Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Babywearing Triplets: Preemie Problems

Welcome to my first of many recurring blogs on babywearing triplets. My name is Carolyn and I gave birth to spontaneous triplets (!) recently. (Yes, that means they were totally natural and a big fat surprise). Oh yeah, and I also have a 5yr old and 2 year old. I’ve been a babywearer for many years and was sure I could handle this new challenge with lots of babywearing, but so far life has been more complicated than I’d hoped.
My babes (2 girls and a boy) were born at 34 weeks and because of that were in the NICU for a little while. I found out right away that there would be lots of obstacles between my babies and me. They could only nurse a little because they tired out too much. They were also attached to wires which made it difficult to maneuver with them. Lastly, of course, there were three of them, which had me rotating from baby to baby.

After 10 days we had S home, and 2 days later R was home. Great news! Unfortunately they were both on apnea monitors. This was wonderful for my sanity, because I knew they were breathing, but not great for babywearing. The leads pulled on the carriers and it was hard to carry around the monitor wherever I went and sort of defeated some of the purpose of babywearing (which is being able to get things done and play with the big kids.) I found myself putting my babies down much more than I ever thought I would. I held my first born all the time and wore my second child around the clock, so putting children down is strange to me.

I did find some opportunities to wear them, and even wore both girls in a Moby once. It was awkward, and they got too big for it quickly.  I found a ring sling great for wearing one and was able to tuck part of the monitor leads into the sling which kept it from pulling on the ring sling too much. Even at 4 pounds the ring sling was a perfect fit.
During really fussy times at night I did wear 2 in two separate mei tais. It looks like they are on top of each other in the picture, but really one is more on my left and one more on my right. Keep in mind that they are used to being pressed up against each other. I did have to put a receiving blanket in between the girls to make sure they didn’t bonk heads.

The best thing for us has been mei tais. My husband finds them easy to use and we are constantly switching which baby is being worn and which baby is in a swing or bouncy seat so a mei tai is good for quick ins and outs. I have also had a few requests to be worn from my 2 year old, and the mei tai is still perfect for him on my back.

So far, I have been a little disappointed that I haven’t worn them constantly, or worn two or even three, on a regular basis, but we have been plagued with unwieldy monitors, reflux, and other preemie problems. I have not been comfortable putting them on my back due to their small size and previous breathing problems. I look forward to them getting a little bigger and being off the monitors because we feel a bit trapped in one 10 foot radius these days.

Next blog: The girls are off the monitors and my determination to make Christmas normal

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Babywearing

The past few meetings, we've had a few questions about winter babywearing. One of the biggest questions is how to get baby in/out of the car when following the recommendation against wearing heavy coats. If you don't know why they shouldn't wear heavy coats/snowsuits in the carseat, read about it here. So, in this video, I give some examples of the kinds of clothes I dressed my newborn and now older baby in to keep her warm when going to/from the car. I often hear, "how do I wrap in the winter?" I show how to pre-wrap before leaving the house. Then your coat goes on over the whole thing and you can pop baby in and out. I show a woven wrap doing a Front Cross Carry (FCC). This same pre-tied technique can be done with a stretchy wrap using a pocket wrap cross carry (PWCC) or Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). You could also do a front carry with a ring sling in this same way. Mei Tais and Soft Structure carriers generally don't lend themselves to this technique, however, I did have success doing it with a Beco Butterfly because of it's unique design.

In the video I demonstrate using a babywearing coat. There are many brands and styles of babywearing coat if you are interested in investing in one. If not, for front carries, a coat that is just too big for you will work. Some also find success with an add-on cover for the carrier. For back carries, a babywearing coat can be made using DIY instructions, or you could pick up a cheap oversized fleece coat from a thrift store and cut a hole for baby's head. A few members have gotten as far as investing in a babywearing coat, but then are stumped on how to put it on or take it off. Hopefully this video will help a bit with some of the logistics of winter wearing.

Enjoy babywearing with your little one this winter. It's a great way to keep BOTH of you warm.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Babywearing on the Go

Like many people in the Washington, D.C. metro area, riding mass transit is a part of my life.  Babywearing makes getting around on the train a lot easier for me.

I now use a baby carrier when I commute to and from daycare on Metrorail.  Although I’d worn my daughter daily during maternity leave, I was embarrassed to use my carrier on the train when I went back to work.  However, I didn’t last two full days on the train with the snap-n-go.

I spent Monday struggling through rush hour crowds and looking for working elevators.  Tuesday morning I saw a father zip onto the escalator while wearing his baby in a soft structured carrier over his suit.  He inspired me to use the wrap I had in my bag.  Tuesday evening, I wore my daughter home on the metro and I’ve left the stroller at home since then.

There are many benefits to using a carrier on the metro.  I can get into a Metro car quickly and fit into tighter spaces.  I can also focus on other things like reading or dealing with e-mails on my Blackberry, and know that my daughter is safe and close to me.   I also get extra cuddles before daycare drop off.  After a long day of being away from one another, my daughter and I get to reconnect on the ride home.

Riding the metro daily has made my daughter very sociable.  Since she’s at an adult eye level, she makes lots of friends as she observes and “talks” to the interesting people around us.  Riding the train around the same time every day, allows us to interact with other regulars along our route.  If the commotion gets to be too much for her, she snuggles into me for a bit of peace.  When she needs to, she takes a nap.

We had a couple weeks where we rode both Metrobus and Metrorail.  I was surprised to learn that strollers are supposed to be collapsed before the parent or caregiver boards the bus.  I'm not sure how you could collapse a stroller while holding a baby in your arms.

In addition to riding the train during the week, we sometimes use it on the weekends to go into the city for events. 

One weekend, my husband and learned one thing about riding the Metro with the snap-n-go:  It comes in handy on the way back from Eastern Market when we’ve got bags of fresh produce and bottles of water to that we need to bring back home.

Posted by Cynthia

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  Babywearing is a great way to keep your baby safe and your hands free for helping toddlers with trick or treating!  For those wanting to get into the spirit of costumes with a babywearing theme, I bring you babywearing theme costumes, and the babywearing group Halloween party!

You could be Kanga and Roo like our family, or just a Kangaroo and Joey.

Or, you could go with a Super Mario theme like Dave and Baby F!

You could be the "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" and the water spout as modeled by Mary-Rose and little M.

Or you could go with the gorgeous Flower Fairy theme that Clary decided on.

And a few general pictures from the Babywearing Halloween Party!  We had a great time!
Babywearing Cookies!

Hope you all have a fantastic holiday! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2010 International Babywearing Week Awards!

Babywearing International of DC-MD-VA would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners of the 2010 International Babywearing Week Awards.  All of these winners have really contributed a great deal to the babywearing world.

Monday, October 11, 2010

IBW Day 6: DIY Babywearing!

In honor of International Babywearing Week, Judy reminds us that Babywearing doesn't require you to go buy a carrier at the store, a great carrier can be made in your own home!

I admit, I have the sewers curse.  You know, when you see something at the store, it's the curse that makes you say "I can do that better", or "I can do that more cheaply" or both.  This has resulted in a LONG list of to-do projects.  Baby carriers are not exempt from this curse, and as such, my entire stash is DIY. Thankfully, many carriers are not too complicated to make, even if you only sort of know your way around a sewing machine.

Let's start with wraps.  The simplest one to make is a stretchy wrap.
Step one:  go to the fabric store and buy about 5 yards of cotton interlock.
Step two:  cut it in half lengthwise.
Step three:  go use your new wrap!

Easy peasy, right?

Woven wraps require a bit more work.  Many people like to use muslin or osnaberg.  I didn't find muslin to be all that comfy, and I haven't tried osnaberg.  The big advantage to both of these fabrics is that
you can dye them whatever color you'd like.  I personally am a fan of wraps made from woven tablecloths.

Step one:  buy a 100% cotton tablecloth with a somewhat loose weave.
Step two:  cut it in half lengthwise.
Step three:  hem the raw edges.  If you want a short wrap, then you
are done.  If you want a longer wrap, then . . .
Step four:  overlap one end of each of the two halves by 4-6 inches.
Sew a double seam all around the overlapped box.
Step five:  go use your new wrap!

The next type of carrier that is relatively simple to make is the pouch.  They are so simple, in fact, that you could whip up a whole bunch in all different fabrics to match with whatever outfit you are wearing.  Take note, if you and hubby are different sizes, you'll need to make different pouches as a pouch that is the wrong size is both unsafe and quite uncomfortable for all people involved.  These are the two tutorials I have used to make the pouches.

A close kin to the pouch is the ring sling, with the biggest difference being that a ring sling is adjustable while a pouch generally is not.  There are tons of different way that you can sew a ring sling shoulder, and Jan Andrea has a great tutorial on how to do them.  (
A very important thing to note is that you want to get very sturdy rings, ones without a seam in them.  This means that the rings you can find at a craft store ARE NOT sufficient. I've gotten rings from Lowe's or Home Depot that have held up quite nicely, but they are regular silver metal.  If you want colorful rings, you can order them online from  Please be sure that your rings are very sturdy as they will be bearing a large portion of your child's weight.

We are now leaving the land of "easy to make" carriers and entering the land of "easy if you have mad sewing skills" carriers.  "Why would I want to enter that land?" you ask?  Because then you can make your
carrier how ever YOU would like. Let's start with the mei tai.

The most basic mei tai is a rectangle with four straps with no padding anywhere.  This would be a good place to get your feet wet in mei tai making.  Once you've done that, you can then branch out and think about whether or not you want padded straps and/or body, whether or not you want a sleeping hood and if it should be flat or shaped like a hoodie, if you want toy loops . . . you get the idea.  Lots of mamas have posted really great tutorials on how to make them.  I spent MANY hours pouring over the different tutorials, taking notes, and synthesizing the different directions to come up with something that worked for me.  I have to warn you, once you've started down the mei-tai making road, you sort of become addicted.  You'll find all sorts of fun fabrics that you can use, and you'll keep coming up with different things that you can tweak.  I personally have a lot of mei tais, and I have fabric for several more!  What can I say, now that I've gotten the hang of making them, I've become addicted.  =)

Probably the trickiest type of carrier to DIY is the soft-structured carrier.  It's quite similar to the mei tai in that it's a rectangle with four straps, but the straps are much shorter and are buckled.
Another major difference is that SSC's have structured waists.  This part can be somewhat tricky to get right, finding padding that works for you and getting it correctly situated in relation to the body.
This is a project I've only tackled once, and I'm not sure that I'll be revisiting it!  This is the only tutorial I know of for an SSC:

Making your own carriers is very rewarding, kinda gives you a sense of accomplishment that you have made something cool for you and your little one.  Can you do it better than the "official" manufacturers?
Maybe, maybe not.  Can you do it more cheaply?  This definitely depends on your materials.  You can choose less expensive,  yet sturdy materials, or you can go for broke and get fabric that is $50 a yard.
The cost of the carrier is totally up to you.

A final word on DIY. I can't stress enough how important it is that you use sturdy and safe materials, high quality thread, and good, strong seams.  Always double check your work and make sure all of the
weight bearing seams will hold up to intense use.  If in doubt, add another line of stitching or add and extra layer of fabric.  As my mom has always said, "better safe than sorry!"

So go find yourself some great DIY tutorials, make a few practice carriers to get the hang of it and go nuts in the fabric store finding great fabrics for your carriers.  Above all have fun and be thorough!

Posted by Judy

Saturday, October 9, 2010

IBW - Day 4: Babywearing International on the National Mall

Today we had the Family Babywearing Walk on the National Mall.  It was wonderful to see so many families out in support of babywearing in our Nation's Capital.  We had a gorgeous day, and saw some gorgeous mamas, daddies, and children down on the mall.  And now, to the pictures!

 Getting Ready


And we're off!



The People Who Made the Day a Success

Babies and Families 

The Dads

The Entire Group

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate wearing our babies!