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

First Published: Oct 2, 2015 2:31 AM
asianinspiredcarriers

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)
SarahSmithforblog

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.

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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.

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*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

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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?

Breastfeeding and Babywearing Part 2

First Published: Sep 18, 2015 2:28 AMbreastfeedingandbabywearing
Babywearing is a must for many breastfeeding mothers. Not only can you keep baby close and enjoy the benefits of skin to skin contact but you can also recognize baby’s early feeding cues and many mothers are able to breastfeed right in the carrier. Different carriers will work better for different mothers. Try it out with a few different carriers before going “out in the wild” and see what works best for you. Many mothers are able to nurse discreetly and have one or two hands free to do what they need to do. I certainly encourage nursing mothers to sit down and get their feet up as much as possible but recognize sometimes there are things that need to be done as well. This post will give some ideas and tips for nursing in a carrier. As always, I recommend some hands on help. Certified Babywearing Educators can give specialized one on one help with all aspects of babywearing including (but not limited to by any means) helping moms to breastfeed in their carriers.

If you want to learn more about the how babywearing supports breastfeeding be sure to check out this post!

Babywearing makes breastfeeding easier! (From this article)

“Breastfeeding mothers who practice baby wearing find it easy to nurse their babies more often. This may help babies gain more weight. The shorter the time between feedings the higher the fat content in mother’s milk. By wearing baby, a mother can easily respond to his early feeding cues:

When a baby is near his source of milk and comfort, he does not have to use much energy to get his mother’s attention; he can use this energy to grow instead. (Sears and Sears 2001)

If a mother thinks that she will feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, baby wearing can help her overcome this worry. Breastfeeding in public is likely to attract more attention if the baby has reached the point that he is crying frantically when mother tries to offer the breast. If baby is already close to mother in a sling, she can respond as soon as he shows early feeding cues, such as rooting for the breast or sucking on his hands. She can adjust his position and her clothing and have him peacefully nursing before anyone even notices. The extra fabric from the sling can easily be pulled over baby’s head, and mother can continue shopping or eating dinner without any fuss. With the fabric of the sling blocking out distractions, baby will settle down to the business of eating and may nurse quietly off to sleep.”

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This mother is nursing in a woven wrap. She has brought her breast up to baby rather than dropping baby down.

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Mom has brought baby down a little to her breast and brought her breast up a little to her baby. Baby is not in a full cradle position like many moms use in a ring sling. There are a lot of options. Experiment to find what works best for you!

Some practical tips:

  • Practice in different carriers. Because every mother is shaped differently, sometimes different wrapping methods or trying a different carrier will help you nurse your baby better than one you may be struggling with.
  • Be sure baby has a good latch. It’s helpful, especially with a small baby learning to latch, for baby to be nose to nipple and for you to give a little extra help the first few times trying to nurse in a carrier (or possibly after the first few times).
  • Try different shirt methods. Some moms are comfortable with shirts or tops that pull down from the top, other moms are more comfortable with a two shirt method where you pull the top shirt up and pull the bottom shirt down or to the side. A nursing tank can easily be made by cutting slits off to the side of your breast in a well fitting tank top (off the center of your nipple towards your arms). T-shirt material will not fray so you don’t have to sew it but if you’d like to stitch around the new opening it will help it lay flat under your shirt.
  • You can bring baby to your breast by lowering baby in the carrier or lift your breast to baby, or a combination of the two-experiment with what will work best for you both.
  • In a ring sling be sure that baby’s head is opposite the rings when laying your baby in a cradle type position. You will have to reverse the shoulder if you want to nurse on the other breast.
  • In a soft structure carrier or mei tai you can drop the waist band down and loosen the arms to bring baby down to your breast or you can lift your breast up. If you are doing the two shirt method you will want to be sure to lift your top shirt above your waistband before trying to get baby in position and may want to tuck your bottom shirt in to your pants to help it stay where you want it.
  • In a woven wrap you can lay baby in a side laying position (be sure to check baby’s breathing at all times!) or drop baby down. Front wrap cross carrier is an excellent nursing carry. You can lift baby up and pull legs up and out of the crosses, lay baby to the side and pull the wrap down over the bottom and a little down the legs to make a pocket. When baby is done nursing, put baby back upright, put those little legs back in to the crosses, and untie and retighten the carrier. With practice this can be done while baby drifts off to sleep.
  • Get immediate help for breastfeeding struggles. See an IBCLC for breastfeeding help.
  • Get some hands on babywearing help if you still are struggling with nursing in a carrier.
  • Remember to always bring baby back to an upright position high and tight after baby is done actively nursing (before baby drops off to sleep). You may have to unlatch baby early. This is to protect baby’s airway and the rule is not the same when you are nursing a sleeping baby outside of a carrier.
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Nursing in a Boba 4G carrier using the two shirt method. I have pulled my top shirt up and pulled the slit over and pulled my nursing bra down. With practice this becomes easy and quick to do. Baby was lowered by loosening the waistbelt and arm straps. A hood can be used for extra security if you wish.

I’m a visual learner and I really enjoy videos. Here is a playlist of YouTube videos that I have found helpful and you may as well.

What are your tips and tricks for breastfeeding in a carrier?

Types of Carriers: Simple Pieces of Cloth (Wraps)

First Published: Sep 11, 2015 9:21 AM

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Welcome to the Types of Carriers series! Be sure to check out the Types of Carriers post from a couple of weeks ago to learn about all of the classes of carriers.

Simple Piece of Cloth (sometimes abbreviated to SPOC)

Included in this type of carrier are stretchy wraps, gauze wraps, hybrid wraps, and woven wraps. Each are a simple piece of cloth made out of natural fibers (including cotton, linen, sometimes wool) or in the case of stretchy wraps and hybrid cotton blended with Lycra to give it the stretch characteristic of the type of wrap.

  • Stretchy Wrap
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Organic Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap).

Sorry for the darker image but I really wanted to share this one. This is me wearing my second son when he was just a few weeks old in my Organic Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap). Stretchy wraps are blended with Lycra and are very stretchy. Stretch does vary a bit by brand. The most popular brands of stretchy wraps are Moby and Boba. They offer a lot of colors and even prints. They are cuddly for newborns but must be wrapped tightly without leaving room to put your baby in. You have to prewrap before putting your baby in so you have to put baby down in a safe place to wrap. You can prewrap before going out for the day though and pop baby in when you get to your destination. These wraps are limited to wearing on your front and possibly to your hip. They do not support the spread squat positioning well past about 10-15 lbs depending on the baby. They are a great way to try out babywearing though! You can DIY (make your own) with good quality fabric, though often these are VERY stretchy. These may be a little warmer in the summer (feel much like a blanket) but many parents still enjoy these carriers in the summer.

  • Gauze Wraps
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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze, double hammock carry

Gauze wraps are very lightweight and nice for summer. They are made of a lightweight cotton. Because they are lightweight though, many parents and caregivers find that even if they wrap very carefully they are quite pinchy on the shoulders once your baby/toddler hits about 20-25 lbs. These are great for front, back, or hip carries though. They wrap differently than wovens so you may have to order a slightly different size in a gauze wrap than you do with a woven. I am typically a 4.6 m (size 6) for my base size in a woven wrap but I need extra length in a gauze wrap to do carries that use most of the wrap like the double hammock wrap as shown above. You can DIY with the right materials but the materials are outside of the scope of this post.

  • Hybrid Wraps

Hybrid wraps feature one way stretch rather than two way stretch. There are a few different brands available of these. The picture below shows me wrapping my oldest when he was 5 for a quick minute. They are best for babies under 20-25 lbs because over that weight the wrap will start to sag even if you wrap very carefully so you may need to adjyst it often. These are excellent for newborns. One con though is that the material is similar to that of many stretchy t-shirts so when back wrapping it may be hard to feel the fabric.

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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Hybrid Wrap, double hammock carry

  • Woven Wraps (German Style Woven Wraps)

Woven wraps are the gold standard of SPOC. They are a bit more expensive at first but you can typically find a good used one for around $100 or less. They have a little bit of a learning curve so I recommend getting hand on help because once you know how they are supposed to feel you will always get it right. Woven wraps can be wrapped an infinite number of ways. They can be worn with baby on your front, back, or hip. They are the most supportive of the classes of wrap carriers and are excellent from birth to as long as you want to wear your child.

There are many lengths available because wrapping with just one layer over baby is fine (and supportive). I recommend starting with your “base” size which is what you can comfortably wrap a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) with. Shorter lengths (just doing one layer over baby) can be great in the summer depending on the fabric. There are many different blends of fabrics available. I recommend starting with a cotton one or a cotton/linen blend. Cotton is the easiest to care for and can be dried in the drier (though it may shrink a little so hang drying is better-try putting it between the backs of two chairs and often it will dry overnight).

Woven wraps can be found at all types of price points. There are many brands of good quality wraps available. There are many color options and many options for patterns, stripes, or just a plain color. Many can be dyed if you don’t like the color (you will want to use baby-safe dyes because baby WILL chew on the wrap). I recommend new wrappers to look in to getting a used wrap because new wraps in all fabrics usually feel stiff. Wraps need a breaking in period to be able to wrap well with them. If you buy used, many times this wrap is already broken in but has a lot of life left in it. New wrappers can break in wraps but do know that it may take time before you can wrap the same way you did with your Certified Babywearing Educator (or at your babywearing group).

GreenNatiwrap

Natibaby 4.6 wrap, 100% cotton, double hammock carry.

  • Kanga Carrier (not pictured)

A Kanga Carrier is a Traditional African carrier using a thin blanket looking piece of fabric. Baby is worn on the back in the small of mother’s back. If you would like to see one in action I really love this video by Alyssa. These are beautiful traditional carriers. I do have one in my stash but I am not nearly as well versed with these as women that traditionally use them.

*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 of wrap?

Traveling With Baby

First Published: Sep 8, 2015 6:01 PM traveling

Whenever you have to waver from a baby’s routine life can become challenging. Babies also often have a lot of extras: toys, clothes, diapers, burp cloths, layers in case it’s chilly, car seats, etc. Babywearing helps simplify traveling and allows extra hands to carry the extra items your baby needs to be comfortable. Some of these tips may also help.

Traveling by Car

  • Plan an extra day or several extra hours to get to your destination. It will be worth it to take a lot of breaks rather than trying to power through. Consider doing the longest stretches while baby is napping or sleeping. Possibly consider traveling overnight if you can get enough sleep to make up for missing the sleep during the night.
  • Plan breaks in towns with a park or somewhere you can all get out and stretch your legs, walk around, and play for a few minutes. Packing a frisbee or other toys that you and your children love to play with and chase will help everyone get some fresh air and exercise and make the time in the car go more smoothly.
  • Plan for plenty of snacks and drinks. This will make everyone have to go to the bathroom more often but having plenty of water will keep everyone from getting dehydrated.
  • Leave a place next to baby if possible so if you’re tag team driving with your spouse or another adult an adult can sit next to baby and play peek-a-boo and sing songs if baby is bored.
  • Try to make nursing feel as much like home as possible-be sure to pack your nursing pillow if you use one or something else that will remind baby of home.
  • Babywear and snuggle as much as you can to make up for the skin to skin time baby is used to. You can wear baby as soon as you get out of the car and during bathroom breaks and then play together and stretch legs. Follow your baby’s cue. Many parents find that if they wear baby as much as possible in the hotel or when they reach their destination it will help baby feel better and the car ride will go more smoothly. Start this a couple of days before your trip if possible.
  • Bring plenty of extra clothes and diapers. Sometimes babies get upset tummies in the car or have extra messy diapers when traveling.

Traveling by Plane/Train/Boat/Bus

  • Pack plenty of treats and snacks for the diaper bag. The TSA allows enough snacks and fluids for the flight (check their website for current information).
  • If possible pack a few toys and books that your baby has never seen before or hasn’t played with in a long time to keep them entertained. Freecycle.com is a great place to find these or a local virtual garage sale page. Trading baby toys with friends for your trip is also a good idea.
  • Pack some funny things like bubbles (be sure to check fluid amount guidelines) to play with while waiting for the plane/train/boat/bus, etc.
  • Try to stretch little legs and parent legs as much as possible right before your flight. Getting all the wiggles out will help many babies settle before boarding and buckling up.
  • Consider getting baby their own seat for their car seat or gate check baby’s seat. Sometimes if there are extra seats and you gate check they will let you buckle baby in their seat at no additional charge (depends on the airline though). Gate checking often keeps your car seat safer too.
  • Babywear as much as possible for a few days before your flight. The extra skin to skin contact will help “charge baby’s batteries” especially if baby won’t be a “lap child.”
  • If possible, nurse during take off. If not possible, offer a pacifier or clean finger (with short nails) pad side up to the roof of baby’s mouth. This will help little ears from feeling too much pressure.
  • Pack extra diapers and clothes. Sometimes babies get upset tummies or have extra messy diapers. Sometimes flights are delayed.

Carriers usually aren’t allowed through security (the TSA says they are not allowed on their website as of this writing but check their website for current information) but you can wear baby up to security and after. Buckle carriers and ring slings allow for quick ups and downs and make this go more smoothly but woven wraps are also quite lovely if you have long layovers, you may consider putting one in your carry on though or waiting to wrap until after you get through security and can get off to the side somewhere.

Have a happy trip!

What are your favorite tips for parents traveling with babies?

Types of Carriers

First Published: Aug 21, 2015 7:41 PM

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Today I’m going to talk about types of carriers a little bit. I’m going to go more in depth in to the pros and cons of each type of carrier in coming weeks but I want to touch a little on each and share some pictures of each.

Simple Piece of Cloth

Among these are stretchy wraps, gauze wraps, hybrid wraps, and woven wraps. Each are a simple piece of cloth made out of natural fibers (including cotton, linen, sometimes wool) or in the case of stretchy wraps and hybrid cotton blended with Lycra to give it the stretch characteristic of the type of wrap. Woven wraps are the most versatile and the only carrier that will fit baby properly from birth to as long as you want to wear. They do have a bit of a learning curve but are wonderfully comfortable once you get some hands on help and know how it’s supposed to feel.

  • Stretchy Wrap: Best for newborns, doesn’t really support spread squat positioning well past about 10-15 lbs, may be a little warm in the summer because they are thicker, made of cotton/Lycra blended. Can DIY with a good quality of fabric.
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Organic Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap).

  • Gauze Wraps: Great up to about 20-25 lbs, nice and breezy for summer. Made of lightweight cottons. Can DIY with the right materials.
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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze, double hammock carry

  • Hybrid Wraps: Because of 1 way stretch they are ok for back carries if you have some solid experience and a foundation in wrapping, more supportive for a newborn, not as comfortable once your baby is about 20-25 lbs because you need to frequently adjust it.
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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Hybrid Wrap, double hammock carry

  • Woven Wraps: A bit more expensive at first but you can typically find a good used one for around $100 or less, a bit of a learning curve, most supportive wrap carrier, excellent from birth to as long as you want to wear, infinant ways to carry on front, hip, or back, one layer of fabric in carries is just fine so many different lengths available, can be great in summer depending on fabric, many different blends available, available at all types of price points, many brands, many options for colors, many options for patterns or stripes or plain.
GreenNatiwrap

Natibaby 4.6 wrap, 100% cotton, double hammock carry.

  • Kanga Carrier (not pictured): Traditional African carrier using a thin blanket looking piece of fabric. Baby is worn on the back in the small of mother’s back.

Slings

Ring slings and pouch slings are the two types of slings. 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: Very adjustable, great for newborns and can be great for short bursts with a toddler, many options for fabrics, can DIY, be sure that the rings are from Sling Rings (not craft rings or any with any type of weld).
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Wrap convert ring sling (left), cotton ring sling (right)

  • Pouch Sling: Can be adjustable, usually not. Better for toddlers, not supportive enough for newborns.
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*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.

Asian Inspired Carriers

  • Mei Tais (pronounced may tie): Features 4 straps, shoulder and waist. Very adjustable and great for differing parent body types. Can be converted from a woven wrap for extra comfort. Possibly the lowest learning curve next to a soft structure carrier. Can DIY with the right pattern and materials.
Thank you Katie Waugh for the awesome daddy wearing picture!

Thank you Katie Waugh for the awesome daddy wearing picture!

  • Soft Structure Carriers: Many brand options. Features buckling waist and structured arms that adjust or adjust and unbuckle. Most are front and back only but hip carries may be an option if the shoulder straps unbuckle. There’s also a chest clip which helps keep the shoulder straps together. Brands differ slightly in the body shape, length of padding in the shoulders, materials used (some feature a mesh panel against baby’s back), amount of padding in shoulders, etc. May have to try several brands to find what works well for your body type. Quick to get on and off. Probably the lowest learning curve. Possibly can DIY with the right materials but much more difficult to get the right buckles.
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Thank you Sarah Smith for the picture with your sweet baby in a Boba carrier.

  • Other Asian Inspired Carriers (not pictured): Onbuhimu, and Podagei (often abbreviated to Pod). 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. 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. Can possibly DIY with the right materials and patterns.

*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 of carrier?

Babywearing in the Heat and Sun

First Published: Aug 7, 2015 6:01 PM
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We’re deep in to summer right now but I wanted to share some tips for babywearing in the heat and sun. Oregon heat is different than most of the U.S. but I am from Utah (and moved during the summer when my second was over 8 months) so I have some experience with good old all summer heat. The past two summers have been exceptionally hot in Oregon and most people do not have air conditioning in their homes so when the temperature has reached 106* and several 100* days a lot of parents find it hard to cope. I hope you all find these tips and tricks helpful. Please share your tips and tricks in the comments as well!

  • It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of the carrier you are using a baby is hot! You are wearing a little heater and no matter what it will feel hot. Some carriers are better than others and some work better for some parents than others so experiment.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Breastfed babies do not need extra water when they are under 6 months especially, make sure you offer the breast often and choose a carrier that is easy to do that in. Carry a water bottle with you. I’ve tried several and personally LOVE the Hydroflask because I can fill it all the way up with ice in the morning and keep adding water from a drinking fountain throughout the day and have really cold water.
  • Wear a hat and have baby wear a hat. The hat will help keep sun off of each of your faces and keep you a little cooler. If your baby is over 6 months be sure to put sunscreen on because sun burns will make you feel even hotter.
  • Plan to spend a lot of time in the shade. Also plan your activities whenever possible to have a cool area to go to if you’re starting to feel tired. The sun drains you and it’s good to have a place to have a break from the sun and heat-even if it’s driving around in your car for a little bit to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight clothing. Looser shirts help air circulate better-100% cotton will help breathe and absorb the sweat and allow it to evaporate better which will help cool you off.
  • If you live in a dry climate using a spray bottle with cool water can help cool you off, especially if you can mix that with a personal fan.
  • Wearing baby will help you to know when baby is getting too warm because you will feel it (especially in lightweight clothing). When you feel like your baby is getting too hot-escape to the cooler place you planned on or the shade and continue to drink lots of fluids.

What carriers are best in the heat?

This really depends on you! No matter what though, 1 layer of fabric is probably the most you will want over you. You can make nearly any type of carrier work in the heat. I will talk about how to make each type work for you but you know your body and baby best. If one is too hot for you try another. Most people (at least in the States) have a babywearing group within reasonable driving distance and many have a lending library or carriers to try out.

  • Ring Sling: A ring sling is pretty nice in the heat and sun. You can use the tail to shade you if you need to or let it hang down. You could always wrap it around the rings to make it not hang down as long. Ring slings are really supportive for newborns but can be great for toddlers too, especially if they are made of thicker material or linen or converted from a woven wrap. Another option is to hop in the pool with a mesh water ring sling.

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  • Woven Wrap: Single layer carriers are best in the heat. Cotton and linen fabrics are cooler usually than others. Kangaroo is really breezy around your underarms and breasts. A simple Rucksack or a a Reinforced Rucksack (especially stick to the reinforced with a seat popper) is a great back carry with one layer. Front Wrap Cross Carry is doable but has more fabric which means a little less air circulation. I will discuss these carries in later posts. You can always hop in the pool with a water wrap though and some may work outside of the water as well. Gauze wraps and hybrids may be breezier but may be better suited for babies under 20-25 lbs because at that point many parents find that they become diggy in the shoulders no matter how careful and tight you wrap.

  • Soft Structure Carrier: Many of these are great in the heat but especially ones with mesh panels. I love my Kinderpack with cool knit in the summer but I have also worn Ergo, Beco Butterfly (which has a panel between you and baby which can help absorb some sweat but it also makes it harder to feel how hot baby is-this carrier has been discontinued but still can be easily found new or used online), Boba, Onya Baby, etc. There aren’t huge differences between them in the heat but some do find mesh panels make a difference or using a lighter or sport version helps.
Thank you Katie Waugh for the awesome daddy wearing picture!

Thank you Katie Waugh for the awesome daddy wearing picture!

  • Mei Tai or other Asian Inspired Carriers: Don’t discount these. Like a soft structure carrier these have one panel over baby. If you stick to one with ties that are just long enough for you (rather than long enough to do fancy tie offs) you may find these are great for summer. One tip though, stay away from Minky in the summer. It’s super soft but feels like you’re wearing a blanket (I found this out the hard way).

The information and opinions provided on this blog post (or any blog post on this blog) are not a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a qualified medical professional; nothing contained on this website shall be presumed or shared as medical advice at any time.

What are your tips for summer and hot weather babywearing?

Then and Now, How My Goals Have Changed: Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival Day 7

First Published: Aug 2, 2015 10:00 AM 

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Today’s topic is Then and Now, How My Goals Have Changed. If you’re interested in reading my previous Breastfeeding Carnival posts please check out my homeschooling blog here.

When I was pregnant with Monkey (who is now 7), I came up with the goal to breastfeed him for 6 months and see how things went. My mom told me I bit her when I was about 6 months and she weaned me because I wouldn’t stop biting. When my baby arrived and couldn’t breastfeed my goals changed. I had hope that I’d be able to make it 6 months but I had to take it weeks at a time. Once he was able to latch with a nipple shield my goal quickly became a month. We passed the month and then I hoped by the time he was 8 weeks we could wean from the nipple shield. He wasn’t able to wean from it. He still was nursing really well though and I had plenty of milk (an overabundant supply). My goal then became 6 months again. We got to that point, by then I was used to biting because for a few weeks he bit to squeeze milk out of me until he learned out to suck. When he bit a couple of times it wasn’t as big of a deal. At 6 months things were going well so I decided a year but I couldn’t see us nursing past that. At 12 months, Monkey was very much a baby still so I decided 18 months. He had different plans and had finished weaning himself by 14.5 months, a week after we got back from our first visit to Corvallis. He had been dropping a feeding at a time for a little over a month at that point and completely lost interest and didn’t look back. I was pretty upset because my goals had changed and we hadn’t got there but he knew what he needed.

For K man, I decided that we would go 18 months and see how things were at that point. At that time I said 2 years and we’d see. His second birthday came and went. He was much more of a baby than Monkey was at that age. When I got pregnant with Roxy when K man was 2 plus 4 months I started bleeding right away. Because I have had 3 miscarriages we knew I needed to wean the last feeding right away. The bleeding stopped. I nursed him one last time the next night. At that point he could go a day without nursing and he was mostly only nursing to go to sleep at night.

Roxy has had some tummy issues her whole life. We finally have a diagnosis for it as of July (she is 19 months now). She still has a lot of reflux from the issues though. I can see her nursing longer than my boys did. I don’t have any limit on her as of right now because she has so many food allergies besides that we have to avoid. I know her milk helps her get what she needs. She still nurses during the night too and I know she needs it. I couldn’t imagine it any other way with her. In a way, I’m glad she is my last because my views have changed very much on the age to which a baby could/should/needs/wants to breastfeed.

You can find information about the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival here. Here’s a link back to today’s post on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s blog.

How have your goals changed over your course of breastfeeding? Or, if you’re expecting, what are your breastfeeding goals?

How Breastfeeding Has Changed My Life: Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival Day 6

First Published: Aug 1, 2015 10:00 AM

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Today’s topic is How Breastfeeding Has Changed My Life. If you’re interested in reading my previous Breastfeeding Carnival posts please check out my homeschooling blog here.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I had a very strong desire to make it work. When I had to fight SO hard to be able to do it that fire made me want to help other mothers. I received so much help and support from support groups that I decided to become an accredited breastfeeding helper in one particular group. Because this is my business blog I don’t name names because it’s against the rules to mix causes but it’s really hard for me to separate the help and support I have received and given because it’s my passion so I mention but don’t name names.

I was inspired so much by the little help I got in the hospital as well as from a couple of REALLY awesome IBCLCs to go down that road. I hope to sit for the exam in April 2017. I hope to help mothers more hands on than I’m allowed to now and help with more tricky situations and work closely with doctors. It’s a huge bonus to get paid to do this work but that’s not what drives me. Breastfeeding opened so many doors of who I want to be and opened my heart to helping so many mothers. I have always been kind of shy but passions help me break that shyness and speak out.

I had the opportunity in the Winco parking lot of all places to help a mother who really needed help a few months ago. She noticed I was wearing an “Ask me about cloth diapers” t-shirt as I was loading my groceries and my daughter and we talked about cloth diapers for a minute but what she really needed was some help and support with breastfeeding. It was such a beautiful moment to be able to listen to this mother and offer her the support she needed. She especially needed to hear she was an awesome mom-she totally is! I could tell through her emotional pain from her struggles that she was a very devoted and dedicated mom to her baby. I saw myself in her. I saw myself crying as I was pumping and not able to hold and feed my newborn. I saw the pain that was in my eyes watching someone else feed my baby milk that was not mine, but formula (which has a place but it was not what I had planned), while I sat pumping and getting nothing out. I saw my pain being released from the hospital with no pump, no idea if or when my baby would latch, and no idea how to even get him to that point other than a phone number of a doctor to call the next morning to clip my son’s frenulum because it was so tight he couldn’t even try to latch. She had a very different situation than mine but it was the same emotions. I felt her struggles as she told me what was going on. I’m so grateful that I was there that day and was able to listen. In my situation, very few people would listen. Nobody had quality advice to give. It felt like everyone was telling me to pump for a week or two maybe and give up. I hope the mom walked away feeling hope. I know it was healing for me though. I am so glad that I have had opportunities to share knowledge and empathy. This one especially stands out to me because I saw my pain in her eyes.

Breastfeeding has been a roller coaster. Everything in my mothering life has been a roller coaster. Breastfeeding has made me who I am. Breastfeeding has healed me.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

You can find information about the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival here. Here’s a link back to today’s post on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s blog.

How has breastfeeding impacted you or your family?