Wearing a Toddler or Preschooler

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This post continues the ages and stages babywearing series.  If you would like to learn more about newborn babywearing, wearing an infant until they’re able to sit up on their own, or wearing an older infant in to toddlerhood check out my earlier posts.

Babywearing in to toddlerhood and beyond is a great way to bond with your child.  It’s also a good way to build your core muscles.  Newly walking legs get tired easily.  When you can grab a carrier and put your child up on your back it can save everyone’s sanity when you are on vacation, visiting a theme park, hiking, at a festival, and more.  Babywearing also allows you to be able to go to places that strollers aren’t permitted and allows your child to interact more closely with you and the world on your eye level.

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Babywearing while hiking on the Oregon coast.  Woven wraps are warmer for hikes than a soft structure carrier but can be more supportive as well.

I have children who have had sensory defensive issues (the part of sensory processing disorder that makes them really want to push away/not participate in highly sensory situations).  We really enjoy going to festivals.

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My middle son (pictured above) enjoyed the people but didn’t enjoy the noises.  Wearing him helped him be able to interact on a level he was comfortable as well as receive the calming sensation of being wrapped snuggly (like a big hug as my children have described babywearing when they’ve had more words). My oldest son was extremely shy.  Babywearing allowed him to turn his head in to me when he didn’t want to interact and people were more respective of his space when I was wearing him (though not always but it was easier for me to tell he needed a break).

Babywearing children with special circumstances and needs can be extremely helpful for their mental and emotional well-being as well as yours (being able to provide the extra snuggles which also helps release oxytocin which soothes and promotes bonding).

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Babywearing (toddler wearing) can be very soothing when your child is upset or hurt

Toddler wearing is also very helpful to soothe bumps and bruises and fits by offering additional comfort (while being a little easier on your body and arms than holding in arms when baby begins growing larger and heavier).  Toddlers are also notorious for falling asleep in the car RIGHT before you reach your destination.  Babywearing can be a great way to help meet your child’s needs (and allow them to continue sleeping) and your needs to make it on time to your appointments!

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Toddlers are notorious for falling asleep right before you reach your destination!

Babywearing can also be a great way to keep little curious hands out of danger but caution should always be taken to watch what those hands are grabbing while you are wearing baby on your back.  This little gal (below) had recently split her head open.  She goes to a lot of conferences and events with me.  Babywearing has helped me to keep her calm while I’m working and also keep her safe too.

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So what carriers are good for toddlers and preschoolers?

It’s important to keep YOUR child’s needs in mind.  After baby is 2+ the spread squat positioning isn’t quite as important but it’s the normal position for the hips so best practices are that you continue to support that position.  If baby has hip dysplasia or is at higher risk that position is very important to support. It’s important to counsel with your doctor and physical therapist if your child has special circumstances or needs so that you may be able to meet those as well as caring for their medical situations.

  • Woven wraps can always support that position through spreading the wrap to hit knee to knee. Try different lengths-shorter wraps won’t be quite as supportive (using fewer passes over baby) but may be quicker to wrap if your child likes to get up and down a lot.  Shorter wraps are also easier to tuck in a diaper bag or even in your stroller if you go back and forth between wearing and baby strolling.
  • Soft structure carriers and more structured carriers (like mei tais) may not support this position anymore because likely the panel isn’t wide enough any longer unless you purchase a toddler or preschooler specific carrier or one with stirrups (such as the Boba carrier).  Also, it’s likely at this stage that your child has outgrown the height of the panel as well.  If it doesn’t reach the base of their arms (where their arm meets their body) or higher up on their back the carrier is not considered tall enough any longer.  There is a fall and lean back risk even if your child usually does not lean backwards.

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    This is the first time that my oldest “made cookies” with me.  Babywearing allowed me to mix cookies while keeping him secure in a new environment he hadn’t been in before.

  • Ring slings may be ok for a few minutes here and there but many parents find that their back will get really tired using one for more than a few minutes.
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Babywearing is great for all!  Even Yoda! (This is a meme that is often passed around online.  I don’t have a photo credit but if you know who made it I would love to credit them!)

I teach best practices for positioning for all babies because suboptimal positioning puts baby at risk for possible hip/spine issues down the road.  Like how drinking alcohol doesn’t ALWAYS cause liver disease or smoking doesn’t ALWAYS cause lung cancer the benefits and risks should be weighed when making decisions.  The risk is there and I recommend minimizing that risk.

I am a Boba Ambassador.  I do not receive payment from Boba but will occasionally receive new products and updates from time to time.  I am a Boba Ambassador because I believe in their products.  For more information about this as well my other disclosures please visit this page.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on babywearing help please contact me or visit my website.

What is your favorite carrier for a toddler or preschooler?

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Don’t Put the Car Seat on the Cart!

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Photo credit: Niki Miller

It’s been publicized that the practice of attaching a car seat to a cart is not considered safe but when I go to a grocery store in Oklahoma City I usually find at least one baby in their car seat “snapped” in to the cart.  I would like to remind any parent reading this that if they are doing this currently to stop right away but don’t feel bad or guilty for doing this.  Many parents have “snapped” their car seat to their cart (myself included!) before knowing the dangers.  When we know better we do better!

So why is it dangerous?  Car seats were not designed to sit on carts.  All carts are differently shaped.  Even if the seat will “snap” on to the cart this practice is dangerous because it may break the part that clicks in to the base in your car which will render the seat ineffective in an accident.  Putting a car seat on a cart in this manner also makes the cart top heavy.  A small shift of weight by baby or even a shift of the cart can make the whole cart tip or the baby and seat to tip off of the cart which can seriously injure baby.  Another cart flaw can cause baby to fall through a cart and become severely injured as shown in this video.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Injuries associated with shopping carts are an important cause of pediatric morbidity, especially among children younger than 5 years. An estimated 24200 children younger than 15 years, 20700 (85%) of whom were younger than 5 years, were treated in US hospital emergency departments in 2005 for shopping cart–related injuries.

Among their recommendations to prevent accidents (including education for parents and possible redesigning of shopping carts) they state:

Providing adult caregivers with alternatives to placing a child in a cart while they shop can effectively prevent shopping cart–related injuries. Some stores provide supervised play areas for children. Parents may be able to arrange for another adult to accompany them and watch the child during a shopping trip. Other parents may be able to transport a young child in a stroller, wagon, frontpack, or backpack. An older child can be asked to walk. Some parents may be able to leave their child at home with an adult while they shop, but this is not an option for many others. Some stores offer shopping via the Internet with or without home delivery.

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Photo Credit: Carissa Traut

Many carts now also include warnings to not put an infant in an infant seat on the cart.  Even if the cart includes a rest for a car seat it still isn’t recommended to do this because it can cause the cart to be too top heavy and tip or the seat to tip out, especially if a parent forgets to buckle the seat in to the cradle.

Car seat manufacturers also caution against this use of car seats.  It’s in your manual.  If you don’t read other instruction manuals do read your car seat manual!  Your baby’s life could depend on it since a car seat is a potential life saving device in a car accident.  Read the manual!

Photo credit: Kissably Close, Aimee Park

I suggest that parents have a soft baby carrier that they can put baby in while grocery shopping if there isn’t a built in infant seat in the car seat (but again, these can cause the cart to become top heavy so use with extreme caution and always buckle baby in!).  For more information on types of carriers and carriers that are good for different stages please check back to earlier blog posts.  When baby is old enough to sit alone it’s safe to put baby in the toddler portion of the cart (about 6-8 months).  Until then, consider wearing your baby at the store.

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Photo Credit: Carissa Traut

For more information please see:

If you need help choosing and using a baby carrier in Oklahoma City, Mustang, or Yukon please visit my website or contact me.

What is your favorite carrier to use while at the store?

 

Wearing an Older Infant

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This post continues the ages and stages babywearing series.  If you would like to learn more about newborn babywearing or wearing an infant until they’re able to sit up on their own check out my earlier posts.

The spread squat position is still very important at this stage.  Be sure to read more about this in my newborn babywearing post.  When baby is in the carrier you are looking for this position (notice the curved spine and the knees higher than the bum (capital M position).

Carriers that are great to use at this stage:

  • A ring sling for shorter periods of time.  You may begin considering a wrap convert ring sling if this is your favorite carrier and you want to wear for longer spurts because the heavier weave helps distribute weight better.
  • Woven Wraps
  • Gauze or Hybrid wraps may become a little less comfortable as your child grows.
  • No stretchy wraps-they will not support the spread squat positioning at this point.
  • Mei tais start becoming a great option at this stage!
  • Soft Structure Carriers are also a great option for quick up and downs.

As babies grow and become older they will begin to like quicker up and downs (especially as they begin to walk).  Babies will also grow heavier but if you’re used to wearing your muscles will grow along with baby.  There’s no need to restrict wearing based on your child’s size/weight unless you have a medical condition to consider.

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Wearing my oldest son at 12 months in a ring sling when he got overwhelmed by a play date

 

You may also begin to be interested in back wearing.  Back carries can help you wear for a longer period of time more comfortably as your child grows but remember that babies like to snuggle too and knowing how to nurse in a carrier is a good skill (not every mom is able to nurse in a carrier but if you can practice in several different carriers most mothers can find a way to comfortably nurse while wearing).  You may spend more time out of the house and at this point you may almost mourn if you have forgotten your carrier at home.  It’s a good idea to have an inexpensive back up carrier in your car or diaper bag or keep a carrier in your car all the time so your arms and back don’t ache when you’re out and forgot the carrier.

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Boba Selfie! Back carries help baby interact with the world (including staying safe while watching older brothers ride bikes).

Back carries can also help baby interact a little more with their world.  When baby can see over your shoulder they can see and experience what you see but also be able to snuggle in when they become overwhelmed or shy.

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My daughter at about 7 months “helping” me clean the house

At this stage you may experience a baby that wants to nurse and then doesn’t fall alseep nursing any longer.  Wearing your baby down may be a very lovely skill to have in your toolbox of parenting tricks.  With practice you can wear your baby and take a walk around your house or neighborhood (make sure to have a flashlight and stay safe at night!) or just snuggle and rock.  The tightness of the carrier often works better for this then just sitting in a rocking chair.  Make sure when you put baby down to remove the carrier so there are no suffocation hazards.

Back wrapping tips and tricks:

  • When you’re beginning back wraps practice while kneeling on your bed or a soft surface and/or start low.
  • Get help, have a spot
  • Practice getting a good seat in a front wrap cross carry before attempting back wrapping.
  • Use a mirror or your computer camera to help you see what’s going on on your back.
  • Get hands on help!  It makes a huge difference.

I recommend doing the “superman” method for getting baby on your back because you stay in full control and contact of baby while putting baby up.  Here’s a video that shows this technique.

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Hiking with a toddler in Newport, Oregon

I teach best practices for positioning for all babies because suboptimal positioning puts baby at risk for possible hip/spine issues down the road.  Like how drinking alcohol doesn’t ALWAYS cause liver disease or smoking doesn’t ALWAYS cause lung cancer the benefits and risks should be weighed when making decisions.  The risk is there and I recommend minimizing that risk.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on babywearing help please contact me or visit my website.

What is your favorite carrier for an infant that can sit on their own?

How to Find Babywearing Support

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We’re going to talk about babywearing support.  There are two types of babywearing support-volunteer support from a babywearing group leader, and paid support from a babywearing educator.  I have broken down the differences in this post and I highly encourage everyone to read it to understand why there’s a difference.

I started a babywearing group in Ogden, Utah when my son was about a year old mostly to find like minded moms to bond with.  It didn’t really get off the ground until another awesome like minded mom came in and started really organizing things (she knew other babywearing parents at that time, I didn’t).  I really enjoyed the group for a few months before we moved to Oregon for my husband to attend graduate school.  Less than a year after we moved I knew I really needed to create a support group in my new community and I better knew how to get it off the ground.  I started Corvallis Babywearers in May 2012.  I had seen some dangerous babywearing practices and heard from a lot of families that they had wished they’d been able to babywear but the two options that they could purchase locally didn’t work well for them and they didn’t know there were other options available.  I was able to work in my community until we moved after my husband graduated last August.  There are still some wonderful women that are keeping the group going which I’m so happy about because it was a great passion of mine and I put a lot of work in to it.

While we lived in Oregon I had the opportunity (in March 2014) to attend the Babywearing Institute on one of our trips back to visit family in Utah.  I was taught by Beate, the founder of the Babywearing Institute, who has been babywearing since she lived in Germany and wrapped her siblings.  She and her husband own Storchenwiege which makes beautiful German-style woven wraps.  They also own the online shop, Children’s Needs.  I was surprised how much I learned and different wrapping techniques.  I also learned better practices for how to teach babywearing.  I used the skills in my babywearing group but also started offering babywearing consultations until we moved.  I took a short break while we got settled and I again offer babywearing consultations.

I love both types of support and both types will help you wear your baby.  There are advantages to having a paid consultation and there are advantages to a support group.  I would like to share some tools to help you find local support.

Here are some tools to help you find a babywearing group or online support:

  • Babywearing International (not all babywearing groups are affiliated with BWI and are still awesome groups so be sure to check out several tools to see all the groups available in your area).
  • Online baby carrier retailers with listings or look up tools:
  • The Babywearer (Online forum with a lot of babywearing information.  There are also local boards within this forum.  You have to register to view forums but it’s free!)
  • Baby Center (online support)
  • Facebook (do a search of common terms that you call your area and babywearing.  There are also online groups such as Babywearing 102)

Here are some tools to help you find a local educator:

A special note on YouTube. You can learn to do a lot of things on YouTube.  Some can be dangerous and some can show not-as-optimal positioning.  It’s important to learn what is optimal positioning before scouring YouTube for videos.  I have compiled many babywearing videos on my YouTube channel.  You can check out my babywearing playlists here.

Where is your favorite place to go for online babywearing support?

I am a Certified Babywearing Educator and a Lactation Educator.  I offer babywearing and breastfeeding classes and consultations in the Oklahoma City, Mustang, and Yukon areas in Oklahoma.  If you are interested in learning more you can contact me or visit my website.

 

Where to Purchase a Baby Carrier

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This is a question that comes up a lot from my readers and people who visit my website.  Where can I purchase a baby carrier?  I am here today to share some local resources for purchasing a carrier in Oklahoma City and some sources on the web.  I’m also sharing some places that you can purchase a used carrier as well.  I will mention that it’s a good idea to protect yourself when purchasing used.  I will share some tips later on in this post.  I would love to keep this updated so please let me know if you find a broken link or want me to add another shop on here!

Where you can buy a baby carrier in Oklahoma City:

  • The Worn Baby: (Piper of Babywearing Support of OKC on Facebook and local meetings)  Offers local pick up, payment plans, and a trade in program.
    • Didymos, Diva Milano, Ellaroo, Emeibaby, Ethos, Fidella, Girasol, Lenny Lamb, Little Frog, Ovolo, Storchenweige, Yaro
  • Babies R Us: 1731 Bell Isle Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
    • Ergo, Boba Wrap, Several others site to store
  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative

Tulsa Area:

  • Bottoms and Beyond: 400 E. Broadway St., Sand Springs, OK 74063
    • Lenny Lamb, Lillebaby, MJ, Tula
  • Oui Oui: 1405 E Kenosha St, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
    • Bella Bonilla Onbus, Hero Slings, Tula

Where you can buy a baby carrier online (not an exhaustive list by any means!):

I just want to mention to ask your local babywearing group if they have an affiliate account with an retailers because often groups will have a special discount or receive a portion of sales.

Stores I have shopped with or know owners and can personally recommend:

Other Great Online Shops:

  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative
  • Risaroo
  • Mom’s Milk Boutique
  • Purple Elm Baby
  • Ergo (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Natibaby (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Lenny Lamb (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Little Frog (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Maya Wrap (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Storchenwiege (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Girasol (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)

Tips to keep in mind when purchasing a used carrier (especially online):

  • Be sure to use Paypal and pay through “goods” so that you’re protected.
  • Be sure that you get lots of pictures in good light.  If the seller isn’t providing enough pictures (especially of any flaws they mention) ask for more.  If they won’t provide them it may not be worth the risk purchasing the carrier.
  • Speaking of flaws-if the seller doesn’t mention any or doesn’t have a good description of the carrier, how it was used, if it was used in a smoking/non-smoking home, if it comes from a home with animals (or was ever used to hold an animal), etc ask them.  Don’t ever assume because something is left off or is vague.  Asking lots of questions is super important even if a carrier is your “unicorn” (something you’ve really wanted for a very long time or even a short time).
  • Get insurance.  If you can afford to be out the package don’t worry about this one but most of us really can’t be out the carrier and what we paid for it.  Paypal does protect you but making sure to pay extra for insurance is a really good idea because the post office does lose packages.
  • Watch tracking.  Make sure the seller is willing to get tracking on the package and watch it.  USPS doesn’t always update so don’t panic if it hasn’t moved in a few days.  Sometimes packages run late as well but it’s a good idea to get tracking and to check it every couple of days.

Where you can purchase a used carrier:

Facebook:

Others:

  • The Babywearer (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers)
  • Diaperswappers (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers-this site is mainly for cloth diapers but there’s a great section for carriers)

If you need help finding a carrier I offer sessions that I can sit down with you and help you shop for a carrier that you will love.  Feel free to contact me on via email with any questions or book a time with me.  You can also find out more about my breastfeeding and babywearing classes on my website.

Where have you purchased a carrier online?

Get Social!

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This is a picture that I took before going on Periscope before my Breastfeeding Basics class on Saturday.  Did you know that I am on Periscope?  I love to answer your questions live and demonstrate breastfeeding equipment and babywearing techniques.  Do you have any questions you would like answered live?  Please feel free to drop me a line with the subject “Periscope” so I can be sure to answer them the next time I go live.  You can find me @nurturingbonds on Periscope.  You can also check out my Katch.me if you miss the replays on Periscope.  Remember on replay on Periscope you can still tap to give hearts!

I also have a You Tube channel where I upload my videos from Periscope and other helpful videos that you can visit here. (Please subscribe!  I need 100 followers so I can request a custom URL on YouTube)

Check me out on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook too!

I’d love to follow you too!  Leave your Periscope, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook usernames in the comments and I’ll follow you!

Babywearing Halloween Costumes

First Published: Nov 21, 2015 9:00 AM
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Thank you all for sharing your pictures with me! Here are some of my favorites. Hopefully they spark some ideas for you for next year. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and subscribe to my blog (see the right side panel to enter your email to subscribe). As a bonus for subscribing to my newsletter you will receive not-yet-published Winter Babywearing Tips just in time for winter! I’ll also be sure to remind you of this post before Halloween next year.

Babywearing Halloween costumes can be simple or complex, expensive or cheap. Hopefully this post will inspire you for your Halloween costumes!

Here’s another picture of us from this year from Halloween right before going out to trick-or-treat (check out our ideas that we have done in past years in this post). Peach didn’t last on my back long, she decided to walk most of the time and I ended up leaving my wrap at home and using my Kinderpack to get her on and off quickly. She loves being wrapped but enjoyed asking for candy and walking with brothers more this Halloween.

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Mario, Luigi, Yoshi (hat found on Etsy), and Princess Peach is wearing a pink dress and a hand made felt crown with an elastic running across inside and clipped to her hair. I’m wearing a 4.6 Natibaby Amazonia wrap.

Family Superhero theme by Elise H.

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Spider on a mama spiderweb by Niki R.

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Bank robber and her money bag by Jessica C.

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Robber family with their money bag by Samantha O.

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Grandma, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Big Bad Wolf by Stephanie H.

Two fun and groovy family costumes from the Zurovetz family from 2014 and 2015.

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Which one is your favorite? Please feel free to comment below!

 

 

Our Babywearing Costumes-Past and Present

First Published: Oct 24, 2015 3:27 PM
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We have had a few costumes that we have incorporated babywearing in to in the past. I will share those with you first in order of most recent (taken yesterday at a Trunk-or-Treat party) to oldest. I also will share some cute Halloween pictures from before we did babywearing costumes special because who doesn’t love seeing cute kids in Halloween costumes?!

I would love to do a Halloween costumes idea post so if you’re interested please email me at monkeybunns@gmail.com with your pictures and let me know that you’re ok with me sharing them in a post on my blog (please state that or I won’t be able to share them!). Please send me your pictures by November 2nd! (Must be YOUR picture and you must have the rights to it).

2015: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Princess Peach

Princess Peach was saved just in time after getting in trouble again. Yoshi came to the rescue to carry her to safety. The Mario brothers succeeded again! (I knit the boys’ hats, sewed the felt crown, and got the Yoshi hat off of Etsy)

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2014: My Minions

I don’t have a picture of my little gal on my back but I did carry her on my back for our town’s downtown trick-or-treating as well as at night. I had minions climbing all over me and doing my bidding! (I knit their hats).

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2013: Ninja Turtles (including the baby in the belly!)

The ultimate babywearing is the wearing a mama does before a baby is born. This was our second year of a family theme. The picture was taken at our downtown trick-or-treating by a friend.

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2012: Thomas and Friends.

This was our first family theme and first time really incorporating babywearing in to our costumes. My oldest really wanted to be Thomas, my husband was Sir Topham Hat, I was Rosie (an engine on some of the episodes), and my little man was my conductor. I don’t have another picture of him because he was too wiggly at the time but he did have the stripped overalls and everything and looked adorable. The Peekaru kept me toasty while we went trick-or-treating. This was taken at a trunk or treat a week before, my husband was gone for Halloween this year.

2012halloween2011: The first year I wore one of my kiddos to go trick-or-treating.

Monkey really wanted to be a spider this year, K-man was super in to froggies. I made both of their costumes (including the knit hat on K-man). Sorry for the grainy pictures. My iPod didn’t take all that great of pictures and I forgot to take ones with my better camera but they were still super cute so I wanted to share the pictures anyways.

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And the years that I babywore but not for trick-or-treating because we just drove to each grandmas’ houses.

2010: Monkey was a monkey! (And K-man was in my belly)

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2009: Stewie from Family Guy (Hubby’s pick-I did wear him most of the day though)

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2008: Monkey’s first Halloween, sweet little Pumpkin

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Thank you to my dad for taking this picture! http://bettridgephoto.com/

How have you incorporated babywearing in to your costume? Don’t forget to send your pictures by November 2!

Types of Carriers: Asian Inspired Carriers (Soft Structure Carriers, Mei Tais, Pods, Onbu, etc)

First Published: Oct 2, 2015 2:31 AM
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Welcome to another Types of Carriers series post! To see all of the types of carriers as an overview as well as to see the posts about each class please go check out this post. Today I will be talking about Asian Inspired Carriers.

Included in this type of carrier are the Mei Tai, Soft Structure Carriers (often abbreviated to SSC), Onbuhimu (often shortened to Onbu), and Podagei (often shortened to Pod). These are all based on traditional carriers used for many generations in Asian cultures. This class features a body of the carrier and straps. Sometimes there is a chest belt between the shoulder straps (many Soft Structure Carriers) or you are able to create one with a tie off. Some carriers have waist straps (SSC and Mei Tais) and some have long shoulder straps to be used instead (Pod and Onbu). There is some structure to all of these carriers so there are limits to how these can be tied off and used but some babywearers prefer this and this also makes for a friendly carrier to have in your car. Many dad really like this class of carrier though dads can like all types of carriers. In the past this class has also been called ABCs (for Asian Back Carriers).

  • Mei Tais (pronounced may tie):
Thank you Katie Waugh for the awesome daddy wearing picture!

Thank you Katie Waugh for the awesome daddy wearing picture!

Mei Tais features 4 straps: 2 for the shoulders and 2 for the waist (coming off symmetrically). These can come off from the top or side or from the corner depending on the brand. These are very adjustable because you tighten and tie off where you need to which makes these a great carrier for differing parent body types. Mei Tais can be converted from a woven wrap for extra strength and comfort. Out of all of the classifications and types of carriers Mei Tais probably have the lowest learning curve, next to a soft structure carrier. You can make your own with the right pattern and materials-it’s important to note that you do need to make sure that the straps have a long enough portion of fabric sewn in to the body panel and X-boxes need to be sewn in to support the pull and strain that is put on that part of the carrier. Some common brands are Baby Hawk, Kozy, and even Didymos and Girasol make reasonably priced wrap convert Mei Tai carriers.

  • Soft Structure Carriers (often abbreviated to SSC)
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Thank you Sarah Smith for the picture with your sweet baby in a Boba carrier.

There are many brand options in the SSC class. The most common that you may hear are Ergo, Boba, Beco, Kinderpack, Tula, and Lilibaby (though there are many options at a big variety of price points). These feature a buckling waist and structured arms that adjust with webbing or adjust with webbing and unbuckle so they can be crossed if you like. Most also have chest buckles. Most are built to only wear on your front and back but hip carries may be an option if the shoulder straps unbuckle from the body of the carrier (check with the manufacturer if they do). Brands differ slightly in the body shape, length and width of padding in the shoulders (though the width is very similar in all the major brands except Kinderpack), materials used (some feature a mesh panel against baby’s back), amount of padding in the shoulders, etc. Because of these small differences though you can get a VERY different fit between brands or even within the brand with their different types of carriers. You may have to try several brands to find what works well for your body type. You may even find that with different body types between parents and others that want to wear baby the carrier might not fit very well because there are often big differences in body types.

These carriers are quick to get on and off though and probably have the lowest learning curve of any carrier (with a few exceptions between brands that some may find harder to use than just simply buckling the waist, putting baby in, and buckling the chest buckle). While these might be able to be made by yourself, the buckles and materials that need to be used are harder to find than other types of carriers and I don’t recommend most people make them at home.

Boba Carrier

  • Other Asian Inspired Carriers (not pictured): Onbuhimu, and Podagei (often abbreviated to Pod).

The Onbuhimu features rings instead of a waist strap which may be very comfortable for a pregnant mom’s growing belly but puts all of baby’s weight on your shoulders. The Podagei features long top straps and a blanket-like panel. The long straps are used to cross under baby’s bottom. All of baby’s weight is on your shoulders. These can possibly be made at home with the right materials and patterns (the X-boxes and depth of the straps in to the body of the carrier mentioned in the section on Mei Tais are important to note).

*For full disclosure I am a Boba Ambassador. I became a Boba Ambassador because I love their products. They send me free products to review from time to time but I do not receive any other compensation from them. I like to offer my honest opinion and free products do not influence my views*

What is your favorite type or brand of Asian Inspired Carrier?

Types of Carriers: Slings

First Published: Sep 25, 2015 9:18 AM

slings

Welcome to another types of carriers post! Today I will be talking about slings. To learn about other types of carrier follow the links in this post.

Ring slings and pouch slings are the two types of slings (I will also talk about the recalled bag slings because they also fit in here and only one brand was recalled so they are still floating around and are unsafe). Ring slings are very adjustable and can be great from birth through short bursts in toddlerhood depending on the material. Ring slings are available in cottons or can be converted from a woven wrap for extra durability and support. Pouch slings can come in adjustable sizes but are not supportive enough of a newborn’s spine so they are better suited for babies that can sit on their own for short periods of time. They are great for toddlers who want to be up and down a lot.

  • Ring Sling

Ring slings are very adjustable. They are a great carrier to have if you want to have just one carrier that will fit mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunties, uncles, and anyone else who would like to wear baby. They are great twin carriers because you can wear two pretty easily at the same time, but you can also have one carrier for each parent to wear one baby as well.

Ring slings are pretty easy in and out so they can be great for short bursts with a toddler. Many moms find ring slings easy to breastfeed in so they are great for breastfeeding. Because they are so adjustable and supportive they are great for newborns.

They come in a variety of materials. Cotton is the most popular. They can be converted from a woven wrap which makes an even greater variety of options. Many parents find that wrap convert ring slings are more supportive for toddlers. Ring slings can be made by someone with minimal sewing skills but fabric choices are important and it’s extremely important to be sure to use Sling Rings brand rings because there are no welds (which can wear on the fabric) and are made of aluminum (or a nylon for water slings) specifically for ring slings. It is not safe to use craft rings because they are not specifically designed for ring slings and may not hold up to the pressure that is on them. Craft rings would be fine for a child carrier for a child to “wear” their baby doll or stuffed animals in.

Ring slings can be worn on the front or hip. A back carry is an advanced carry but can also be done with much practice on the front before attempting a back carry. It’s important to note that many health care providers do recommend switching up the shoulder so that you don’t end up putting pressure and using more muscles in one side of your body.

ringslings

Wrap convert ring sling (left), cotton ring sling (right)

  • Pouch Sling:

Pouch slings used to be recommended as the go-to for newborns back around 2008 when my first son was born. Some are adjustable, many are not. It’s imperative that you pick the right size. As with all carriers, baby’s bottom should hit at or above mom’s belly button when baby is sitting in the fabric (this promotes good ergonomics for parents and is especially important for mother’s pelvic floor muscles). The shoulder can be flipped out to help bring baby in closer but pouch slings just are not supportive enough for newborns. Pouch slings (that fit well) can be great carriers for older infants that are able to sit on their own and are great for living in the car or diaper bag, especially if you have forgotten your carrier and need one to go in the store or to keep baby off of the floor to wash your hands after a diaper change. Some popular brands have “free” codes very often but charge quite a bit for shipping and the fabric is not very good quality. They may be good in a pinch but I wouldn’t recommend them as anything but an emergency carrier. Other brands use high quality fabrics and make great pouch sling carriers. With the right fabrics and lots of sewing experience these can be made at home but need specialized seaming experience to make the carrier safely.

pouchsling

*When you learn better, you do better* Kangaroo in a pouch sling as a newborn in the cradle carry. He’s upright so his airway is not compromised but I do not recommend this position or this carrier for a tiny baby knowing more about baby’s anatomy and development. My boys always hated this so it never lasted for more than a few minutes-babies are smart and know what they need.

  • Recalled bag-slings (and not recalled bag slings, still not safe)

Infantino made a bag sling that was later recalled. Three babies were killed in these slings which some in the babywearing community have nicknamed “the bags of death.” I think this name is a little extreme. I refer to them as bag slings. They resemble a duffle bag and instructions showed the baby being worn very low usually which goes contrary to mother’s instincts (and isn’t great for ergonomics for our bodies). With baby so far removed, the parents couldn’t sense that baby’s airway had been compromised and baby stopped breathing. This can happen in other carriers so it is best practice to keep your baby upright and facing parent, tight and close enough to just nod your head down to kiss the top of your baby’s head. When your baby is up high you are better able to feel baby’s chest and stomach move while they are breathing.

I bring these carriers up because Infantino was the only brand that recalled their slings. Other brands still make similar carriers and these can still be found and some resale shops being sold by store owners unaware of the recall. If you ever catch one of these at a shop or a garage sale be sure to let the person know. These carriers can be traded in to Infantino for a safe and ergonomic carrier. Please check with Infantino for more details (as of this posting they would trade for a mei tai carrier). If you see a mother using a carrier like this do pass along your local baby wearing group’s information or my information and I would be happy to send information as well as information to find a good quality and safe carrier for any budget. Very very few carriers are considered dangerous-these are on the short list that no parent should ever use.

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Picture from the recall notice

infantinoknockoffscreenshot

Knock offs are still widely available. In this screen shot (taken September 10, 2015) you can see many bag slings. Note the picture that you can see baby’s face. Baby’s chin is to its chest-this is near impossible to avoid in these bag-style sling carriers. Baby is also not in view or is hard to see.

What ages and stages or activities do you like to use ring slings for?