Archive for the ‘Babywearing’ Category

Baby Wearing Saved My Life

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

 

img_0547When my daughter was born, I purchased a Moby wrap. My family drove 12 hours to meet Johanna, and I had a huge breakdown. The Youtube videos didn’t help, and I was so far from anyone who could help. I just wanted to wear Johanna and go for a walk. When she turned 4 months old, I purchased a Boba soft structured carrier. Johanna lived in this carrier. We went to a Fort Wayne Komets hockey game and she slept through most of it. I was able to go grocery shopping without having an anxiety attack. Baby wearing saved my life, well my life as a mom.

Johanna loved the carrier, and then when I became pregnant with her little brother when she was 15 months old, we stopped. Although, over the past couple years, she has asked to be worn and I’ve gladly obliged.

When Levi was born, I wasn’t sure how to handle 2 little ones who still needing me so much. Johanna had just turned 2 and she still wanted to be held, all of the time. Levi hated his car seat and cried most of the time during those first couple months. Once again, babywearing saved my life.

I purchased a Tula with an infant insert, and Levi quickly grew to love being worn. I wore him at the park while I pushed the stroller with Johanna. The Tula was comfortable and the insert made it easy to wear him, even though he was a tiny little guy. We grocery shopped in the Tula. I wore him to bible study each week in the Tula and he quickly fell asleep after nursing. I had my hands free to chase my wiggly toddler and Levi was content the majority of the time.

img_1760At home, I used a Boba wrap with Levi. This wrap was soft, beautiful, and comfortable for us both. While Johanna napped, I would put Levi in the wrap and clean. On days when he fought sleep, which was often, he would nap in the wrap and I would get things done like cleaning or cooking. Baby wearing gave me back a clean house and home cooked meal.

On-the-go, baby wearing also saved me. We went on family trip to Cleveland when Levi was small. I was able to wear him on my back at the zoo and he could still see all of the animals from a safe distance. We have been to numerous St. Louis Cardinals games, and I have always worn my babies. Strollers are hard to maneuver in large crowds and heavy.

Now as I prepare for baby 3, I wonder how baby wearing will come to my rescue again. Johanna is 4 now and Levi just turned 2. I’m hoping he’s a fan of walking and holding my hand so I can wear my new little squish. I’ve already eyed a Lenny Lamb carrier that this baby needs next spring when he or she is a little older.  I look forward to getting out my Tula and Boba wrap and making new memories in them with this precious baby. How about you? Have you tried baby wearing? As a mom of multiple littles, I will say it can be a lifesaver. The hardest part? Choosing a carrier and convincing your husband you need it.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two–almost three–in Arkansas where she can’t wait to babywear again!

Moving When You Have a Baby

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

img_1851When you have a baby, moving is a whole new ball game. Without kids you pack as you can, listen to your music, take coffee breaks, and then enlist strong helpers to help you get the job done. You can then unpack everything and do things on your schedule and your terms.

When you have a baby, you find yourself packing frantically during naptimes, listening to lullabies, chugging coffee hoping to stay awake, and then waiting for someone to offer to help. Unpacking is a slow process that could take days or even weeks.

For my family, moving has been a part of our lives. My husband was in the Navy and we packed up and moved with a 1-month-old. We drove 12 hours away and moved to a strange place where we knew no one and he started his civilian career while I started my motherhood journey. My daughter Johanna just turned 4, and in her short life, she has lived in 6 houses and 3 states. Fortunately, my husband’s work has always helped with packing. Unpacking on the other hand has always been a struggle. Throw her 2-year-old brother in and we have chaos. Add my current third trimester pregnant self, and well, let’s just say we have a lot of disorganization currently.

However, mommas, there is hope. You can move with a baby successfully and live to tell the story. Here are some tips I have learned over the years.

Babywear

This seems like an easy suggestion, but I promise this will save you. When Levi was a few months old, we moved to a new house. Here I had a cranky little guy who just wanted to sleep and nurse. I wore him in my Tula and was able to pack boxes, do plenty of squats, and unpack when needed. He got his naps and nursed. I also used my Boba wrap when I wanted to be hands-free without the infant insert. I used this wrap to help me get any cleaning done in our new location and Levi was a happy camper.

Take the Help

I have been fortunate to have a super helpful support system each time we have moved. I have one good friend, Christina, who came over and entertained my then 2-year-old as we prepared to move. Buy your friend some coffee or chocolate. Don’t be afraid to get the help. If you can’t seem to focus, enlist a babysitter or trusted family member to take the little one for the day. Your baby won’t mind and you will be productive. Use professional movers if you have the funds and can. Do what’s best for your family.

Slow Down

This is hard for me, but just remember it will get all done. It’s okay if things don’t get in place right away. You are a mom. You have a little one to meet the needs of and that’s okay. For me, I had to set goals. Maybe focus on one room every couple days or maybe just focus on one box a day. It will get done and eventually you will be settled. Deep breaths. Don’t forget for self-care, too. Take breaks. Go get a treat. Sleep when you can. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

So mom, if you find yourself moving with a little one, just remember you can do it! I currently have a disorganized house and boxes to unpack. But, I think chocolate and Netflix with my little ones will win today.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2 in Northeast Arkansas where she just moved.

What Makes a Velcro Baby?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

velcro babyAhhhh. The Velcro baby. You know the one. The baby that ALWAYS seems to be attached to you. They want to be constantly nursed. Or held. Or sit in your lap. Or hold your hand. Or follow you all around the house, and if you walk away for a nanosecond, it’s a crisis. That placenta cord may have been cut long ago, but this tiny human doesn’t seem to know it. You may start to think what is going on? Why is my little one so needy? So clingy? So difficult? What am I doing wrong?!? This attachment parenting stuff is supposed to be fostering independence…but*gulp* am I actually creating an “unhealthy” attachment?

I’m going be blunt here. Parenting a Velcro baby is exhausting. It can drain you both physically and emotionally. Their need for you feels deep and overwhelming. And your body can feel worn out from constantly supporting the weight of another person. Even when you are using kicka@@ ergonomically correct carrier, your body is impacted by carrying a tiny human around all day. Plus a Velcro baby can be frustrating. It can make a simple task take 18 times as long. Basically it feels consuming. It’s like the line between your own body and theirs is so blurred you start to forget what it even feels like to be yourself.

So what causes a Velcro baby? One huge and often overlooked/underestimated factor is merely human development. When a baby is going through a big developmental leap, this seems to increase their need for comfort. Change within can feel confusing, disorganizing, and out of control. So in order to cope, they cling to what is familiar and comfortable…and in many cases that is a parent/caregiver. Considering that development is vast and rapid during the first years of life, it’s as though they are continuously on the brink of a new developmental skill. Rolling. Sitting. Crawling. Walking. And that’s only the physical changes. They are learning and growing socially, cognitively, and emotionally too. Their little bodies and brains are working crazy hard to make all this happen!

Ahhh. Whew! So it’s not something you are doing “wrong” as a parent. It’s simply a natural part of human development. Little ones grow and they need us to help them navigate through that change. How that dynamic looks for each individual parent child is truly unique. But it can be helpful to know basic developmental milestones, sometimes referred to as “wonder weeks.” Knowledge is empowering. We feel better prepared to handle these changes and perhaps more relaxed about them. Additionally we are more accepting of the challenges and demands that accompany them. Furthermore knowing ourselves is helpful. How do we replenish and renew ourselves so we can optimally nurture our little ones?

Good self-care is essential when parenting a Velcro baby. And yes, I know the hardship there. We can barely meet basic needs like going to the bathroom or eating a nourishing meal when baby is clinging to us. But call in your reinforcements. Whatever they may be. The demands of a Velcro baby are legit and can quickly burn us out if we don’t also carve out the space to meet our own needs in the process.

My Pregnancy: Week 17

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

We were first pregnant in the spring of 2011. Just the other evening hubby and I were noticing a few things that have changed in such a short period of time. These musings are not so much an all-encompassing list of trends so much as a reminder to you, mama—the parenting world is always coming up with some new gadget, technology, or trend. Whether you buy into the newest thing or pass it by, know your awesomeness is timeless.

Baby GearScreen Shot 2015-11-22 at 4.05.38 PM

Baby gear is getting cooler; it is also becoming more fantastical. There are pack ‘n plays that open with the touch of a single button. I find this entirely unnecessary, but I am impressed by the cool new swings that now swivel and move in a circular motion, among other things. The baby rocker has been all the rage lately, many touting the Rock ‘n Play to be the sleep solution for those babes particularly eager to fight his or her zzzz’s. We’ll probably keep our old-style swing that goes just one way (and turns into a vibrating-optional bouncer!), but I may or may not have spent an hour looking at the reviews and picking out which model I prefer in the new rocker.

The mini-crib and bassinet have gotten a few updates, making some models more co-sleeping friendly than just a few years ago. For example, swivel sleeper designs are getting a big push in mommy circles. As I’ve had two C-sections and will soon have another, this design is enticing but we’re opting to save our pennies (a lot of them) by using what we already have. I could justify buying into a few of these new updates but turns out timeless classics, like the old-school swing, are timeless for a reason.

My Pregnancy Week 17Gender Reveal Parties

I’m going to go out on a limb and just say I don’t quite get the practice of “gender reveals,” or more accurately, sex reveal announcements and parties. I think my observation here is how trendy having a baby has become. In random daydreams I wonder if the baby industry saw how lucrative the wedding industry was and found a way to amplify everything. Then social media magnified things even more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to hear someone else’s exciting news, but I also think this intensified anticipation about baby-ness contributes to the intensity of being pregnant.

After we found out the sex of each child, we called our parents and then texted or emailed our siblings and a few friends. That is way less stressful and low-key to me than a party, a photo shoot, or being surprised in front of a lot of people.  This may mostly reflect my style. I’m more introverted and subtle when it comes to my personal life (not so much when it comes to, for example, social justice issues). Whether the doctor tells me or I cut a cake, whether it’s at 14, 20, or 40 weeks—in all of the scenarios it’s an exciting, surprising moment.

We all have different ways of communicating things, and I appreciate that others enjoy the creativity and planning involved in sex reveal announcements.  Some have waited so long to be expecting that everything is worth celebrating! Continue on! It is, though, one example of how babies have become a trendy, share-worthy business lately.

Babywearing

Other eco-friendly, attachment parenting, what-have-you “trends,” like cloth diapering, might also fit into this category. I remember I was the first with a Moby, Baby Bjorn still only had the original, slim-seated model, and many of the popular brands—like Boba, Beco, and Ergo—had only their most basic styles. Tula was just a city in Russia. Baby wearing and other such things are more mainstream, seen much more often (though this may not be the case everywhere).  This last trend is one I’m definitely on board with!

Annie is a mom of a two- and three-year-old who finally is enjoying the full spectrum of food again. Hurrah and huzzah!

Caring for Your Tula

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Caring for Your TulaPicking a baby carrier can be a hard decision. For me, I have discovered that I am a bit finicky with my choices. I’ve had 2 kinds of wraps, a mei tai, and two soft-structured carriers through my 2 small children. When I think about having more babies, I think about getting a new carrier. So far, however, my favorite carrier has been my Tula.

Tula carriers come in Standard and Toddler sizes. I purchased a Standard in a blue chevron print, and I have loved it. I also have the infant insert to use before baby hits the 15 lb. range, and I used it all of the time when my little Levi was well, little.

Key Features

  • 15-45 lbs. weight capacity.
  • Front and back carry positioning.
  • Pocket for mom on the hip belt.
  • Hood to pull down over a sleeping baby.
  • Comfortable, doesn’t hurt your back, and amazingly easy to use!
  • So many adorable prints!

Mom’s Milk Boutique has even had their very own Tulas: Splash and Every Animal Has a Heart. There are so many cute designs to choose from. I have been eyeing a toddler Tula in “Carousel.”

When my son isn’t in my Tula, I keep it folded up in my car so it is always ready to use. I don’t put other items on top of it and I make sure to keep it free from dangling dirty feet in car seats. If I am going to be going to the store or somewhere where I need it handy, I often wear it and just buckle the top neck buckle.

As with most carriers, a Tula can be washed in your washing machine. I have never done this with mine, and if I do, it will be on a delicate, gentle cycle in cold water. Tula carriers cost around $150, so it is an investment you want to protect. It is nice to know this is an option, however, because babies are messy.

For me, the easiest way to care for my Tula is to simply spot clean. I have used a mild dish soap on the shoulder straps where babies have spit up on it. I would also recommend using a microfiber cloth to simply wipe it down after a sweaty baby has been worn for a long period of time.

Here are some good tips for caring for your Tula:

  • Buckle the buckles before washing.
  • Wash in cold water.
  • Use a gentle wash cycle on your washer.
  • Let it air dry or dry on very low.
  • Use detergent free of optical brighteners, such as a free and clear detergent.

Baby carriers are an investment, and my Tula is just that. I want to do what I can to make it last.

Karyn Meyerhoff lives, writes, and wears her babies in Northeast Indiana.