Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Minute Christmas Shopping? ;)

Mother, Father, Baby, Sister and Brother Loving Family Doll Set African American

Loving that both parents are babywearing!  If you don't want the whole set, you can snag yourself just the babywearing daddy, too:
Loving Family Dad and Baby African-American Dolls

 Or you can check out child slings and carriers:

Snuggy Baby Child's Doll Sling Baby Doll Carrier - Mod DotsMoby Wrap Mini Moby Kids Doll Toy Carrier, Indigo
Or books!
Carry Me! Animal Babies on the MoveA Ride on Mother's Back: A Day of Baby Carrying around the World

Or (and I think this is my favorite! Wish I'd seen this earlier!) a beautiful babywearing fair trade doll sling and baby!
Fair Trade Doll Sling and Baby - Mango Sorbet Colors

It would also be simple and inexpensive to make a child a wrap or sling, or accessorize dolls they already have with them. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Babywearing! :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Babywearing While Traveling

We just got home from a fun trip out of town... here we all are babywearing at the mall!  Front to back: my handsome husband wearing our 2 1/2 year old son in a DIY mei tai, me (17 weeks pregnant) wearing our 18 month old daughter in a DIY non stretchy wrap!

We ended up going up and down several escalators and a flight of stairs, so we were very glad to be babywearing.  Also, three different people stopped us to ask about our carriers!

For new visitors, note the tabs above with some helpful resources for getting started babywearing... and of course feel free to ask any questions either here in the comments or via email!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you're a beginner...

here are some tips from experienced babywearers that may be helpful...

I said... "working on post for beginners on ... what tips would you give someone just starting out?"

emilye:  If you can't figure a carrier out, don't just give up & throw in the towel. Seek help from a babywearing group!
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlstristina_wright:  Walk and bounce immediately. Don't stand there admiring yourself in the mirror. Baby will get fussy.
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlstea4tamara:  Sometimes babies fuss at first. Practice when they aren't hungry or tired. Once baby is in the carrier, get moving! :)

ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsKt_Ri: experiment without a baby first, use a mirror & relax so the baby can too :)

ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsJoyfulAbode: if possible find a #babywearing "mentor" locally. If not, YouTube vids are your friend. Also if they don't like one style it doesn't mean they don't like #babywearing. They should try other styles of carriers before giving up on it.

  posielove Don't give up just bc baby fusses in beginning. It's new and takes practice!
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsSoleilSelene:  don't get a Bjorn! =)  
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsAVPH: don't give up. If one carrier doesn't work then try try again! 

ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlshollinsgirl7:  Watch YouTube videos or hook up with a group. Seeing it done makes it easier to do and then practice, practice, practice. 
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsMamanADroit:  glossary! I didn't really know anyone who use baby carriers & didn't know lingo at all-like what's an SSC? or front vs back vs hip carries, or mei teis vs woven wraps. It can be confusing for newbies!
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlsmomnonymous:  Your baby may fuss the first time or two, but patting his butt through the carrier will help him relax!

ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlskykaree:  seek help, find slingmeets or a babywearing mum, don't just buy something on the internet and struggle alone
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlssheaisawesome:  ignore all the haters and weird looks. It's what's best for your baby and that's all that matters

ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlssmola04:  practice carries on your bed so if baby falls, it's not a crisis. :)
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlsjenboss: That it takes practice. Follow your instincts. Also, it is so helpful for those fussy times when nothing else works. Also. It pays off for when they are mobile. Keeps them safe and near.
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlslakeline: Try lots of different things, I hated pouches/slings but loved wraps.

ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsTheSaisquoi:  Be Brave! Don't think it isn't working if the baby cries immediately- #babywearing takes practice for both Mamas & Babes!
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser Controlssoozenw:  Take it slow, try different carriers, and have a spotter in the beginning!
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsSummerLoveMommy:  not to give up, it takes a little practice for both you and baby! And it's okay to re-wrap a few times until your comfy
AzureSkyyes get someone with experience to help you. Start young. Start with small amounts of time. Start with a content baby!
ReTweetAdd to FavoritesUser ControlsMomtoperfection:  Don't give up if they don't like it. And try as many types of carriers as you can!

What tips would you add for beginning babywearers?  Or what problems did you have starting out?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#babywearing on Twitter chat!

Tuesday 8-10pm EST is #babywearing chat! Can we trend? Maybe! Will we have fun? Definitely! :)  No RSVP is needed, just show up and have a good time!  I'll be tweeting lots of links to some of the amazing babywearing stories that have been shared this week during International Babywearing Week (round up post coming as well tomorrow!), as well as safety tips and fun conversation topics.  Join us!  :)

And, if just talking about #babywearing wasn't exciting enough,  HugaMonkey is donating a carrier to be given away to one of our participants!

We have a chocolate brown HugaMonkey that we were given to try out (Thanks, HugaMonkey!) and it is a great grab and go carrier! 

My husband used it quite a bit with our daughter while our son was hospitalized... it was perfect for quickly getting on the move and having free hands.
So, to sum up, we'll talk about #babywearing, have a grand old time, and give away a carrier!  Will you be there? :)

(If you've never participated in a Twitter party, it's easy!  First, if you don't have a Twitter account, sign up.  Then, tweet "I love #babywearing!" and you'll notice that #babywearing is highlighted after you post it.  Click on that, and it will take you to the #babywearing stream... with all the tweets tagged with the #babywearing tag!  That's where we'll be chatting 8-10pm EST, so hop over and join us for a fun discussion!)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Babywearing Needs YOU

Every family has a story, and babywearing is intertwined through ours.  We knew from the first awestruck moments after birth that this precious little one needed us and we scooped him in and never wanted to let him go.

Unfortunately, we didn't really want to let the laundry, dishes, housework, etc, completely go to pot either.  Also, our arms got tired.  He was born 8 pounds, 3 ounces and gained a pound a week for his first several weeks of life!

So babywearing entered our lives, and we are profoundly grateful for the connection, for the ease, for the bonding, for the portability, for the natural-ness, of the babywearing way of life.

From chasing cows to coping with a child in the hospital, babywearing is an integral part of how we parent.

Our first baby, pictured in the first two pictures, is now 2 1/2, and most of the time much happier to be on his own two feet (which is fine with us, since he's also 30 pounds now)! 

Our second baby, who was born 12 months after our first, is in the next photo solo and in the one after being worn with her older brother.  By the time she came along, I'd really found my babywearing groove, and was excited to be able to wear her a lot more than her brother. Tandem babywearing really made our year of two under two much, much easier.

When our second was born, our first had been walking for a week.  There was no way he could toddle all the way across a parking lot, far less walk through a store.  And if you've ever tried to navigate a stroller through a crowded, treasure laden thrift store (starting by getting in, the doors aren't automatic!), you'll understand why strapping 35 pounds of baby to your torso is comparatively easy.

I didn't want to be homebound just because I had two very small children, and thanks in large part to babywearing, I wasn't.

And I not only shed the baby weight pretty quickly (try squatting down to get a can on a bottom shelf at the discount grocery with 35 pounds of extra weight and you'll see why!), I enjoyed making fun memories with them at the same time.

When we recently found out that we're expecting #3 next spring, among all of the wonderful things we're looking forward to one of them is wearing a snuggly little newborn again!  My husband laughed at me when I said that... and then later admitted that he's really looking forward to getting to babywear a newborn too!  He loves the Moby wrap, and this time around I'm trading another carrier with a cousin for a pretty indigo Moby.  Can't wait!

I know I've been rather silent around here, between morning sickness, a horrific cold *achoo!*, and a broken camera, so you might be wondering what brought me out of the woodwork today.

Babywearing is in crisis, and just as babywearing helped us, we need to turn around and help the babywearing industry stay beautiful, vibrant, and diverse.

While I've made many of my own carriers, not every mama can, and we need a variety of big and small babywearing businesses that can provide those families with the tools they need.  When I'm stopped on the street and asked about my carriers, frequently I say, "I made this one, but you can buy a similar one from (fill in the blank depending on the type.)"  Often that person will write it down or take one of my babywearing cards with more information.

Losing those businesses due to expensive testing, prohibitive regulation, or sheer bureaucracy is not acceptable. 

What will I do if I can't refer them to somewhere they can buy a similar carrier anymore? Or if eventually even sharing patterns and tutorials for DIY carriers is curtailed because of regulation?  How will that harm babywearing?  Quite frankly, I don't know and I don't want to find out.

Long story short, the CPSC is trying to regulate the babywearing industry, and there is a huge risk that many of our favorite carriers will go the way of the buffalo (or Hotslings.)

 Babywearing is a safe, traditional way of parenting babies, and the CPSC needs to let parents parent.  Babywearing is a parenting choice, and by restricting our access to carriers, the CPSC is going to limit our ability as parents to choose what we feel is best for our babies.  This is totally unacceptable.

Please go connect with the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance on Facebook to stay updated with what is going on and how you can help!  All babywearers really need to rally and unite right now.  As things develop we may need to write letters or make phone calls, but right now, we need to connect, share our stories, and speak out about the joys of babywearing. 

If you are a blogger, the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance needs you... please go here and read their call to action - and then act on it!  We need to be very vocal right now about how important babywearing is to us! If you do write a post, be sure to post it on the BCIA Facebook page AND put it on the linky over at Adventures in Babywearing... Steph is going to randomly choose a linky participant to win a Sakura Bloom ring sling, so you definitely don't want to miss out on that! 

Also, if you share your babywearing story and link up at the Wrapsody Baby blog you'll be entered to win a Gypsy Mama microfleece wrap (perfect for fall!)

Important update 10/4/10: Action needed: 

A recall of a major baby carrier is being forced through this week in a very underhanded way.  Word on the babywearing street is that this is not an unsafe carrier and the CPSC has overstepped their bounds in how they've gone about this.  If you are represented by any one of these legislators listed here, PLEASE call and write them.  More details over at the link, please take the time to read and act.  If this can happen to one carrier, it can happen to them all.  All our carriers are in jeopardy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Goodbye, Hotslings

Create your own video slideshow at
"Ladybug" is courtesy of the band Rabbit! ( and Ryan Marshall of (@ThePanicRoom). When you buy the album Do Fun Stuff Volume 1 (, it benefits PRISMS.

* Thank you to @that_danielle  ( for allowing me to share this video with you. *

Babywearers recently said a sad farewell to Hotslings after seven years, causing many to wonder about the future of the babywearing market and whether upcoming safety regulations and testing requirements, as well as the after effects of the Infantino recall, would force us to lose other baby carrier businesses.

Diana from puts it well in her post... as she says, "the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) was formed by the mothers and fathers behind some of the most innovative and well-loved baby carriers available, to set the standards for babywearing devices before the companies that are home-based, and which started out home-based (like Hotslings) can be edged out of the market..."

As the BCIA says,
"The closure of Hotslings highlights the important work to be done in the baby carrier industry to ensure its health and stability. The BCIA is working hard to develop safe and achievable standards for all sling carriers through the ASTM and to help the baby carrier industry grow.  Additionally, the BCIA is working to bring accurate information about the importance of baby slings for the well-being of infants and families to the general public, media, and medical communities."
The BCIA is needed to make sure that safety regulations take into account the needs of small businesses.  Safe babywearing is a beautiful goal, but losing all of our work at home mom babywearing businesses, losing Etsy sellers with unique products, or even losing larger companies like Hotslings, that started out as a mom at a kitchen table, is not the answer.  What baby carriers are truly unsafe?

The recalled Infantino SlingRider wasn't made or sold by a mother who loved babywearing and had a passion for it.  It was made and sold by a BIG COMPANY that wanted to make a profit and ignored babywearing advocates concerns about it's safety and bad design.  I don't know about you, but I would rather put my confidence in mothers who love babywearing, and are doing all they can to promote it and spread it, than in big, impersonal corporations with an eye on profits.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh How I LOVE a Back Carry!

I love babywearing. Plain and simple. And I especially love it when you get to that point in your baby's development and your babywearing ability when you can back carry.  Back carrying takes babywearing to the next level in my mind.  It gives you even more freedom to move around and get things done and still have your baby or toddler safe and secure on you in a carrier.  And it gives your baby a whole new view of their world! Babywearing is of course a skill and does have a learning curve to it and back carrying takes some practice to get it just right.  Using an appropriate baby carrier is always the first step and here are my opinions of the three kinds of carriers I use for back carries:  a soft-structured carrier (the ERGObaby), a Mei Tai, and a woven, non-stretchy wrap.

A soft structured carrier is a great option for back carrying.  There are some excellent carriers on the market these days in this category, but the most popular one by far is probably still the ERGObaby.  The Ergo has been on the market for almost 7 years and has been tweaked a bit here and there, but still has the original structural design that is tried and true and ergonomically correct for babies.  Here is what the ERGObaby website has to say about it:
ERGObaby’s baby carrier design supports a natural sitting position for babies, eliminating compression of the spine and hips that can be caused by unsupported suspension. The baby carrier also balances the baby's weight to parents' hips and shoulders, and alleviates physical stress for the parent.
I have used an Ergo for both my kids and as far as wearing them on my back comfortably for LONG periods of time (anything over an hour) and also for traveling, I think the Ergo is probably the most comfortable and convenient carrier to use or take with you.  I wore my 28 pound, 23 month old daughter in it today for a 2 hour babywearing walk and never felt like it was causing stress on any part of my back, hips or shoulders. And she was so comfy in it that little Miss "I NEVER nap in the morning" slept for a good hour in it!

My one criticism of the Ergo is the shorter body on it. For most babies the back comes up to just at or under the armpits or shoulder blades.  I personally would not use it for back carries until my child was at least 9-12 months old and did not run the risk of arching back in the carrier and at least had better muscle development around the spine.  This is just my personal opinion, the manufacturer states that you can use it from 6 months. And again all of this is dependent on your baby and all baby's develop differently.  The ERGO does come with a sleeping hood for baby, but I find it a little hard to put the hood up if baby falls asleep while you are carrying them on your back and always end up asking for help with it.

Our first ERGObaby Carrier, DS is 9.5 months old.  

If our looking for something that has all the same benefits of the ERGO, as in supporting a natural sitting position and balancing baby's weight to the parents hips and shoulders, but has less buckles and snaps, then a Mei Tai or Asian-Style baby carrier may be what you are looking for.  The Mei Tai is a traditional baby carrier used in a lot of Asian countries and there are many different brands and styles now available in the North American market.

All Mei Tais have the same general structure of a rectangle body panel with two shorter waist straps and two longer shoulder straps.  The Mei Tai is a very versatile carrier and can generally be used from newborn to toddlerhood and as a front, hip or back carrier.  It is also a very easy carrier to get on and off as a back carry.   I wore my daughter in our Mei Tai for a 4-day Folk Festival adventure last year and seriously could not have survived that weekend without it. We would walk from stage to stage and up and down a HUGE hill multiple times a day and each time I would have to get her into the carrier on my back and then down again and it was fast and fantastic.  I also really like that a Mei Tai is essentially a one size fits all carrier and can fit me, my husband or even grandma when she wants to try it out!  One of the things that some people do not like about Mei Tais is crossing the straps across your chest when doing a back carry.  There are other options to this though and tying the straps like a back pack (under your arms) is one.  My new favourite Mei Tai at the moment is one I got from my good friend at Cosy Baby, Happy Mommy.  She makes the shoulder straps of her Mei Tais slightly padded AND extra wide making them very comfortable to wear when crossed in the front-even if you are bigger in the chest like me! 

DD and I in our Cosy Baby Happy Mommy Mei Tai-notice the wide straps!
And finally what I have found the be the most addictive of the baby carriers and my go-to carriers most days now for back carries....the woven wrap!

I will fully admit that I did not use my beautiful Storchenwiege woven wrap to do a back carry more than once or twice with my first born.  I never fully got the hang of it and could not get it tightened enough to make me feel comfortable wearing him in it on my back.  Like I said before babywearing is a learned skill and I guess at that point I still had a lot to learn!  When I started my business (I own Natural Urban Mamas), I realized that I would have to get a lot better at this and have since taken a Babywearing Educator course and with the help of my incredible mentor, Arie Brentnall-Compton of Tadpoles and Butterflies, I have discovered how much I LOVE, love, love doing back carries with woven wraps. 

For one thing, these carriers are beautiful!  The quality and craftsmanship of most of the European woven wraps is unparalleled and one can go a bit crazy for these carriers (I now have 5!).  And the versatility is also amazing, pretty much any carry you want to do can be accomplished with a wrap.  And there are different kinds of back carries you can do as well.  The most common is the Ruck carry and this can also sometimes be the most elusive for some people, but once it is mastered it is simply awesome and can be done quickly and easily regardless of where you are (you can often see me doing it in the parking lot before heading into the grocery store!).  I also like the Secure High Back Carry with a wrap as it provides 2 extra layers of support and the straps are securely crossed at your sternum. 
Our Babyette Gauze Wrap tied in a Secure High Back Carry.
Rucksack carry in our Ellevil Jade Woven Wrap
Back carrying in a wrap is a learned skill and that would be the one drawback with these carriers.  If you do not want to invest the time or effort into learning to do this kind of carrying, then a wrap may not be for you for back carrying.  If you do want to learn more, I have attached a few resources at the bottom of this post and I would also suggest you find a local babywearing group or meeting and get some advice or hands-on instruction from a seasoned babywearer or babywearing educator.

Like the Mei Tai and the soft structured carrier, using a wrap for back carrying puts baby in the right, seated, knees above hips position and provides you the wearer with properly distributed weight across both your shoulders and your hips.  And in the end that is what is needed when doing any kind of back carrying, what you choose to use as your carrier is dependent on personal preference, lifestyle and often budget.  I have used all three of these types of carriers with my kids and think that there is a time and place for each one and I personally like to switch it up and wear a different one every time!

For more info on how to do back carrying with a woven wrap see the following resources:

And there you have it everyone, my take on back carrying with the three main types of carriers designed for just that purpose.

Happy Babywearing,