Breastfeeding, Co-sleeping, Baby-wearing, Cloth Diapering Mama
Long before I had a baby, I had a picture in mind of how parenting that baby would go. I would breastfeed, of course, and co-sleep and use cloth diapers and wear my baby everywhere. Things don’t always go the way you imagined, though, and I was prepared for things to be different once there was a real baby involved.
I was particularly concerned about breastfeeding. I had so many problems with getting, staying, and being pregnant that it was pretty clear to me that my body wasn’t really compatible with fertility. I feared that would mean I’d have problems with breastfeeding, too. I have PCOS, and I know some women with PCOS have low supply. I collected links to milk-sharing groups and prepared to be disappointed. But breastfeeding has gone perfectly! I have a great supply. We’ve had no troubles with latch. No thrush, no mastitis. I had one sore nipple one day in the first couple of weeks. I put lanolin on it, and that was that. I feel like a breastfeeding super-star. I feed Dylan in grocery stores and restaurants, in parking lots and on camping trips. And in the last couple of weeks, finally, I’ve figured out side-laying breastfeeding, so I am getting much more sleep at night.
A close friend of mine had a baby several years before me, and she really wanted to cloth diaper, even going so far as to sew some herself. But then for whatever reason, she wasn’t really into it after the baby came and didn’t use cloth diapers after the first couple of weeks or so. So I planned for cloth diapers, but I didn’t spend a lot of money on it, in case I changed my mind. I had mostly prefolds and free hand-me-down diapers I’d picked up here and there. But cloth diapering has gone well, too. I don’t mind the laundry at all, and I kind of enjoy the rapid rhythm of cycling through the cloth diapers. I love not ever running out and having to dash to the store. I love the cost savings. I love setting soft cloth against Dylan’s skin. Even at Alchemy, a 6 day camping trip, I cloth diapered the whole time.
Co-sleeping always seemed like a given to me, but I’ve heard stories from other people who wanted to co-sleep and it didn’t work out for them, so I prepared to be flexible. I mean, not too flexible – I didn’t even buy a crib. But I was open to different sleeping places and arrangements. And it turns out we’re not exactly doing the “family bed”. Joshua has his own bed in his own room, and Dylan and I share a bed in my bedroom. But sleeping with Dylan is one of my favorite things in the whole world. It’s incredibly peaceful to drift off to sleep with him, and I cherish his first smile in the morning. I love his wiggling around and snuggling up to me, and I love being right there if he needs me. Now that we’ve got laying down breastfeeding working, co-sleeping is that much better.
And finally, baby-wearing is the thing that got me started on this train of thought. I’ve worn kids before as a nanny, but only sporadically. And my back has gotten worse over the years. I honestly didn’t know if I would be physically capable of carrying my baby around the way I wanted to. Then, at Alchemy, someone saw me put my Moby wrap on and put Dylan into it, and she exclaimed at how quickly I got him on. And I realized that I wear Dylan all the time. I’m good at it. I never leave home without a carrier, because wherever I go, I pop Dylan into one. I use them around the house, too. I just got a mei tai, and I especially love it when Joshua is out of town and the morning homestead chores fall to me. I wake up, tie Dylan to my back, and out we go to let the chickens out, collect eggs, and feed the sheep. It’s so easy, so convenient. Dylan loves to be worn and I love to wear him.
Things often turn out differently than you expect, and that has to be okay. In another universe, I’d be writing about my favorite stroller and how awesome it was, and that would be just fine. But it’s also kind of cool when things do turn out like you imagined them.
It’s also easy for me to get down about things, to be sad, to be discouraged. But when I take stock for a moment, everything with Dylan is perfect. Everything has gone really smoothly. I love him so much, and I cherish every single moment with him. I love breastfeeding; I love co-sleeping; I love baby-wearing; I love everything right down to changing his diaper. In short, I love Dylan and everything we do together.
There we are: Dylan in the mei tai, the sun in our eyes, and me with my newly brush-able, short, pink hair.