My Journey with Baby Wearing

My Journey with baby wearing: Ashley Clark Blog

So excited to finally get this baby wearing post up of you ladies. I have been wanting to do this for some time now. I get messages all the time about baby wearing, what wraps are my favorite for what stages, and how I handle naps with Annabelle while baby wearing. So in this post I will be sharing all of that plus a little more. Since becoming a Mother almost 8 years ago, I have used my fair share of baby wearing items on my kids. The two I am sharing today are hands down my favorite products I have ever used. Just a little side note, this post is in no way sponsored by these two companies. Boy I wish it was because that would be legit! I have purchased all my wraps and slings on my own and just wanted to create this post because I had so many Moms reach out to my on my Instagram asking me questions about them. Having a set place to give them more information is what this post is all about.

My Journey with Baby Wearing: Ashley Clark Blog

Annabelle was born almost 6 months ago and has basically lived in a wrap since then. I honestly couldn’t have survived with out my Solly Baby Wrap the first few months of adjusting to being a Mom of three. Having three kids at home to manage by myself was no joke! My Husband’s work schedule is insane and having no family around to help just about drove this Mama into the ground. My Mom did stay with me the first month of Annabelle coming home but those few weeks went by in the blink of an eye.

Once my help left and realty majorly kicked it, I turned to my Solly Wrap for more than just being hands free. It literally saved me and my sanity during those very exhausting and trying months of juggling a new born and two young children on ZERO sleep! When I wore Annabelle, my anxiety lifted, my blood pressure melted away, and mind could just B.R.E.A.T.H. It was the only help I would ever get during those long hard days.

Annabelle wasn’t the best sleeper during those first few months and I would be standing for 12+ hours a day so she would sleep. I loved every minute of it looking back now, but in the moment I thought , “how on earth am I a going to survive?!” Then I would remind myself, this is VERY temporary and as time goes on things will get better. Being a Mom twice before really helped me the third time around. I went into so much more relaxed and calm. Knowing Annabelle is my last baby, I promised myself I would enjoy every single stage no matter how crazy and exhausting it may be. Because for some reason God placed her into my life and I was going to cherish every second of this baby.

So if you are new Mom and feel like things are never going to get better. Comparing your baby’s sleep schedule to other babies'….please, please, please, give you and your baby some grace! I have been their before, trust me! I was all over the map with my other two kids. My first slept like a champ the first year and then stopped napping after he turned one! My second, was a horrible napper then became the worlds best sleeper around a year old. Every child is so different, just like adults are. We all have our own path and I feel like babies are just excepted to do X Y and Z because doctors and everyone else says so! To a certain degree yes that is true but if your baby is healthy and has nothing medically wrong, then just give him/her and yourself some grace until the dark clouds lift. That first year just FLYS by and when you have more than one baby, the time goes even faster.

My Journey with Baby Wearing: Ashley Clark Blog

How I handled naps:

Ok so let me get into how baby wearing worked for me with naps during those first few months. I would always put her to sleep the same way for nap time, which was nursing and rocking her to sleep as I did with my other two kids when they were babies. If she absolutely fought going down for a nap in her Dock a Tot, then I would turn to my wrap because the baby had to sleep! The great thing about this wrap is that you can find a way to sit down while they are sleeping. Now it may take some practice and of course you get the chance of the baby waking up, but sometimes I could get away with a few minutes of being able to sit down.

Annabelle slept a ton in the wrap once her brother and sister came home from school because the house was just so busy and overwhelming for her. She developed a witching hour from 2pm-9pm for the first few months. It was very very very tough you guys. I would just dread that part of the day because she always hated the car to and from school drop off! We would have to go pick them up around 2pm and then by the time we got home everyone was tired and hungry. All poor Annabelle wanted to do was nurse and rock, and frankly so did I! But I had to tend to my older kids and get their dinner started, unpack their school bags, and get them showered for bed. So that meant Annabelle was in the wrap for most of that time, sleeping off and on. I would try and lay her down in the million baby items I collected while pregnant but she would only last a few minutes in them.

Around 4 months she would take short naps in her crib during the day. Now she is almost 6 months old, she is taking longer naps in her crib. We do not go on any type of schedule, I’m not that Mom. I follow my kids cues for when they are tried and try to get them down at a decent hour in the evenings. I feel like a schedule just falls in to play at some point for both of us. She is now on some short of a schedule and by that I mean, she is ready to go down for a nap about two hours after she wakes up in the morning but that nap is usually like an hour. A while after that she will have her good nap which can be anywhere from an hour and half to three hours. In the evening she will take a short 30-45 minute nap and then I try to get her to bed between 8-9pm. Sometimes she’s ready to go to bed by 7:30 but the craziness of the older kids pushes her bed time back!

My Journey with Baby Wearing : Ashley Clark Blog
My Journey with Baby Wearing: Ashley Clark Blog
My Journey with Baby Wearing: Ashley Clark Blog

When I used the ring sling:

I tried using a ring sling when Annabelle was a month old but she wasn’t a fan at all. She loved the comfort of our Solly Baby Wrap a lot more and frankly so did I. I really started using my ring sling when she was around 4-5 months old because she is such a bigger size baby and she was more comfortable in it. I know a lot of Moms wear their newborns in a ring sling and I feel like if you are just more comfortable with using that type of product, that obviously makes a difference in how your baby will respond to it.

I own 3 Wild Bird slings and when I first ordered from them I was majorly confused on which one to buy. So if you are in the market for one and are lost as well, I would join their VIP Facebook group and ask the Vets in there. Since Annabelle is such a larger baby, I went with a Modal and a double ring sling. The Modal is very easy to work with, which I recommend for a first time user. The double is great for larger babies/toddlers and longer carries, over all it’s just more supportive. Before I started using the ring sling, I watched all the YouTube videos on how to get a deep seat and how to thread my sling. I am still learning to work my sling, just takes practice to get things just so. I know I have placed Annabelle in it correctly, because she doesn’t make a peep and just snuggles up with me. Recently I tried nursing her in the sling while at home and that was pretty amazing, I literally felt like Super Mom when I did that because I was in the middle of making dinner and she was fussy and wanted to go to bed. So she nursed and then I get her all comfortable again and she went to sleep.

I did use the ring sling to help settled her down for naps as well. If she was over tried and couldn’t fall asleep. I would put her in it and do stuff around my house until she feel asleep. I love how easy it is to transfer her from the sling to her crib! All you have to do it lose up the rings and then get the bottom rail and pull it up and over their little body! I did want to follow up on something else about the slings from Wild Bird. Their are different lengths that you can buy. I do have both 74’ and 90’ slings, the differences between that is if you want to play around with the tail of the sling. I don’t mind my longer tail (shown in photo above) but sometimes it does get annoying when I have to go to warp it and make it look pretty when I am in hurry. I think from here on out, I will only get the 74’ style.

I really hoped that first portion was helpful for you and I was able to answer any questions you have had about those two carriers. I truly do love them both so much and will be very sad when Annabelle will be to big to be in her Solly Baby Wrap. I am very thankful that I have found another carrier that will work for us as she gets bigger because I just love holding and snuggling with my babies.

In the next portion of this post I will be answering questions that you sent in via Instagram. Getting feedback from you is so wonderful and so much appreciated!

My Journey with Baby Wearing: Ashley Clark Blog
My Journey with Baby Wearing : Ashley Clark Blog

Q and A:

Q: Tell me how to be better at Wild Bird:

A: Before I purchased my Wild Bird sling, I watched a bunch of videos on how to thread, get a deep seat, and also joined the VIP Facebook group they have. The ladies in there are SO helpful and will answer just about anything you may have a question on. Once I got my sling, I went back and watched the videos again and again before putting Annabelle in there. Also I would only try the sling out when she was a good mode because she would be more patient with me as I adjusted the sling around. Just like any wrap or sling you will use on your baby it just takes practice, practice, practice to get really comfortable using it.

Q: What are the differences between the wraps and which do you prefer and why?

A: I got this answer so much! Let me try and break this down in the best way possible because they are truly two completely different wraps and experiences with your baby. Personally, I love the Solly Baby Wrap the best when Annabelle was tiny ( O-3 Months) because she was so snuggly and more comfortable in this wrap. Plus it was just easier to get her in and she would clam down/fall asleep within minutes of being put in! She loved the tight fit of it and just felt so safe and secure! The Solly Baby Wrap has great head support as well for the newborn stage. I didn’t feel like i had to really watch her head/neck when wearing her because the wrap is so well made/designed for this stage. Now that Annabelle is almost 6 months and about 20 months, she still fits comfortably in it and I can secure her head nicely when she falls asleep. She does like to have her arms out at times while in the wrap and can still sit comfortably and look around. The wrap goes up to 25 pounds and the material is wonderful! So lightweight and stretchy! They also have lots of tutorials on how to wrap for the newborn and standard.

When I got the Wild Bird wrap Annabelle was around 4 months old and and I purchased the Modal model first. It’s a nice starchy fabric to work with. I liked this wrap the best when Annabelle was stronger in holding her self up and it was helpful that she was a larger baby. The Wild Bird does have newborn holds and tricks to support their head! A lot of Mamas use this wrap during the newborn stage and they babies look cozy but it’s just not for me during that stage. I love the sling now, like I said because Annabelle is older. I did purchase the double model they have, that is great for larger babies and longer holds. I keep one in my car and in the house. I use my Wild Bird while we are out running errands because it’s so easy to throw on and she does fall asleep in it from time to time.

So to break it down even more. Solly Wrap is great for the 0-6 month stage and Wild Bird from 6-24month stage, in my personal opinion! Also, I keep both in my car and they are easy to store in the stroller/diaper bag as well.

Q: Is a wrap easier to put on than a structured carrier like Ergo, for example:

A: The Solly Baby Wrap is easy to put on once you got it down, again just takes practice. I would put my wrap on before I left the house on my way to school pick up because once I got there Annabelle would be losing her mind to get out of the car and I had to get her out fast once we parked. Now that she is oder, I just though it on quickly when we get to our destination. When it comes down to it, a structured carrier is faster to put on vs a Solly Baby Wrap. As for a Wild Bird sling, that is very quick and easy to put on, like a structured carrier.

Q: Do you have any tricks for putting on your Solly Baby Wrap on in public?

A: I wish I had a super easy trick to share but I’m sorry I just don’t. The more you wear your wrap and get down sort of a speed to putting it on, I would say that would be a trick. That’s exactly what I do now. When I first got my wrap it would take me a few minutes to get it on and place her in it. Now I can just throw it on when she starts getting upset. The only little tip I could share is, just try your best to read your little one. Throw on your wrap before they start to get upset, that a way you are ready to go when they start to get upset.

I really hoped this post was able to help you and help answer any questions you may have had about baby wearing or either carrier. If you ladies have any other questions please just comment below and I will be able to help the best way I can.

Ashley Clark Blog