Keeping My Baby Close
Lowell MA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 21 No. 2, March-April 2004, p. 55
When I was expecting my daughter, Elizabeth Rose, my friend, Cathy, said that the most useful thing she owned as a mother was a sling. At my baby shower, she gave me a handmade sling with a copy of The Baby Book, by Dr. Sears. At that time, I had no idea how much I would grow to depend on the information from the book and that sling.
Over the past 31 months, Elizabeth and I have used the sling in all situations. As an infant when she was tired and cranky, and even nursing wouldn't completely soothe her, the sling worked like magic. There were many nights that I put Elizabeth into the sling, put on my coat, and walked up and down the length of the driveway until she fell asleep. Some nights, I would stumble out bed and reach for the sling so we could walk through each room of the house or gently sway while looking out the window. The closeness of nursing and using the sling often helped soothe Elizabeth back to sleep.
Now that Elizabeth is a toddler, the sling continues to have a calming effect on both of us. Even though the sling is used less and less, she still wakes up at night sometimes and can't fall back asleep. The sling is never far from reach. If nursing or rubbing Elizabeth's back doesn't help her sleep, she'll tell me, "Sling!" I put it on, we walk a lap around the house, and she is quickly back to sleep.
Recently, on a family trip, I forgot our sling. Elizabeth woke up in the middle of the night in the unfamiliar surroundings and, even though she was nursing, she wanted to be carried in the sling, too. She was upset and awake most of the night. I knew that if I had brought the sling, she would have gone back to sleep immediately. I learned my lesson. On our next trip, when she woke up scared, I put on the sling and we walked around the cottage. It wasn't long before she was asleep with her little body draped across my chest.
The sling has been indispensable to us throughout our journey. I now understand why my friend said it was one of the most useful things she owned as a mother. I know I won't be leaving home without our sling any time soon.