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.

Sunday, October 9, 2011