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!

Advertisements

A World of Possibilities

A world of possibilities.  Hmm.  When I first saw the theme for this year’s International Babywearing Week (IBW), I’ll be honest, I really had no idea what that was supposed to mean.  After I thought about it a little more, I think that it’s supposed to be interpreted individually.  If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will tell me.  🙂

The world of possibilities babywearing has opened for me may be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than the world of possibilities it has opened for my friends, my neighbors, and those I’ve never met before.  So I guess I can only share what it means to me.  So here goes…

It means more opportunity. Opportunity to learn, interact, or visit with others while my little one slumbered on my chest.  It meant going to weddings and feeling calm while my family with little kids were running around chasing the children like crazy people.  Ok, well aren’t all families crazy anyway?  So maybe that one’s a bit of a stretch…

It means bonding. My husband could bond with our boys through wearing them.  Whether it was the Baby Bjorn early on or the ergo sport later, he has been able to also care for them the way they’re accustomed to being comforted with me during the weekday.

It means protection.  People seem less likely to want to put their dirty hands all over your newborn when they’re wrapped up tightly to your body.  Little kids reach for feet, not baby faces.  And it means comforting them when they’re sick (and fall asleep on your back in a wrap… and let you get them in bed still asleep!!).

It means freedom.  It means vacation.  Hiking and camping in tents.  Exposing our kids to nature. In bear country in the Rocky Mountains.  And the Smoky Mountains.  Even though we call Illinois our home.  It means we can take the train downtown and not HAVE to lug a stroller around.  Don’t get me wrong, I have strollers.  I’ve been thankful to occasionally use the jogging stroller to exercise- though it’s not a very pretty or fast sight.  I’ve been thankful for their storage when Christmas shopping.  It just means I have an OPTION.

It means I could be a more “lazy” mom.  Babies who are worn cry significantly less than babies who aren’t worn in those early days, and also beyond.  Babies cry for all sorts of reasons.  Sickness, overstimulation, health problems, missing naps, the reasons can be endless.  I’m all for making my life easier.  And opportunity to feel less stressed?  I’ll take it!

And as my child gets older, ahem, I’ve also been known to use it to calm my kids down.  I’ve been overheard on numerous occasions saying “that’s it, if you can’t XYZ you WILL go uppie until you can calm down”.  XYZ means anything in my world from running into traffic to hitting his older brother to touching every.possible.thing.breakable in a store.  Sometimes I’m surprised by the hands up in the air wanting to jump up for a break.  Sometimes I’m quickly tossing him on my back.  I then feel him sink against me and settle quickly, contently.  Sometimes it’s instead it’s after a momentary yet futile resistance. 🙂  A few minutes in that safe place can calm the overtired, overstimulated toddler or preschooler just as easily as it does a baby.  Photo  of his favorite beloved Kinderpack courtesy of Kristy Garceau Photography:  www.kristygarceauphotography.com

And being part of this BWI organization means I can help other caregivers.  It’s really a “caregiver to caregiver” organization.  It doesn’t mean I have to know EVERYTHING about babywearing or  know EVERY single fabric, length, or fiber of carriers out there (and believe me I don’t).  It also means I can defer to others who have more experience or knowledge of other specific carriers or carries.

It means I can take what I’ve learned from other caregivers, and share that knowledge with other caregivers.  This can be a foster mom who just wants ONE carrier to help juggle her day, a nanny who’s passionate about caring for her littles and wants a few options, or even a dear friend who wants 20 to play with them all.

The important question is:  WHAT WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES HAS BABYWEARING OPENED FOR YOU?

We’d love to hear your stories!  And don’t forget to send me your photos for the contest by Sunday evening to hlmagrow@gmail.com.  Sunday evening we’ll also be letting you know what special raffles and giveaways we will have over next week.  Stay tuned for some items that could be coming your way!

 

ADDING INFORMATION…PLEASE NOTE:  THE PHOTO CONTEST, SPONSOR, RAFFLE, AND GIVEAWAY INFORMATION WILL WILL BE POSTED MONDAY OR EARLY TUESDAY. 🙂  SORRY FOR THE DELAY!

Babywearing while traveling

My toddler just took his ninth flight on an airplane, which means ultimately, that I’ve been on nine flights with him.
And babywearing has been fabulous during traveling. As a little baby, I wore him in a mei tai through the airport. As a toddler, I wore him in a different mei tai, one with padding, through the airport. Each time it has worked fabulously. When he was a baby and slept most of the time we were in transit, I didn’t need a stroller. Now that he’s a toddler, I take a little umbrella stroller to help carry the carry-on luggage or him if he gets too heavy to wear. But I would not trade my carrier for a stroller ever if I were forced to choose. Because I’ve used all-cloth carriers, I do not have take my son out of the carrier when going through security. Wearing him through security frees my hands to take care of unloading everything under the sun onto the security belt. And while I’m wearing my toddler, he cannot escape or be stolen, which helps me to focus on the security process of separting liquids and electronics from our other stuff while also taking off our shoes, collapsing the stroller and removing anything that could be metal from our bodies.
I also love wearing my son onto the airplane because of the tight aisles we must squeeze through. With him on my back, instead of being carried on my hip, we make it much through more comfortably.
And did I mention the calming effect babywearing has even on a toddler. He is much less likely to put up a fuss or get cranky while being worn than while not being worn.
My personal favorites:
Tiny babies — a pouch (like a Hotsling or Slingling)
Heavier babies and toddlers — a padded mei tai like a Bamberoo or Kindercarry.

What I would avoid:
Any carrier with metal or buckles, because you will have to remove it while going through security.
Wraps because I, personally, like having an easy, quick, in-and-out carrier for the just in case times — especially, now that my son is potty learning.

Happy travels.