One of the best things I could’ve read about babywearing is how benecial it is for a child’s emotional, intellectual and physical development. In an effort to be a primarily present mom (PPM), I try to be very conscientious of what’s going on in Lil’ Z’s environment. I’m always striving to benefit her as much as possible by talking, singing, playing, and being with her. However, if I do this all day, we would become hungry, sneezing folks in a dusty house. Fortunately, Lil’ Z can join the real world of our home life by coming along for the ride while I do tasks around the home.
In the first two months of life, Lil’ Z wasn’t too fond of being held in the sling while at home. Outside, she would be fully engrossed, looking around and holding on tight. There was plenty of stimuli to engage her, probably too much stimuli as she would often fall asleep very shortly after stepping outside for a walk. As she hit the three-month mark, we would position her in the “kangaroo carry”, facing forward, and she would sit content for 30-45 minutes while indoors, much longer if outdoors. It’s at this point that I really started to wear her while doing chores around the home. We sweep, mop, clean windows, load the washing machine, make salads and smoothies, etc. Not only do I feed two birds with one piece of bread by wearing her while I work, but my conscience is eased when I see how intently she observes and absorbs what’s going on around her. We may take these daily “mundane” tasks for granted but watching Lil’ Z is teaching me how extraordinary the ordinary can be.
In addition to getting work done, I talk to Lil’ Z and tell her about what we’re doing. When cooking, I hold up fresh cut veggies to her nose to she if she can appreciate the scent. Cooking with her has helped me to savor the amazing aroma of fresh cut cilantro or shredded ginger root and the beautiful array of colors that our salads contain. I’m also pleasantly surprised by what Lil’ Z finds entertaining. She giggles when I shred carrots or clean windows! Go figure!
No worries! I don’t hold her hostage in the sling. I usually wear her for about 30 minutes a day at home, as she’s winding down for a nap. After all of her senses have been stimulated and tantalized, she’s ready for a swig of mommymilk and a sweet nap.
If you’re thinking of “nurturing while you work” with your little one, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
– Think through the task you want to do while babywearing. Is it appropriate? If you plan to do heavy lifting or squatting, you may want to let the baby sit those tasks out. Light tasks that you can do with ease are best.
– Are you both comfortable? If neither of you are comfortable during the task, it may not be worth doing.
– Consider your baby’s safety and senses. For example, it wouldn’t be wise to handle foods that might be irritating like onions or garlic, cook over an open flame, or dust high surfaces while carrying your baby. Prioritize your baby’s needs over your own.
– Use non-toxic cleaners. Carrying your baby or not, using non-toxic cleaners are a great idea! Especially now that Lil’ Z is rolling off of her comforter or play mat to scoot on the floor; she insists on tasting the floor while she’s down there! I don’t need to freak out because I know that she’s not licking the residue of a synthetic product that requires me to call the poison control center. I clean the floors with 1 cup of white vinegar diluted in 1 gallon of water and a few drops of natural, essential oils. To clean mirrors and windows, I use a 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of water and 1 tsp. of natural, dishwashing liquid. If a squirt or spray falls on your little one, there’s no need to panic with non-toxic cleaners.
– And lastly, don’t be too ambitious! Give the child room to breathe! Especially now that Lil’ Z is mobile on the ground, having the freedom to move, roll, explore, and suck the floor is a necessary part of her day too! And when neither of us are working, she gets to be a princess! 😉