Why we bought a Baby Carrier and you should too!

Why we bought a Baby Carrier and you should too!

I had had a baby carrier in my list of things to buy while expecting our baby. Over time, I had done my research and decided that if I ever had to, I would buy the ErgoBaby 360 baby carrier. The reason I did not buy it in advance was because I wasn’t sure whether we really would need a baby carrier. I mean, I knew what it was for and how it could be beneficial, but the really high price (around $160 or SEK1500) made me put the decision on hold and buy it only if it deemed necessary. There are so many products out there and thanks to their marketing, everything seems necessary to first time parents.

Anyway, the first few weeks that I was home on parental leave with my wife and baby, we managed just fine as we also had my mom with us for help. All day long, either of us would take care of the baby so that no one in particular had to  stress out all the time. Despite this, within a few days I had started to feel my back hurt. Ditto for my wife as well. The reason wasn’t that the baby was so heavy (3 kg is nothing), but that your posture changes when you’re holding her up so much and it puts a lot of stress on the lower back. Over short terms, it doesn’t affect you much, but it takes a few days to start feeling the effect. At this stage, I did reconsider buying the baby carrier but the real push came a few days later when my mom left us and my wife and I were finally on our own.

On the very first day, my wife called me up at work around noon and told me that she felt absolutely tired because of holding the baby all day long and she wasn’t even able to prepare any food for herself. Her back was killing her and it was only day one of taking care of the baby alone by herself. I could hear in her voice how difficult she felt the situation was. I wasted no time and went online and purchased the ErgoBaby 360 from babyland.se and selected the same day delivery option. Fortunately, the delivery was free because the order was above SEK 1000 and we got the package delivered home the very same evening.

Did the baby carrier help us at all? It absolutely did. The first time I wore it around me with the baby in it, I could immediately feel the difference. My arms were finally free and by my side while the baby was held close to my chest and absolutely still. No longer was I forced to stand in an uncomfortable position in order to hold her correctly. Her head was just under my chin and I only had to bend my neck down in order to kiss her head. And the baby? She was so comfortable, she slept for over 1 hour in that position in the carrier. It was fairly easy for me to inspect her posture and ensure she was sitting comfortably inside the carrier. I did not feel any weight because the carrier’s thick band around my waist ditributed it very well. When I moved, it did not feel that it disturbed the baby at all. And so I spent the next one hour walking around our apartment, watching TV while standing, then sitting down for a while and getting up again. I joined my wife in the kitchen while she made something for us to eat. During dinner, I unfolded the head cover from the carriers front top pocket and covered the baby’s head so that I didn’t spill any food onto her. And it all worked just fine.

During the first couple of days itself we realized what a life saver the ErgoBaby 360 was for us. Though my wife finds it a bit difficult to put on by herself, I attribute that to her lack of practice rather than a problem with the product, though to be fair, it does take a bit of skill (but that is why you need some practice).

One of the reasons why I chose the ErgoBaby 360 over others was that I read more good reviews about this baby carrier than any other. My favourite review site bäst-i-test.se (though only in Swedish) also listed this as no. 1 and I usually take their recommendations without question. This carrier has a good build, a wide waistband and comfortable shoulder straps to distribute the baby’s weight well. For a newborn who cannot support her head during the first few months, one needs an ErgoBaby infant insert which is bought separately, but I purchased the ErgoBaby 360 Start Paket, which includes the infant insert.

Of course, ErgoBaby 360 isn’t the only option in the market. Another good option is to buy the BabyBjörn One baby carrier. It has equally good reviews as the ErgoBaby 360 and is comparatively slightly cheaper. Personally, I haven’t tried out any other baby carriers myself, but am quite convinced that these two are the best of the lot.

So, what should you consider while buying a baby carrier?

First and foremost, is the price. Can you afford a ErgoBaby 360 Start Paket (incl. Infant insert), which has a marked price of roughly SEK 1500 (I got it for approx. 1200 after discount on babyland.se). If not, there is no problem in going for a cheaper option by looking at other ErgoBaby models and the Babybjörn models. (There are some other brands also, but I haven’t done any research on them.)

Is the baby sitting in an ergonomic position in the carrier? Babies are supposed to sit in frog position and having the correct ergonomics is very important. ErgoBaby360 had the best ergonomics of the lot that I could figure out and therefore I went with it. Some older models of BabyBjörn were heavily criticized for not been ergonomic but the BabyBjörn One, released in 2015, has fixed that. So, do consider the ergonomics.

How long are you going to use the baby carrier that you are planning to buy? Is your child’s age/weight close to the upper limit for that carrier? Is it worth spending more on a carrier if you are going to use it for a shorter durations?

Material. Think about where you will be using the baby carrier. Will it be a hot environment or cold? Does the carrier that you are considering look like the baby will feel too hot in it if the environment is such? Having a mesh instead can help cool the baby down but it can get dirty easily and might cause a rash to the baby if it is expeosed to her skin. Is the material Oeko-tex certified? This basically means that the fabric is free from hazardous sunstances.

Baby position in the carrier: There are some carriers, such as the ErgoBaby 360 which allow the baby to sit in 4 positions: Front Carry Facing You, Front Carry Facing the World, Back Carry (like a backpack) and Carry on Hip. Not all carriers allow all 4 positions, so think about how you intend to carry your baby and invest accordingly.

These are the factors that I could include in this post and already, the post has become quite long. So, in a nutshell, our baby carrier turned out to be a life saver for us and it gives us the comfort and freedom we longed for without letting our baby out of site.

What do you think about this? Are you using or planning to use a baby carrier? Do share your experience by commenting below.

Did you like this post? Please click Like if you did and do remember to Follow my blog for more such posts.

Pee, Poop and Burp: The First 40 Days

Pee, Poop and Burp: The First 40 Days

For the first 2 days after our baby girl was born, she only needed a change of diaper every 6-8 hours. She had her typical blackish gooey poop and we could barely tell if she was peeing at all since there were no leakages. The midwives told us that the baby did not need to burp because she was having very little breast milk in the beginning. So, I thought we were doing fantastic at under 3 diaper changes a day. In fact, I enjoyed changing her diaper a lot. She never cried, except when hungry, and even then, it was a low cry and she would calm down as soon as she was fed. She was turning out to be an extremely well-mannered baby. And I proudly trumpeted this fact to friends and family.

WRONG!

Only a few days on and the little one gave us a shocking reality check. She now pooped much more often, more like 6-8 times a day and specially after each feed, sometimes more. At times, she pooped again immediately after the new diaper was put on. And then you needed to redo the whole exercise of laying her down on the changing table, remove her diaper, clean her with a wet cloth and dry her and put on a new diaper, all the while putting up with her relentless ear-shattering shrieks and howls. (Did I mention that she hated being put down on the changing table now?) Often times, having just been cleaned up and the next diaper on its way out of the bag, the little one discovers she forgot to pee in the previous diaper and does that on the changing table itself. Sometimes, directly on my hands. We scramble to prevent the pee from flowing onto the changing mattress and clean her up once again before putting on the next diaper. The shrieking and howling continues relentlessly.

Where Pee and Poop were causing such mayhem, how could the Burp stay behind? Having a really small tummy, she was always too full after a feeding session and appeared irritated, so I would lift her to my shoulder and pat on her back a bit in order to elicit a burp. But it wasn’t that easy. It still isn’t. Before we even pick her up for a burp, she throws up a mouthful of milk onto her chin, neck and clothes. It’s a race between her and us, can we pick her up in time to prevent her from vomiting? Even when we pick her up first, we need to hold her straight otherwise she simply vomits out all the milk and then wants to be fed again. Holding her straight was yet another challenge because she would start scratching my neck with her fingernails, pull at my collar and suck my shirt for milk, all the while throwing her little frail head around wildly while I struggle to hold it in place.

At other times, she would asleep while on the breast and wake up shortly afterwards to realize she has her mouth full of milk. Not knowing what to do with it she ends up coughing all of it out onto the tired mum, following the scene up with another burst of crying and maybe re-feeding.

So, the first 40 days with our little baby have been much tougher than I had ever imagined. There were times when it felt like either we were the worst parents or this was the most difficult baby ever. I often wondered why babies just don’t stop crying even though we were doing everything that they needed. I also wondered if there was something that all other parents knew, but not us, which made our parenting a bit worse.

But after the first 40-50 days, things have improved and we are now in a different phase with our baby. More on that later.

How has your experience been? Do let me know by leaving a comment below.

Did you like this post? Please click Like if you did and do remember to Follow my blog for more such posts.
And remember, you can always get in touch with me if you have any questions, by visiting my Contact page or emailing me at: peepoopburp@gmail.com.

It’s a Girl !!

its-a-girlOn the morning of 13th of January 2017, and after an excruciating 28 hours in labor, while it was freaking cold and snowing outside, the clouds parted and our ray of sunshine, our sweet little angel, finally entered our world.

“It’s a girl!” I announced to my wife with tearful eyes as the midwife turned the baby and opened her legs. The very next instant, the baby was placed on the mother’s chest, skin-to-skin. We were spell-bound. In that instant, we forgot all the tiredness that we had been feeling over the last 2 days. We had our baby in our arms.

We couldn’t believe it was a girl. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because we had become so used to the bump that it would still take time for us to process that it has now become a real person. We had imagined it would be a girl. We had also imagined it would be a boy. We knew it could be either. But seeing our baby girl for real turned out to be so different from imagining.

After a while, the nurse asked me if I would like to hold my baby for some time while they helped my wife relax. They asked me to take off my t-shirt and be skin to skin with my baby because she needs that. I was so scared. She was so tiny. I was scared of picking her up. But they told me I would be just fine.

It’s my daughter… It’s MY DAUGHTER!

And then I held her in my arms and everything else in the world became unimportant. This, Now, was Everything.

Our little baby girl is adorable and quite healthy. The mother is doing excellent, though still a bit exhausted. Our mothers are here to help us and they have both been amazing in sharing our load.

Even now, 2 weeks after the birth, I can’t believe I have a baby now. I can’t believe I have a daughter. I can’t believe I am a Dad now…. Maybe it will take some more time to sink in. Maybe, I should change the tag line of my blog now.

How has your experience been? Do share by commenting below.

(This post was originally written on 15th Jan 2017, but I forgot to publish it and only realized that today.)
(Pictures will be later.)

Crossing the Due Date

due date calendar

Today, 8th January 2017, was our baby’s calculated due date. But the little angel has decided to make us wait a little longer.

We had come to anticipate that our baby might arrive earlier than its due date. Why? Simply because we had been told that the baby can come anytime from two weeks before till two weeks after the due date. Add to that our excitement, being first time parents, and the fact that both our moms have arrived from India for the birth of their first grandchild. So, starting a few days before christmas, when folks at work started going for holidays, I would leave work everyday wondering if I would be coming back the next day or not. I’ve been going to bed every night half expecting to be woken up at odd hours to discover that my wife’s pains have started. Days have turned into weeks, temperatures have plummeted over 20 degrees, snow has covered the whole of Stockholm, but our baby has not yet shown up.

I remember once asking our mid-wife if it becomes apparent during the later stages of the pregnancy whether the baby might come earlier or later. Maybe the position of the bump might indicate something? She told us that there is no such prior indication and that the baby decides when it wants to come out. “Oh!” said I as I looked at the bump, “So, YOU decide?”

I spoke to the baby a few days back and told it (we still don’t know if it is a he or a she) that we have already completed all the shopping for it. I asked the baby what more it needs me to do before it is happy enough to come out. I did not get any answer, not even an acknowledgement.

So, I thought to myself if there was something I have forgotten to do or was there a certain way I needed to call the baby out? That it has grandparents and great-grandparents and uncles and aunts desperately waiting for it obviously makes no difference to the baby’s mood. I had to try something different.

So, that night I had an idea. Maybe the baby needs some sort of homely Indian stimulation. I created a playlist of top Govinda (a popular Indian actor from the 1990s) dance songs on YouTube and played them for 2 hours while we sat in front of the TV watching. In between, I would ask my wife if she felt anything different. No! So, the next evening, I created an even bigger playlist of other popular Bollywood dance numbers – old and new – from Salman to Shah Rukh to Aamir (amongst others). Despite another couple of hours wasted in front of the TV, nothing happened now too.

I have tried everything else I could. I have sung to the baby, danced, thrown commands at it, suggested dates, pleaded, but nothing seems to work. I guess it gives me a glimpse into the future of our household. Gone are the days when things progressed according to my planning. Something, rather someone, else is going to beat my plans from now on.

So, today, the due date is here and about to pass in another few hours. But our stubborn baby has quietly demonstrated who exactly will be making decisions over the next few decades. And, I better get used to it.

So, we wait again.

The Count Down is On: 2 Weeks to Go

The last few days are upon us. Our due date is now less than 2 weeks away. And everyone says that the baby can come anytime, and without warning, during the 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the expected date. So it could be today. Or tomorrow. I don’t know.

How do I feel? I am not sure. There was a time over the last couple of months where I was completely immersed in planning and shopping for the baby, and all the fun had made me quite excited and eager. However, now that the wait has shrunk from months into weeks, and weeks into days, I am starting to get the jitters.

At times, I feel I cannot wait for the baby to come. But other times, I get really scared when I think about whether I have prepared correctly or not. What would happen when my wife’s pains start? Will it be slow pains at first which increase in an orderly fashion and give me indications of when to call the hospital? Or will something happen in a flash and I will need to act quickly? How well will I manage those tense moments when I take her to the hospital? Though we have already packed the maternity bag and the baby bag, will I still miss something on the last day? These questions give me a hard time.

A few nights back, while sitting in the living room watching TV, my wife let out a slight moan of discomfort – like she often does – but this time it gave me a jolt to imagine that that moment could just as easily have been the onset of labor. I started wishing ‘not today, not today’ in my mind and it took my some time to calm down. Since then, I have gone to bed every night hoping for an uneventful sleep. I feel utterly unprepared, even though I have done everything to prepare us and our home to welcome the baby. All our shopping is done, work is taken care of, in fact both our moms are here to help us through the coming weeks. The maternity ward’s number as well as those of the taxi companies are in all our mobile phones as well as pasted on the fridge in the kitchen. I keep reminding myself that when it is time, I have to think about my wife and baby’s safety and comfort above everything else. Yet, despite all this, I am nervous that I might be missing something.

I know that my being nervous sounds so unfair, considering what my wife might be going through in her mind. The baby is growing inside her and not me. It is going to come out of her causing her the worst imaginable pains and for an unknowable span of time. I imagine how scared she feels on the inside. She asks me everyday if the baby is going to be alright. ‘Of course!’ I tell her. We are two healthy parents going through a normal uncomplicated pregnancy, so we have no reason to feel worried. But I guess you do feel worried nevertheless.

All I do every morning is look at the fact that my wife has woken up feeling good and I hope to keep seeing her like that for just a few more days. I want her to be able to go to work and to the markets a little bit more before the baby comes. Maybe she is still preparing herself on the inside just as much as I am every day.

Even this morning while I was on my way to work, and right now while I am writing this post, I found myself asking mother nature to let the baby come as close to the expected date of 8th January as possible, believing that the next few days will end up preparing us better. Whereas the truth is, no amount of time can prepare you for it completely. So, we take each day as it comes.

Our First List of Baby Stuff to Buy

Our First List of Baby Stuff to Buy

When preparing for the arrival of a baby, buying the right stuff for it seems like a monumental task. Specially for new parents like us, who also need to figure out the What, When and Where from. Researching online has thrown up so much information that my initial list has now grown past 40 items.

newborn_list

Should I buy from H&M or other baby stores? Should I buy from an online store that is cheaper and delivers to Sweden? What should I do? And how soon?

I am just baffled. Does a tiny little baby that does not demand anything really need so many things to begin with? Do even adults with desires have so many things of their own?

Anyway, the first step for me to begin with is to divide the whole list into 2 parts: The Really Big Stuff and The Small Stuff.

The Really Big Stuff
This list, as the name suggests, contains stuff that is big in size as well as big in price such as Stroller, Car Seat, Baby Crib, Mattress, Baby Gym, etc.

This list is easier to make, since it contains so little, but difficult to fulfil. It has been months since we started looking into the various Stroller models across Stockholm but the problem is that we end up liking everything that we see. The price, the utility each model offers, etc. everything is so confusing. Similarly with the car seat. We don’t have a car, but do we need a car seat anyway? Will we need one when we take a flight with our baby? Do we need a baby crib right in the beginning or can it sleep in a Baby Nest instead? And so on.

The Small Stuff
This is the really tricky stuff and it seems to me that this list almost never ends, but keeps on growing. The stuff here might not be as expensive individually, but put together, they might surpass even the big stuff. Though it might seem easy, but when I think about which onsies to buy, how many, what size, what will they cost, etc., I feel overwhelmed and give up the decision-making for “later”.

For the sake of sanity, I have stopped adding more stuff to this list. The point of my post is not to overwhelm you but to show you how overwhelmed I myself am thinking about what to buy for our baby, which is due in January 2017.

Right now, I have no idea how I am going to start the shopping, let alone fulfilling everything in this list. With exactly four months to go before the baby is expected to come, it sometimes feel like we have a lot of time while at other times I feel a sense of panic. Adding to that the fact that we decided not to find out the sex of the baby, it has made our choices even more difficult because now we can’t even decide on the colors: whether it will be pink or blue. Hello Kitty or Batman?

I wish there was an easier way a first time parent like me could have my answers. Do you have any answers?