CPSIA Impacts on Children's Apparel Industry

I don't like to post about stuff that I don't fully understand, but something has to be done. So I am sharing what I currently understand the situation to be and I urge you to do your own research, come back and comment, and spread the word.

I just signed this petition mentioned below. It is all very confusing but it looks like there was legislation enacted that baby carrier manufacturers in the USA all missed but that could affect all manufacturers and perhaps put them out of business if they are found out as not having done the required expensive testing. The deadline is either November or Feb. The intentions are obviously good, but something seems misguided about it all. It seems it would require every single type and color of fabric or other material to be individually tested. And there seems to be an underlying assumption that baby carriers are more like a toy, than, say, a mom's coat, if you see what I mean; the latter would not be subject to the same requirements. Many things around the house get mouthed by babies. This legislature seems designed (intentionally or not) to put the industry out of business.

Here is the petition link:

More information: http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/national-bankruptcy-day/


Babywearing in "For Better or For Worse" Comic

Lovely to see babywearing show up as more ordinary!


Why I Know Babywearing is Right

An article on CNN health concludes that strollers where baby faces away cause the baby stress. Too true. My first baby was one of those that was going to make it instantly clear when she was unhappy. I must have tried 7 or 8 strollers and the only one that ever worked was a monstrosity I got at a second hand shop that allowed her to face me. It didn't work all that well though and I wound up getting rid of it like all the others.

Not only does having the baby facing away cause the baby stress, it also caused me, the mom, to be stressed! Having a child that could go into an exhausting spiral at any point meant it was helpful to either be in contact with her or have her facing me. She could be working up to a fit in that stroller and I would not know it until it was too late.

Obviously, every baby is different. I am not against strollers. In fact, my second baby adored the stroller and sometimes preferred it to being worn.


Pain Free Babywearing!

I find babywearing nearly pain-free. I say nearly, because sometimes, there is pain. But good pain, not bad pain. By good pain, I mean the kind of pain you might feel after a workout. After all, babywearing does involve toting gradually larger amounts of weight on your upper body.

Some examples of good pain are sore thighs, tired tush, maybe even a bit of pain in the hip flexor. Noticing a pattern here? None of the pain is in the neck, back or shoulders.

A good baby carrier, properly worn, should never cause pain in the upper body. If you have pain, you are either doing something wrong, or it is not the baby carrier for you; keep looking! For example, slings, pouches and mei tais are all excellent baby carriers but they are not comfortable for me, due to either back issues or just the way my body is constructed. I only find wraps and soft structured baby carriers comfortable, so that is what I use.

Find what works for you. Don't be afraid to sell of what's not working well. You should not need to reach for a pain killer after babywearing. Perhaps a bit of stretching might be in order!


The BWI Winners are being announced!

I was blessed to have been chosen as a judge for the Babywearing International 2008 Internationational Babywearing Week Awards. The award candidates were all amazing and judging was not at all easy.

My business, SoBeBabies is also a sponsor for the The Vijay Owens Babywearing Advocacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Promoting Babywearing. I love Vijay and am thrilled to be associated with her in this way. I can't wait to find out who the lucky winner is!

Babywearing causes pain, according to Motrin

By now, you have probably seen the ad that Motrin came out with over the weekend. If not, you can view it here:

One of the things that offended me about this ad is the assumption that babywearing has to be painful. Do shoes have to be painful? I have spent untold hours educating parents on more comfortable baby carriers and how to use baby carriers properly. Not all baby carriers are comfortable for all people but there are much better options out there in the last few years. Check out thebabywearer.com and babywearinginternational.com and get educated! Babywearing is not going to go away, just like shoes are not going to go away. Both just get better and better! I for one do not take a pain killer when I mistakenly buy a pair of poor fitting shoes.


Babywearing International Awards

International Babywearing Week Awards
Sponsors are giving away $2,000 worth of merchandise to honor groups, businesses and individuals who promote the timeless and beautiful practice of babywearing. Nominations for General Awards will be accepted through November 7, 2008.

Go start nominating!!!!!


The Best International Babywearing Week 2008 Publicity Campaign is sponsored by Posh Papoose. The prize for this award is $500 worth of merchandise from Posh Papoose.

The “Vijay Owens Babywearing Advocacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Promoting Babywearing”is sponsored by SoBeBabies. The prize for this award is $250 worth of merchandise from SoBeBabies.

The “Jennifer Rosenberg Babywearing Advocate of the Year Award” is sponsored by Happy Bambino. The prize for this award is $250 worth of merchandise from Happy Bambino.


The “Best babywearing outreach program by a non-vendor” award is sponsored by Bambino To Go.
The “Best babywearing outreach program to women in need” award is sponsored by Sleeping Baby Productions. The prize for this award is $250 worth of merchandise from Sleeping Baby Productions.
The “Best babywearing advocate in the healing professions” award is sponsored by Lemon Balm Essentials. The prize for this award is $250 worth of merchandise from Lemon Balm Essentials.
The “Best charitable program by a babywearing vendor” is sponsored by TheBabywearer.com. The prize for this award is a “Spotlight On” advertising feature on TheBabywearer.com.
The Children’s Coloring Contest is sponsored by Calin Bleu. Each of 10 winners will receive a doll sling.


Beloved Ergo!

People definitely get attached to their baby carriers. I have seen some very tattered baby carriers over the years, but have learned to be very gentle about making any comment about safety as most parents are of the mind that it has cradled their special little ones and will continue to do so for as long as needed.

This sweet guy is someone I met at a local BOLD performance. His table was near mine. He and his wife still use this, a Classic Ergo. He was mildly curious about some of the new design features but perhaps not enough so that he'd be willing to part with this sweet carrier.

Have an old ratty tatty beloved baby carrier? Share your photos! I'd love to post more!

But do remember to be safe! Clearly, the exposed padding is not structurally dangerous. I have seen slings with holes in them that give me pause!


Soft Structured Baby Carrier Comparison/Review

People are always asking lots of questions about which is the best baby carrier or the best of a certain style of baby carrier.

That question has no answer, only personal opinion, largely because we're all built differently.

Here is a great article about Soft Structured Carriers by Slingdad (who I was really looking forward to meeting at the Babywearing Conference but unfortunately, he couldn't make it).

Here is an SSC comparison chart with features at a glance of the most popular buckle carriers.

The best place to go chat about the subtle nuances is The Baby Wearer's forum on Choosing & Using an Asian Inspired or Soft Structured Carrier.


Adventures in Babywearing: Carrying The Future

Great post from Stephanie of Adventures in Babywearing. She got to hear the keynote at the Babywearing Conference. I am so grateful for this writeup; I could only hear parts of it because my little one was not allowing me to focus! You know how that goes!

Here is her blog post:
Adventures in Babywearing: Carrying The Future

I do remember Jen Norton (the keynote speaker and founder of TBW) speaking about her feelings a lot about becoming a parent. I can identify with some of what she was talking about. I very intentionally became a mom and I love being a mom, but I am not one of those fuzzy wuzzy women who adores all children and babies. I think Jen and I could definitely chat about some aspects of being a mom and of being around kids. In this regard, babywearing helped all the more with establishing the close ties needed to be the mom I want to be. I hope that makes sense. I don't want to say too much more because I am not sure if I'm correctly remembering what Jen said and unfortunately, it seems that the keynote speech is not written down anywhere. Correct me if I'm wrong! But I recall a thread on TheBabyWearer right after the conference where people were asking for it.


Peruvian Babywearing Dolls

I've come to a point in my babywearing career that I have long dreaded. After nearly 9 years (I've had a good run), it looks very unlikely that I'll have more than a few more opportunities. The last time I did babywearing (and boy did I ever!) was the Babywearing Conference in Chicago. The upcoming La Leche League Conference is my next chance to do some babywearing. I'll be using my Versaille Scootababy. I'm looking forward to that. After that, who knows. Like weaning and so many natural transitions, you're often not sure when the last time will be or was.

Meanwhile, how to keep this important focus front and center? One way is through the use of child size baby carriers so my little ones can wear their dolls. We've got one of everything! Another way is through the use of babywearing dolls.

The Natural Child Project, a cause near and dear to my heart, has these awesome Peruvian Dolls for sale.


Bonding with your pets - alternative use for baby carriers

I am not really sure why everyone laughs when I share that I sometimes put one of my cats in a baby carrier. I've tried it with all my cats and it has usually gone over well. The first time, I did it for a lark just to see if it would work, not really expecting the cats to like it, but they did!

Then I found it a useful way to protect a new kitten from an older cat who was really out to get him. It was just like having a new baby and needing to both bond and protect him from a jealous older sibling.

And recently, I'm back into wearing my "kitten", now a 9 month old huge Maine Coon cat who is too proud to sit on my lap but loves to be held. Putting him into a baby carrier is a great way to get some together time on his terms which dictate that I have to be standing the whole time. Today, I had him for about an hour and then needed to get on with things so my daughter took over and they enjoyed another hour of closeness before he'd had enough.

There really aren't any pet carriers suitable for cats and most of the ones I've seen that are designed for dogs are pretty horrifyingly uncomfortable for both pooch and person. I have had good luck with pouches like the Karma Baby Pouch and buckle carriers such as the Ergo Baby Carrier. I just grab something out of my stash and pop kitty in.

If you have a story about wearing a pet, please share it!


New Scootababy Coming Soon!

As far as I am concerned, the Scootababy is one of the best kept secrets of babywearing. I have waxed on about it before, and probably will again!

At last month's Babywearing Conference, Audra, the owner of Scootababy, had a booth across from mine with the newly redesigned offerings. I got a sneak peek the night before before anyone when I stopped by her room. Even though I was bleary-eyed from all day travel, the new design, barely visible in the dimly lit dorm room, woke me right up!

I loved the old design. It's super comfy and easy to use; anyone can figure this baby carrier out and everyone, even people who have never used a baby sling before, can relate to a hip carrier. But the all black denim didn't exactly appeal to my dressy side.

I was most excited to see the prints in person. I had of course seen photos but 2 inch swatches on my screen are not the same as full size and touching. The fabric is wonderful. And the details totally wowed me! There is piping that gives such a polished look. I am no designer so I never would have realized what a difference a detail like that could make.

Another feature that jumped out at me is the quilted lining. It looks and feels luxurious and, well, expensive!

Scootababy has managed to strike upon a lineup of prints that are not overly trendy and that have nearly universal appeal. Most are suitable for both men and women.

For those of you that aren't just interested in prettiness, there are some important design improvements. The most important ones are that the body of the carrier is higher and the seat has contoured. What this means is that it is easier to get the baby to sit more deeply in the body of the carrier (in other words, it is easier to get correct positioning). People complained that their baby was too long but Audra and I feel that in reality, the baby was probably not all the way in. I wore my four year old and never found the body too short. Read more Scootababy updates here.

Of course I took home a pink Scootababy for myself and have long since sold off my old black one.


Beco Butterfly - Breaking the Rules

With any baby carrier, there are good rules that really should be followed and there are rules that can be bent.

Recently, a rule that should not be broken was most definitely broken in a big and not okay way. Ever since the Baby Bjorn popularized facing out, people have come to assume this is the normal way of carrying babies.

Any good baby carrier will simply help you carry your baby in a way you'd hold them. Very few people walk around while holding their baby facing out. I know what some of you are thinking. You think your baby just has to face out. There is a time and place for facing out and I maintain that the time that is sitting on your lap. It is simply awkward to hold a baby with your hands in the facing out position, and therefore, it is not natural to walk around with a baby facing out for extended periods of time.

So when a popular magazine recently put up a photo of a baby facing out in a Beco Butterfly, they misrepresented the product. I can appreciate why they did this but it is a real shame that they did not take the time to read the instructions. This unfortunate incident means that even more people are going to demand this position and use baby carriers, like the Beco Butterfly, incorrectly. That is a shame.

Now for rules that can be bent. The video instructions explain how to use the Beco Butterfly. Unlike other buckle carriers, the baby is put in the Butterfly and then you put the Butterfly on (front or back). Many people, myself included, find this method awkward. I have come up with an alternative that might prove easier. So here it goes.

  1. Put your Beco Butterfly on your front (even if you are planning to do a back carry) and close the chest strap behind you
  2. Adjust the waist, shoulder straps and chest straps for comfort
  3. Adjust the length of the straps for where the baby will go; there is a separate pouch area where your baby must fit. Eyeball it.
  4. Unbuckle the straps that you just adjusted - the ones that set the distance for where baby will go
  5. Get your baby
  6. Lift baby higher on your chest and to one side and slide one leg into one side of the carrier
  7. Shift baby to your other shoulder and put her other leg in
  8. Be sure to guide baby's feet from the bottom to the correct leg openings (use a mirror and/or partner as you are learning)
  9. Ease Baby down and pull up on the body of the carrier until baby is deeply seated
  10. Buckle the two straps that hold baby's little pouch area and adjust if necessary so baby is secure
  11. For a front carry, you're done!
  12. For a back carry, open the chest strap behind you
  13. Hip scoot baby and carrier around to your back, being sure to bend at the waist as you get your baby on your back
  14. Put the shoulder strap on first on the side you scooted baby around
  15. Put on other shoulder strap
  16. Close the chest strap
Enjoy! If these instructions are helpful, please leave a comment!


Chicago Babywearing Conference 2008

New Blue Embroidered Ergo Baby CarrierSneak Peek of New Ergo Baby Carrier design! This is behind the scenes during the fashion show. Total mayhem behind the scenes but up front, all went smoothly! There are two more photos coming up; another of the blue and one of the black. Gorgeous! Also, I heard tell of a pink! I am so excited! And all these new gorgeous Ergos are organic!
SoBeBabies Exclusive Pretty in Pink Action Baby Carrier My booth - check out the new Oopa Baby slings! Most of these are as yet not even on any website! The slings on the left are EllaRoo. Yummy too! The mannequin is wearing the SoBeBabies exclusive Pretty in Pink Action Baby Carrier.
Sneak Peek New Scootababy Baby CarrierThis is a total tease. Sorry, I didn't get a good photo of the new Scootababy. I guess we're all just meant to wait. Another peek of the Pretty in Pink Action Baby Carrier on the chair.
Oopa Baby Skirt This was after the conference ended. Poor girl just fell asleep on the floor! But check out that gorgeous Oopa Baby skirt!
New Black Embroidered Ergo Baby CarrierAh, there it is! The gorgeous embroidered organic Ergo Baby Carrier. I've heard people complain that Ergo is un-hip. Not anymore! I can't wait to see how these will be received!
Detail of New Blue Ergo Baby CarrierDetail of the New Organic Blue Ergo Baby Carrier with embroidery.
Haiku Grab Bag, Ergo Baby Carrier, Oopa SkirtThis is me one morning in my room. I must admit that after a few days, I switched to wearing the Ergo Baby Carrier exclusively. My little one is four and she just didn't walk anywhere. And having the Haiku Grab bag around my waist helped a lot; no extra strain on my shoulders. Normally, I use it as a shoulder bag but the Babywearing Conference was extreme babywearing for a suburb girl. Just the walk from the dorms to breakfast and then the conference pretty much did me in each day! Oh! Loving those shoes? They are indeed Doc Martins! They belonged to my older daughter and are one of the many reasons I just had to have another girl. Yup. I'll admit it. I was not over her gorgeous clothing and baby toys. Two girls was right for us. All that yummy pink girl energy! Love it!
SoBeBabies boothThis is a photo of the booth mostly set up. That was a lot of work!
SoBeBabies Booth This was the booth before setup got underway. My little angel was amazing! The most natural of shopkeeper's daughters! Amazing!
Mothering Tao Lotus Buckle Carrier I hope I get this right! This is a sneak peek of a prototype buckle carrier by MotheringTao. It is called the Lotus, I believe. She also has a cross carrier in the works, and I believe that is called the Baby Zen. I do hope I am not messing up the names. This carrier was in the fashion show. What is so cool about it is it goes around the torso, covering the perhaps less than slim middle of the new mom. It's so much easier to put on than a traditional Asian torso carrier. I was able to do it without any advice or coaching; you can't go wrong! It can be worn front or back. There were still some kinks that needed to be worked out. When the conference DVDs come out, you can see it being modeled. This is a very interesting modern take on a traditional baby carrier.

Fashion Show Behind the ScenesA behind the scenes fashion show peek. I was modeling two carriers. This is a Lemon Balm Essentials german woven wrap. It was short for me (I'm tall) so I did a hip cross carry. Did I mention that my little one wound up napping every day? She hasn't napped in ages. So during the fashion show, I was actually changed. We did a rehearsal and then straight into the real thing. I did two changes and she stayed asleep until waking up on stage during my second walk. Thank goodness she didn't fuss! I can imagine that is a strange way to wake up. I am just so relieved; I'd been apprehensive about the fashion show for months because I just could not be sure I could count on her to allow me to wear her.


Sneak Peek of My Course

Here is a sample page from my Saturday Course, Soft Pack Basics. Send me good vibes on Friday and Saturday so my presentations go well! Oh and that gorgeous baby carrier? It is one of the ones I mentioned in my last post. It is an Action Baby Carrier in a gorgeous SoBeBabies exclusive print! My little girl has quit her babywearing strike, but that doesn't mean she'll get in just anything! I know this one is a safe bet as she helped me pick out the fabric!


Babywearing Conference Preparation

Starbucks Near Babywearing Conference

First things first. Just checking out that there are lots of Starbucks nearby. It looks like there is one in every direction so that's all right.

No seriously, that's not all I've been up to. I've been having packages shipped to IL for ages and have finished writing, printing, colating and stapling my 2 courses. I've just been by the airport to check that this strange part of my display part that wouldn't fit in a box is okay to take as carry on. The TSA dude was pretty amused but as I was so earnest, he did go check with his supervisor to be certain all was well. No idea if I'll need to check it on the way back but that's okay. I just don't want any extra delays on the way there since checkin is just one hour. Plus waiting for checked bags to appear is a huge anxiety issue for me. I haven't checked bags in years and last time I did, sure enough, they didn't appear. Thank goodness they found them and delivered them to our hotel the next day.

Laundry is up to date and most of the packing is done. Lots of last minute errands tomorrow. A friend returned a borrowed Yamo today, freshly laundered. That will be one of many from my personal SSC stash that I use for my classes. After my classes, I am going to finally let go of my stash of demos.

The thing I'm most looking forward to is meeting so many friends. Seeing some of Chicago will be nice but I am not sure how much I'll get to see. I have decided to skip the stroller and I don't know how much my little one is going to want to get dragged around the city but we'll see. I am not even sure I'll have much extra time to explore. Really, I'm more of a relax and chat kind of person.


Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is: Travel Time

With the Babywearing Conference a few days away, I really need to decide whether or not to have a stroller with me. This is not an easy decision. I will be traveling with my four year old daughter. Originally, when I planned to go, my husband was on board and we were all going to go as a family. But we moved after I agreed to teach and didn't realize that airfare prices from our now town would be prohibitive. So I could only afford two tickets. I'd love to have left my little one at home, but she's never spent one night away from me, much less six! Plus, my husband works and who would take care of her all day? I am able to nip out for a few minutes because he works from home, but not all day, for days on end!

So, to try to find my way through the airport with a stroller and two carry on bags plus a child that does not walk when we're trying to get some place? If she is in the stroller, um, where does the luggage go?

I have done that trick before and it's not that bad. I have hooked the luggage handles on to the stroller handles. But my wrists have been hurting and it just seems too much. Plus the thought of getting through security with more stuff just overwhelms me.

So, I'll probably live to regret this, but the stroller stays home.

2008 Babywearing Conference is Nearly Here!!!!

The 2008 Babywearing Conference in Chicago starts in just a few days! I am so excited and look forward to meeting people from around the country and even around the world. We all feel like we're going to meet celebrities and dear old friends we've never met!

I don't know what to be more nervous about. I have a booth, so of course a lot of planning and investment have gone into that. I've never done anything like this before so I hope I'm doing it all correctly!

And the whole reason I'm going in the first place is because I am teaching two classes! On Friday, I'm teaching Advanced Soft Structured Carriers. I look forward to this because I'm so passionate about SSCs more than any other baby carrier. There are going to be some exciting new SSCs debuted at the conference. That is all I can say about that right now! I sure hope the Fashion Show gets put up on YouTube during the conference so you can all see what I mean! I will try to post some photos if time, battery life and technology allow!

On Saturday, I am teaching Soft Pack Basics. Saturday is the open day and people from the greater Chicago day will be attending by the thousands to check out what is new and exciting in Babywearing! The volunteer committee has done an extraordinary job; everyone in a 100 mile radius is aware of the time and date! I am thrilled to teach this class and help these lovely families get an introduction to a style of baby carrier that they probably were not aware of and that they are going to totally fall in love with!

Stay tuned!!!


When strollers just won't work and child must be carried

Last weekend, my family got invited aboard the USS Truman, a Naval ship which had just returned from a long deployment. This was no cruise ship. The aisles were narrow and the stairways steep and precarious. My eight year old had quite a time getting around so imagine a four year old trying to keep up. Any parent, in a situation like this, would wind up carrying their little one.

That photo is of my four year old on my back, which was by far the safest place for her! There were no other children that age aboard! Probably it was quick to see that it was impossible to get around carrying a little one and a stroller would have been completely impossible as there were knee knockers in every doorway (you had to step quite high to get through the doorways.)

I got a lovely workout that day! And my little one got to feel safe; again, this was no cruise ship. It is, um, not exactly, well, pretty. Let's leave it at that.

Listen to your baby

My daughter is now four and so it's super easy for her to tell me she'd like to be in the baby carrier or switch to front or hip. Actually, she rarely requests a hip carry. She did today, and I was so glad I had a baby carrier that allowed for that position.

It was super hot and muggy at the cow factory we were touring. She started out on my back but decided she'd be able to see more easily and be cooler on my hip, which is true. I quite enjoyed the break from the sweaty back. Then she wanted to do a front carry. It's hard for me to see around her head now that she's so big, but you won't catch me complaining; there were two other parents there lugging children the same size.

So we have two things to learn from children. They don't want to be put down, even at age four, even in places where strollers are ridiculously inconvenient. And they might like to try different positions, not just always be worn exactly the same way. However you wear them, remember that a bit of fussing might be a reminder for you to turn so your little one can see the action. Sure enough, my little started swinging her legs and I asked what she wanted. She just wanted to see; she was bored!

Baby Sling Safety

Finally! M'Liss' work has been published in a new baby sling safety blog! M'Liss, I appreciate all your hard work and dedication in this important project.


Oh, but I have a boy!

So often, I hear people lament the "fact" that they can't wear certain colors or prints because they have a boy. This thebabywearer.com forum posting shows all the gorgeous boys being worn by moms who chose the fabric they loved with no regard to the gender of their little one.



Babywearing 2nd honeymoon

Babywearing is going swimmingly here! Check out my little one on her dad's back (for all of you who have always wondered why she looks nothing like me, now you can see where she gets her looks!) He went out briefly and she fell asleep! She hasn't taken a nap in months but I guess she was enjoying the ride!

To recap my last post, my daughter is four years old. She absolutely quit babywearing a year ago when we were on vacation without a stroller, but we still had to carry her everywhere! We have not been able to wear her for a year. Recently, I was able to reintroduce babywearing and it has helped with some behavioral challenges we were struggling with. The simple act of touch seems to have helped us all reconnect. We also added some Bach Flower Remedies. So who knows which facilitated which but things are going more smoothly now!

The baby carrier in the photo is the Active Mom Carrier, but I think I am going to call it something else, seeing as dad's wearing it too! Any suggestions?


A year after being fired, we are babywearing again!

A year ago at this time, we were on vacation in San Francisco and my little girl was turning three. She chose that time to quit babywearing. We were out and about in the city and she simply quit. She consistently refused to go into any baby carrier. We didn't even have a stroller with us as we tend to travel as light as possible so this was a real hardship.

Our final day there, after walking all over the city and carrying her for hours, we got back to the car and my husband had locked the keys in there somewhere. Well, we hoped that was the case, anyway. In the seediest of parking lots with bird poop everywhere and a compact car that fit into our back pocket (so no possible place to sit), we waited over an hour, standing and holding her - of course only mommy would do - hoping beyond hope that when the locksmith showed up, the keys would indeed be in the car and we would make our return flight.

Yes, the keys were there and we did manage to struggle through the airport with my husband having to handle all the bags because of the new No Babywearing Rule. And no, she would not walk. And yes of course, we had to switch flights at 3am.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Have you ever noticed that children undergo huge mental leaps on and around their birthdays? So last year, she was growing up and quitting babywearing. This year, she is getting language concepts so quickly but also driving us pretty batty with irrational requests. Like, at 11pm, insisting on having ice cream right now, even though we don't have any and the stores are all closed and even if they weren't, no way am I going to get up and buy ice cream at that hour. I know this is a common theme from talking to other parents, but it is still very difficult to go through these developmental transitions.

One day, I realized I'd better scale back and focus on her and really up my patience level. And I also realized I needed to reconnect with her through touch. And what better way to do that than babywearing? So I popped her straight into my trusty old Ergo one morning and out the door we went. It was just like old times; she was relaxed and there was lots of head kissing and smiles all around.

But as it started to dawn on me that we were back in babywearing business, it also started to dawn on me how I'd missed out on so much of the new and gorgeous options. So I sat down with my little one and dug through my inventory and we agreed upon a red Active Mom Carrier. She still prefers front carries so I have been wearing it with straps crossed.

I can not believe how her behavior has changed! This simple change has caused such a powerful shift. She is calmer and the irrational outbursts have nearly gone away. My husband jumped back on the babywearing bandwagon right away too. I am sure he would have preferred some color other than red but the thing is, with a child who is picky about the baby carrier, she is the first one that needs to be pleased!

The other day she woke up and asked to go onto my back. She chose a special tester baby carrier and out the door we went. I had been planning breakfast at home but no way after that request! I am so thrilled she is willing to do back carries again! I even wore her for an hour or so while house cleaning the other day! She was getting underfoot and being grumpy and this totally settled her down. A nap would also have done the trick but she quit those so being able to have her on my back and get on with it was such a blessing!


Beco Butterfly - a Whole Different Animal!

I am confident about a lot of things and especially about babywearing. I am confident enough to look foolish and to have fun making fun of myself. I had a grand old time this week laughing at myself because I walked into a consultation without too terribly much of a clue. And it was at Starbucks, no less, so people were looking on. What the heck!

I only watched the Beco Butterfly DVD once some 2 months ago and only tried the carrier once as my little one doesn't allow me to use any new carrier more than one time. And she's nearly four now, so pretty soon all I will have is weighted dolls. I sort of had the basic idea, but that was a while ago! Now I have no DVDs to review while my carriers are being repaired.

So when I peeked inside and showed her where her baby was going to go, I wasn't even sure! Too funny!

Because of the recall and the fact that the carrier we were using has not yet been repaired, I decided we'd use it in a way where the buckle issue couldn't come into play. So we just put the carrier on her first and slipped baby in from the top. I can't tell you which part her baby wound up in but it all made sense.

To look at this carrier being worn, you really can't see much of a difference from any other soft structured carrier out there. But believe me, it's totally different to use.

I'm glad I had this little experience and got to see it on someone else. There are a few adjustments. Like a frame backpack, baby goes in and gets fitted, and the other part of the carrier gets worn by the parent and adjusted. Other carriers just hold baby up against the wearer and are adjusted only in one part of the carrier. Well sort of. Broad sweeping generalization.

Let's just say that the Beco Butterfly is just like a frame backpack but without the frame part! I hope that clears it right up! I so wish I'd taken a few photos of mine while I had it!


Introduction to SSCs at Babywearing Conference

So I'm teaching a class at the Babywearing Conference in Chicago in June. The class is Introduction to Soft Structured Baby Carriers. I was thinking I could get a little advanced but then I realized that my class is during the open day so beginning babywearers may be there. That is totally cool; babywearing advocacy is so important to me and I do believe that buckle carriers are more palatable to mainstream parents.

So I am totally open to what to cover. I was going to do as much of the material on The Ergo Lady's Tips and Tricks as I could. And I want people to get to try at least one carrier. I haven't started planning so I am open to suggestions!


Beco Butterfly Baby Carrier Voluntary Recall

Yesterday, Beco Baby Carrier announced a voluntary recall of the Beco Butterfly Baby Carrier. You can read the full text here:


Amanda Peet wears her Ergo Baby Carrier

I was so happy to see these gorgeous photos of Amanda Peet wearing her baby in an Ergo Baby Carrier. (Click on the link to see the rest of the photos.) Behind the scenes of the babywearing vendor scene, I often see the disappointment when celebrities are gifted baby carriers and then either don't use them, or use them poorly, in obviously uncomfortable ways. Amanda obviously got it; babywearing makes airport travel and, well, life, easier!

It's a funny thing about celebrities. They are of course people just like the rest of us, but we can see them so much more than they can see us. So a simple thing like hanging out at a babywearing meeting and finding out about the rejuvenated art of babywearing is something that isn't generally going to be an option for a well-recognized celebrity. I have long asserted that just as there are fitness trainers who make it their business to train celebrities, there should also be babywearing consultants who specialize in this area. Any celebrity is absolutely welcome to fly me out and get lessons but of course, they'd have to pay airfare for my little one too. Or just come visit! I'll hook you up! Gee, perhaps I'll put this as an item in my shopping cart. You never know! (Edited to add - Here it is! Babywearing Consulting!)

More and more often, we are seeing celebrities babywearing and doing it well! We all look to celebrities to learn about fashion and trends. Babywearing is one trend that is not going to go away. Yes, it can be a fashion statement, and there is nothing wrong with that! But it's also something that has taken many countries by storm because of how it enhances our life. Believe me, I would not willingly carry around an extra 30 pounds strapped to my body if there were not some advantage to it. The sad irony is that countries where babywearing has been done out of necessity are now making economic advances and consider babywearing beneath them. So while they are rushing out getting expensive strollers, celebrities here are ditching the stroller as often as possible. *

*Just to be clear, I am not anti-stroller. But there are so many times where it is easier and more convenient to not have a stroller and to simply babywear. I still love my stroller! I just don't use it that often.


Babywearing Safety: "Bag" Slings

M'Liss Stelzer, author of Mothering Magazine's Babywearing Bliss how-to primer, has recently posted the results of some research she's been working on regarding safety in so-called "bag" slings*. For the full research, please create a free membership at The Baby Wearer and read "Concerns About Bag Slings".

M'Liss is a former NICU nurse, mom to two, and an avid babywearing advocate and teacher. She's married these specialties and has been doing research on oxygenation levels in newborn babies. Part of this
research is mentioned about in the Babywearing Bliss primer, but she has continued to collect data, focusing more on what she is calling "bag" slings*.

Here is an excerpt from "Concerns About Bag Slings", taken with permission from the author.

With the majority of fabric carriers it takes only a few minor adjustments to get baby safely and comfortably positioned (see the "Correct Positioning article")". However, unlike most other types of carriers, it appears the Infantino SlingRider baby carrier has several significant design flaws that could place an infant at risk of respiratory distress, oxygen deprivation or even suffocation.

, the design of the SlingRider causes baby to naturally curl chin to chest, larger babies more so because their heads are positioned further up in the carrier. This position kinks baby’s airway causing the baby to work harder to breathe. (For more information on the importance of maintaining an infant's head and neck in an aligned position see the articles “Baby car seat ‘cot death’ concerns” and “Simple Car Seat Insert to Prevent Upper Airway Narrowing”.)
Now, the instructions for every Infantino front pack emphasize that baby should
not be chin to chest (“Baby's chin should not point down toward baby's chest") and there are even diagrams of correct positioning. However, the SlingRider instructions omit this important detail and, not only that, but the product shots of the SlingRider contradict the information in the front pack instructions. Photos on Infantino’s website.

, it is very difficult to keep a newborn’s face away from the pouch fabric. The SlingRider is roughly triangle shaped; flat bottom and two sides that slant upwards toward the elastic top. This “triangle” means that the pouch fabric is always angled very close to the sides of baby’s face. If baby rotates even slightly he ends up with his nose within a ¼” of the side, or even pressed against the side of the pouch. Once baby has his head pressed against the side of the carrier and/or against the parent's body there is a risk of the baby suffocating or becoming oxygen deprived. (See SlingRider #1)

, it is very difficult for the parent to monitor their infant unless they pull
open the top of the sling. The SlingRider is deep, plus it sags when baby is placed in it, further increasing the depth of the carrier. The gathered top and the fact that the sling hangs so low obstructs the parent’s view of baby. If a newborn were to have difficulty breathing, and/or rotate until his nose and mouth was pressed against the side of the carrier, the parent may not be aware of the baby’s respiratory distress for some time. Compounding this problem is the impossibility of feeling the baby's distress through the thick fabric of the sling.

Sling tightened as far as possible. 5'3" mother.

6 pound newborn

8 pound newborn

Compare the SlingRider with a shallow fabric pouch or adjustable open-tailed sling (or mei tai or wrap). In these types of carriers an infant is easily monitored and visualized. Also, a newborn's head is effectively sandwiched between the sides of these carriers, preventing the infant from rotating his/her head into the sides of the carrier.

Disclaimer: Although M'Liss has only been able to test babies in the SlingRider (because that's the only bag sling she has in her possession) she want parents to know that other bag slings probably present similar dangers.

*bag slings
"I believe there are two significant features that distinguish the dangerous "bag sling" from a typical pouch.

First: The bag sling has a padded, structured bottom (in the area where the baby's body rests). Therefore the fabric that supports the baby cannot conform to the baby's body and it is almost impossible to position the baby diagonally across the fabric, for proper back and
head support. (Also, if the "safety harness" is used, it
forces the baby into an improper parallel-to-rails position.) The padding also makes it nearly impossible to carry the baby snug against the wearer's body, because it creates a flat surface that resists being adjusted and tightened.

Second: The rails are padded and elasticized, so -- esp. in combination with the depth of the pouch -- the sides of the sling tend to "close up" over the baby, restricting the flow of fresh air, and preventing the wearer from being able to easily see and monitor her baby. (This is less of a problem with an older baby who is sitting more upright in the sling, of course.)

The third big difference between a "bag sling" and a regular pouch is one more of wearing comfort than of the baby's safety, and has to do with the difficult-to-adjust heavily padded strap that goes over the wearer's shoulder and back. By itself I don't think this is a major
safety issue, but in combination with the above features, it adds to the tendency of these slings to be too large and very difficult, if not impossible, to wear snugly and with the baby well positioned.

So, the problem is more or less a function of the way you put the baby in the sling, but the
issue with these bag slings is that, by their design, they encourage poor positioning."

-Holly McCroskey Lewis, co-leader of Bay Area Babywearers,mom-of-two (hollyml)


Babywearing may be over but the baby carriers are still needed!

My beautiful Maine Coon cat died in late December after a long and wonderful life. A perfect 17 year friendship! I guess I moped a fair bit because my family is thrilled to see me smiling again.


We got a new kitten! We are all in love.


Oops. Not all of us are in love, actually.

Our two year old kitty is purty darned pissed, actually. We brought the new kitten home yesterday and she was, ah, rather rude. I have never seen her make such distasteful faces, and the things she said? Well I am not going to put them up and risk offending you. Most unbecoming! Well anyway, we are all taking turns to try to keep the little guy safe and help our old grouch to remember we still love her.

I found myself holding the adorable little baby in one hand while lifting storage bins with the other. He was being stalked. She's already clocked him good a few times and left his head spinning.

It dawned on me that there was something familiar about this situation. I was needing both hands but one hand was busy holding this sweet little kitten. What to do? What to do? Oh yeah! That's right! A baby carrier! Well, okay, Stacey of Karma Baby did ask me to take some photos of my new baby in a pouch but I didn't realized it would be a safety thing to have him in there!

He loved it! Looking down from on high while safe and warm was a relief for a little while, anyway. Of course, he's still a cat, and a little one at that. So curiosity got the better of him and down into the fray he went. Quick! Off to give some huge cuddles to our old grump!