Let’s face it, there are more baby items on the market than we know what to do with. I can’t tell you how many lists I’ve read of “must have” baby products. But how much do we really need for a baby? Some people say, “I just can’t afford to have a baby.” Why not? Because you think you have to buy a bunch of stuff? Want to know a dirty little secret? You don’t. You absolutely do NOT have to buy all of it for your baby. Full disclosure: With my first baby I was that mom who had to have all the baby gear. But by time I got to my 3rd, not so much. I have learned the difference between needs and wants. With my first, I had the nursery, the crib, the baby bath, the changing pad, the bath thermometer, the strollers (yes, plural), the toys, the bouncer, the jumperoo, the swing….need I go on? (By the way, are we truly incapable of telling if the bath water is too hot without the assistance of a rubber ducky that has a dot on it that turns red? But I digress…) So, let’s examine what baby really needs.
Babywearing? What in the world is babywearing? Yeah…I’ve heard it so many times! More often though, people see me out and about and will ask me about how my baby doesn’t fall off of me when he’s “tied on like that”, or “doesn’t that hurt your back?” No, no it doesn’t. It’s pretty funny! They’ve never seen anything like it before and they are curious. I’ll admit I had never heard of babywearing until I was pregnant with my 3rd baby. I had been a babywearer with my first two, but had never heard the term. With My first, I used a soft structured carrier, the kind you buckle onto yourself and the baby faces you belly to belly. I didn’t like it very much. It was alright, but it wasn’t working very well for me. That may have been in part because I had no resource from which to get help like I do now. With my second baby, I used a peanut shell sling. I didn’t know how to use it well and it was hard to adjust. He leaned back too far in it and I always felt like I had to have a hand on him to keep him from falling out. There is nothing wrong with these two kinds of carriers AT ALL! There are many different types of carriers, and mommas have preferences based on their own comfort, the size and age of their baby or toddler, and where they are going to be using the carrier.
My due date had come and gone. 40 weeks.** I had made it all the way to full term. I wondered if I would or not. I had a feeling that I would. My first two babies were born in the hospital, induced 9 and 7 days early, respectively, and I was barely dilated both times. This was going to be my first natural birth. I didn’t even know what it felt like to go into labor. I was so nervous with anticipation. Not scared, just anxious; but not anxious in a bad way, more like an “I can’t wait to meet this boy and experience birth the way it was meant to be” sort of way. Two days after my 40 weeks had passed, I was at church with my kids at our homeschool group classes. It was a Tuesday. I was pretty miserable! I was so worn out and tired, and struggling to help my oldest son with his classes. I’m sure all the other parents there could see my weariness and pain. They were so supportive and offered encouragement to me. That evening, something happened. Was that a contraction? It felt like a menstrual cramp. It radiated across my abdomen. Could this be it? Finally?! Oh, how I was so ready for it! But Joshua wasn’t ready to come earthside yet. I was having prodromal labor, something I had never heard of before. My doula was amazing throughout this process. She and I texted throughout this week as I kept her informed of my progress. I can’t tell you how invaluable she was for me, especially during this last week! Yes, you read that right, a week. A week of prodromal labor, usually starting up in the evening, but never getting into a good rhythm.
I’m what people around here call “crunchy”. It’s a synonym of “granola”, used to describe a lifestyle that revolves around natural things. That includes a whole host of different things, such as natural medicine, natural baby feeding (breastfeeding and baby led weaning), natural eating (anything from clean eating, whole foods, organic, to gardening and fermenting), natural birth, attachment parenting, babywearing, cloth diapering, et al. There are differing degrees of “crunchiness”. There are some of us who do a few things, but not that many. Some are more middle of the road, and others still are all out full crunchy. Some people like to call us “hippies”. I’ve never liked that word personally, because it evokes in my mind visions of the 1960s, with all the “make love not war”, free love, dope smoking crowd. That’s not me. At all. So I much prefer crunchy over hippie. Sometimes my husband calls me a hippie just to get a rise out of me. He’s a big agitator, that man!