Category Archives: Carrier chatter

What Can You Do While Babywearing? Go to the Carnival!

By HD

What can you do while babywearing? Go to the carnival
Babywearing can make going to the carnival easier! Recently, a few of our group members headed to the local carnival with our babies and our young children.

As you would guess, the older children wanted to play games and go on the rides. Babywearing made it easy to help the kids on and off the rides.

It also allowed us to assist them in playing games.

We would not have been able to do any of these things without our hands free! 

Babywearing Then and Now

By ME

The act of wearing babies in carrier dates back for thousands of years. Parents have used a variety of cloths, scarves, and ,more recently, buckles and straps to secure their little ones in a safe and fun way. It wasn’t until the modern invention of things such as strollers, walkers, carriages, etc. that babywearing fell out of popularity.

 

On a recent visit to the in-laws house, we were pouring over old photos and I came across this one (pardon the grainy shot; it’s a picture of a picture). I was pleasantly surprised to see my Father-in-law wearing Baby Brother-in-law in 1976. (My hubby didn’t come along until 1981.) For giggles, we put our 14 month old babe in the exact same carrier for a sweet moment of sentiment.

We have come a long way in the types of carriers we use and the functional means in which we use baby carriers. Back in the ‘70s, for the most part, babywearing was used as a way to get babies out and about, where a stroller couldn’t go. However, nowadays, parents are babywearing because we know how important it is for a mother and father to bond and connect with their baby. We use carriers to keep our babies close so that we can do things we need to, like go on a hike, or clean the house, dry your hair, cook dinner, or chase after the older children. Babywearing may have its ups and downs in popular culture, but it will stay dear in our hearts forever.

Confessions of a Babywearer

By HD

Confessions of a babywearer

So I am going to tell you the ugly truth. Babywearing is not all rainbows and kittens like you might think. Are you a babywearer? Then you probably know what I am talking about.

There are many times when I babywear for reasons other than to be close and snuggle with my little one. In fact, some of these times I would (gasp) prefer NOT to be babywearing. And even some of those times, my child would prefer I was not wearing him. 

Here is my top five list of times I DON”T love babywearing.

*Full disclosure- I have a 15 month old.

Safety. Wearing your child can help keep them safe from things like running out in the street or falling into a pool. Awesome tool, until your little one really wants to run in the street and jump in the pool. I would rather be holding hands with my obedient little person and talking to him about how much fun it will be to swim later than carrying him on back while he constantly begs me to put him down.

Keeping him out of my stuff. I am typically a big fan of letting children explore their world, but there are just sometimes you must prevent your child from throwing your nicely folded laundry on the floor or from splashing in the dog’s water bowl. My child and I don’t always agree on this. Babywearing to the rescue!

Keep him out of other people’s stuff. Everyone has been invited to a friend’s house with the promise of a great time (“sure bring the kids”, they say) and then find out very quickly just how un-childproof their home actually is. If you haven’t had this happen to you yet, I promise you will. Every breakable, expensive, tiny object in their house is just screaming for your child to touch it. Do you think I would I rather be babywearing (=standing) or sitting at their tall glass table sipping a drink from their $75 crystal glass?

Cleaning. Yes, babywearing is great for cleaning since you don’t have a little one un-cleaning behind you or to worry about. Would I rather mop my floors and clean my toilet without 25 lbs of child on my back? Yes!

When everything else has failed. Babywearing is one of my tools, but again it is not always my preference to babywear. I would much rather of have a peacefully sleeping child then be clocking some mileage as a walk around the block with him on my back for the 3rd time.
All of this said, babywearing will be one of the things I miss most as my children grow up. I am sure looking back; I will miss those even not so desirable babywearing times and wish I could have a hair-pulling toddler on my back once again.

Babywearing While Travelling

By KSC

Babywearing while travelling is not only a convenience but also a necessity sometimes.

I love being able to wear my son while traveling.  Not only is it convenient, it is easy, quick and leaves me with free hands to do other things, such as pull my bags or grab a bite to eat.  We have travelled quite a bit by plane in the last few years and it is always so nice to keep my son close to me while walking through busy airports, waiting to go through customs or just trying to get to the next gate in a large airport on time.  While I love walking at a toddlers pace the majority of the time, sometimes you just need to get to the gate in a hurry.  I don’t have to worry about bumping into anyone with my stroller or stopping at the end of the jetway to open or fold up my stroller and HOPE that the baggage handler will be gentle with my stuff.  I walk right onto the plane with my son on my back and quickly find our seats.  If I am using a wrap it also has been a great snuggle blanket, pillow and cover up for breastfeeding.

On train rides

buses

or boats

it is so much easier for me to get on and off the transportation in a timely manner and not have to struggle with equipment so that I can hold my bags with ease.  I have watched fellow passengers struggle with all their belongings and the stress it causes them.  I have even been asked to hold a women’s newborn at the security check point when she was traveling on her own as she had to disassemble her stroller and car seat and load it onto the scanner.  Of course you never mind holding a little newborn to help a mama out but I thought of how much easier it would have been for her to have the baby in a comfy sling and her hands free to do what she needed.

I have also worn my son while on day trips to museums or the airshow when the day is just a bit longer than little legs will hold out for.  It is so nice to be able to hear his comments and have communication that isn’t possible for me to have with him when he sits in a stroller without me stopping to bend over and hear what he is trying to say.

On this last trip I took with my son I was so grateful to have my carrier with me.  My son is 3 years old now and can walk the entire time at an airport especially with a direct flight so I thought I wouldn’t need a carrier.  As it turns out he hurt his foot the night before our flight in the hotel pool and had to be carried through the large airport.  Without my carrier I would have had no way to pull luggage and hold him in arms while travelling solo and being 6 months pregnant.  So next time you plan to travel by plane, train or even just in the city for the day consider the convenience of a carrier.

BB goes to CO

By ME

 

The BB Slen is a well-traveled wrap! It came with my little family on a trip to north central Colorado. Only a mere 30 miles south of the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history, we went on a mile long hike in the Front Range foothills of the Rocky Mountains at Heil Valley Ranch. I tossed my 18-lb, 14-month old on my back in a rucksack carry.

 

 

It was a comfortable 70-something degree, overcast day at the beginning of our hike, which was an improvement from 99 degrees the day before! By the end of the hike, the sun had come out, and I could feel the sweat was rolling.

 

What I love most about this wrap and rucksack carry is the even distribution of weight on my back. There aren’t any pressure points, and when tied tightly (with the help of my lovely husband), Baby felt snug and secure. I could jiggle side to side, and she wasn’t going to go anywhere. Safety was a big factor here, especially considering the rocky and uneven terrain we were hiking on. Thank goodness, I did not end up getting winded, as it was a nice, leisurely hike, even considering the altitude.

 

 

The absolute best part of all…having your sweet little one fall asleep while being worn. To me, as a mother, nothing is more validating than having a happy, content, SLEEPING baby while I get to enjoy mother nature. To keep her sleeping, bobble-head secure, I just had my husband help pull the sides of the wrap up on either side of her, while making sure her face was still visible and her airways free.

 

 

Overall, we had a fantastic hike. Thank you so much to Babywearing International of Peoria for letting us borrow this beautiful wrap for our trip!!!!

Happy 4th of July!

By KS

On June 19, 2012, my little brother was injured during a grenade attack in Afghanistan while serving in the US Army. He was flown to Germany, then finally back to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC.

He had shrapnel pieces from the grenade in his back, legs, butt, and feet, and also a concussion. It was a scary call to get, and so my sister and I, along with my two small children, decided to drive the 14 hours from our home in Illinois to see him in our nation’s capitol. My girls are 6 and 22 months, so we knew this trip was going to be a long and tiring adventure for them. The car ride seemed to stretch on forever and limited my physical contact with my baby; something we aren’t used to!  Thank goodness for babywearing. During the 4 days we were there, I constantly wore my almost 2 year old in a soft structured Boba. She napped in it each day and fell asleep in it at night when we were still out and about at bedtime. We used public transportation a lot (Metro, bus, trolley)

and also walked many places. I was so grateful to put her on my back and have her safe and close by, without having to lug a stroller around. I was also able to hold my big girl’s hand and make sure she was always accounted for as well. The biggest bonus to wearing her was that I think it truly gave her a sense of security and comfort. We were in many unfamiliar places and saw many sad and scary things, but she was on mama’s back, a place she knows so well, and a place that she loves. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but one we won’t forget.
My brother is doing much better now. He still cannot walk on his left ankle, as it was damaged by shrapnel. He’ll be in Washington DC for awhile, receiving therapy, both physical and emotional. Many of his fellow service members were not as lucky as he was.
I am so thankful for babywearing and also so grateful for men and women like my brother, willing to give the greatest sacrifice so that we can live free in America.

Tips for Summer Babywearing

By HD

Concerns:

Is it safe to wear my baby in the heat?  This is a question that only you can answer for yourself.  You will want to take into account the age of your baby, they type of carrier you have available and the temperature.

Are you going to get hot if you wear your baby in the summer heat? Well, yes, but you were going to be hot anyway.  And if you are not wearing your baby- you are probably going to be carrying your baby!

Will your baby be overheated next to you? Probably not, BUT do take precautions and always check on your baby.  Remember, people all over the world wear babies and in different temperatures (even in the hottest locations).  Your baby will be close to you (as opposed to in a stroller) and you will easily be able to monitor baby’s reaction to the heat.

Ways to stay cool:
1.  Avoid the sun.  Stay in the shade, use an umbrella or wide brimmed hat.  Very tiny babies should probably stay completely out of the sun.  You can also purchase sunshade covers for carriers or use the tail of your ring sling.  Use sunscreen.


2.  Drink lots of water.  This is especially important if you are nursing.  Make sure baby has water or breast milk readily available.
3.  Dress yourself and baby lightly. You may find one layer of clothing to be more comfortable that sweating skin to skin.


3.  Unwrap occasionally and cool off.  Keeping yourself moving also helps to create a breeze.
4.  Choose a lightweight fabric or a carrier that allows air to pass between you and baby.


5.  Use a handheld fan or a spray bottle to spritz you and baby.  Ice packs can also be used to keep cool, just be careful not to put ice directly on baby’s skin (or your skin).
6.  Choose a carry that limits contact and fabric such as a back carry.  If using a wrap, do a carry that only uses one layer of fabric across you and baby (such as a rucksack carry).

Websites used to create this document:

http://www.ecobabysteps.com/2010/07/19/cool-summer-babywearing/

http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/babywearing-hot-weather/

WAHM-made Carriers: An Editorial

By B

We’ve seen quite a few sketchy carriers come through meetings lately, so I feel the need to speak on this topic. I don’t buy carriers made by random work at home moms. There, I said it. Now, it isn’t that I don’t support WAHMs. I do. I buy clothing, cloth diapers, toys, nursing pads, all sort of things from random WAHMs. But not carriers. I wouldn’t buy a car seat that my aunt’s neighbor made and I’m not going to buy a baby carrier from her either. Unlike a cute appliqued T or a clutch ball, this is something that affects the safety of my baby. That isn’t someplace that I’m going to mess around. I don’t sew enough to know what sort of safety considerations I’m looking for (post on that, from someone who does sew well enough to know the difference, coming soon). I’ve seen enough poorly made carriers to know that they can be quite unsafe if the maker doesn’t know what they are doing. Liability insurance is pretty cost prohibitive for someone selling a few carriers a month, or a year. If something happens and my baby is catastrophically injured, there will be no recourse. I still love supporting WAHMs, I just choose to buy from one I know makes a quality product, like Bamberoo, Olives and Applesauce or Comfy Joey, just to name a few. A surprising number of quality, top name carriers are made or sold by WAHMs or mamas who started out and home, then expanded.

Another factor to consider is resale. If you buy a quality carrier from a reputable seller and take good care of it, you can get much of your money back when you’re done using it. If you are patient, not picky and keep a good eye out, you can find great gently used carriers for a steal. If you buy a nice carrier used, you can resell it for very close to what you paid. If you buy something that your cousin’s best friend made, maybe you’ll get something back out of it. Maybe it will be falling apart in 2 months. You just don’t know. It makes me really sad to have someone come in with a carrier that they spent a decent sum on that just isn’t worth it. Don’t let this be you.

There’s some good info on DIY carrier making and safety here. If you need a recommendation on where to buy a carrier, we’re here to help. If you have a carrier that you aren’t sure is safe, we’re happy to look it over, let you know what we think and show you how to safety test it.

 

Babywearing Knowledge: Sharing is Caring?

By CS

As with any topic, the more I learn about babywearing the more that I want to share.  While I don’t consider myself an expert, I do think that I know something about babywearing.  This is a good thing when friends and acquaintances ask me for advice.  Babywearing can be overwhelming and I like being a bit of a tour guide and introducing people to different ways to carry.  However, sometimes I see people wearing their baby in a way that isn’t necessarily the best way to carry their baby.  In this situation, it can be tricky to know what to do.
The first thing to consider, is the safety of the baby.  If a baby is in an unsafe position, you should definitely say something.  I introduce myself first, say that I also like wearing my baby and I noticed that their baby was too low or baby was in a curled position or whatever the case may be.  I might say something to the effect that it took me a little while to get things down but now that I had been babywearing for a while things were easier and it was much more comfortable for me and my baby and that my baby loves it now.
The second thing to consider is the comfort of the baby and parent.  If the baby or parent is obviously uncomfortable, this is another instance where I would introduce myself, talk briefly about a babywearing benefit and then offer suggestions.  I would try to speak from my personal experiences.  I might say things  like “it seemed as if my baby was fussy until I started wearing them higher, more supported, etc”.  I consider this the most difficult situation.  Remember that the most important thing is that they are wearing their baby.  I would say something in this case if I thought it would help them continue to babywear.  I don’t want people to stop wearing because it was uncomfortable when I might have been able to offer a suggestion to help.
In the last case, where everyone looks content but they are just doing things differently than I would do.  I really wouldn’t say anything in the moment.  I would introduce myself, say I loved babywearing and invite her to our next event.  I would sell it as “Come hang out with other people who wear their babies and talk babywearing” rather than “You need to come learn more about babywearing”  I would give her a card and direct her to our facebook page and blog.  Hopefully, they check out our resources and come to a meeting.  Once there, they can see plenty of examples of good babywearing.
In all these situations, the important thing is to have people wearing their babies.  As long as the safety of the baby is not an issue,the other stuff doesn’t matter as much.  People are parenting the best way they know how and they may not want unsolicited advice.  If you think saying something could do more damage than good, then just invite to a babywearing event or even just don’t say anything at all.