Boba X Review: 4 Perspectives

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Today’s the day! The Boba X is officially shipping and ready for purchase. If you missed my first glimpse, go check it out here. Here’s what it looks like fresh from the box.

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I had the opportunity this week (and this past weekend) to try out the Boba X myself, and help some mothers fit the new Boba X.

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Here’s what we all thought of it:

Ashley and 4-year-old daughter.
My goofy gal is 4 years, 4 months and weighs 35 lbs:

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I was very excited to pull the Boba out and start checking out the details of this carrier. I’ll share some tips and tricks in another post next week. Here’s what I loved though:

  • First of all, the fit! It’s comfortable. It fits me well. It also fits my 4 year old well and keeps her in a spread squat position. This position isn’t as important for her at this stage but if she had special circumstances — especially low muscle tone — I feel this carrier would support her well. The height hits her just below the base of her arms, which is the perfect support for her back (plus it keeps her safe, so she can’t do a back bend right off of me).
  • No stirrups: My kids had a love/hate relationship with the stirrups. I did as well. Let’s just say there often was one missing even though I always put them back in the same place. One would get knocked off the shelf or something would happen to them (I’m looking at you silly kiddos who like to hide things and make mom feel like she’s going crazy!). This carrier has zip in panels that are “toddler extensions.” They’re a little bigger than the stirrups so hopefully would be a little easier to keep in one place, or at least easier to find if they get temporarily lost.
  • Adjustable height and body width: There aren’t specific settings either-it’s super flexible how you can adjust this carrier to fit different kids.
  • Lots of flexibility of adjustment for fit: As with other Boba carriers, there are lots of possible adjustments including two ways to tighten the arm straps. This carrier also features two adjustments to bring in the front part of the strap (I think this adjustment will be wonderful for petite parents who find that other carriers gap away from their body) and to shorten the body of the carrier. A new feature is that you can criss-cross the straps while baby is in a front carry. This is a comfortable way to wear a little bit heavier baby longer term. The waist band is long enough that most parents will be able to wear it and easily switch between wearers.
  • Great pocket for your phone: Just like on the Boba 4G, there’s a great pocket on the waist for your phone, some cash or a card, and or a lip balm (or other small non-poky object). I compared the pockets on the Boba 4G and Boba X, this one is a bit larger.
  • There’s still a little flap that snaps down the strap of your purse, diaper bag, or backpack (there’s one on each strap).
  • Right now the carrier is only available in grey but new prints will be released soon. This grey is a really beautiful color though and very neutral. I believe a mother and father (as well as the rest of baby’s family and caregivers) would be happy to wear this without complaint.

 

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  • A lot of thought went into the design: The zippers that you use to zip on the extra width panels are hidden (they won’t bug little legs). There’s a safety elastic strap that will hold the buckle on the strap if it somehow comes undone by accident. This is an extra measure to help keep baby safe that was integrated in the carrier.
  • The instruction manual is very thorough. This is important if you’re a new wearer or don’t have experience with a Boba carrier. I always recommend looking over the manual before starting to play. This is how I learned this carrier offers an option of criss-cross straps for front carries!

The things I didn’t really like:

  • I still am a bit worried that the toddler extensions that zip on to make this a toddler carrier will get lost. Since my youngest is an older toddler, I plan to keep them on the carrier except when I’m helping families try out the carrier.
  • The zippers were SUPER stiff on the panels. It took a few times of zipping on and off and they’re still a bit stiff but I’m able to zip them on a quite a bit easier now.
  • The webbing was much stiffer than I remember being on previous new Bobas that I’ve tried. This could be easily remedied by washing and laying flat to dry before playing or by loosening and tightening the carrier a few times before using.
  • The “tabs” on the bottom of the adjusters (see picture below) were kind of short (especially the one that has the buckle). I like a little bit longer of a tab so that I can pull it up to release the strap to loosen it. It took a little hunting around while adjusting a doll in a front carry to find the tab to lift up to loosen. As I’ve played around with the carrier more, it’s gotten easier to hunt for these tabs and I can feel a little bit of a difference between them.

 

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Arrows are pointing to the “tabs” that you can use to help loosen straps. This picture shows one strap and the two different places you can adjust the tightness of the strap.

 

Overall, I would rate this carrier:

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5 stars! The things I didn’t like were fixable or ok for me to look past and the way the carrier felt more than made up for these. This is my favorite Boba yet. I LOVE that this is made for newborn* through toddler (* You will see later why I put this here). I recently sold my lovely toddler soft structure carrier that I’ve worn two of my littles in. I also recently had surgery so my muscles aren’t as strong for babywearing as they used to be. I was a bit worried that this carrier may not distribute her weight as well as the toddler carrier that I had. Her weight was distributed well, however, and the only pressure spots that I got were on my lower back when I wore it for about an hour (pretty much every carrier including wraps does this to me when I wear them long enough). I was SO impressed with how light it made my 35 lb toddler feel on my back. BUT as LeVar Burton would always put it on Reading Rainbow . . .”You don’t have to take my word for it!”

Elly S. and her 16-month-old son
This sweet toddler is all smiles and giggles, is walking, and weighs 19 lbs 15 oz:

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Elly’s son typically prefers ring slings. He hasn’t been much of a fan of soft structure carriers. The width of the carrier with the toddler extensions was a little too wide. As pictured, we tried to insert the hook portion of the Velcro in the loop Velcro portion with the body because the body without them was a bit too narrow in my opinion. They were designed to go in a separate portion. After this mother left, I figured out another trick that I think would have fit a little better. I will share this trick with you next week!

Elly’s main concerns were that usually an adjustable carrier is like a car seat, not easy to switch between two children. You have to keep getting them in and out of the seat to make sure it fits properly before getting baby fully buckled in. This could be a concern with this carrier, however, typically, the webbing will get a little indention so if you’re switching between wearing a toddler and an infant, you likely will be able to set the carrier pretty quickly based on the webbing “memory.” She also thought that it would be a great idea to have a different texture (somewhat like braille) on the different tabs so you know which one you’re adjusting when reaching behind you.

The carrier was really comfortable. Her baby prefers front carries so she didn’t try a back carry. He settled in well to the carrier and enjoyed snuggling with his mama. Elly did notice that she had a little bit of a pressure point under her arms, especially when her arms were tight to her body. This is one common complaint that some parents have when using a soft structure carrier.

Erynne M. and her 7-week-old daughter.
This sweet little baby weighs 13 lbs 15 oz:

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Erynne enjoyed putting her little squishy baby into the Boba X. She said, “It feels like I’m wearing nothing.” She had previously mentioned that she had tried an Ergo with one of her other kids. The Ergo had burned her out on using a soft structure carrier. She was optimistic trying the Boba. Erynne has shorter arms and with the webbing being stiff, she had some difficulty adjusting the carrier. Once we got it adjusted on her, though, it was really comfortable. She mentioned the only pressure point she felt was her baby’s head against her body.

As a Certified Babywearing Educator, my main comment was that her baby fit very well into the carrier. We didn’t have to tighten the straps all the way down to make the panel as small as it could go. The placement of the hood in the pocket helps add some extra support to her baby’s neck. We adjusted the width down as far as it could go and it fit this baby really well. This carrier certainly has some sleepy dust. Baby settled right in for a nap in the carrier.

Emily H. and almost 3-week-old son.
This sweet baby boy has a twin sister who napped while we played. He weighs 7 lb 8 oz:

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Emily is a busy mom with 4 children, including newborn twins. Her newborn daughter was sleeping while we played. Her adorable baby boy was happy to help us try out the Boba X. While the carrier felt comfortable and fit her body well, she commented that her son seemed a little too low in it. I agree. She likes the ease of a soft structure carrier. “Wovens and ring slings have scared me a little with the learning curve.” She didn’t feel any pressure points while wearing this carrier.

As a Certified Babywearing Educator, I believe that even adjusted all the way down, the panel was a little too wide for her infant. I believe when he’s just a couple more pounds and a couple inches taller, he will fit in this carrier great.

 

Bottom line on fit: As tiny as newborns are, it’s hard to fit a carrier to every tiny newborn through long-legged toddler. As for my asterisk earlier, I believe this carrier would fit a 9-10 lb newborn quite possibly. I would suggest checking for knee to knee support. Every baby is built a little bit differently. If this baby’s legs were just a little longer, he would have had wonderful knee to knee support. If you want to use this carrier birth to 45 lbs, I would suggest keeping an eye on the fit for both the height of the body of the carrier and the panel width. If it doesn’t fit well when baby’s BRAND NEW, give it another week or two. I may not call this a full birth through toddler carrier but it’s much closer than any other soft structure carrier that I’ve worked with putting a newborn in. The carrier didn’t gap from baby’s neck and gave great support. The Boba 4G seemed to fit and support baby’s neck better from about 2-3 months on. I believe this carrier will fit many babies from about 2-3 weeks on but I encourage you to try it with your newborn! I’d love to hear your experience with this carrier!

 

 

*For full disclosure I am a Boba Ambassador. I received this new Boba X carrier free of charge in exchange for my honest review. 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*

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First look at the NEW Boba X

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Guess what JUST arrived?

Boba sent me a brand new Boba X to review. I can’t wait to share more with you this upcoming week. I want to give you a first look at it though!

Fluffy mail! As soon as my doorbell rang, I dropped everything and ran. I couldn’t wait to unbox and check it out.

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Apparently the front of the box wasn’t going to give me any hints! But look at the back-still no pictures of what’s inside but I love this quote.

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Are you ready for it?! Well, here it is!

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Boba’s new carrier is rated to be worn from 7-45 lbs. It has features to narrow the body to fit a newborn and stretch to support a toddler. I’ll be reviewing this carrier and have asked for the assistance of some local families to help me review this carrier with babies of different ages and stages. Check out my post next Thursday for more information. Boba X will be available for shipping May 10th but you can go to their website to preorder now. New prints will be released over the coming weeks and months but for now it’s available in this gorgeous grey.

Boba also has a great video teaser on YouTube if you can’t get enough of this awesome new carrier.

*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*

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?

2017 Goals

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It’s almost 2017!  I had originally planned to sit for the IBCLC exam in 2017 and was so excited to find out that I could sit a year earlier than I had planned when they started offering it twice per year.  I want to share with you my business and personal goals for 2017.  There is a lot of power in writing down goals and working to achieve them in bite-sized pieces.

Personal/Family

  • I’m a homeschooling mother.  Something I have struggled with in the past is PLANNING.  I have a love/hate relationship with sitting down and planning things out.  If I can plan out for a few months at a time though we are more likely to do ALL the subjects.  Otherwise sometimes music or art fall by the wayside or something else will for a few weeks.  I hope to start out the 2017 part of the school year well planned and with a good idea of what we hope to accomplish for school work.
  • I want to go on more adventures with my kiddos and husband.  I would love to explore new places in Oklahoma and visit other places nearby (including Texas and possibly even Tennessee).  We have a limited vacation budget while we’re working hard to pay off debt and save for a down payment to get in to a house that’s our own so we really want to explore what this area has to offer!
  • Tomorrow I will be celebrating my daughter’s 3rd birthday (and hubby’s 33rd!).  I’ll be celebrating my longest time breastfeeding as well.  In all, I will have breastfed 6 years and 6.5 months and counting.  My daughter has some tummy issues and thank goodness after a VERY difficult first 6 months breastfeeding is smooth now and it helps her so much when she’s sick.
  • I look forward to celebrating my 11 year wedding anniversary with my husband.  I hope to go OUT and possibly overnight somewhere with him.  Some years we have had to celebrate in or have taken a baby with us but this year I look forward on focusing on us now that our babies are all a bit older!
  • I would like to practice my knitting colorwork techniques in my spare time.  I also would like to make myself another sweater or maybe even 2 and make one for each of my kiddos.
  • I hope that I am able to exercise more often and become healthier.  I battle allergic asthma and while it’s gotten quite a bit better here, I still suffer from time to time which makes exercising very difficult.  I hope that I can stay healthy this next year and have a consistent schedule to take care of myself!

Business

  • Blog: Consistently post every 2 weeks.  Last year was hard preparing for the IBCLC exam.  I have been working on a bunch of really great topics and posts for 2017 though and I hope to keep posting (at least) every other Friday through all of 2017.
  • Blog: I want to interview some really remarkable professionals in our area including the OKC Metro Birth Professionals!
  • Blog: I hope to continue to bring you more mother’s stories!  If you have a story you would like to share with my readers please email me!
  • Continue to offer excellent service to my wonderful clients.
  • Community: Grow the Nurturing Bonds Breastfeeding Circle.  Become a great resource for the members of my local community and give back.
  • Share current, evidence-based information to doctors and work with local professionals that work with moms and babies.  It’s so important that all professionals are sharing the same up-to-date information with new mothers.

What are your 2017 goals and resolutions?

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?

 

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.

 

Wearing a Newborn

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Newborn babies are so tiny and precious.  There are a few things we need to watch out for when wearing them.  It’s important to keep in mind that they start out so tiny but grow SO rapidly (doubling their lowest weight by 6 months and tripling by a year).  A carrier that would fit a newborn well will not fit a 6 month old unless it’s a less structured carrier that you have to form to fit the baby.  It’s of special importance to be sure that the carrier supports baby’s legs and hips well, spine, and neck to set baby up for the most optimal circumstances.  While carriers can’t be directly attributed to causing hip dysplasia we do know that baby’s hips are cartilage until they are toddlers and that the femur cartilage is harder and will win in a battle.  Any wear and tear can cause issues down the road-whether this is immediate or when your child is very old or somewhere in between.  I promote best practices so all of my posts reflect this.  Best practices include supporting the spread squat positioning mentioned on the Babywearing Institute’s page here.  And in Dr. Evelin Kirkilionis book A Baby Wants to Be Carried: Everything You Need to Know about Baby Carriers and the Advantages of Babywearing (available on Amazon and through other book suppliers and book stores-link is an affiliate link to Amazon and funds received through the affiliate link helps purchase homeschooling books for my children’s education).

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I have traced my newborn daughter’s legs and bottom in this picture.  This wrap is supporting the spread squat position.  You can see how her body makes a capital M shape.  In this position her femur is sitting in the ball and socket of the hip per the research done by hip dysplasia doctors in Germany.  She does not have hip dysplasia but if she did this would be the position they would keep her in because they have determined that this is the best possible position for baby’s hips to be in to heal if baby does have an issue.  I’m exhausted in the picture and it’s not my favorite of me by a long shot but my daughter is only 2 days old in this and she was enjoying an wonderful nap on me.  She is close enough to kiss and the back of her neck is supported by the carrier being tight and smooth on her neck.  The carrier is smooth across her back and if this shot was taken sideways you could see the c-shape curve that a newborn’s spine is in.  (She should be straight up right but had a tendency to lean-I could have further supported her head and body by pulling one of the sides around the back of her head to support her more).

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This is a stock image.  The mother and baby are beautiful but this wrap is MUCH too loose.  It’s natural to snuggle and cuddle your newborn however I think this mom doesn’t feel very secure and in all images that I saw of this mother and baby she’s pulling her baby closer.  This can easily be adjusted by tightening the carrier by pulling very snuggly when wrapping the carrier (I will demonstrate this in a video in a later post).  The shoulders and arms are also very loose and the wrap is likely to slip down mom’s arms.  This is why in person help with a carrier is very important because once you FEEL and SEE how it’s supposed to be on your body you will always get it right and you are able to apply the feeling to any carry that you do.

This same looseness can occur with other carriers such as a ring sling, mei tai (I don’t recommend most mei tais for newborns though because they have to be adjusted quite a bit and don’t support the spine as well because of this unless they’re specifically made to size down to a newborn), or a soft structure carrier at any age or stage.  This looseness is not recommended no matter how old your baby is.

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My daughter is a week old in this photo. She is in a ring sling.  This picture shows the c-shape curve better (I have traced it to point it out better).  Her chin is off of her chest so she can breathe but the carrier is flexible so that her spine is allowed to do what it needs to do.

Now that we know more about what position baby should be in let’s talk about newborn carriers specifically.  These are my favorite carriers for newborns (with links back to my previous posts about these classes of carriers):

  • Ring Slings (not pouches)
  • Wraps-especially the front wrap cross carry
  • Gauze or hybrid wraps
  • Possibly stretchy wraps if they are wrapped very tightly (I don’t recommend them after 12-15 lbs though because baby’s legs will start to pull down out of the spread squat position and baby will become too heavy to stay in the right position on your body-they should NEVER be worn in a back carry)
  • Mei Tais that are specifically designed to adjust down both vertically and horizontally so that it fits snuggly around a newborn (no fabric going below the knee and fabric emulating the tightness from my first picture above).
  • Some infant soft structure carriers.  There should be absolutely no gapping between the back of your baby’s neck and the carrier.  If there is baby needs to grow larger to fit in the carrier well.  Many manufacturers of soft structure carriers say that baby can fit in the carrier from birth however there’s often not enough support until baby is a couple of months old.

If you are in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on help to prepare for wearing your newborn during pregnancy or after your baby has arrived please feel free to contact me or check out my website.

What is/was your favorite carrier for a newborn?

What to Expect: The Realities of the First Night Home

firstnightreality

This picture for today’s post is meant to be ironic.  This picture depicts what society says our newborn is supposed to be like.  We prepare a fancy nursery and bring our perfect baby home and we wear white clothing and the baby never messes up those clothes or our clothes with spit up or poop…baby sleeps so soundly while we snuggle in a lovely rocking chair while our spouse dusts, vacuums, and keeps the rest of our lovely everything-white house pristine.

This isn’t reality.

I’m going to tell you a little story, not to scare you at all, but to hopefully provide an example that your first night home won’t be like.  I hope this post will help you prepare better than we did and have expectations in place before bringing baby home (or if you deliver at home you still have a first night at home).  I also highly encourage you to take a quality breastfeeding class, especially one that talks about expectations and realities because preparing in this way has been proven to support breastfeeding and increase the initiation and duration of breastfeeding.  If you’re in the Oklahoma City area be sure to check out my class details and register here.

korvergoinghome

This adorable baby is my second son.  I can’t find my first son’s going home from the hospital picture to help illustrate my story but we can pretend that this is my first son anyways for sake of the picture (they used the same car seat at least!).

My first son was born on a Friday.  He was never able to latch on in the hospital so he was given formula (we didn’t know any alternates at the time and no one told me that there was an alternate to pumping that is more efficient with colostrum-hand expressing).  I was sent home with no pump, nothing.  I did have instructions when we were released Sunday morning to call a doctor the next day to have his tongue tie clipped and hopefully he’d start being able to nurse.  We sent my parents to pick me up a manual pump so I could try to get my mature milk to come-at the time the term “milk come in” was really descriptive of the situation because I never got even a drop of colostrum out with the hospital pump even though I leaked on my nursing pads and had drips on my breasts.  Things got real when they headed home.  All of a sudden my milk started increasing in volume enough that I was getting a little bit in the bottle.  My son got his first tastes of breast milk and I was changing out bottles so my husband could feed my baby and I could keep pumping milk.  This went on forever because he didn’t want to take formula anymore after having my breast milk.  Finally we tried to settle and go to bed and my son woke up from a nap and wouldn’t go back to sleep.  He kept screaming and nothing would calm him.  We tried walking around, bouncing him, giving him more milk.  He just wouldn’t calm down.  By 2 AM I called my mom frantically asking if it was ok to put my son in his carseat and let him sleep.  At the hospital they drilled so much that it wasn’t safe to let baby sleep ANYWHERE but laying flat on their back and we were scared new parents.  We ended up putting him in his carseat and taking a 40 minute round trip in the car where we both were so exhausted.  I don’t know when we ever got to sleep that night or for how long.  Things got better after that night but I will always remember feeling so helpless and awful that I couldn’t calm my son at all.

Mother with her newborn baby

Realities

If you have a hospital birth you’ll be coming home between your baby’s 2nd and 5th day (depending on if you had a vaginal or surgical birth).  If you had your baby at home your first night will be after your baby is born and you’re all tucked in.  In this case your baby may be a couple of hours old or almost a day old by your first real night depending on when your baby was born.  Regardless, at some point you will have your first night home on your own at some point without a call button for a nurse to help with latching or to help you calm your baby.  Reality sets in when you are in this position.

Your baby will nurse frequently day and night.  Your baby will nurse about every 2-3 hours day and night with maybe a 4 hour stretch at some point between the beginning of one feeding and the beginning of another.  Many babies take 20-30 minutes to nurse, some take an hour.  All of this is within the range of normal.  Every 2-3 hours is just a guideline dividing  up the average 8-12 times per day that baby needs to nurse and some babies will nurse every hour.

Beb mamando

Your milk may be increasing in volume as soon as you get home.  This paired with your baby’s stomach increasing in size, your baby wanting that extra milk, and everything that comes with these things means that you may be experiencing some engorgement and discomfort.  It’s normal for engorgement to happen and it’s normal for it not to happen.  If you experience engorgement it’s important to remember that this is more than just milk.  Other fluids are in your breasts including blood and lymph and if you had IV fluids you may have other fluids resting in your breasts and feet as well.  This can be very sore.  Frequent feeding, ice after feeding, and heat before feeding to encourage milk to flow are usually the best remedies at this time.

Your uterus may be sore from contracting down to its normal size.  When you are nursing oxytocin is released which helps contract the muscles to release your milk and your uterus.  You may also be tender from delivery, especially if you had a tear or a c-section.  Nursing frequently helps your uterus to contract down to normal size quickly though and you can talk to your doctor or midwife about pain relief options if you’re interested.

It’s normal for your baby to wake up frequently.  It’s also normal due to hormones for you to sleep more lightly.  Nursing mothers often start feeling an intense need for a lot of water which means you may be getting up as frequently to go to the bathroom as you were in the late days of pregnancy.  All of this does get better over time and there are some things that you can do to help prepare for all of these things.  Knowing is half the battle though, right?

Dishes may pile up, laundry may pile up, try to put those things out of your mind.

Newborn

Here are some tips for making the first night home easier on yourself:

  • Have everything at hand: snacks, water, your cell phone, a remote for the TV if you wish, a book, etc.
  • Have a lot of pillows handy to help you position yourself and your baby during the night while you’re nursing.
  • Babies often spit up when they’re burping-keep extra burp cloths at hand.
  • Keep diapers nearby.  When your milk is increasing in volume your baby will also start having higher output…pee AND poop.  You may consider keeping an extra sleeper or two close by as well in case of a blowout.  They seem to like to happen during the night.
  • Prepare for baby to sleep in proximity to you.  Babies are more comfortable sleeping near mom because they’re biologically wired to be near mom.  For more information on normal sleep behaviors for newborns, infants, toddlers, and children the book Sweet Sleep is great to read.  The book starts off with quick information for how to prepare your bed for a safe night of sleep in your bed with your baby before you can read more information in the book to do a full set up.
  • Get the bathroom ready.  Have pads on the counter so you don’t have to fumble around.  Consider having a nightlight so you don’t have to turn on a bright light when you’re tired, waking yourself up more.  Keep your peri bottle handy and any other comfort measures as well.

Some other ideas to help during the day and night:

feedingcues

  • Babywear!  Skin-to-skin contact especially helps regulate and stabilize your baby’s body temperature, organize sucking, regulate breathing, comfort baby especially if your baby has gas or is in pain from medical procedures (always check with your doctor to be sure babywearing is safe after a medical procedure-it usually is but not always), allow you to be hands free to sit back and take a nap during the day, reduce stress in your baby because baby doesn’t have to cry (crying is stressful for babies, it isn’t a way to “exercise their lungs”), and also helps you recognize and react to early hunger cues which builds trust with your baby.
  • Call on your network!  People usually offer to help-call them!  Our society, at least in the states, is so against asking for help but they offered so take them up on it!  Let them run to the store or let them hold the baby while you take a shower or take a nap, just make sure they give you baby at early feeding cues.
  • If you are having breastfeeding issues go back to the basics.  Work on getting a deep latch or go back and read my post about what to expect in the first two hours, especially watch the breast crawl video.  Babies in the first couple of weeks especially have very active reflexes to help them breastfeed.  Take advantage of these if you’re having any breastfeeding issues.
  • Call on lactation support if you are having breastfeeding issues.  Call a LLL leader, Lactation Educator, CLC, IBCLC, or other breastfeeding support.  If your situation is beyond their scope of practice they can refer you to someone else to get you help right away.  Many areas have a 24 hour breastfeeding hotline.  Take advantage of it!  In Oklahoma you can call: 1-877-271-MILK (6455).  For urgent calls you will get called back quickly by an IBCLC.
  • To prepare in advance, take a good breastfeeding class.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area be sure to check out my class details and register here.

What was your first night home like?  Tell me in the comments!

Where to Purchase a Baby Carrier

purchasecarrier

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!

getsocial

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!