Monthly Archives: June 2012

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/

Comfy Joey Water Ring Sling Review and Comparison

By B

 

I recently had the opportunity to try the Comfy Joey Water Ring Sling out with my family at an indoor water park. I talk here about how babywearing really helped out on that trip. I’ve owned a water ring sling since my older child was just a few months old. It got a lot of use here as a shower sling. I figured the CJ sling would be the same thing. I was so pleasantly surprised to find that the Comfy Joey water sling is a million times better!

I thought that the major advantage of the Comfy Joey sling was the wide range of cute colors they are available in. Other water slings I’d see are available in black, white and blue. The Comfy Joey ones come in 6 beautiful colors, the better to match to your swim suit.

On the ring sling that I have, the material is like a football jersey, with larger holes. When dry, it is somewhat slippy, not dangerous, just needs to be readjusted often. Once it gets wet, it becomes grippy. I expected the same from the Comfy Joey, but that isn’t the case at all. The CJ is rock solid. I put baby girl in, got her settled and headed to the pool. I didn’t need to adjust the sling one time during the 90 minutes she was in it. The CJ material is grippy from the get go. This is a big advantage when you are wearing your baby around, say, a water park, where you will be in and out of the water. I was really surprised at how supportive and comfortable this ring sling was. I could definitely see wearing it for a day at the pool. I think the smaller holes in the Comfy Joey would make for better sun protection as well, though neither sling is made to be a substitute for sunscreen.

Close up photos of the fabrics:

Comfy Joey is the green one.

Another difference is the shoulder style. Really, it’s a matter of personal preference. I really like the “CJ Hybrid” shoulder, as it’s called. Some info from the site:  “Fans of gathered shoulders will find that this design allows the sling fabric to be spread wide to hug your shoulder similar to a gathered shoulder style, virtually eliminating pressure points. However, our design also allows the shoulder fabric to be worn narrowly, or scrunched up, maximizing the freedom of movement for the ring-side arm with less bulk than you’d expect.” This means that you can wear the shoulder either spread out, to distribute the weight better, or bunched up, to have full range of arm motion. Honestly, they are both super comfortable on this.

CJ shoulder, spread

And bunched

The other, spread as much as I could

And bunched

The rings on the Comfy Joey are smaller, too, which helps it to be less slippy. It’s just as easy to adjust, though.

 

 

 

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.

 

Beco Butterfly 2 Review

By JH

I recently tried a Beco.  For those of you who are new to babywearing and concerned with the safety of a buckle carrier, this carrier is for you.  The Beco has special safety buckles on the shoulder straps that require two hands to unbuckle, thereby ensuring that the straps do not accidentally come open.  It is a very comfortable carrier and can be used from infancy.

I used it with my 20 month old, 23 lb son as well as my 3.5 year old, 35 lb daughter.  It was equally comfortable with each of them.  The wide, padded shoulder straps and flat back waist buckle distribute the weight nicely.  The Beco comes with a chest clip as well that can slide along the shoulder pads, but cannot fall off.  Overall, it is a very well designed carrier.

Tip Tuesday- Buleria Finish

By KSC

Our tip this week will be a tie off known as the Knotless finish or Buleria finish.  I am using our lending library’s Didymos Sequoia Waves donated by Birdies’ Room, it is a size 4(3.6m).  This type of tie off or finish is another way to have a chest belt variation other than Tibetian or tying at the shoulder.  It also can be utilized when using a shorter wrap for some carriers.
For this tie off you will have one tail end coming over your shoulder and one tail end coming under that same arm.
Take the tail end that is coming from under your arm and cross it over the other tail.
We will be working with this one tail for now
 Now you will bring that tail to the back of the tail coming over your shoulder.
 I reach from above and behind and pull that same tail up and over itself, as if you were tying a single knot.
 Now you can lay it down over the front.
 Now we will use the other tail that is coming over your shoulder.  You will now take that tail and bring it across to your opposite shoulder.
 Pull this tail through the ruck strap.
I now put my hand up and underneath the chest belt.
Pull that same tail down and through the chest pass.
Now you are done and have a nice Buleria finish.

Featured Carry- Front Wrap Cross Carry Variations

By B

You might remember our Featured Carry- Front Wrap Cross Carry that we did a while back. FWCC is one of my very favorite carries. As Baby Girl is getting bigger and, especially, with the hot weather, I’m finding that I don’t want to use as long of a wrap. I’ve been reaching for my shorter wraps far more. Luckily for me, there are some variations on a front wrap cross carry that give me the features of this carry that I love, but let me use a shorter wrap. I’ll share 3 variations of it with you here.

As always, we love your participation in the Featured Carry series! We’d love for you to share pictures of yourself doing the Featured Carry on our Facebook page. Feel free to share your own tips, tweaks, tutorials, videos, whatever!

The first variation is Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied Under Bum (FWCC TUB). This is nice for hot weather because there is only one layer of fabric across baby’s back. I’m using a size 3 wrap here. In all pics, baby is 11.5 (!) months.

I start by putting the center marker in the center of my body. I hold it with my chin, let one side drop and deal with the other side

I hold the top edge on the wrap, passing it from one hand to the other, behind my back

Still holding that top edge to make sure the crosses lie flat, I bring the end up

and over my shoulder. I bunch it now.

I do the same with the other side, passing it from hand to hand by the top edge, bring it across my back and over my shoulder

So I have a nice smooth X on my back, just like in regular FWCC

Now, I add baby, reaching my hand under the wrap to guide her legs through

Make sure the wrap is spread from knees to armpits

Tighten one side,

then the other

I spread out more as I go, making sure it is at least up to baby’s armpits. I also want her to be in a nice seat, with the wrap tucked underneath her bottom, knees higher than bottom. All this is exactly the same as regular Front Wrap Cross Carry.

Make sure it’s nice and snug. I tighten up both rails and the center.

This is the part of regular FWCC where you would go over and under the legs, making a cross on baby’s bottom, then tying behind your back. But in FWCC TUB, we are going to instead tie under the bum now.

Once I get that first half of the knot tied, I like to do a little bounce as I tighten that.

That gets it nice and snug. Then, I make sure that the knot is fully under baby’s bottom. This locks her legs into a seated position, so she can’t straighten them and pop out of her nice seat. I finish tying the double knot.

Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied Under Bum

The next variation is Half Front Wrap Cross Carry. I’ve been doing this carry a lot lately and really like it. The wrap here is 3.5 m.

I start with a short tail over my shoulder. I only need enough to tie a slip knot to, but have some extra wrap here, so I’m taking up some extra. I bring the wrap behind my back, again, holding the top edge so it doesn’t get twisted.

The wrap goes across my front, under the short tail, under my other arm

around my back

and up over my shoulder

Now, I add baby. Again, bringing my hand underneath the wrap to guide her legs through

Spreading the wrap out on her back, getting her in a nice seat

I tighten everything up

And bring the wrap over her shoulder, across her body and under her other leg

Then, I take the wrap straight up

and tie in either a knot

or, my preference, a slip knot

Spread that cross pass out over her bottom, from knee to knee

That’s it. Half Front Wrap Cross Carry. I think this is a really nice looking carry. It would look great for a formal occasion. You get the flowy drama of a ring sling, with the versatility of a wrap.

The last carry is the Semi Front Wrap Cross Carry. I’m doing this with a size 4, but you could definitely use a shorter wrap, possibly even a 2. I’ll have to try when my 2 comes home and update.

Normally, I would start the wrap, then add baby, but she really did not want to be put down, so I wrapped around her.

I start off with the wrap stuffed in my pocket, a generous handful of the end. I’m leaving some extra length there since I have plenty.

I go across baby and under my arm

Around my back, trying to keep things somewhat tight as I go

I go under my other arm as well, getting baby situated in her seat as I go

I bring the wrap back across baby again. The wrap hasn’t gone over either of my shoulders at this point, just wrapped around my body. It is going over both of baby’s legs.

The wrap goes under that arm again

Then up over my shoulder, on the same side that the other end of the wrap is tucked.

Tighten everything up. Take the end out of your pocket

And tie it in a slip knot (or regular knot). Spread that pass out nicely on baby’s bottom

And there you have Semi Front Wrap Cross Carry

From the back

If you’ve made it this far, you must be a hard core wrapper! Now, go take some pics and share them with us!

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.

Chimparoo Mei Tai Review

By CS

 

The Chimparoo Mei Tai is different thanany other mei tai that I have tried and I really liked it. The key difference is that the mei tai is made out of woven wrap material. Chimparoo has their own wraps and they used this as a basis for this carrier. Since the material is so supportive, they do not need a stiffer interior canvas panel that many mei tais use. Using the woven wrap material also made the mei tai very soft and snuggly. I thought I could get a tighter fit with my son than I could with other traditional mei tais. The Chimparoo Mei Tai in our BWI Peoria library is a pretty blue and purple colorway, but there are lots of good options on their website.

I used this met tai primarily with my eight month old son. He weighs about 18 lbs. Something I really liked about this carrier is that both the height and width are adjustable. I synched the base in a little bit so he didn’t have quite as far of leg spread, and I also shortened it so he could look around. We wore it out while hiking and it performed very well. I had him in a front carry during the hike and he fell asleep. There is a built in hood that rolls up, so I unsnapped and used it to support his little head. I also did a back carry with my son in this carrier and I was able to get him really high. I tied the waist straps close under my chest and he was able to look over my shoulder. This extended the amount of time that he was content on my back.

Another thing, is this carrier was my gateway carrier for nursing. I hadn’t really mastered nursing in carriers until I tried it is this one. I don’t know if it was this carrier’s flexibility in supporting my son or something else but since mastering nursing in this carrier, I have been able to replicate with other carriers. It was also very discrete.

I like to get my money’s worth in acarrier, so any carrier I can also use with my 25 pound two year old daughter is a plus. I adjusted both the width and height to accommodate her (very easy to do quickly.) The wrap material was sufficient to support her comfortably while I cooked dinner. I was pleased with the height of the carrier on her back. I did not have the height at the maximum and the weight limit of the carrier is 30 lbs so she still has some growing room.

The adjustability in the width and some additional features allow this mei tai to be used with very young babies as well. I am looking forward to hearing what a mother with a newborn thinks of this Chimparoo.

Like some wraps, this carrier was slightly slippy and I did readjust. The carrier was brand new when I tried it and I think that this should get better as the carrier gets worn more.

Finally, this carrier is good for summer usage. I think it would be fairly cool due to the lack of interior paneling. It also folds up pretty small to tuck into a diaper bag or stash in a car. If you are a mei tai fan or if you haven’t loved mei tais before I recommend trying the Chimparoo as it is completely different from other mei tais. There is a 10% discount for BWI Peoria members as well.