Saturday, May 29, 2010

State of the Stash, May 2010

2 DIY mei tais (& 1 out on loan)
1 DIY podaegi (& 1 out on loan) (about the podaegi)
2 DIY wraps
1 Moby D stretchy wrap
1 creamy patterned Maya Wrap- style ring sling (pattern)
1 black ring sling with silver metal rings, Sleeping Baby Production pattern
1 brown Hugamonkey sling (review upcoming)

Have you acquired any new carriers to add to your stash?  Or do you have your eye on something in particular? :)

Share on Facebook

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#babywearing on Twitter!

Jen of Expectant & Excited organized a #babywearing twitter chat for today, Wednesday, May 26, at 7pm CST.  You can RSVP here, or just show up and join the fun!

Never participated in a twitter party before?  It's easy! Just follow Jen ( @PrgAftrMiscar), and join the conversation by adding "#babywearing" to your tweets.  By clicking on the #babywearing tag in any tweet, you'll be able to see all the other tweets in the chat.  Jump in and ask a question... or answer one!  It will be fun! :)  I'm looking forward to it - you can follow me as well, @babywearingitup.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Helpful Videos for Infant Ring Sling Positioning

I don't think it really matters if you froggy the legs, or cross them, as long as you and baby are comfortable.  I usually prefer to cross them, because it seems easier to hold feet together gently in one hand as I slide baby down from the burping position into the sling. 

Love our ring sling!

Share on Facebook

Friday, May 14, 2010

African Kanga Babywearing Exposed!

So many people are intimidated by the African Kanga and miss out on the simplicity and fun of using it. In fact, I was one of them! I didn't begin using a Kanga for babywearing until this year. I remember the first demonstration video I saw featuring a kanga. My immediate thought was, that doesn't look safe. This was, of course, when I was just beginning to research and explore babywearing with my first child. I was worried about a torso carry. How could something be secure that didn't go over your shoulders? What really frightened me was watching the "twist and tuck" method of tying. What! No knot?! No way was that safe and I wasn't about to try it. What's more is that it looked like it was going to push down on my breasts and/or squish them. I am trying to keep them up! I really didn't want something putting downward pressure on them.

I missed out on nearly five years of babywearing with a kanga because I was afraid to try it. Hello! Women in Africa have been wearing their babies in this fashion for centuries! If it was unsafe, they probably wouldn't be doing it. So, I finally mustered up the guts to try it out with my little guy, affectionately called "The Dude." Granted, my babywearing skills have considerably advanced since my first child, but kangas are not difficult to master. If you can safely do a back carry, then you can carry your baby in a kanga.

Here is the basic back torso carry in an African Kanga with The Dude.

Some people have the misconception that you can only carry a small baby with a kanga, but this is not true at all. I actually thought that carrying my 28 lbs. toddler was really comfortable and quick! In fact, you can even carry a bigger kid like a 5 year old, if you really wanted to. This video shows my 23 month old, "Jellybean" in the torso kanga carry.

Lastly, I have a one-shoulder kanga back carry. This is for all of you who just don't feel comfortable or secure without something over your shoulder. A very simple carry that doesn't require any tricky slip knots.

Jami is the author for the Babywearing Videos Blog where she is attempting to do every carry, with every variation with children of different ages in every type of baby carrier. She is also the creator of Babywearing Videos, a site where users can upload, embed, share and talk about their favorite videos from all over the web! (Coming June 2010)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stretchy Wraps and Limitations

Moby Wrap Moby D Baby Carrier, Earth Tones and ChocolateI just discussed how different carriers can be best for different situations in my last post, but I focused mainly on comfort and the ideal carrier for the situation.  I discussed the limitations of a stretchy wrap, in that it isn't best for a larger kiddo, and I mentioned that I prefer to have heavier tots on my back

Now, I have tried back carries with a stretchy wrap in the past with no disasters, and some babywearers do think it is fine.  Many suggest that if you just get it tight enough it will be secure.  I am not an expert at wrapping, but many more experienced babywearers than myself agree that it isn't safe... and, tellingly, the Moby website no longer has instructions for a back carry.  My Moby manual has those instructions... but I hear that new manuals don't.  Obviously if Moby is pulling those instructions, they no longer feel that this is a safe use for their product.  Their product images haven't quite caught up yet, since that is an Amazon image on the upper left for a Moby D, but maybe eventually those will be gone too.

I have tried back carries with a Moby Wrap, and a Moby D (which has a non stretchy panel designed to help with heavier babies and with back carries- it helped a little but I still felt it wasn't snug or secure or not, especially after a short period, as it would still start to sag.)  While you know I love the Moby Wrap, and the Moby D, I don't think either of them, or similar carriers, appropriate for a back carry.

Ok, so I admitted I'm not a wrapping expert... however, I was happy to find these great videos showing better wrapping skills, and showing the same issue.  Big thanks to Beth of BabyEtte for tweeting a link to this page with the videos!

So, what do you think?  Did I convince you?  Or not?  Have you ever tried a stretchy for a back carry?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thoughts on Stashes

Some babywearers have one favorite carrier.  Others have several that they love.  Others, myself included, have specific carriers that we love for specific seasons or purposes.  I think of it like a box of art supplies... sometimes, a paintbrush is perfect, other times, you need a charcoal pencil.  It all depends on the situation - baby's size, the wearer's size, the length of wearing, the weather, etc.

Moby Wrap Baby Carrier-Seasonal (Slate)For example, for that snuggly, wear-all-day, lightweight little newborn, I absolutely love my Moby Wrap*.  It is comfortable, you can pop baby in and out for diaper changes, it is soft and snuggly, and it doesn't matter that it takes some tying because you're not taking it on and off a lot, it's staying on for a while.

But for a chunky 2 year old?  Well, I could use it, but I wouldn't unless I had no other choice.  Having that much weight on my front makes me feel like I'm going to topple over, for one.  I know that some think that a stretchy wrap is safe for back carries- I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with that, and here's my post detailing why.   For two, I feel that the Moby is just much more comfortable with a smaller baby, for me, that translates into under one.  But for those first months, I think it is totally worth it's weight in gold, and the perfect carrier... for that time.

Later, I like a ring sling or pouch for errands (pop on, pop off!) and a ring sling for church (discrete nursing, comfy naps), and a mei tai or podaegi for walks, housework, yardwork, the county fair, etc.

Some carriers can "do it all"... but I would venture to guess that every carrier is ideal for a certain circumstance, and acceptable for others.

What do you think?

Do you have a 'one true love' carrier, or are you like me, unable to narrow it down?

*Amazon affiliate link.

Monday, May 10, 2010

About the Podaegi

About the Podaegi #babywearing

A podaegi (or podeagi, or pod for short) is a a traditional Asian carrier that is similar to a mei tai. Unlike a mei tai (pictured at right),  a podaegi only has two straps, located at the top of the carrier. It can have either a large, blanket like body, or a narrower body similar to a mei tai in size.

I was curious about podaegis, so I decided to make one and see if I liked it. First, I made one with a narrower body, using this podaegi tutorial from Sew She Sews.
I chose for simplicity's sake not to use multiple fabrics for the outside, using instead a pretty decorator fabric for the exterior of the body, and lighter fabric for the inside. I used duck cloth for the straps. After it was finished, I was excited to play around with it!

At first I had trouble getting it right... the decorator fabric seemed too stiff, and the blanket seemed too narrow. Once I got the hang of it, it worked well, though. The back carry seemed even easier than a mei tai! Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the narrow podaegi before I loaned it out, but here is one of my second try, which has a wider body. Not a really really wide one like the Jan Andrea pod (here), but definitely wider than the first. I think the narrow body design was harder to wear correctly... I am very comfortable doing a back carry with my mei tai, but it was a hassle getting the pod spread out when the body was so small. Also, the blanket part of a podaegi isn't weight bearing, so I used lighter weight fabric for the blanket the second time, which is easier to manage. The only thing I would change about my second podaegi would be the straps- I'd make them wider or pad them.  They are about 3 1/2 inches wide and after about 20 minutes of a 30 lb toddler they begin to be a little less comfortable on the shoulders.
It does a front or back carry, goes on faster than a wrap or mei tai, and can be used either for my toddler (pictured to left) or my 10 month old. It is great for discreet nursing as well because it is so wide!

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them!  This is a really fun carrier and I'm glad to have tried it... I think this one will definitely earn a favored place in my babywearing stash! :)

Some Podaegi links:
Podaegi sewalong on TBW (membership required to view, I think)
Making a Wrap-pod (combo between wrap and podaegi- the comfort of a wrap and the ease of a podaegi)
Quilted Podaegi Tutorial (narrow body size)
Wearing Instructions for Wide Podaegi (step by step, with photos!)
This podaegi blog has some great pictures and videos on podaegis
Where to Buy
The Korean Baby
Podaegi for Sale by Bella Slings on Etsy
If anyone knows of other sellers, please share!

(repost of a guest post, originally posted here)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Next Generation...

...of babywearing!  This is my 13 month old babywearing for the very first time... with some scrap fabric leftover from my favorite mei tai! :)

Oh, and no, this is NOT safe babywearing, just FYI! ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

PAXbaby Guest Post

Baby BjornI am not trying to dwell, babywearers, but I’d like to explain again why the Bjorn and similar carriers are just NOT the best choice! I know that the Bjorn is America’s most popular baby carrier, but that is truly thanks to the company’s massive advertising budget! The fact that practically every baby registry in every big box store (aka Target, Babies R Us, etc…) includes a Bjorn, Infantino, or Jeep baby carrier is a step in the right babywearing direction! But it is also negative progress since most Bjorn-wearing parents will give up babywearing after their baby hits double digits in weight. And why is that, friends? Because the “crotch dangling” baby carriers like the Snugli and the Infantino hold baby in a terribly awkward and uncomfortable position. The baby’s weight puts pressure directly onto a pivotal part of the body – the crotch! And whether a baby girl or a baby boy is being worn, this cannot be comfortable or ergonomic! Not only that, but I am convinced that the manufacturers of these crotch dangling baby carriers have actually never worn one of their own baby carriers! If the manufacturers behind the Bjorn had ever tried actually used their own Bjorn, I think that we would see a huge re-design in their line of carriers! The brains behind Baby Bjorn , Jeep, & Chicco would then experience for themselves the ill-fitting shoulder straps and the lack of back & shoulder support needed in a truly GREAT baby carrier!

My guess is that someone has pointed out to these business owners the ergonomic value of baby carriers like the BabyHawk or the Beco leading to the release of the Infantino’s own Mai Tei product, the Wrap ‘n Tie, and Bjorn’s “invention” of a Beco Gemini – esque carrier complete with a waistband, padded straps, & the quintessential Baby Bjorn front facing out capability. Here is what Bjorn has to say about their new Comfort Carrier:

BABYBJÖRN Comfort Carrier is an ergonomic baby carrier that provides the best possible support when carrying a bigger and older child for extended periods of time. The waist belt and the padded, adjustable shoulder straps distribute baby’s weight evenly onto your hips and shoulders. For extra comfort, the child can be carried using different leg positions and, as with all BABYBJÖRN Baby Carriers, you can carry your child facing inwards or outwards. BABYBJÖRN Comfort Carrier’s well-conceived design allows you to carry your child safely and close to you, and at the same time it’s hands-free.

Now, as a mom well versed in babywearing and the lingo of the babywearing world, I can see several key words that Bjorn is using to reel in babywearers previously critical of any carrier with the Bjorn label on it! ERGONOMIC, PADDED SHOULDER STRAPS, DISTRIBUTE BABY'S WEIGHT, HANDS-FREE. Baby Bjorn has obviously been doing their babywearing homework, and they have discovered what features are most important to us. However, this large manufacturer has made 1 very large error! They have priced this new ergonomic Bjorn at around $200 retail, and that is a BIG mistake! $200 could be spent on a gorgeous wrap conversion, a custom Mai Tei, or a legacy half buckle SSC that will go down in babywearing history! But $200 spent on a China-made, Beco/ Ergo wanna-be with a Baby Bjorn label and a BRUS store receipt? I don't think so, Baby Bjorn!

How can you fight back?

By promoting baby carriers that we know, trust, and deserve to carry your baby!

Wear your WAHM made baby carrier with pride!

Pass out business cards to your favorite mom-owned baby carrier shop!

Urge your mommy friends to register for a GREAT baby carrier instead of a mediocre one!

Let a new parent borrow your own baby carrier and give a quick tutorial so that they can have a GREAT experience with it!

Smile at Baby Bjorn wearing parents, and slyly say “Did you know there is a carrier even MORE comfortable than that one!?!”

And most importantly wear your baby with confidence: let the whole world know that you are a BABYWEARER!

*happy babywearing*
Written by Jillian Davidsson, the PAXbaby mama. I am a busy, home schooling, stay at home mom of 5 kids, a babywearing advocate, and a baby carrier expert! I am proud to say that I have never worn a Bjorn - other than for the photo at the top of the post! My goal is to convert all new parents into babywearing parents, 1 sling at a time!