Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby Wearing Basics

Today's morning dose of smiles!
It's no secret that I LOVE baby wearing.

Who wouldn't want to look down and see this??
Ayden at 2 weeks old <3
 I have worn Ayden while doing house work, taking walks, perusing the farmer's market and grocery store, watering plants, even teaching dance. You name it and I probably had Ayden strapped right to me while doing it (within reason, of course). If I had to list my top five favorite things to do as a mommy, baby wearing is up there. There is just something so sweet and special about it!

Multi tasking at its best!  Snuggling and teaching dance today :)
I alwasy knew I wanted to baby wear.  When I was pregnant, I didn't really know much about carriers and was pretty overwhelmed by the variety of choices out there. Now that I've been a baby-wearing mommy for 6 months, I've learned a few things that I'd love to share.
There are multiple categories of baby wearing devices that all seem to come in handy for various reasons.

My personal favorite: Wraps.  There are plenty of wraps out there. I have a Moby, Moby D and a Didymos. The Moby was perfect for when Ayden was a newborn.

1 week old (back when he actually slept.  Ha!)
He would sleep for HOURS in it. I took him to the grocery at 2 weeks old (I HAD to get out of the house) and it was perfect.

He's in there somewhere!
An added bonus was that I wasn't worried that people would try to touch him like they might if he were in a stroller. Honestly, I don't think anyone even noticed he was there...

First time back to teaching dance.  Ayden was only 3 weeks old!
As he got bigger, and heavier, I found myself reaching for the Moby D a little more.
My little buddy at 5 months old
The difference between your standard Moby wrap and the Moby D is that the latter has a panel of woven fabric in the middle. The benefit of a woven panel is that if offers more support and usually has a pretty cool design so it's a little fancier. I also came to appreciate the shorter length of my Moby D. I'd usually put a Moby on before leaving the house and would then transfer Ayden from his carseat to the wrap when we arrived at our destination; but for the occasion during which I needed to put on a wrap outside of the house, the Moby D was usually my go to choice because there would be less of it dragging in the parking lot or mall floor.

This brings me to my Didymos. It is a wrap made completely from woven material, thus it is called a "woven wrap." Woven wraps are pricey when purchased new, but offer a ton of support as far as wraps are concerned. The woven fabric is usually linen or the like so they are cooler and more breathable which is the main reason I purchased mine. I couldn't bare not wearing Ayden in the summer just because it was too hot. I purchased my Didymos used so, not only did I get a great deal, but it was already broken in. Supposedly woven wraps need some love before they are soft and cozy. I am the proud third owner of mine so it is super sonic soft :). Due to the added support that a woven wrap offers,  my beloved Didymos should last us through toddler-hood.

5 1/2 months old!
All of the wraps above have various hold options so it can grow with your baby. One big difference between the Moby and woven wraps to note is that you put a Moby on before putting the baby in. With a woven wrap, you tie it while the baby is already in position. I think this would have intimidated me at first so I'm glad I had Moby experience prior to exploring the world of woven.
There are many other wrap brands out there that come in all different lengths and materials. If you are interested in the wrap route (which I highly recommend) just do a little research to see which would best suite your needs.

Next up, we have soft structured carriers.

Cooking with Daddy at 1 month old
For us, this option comes in handy when David wants to do some baby wearing and I'll use it if I think Ayden will want/need to be in and out a lot. It is also a great option for hotter occasions. Our choice in this department was the Ergo.
Grocery shopping with Daddy at 5 1/2 months.
When Ayden was a newborn, we used the infant insert; but when he outgrew that, we had to shelve the Ergo until recently because, though he was too crowded in it with the insert, he was still too small to go without.  We have enjoyed putting it back into our rotation!  A word to the wise in this category.  You want to be midful of "crotch hanger" carriers.  The very popular Bjorn and  Evenflo are a couple examples of this. 
source
They do not support your baby properly and have been known to cause hip problems down the road.  If you have one, and use it sparingly, it should be fine; but if you plan on full out baby wearing, choose a carrier that offers good support and fosters proper hip development.  You also need to be mindful of this kind of proper placement in wraps and slings as well, making sure that the fabric is pulled across their backs and all the way out to their knees. A couple of good soft structured options, in addition to the Ergo, are the Mei Tai and the Boba.

Another option in our arsinal for baby wearing is a sling.  Mine is a Seven brand pocket sling. 

Cradle hold - 3 months old!
There is some controversary over slings as there have been stories of suffocation.  The important thing to remember is  to keep your baby's airway open.  In other words, their chin should not rest on their chest.  Keeping your baby's head up high enough so you can kiss it will usually solve this problem.  I usually stuck to wraps when Ayden was very small but now I use it for the hip hold all the time.  I think he really enjoys being able to see in front of and behind us so easily because he is totally into seeing the world these days!
Hip carry at 5 1/2 months old!
Napping at Target - 5 1/2 months!
I have a ring sling that I haven't attempted to use yet.  It was a home made gift and is made of slippery fabric so I'm not so sure about the safety there...  I've heard they can be pretty awesome too, though!  The Maya Wrap is pretty high up there in popularity for ring slings.  If I were to purchase one for myself, that's the brand I would go with but, of course, I'd hunt down a gently used one to save some money because they are pretty pricey as well. 
Lastly, we have a framed back pack.  These are usually used for hiking and the like. I picked ours up at a consignment event without doing any prior research. 

"Really, Mom?  No research??"
This is very unlike me but I did pull it up on Amazon on my iPhone and it got pretty good reviews so I went for it.  We haven't hiked with it yet but I have a feeling it will only be sufficient for short treks.  For longer hikes, you want to make sure you have adequate weight distribution.  Kelty makes a great hiking framed carrier but again, very pricey.  Lucky for me, my sister has one that we can borrow and test out before taking the plunge for our own if we come to need it.  But for now, this one will do just fine :).

I know, I know, we have a lot of baby wearing options... While I was pregnant, I read Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears and in it he suggested putting more money toward wearing your baby rather than in ways to put it down.  I supposed I took him pretty seriously...We still ended up with bouncy seats, a swing, an exersaucer, a door jumper, pack and play, etc. (somehow the baby gear took over despite my efforts to stay minimalistic in this department...), but I would have never traded my carriers for any of that "stuff" even if I had to. The only carrier that we purchased new ourselves at full price was the Ergo.  I purchased the Seven sling from the website and had a promotional code that made it so I only had to pay shipping.  The Moby wrap was a gift at one of our baby showers.  I purchased the Didymos used from someone on the internet and got our Moby D and framed backpack used at a consignment even.  This was my way around having a variety of baby wearing options without spending a small fortune.  And they all still hold re-sale value so in the end we will have spent even less once we sell them and get some money back. That is... if I can ever part with them!

No matter the carrier you choose, you want to remember 4 things. 

1) You want the baby to be positioned high enough so you can kiss his/her head
2) You want his/her knees to be level with, or higher, than his/her bottom. 
3) Make sure airways are always open.  Check on this often as babies can slip over time.
4)Limit time spent forward facing or in "crotch danglers" (read more about this here)

This webiste has a good article on do's and don'ts for proper positioning and even includes pictures to illustrate examples for each.  This blog post has some good information as well.

This post doesn't even cover any of the benefits or reasons for baby wearing in the first place.  We'll save that for a another day.  I just wanted to spread the word about how wonderful it is, what kinds of options are out there, and the safety precautions that need to be exercised.
On that note, I'd like to conclude by saying that I cannot even begin to describe the warm fuzzy feelings that course through every cell in my body while I am wearing my child.  There is something so close, warm, happy and wonderful that happens and I wouldn't ever trade my experience with it thus far for anything in the world.  It may not be for all, but I sure do encourage everyone to give it a try. 
Happy baby wearing everyone!
~Sarah

8 comments:

  1. I just recieved my Seven brand sling a couple of weeks ago, and my Jaelyn (6 months) loves it. There was a coupon code in Family Fun Magazine, so I only paid shipping "awesome deal". Thanks for the great review.

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  2. I recently bought an Ergo and asked my husband what he thought. He said "It's another carrier" Men. We only have two other carriers, a Moby which is way too hot for July and an Infantino one which my son HATES. He's still slightly too small for the Ergo (12 lbs) so I put a little pillow under him (from a play mat we have) and it's perfect. The best part, I was at a store and the clerk was ringing me up and my son started to get fussy. The clerk says "Is he hungry?" I say "yep" lift the hood up, loosen the strap slightly, open my shirt and pop him on. The clerk was amazed that it took me less than a minute to get him feeding and she didn't see anything.

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  3. I was wondering if I could pin this on Pinterest for my future children? I am wanting to babywear and this is such great information that I dont want to forget it. Thanks so much

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  4. Which would you recommend to give as a gift?My sister has a 3 week old and i was think about getting her one but i'm kind of lost. Thanks

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  5. What I noticed is that the trend for Personalised baby gifts is to make it personalized. Gone are the days when people give "generic" gifts. Now, you'll see much more effort in having it customized even if it means going the extra mile.

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  6. Giving your little ones, warmth of your heart. These gears are awesome. \m/

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