Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DIY Carrier Resources...

As a look at my stash will tell you, I've made most of my carriers.  At first, it was because I didn't know if I would like specific ones, and couldn't imagine paying the prices for a good one until I at least knew I liked it.  As I gained experience and confidence, I continued making them because none of our trees grow money, and I loved being able to experiment and make something usable and durable.  I frequently get questions about making carriers, so I thought I'd round up some good resources that I've used...

Ring Sling
Original Maya Wrap Sling (NOT PADDED) Black - MediumI have one  Maya Wrap (pictured to left) style sling from this pattern, which is a great sling, and one sling from Jan Andrea's pattern.  They are both great carriers but I think that Jan's sling tends to be a little easier to get comfy on my shoulder.  I have ordered all my rings from, and have been very happy with both their quality, selection, and service.  It is essential to use good strong rings, not weak craft rings that may break under pressure!

Mei Tai
 I've used Jan Andrea's pattern, tweaking the body size to fit me.  Love her easy to follow directions!  That is my second one, to the right.

I've made two, one (loosely) from this pattern, then one with a much wider body but that same basic headrest.


So far I have had NO success finding stretchy wrap material, to my disappointment!  I love my Moby Wrap and wanted to be able to make a similar wrap to gift to new moms, but all the fabrics I'm finding either feel too thin, or are super stretchy and not cotton.  I have only been able to find doubleknit 100% cotton jersey one place online, in brick orange.  Any ideas there, readers?

As far as non stretchy wraps go, I made this one. I am happy with it, but  I'd like to upgrade to a linen or other nice woven wrap this summer. We'll see if funds permit.  

I've been reading threads in the DIY forum of the Babywearer about woven wraps... so helpful!  The Babywearer is a great resource for babywearers, and their DIY forum is great as well...I definitely highly recommend it if you are interested in making carriers! :)

Small print: All the resources I link to (I think) discuss safe sewing techniques and fabric selection, but I'll just reiterate, chose sturdy, appropriate weight fabrics, rings designed for slings (not crafts), and good quality thread, and make sure to really reinforce and top stitch weight bearing seams.  As always, while all the info I provide is correct and safe to the best of my knowledge, I assume no liability for the use or misuse of advice, recommendations, or suggestions on this page. It is the reader's responsibility to research, make educated choices, seek assistance from local babywearing educators if needed, and always use common sense when using any baby product. Especially important when beginning to make carriers: always examine baby carriers frequently to make sure that they are not showing signs of damage or dangerous wear! And always make sure that you know the safe way to use your baby carrier.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Container Babies, Part II

Due to this...
I ended up, to my total shock and delight, with this...

This gem popped up on my twitter feed this week from PhD in Parenting...

Fisher-Price Infant-To-Toddler Rocker - Blue/GreenIt was not my intent in my original post to convey disapproval of those with babies with bald spots, or even flat spots.  I know people whose babies have bald spots, and flat spots, and one who needed a helmet.  It isn't always because they're sitting in a bouncy seat all day.  No.  And it isn't always an actual issue, at all, if it is just a bald spot.  They might just be restless little sleepers, and rub their heads back and forth in their sleep.

Edushape Animal Activity BarBut it could be an indicator of something, and it could be a sign of an issue.  The term "container babies" wasn't thought up by a babywearing fanatic, or an attachment parent... this is something that neurologists, doctors, and physical therapists are talking about, and it is something that parents should be aware of as well.  We're becoming more aware of the risks of leaving babies in carseats when they're not in the car, and of overusing modern baby gadgets, and that is a good thing.  I like to refer to this as "science/medicine catching up with common sense." ;)

It was my intent to raise awareness, to convey information about something that is a serious issue.  It is true that I feel babywearing is the tool to fix the issue of container babies.  It may not fix baldness, it may not eliminate flat spots, but those are cosmetic.  Misshapen skulls, contorted neck muscles and delayed motor skills are far, far more worrisome.

Maybe I shouldn't have brought my personal experience into the post at all... really, it was just anecdotal evidence, which isn't the same caliber of information at all.  And it seems like that was what most objected to in my post.  Oops.  Well, either way, I'm glad that you all stopped by, and I hope that you'll become regulars.  Feel free to email/tweet/comment at me to let me know when I'm spot on, when I'm totally off, and what you'd like to see here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Container Babies

Doctors and physical therapists around the country have coined a new term for babies who spend too much time in devices like carriers, swings and bouncy seats. They are calling it "container syndrome." According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune, these containers are causing an increase in cases of misshapen skulls, contorted neck muscles and delayed motor skills, like crawling and walking. A recent study conducted by the Pathways Awareness Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes early detection of movement delays, found two-thirds of physical and occupational therapists say they've seen an increase in movement delays in the past six years. The group surveyed 400 therapists.

"Tummy time" is promoted as the solution to this issue, but many babies don't like it, and it's difficult to fit it in when you're running all around town... however,  many people in the babywearing world believe babywearing is the same as tummy time, including Dr. Maria Blois.  Many of the same muscles are used, and it also gets baby off their back, so helps avoid the flattening on the back of the head.
Keeping babies strapped down in these "containers" prevents them from using all the muscles they need to grow normally. "Any of these devices that are developed to provide basically convenience for the parents, such as seats for feeding and some of the other play saucers and things like that, and play mobiles and things where the child basically is entertained by lying on their back and looking up also puts considerable amount of pressure on the back of the head and then causes a flattening there," Carl Barr, D.O., a child neurologist in Orlando, Fla., explained to Ivanhoe. He added, "If you're not put in a position where you have to maintain your head because it's resting on some other device, then you don't develop the strength in those muscles."

- Get Container Babies Off Their Backs!

I have had people stop me in the grocery store to admire my babies heads... people have specifically noted that they don't have flat spots or bald spots.  There is a reason for that... it is because my babies don't spend most of their awake time on their backs in bouncy seats, or lying in a crib watching a mobile.  They spend it either playing on their tummies on the floor, or on my back or chest in a carrier... close to mama, soaking in cuddle time and watching whatever I'm doing with wide eyes.  Watching Mama wash dishes is pretty exciting when you're a baby! ;)

Edited to add...

The Back to Sleep campaign, while it has reduced SIDS rates, has likely contributed to some babies having some flatness or baldness. Now, I held my first child for most of his naps, and wore my daughter for most of hers when they were small, and my 11 month old prefers to sleep on her stomach, so I'm sure there is a possibility that one or both of them would've had a little baldness or flatness had I put them down on their backs for their naps and at night. Also, generally my babies have slept on their sides a lot at night due to cosleeping and breastfeeding. So obviously, there are a lot of factors that can affect whether a baby has flatness or baldness.


"[C]ontainers are causing an increase in cases of misshapen skulls, contorted neck muscles and delayed motor skills, like crawling and walking."

That is a very serious issue and was the main point of my post... which is that for our babies *health*, "containers" aren't best for babies.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

You may be a babywearing nerd if... find yourself practicing newborn back wrapping techniques using one of the kiddo's dolls... ;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

State of the Stash, April 2010

2 DIY mei tais (& 1 out on loan)
1 DIY podaegi (& 1 out on loan)
2 DIY wraps
1 Moby D stretchy wrap
1 creamy patterned Maya Wrap- style ring sling (& 1 black one missing... last time it went MIA it was behind the couch, so not worried yet.

Soooo... 10.

How many carriers are in your stash at the moment? 

Do you ever loan yours out?  I love loaning mine out and seeing if I can get someone hooked on babywearing!  :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Loving our mei tai!

My baby girl is almost one, and while I still reach for the ring sling and the moby wrap regularly, we're really loving our mei tai right now!

What carriers are you loving right now?