Baby #1 vs Baby #5: What I've Done Differently

todayi am(1)I've had five kids in less than ten years, and I like to tell people that if there's a parenting style or parenting product, chances are I've tried it at some point. A lot of things I have done the same from #1 to #5, but some things have really changed.

When I had my oldest in 2006, I used to complain all the time about how HEAVY the infant car seat was. Why? Because I carried it EVERYWHERE. All the time. Into the house, out of the house, into the grocery store, everywhere I went, he traveled in that car seat. At one point I actually felt like I had injured my left arm from carrying that thing so much (he was also a chunky baby). I had a baby carrier, I just never used it, I don't know why. My stroller was one of those huge giant Graco ones that you could snap the car seat onto as well, so even during walks he would be in the car seat.

The other thing I used all the time was the Boppy. I only, ONLY nursed using a Boppy, had to have it around my waist to nurse. "Can you bring me the Boppy" was pretty much my catchphrase, I even used it in bed at night for breastfeeding.

Cut to me with Baby #5 and I'll tell you two items I rarely use? The car seat and the Boppy. Now, before you get all crazy, I do of course use a car seat for my infant, but it stays in the car at all times, I don't think I have taken it out once. Why? One word: Babywearing.

When I look back on it, I think I used the car seat as a sort of security blanket. I knew he was safe in there, strapped in and secure, and while I was careful to not have him sleep in the car seat, I have to admit I did rely on it a LOT. Same thing with the Boppy. Breastfeeding wasn't super duper easy for me, or comfortable, and to be fully honest with you it didn't feel as natural for me as I thought it would. The Boppy pillow helped me get the positioning right, but the problem was I then relied on it all the time to make sure I was doing it the "right way".

Believe it or not, it took till my 4th child to really take to babywearing. Jack, my third, started walking at 7 months (true story), so I didn't have him in a baby carrier for too long, but Tallis, my fourth, loved her carrier. I went to The Bundle Store and Amber helped me find the perfect carrier for us (more about it here) and she took to it like a little chubby fish to water. I nursed her in it, I cooked with her in it, I used it all the time, and realized I rarely took her out in the car seat. Now with #5 I babywear 100% of the time. I work with the baby in a carrier, do laundry and chores while wearing her, pretty much all of the time that she isn't asleep in the Rock and Play I am wearing her. And because of this, the Boppy is pretty much obsolete now because I am either nursing her while on the go or with me in bed laying down. If you had told new mom me almost ten years ago that I would have a Boppy sitting in my closet collecting dust with a newborn I would have said you were crazy, but what is really crazy is how much things can change from child to child.

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Now, if the Boppy and car seat carrying is your thing, do your thing, girl. I tell you all this not to judge, but to tell you that I wish SOMEONE had stopped me at some point to tell me how much easier babywearing was for pretty much every aspect of life. Not just because I have a large brood of kids now, just in general. It has made breastfeeding easier, it has made daily life easier, and it has made me an all around happier mommy.

If you want to try babywearing but don't know which one is right for you, I have a few suggestions. First, if you are local, pop into The Bundle Store to try some on before you buy. We also have some local groups that are Babywearing groups to check out, like Sling Babies of the Capital District. Second, ask a fellow mama if you can take hers for a spin for a day or two. I went through more than a few carriers before finding the right fit for me, and the ones I didn't like and couldn't return I either consigned somewhere like Cuddle Bugs or I passed on to a friend who would get better use out of them.

Have babywearing questions? Feel free to reach out to me here, or follow me on snapchat, user name mamatoga xoxo