Babywearing During the Holidays

Babywearing is useful during all seasons, but there are many added perks to wearing during the chaos that is the holiday season.

1) Travel: Airports during the holiday season tend to be even more busy and stressful than normal. The convenience of being able to put your infant in an SSC or reign in a running toddler in a quick ring sling can’t be overstated. Babywearing frees up your hands to carry your bags, produce the requested documents, and take off your shoes and belt through security. You can wear your baby through airport security, though additional screening is sometimes requested.

2) Don’t want to play “pass the baby” with your infant? Put them in a front wrap cross carry and all eyes, but not hands, will be on baby.

3) Want to dig into your mashed potatoes but baby wants to be held? A hip carry in a ring sling or wrap can free up your hands to eat that delicious food. Just use caution when around extremely hot food or drinks, grabby hands can move fast!

4) Toddler over stimulated by all of the lights, sounds, or activity? Babywearing can provide comfort and a place to hide out from all of the chaos around them. Snuggling next to a caregiver allows them to take a break for a few minutes and calm down a bit which can help avoid a major meltdown!

5) If you are a breastfeeding mama, Babywearing can provide a more discrete way to nurse in situations that aren’t always comfortable. I practiced in front of a mirror several times to see how much you could actually see (not much!), and that gave me the confidence to try in front of others. Formula feeding mamas can also use Babywearing as a tool to get a busy baby to calm down long enough to take a bottle!

6) Babies are busy and new places are stimulating; wrap naps can be so helpful in avoiding an overtired baby or toddler who won’t sleep in an unfamiliar place.

7) Babywearing is also helpful for that last minute shopping we all end up doing! There is nothing more stressful than pushing a stroller through crowded stores and trying to keep baby happy long enough to make purchases. Babywearing frees up space and keeps baby close enough to avoid some of the overstimulation that comes with holiday shopping.

Whatever holiday you observe, this is a busy time for all of us. Utilizing Babywearing can help make this chaotic time just a bit more enjoyable and allow you a few moments with your child amidst all of the hustle and bustle around us. From our family at BWI Chicagoland to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year! Happy Babywearing!

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MEMBER STORIES

Today we want to feature a few friends who have written blog posts about their babywearing journey.

To make it easy on us, we’re going to provide a few links from friends who’ve already posted their stories online.  🙂

We hope you read, enjoy, and comment!

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Mandi’s Story

Mandi, one of our members, wanted to share this great story and a TON of wonderful pictures with you all:

Read here story HERE.

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Susan’s Story

Susan, another member, wanted to share this guest blog post she did.  Susan also works at New Mother New Baby, a local brick and mortar store that provides baby products, mama products, lactation services and classes.

Read her story HERE.

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Katrina’s Story

One of our members, Katrina, wanted to share this story directly with you.

Baby wearing has always been very important to me, however it took on a whole new role when my son ( who makes babe 4) was born. 
Coming early into this world after a fight to keep him cooking longer. Weighing in at 4 lb 9 oz and 17 in long this tiny peanut would change everything.  Wearing him in a wrap and snug to my chest almost 24/7 made the world of difference for him.  It helped with his body temp and regulating his heart rate.  Not to mention just the closeness feeling so good and comforting to him.  As a very frequent eater I could nurse him very easy and he stayed snug and warm wrapped to me.
 
Just as things were looking up he got very sick at 2 months and landed up at Lutheran General. With all the monitors, wearing him was not an option but I was able to fold a blanket up and “wear” him in the chair.  This is also how we slept for the next week.  The nurses that it was just wonderful that I fashioned a baby wrap so to speak and was able to hold him skin to skin non stop. 
 
It was truly amazing to see the difference in his stats when he was snug to me or being place in the hospital bed.  I sadly encountered some not so cool nurses that thought it was best he stayed in his bed. I would watch all the monitors start to go off. He would struggle to breath and fight so hard. Soon they learned I knew what he needed and that was tight to me.
Unfortunately we were back and forth 2 more times. I continued to repeat the “wrap” so to speak with a blanket and keep all his leads and wires were they needed to be but him where he needed to be the most.
 
Now at 8 months he is much better though we continue with some things.  The bond of wearing him then and now is immeasurably.  At times that is the only way I get things done.  I would not have done things any differently.
Thank you for taking the time to read Kaenon’s story.
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Heather’s Story

Yea, so I know it’s my story, and I’ve posted it in parts before.  But today I want to link a post that is near and dear to my heart.    
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I find myself reflecting on our soon-to-be-over babywearing days and I really love this post.  And we have a lot of new members who probably don’t know much about our family either.  So I’m sharing, again. 😉
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HERE is how our journey began.  If you want to know how it ends, you’ll just have to stay tuned a little longer… The young child who was 2 in this story has somehow turned 4, and still begs to be on our backs from time to time.
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Do you have a story you’d like to add today?  Please forward a link or story to bwichicagoland@gmail.com and we’ll add you on to this post!

And don’t forget, BWI Chicagoland facebook and meeting folks- the post below is the Ergo giveaway post!  Please comment and join in for your chance to win an Ergo for yourself (or a friend in need)!

Finding the Buckle Love

(Sibling Babywearing)

Soft Structured Carriers

We get a lot of questions in our group about different types of carriers, and today I wanted to talk a little about Soft Structured Carriers (also known as SSC’s or buckle carriers). I think one of the greatest benefits for babywearing families is that SSC’s are really daddy friendly. We find they appeal to a lot of the guys who come to our meetings. I tried to get my husband to use a wrap for quite a while… and then I realized, no way, that just WASN’T going to happen. But he thought the SSC, that looked similar to his hiking backpack, was worth a try. The first time I got him into the Ergo Sport, he was hooked. I don’t think he ever looked back to the “other” carrier he had used before then.

(Daddy Babywearing- not my hubs 😉













Very often, a caregiver tries on one good quality, wide based carrier (one well known brand to think of is an Ergo), likes it, buys it, and finds it suits their needs from birth through toddlerhood. But what happens if another caregiver in the house tries on the same carrier and just can’t get a good fit? What can they do then? Why would that happen?


Like a Pair of Jeans

Thinking of buckle carriers and how they fit always makes me think of jeans. Not all jeans are created equal- especially post baby. Some may fit, but just feel “eeh”. Some may feel ok, but are a little tight or loose somewhere important (like the waist or tush), or too short or long. They may do the job ok, but you wouldn’t lose sleep if they suddenly got stained, ripped, or painted on by the kids.

SSC’s can be the same way. For someone average height, average weight adult, with no health problems, and possibly an average bosom, the first SSC they find may fit comfortably- and they don’t need to look any further. For some folks though, it’s not love at first wear. It can be more an adventure into trial and error to find your “perfect fit”.

Luckily, there are a lot of really great, easily accessible, safe brands out there that you can try until you find one you love. You can always borrow or trade among your friends (and online friends) so it’s not necessary to buy 10 SSC’s to find one you love!

If you talk to 10 different babywearers, you’ll likely get at least 5 different answers on which is “the best”. Avid babywearers sometimes have strong opinions on the matter. I have been known to fall into this category myself on occasion. 🙂



















Differences You’ll Find

There are many great safe brands of SSC’s on the market, and you’ll find a lot of differences in:

  • Waist padding- how thick, how wide, different materials inside
  • Waist shape- straight or curved, 1 part, 3 part that can fold down when not in use
  • Waist size- some brands cinch down smaller for more petite parents, some brands expand for more fluffy parents
  • Shoulder padding and shape- some have thicker, denser padding for the wearer, some with memory foam inside, Some have more straight padded straps,while some are more contoured or curved
  • Shoulder strap length- a few brands have shorter or longer straps than the most common “average” length, and some brands make specially sized “petite” or “plus” straps
  • Hood features- detachable with velcro or snaps, or constantly hanging in view, or attached and hidden when not in use
  • How the hood attaches to the carrier when in use- with a toggle, snaps, velcro, carabiner, etc.
  • Single or dual adjust straps- meaning can you pull to tighten from either direction or one direction only
  • Body shape- Some have seat darts or multi part shapes, some are more square or rectangular shaped, while some are wider at top and base, and narrower in the middle
  • Padding- some have padding near the knees, some don’t
  • Adjustability for littler babies- a few brands out there can be “cinched down” to better accommodate smaller babies with their legs out in a seated squat position
  • Infant inserts- some brands have attached, detachable, or separate infant inserts that can help the wearer get a comfortable, safe fit with their infant. As the babies get bigger, the infant inserts are typically removed or just not used anymore
  • Size of the carrier body- A few brands have multiple sizes of the carrier body to wear larger children more comfortably… if the caregiver wants to try that.


Disclaimers and Resources

Now, I need to make a quick disclaimer here. It is by no means necessary to have 5 carriers, or 5 types of carriers. Do I personally have more than 5 carriers…. um, yes, guilty here. That is because I love babywearing and have prioritized it above shoes, purses, and other accessories that others may enjoy.  It’s really easy to have one or two carriers for your family, and they can meet your needs from birth through the end of your babywearing days.  And if you are on a tight budget, there are some great DIY carriers that you can  make if you are craftier than I am. 🙂  

If you’re still looking for your “perfect fit” SSC, I encourage you to find a local babywearing group, or online support. One great resource is Babywearing International (but of course!!). Another is a popular website/forum called TheBabyWearer.  

Babywearing International: http://www.babywearinginternational.org/

TheBabyWearer:  http://www.thebabywearer.com/

Both of these sites have great resources that can help you find the buckle love. Good luck!!

Mundelein’s February Meeting

Mundelein’s morning meeting was alot of fun!  We had alot of new moms with us as well as older members of our group. 

Two of our members: Alisa on the left wearing her son Dominic in a Natibaby Fairytales. And Cassia on the right wearing her daughter Vida in a Natibaby Organic Ecru

We went over the various types of carriers that are used. There are 5 main types of carriers mei tais, ring slings, wraps, pouches and SSCs (soft structured carrier). Within all of these categories are many different brands and types.

Ring Slings: a piece of fabric with rings sewn on one end. Primarily worn on front or side/hip. Can be used for a nursing cover or blanket. Can be worn from newborn on up through toddlerhood.
Popular brands: Sakura Bloom, Maya Wrap, Sleeping Baby Production

Pouch: a sized tube of fabric. Primarily worn on front or side/hip. Daddy friendly, no fuss, quick and easy, small for diaper bag. These need to be sized, so most likely will need two different ones to fit mom and dad.
Popular brands: Hotsling, Peanut Shell

Mei Tai: rectangular body with two pairs of straps to tie; one for the waist and another over the shoulders
can be worn front, back or side/hip.
Popular brands: Catbird Baby, Kozy, Babyhawk, Freehand

Soft Structured Carrier (SSC): like a mei tai but with buckle style straps. Can be worn front, back and side/hip. Low learning curve
daddy friendly, no fuss, quick and easy
Popular brands: Ergo, Pikkolo, Action Baby Carrier, Beco, Olives & Applesauce

Wraps: a simple piece of cloth that wraps around the wearer to hold the baby. Worn in several carries in front, back and hip. This type has the highest learning curve but is the most versatile.
There are 2 types of wraps; stretchy(4 way stretch) and woven(diagonal give, most supportive)
Popular stretchy brands: Sleepywrap, Anaju and the Moby
Popular woven brands: Didymos, Natibaby, Ellevill, Storchenwiege

 Another very useful website is www.thebabywearer.com. It  can be like information overload at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to navigate.