Using a Sling as a Sling

I lost the use of my left arm recently. I guess the good news is that I am right-handed. The sudden loss of use was accompanied by excruciating pain.

This wasn't completely out of the blue but it was certainly unexpected; I've been ignoring low level pain in my left shoulder for who knows how long and also managing to forget that I woke up pretty much every night in pain. Somehow, during the day, the problem was just out of mind.

But when the arm wouldn't move and touching the shoulder caused me to actually cry and scream, well, it was time to take action.

It didn't take long to find out what was wrong. Two seconds internet surfing brought me to bursitis. Textbook case. My chiropractor suggested immobilizing, which I was already doing.

So I went and looked at the medical supply store slings and ugh! After all the babywearing experience I've had, there was no way I was going to put that thin nasty strap on my back and shoulder. Intuition told me that would not be comfortable. Plus the part that cradles your forearm looked all scratchy and nasty. So I continued right along using what I'd been using: baby carriers as slings!

My absolute favorite turned out to be the sash from a Loopi baby carrier. How I wish I could still carry these baby carriers! The fabric is so soft and nice. Very luxurious feeling. Each day my husband would tie a knot at the right height and get my arm positioned correctly. I wish I'd realized sooner that it was actually more comfortable to have my elbow at my side. I was at first mimicking the positioning of arm slings; elbow in front. It turns out that this is very uncomfortable because it's not natural. So my home grown solution was actually better and more natural for supporting the arm in a completely rested position!

The good news is after the recommended three days, I didn't need a sling anymore. What a relief! Each day, I get a bit more mobility back. I can't do ordinary things like lift with both hands yet or put my hair in a pony tail, but I'm getting there!


Online Yardsale!

I have accumulated quite a stash of barely used baby carriers. Mostly, it's new inventory that got tried at a babywearing meeting or two. Well my inventory is taking over so it's time to clear out things that can go. My littlest is 3 1/2 and I just don't need the stash I have acquired so it's time to start letting go. My fingers and arms hurt from editing photos and typing all day. Go check out the sale and spread the word!

A few stragglers will eventually get listed but I need a break from this! And it won't just be baby carriers!


Active Mom Carriers

I love testing new baby carriers. These days, I only test Structured Baby Carriers. I have a few in the queue. Right now, I have an Active Mom Mei Tai and an Active Mom II, which is a still Top Secret Structured Baby Carrier.

If it weren't for the fact that there is an AMC Structured Baby Carrier, I probably wouldn't have considered testing the AMC mei tai! I've said it before and will probably say it again. Mei tais and me don't get along. Well, not usually. The design of the Active Mom Mei Tai is significantly different and I must admit, I found the darned thing comfortable.

The AMC I and II have a lot of commonality, so even though I can't post any photos of the AMC II, you can figure out what it is from what I am about to say and from photos of the AMC I on the website.

The AMC I is the first mei tai, at least as far as I know, to have some kind of thick foam insert in the body of the carrier. I am not quite sure why, but this makes the carrier super comfy. Yes, even for me who can never quite get comfy in a mei tai. The AMC II is pretty much the same thing as the AMC I except with buckles instead of straps you tie. Both have the foam padding and also the body has nifty snaps so you can fold it down for a smaller baby or leave it up for an older baby or to support a sleeping baby's head.

Now let's talk colors and material. Seriously, how wonderful when I get to the part where I kick back and get all shallow. The AMC II got has a minky (or minkee) lining. I didn't even try mine on at first; I kept petting it. It turns out a lot of people had the same reaction. It comes in awesome colors. There are bright, bold solids for people like me who like to have fun with color, and also rich, traditional textured solids for a dressier or more conservative look. I imagine the AMC II will have similar choices. The look and feel is of a high quality product with attention to detail.

With the AMC II, the shoulder straps are rather long so you can easily cross them or not. They are not so bulky that crossing them is awkward. My only issue is that the AMC II chest strap is not attached. I do not know if this is a real problem or not. I find it much easier to use SSCs that have the chest strap attached; otherwise, it's just as complicated for a new babywearer as a mei tai and this could prove a bit of a turnoff.(This is grayed out because it's been fixed!)

I did have a few moms try them at my last babywearing meeting. They totally ignored the mei tai and went straight for the AMC II. Both thought it would be too big and bulky but once on, it looked perfect and they found it super comfy. And they were caught petting the minky fabric as well. So there you have it.

I can't wait for the final versions! It's been a great pleasure to try these in the testing phase.


Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Baby Carrier and other ramblings

Finally! A photo of my improved method for using an SSC for a hip carry! I've been meaning to take a photo of this for freaking ever but until you guys nag, I don't tend to get to things. (More on what I got nagged - oops I mean I offered - to do today later!)

This hip carrry method is described on The Ergo Lady's Tips & Tricks section but I never had a photo before. Someone said they couldn't understand my ramblings so voila! A long-overdue photo! Now that I've learned a thing or two about PhotoShop, like, how to extract the background (which in my place is comprised of a whole mess of kid stuff that basically looks like clutter but isn't to me), I can just have my older daughter stand on a chair and do the honors.

For those of you that are keeping track, the Ergo pictured here is doubly new. Not only is it the very latest style of New Generation Ergo Baby carrier - so it can't lose its chest strap (among other enhancements), it's also Brown (chocolate)! And organic! I just got these in today and they were so worth the wait.

The other thing I did today was try my older daughter, who is over 70 pounds, in an Ergo and a Beco XO. Field research for someone who has a special needs child who is over 40 pounds and she's trying to figure what would work best. The Ergo was definitively more comfy for us both. No, Ergo doesn't recommend wearing 70 pounds, but they used to recommend the carriers up to 65 pounds, so you know they are tested higher. When a child is in a baby carrier, there are extra stresses that must be accounted for, so the carrier is not suddenly going to break at 66 pounds.

I suspect that the reason they backed off that recommendation was twofold. First, you just are not going to enjoy lugging much more than 40 pounds or so so unless you have to, it's really time for a stroller if your child won't walk. Second, their limbs are so long that wearing them is just awkward. But have I done it? Guilty. For example, this spring, my older daughter got a splinter during a hike. She absolutely needed carrying and it is still easier with a baby carrier.


The Ergo Lady Gets a Facelift!

I've been working on and off over the past few months on a facelift for The Ergo Lady. Then I had some nasty computer issues and nearly lost everything. I am slowly recovering. Tonight is the initial version of the renovated Ergo Lady website. The focus is more on information and more will be coming soon. All the information will be generic to most or all Structured Baby Carriers.

Feedback is welcome! Gorgeous Ergo Baby Carrier photos are also welcome!


Baby Carrier and Bra Fittings

The first time I got fitted for a bra, I thought the process was bizarre. Didn't you just measure in two places and grab a bra off the shelf? No, apparently. It's much more complex than that. The first time I had a bra fitted to me, there was lots of measuring and startlingly invasive poking and prodding. It was reminiscent of the book scene where Harry Potter gets his first wand; the size she originally calculated had little to do with what I wound up walking out wearing.

I was mortified to learn there was a proper way to place the girls in the bra! There is a whole technique to it to get optimal placement. Who knew? And yes, I can see it does make a difference under clothing.

It's funny that women take so much time with "the girls" and yet often so little consideration goes into choosing a baby carrier. It turns out that the process of getting a baby carrier to fit properly is both a process of trial and error to find one that works well for your specific body type, and a process of learning how best to use it; it might be necessary to reposition your baby within the baby carrier.

And if you aren't "feeling it", don't feel pressured to make a decision. It could just be a bad babywearing day where nothing feels quite right, or it could be that the choices you were able to try weren't appropriate. Real babies, unlike "the girls", get fussy so it might take more than one visit if everything doesn't line up just right. Before making a final decision, give a baby carrier at least 5 to 10 minutes to make sure it's still comfortable. It's a shame you don't get the same option with a bra!


Maya Wrap - The Real Story

Just in case you are getting in a panic having heard tidbits from various sources about a Maya Wrap Sling, please read the actual story. No one has been hurt. Testing is ongoing. More news will be available within a week.


Connecta Baby Carrier

I got a Connecta Baby Carrier today! Until very recently, these were absolutely not available in the USA. But now Hannah is able to send them over here so I got one of them for my very own!

I am going to be honest here. I am surprised. I loved it!

You know me by now; I am the structured baby carrier lover. And true, this can kinda sorta fall into that category. But I'm forever going on about how mei tais don't work for me. And the Connecta, like a mei tai, doesn't have any padding at the waist, so I assumed I'd run into the same issues.

But curiosity got the better of me.

Before I tell you more, I must say that the quality of this carrier is perfect. It just doesn't get any nicer. Ever seam detail is pleasing. The straps are made of nice nylon. It's very simple but very nice.

I had a quick scan of the instructions, which I don't normally do, but this was a bit different from what I'm used to and I wanted to get familiar with it. I noticed that it's suitable for newborns so I am going to have to take it to a babywearing meeting so I can see that in action. Luckily, the next meeting is in a few days so I won't have to wait long! I wish my camera charger could be found so I could take pictures - perhaps I will unearth it in time.

So anyway, my little one allowed me to do a back carry right off the bat, even though she is pretty much only into front carries these days. For a back carry, there is no need to cross the straps in front like you would with a Sutemi. There is an optional strap that you can use as a chest strap but I didn't need it. I really thought the shoulder straps would fall right off. I guess the baby's low center of gravity holds the straps down and back. Not sure. I have heard that some people use the Sutemi without crossing the straps and I never had the guts to try it but now I am going to have to give it a shot. I am about to loan most of my SSC stash to someone who's going to do an article but I keep finding reasons to hold off one more day before shipping them off. I guess the moral of that is that research is never done so I should just quit for now!

Later, I tried a front carry and it is a bit trickier to do than in an SSC with the straps already buckled. I didn't love that I was back to dragging on the ground. I always find that so icky and it's part of why I feel the SSC love so deeply. I suppose it's possible to close the buckles and put the child in from the top. I might give that a whirl at some point if my daughter will allow me any more attempts.

It took a bit of fiddling to get the buckles closed and tightening the straps seemed backwards; it would have been much easier to pull forward rather than backwards. But once I got it adjusted well, it was, well, super! I just don't get it. I didn't feel it dragging on my shoulders the way a mei tai does.

My husband tried it this evening and he wasn't feeling the love. It totally did not work on him. I tried a few adjustments but he just grumbled. I think he has found his love in the Ergo and now he is simply not willing to try anything that is at all uncomfortable. Not to say a baby carrier should be uncomfortable but for so many years, we both struggled along in varying degrees of pain and discomfort so once we both got the SSC bug and realized how good it could be, there didn't seem any point in ever suffering again. So if it's not 100% amazingly luxury comfortable, he just won't bother at all.


Baby Won't Be Put Down

Well I was just peeking at what search strings people use to come to my website and I noticed someone searched yahoo on "baby won't be put down". My website comes up first for that term. That is well-earned!

I write from the heart because babywearing is not just some passing fancy. My older daughter absolutely would not be put down. Nor passed to anyone else. She was my little girl and when other people wanted to hold her, I couldn't imagine what they were thinking; it was just not going to work so why bother torturing my baby? It absolutely amazed me that people didn't hear or respect that as they reached for her and she screamed and cringed. And it was a total shocker to me for a while that other babies could be passed around.

She was also a...um...rather plump little girl. She was around 27 pounds at a year and probably 35 by two and not overly tall. To put that in perspective, my second daughter finally hit 25 pounds sometime after her third birthday.

My older daughter also very likely had undignosed poor muscle tone. She carried like a sack of potatoes. She just didn't help out in any way at all. She went totally limp forced me to hold her up, even to the point of supporting her back. Just having her sit in my lap took a whole lot of energy. This is a photo I just found of her at around age three. You can see I am totally holding her up.

So yeah, when I have on my website that you might consider babywearing if you have a baby that won't be put down, I sure know where I'm coming from! Babywearing was a total life-saver for us.

I didn't really think my second daughter would want to be worn as much but in the end, I did wear her just as much until she retired. She got worn for some very different reasons. As a strong, fit, independent little person, she felt it her birthright to run off and got a real giggle out of being chased. Having seen that sort of behavior in others' kids, I was able to totally nip it in the bud. If we were going across a parking lot, I simply never let her walk. Ever. And if she was tired or hungry, into the carrier she went. She loved the snuggle time and instantly relaxed when I did this. Through babywearing, we were able to avoid a whole lot of dangerous running into traffic stage stuff.

Sadly, her independent streak won out and at around her third birthday, she retired from babywearing. Thankfully, she had enough sense by that age to walk along next to me or hop in the stroller. (Yes, we use strollers. True, mostly for groceries, but I am most definitely not anti-stroller.) She'll still let me use a new, never before seen baby carrier just one time, and if I wake her from a nap when we have to leave, she'll often allow me to pop her into a snuggly front carry, but other than that, she's just on my hip, in her stroller, or walking. When she first "retired" from babywearing, I could barely hold her with one arm; my muscle strength just wasn't there. But now I can carry her on my hip with one hand no problem! And it's all good; it's nice to get a bit of upper body strength back.


If you can't see, close your eyes!

Today I was buckling my daughter into her booster seat. It's so hard leaning in and trying to get that strap to buckle when you can't see what you're doing. I have learned to close my eyes. In fact, whenever I am trying to do something fiddly and I can't quite see, I close my eyes.

Lots of people can't get the chest strap of their soft structured baby carrier to close behind them when doing a front carry. Again, close your eyes and it will be so much easier.

I guess it's because with your eyes open, there is too much input and it's too distracting for the poor brain. Try it and tell me if it works!


Babywearing in the news!

Check out a lovely story about a Seattle area babywearing group. Great information and modeling of a pouch, sling, mei tai, Moshi (soft structured carrier with buckles), wraps (both stretchy and woven).

Excellent questions and information.

Nice job!


Mr. Chocco

Haven't you heard of Mr. Chocco? No? Mr. Chocco is a wrap owned by Paulus, AKA Sling_Dad on The Baby Wearer. He got the idea to send this wrap on a trip around the world. Everyone who has it is blogging about it and putting up pictures on The Baby Wearer forums. Great fun!


Babywearing and Learning Styles

My daughter was just trying to wear a towel - you know - when you wrap it around yourself after you come out of the shower or pool. She's having some trouble getting it to stay up and even after I did it for her, it still didn't stay very long. "How do you make it stay?" she asked me. "I don't know," I responded, "I'd have to do it."

That tells you something about my learning style.

A few months ago I was at a playgroup with a group of local mama friends I've known for years. One mom asked how to put her baby on her back with the Ergo. Her baby was 8 months old. I couldn't tell her! I was pretty much totally confusing her within a few mintes. I haven't used the technique I used then in years and I could no longer explain it! I am so glad I wrote it all down before I forgot how to explain it! Up walks another friend and she says, "This is how Ellen taught me to do it." And she proceeds to redeem me (somewhat) with a flawless explaination and demonstration of the hip scoot.

Blushing, I plop down and wonder where my skills have gone. I've known for some time that my skills were slipping away with disuse, especially little baby skills. But why is that?

I guess it must be due to my learning style. I believe I am auditory, kinesthetic, visual, in that order. Everyone has all three learning styles and an order of preference. All three definitely come into play, but trying to teach a visual person with words is not going to work. Trying to show me is also not going to work. In fact, my learning style has made me a very slow learner for physical skills. I'm not exactly a natural athlete. But once I get something, I'm told I am graceful.

Some people show up at babywearing meetings and are doing advanced maneuvers after having seen it done once. This freaked me out at first but now I know that this is how visual learners do things. My younger daughter is visual or kinesthetic first, auditory last. She sees and does, speaks little. A true natural athlete. My older daughter needs things explained more and holds back a lot. She's more like me. Some people come to babywearing meetings and feel very flummoxed and embarrassed that they can't do it. They require more patience, more words, and more doing. Obviously, they are not visual, so we need to try reaching them via their other learning styles to see which one clicks.

It's helpful to know your learning style to know how difficult this is going to be for you. If you are like me, and you are just not all that natural with physical stuff, don't give up! I can do some super advanced babywearing maneuvers but they took time and perseverence. I used to sit at the computer and watch the videos on mamatoto.org over and over and over! And I'd go practice, all the while playing back the words in my head. I had memorized the scripts! (So did my older daughter, by they way; we'd both say, "Get your baby" in the same intonation as Tracy on mamatoto did - it turns out Tracy is imitating someone else!) So don't give up if it is not coming naturally. It's so worth hanging in there.

Did this article help you? Post a comment! It's nice to know someone is reading!


Babywearing in the heat

I am going to pontificate and speculate. I have absolutely no scientific evidence for what I am about to say. It's just conjecture and theory based on my limited experience of having babies, being a mom, speaking to hoardes of new parents and seeing their babies at babywearing meetings, AP meetings and La Leche League meetings.

Babies are hot. And further, moms who have just had babies are hotter than they normally are; their hormones don't regulate until, oh, I don't know, 6 months after birth. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is as it is supposed to be.

Both of my little girls would sweat up the spot around their heads when sleeping so much that the sheet would be wet a good 6 inches away. It didn't even matter if they were underdressed and it was chilly; they still sweated. And I've peeked at many blogs and see others thinking they have the only sweaty little baby. So I'm gonna guess that babies are just sweaty little things.

Okay, so how does this relate to babywearing? Well, babywearing, especially with a newborn, especially for the already overheated mom with hormones still settling after pregnancy, is hot. It just is. And while this is uncomfortable for the adult, perhaps it is not uncomfortable for the baby.

Some people give up on babywearing very early on because it is too hot and they worry it's going to hurt the baby. But if that little baby is sweating up a storm anyway, I can't see that babywearing is going to make that much of a difference. Sure, do what you can to make it cooler and make sure your baby isn't going to get heat stroke or anything like that. But if your baby is sweating, peeing, and taking in liquids, it doesn't seem dangerous to me.

That is not to say you shouldn't try to find the coolest way to wear your baby. Instead of tummy to tummy, on a hot day, try positioning your baby so that there is minimal body contact. One way to do this is with baby's arm and hip towards you. For example, a sling or a pouch used in the cradle position is cooler because it minimizes contact. If using the Ergo Baby Carrier or a mei tai, try positioning baby seated or slightly reclined with both legs out to the side, with or without the infant insert. If at all possible, do a back carry. Back carries with newborns aren't for everyone but if you are inclined to learn, it's definitely much cooler. Suitable baby carriers for back carrying a newborn are wraps, mei tais, and perhaps a pouch in the football position with baby slid around to the back.

The Ergo Lady needs incoming links!

I just did a little poking around and it's just as I'd hoped; people love the hard work I put into creating the Tips & Tricks on http://www.the-ergo-lady.com.
but when people get an Ergo Baby Carrier and blog about it, they always link to the manufacturer's website.

I'm asking you to spread the love! Send some links my way! Blog about your Ergo and the great experiences you had with it. And if you got any benefit from http://www.the-ergo-lady.com, then blog about that!



New and Improved Ergo Baby Carrier

I've been sitting on some Ergo Baby Carrier news for a few weeks now but it's safe to spill the beans now. I didn't want to say anything while I still had inventory that wasn't affected. And in fact, some of my inventory is not affected. But first let me share the news!

The Ergo Baby Carrier has had some great improvements.
  1. The chest straps are now permanently attached to the shoulder straps with a runner and will keep the chest strap in its desired location so it won't need readjusting each time the carrier is taken off or put on. These straps are dyed to match the carrier for a cohesive look.
  2. The hood straps are shorter and snap directly on to the shoudler straps.
  3. The hood has elastic to provide more length due to the shorter straps and will cup around the baby's head.
  4. The D-ring is now just for personal use. It's great to hook a Haba toy clip.
These changes are not yet in the instructional DVD so don't get confused.

What does this mean? Well first of all, no more worring about losing your chest strap. If you want to do a hip carry, you will not have to take the chest strap off for fear of dropping it somewhere when you unbuckle the chest straps.

The sleep hood is going to be so much easier to use. It's now easier to find the runners and much easier to exactly match because you just snap the sleep hood right onto the shoulder strap right where you can easily reach. And when the sleep hood is not in use, you don't have to "put it in park"; I was forever running around behind Ergo wearers and running their sleep hood runners through the D-rings and snapping the runner back to itself. I call this position "park" and it means that the runners are not dangling around and getting in the way. These days will be behind us soon!

Has anything else changed? No, not as far as I can tell. It's still the same high quality baby carrier we've grown to know.

So, the colors that are not affected are the organic denim and the blue with cranberry lining. Everything else is the new version. If you received your Ergo in a box, you can rest assured that it's the latest and greatest version. Enjoy!


I sell a lot of Yamos!

Here is the irony. I have not been able to get my hands on a Yamo since the beginning of this year. I only ever imported a few orders. At some point, Yamo in Israel was not able to fulfil my order and they have not been able to ever since. That has not slowed the demand one bit!

There is only one other company that sold Yamos in the USA; slingzilla.com, and Bianca's in the same boat. (By the way, for those of you in the NYC area, Bianca just opened up an actual babywearing shop, Metrominis. There are not a lot of actual stores with good baby carriers and even fewer staffed by babywearing experts. Everything Bianca touches turns to gold, so I expect great things of this store. I will be stopping by next time I'm in the city.)

Yesterday, I had a conversation that I have had many times. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone chatting with a babywearer. She surfed around, discovered the Yamo and fell in love. Yep, yep, it's the one for her and none other will do. I am apparently at least partially responsible for this match making; it's due to my incessant babywearing babbling that people get so attached to the Yamo. I have found all sorts of creative ways for people to hook up with a Yamo of their very own; eBay, thebabywearer.com's For Sale or Trade forum, and buying directly from a European vendor. This mama yesterday had done her homework! The eBay seller had closed up shop, there were absolutely none available on TBW FSOT, and she just wasn't sure about ordering from overseas.

It was a nice conversation anyway. In the end, she told me to keep on blogging!

Try and stop me!

Oh. And Yamo? If you're listening? Please let me get my hands on some Yamos!


Beco BWD

Rarely do I get all excited about a baby carrier I haven't even tried. Not that I have tried everything that is out there. That is far from the truth. But I have tried a variety of carriers and I love to try something innovative.

So I am very excited about the Beco BWD. I had a lovely chat with Gabby (the designer) about it and it really does seem very clever. I have some coming in not soon enough! My babywearing meeting is next Monday and I so hope my shipment comes before then so I can see it on some moms sooner rather than later!


Babywearing Fashion Show

Not everyone gets to see what babywearing looks like. Have a look at this two part fashion show so you can really get a feel for lots and lots of baby carriers, worn correctly and modeled beautifully!

Part 1 of the babywearing fashion show
Part 2 of the babywearing fashion show

These are all the baby carriers that are modeled in the babywearing fashion show.


Hysterical babywearing mama

Just saw this listing. Too fun!


Baby Sling Raffle!!!

We just donated a sling to support a member of TheBabyWearer.com who is in a very difficult situation. Here is a great opportunity to snag a sling for very little money, while helping a friend in need.
The Baby Wearer Raffle


Shallow Beco Babywearing Love

Okay, this is totally ridiculous. Every single time I get a new shipment of Becos in, I fret over which one to take for myself and I sell off the previous one. It's a luxury for sure, but it is fun to see something new and fresh.

I have been without a Beco for over a month now. I went to visit my sister-in-law a few months ago. She had a baby recently and was going back to work. I brought her a variety of baby carriers to try and she fell in love with my Beco. I was happy to give it to her! She looked so happy and comfortable. It's so funny because I am 5'11" tall and she's just 5' tall but that didn't make any difference.

So, this was goodbye! This is the last shot of my wearing my beloved Carnival Beco. I have missed it and the bright colors. Usually, I am okay with moving on to a new print. But this time, I really was sorry to let go of the colors and concerned that I'd never be able to get the same print again. I was so relieved that the Carnival print is still available.

Here is my sister-in-law wearing her new Beco and loving it. She left me a message recently telling me how great it's working out for her when she drops her baby off with her mom and goes to work. I am so glad that the transitions are easier.

I wondered when the Becos arrived if I'd choose a different print like I normally do. Was I done with the Carnival? While examining the pictures, I totally fell in love with the Cocoa Butterfly. I have learned that it's not just my opinion that matters. I once made the mistake of not asking my daughter which one she liked. She absolutely refused to get in that Beco. I think it was brown swirls. She had been cool with green swirls but brown swirls were a no go. Weird! Stubborn little thing! (The photo of her in brown swirls Beco is a trick; it's actually the green swirls and I tweaked the color in PhotoShop. You can tell because the hood design changed by the time the brown swirls came out. Okay this is total Beco geekery but someone somewhere is nodding now, saying, "Mmm, hmm, yup, I remember that. ") The concensus in the house was to stick with the Carnival Beco so now I have a brand new one.

Well, almost. I haven't actually taken it out of the packaging. I want to sit with my decision a few days and make absolutely sure it is the one!


July NINO Meeting

Here is a quick rundown on the July Meeting. This is the first meeting I've lead alone for a bit as Amanda was out of town.

I managed to get there nice and early even though I had my girls with me! I am so proud of myself! Here are my girls "helping" to set up the pillows.
They love the space where we meet. It has such great energy and also all those mirrors!

Finally someone came and was wearing her gorgeous sling perfectly. (I wish I could remember the name.) It is always great to see that. Isn't her little one gorgeous? She didn't babywear with her older. It's impressive to see someone this good after just 4 months of babywearing. She actually came to try the Angel Pack LX, which I have because I'm writing up a comparison of Structured Baby Carriers for TheBabyWearer.com. I think she loved the APLX! She's got the straps crossed in the back.
I have a Scootababy (not yet available, but soon) and two mamas tried it and loved it! One has been using a different hip carrier but preferred the SB. The other doesn't like structured baby carriers at all and was surprised to really like this one! (Oh and sorry for the blurred photo. I actually do have permission to post a not blurred one so that will be coming soon.)

I love when pregnant mamas come to the NINO meetings. They can't try much but it's still so worth it! This gorgeous mama (37 weeks pregnant) is wearing her water bottle in a sling! At least she got to play around with the adjustments a bit.

My aunt's husband brought back some Mantas on a recent trip to Peru. Here are a few pictures of one of them. I wish I could have worn my 3 year old but she was super busy playing with the big girls and there was just no way! I did put her in there a few times with him looking on and offering advice! I took the triangle that hangs down in the back and stuffed it up under her tush while still bending at the waist. I think she's pretty big for it but it did work!


Scootababy Hip Carrier

Finally! I feel like I've been holding my breath for months now! And I still am, to some degree, because still no pictures. But my big fat trap can't handle it no mo' so here goes. I'm gonna spill the beans on this one (with permission).

I got to try a hip carrier that is awesome! I seriously think this thang is gonna change the face of babywearing. Many baby carriers have already achieved that goal but so far, there is not a baby carrier out there with mainstream appeal that totally sits well with the more serious babywearing crowd. The mainstreamers really want hip carriers. And there are lots of hip carriers on the market but they all hurt and cause the babywearer to be out of alignment. The serious babywearing crowd wants a baby carrier that is comfy and safe for both baby and mama. Mainstreamers want ease of use.

The Scootababy has managed to marry all these babywearing wants for the first time. It is an easy to use hip carrier that is comfortable for long periods of wear. The main things it has that the hip carriers that are out there don't have are a structured waist and a shoulder that spreads out. The EllaRoo Mei Hip has the latter, but it has just a strap on the waist and that isn't comfortable for some of us for longer babywearing sessions. I am starting to think that this is height related; I have heard many people rave about the Mei Hip but for me, it's only good for so long. I'm tall so it just doesn't quite know where to sit on my waist. I have the same issues with mei tais.

A good baby carrier should allow your spine to be straight; you should not have a hip out to one side or the other. That can lead to back strain and alignment issues. Properly adjusted, the Scootababy is the best hip carrier by far in this regard. When I look in the mirror, my spine is absolutely straight. Even though there is only one shoulder strap, so much of the weight is supported on the hips, I don't feel knocked out of alignment. As with any asymmetrical activity, I still recommend switching sides.

Pictures tell a thousand words but I am only allowed words and no pictures for now so here come my thousand!

You take the Scootababy and buckle it on to your waist. Push it down to your hips just as you would any structured baby carrier. Now there are a few ways to get it on so here is one way. Duck your head under the shoulder strap and make sure it's fairly loose. Pick up your baby and slide those long legs into the carrier. Pull the body of the carrier up baby's back. The body of this carrier is so cool! It is shaped to fit a baby's tush, instead of being a simple piece of flat fabric. Sorry to all you sewers. I don't know the terminology. I just know what makes a good structured baby carrier and shaping the body of the baby carrier is high on the list. Now just tighten down the shoulder strap and make sure the cloth is spread well on your shoulder, not riding up your neck and you are good to go! Very fast! Very comfy. You can wear your baby front, hip or back from the first time you try this. You should make sure it's adjusted so your spine is straight.

And that's it! From the first time I tried it, I was able to nurse in it and my little one fell asleep. I was able to keep her in it and sit and enjoy a meal in a restaurant. Most baby carriers don't really work if you sit. I can't wait to share pictures of the Scootababy!


Beco hate, Beco love, AKA, a lesson in listening my girls

When my last batch of Beco Baby Carriers came in, a few months ago, I was, as usual, very excited. You'd think opening packages would get old having been in business for as long as I have, but no. As long as it isn't marked "RETURN", I'm jazzed about opening packages and examining new inventory.

But still, the Becos have a special place in my heart.

Last time around, I studied all the photos of the prints and ordered an extra of the one that I wanted for my personal use. But while I was putting them away, both my girls chose a different one over the one I had chosen. I couldn't imagine it mattered all that much so I went ahead with my choice.

Well that was a pretty stupid idea. A few days later, I got home and had a lot of stuff to carry in, and not only would my toddler not get into the Beco, no way, no how, she insisted that I take it off my waist. That's right, I could not even have that thing strapped on. I had to carry her up just with my not at all free hands. I had no backup baby carrier so I was pretty irritated. A few days later, the same thing happened. It got to the point where she simply refused to get into that baby carrier. I was starting to worry that it was uncomfortable.

So when the new shipment came in last week, I gave her the choice of which baby carrier will be hers. She and my other daughter picked out the carnival. It is gorgeous and probably loads more appealing to children than the brown swirls I'd gone for. Oh heck, my husband even picked out the carnival print. Now, when she sees the Beco, she says, "I like that", and she is more than happy to get in.

Lesson learned!


Babywear and Bitch (in lieu of Stitch 'n Bitch)

This month, I walked into The Goddess Store for our monthly NINO Babywearing Meeting and said what I always say, "Is it hot in here or is it just me?" I'm usually rushing to get there and carrying a huge tote filled with baby carriers and cool off after a few minutes. This month it (finally) wasn't just me! I was getting ready to go turn up the AC when Maya walked in, informed me that the air conditioning was out, and kindly offered to host our meeting across the street at her store, The Yarn Tree! She didn't have to ask me twice!

I have a special place in my heart for this store. First off all, from what I can piece together, my friend Jennifer, who, sadly, has moved away, used to go to a regular Stitch 'n Bitch there. And I think I must have discovered this store when it first opened. I love little mom and pop stores. There is nothing better than a unique, relaxing, beautiful store with lots of affordable things to catch your eye.

I am very impressed by Maya. She runs this store and has a 5 week old newborn. The store is so organized and welcoming. In the back, there are chairs in a circle and a beautiful free standing old fashioned mirror. There were kids toys in variouos corners and for some reason, the kids did not proceed to pull down all the yarn from the shelves. Instead, they (mostly) played with the toys! And when my 2 1/2 year old did get into some stuff, no one gave me disapproving looks! It was actually relaxing to be there with kids (well, sort of; I have not completely been able to get go of the idea that it is possible for a toddler to stop messing with stuff so I probably will not go out of my way to have her there again but I do want to visit occasionally with my older daughter). Maya doesn't run the store alone - she hired a mom who was there with her son who was about 5 or 6 years old. Again, I am so impressed. There are not a lot of options for moms who want to earn some money and keep the kids with them. In a more traditional society, of course the children would go wherever the parents go, but in our culture, that is frowned upon or not possible.

I do need to bitch just a bit now. While I was there, I picked up some absolutely gorgeous yarn for my 7 year old, who, coincidentally (if you believe in such things) was getting a nifty little knitting machine in the mail that very day! But in order to get my toddler to leave the shop at the end of the meeting, I gave the her yarn to hold. She's almost 3. What could go wrong? I didn't even give it the over-thinking I normally do. I sure should have. That yarn cost me the better part of the next day. In about 5 minutes, she managed to turn it into such a state that it was really a major task to get it back into a usable form. I guess when there are littles about, it's best to ballify your yarn in the first place. Now I know! Okay, bitch session over.

The meeting was nice, although I was a bit distracted just trying to make sure my two were not getting into any trouble. Normally, I leave them home with my husband who is lucky enough to be able to work from home on Mondays. My older daughter insited on coming this time and my husband can't work with just the little one home. Perhaps she knew there would be a cute boy there? She did have a grand time. But I always feel more relaxed running a meeting without the responsibility of children underfoot. Or possibly running out doors.

A pregnant mama with twins came. She's expecting them within 3 months and I have zero experience with wearing two so perhaps my coleader is suddenly going to become an expert overnight! We have sent her to thebabywearer.com and the articles and forums on wearing multiples but it will sure be interesting to see this in person. I believe she's planning to pop them into one sling at the beginning. Her two older children were only about 5 pounds each at birth so she is not expecting these babies to be any larger. The way I saw them kicking her in two different directions at the AP meeting, I wonder if they'll even make it to term.

Another mom came with her husband on a mission! She whipped through baby carriers. She was good at everything! She just popped them on, used them perfectly, tried the next. I love seeing a natural.

I hope to plan a topic early for next month so I will be a little more relaxed when meeting day rolls around. My goal is to have everything packed up well in advance and in the car over the weekend! We shall see!


2nd International Babywearing Conference 2008: Carrying The Future

Hope to see some of you at the next babywearing conference!

I wasn't able to attend last year and I am not yet sure where we'll be in 2008. Will my younger daughter be old enough? Will my husband be able to get the time off so he can come too? These and other exciting answers will unfold over the next months. Meanwhile, I'm an armchair attendee for sure!

Oh and speaking of armchair conferences, last week was the BabyWearing Bonanaza in New York City and the press is pouring in! I already have gotten a few phone calls and emails from people who attended. One complaint was the crowds! What a great complaint! Seriously! How exciting that is that so many people are getting on board with this exciting new trend (ha ha ha ha I can't seriously say that! There isn't anything new about babywearing!)