Monday, December 12, 2011

New library carrier!

Our library has received another new addition.  We'd like to thank Onya Baby for this donation.

I don't have a small baby right now, I'll see if I can snag a small baby pic at the meeting on Wed.

This is my JUST 2yr old (her birthday was yesterday).  My kids are tall/heavy:

 You can see it gives her good knee to knee coverage and good height on the back.

This is my almost 4yr old (less than a month).  She is also tall/heavy for her age:
As you can see, while she is arms out, there is definitely plenty of support for her height-wise.  Not quite knee to knee coverage, but I think her leg positioning is still okay.  It was still quite comfy with a big kid in it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Falling In Love: An Adoption Story

Tomorrow is National Adoption Day!  Today we have a guest blogger to share with us some of the benefits of babywearing with an adopted child.

I use to be that mom.  The mom that would carry her infant around in a ridiculously heavy car seat, because for some reason in my mind it seemed easier than holding a tiny baby.  Looking back now, I realize the logic in that was missing.  But considering it was my first child I guess I still had a lot to learn.

With my oldest son after discovering the practical side of babywearing
When my next baby came along, it seemed I didn’t have enough hands anymore.  This led to my discovery of babywearing.  At this point I didn’t have a love for babywearing.  I had a NEED for it.  If I had one child strapped to me, that meant I had both hands free to wrangle my then 3 year old daughter.  Even better, I could strap my baby boy, Micah, to my back and even PICK UP my daughter.  It was a convenient easy option to keeping my kids safe and nearby.

Immediately after my son Micah was born, we started the process to adopt a baby boy from Korea.  We were told the adoption process would take about 2 years.  Well, God had other plans, because 10 months after our very first interview our teeny tiny 4 month old Korean baby was in our arms.  What a blessing.  But boy was my world about to be ROCKED!
Coming home with our new baby, a carrier in the background

During those 10 months of waiting, I did a LOT of reading, a lot of blog posting, and lots of question asking on adoption forums.  I learned all about bonding and attachment, and the importance of keeping your newly adopted baby as close as possible.  After all, I would be bringing home a baby who had never been near me or my family, had never seen “white” faces, and had never heard our language.  Everything around him would look, smell, sound, and taste different.  At this point, the need for babywearing changed drastically.

From the moment our new son Arie was placed in our arms, I kept him as close to me as possible.  If he wasn’t in my arms, he was strapped to my chest.  I no longer looked at babywearing as simply a way to make life easier.  Now it was a way to help me and my baby fall in love with each other.  With him on my chest, he could hear my heart beating, feel my breath, hear my voice, and smell my scent.  These were all things that my biological children were able to do while in my belly and immediately after birth.  But in Arie’s eyes, I was a stranger.  So we had a lot of bonding to catch up on.

Arie still likes to be worn as a big kid!
During the next two years, I became a pro at babywearing. Since my boys were only 12 months apart, I often had one strapped on my right hip, and the other popped up on my Left.  My boys would bicker over who would be in the carrier, and occasionally I would just tie them both to me!  Although Micah enjoyed it, Arie lived for it.  He would sleep, play, eat, and socialize with his siblings while I wore him.  Arie also has special needs, and one of his issues is sensory processing disorder.  He would get himself so worked up that he couldn’t calm down.  The only thing that would sooth him was to put him on me in a carrier.   The compression of the carrier, accompanied with the warmth and movement of being tied to my chest, would immediately relax him.  It was amazing.
Arie is a happy member of our family

Arie quickly became attached to both me and my husband.  Keeping him physically close helped our bond strengthen.  I loved having him near my heart, and he loved being there.  I have learned throughout the years that although babywearing is practical and convenient, it can also be magical.  It helped the love grow between us and our adopted son, and it brought us closer in more ways than one.  

Our first photo of our family of 6!

Arie is now a 32 pound 5 year old.  He still occasionally asks to be worn in the carrier, and I happily oblige (but only in the house!).  I have since had another baby, and this time around I was able to appreciate ALL the benefits of babywearing.  But I could still use a few more hands….

 Posted by Ryan

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Getting a "Good Seat"

Sorry, if you were hoping to find out how to get front row seats  for the next big show at the Kennedy Center, you've come to the wrong place.  However, if you have a baby and a carrier, I might just have the advice you need!

Recently I've helped several mamas at meeting with carriers they are not finding comfortable, and I make one minor adjustment and suddenly they say, "WOW, that fixed it!"  So, I'm going to show you how to make that adjustment yourself.

Your initial carry might be safe in that baby isn't falling out.  It might look something like this:

Notice the carrier is low on the baby's back, there is fabric bunched under baby's bottom.  This will eventually pull on your shoulders and make you uncomfortable.

There are a few things you can do to fix this. 

1. Instead of pulling the carrier over baby from the top, instead smooth the carrier up over baby's bottom before pulling the straps over your shoulders, like so:

2. Bounce the baby down while holding the straps STRAIGHT up.  This is harder to accomplish in an SSC, but notice I'm reaching over my shoulder and pulling up from there.  When I say bounce, I do mean bounce.  We aren't talking feet off the ground jump, but bounce like you mean it.

See the huge difference in how high the carrier comes on her back?  And how she is settled into the seat?  Those will make all of you more comfortable with your positioning.  Happy babywearing!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tackling Two: A Babywearing Story

With the holidays approaching, I'm going to toss in a little plug here before getting to our post about transitioning to 2 kids.  Sign up for iGive and support Babywearing International at no cost to you while shopping online at your favorite stores.  And if you decide you don't want to support BWI, there are plenty of other great charities you can support.

When my first son, Collin, was born in 2009 I was very eager to wear him. I started wearing him in a Moby Wrap and ring sling when he was a week old and then used
the Ergo from about four months on. I wasn’t comfortable getting him on my back until I came to my first babywearing meeting when he was ten months old. That was also the meeting that I discovered wrapping and a multitude of brands (and pretty fabrics) that carriers came in! Since he was born I have bought numerous wraps and carriers to wear him in. Wearing him helped us bond tremendously
throughout the early newborn stage. It also helped us manage the toddler stage where I could keep him safe and engaged while still getting things done. Even at two years old he still loves to be snuggled up in a wrap or carrier on mine or my husband’s back.

This summer, baby #2, Brennan, made his debut. Collin, just shy of two years old has no intent to slowing down. He runs, climbs, and jumps on just about everything he sees. Brennan and I needed to be able to keep up with him outside of the house. Babywearing to the rescue! In addition to keeping up with Collin, I am able to meet Brennan’s needs too. I can respond to his hunger cues early and nurse him just about anywhere. Being able to feed the baby hands free while caring for Collin has been a lifesaver. He falls asleep in the carriers whenever he gets the chance so I don’t worry yet about rushing home for nap time. He also gets more face time with his big brother since he’s not staring up at the sky from his car seat stroller.

Some of my favorite carriers for Brennan have been ring slings in the tummy to tummy hold, a mei tai with the bottom cinched for  early and comfortable legs-out, and our infant adjustable sized Kinderpack soft structured carrier. Although cozy, he hasn’t taken to wraps much and they are just a little slower for me to get him into than the  other carriers.

We get lots of comments while out and about- usually about how comfy Brennan looks all snuggled up and sleeping!  Babywearing has definitely made the transition to two easier on the whole family.

Posted by Kelli

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Babywearing at the Farm

When I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, I was thrilled that my girls (then
almost 4 and just-turned 5) were old enough to understand who would soon be
joining us and to be excited about bringing baby brother along to experience all
the things we do as a family. I also wondered how our busy life with activities and
school events and family trips would change when we added a new little one. I
decided early on that babywearing would have to be an integral part of our daily
loves, and I am so thankful that I did!

Babywearing truly has opened up a world of possibilities for me and for our family.
Since my oldest, Katelin was a baby, we have been trekking out to Loudoun County
to the Great Country Farm several times a year for a day of outside, seasonal
fun. Depending on the season, we go to play, pick pumpkins, berries, peaches, or
Christmas trees, listen to music, pet some animals and have a picnic. When Austin
was a couple weeks old last fall, the girls started asking when we could go to “Our
Farm” and pick pumpkins. What’s a newly-nursing, c-section-recovering mama of
a 3 week old newborn with two active, enthusiastic big sisters begging for some
family tradition-making to do? Strap on a baby carrier and head for the mountains!
And so we did. Things were a little different this time, mama and baby stayed
behind in the car for a bit upon arrival to nurse and pump- a new experience of its
own. And then I nestled him securely in his new carrier, buckled it on, and off we
went to join the fun. He spent the day snug and warm and happy where I could
monitor him up close, and we didn’t need to worry about pushing a stroller through
muddy fields or heaving it onto a tractor and holding a wiggly newborn in my arms
on a bumpy tractor ride. I could join my girls in the crowded, vine-y pumpkin
patch- hands free to help them pick the best ones! And of course, take pictures of
memories that will last a lifetime.

And so a new tradition was started, and we have returned to “our farm” several
times during Austin’s first year. We picked strawberries on a warm, misty day in
the late spring- a day 4 year old Natalie remembers fondly as the day we ate lots
of berries and then ran for the tractor through the fields when the skies opened up
and rain poured down. Austin enjoyed all the fun in a nice, cool solarveil carrier on
my back. He was a part of the experience in a way that would have been impossible
in a stroller and I was a part of the girls’ experience in a way that would have been
impossible pushing a stroller on the outskirts of the field or trying to carry him in
my arms.

When summer rolled around, we returned to the farm to pick peaches and
blackberries. Once again, baby brother got to see and feel and taste the peaches and
berries while perched on mama’s back. His sisters kept him content with frequent
juicy samples. He had a bird’s eye view of the farm animals and he loved seeing the
cows and pigs and goats. We even watched a mama goat give birth on that visit!

And when we returned again last weekend for the annual pumpkin-picking ritual,
on a perfect chilly fall day, baby brother was again with us in his safe, warm cozy
spot on mama’s back. Able to see everything just as everyone else could, he was
content to take it all in. This time, I could hear his sweet babbling as he made animal
sounds and talked to his sisters. Babywearing made for a much more enjoyable day
at the farm on this blustery day, where babies in strollers were cold and fussing.
The girls talked to him and told him about the tractor ride and which pumpkins
we would pick, and he watched the bonfire (from a safe and secure distance) while
sisters roasted marshmallows.

Our days at the farm in the past year are just one example among so many of how
babywearing has allowed our family to grow and experience things together in the
past year that would have been so much more difficult or impossible without it. And
for that, I am thankful!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Photo Friday!

I'll admit, this is later than I'd hoped to post.  Between the Twitter party this morning (there's another tomorrow), and having a bit of a cold, I just couldn't seem to focus on it.

Before I get to the awesome pictures of the lovely local babywearers, reminder of our final 2 International Babywearing Week Events.

Now, on to the pics!


We hope everyone is having a fantastic International Babywearing Week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A 'World' of Possibilities

It's International Babywearing Week!  We invite all of the local babywearers to join us for our remaining activities for the week.  We would also like to share the exciting news that Gov. O'Malley has proclaimed it officially International Babywearing Week in the State of Maryland!
How Awesome is THAT?
Okay, on to the point of this post.  This year's theme is "A World of Possibilties."  We decided to take this chance to share some of the babywearing carriers and carries from around the world!

A Wide Blanket Podegi from Korea.  You can't see it, but it has Peter Rabbit on the back.  Korean families generally believe baby gear should look babyish.

This was lent to us by a mama who was sent it from Peru.  It is a modern interpretation of a traditional carrier.  Teagan was decidedly unimpressed.  She was a little too big to fit this way.
  This is a Vietnamese Hmong sent to one of our members.  Hmongs are often sold with the straps cut.  Mamas see the panel as beautiful embroidery they can sell, but the straps are what held their baby.  The straps are what they feel sentimental about.
This is a carrier we don't see a lot around here, so I asked for a little help from my friends in the great white North!  An amauti.  These were traditionally used by Native Alaskan and Inuit peoples.
This is a traditional African kanga. 
 This is a truly fascinating carrier from Papua New Guinea called a Bilium Bag.  Jen is demonstrating with a doll.  Due to positioning concerns, we probably wouldn't actually use this carrier, but it is super cool to see.
This carrier was brought from a friend in China.  It seems to be designed more similarly to a podegi than a mei tai, although traditionally mei tais are thought of as the Chinese carrier.
Few "traditional carriers" seem to come from Europe, so I thought I would include this Welch nursing shawl.
As we can see, all around the world, different methods were designed for carrying babies in a way that was comfortable and convenient for the lifestyle of the families.  Today we have the privilege of being able to incorporate all of these traditions in our modern carrying positions.  It is valuable to see what parents designed over thousands of years.  We have much to learn from their shared knowledge.