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!


Ellen, John & Sophia said...

I know this wasn't how it was intended, but I use my Sutemi in back without crossing the straps. It's not ideal, but I've seen other moms do it- I just fold the straps in half and tighten them down (all the way in my case). I wouldn't hike a mountain, but I can make dinner comfortably with Sophie in back. It is a lovely carrier in front and hip- this is it's real weakness . . .

SoBeBabies.com, Inc said...

That is a neat trick. I am going to try it and see what it feels like like that. Thanks! :)