain at around 5… But … the morning berastfeeding can turn into “long meal’ with the duration of 1-1.5 hours. Mom by then has long mastered the skill to sleep while nursing her baby and it does not cause her any discomfort or lack of sleep. Totalamount of breastfeeding for 1.5 years baby: 2 + 2 + 6 = 10 nursings.

Upcoming meeting!!!

Nurturing Mothers Network, Central Florida based mommy support group, is having an upcoming meeting on September 26th of 2012. It’s going to take place at Commonsense Birth Place in Winter Garden, Fl at 10.15am.

We are excited and honored to be holding our meetings at this beautiful place of business that does comply with our very core values, and reflects our motto – Return to natural Approaches in Birth, Parenting, Health and overall living!

The topic of the meeting will be – “12 Simple Rules of Attachment Parenting“. There will be a short presentation on that by me (Valeriya Isernia), you will soon see the video presentation of “12 Simple Rules of AP” prior to the meeting, so you know what it is about.

We are also very excited to inform you that we will have another speaker – Kristin Worischek (IBCLC, LLLL, RLC Lactation Consultant) to share words of wisdom and inspiration with all of Nurturing Mothers, and that’s exactly who we are, and our job as  leaders to help awaken this magic potential in every woman, every mother!

Please arrive promptly. There will be refreshments served. At the end of the meeting – play time, as always!=)

See you all then!

Sincerely, Valeriya Isernia

Professional view on Babywearing

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Indeed, babywearing – is an art of holding, but like any good cause, it must be approached intelligently.

Wearing a newborn

Every child is born with a “habit” to be in direct physical contact with the mother around the clock. His vulnerability is a cause for constant, almost continuous stay close to his mother. I emphasize the word – “stay.” A kid can be with mother in direct contact, if she rests, eats, moves around the house. In this case, he may be staying in her arms, lying close to his mother, or on her lap, feeling the warmth of her arms. Newborn needs this contact, but this is not the only need he has.

Everyone knows that most of the day the newborn sleeps. However, he often wakes up, about every hour. He stays awake for short periods of time, and cycle of active holding is replaced by a cycle when mom puts him down for short periods of time.

When sleeping, the child should be lying on his side, his head just above the level of the chest. This position is the safest for him, and is provided by deftly wearing him in hands and by the skill of co-sleeping in the position “in hand”. Naps in the vertical position are not physiological for the child, and will lead to a breach of the spine and cause overall anxiety. Mom should lay the baby down in his sleep for a short period of time, about 20-40 minutes. This will facilitate the process of separating the baby from the mother, which must take place, starting at birth and as they grow older. Part of this process should be performed by giving a child an experience of independent sleep during the day. Of course, it is important not to go overboard by laying him down too much, not to force the issue.

Time being awake increases at 1.5 months to 1 hour, and during this hour the baby may be put down several times. This can be for 2-10 minutes – to wrap him in a new blanket, to care for the navel, the skin, as well as to let the child explore his body, and motor activity. In addition to “cradle” position, starting at about three weeks, we use the vertical position on the shoulder. Active holding – carrying a child with frequent changes of positions and short cycle of putting him down – provides, first of all, the development of motor skills. Additionally, elimination communication process will help him to establish control over the sphincters, and health of the genitourinary system.

Now consider this in terms of Babywearing

First, let’s ask the question: in what time period, we will wear a sling (or wrap), and most importantly – why? To wear him for ten minutes before the next cycle of letting him down or before the next time he will need to pee? Most of the time, putting the baby in the sling while he’s awake is pointless. These 10 minutes mom can carry a baby in her arms in a “cradle” position without any harm. After all, he is not heavy yet. And if your hand is tired, you can switch it to another hand, or sit down to rest.

If you mean that you put the baby in a sling while he’s asleep, sleep vertically, as we understand, is not desirable. And if we put him to sleep in the sling in “cradle” position, you ask? Then the important phase of laying him down for short periods of time will not be passed! A habit of sleeping only in mother’s hands will show very soon, when the attempts to lay him down later will fail, and the child will keep waking up and show reluctance to sleep alone.

But that’s not all. Mother masters carrying the child in her arms, and her hands need to “get used” to the child. Mom hones this skill, not using “substitutes hands”, or “crutch”, in other words. A baby should get used to the maternal embrace and mother’s hands, so then he can safely and without any resistance get down. Active holding in this period is used as an effective method of upbringing.

If the mother in the neonatal period will use a sling, it will lose an important upbringing tool! In fact, mother’s hands are here to stimulate child’s growth – bone and muscle tissue, musculoskeletal system, nervous system – all it needs is an active stimulation. Keyword – active. Sling will hinder activity. Put the baby in a sling, and that’s it …  I will add that extended wear in a sling requires prolonged use of disposable diapers, and it is harmful for the baby.

We only consider babywearing after 1.5 months old.

Between 1.5 and 3 months

Child is awake for longer periods of time, and is more interested in exploring. We still don’t use wearing “on the hip” position, we use mainly “cradle” and “vertical” positions. The child becomes heavy, and putting him in a sling sounds very enticing … on the other hand, the growing weight of the child makes you want to lay him down. This is where it’s not an easy period to wear. Relief comes at 3 months, when it becomes possible to hold him “on your hip,” and release one hand. But before this happens, you need to carry him in your hands, and train his neck and back muscles. It will be useful for the ‘Hip” position in the future.

During this period, we start taking walks, if weather permits. Here using a sling can be very “handy”, but the baby should be in a cradle position, because he will most likely fall asleep with the breast in his mouth. Here, incidentally, it is also not good to sleep in a vertical. Should you ask when it is useful? Never!  You can go to different specialists and do a research on this matter, but the truth is – there is only one norm – one. Only pathology is diverse.

Therefore, those slings where sleep is only possible in a vertical position aren’t good.

From 3 to 6 months

We can start using a position “on the hip.” But learning this position should be temporarily practiced without a sling. Child should learn to embrace his legs around mother. This helps to prepare the feet to crawl and then to walk. It may also resolve the problems with the tonus in the legs that babies often have. If to put the baby in a sling right away in the “ hip” position, without him learning to cling to you, baby feet will just hang down (make your own conclusions about that!!!). But, nevertheless, it is the best sling period! Because taking walks with the heavy child in the sling are very reasonable. It is important to use a sling only when you need to walk a long way, which takes a long time, with no opportunity to sit down and relax, or to use at home in situations where falling asleep  in a sling will be followed by laying him down as soon as the baby fell asleep. I guess this would work well for the urban mom.

Again, wear your baby to sleep in a cradle position.  There may be exceptional cases where the child fell asleep in a «sitting” position, when no one noticed that he fell asleep. But this is the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, we need a sling where you can shift from “sitting” position to cradle, without waking him up. Why not wear at home – because it is necessary to lay the baby down often. What’s important here is the frequency and timing. And remember about practicing Elimination Communication. You can of course, exercise Elimination Communication in a ring sling, by just pushing the edge of the sling. But this will not always work even with a very attentive mother. Then there is the risk of being peed or pooped on, and it is very unpleasant and even humiliating for a mother.

Cycles of putting the baby down can be evaluated by: 1) the degree of fatigue or how tired is the mother 2) the type of activity at the moment 3) desire of the child to pee. In this case, the mother holds the baby in the sight, focusing on him and his needs, while maintaining the principle of symbiosis, i.e. mutual comfort.

About each cycle in detail:

Degree of fatigue. Sling may be really convenient because it facilitates carrying heavy baby. It can be worn for 1-2 hours without taking off, according to the active sling-mamas. But think about it: how many times during this hour or two you could put your baby down, because you have tired arms and back? Frequent use of the sling in the home leads to addiction in baby to “life on a mother,” which is characterized by a sedentary first. Passivity and limited movement never contributed to a better development of the children, this fact is obvious.

House activity. Of course, a lot of household chores you can do with a baby, and some of them may be done while using a sling. Say, water the plants, to ennoble their appearance while holding the baby in a sling. Obviously, his close presence should meet two criteria: safety and convenience. In particular, we are talking about safety, if watering, say, cactus. By convenience here is meant mother’s convenience, because she’s the one who does useful work, and the baby only accompanies her, and should not interfere. This is where upbringing kicks in. But, if there is boiling soup on the stove, it is safer to put the baby aside. And mopping the floors with a baby, too, would be superfluous. You should be able to distribute the household chores so as to match them with the child’s need to explore and stay close to his mother. Rest is better to plan for the time when the child is asleep. You can also lie down, relax, or read, or sit down at the computer. With this approach the mother is always rested, and dinner is always on time, and the hair is styled, and husband’s shirts are ironed.

Desire of the child to pee. Important note – is to understand that after three months, a child stops giving a mother signals about his needs, and starts to pee on his own=). Knowing his rhythms he should be put down before it happens in mother’s arms. After he’s done with his business, the child returns to mother’s hands. It should be noted, that a child should only be picked up in a quiet state, calm. If he demands or cries in order to get on your hands, it shows serious mistakes in upbringing, and indicates the beginning of manipulation.

From 6 months until walking

At this stage, there is so much new stimulus for development that he finds on his play mat, so that he can explore and learn to crawl. There is such a big world around him, so much unknown and undiscovered! For us it is just a pan – a dish to cook lunch, but for a child it is something fascinating that attracts him with its form, sound, and new ways to play.  Mother goes to a background. He starts solid foods and continues exploring home space. At home sling is used very scarcely; mainly it is used to go for a walk. You can organize long, educational walks, and come back home for a day nap to put the child down.

If the child started walking, outside the house would be a great training, too! Training muscles and sprint walking with the toddler sleeping in a sling will bring mom by more frustration than pleasure. Here it will be useful to get help from dad or grandma to accompany the mother and the baby, who is still walking a little uncertainly. Sling is slowly losing its value in the life of the mother with a baby, it can assist the mother in the long-term walking, and only.

I think that many people simply forget about the fact that the baby is growing and needs a variety of incentives for development, and experience. Children cannot grow only by following their own instincts. Proper active holding and laying him aside on frequent basis are key incentives for successful separation from the mother and the formation of the child’s independence. In-arms phase should end with the beginning of walking! And there are other incentives, and other tools. Undoubtedly, the sling is very convenient and necessary for each mother. Its very convenience can be a trap! As sometimes I want to put my daughter in a sling and go do stuff! But she is in her second year and is capable to walk by herself!