Ergo Baby Carrier Video

I finally got a quick Ergo Baby Carrier video with front and back carries (including down) and nursing up on YouTube:


Awesome NINO meeting

Today's meeting was awesome! There were about 7 or 8 moms, a perfect size group, everyone was on time, and even though we only have the room for 1 1/2 hours, it ran very smoothly! I think it helped that there were no bigger kids running around. That's always tricky in an indoor space.

The topic was structured baby carriers and I have a very nice collection of these as this is my favorite type of baby carrier. For those that don't know, a structured baby carrier has some stiffness to the waist belt and padded shoulder straps and it closes with buckles instead of tying. It is also known as a soft pack.

I had my Beco, Yamo,
Ergo, Classic Ergo (sounds like Coke, Coke Classic), Patapum, Toddler Patapum, and Sutemi. There was also a Trekker and repeats of some of what I brought. There are definitely a few additions I'd like to make to round out my collection, but when does it end?

With the new meeting format, we start out by viewing some video appropriate to the topic. With so much amazing babywearing video now available, this is a tough choice. I will make executive decisions for now (more on that later) and simply choose what I think is best. Today, I chose the section on using the Ergo with the newborn insert. There was a mom with a 5 week old in a pouch and I wanted her to see how the structured baby carriers were suitable to her even though her baby was still so little, and also I love the new technique Ergo has with sort of swaddling the infant insert around the baby and inserting the baby like that, so I was excited to share it with everyone. I just had no idea it could be done like that so it's great to spread the word. (Gee, sounds like gospel or something but to me, I guess that is how I feel about babywearing!)

I totally forgot my infant insert, so I had her cheating anyway! She tried the Ergo with her baby upright and facing in and also tried a bit cradled for nursing and it didn't work out for her. She also tried the Beco and it worked out beautifully! It turns out that the longer body in the Beco supported the baby's head so she could actually nurse hands free! She had large breasts and the baby's face was totally smushed when she tried the Ergo. There is a great argument for the longer body of the Beco.

I laughingly asked everyone to send me a written report of their findings after the meeting. I know a lot of people on thebabywearer are hoping for feedback after this meeting. I can only remember so much of what people said, and also, I was putting my Yamo through its paces during this meeting and less hands on for the first 40 minutes or so than I'd like to have been. My daughter fell asleep on the short ride over and I had a huge bin to carry in, so I put her on my back and tried the sleep hood on the back for the first time. I have to say, the Yamo has the best sleep hood out of any of the structured baby carriers. It is always a bit tricky to use a sleep hood when your baby is asleep on your back, and maybe I have just gotten good at it over time even though it's something we rarely do nowadays, but it worked very well. So we made a bit of an entrance with her nicely snoozing back there. Then during the video portion, she woke up a bit and I got to spin her around to the front and demonstrate nursing in the Yamo. The mom of the newborn actually noticed all this even though I was behind her! She'll make a great mom - she's got eyes on the back of her head!

Anyway, on to the chaos portion of the meeting. Only it wasn't chaotic! It seems that everyone got to try on quite a few different baby carriers. The Ergo definitely scored highest marks for comfort across the board. No surprises there. And the Beco definitely scored highest marks for looks. There were only two Becos but I tried to underscore that there are so many unique prints available. The Yamo was second to the Beco for comfort or even a tie. Amanda even forgot she was wearing it! I didn't notice anyone raving about the Patapum but I had the older models. Possibly, the new ones have vastly improved. I haven't actually taken a look at them yet!

There was lots of asking for my opinion, which is something like this: for the comfort of parent and baby, nothing beats the Ergo. The padding around the legs, the darts in the bottom are great features for baby. The cut fits a lot of people really well and it passes the "five minute test" - if a baby carrier is comfortable for 5 minutes, it's my opinion that it will be good for the long haul. That is not to say you won't get any muscle soreness if you are working muscles that have been ignored, but once those muscles come up to speed, it should stay comfortable for the long haul. So for maximum comfort, it is the Ergo for me. For aesthetics, I would say have a look and see what appeals to you, knowing you might possibly sacrifice a bit of comfort but not wind up miserable. I am not wearing my Ergo these days but my husband still prefers it. He won't be caught in the Beco but he will wear the Yamo if there is nothing else around. But he'll grumble about it. He does concede that perhaps he doesn't have it adjusted correctly. I find it wonderful for the long haul but I do concede that the Ergo is even more comfortable for a front carry.

The straps on the Sutemi seemed a bit wide for some women who had narrow shoulders and no one liked it for a back carry because of having to cross the straps across the boobs. I don't know too many women who are comfortable like that but it's a great look for men.

Okay, girls, I am awaiting those written reports I asked for so we can round out this section a bit better!

Going forward, I am hoping to get some of the regulars to join in as NINO leaders. Any takers? All it takes is getting onto the NINO Leaders forum on thebabywearer.com and helping to plan and run the meetings. So far, the meetings have been quite informal. Definitely taking care of anyone with pressing babywearing issues is always the top priority. Having a topic has really seemed to help keep things focused, and I am not sure what topic to go with next month so I am totally open to suggestions on that. Also, there is definitely a need for more NINO groups to spring up in this area, so it is possible someone might want to colead a few times with me and then start a group either in Miami or west Broward. Both of those areas have a lot of babywearers who don't always want to make the trek to Hollywood.

After the meeting, chatting amiably in the street, we sort of didn't notice some of us were getting parking tickets so that put a bit of a damper on a nice day. Mine was $20. Ugh. And I nearly broke my pinky toe this morning racing around trying to do too many things, so I was quite startled to see what a lovely shade of purple it had turned by the time I got home. I hope neither of those downers has affected my tone too much!


Thank goodness for my Yamo baby carrier!

Today I screwed up! I was supposed to have gone on this tour of an historic house with a local homeschool group yesterday but I, ah, showed up today. Oh well! So, rather than my kids having a grand time hanging with other kids, we got the undivided attention of the tour guide who felt it best to turn up the volume every time my kids had something to say, leaving me feeling torn. There he was asking questions of me, my 7 year old wanting to ask questions of him, and my little one rather bored and rambunctious.

Luckily, it was mostly that my little one was tired, and eventually, she was willing to climb up into the Yamo baby carrier and requested in our code to nurse. (For those of you who don't have a code word, I highly recommend it! My first daughter was highly verbal and there is nothing like standing in the checkout line with a toddler shouting, "I want to nurse!!!" to get your temperature up!)

Without breaking eye contact, I was able to continue answering his questions and listening to his loud spiel, continue telling my 7 year old, "Just a second," and get my little one latched on and nursing hands-free so we could get through the rest of our solo-tour.

Next time I show up on entirely the wrong day for something that really isn't that kid-oriented, I am not sure I will stay. It's a shame you can't really tell that in advance. Oh well, I enjoyed the tour! And I think my kids actually did too, thanks, in no small part, to babywearing.


Babywearing with no baby carrier

The other day, I was out to dinner with all my family in town. The parking lot was pretty close to the restaurant so I didn't bother with carrying my daughter in any baby carrier. But after we were mostly done eating, she got bored and took me outside to wander. It was pretty chilly so I had a light jacket on. She quickly tired of walking and I quickly tired of carrying her.

Ah hah! I remembered the wise teachings of Tracy of the mamatoto project!

I wrapped her leggies around me and zipped the jacket under her bottom and found it helped with her weight. This was just as well - we wound up going to the store and getting some water so I had her like this for quite a while.

Would I have preferred a baby carrier? You bet! But this was still better than nothing.


Yamo and Beco and Ergo! Oh my!

Well isn't it just fun to finally have some wonderful choices in the structured baby carrier game? I now own, well, let me see.... A sutemi, a regular and a toddler Patapum, an Ergo, a Beco, and now a Yamo. Do I get some sort of prize?

Each one is slightly different, some are more comfortable than others, but the variety is great as there is now something for everyone.

The Beco has you pull the straps up to tighten it - a great innovation. The Yamo lets you pull up or down! Great for those who can't decide! The Ergo, Beco and Yamo are all convertable to hip carriers. The Patapum doesn't allow that. The Sutemi does but I have never even tried it! The convertability to a hip carrier also gives you another option: to cross the straps. That can mean added comfort on long carries.

What am I missing from my collection? Next month the topic of our NINO Babywearing meeting is structured baby carriers. Is my collection complete?


Monthly NINO Babywearing Meeting

This week was my groups monthly NINO babywearing meeting. The focus this month was slings and pouches.

After doing an introduction to the features of various slings and pouches, we started playing around and helping one another.

One woman with a newborn was having trouble with her pouch. I showed her how to her turn her baby around so it would be easier to nurse him in the pouch, but it does appear her pouch is just a little too big for her. She would probably be more comfortable with one just a tad smaller.

Everyone had great fun chatting about the various brands of pouches and slings and trying on each others' baby carriers.
One woman had completely forgotton how to get her Ergo on her back so we did a quick refresher! That is so funny. For a few months, my daughter refused to go on my back and I felt like I had totally lost the skills but luckily, it's like riding a bike!

And another was ready to try the Ergo. She had borrowed an EllaRoo wrap from me to use while her baby was in a Pavlic harness to help correct hip dysplasia. First time in the Ergo baby carrier and she was nursing her baby! Of course, my daughter had to show her the ropes!


Now you can see what I see! Oopa videos!

What a treat I have for you! I have been lucky enough to have met Amy Abreu in real life (she's lovely - good looking and nice!) and to have studied her sling technique, but not to my heart's content.

Amy has put awesome sling instruction videos on her Oopa website. I have always been fascinated with how she puts the baby in the sling and keeps her arm in there while she makes the adjustments. I have tried it this way a few times but never quite gotten the hang of the technique. Now, I will be able to study it at my leisure, as will you, and hopefully master and share this technique with others.

Also a treat is just looking at the rich colors and simply gorgeous Oopa silk slings. Better still would be to own one myself but I'm still working on making that happen. Meanwhile, I can imagine touching them and hearing the rustle of the fabric helps!


Baby carriers are like shoes

People tend to get nervous when buying a baby carrier. They research and research and want to get it right! The thing is, it's totally cool to get multiple baby carriers.

Think of it like shoes.

You have to have sandals for breezy days. Maybe flip flops for days you just want quick in and out. You gotta have a nice structured shoe with good support for long walks. Maybe a hiking boot or shoe if you're into that. And of course you need some dressy shoes - you might have to compromise comfort.
Everyone owns at least a few pairs of shoes and usually several of each kind of function to go with different outfits, weather and moods.

Let me ask you - how often to your feet change size? Not often, right? So when you pick out a shoe, you know that it will work for you until it wears out, you get tired of it, or styles change (if you care about that sort of thing). But babies, well, they change! Oh, and so do new mamas - they (usually) shrink (eventually).

So the baby carrier that was ideal for the first few months may be awful when your baby hits six months. Or you may have lost so much weight that it isn't a good fit.

Newsflash! There is no penalty for getting another! And another! Yes, okay, they do cost money, but you can easily come by used baby carriers on Ebay, craigslist, the babywearing swap group, or thebabywearer.com. The latter, by the way, is the definitive site for all things babywearing. You will need to create a login but it's well worth it.

So go ahead. Buy a second baby carrier. Or even a third. Know that you can sell it and recoup some of your investment when the time comes.


Question: Is it too late to start babywearing?

Very often, people ask me if it's too late to start babywearing. My generic answer is that if you are holding your child, you would probably be happier with a good baby carrier. As a related question, many people feel that their child is much too heavy to be worn because they have hit around 22 pounds. Let me address that concern first and then get back to thoughts on starting babywearing.

Most babies, especially breastfed babies, have a similar pattern to weight gain. You can see from the new World Health Organization Growth charts that at around 6 months, weight gain begins to taper, and it tapers more rapidly at around 12 months. So many parents watch their babies gain very rapidly in the first 3-5 months and immediately assume that they will have huge toddlers that will be impossible to clothe or pick up. Generally, this is not the case. And in the rare instances where it is the case, you pretty much have to deal with it because babies still need to be held, and a very good baby carrier such as the Ergo Baby Carrier or a Wrap will help you be more comfortable. I ask you, do you want to support 30 pounds with your arms, or strap the weight onto your body? And for you moms that say you are simply too petite to practice babywearing, again, I ask you, do you find yourself lugging your baby around and pushing the stroller with the other hand? You will be surprised how much easier it is to babywear with a proper baby carrier.

So, back to the original question,
it's definitely not too late to start babywearing. If you're carrying your baby anyway, a well designed baby carrier, like the Ergo or the EllaRoo Mei Hip will support him just how you are holding him except hands free. Or on your back so he's out of the way.

If he's not used to being worn, the thing that is important to remember are that you can't stand still. So many people put the baby in the baby carrier and then stand there and say, "He doesn't like it," and conclude that it's not going to work for them. Um, babies aren't all that different. It does take a bit of work. My older daughter couldn't stand to be in a carseat if the car wasn't moving, so I planned my whole route around where I could go right on red! It's just the stuff we do to keep our littles happy. The same for babywearing; you have to at a minimum rock, bounce, or sway, and even better is to pace, or, best, go outside and walk! Once the baby gets used to it, they settle down, but even now, when I pick up my 2 year old, I bop pretty hard for a bit if she's fussing.


For babywearers, the party must go on!

I've just come from a first year birthday party. Of course, most of the guests were moms with babies. Most of the moms knew at least a few other moms, so it was a great opportunity to socialize.

After an hour, maybe a little more, the moms divided into two camps. Those that had to go because their baby had to take a nap, and those that stood up and put their baby in a baby carrier because their baby had to take a nap. The first camp said their goodbyes and was gone within a few minutes. The second camp continued their conversations standing, swaying, maybe bouncing a little. The party went on.

A few from the first camp noticed and were interested in the contraptions. I let one try my Ergo. I wonder if it will appeal to her. Her first thought was to wear the baby facing out. I let the other moms handle explaining that you can't do that. It does seem a shame that the popular Baby Bjorn got everyone thinking that was the way to wear a baby. She very quickly tried a baby carry and could see the wisdom in that so maybe she'll come around and find she gets to stay at parties in the future!

Not babywearing is so limiting!


Ergo Pet Carrier

I took some great photos of my daughter wearing one of our kitties in the Ergo Baby Carrier. And she also got some great shots of me wearing our larger cat, who's 14. Both cats thoroughly enjoyed modeling. I was actually surprised at how well they took to it. Later, I found the old guy napping on the Ergo.

This would work great for small dogs, too.


Angelina Jolie is babywearing!

Everyone saw [Angelina Jolie] wearing her 4-month-old daughter Eunice Mae in a Baby Björn in some magazine. Terrific! When the movie stars are seen babywearing, it suddenly appeals to more people and this is wonderful.

However this does not make a baby carrier of this sort a wise choice. Just because the stars haven't properly educated themselves as to all the options out there, doesn't mean the rest of us normal folk can't make a great decision on a baby carrier. An Ergo Baby Carrier, for example looks quite similar but you can continue wearing it for years!

If you want to pay pretty close to $100 and only use your baby carrier for a few months, then be stuck lugging a stroller, go for it! But I seriously recommend doing a bit more research. Babywearing is so lovely, not something you just want to do for 3-6 months. Strollers are heavy and awkward and they put a separation between you and your child. All babies are treated like little movie stars, not just those of the actual movie stars! Hey, this is probably why the movie stars are so drawn to babywearing. It's just safer to have your precious little movie star up close.

Check out the other baby carriers that are out there and don't think you have to limit yourself to just one baby carrier.


Ergo Baby Carrier Instructions

I am so proud of myself! I have a long way to go but I have made some great progress updating the Ergo Baby Carrier Instructions page. I've added some tips that come from all my experience with the Ergo and some tips that my customers have shared with me. If you've got a great tip, share it with me!


Babywearing and The Ergo Lady

They say to do what you love. It has taken me my whole adult life to get here but I have found my bliss. I teach babywearing and sell the best baby carriers.

What the heck is babywearing?

Babywearing is the best little secret of parenting. Babywearing means just what it sounds like: using a baby carrier, your little one is secured to you like part of your outfit.

Babies who are worn are right up with the action, seeing whatever mom or dad is doing, so there is no need to fuss or complain of boredom or discomfort. No need to run away to get some attention. Since little one is so close to mom or dad, she’s getting constant physical contact and is secure. Need to nurse? The snack bar is open! Tired of nursing? Baby goes on mama’s back or on daddy.

Babies can tend to get disorganized after too much stimulation or when they get tired. Babywearing gets them sorted right back out.

My favorite reasons wear baby
  • I have 2 children and need to tend to the older
  • Sometimes I like to eat. Babywearing enables me to have free hands so I can prepare food.
  • Travel is so simple with a baby on your back and no stroller to check.
  • Strollers can’t go on gravel, up stairs, on sand or in some places like museums.
  • It is difficult to get strollers in and out of the car, especially if you are holding your baby.
  • The baby fusses while you’re struggling with the stroller.
  • The baby demands to be picked up anyway and then you only have one hand to use to push the big heavy stroller.
  • When you are in someone’s house and it’s not child-proofed, having a baby carrier will save you.
  • Sleepy babies want to be held.
  • The bond is so much closer when you touch your little angels a lot.
  • You really can nurse hands-free and get other things done. I did not believe this with my older daughter. Believe it.
Things to look for in a Baby Carrier

A well-designed baby carrier, such as the Ergo Baby Carrier, is comfortable for the parent and baby and ergonomically correct. Some of the baby’s weight is supported on the wearer’s hips and some on the shoulders. The baby’s legs should, in general, be together for the first few months. An exception to this is if the baby has hip dysplasia. At around three months, when baby naturally chooses this position on her own, her legs should be open. Some experts have expressed concern with the growing trend of baby carriers that have baby supported mainly by the crotch. There is concern that this can lead to hip dysplasia. Anyway, I am certain that I would not like to be suspending dangling by my crotch. Also, small babies should be worn facing the parent. They are simply too vulnerable to be facing out, soft belly to the world, as it were. When worn facing in, they can still see plenty of what is going on around them, but they can check in with mom or dad and connect whenever necessary and hide if required.

Where to learn more

You can learn all about the Ergo Baby Carrier from TheErgoLady. You can learn about babywearing either online at thebabywearer.com or find a group that meets you by looking up your area on the NINO website, ninenineout.org.

By Ellen Sandoval, Babywearing Consultant and Babywearing Educator. Ellen owns and operates SoBeBabies.com, Inc and TheErgoLady.com and works at home with her two lovely girls underfoot.

Picky, picky!

My daughter just turned two! I know! Can you believe it? And lately, I've noticed she's so particular about her positioning when I wear her in the Ergo. If I try to put her on my back and she's not in the mood, she protests and wriggles. If I try to put her on my front, and she was in the mood to be on my back, same thing! She's even requested a hip carry a few times. Adorable!

The good news is she is once again more willing to be my model. For at least her first 16 months, I could use her to demonstrate any baby carrier and any position in my NINO babywearing meetings. Then she started having too much fun playing with the other kids and didn't want to be interrupted. Now, when she seems me playing around with my Reborn doll, she usually decides she'd rather be picked up.


The Ergo Lady

If you know me at all, you'll know I'm obsessed with the Ergo Baby Carrier. I use mine all the time and have since my 2nd daughter was around 7 months old. In fact, within a few weeks of getting mine, I incorporated and decided to sell them! It took me a few weeks because I didn't catch on to how to use my Ergo Baby Carrier immediately and was intimidated by it at first.

My daughter is turning 2 tomorrow and we're still going strong with the Ergo Baby Carrier. I continue to use it every single day as does my husband. I love it. That said, I have just launched a 2nd website dedicated to this wonderful product. Locally, I am known as "The Ergo Lady" (or maybe it's "That Crazy Lady" but I'm not choosing to hear that!) so guess what my website is called? You guessed it! Have a look at The Ergo Lady and watch it grow. There will be more photos, more information, more videos, more, more, MORE!


The Classic Ergo vs the New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier

Well I got my Classic Ergo back at long last from a friend who'd borrowed it and I can finally compare the Classic and New Generation Ergo Baby Carriers with authority.

First thing I'd like to say is WOW! The New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier got it right! My initial impression when it came out was that it was more comfortable but I was so new to the Ergo at that point that it was hard to quantify for sure all the ways in which it had improved. Now, after a year of using the New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier, I can honestly assess the Classic Ergo.

I realize there are comparisons all over the place and charts and such but this is important stuff because there are old reviews kicking around of the Classic Ergo that people will take as definitive and the product has improved so dramatically that it is well worth noting what's better about the New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier. And this is quite possibly a work in progress as I just used it for only an hour or two. As I learn more, I will add to this blog.

The first thing that bothered me is that the waist strap on the Classic Ergo has, for average waisted people like myself, 2 elastic bands that you have to run through if you don't want to have it flapping around in front of you and looking silly. The New Generation Ergo has one elastic near the buckle which is much simpler. Nothing dangles.

The second annoyance is that the chest strap is not fixed to the shoulder straps. So getting the chest strap closed involves holding baby with one hand and getting the chest strap to the correct height before fastening. I don't miss doing this maneuver, especially for back carries.

The next thing I noticed was that the buckles are actually not as good as they used to be. The Classic Ergo had some kind of tab on the buckles under the arms that allow you to loosen it much more quickly. If you are a fan of SoBeBabies, then you'll know all about my technique for closing the chest strap behind you when wearing the Ergo on the front. But I used a back carry to start off.

The next thing I noticed was that it wasn't as comfy for a back carry. Baby was in, everything was adjusted, but it just wasn't thta comfy. As I recalled, when I got the New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier, it was more comfy under the arms. This was not my imagination. The shoulder straps have most definitely improved and it feels better. With the Classic Ergo, I felt a bit choked and poked by the straps.

As I wore baby a few minutes, I felt myself getting tired back muscles in a way I am not accustomed to. As time wore on, I was definitely not feeling that comfortable.

I doubt my baby was as comfy as she is normally because the body of the Classic Ergo is narrower. When I felt behind me to see how it was supporting her tush, it wasn't coming nearly as far up her legs. She's a toddler now. It just can't feel comfy to have little legs dangling down instead of sitting in a nice deep pocket.

After my errands, I popped baby on the front. Yikes. This is definitely not comfy in the Classic Ergo. In fact, it felt awful immediately. I have gotten quite used to this position in the New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier and I was shocked at how horrible it was in the Classic Ergo because it's great in the New Generation! One reason for this is that the body of the New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier has darts which automatically create a pocket. On the Classic Ergo, the waist strap was not flush against my body so most of the weight of baby was dangling off my shoulders. Very tiring. But also, I felt quite constricted.

That's it for now. This post may get revised as time allows.


Babywearing in the news

It's great to see the growing trend of stories about babywearing in the news. I hate to be too terribly picky but in this story, the mom is pictured with the Maya Wrap sling and it's just not looking quite perfect to my uber critical eye. This is a perfect example of how most people wear their babies. Please don't take offence at my critique. This is meant not in a spirit of picking but rather in a spirit of helping people understand that babywearing isn't meant to be difficult. So let me preface my critique by saying that with our older daughter, my husband and I did not know how to babywear very comfortably so we suffered (with grace) for 18 months before we discovered wraps. With my second, I am loving the Ergo baby carrier for it's simplicity and consistent comfort.

The shoulder isn't quite spread enough to be comfortable and will have a tendency to ride up to her neck. And the part where the baby sits isn't quite right - ideally, the baby's knees should be higher then his tush so he can't straighten his legs and fall right out the bottom. Now, I bet what happened is that the camera crew rushed the mom a bit and she herself wasn't thrilled with how this photo turned out because she didn't want to look like it was too difficult to position baby correctly.

There is a learning curve to any baby carrier and at first, it can be intimidating to do in public because making adjustments to get it just right might make it seem like you don't know what you're doing. Many is the time I left baby in a painful position because it just seemed to be taking too long and people were staring. Nowadays, I know what I'm doing so this is no longer the case but if I do find something wrong, I take the time to fix it.

If this nice mama showed up at one of my NINO babywearing meetings, or oh heck, even a park near me, I might walk up to her, introduce myself, and ask permission to make a few adjustments. As I learned from Tracy of Mamatoto, wearing your baby is an art that will be lost of we don't take the time to help each other, one on one.


If you could design the perfect Ergo, what would you change?

Calling all New Generation Ergo Baby Carrier fans: If you could change anything about the Ergo, what would it be? Anything at all? Color? Measurements? Features? What would make it absolutely perfect?


So, what's a NINO babywearing meeting like, anyway?

Yesterday, I ran a NINO babywearing meeting at Delicious Organics. It was the first meeting I'd held there. I am trying something new: since I lost my previous meeting space, I would like to have the meeting some place that is convenient for me but where people will want to come. And it has to be a good space for the meeting. I am still figuring this all out. Next month, we're meeting at The Goddess Store (more on that later). So the meeting has been at a new location each month. It's a chance as well to promote a local business. I should have mentioned before the meeting that Delicious Organics has a wonderful selection of affordably priced wooden and classic toys.

As usual, uber-cool beautiful babywearing mamas showed up with their babies and young children to hang out, connect, snack, and hey, maybe even share tips about parenting and babywearing!

The meeting space was definitely tight, but by the next time we meet there, they will have a bigger space ready for us. It was still quite a good meeting there because there were a load of toys to keep the kids entertained and, well, delicious organic snacks available! A few moms took advantage and did their shopping after the meeting and I know at least one mom will be ordering her groceries delivered and telling friends about it. I love the synchronicity of that; we needed a space to meet, they offer the space and get a few new customers. All things in life should have that natural feeling. I never fully understood the naturalness of the win/win concept when I was a single pre-kids adult working in big offices. Funny how more things make more sense to me when the work is of my own choosing.

I was thrilled that Amy of Oopa Slings came. I had met her at one of my earliest babywearing meetings when my younger daughter was a tiny newborn and I was so impressed with her knowledge of slings that I was inspired to give them another shot and take more time learning how to use them. Yesterday I was not disappointed with her in any way even after 18 months of study!

Amy had a selection of her amazing slings with her, including a chocolate/pink number that I'm still thinking about though I only admired it from afar, as well as
a whisper of fushia that I tried on and loved the feel of. I didn't realize it would feel so freeing to wear such a thin fabric.

As always, everyone chatted and talked about lots of babywearing issues during the meeting. One mom of two, near and dear to my heart because she has a variety of baby carriers, was lamenting the fact that her 3 month old was getting to big to nurse in her New Native Pouch. Well, I was thrilled to have my new weighted Reborn doll. While her real baby peacefully napped, I asked her to show me with the doll how she was nursing. In the past, I would have described what to try and then she'd either have had to wake her baby or wait until baby woke up. Then when baby really just wanted to peacefully nurse, she'd have to be fumbling around trying to learn a new skill because of the limited time of the meeting. Baby would probably be frustrated and screaming. Since I had the doll, she was able to use that. So she put the doll in the pouch with the doll's head by her (mama's) shoulder where the pouch rested. You'd think that was a natural way to nurse in a pouch or sling (baby's head at the high end), and it is, but it will only get you so far, as she'd quickly realized. By showing her with the doll, there was no anxiety or urgency. I moved the doll's head to mama's other side, popped the doll's legs out at the bottom, and viola! Nursing on the other side. She (the mama) had a big ahah! moment! (Baby was still sleeping but maybe she had an ahah! moment as well.) A short time later, her real baby woke up and mama popped baby in the pouch to try it out but now had the muscle memory of what to do. Then we were able to troubleshoot. I find most babies don't like their head's constrained by a baby carrier unless they're asleep so I suggested just leaving baby's head out and supporting it with her hand or in the crook of her arm. Then, after nursing, the options are to pop baby's head in if she falls asleep, or put her vertical in tummy to tummy if she stays awake, or just reposition her as desired. I just bought her 3 more months in her New Native!

A pregnant mom came as well. Come to think of it, that's only the second time that a preggie has come to a babywearing meeting. She had met me at an Attachment Parenting meeting and wanted an overview of all the baby carriers. It did take a while but I was able to show her most of the options. She had surfed my website but there is nothing like seeing them in real life!

Kathy, the owner of BabysAbode.com, a cloth diaper company, was there as well with sleeping baby on her back in the Ergo Classic. She and I have started reaching out to pregnant moms a bit more by doing an intro to Attachment Parenting, babywearing, and cloth diapering talk at the Hollywood Birth Center. Again, the Reborn doll comes in handy as he can be used to demonstrate the diapers and babywearing.

Another friend I was thrilled to see was supermodel Enith and her two lovely girls! Enith did my website and runs her own online scrapbooking business. Enith is wearing her younger daughter in the cranberry Ergo Baby Carrier.

Amy and I got a chance to talk shop a bit. I often forget how isolated I am in my chosen field. While it's true that I can chat online with virtual friends who are babywearing aficionados like myself, I rarely get to talk with someone in the business. She tried out a prototype EllaRoo lightly padded sling and asked me my opinions on the pros and cons padded rails. And I watched her in action as she taught the finer points of sling wearing to a Maya Wrap wearing mama. I am looking forward to practicing her technique and using her tips.

Everyone was definitely curious about the new My Baby Nest Carrier. In fact, Annie, owner of Delicious Organics and mom of four, wears her newborn baby in one but she is camera shy!

Elizabeth, yoga teacher, who used a sling with her older daughter and now uses an Ergo Baby Carrier with her newborn, had fun trying out a few baby carriers including an EllaRoo Wrap. Wraps are definitely amazingly comfortable and versatile but I think she's sticking to her Ergo. By the way, Elizabeth prefers to use the Ergo without the newborn insert and has done since very early on.

In March, we'll be meeting at The Goddess Store. They have a really interesting calendar of events including belly dancing, drum circles, and classes for kids. This is one of my favorite stores on Harrison Street, with fun affordable items for Goddesses. I'm really looking forward to the meeting space. We're meeting in a spacious room with hardwood floors and a huge floor to ceiling mirror. It's great to be able to see what you're doing when you're trying to learn a new carry and the kids will love this space too. I hope Carmen is cool with us playing with the drums that are used for the drumming circles. And everyone can explore Downtown Hollywood afterward. There is a coffee shop with comfy couches around the corner which is probably where I'll be heading after the meeting.


Reborn Doll

Well, I never thought I'd be buying a doll and then saying my kids couldn't play with it. I never thought I'd be sitting at one Ebay auction after another, trying to snag a doll for $70 and more and thinking it was a bargain. I never thought I'd want a 6 pound doll or a doll with a birth certificate.

Let me explain.

I teach babywearing and I demo baby carriers to families who are soon to have a baby. Sure, I have a "baby" of my own, but in fact, she's a toddler of 21 months and it is pretty tricky to keep an eye on her while leading a discussion. Also, people don't relate to her as a "baby" anymore; when you're expecting something newborn to appear, a walking, talking persoon doesn't seem like someone who's going to fit into the same baby carrier you'll be using.

So, I had to have a doll. And it can't be just any doll. I tried, miserably, to demo a stretchy pouch with a doll at a birth center but the doll didn't weigh enough. The doll was closer to being up around my neck. Needless to say, that baby carrier wasn't gushed over that day.

The day the doll came, I ripped open the box. I get shipments all the time and I usually know what's in them but still, I love to open them. This doll sure is ugly. First of all, I wound up with a boy. He was a bargain as some of these auctions are going for $150 and some are well up over $200. I didn't dare to look at the closing prices of some of them. A doll gets sold about every half hour, it seems. Who is buying all these dolls? People gave feedback saying how lifelike and how thrilled they were with their dolls and all the marketing is about it being a real baby. Okay, I don't get that. I'll be doing an introduction to Attachment Parenting/babywearing/cloth diaper
meeting with a friend and she'll be using my doll for the cloth diaper part of the talk. This makes sense to me as another great use for these dolls.


The doll is just about what I figured he'd be. After I cut off the hospital wrist tag (which spooked me), tossed out the cut off pacifier (which also spooked me), crumpled the fill-in-the-blank birth certificate, read through the directions (don't get him wet or leave him in the sun, don't play with like a toy), I gave him a shot. First I tried a few newborn holds in the sling. Most of the moms I work with with newborns just would like a little help nursing baby in a sling. I've become a pro but it's nice to try it out again and try a few neat tricks I've learned since having had a real live newborn.

Next, I tried a few back carries. He laid nicely on my back.

After that, I had to break the rules and give him to my girls because there is no way they were going to allow mom to keep playing with this baby boy without sniffing him out a little. And by the way, he sure did stink. He smelled like a smoker had made him and then doused him with perfume to cover the stench. So, now he's airing out a bit before I go on to my next tasks. I'd like to add photos with him in the carrier to my gallery and babywearing video instructions. Unfortunately, it was rainy and miserable today so that never happened. Maybe tomorrow or maybe next weekend.


I love it. Again!

Woo hoo! I wasn't going to open the package. Heck, I wasn't even going to order any. But then, I thought well maybe they'll be nice. So I went ahead and ordered 3 of the organic denim Ergo Baby Carriers. And the box collected dust. I was swamped with work and forgot about them.

Luckily, a friend asked me a question about them. Are they soft? I told her that I hadn't even taken one out of the package.

"Ellen", she said to me, "you have to
try the thing!" Yikes! Of course she was right. So, reluctantly, off came the packaging.

And wow! I really love this thing!
It is very stylish looking. I didn't actually expect to like it. It is also super nice with the lining the matching navy color so the hood blends in beautifully. It's my new favorite.

I have gone ahead and ordered some more and as soon as I can, I'll make another order if it's not too late. These are only temporary so I don't want to run out too quickly!