Thursday, October 7, 2010

Babywearing Caregiver!!!

Christina Dawn Monroe

What babywearing has meant to Lennox this our journey:
Lennox is 11 months old. He came into my care at 6 months of age. He is exclusively breastfed; his mom was the only one to ever put him to sleep. He is a boob man, for bed time. I was also warned he was not a stroller fan.
I have worked in the childcare field for 15 years (have a degree in early childhood education). As I just recently went back to having a day home. I had not owned a carrier for years. I ordered a babyhawk with my first pay check from Lennox’s parents. Then we waited a further 2 weeks for it to arrive. For one whole month we were carrierless. It was a pretty shitty month.
We had the challenge of dealing with transitioning to reverse cycle breast feeding. You see Lennox does not like bottles (regardless of how many different kinds I tried) and the same went for sippy cups. For liquids we went to feeding with a spoon and mom coming to feed at lunch if needed. Then there was the whole I do not sleep without a breast thank you. Apparently dad had never had any luck either. Did not matter that I walked around with him, he was not left alone to cry. He was only going to sleep because he screamed himself out. Then there was the strollers 3 different kinds. He screamed even louder, with summers so short here we had to go out regardless of the yelling.
The day the package came is the day everything went up hill. It changed everything for the better.
I opened my pretty package and strapped him in and he just relaxed. He was calm for the first time in a month. He quickly learned to sign for his carrier if he needed to be up instead of on the floor exploring. If he needed to be closer to me. We figured out that if we are close and feel safe we can fall right to sleep. He kind of just gives a sigh and passes out. I can then transfer him to a mat or keep in there if we are out. We learned by watching closely that straws are cool (I have an addiction to iced lattes) He would watch me intently, so focused as it is so close to his face. We got him a litter-less juice box and away we went! He snuggles the juice box full of breast milk right between my breasts and drinks it all down! No more spoon feeding milk! We no longer have to use a stroller to go out so we can go many more places; he has a bird’s eye view. We can climb rocks and he can see! He can choose not to wear mittens and be inside my coat instead! Life is wonderful.
Mom thought this was cool borrowed my carrier then ordered herself her very own. Now dad can put him to sleep too!
Babywearing has made Lennox into a much happier little person.

8 comments:

  1. I LOVE this. This is my baby too... total boob man & I've always said I don't know what we'd do if he ever had to go to someone else for the day (I'm lucky enough to be able to be a daycare mom too, so I'm home).
    I've had babies like him & we had lots of shitty days together. I wish I'd thought of a carrier then!

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  2. I love how you stuck the juice box between your breasts and he was totally in to that. Love the picture that conjured up for me. Very sweet. And funny (in a great way). ;)

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  3. Wearing has been the turning point between me and my son. He as well is a boob man, takes after his daddy I guess? I never was able to give him comfort. After we figured out the carrier deal he loves to snuggle into my chest or ride piggy back.

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  4. What a lovely little story! And what a lucky little family to have you care for their child :)

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  5. I appreciate your story. I too was a childcare provider and I routinely wore the infants in my care.

    I know this is going to piss a lot of people off - so be it I guess. Lennox should be spending his days with a parent. People like Christina and me who are willing to do this dazzlingly difficult job for next to nothing are helping to perpetuate a system that is not good for babies or their families. The work Christina is doing in caring for Lennox is at least as valuable as anything his parents could be doing away from him, and yet she works for tiny fraction of what she is worth so that they can go out and work at jobs where they are likely paid less than what they are worth - all in the name of profit. It's madness I tell you! The only way the madness will end, and our country will start to adopt family friendly policies like the rest of the developed world, is if we at the bottom end of the food chain say no - we won't participate - we won't give our good-hearts away for nothing.

    Beyond that (this is going to sound even worse than my first paragraph), if you know you will need to put your child in day care, you should prepare your child for the challenge, including training him/her to sleep on a schedule alone in a crib, feed from a bottle, and take comfort in strollers, swings, bouncing chairs etc. Christina is a saint and Lennox's parents are indeed very, very fortunate to have found her to care for him. The reality is, despite best intentions, most childcare settings simply can not accommodate the needs/expectations of "AP" infants and considering that childcare workers are among the lowest paid workers in our economy, I think it is unfair to ask them to do so.

    Yes, you are right, this does sound harsh. And the only way it will change is if we stop supporting and participating in the system that requires infants to spend most of their time separated from those who love them unconditionally.

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  6. Thanks guys :) I love my job. Just going out now to pick up my older monsters from school. We have lots of snow already. Lennox hates his snow suit but as soon as he can see his favorite carrier, he is willing to stop being mad and enjoy the outside.

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  7. I too LOVE this story! Lennox is blessed to have you! Although I understand and support the comment above, if a baby like Lennox can develop a good, strong, consistent and regular attachment to a carer then in fact, maybe he's all the richer for having another special adult to love him unconditionally too x I know nothing can replace a parent but sounds Like you're pretty darn close!

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