Archive for the ‘Babywearing’ Category

Caring For Your Beco

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 9.50.40 PMAdmit it. You got tired of having the baby pull your hair and handed him a snack. Those berries (drink, food pouch, crackers, distraction of your choice) seemed like a great idea at the time. You keep your hair, baby is happy, everybody wins! But then, baby comes down and you see it. Your beautiful carrier looks like it visited a cafeteria during a food fight. What to do?!

As with most carriers, you generally want to spot clean an SSC (Soft Structured Carrier) like a Beco. Use a mild detergent, cool water, and rub gently to clean any small stains that may arise. Hang or lay flat to dry and you’re good to go.

But what do you do when it’s more than just a bit of smushed food? What do you do when, say, baby has a blowout of all blowouts while riding inside her carrier, or when she soaks that diaper that you knew you should have changed, or when it slips to the floorboards of the car and becomes a target for muddy feet? Then, my friends, it’s time to actually wash your Beco.

Per Beco’s website, their advice is to “Wash on DELICATE/WARM cycle with a mild detergent. Hang dry in well ventilated area or tumble dry on low and remove when seams are still damp. Spot clean when needed. Do not wash frequently.”

So, should you need to toss your Beco in the wash, here’s what I recommend. Depending on the model of your Beco, remove any detachable hoods or pockets, unless they also need to be washed. Connect both the chest strap buckles and the hip belt, so that the buckles and straps are less likely to get caught during washing (especially if you have a standard top loader with agitator). For extra protection, toss your carrier into a pillow case and tie up the top before washing. No loose straps! Then add your carrier to your machine with a mild detergent, set to your most delicate cycle, and choose a warm water temperature. Close the lid, start the cycle, go find out what your kid has gotten into while you’ve been in the laundry room.

Once washed, I prefer to hang to dry. By keeping the chest clip buckled you can easily hang the carrier over a sturdy coat hanger. You can also lay the carrier flat to dry, but if you’re not using a drying rack of some sort, be sure to place it on a towel and flip it every so often so that it dries evenly. If you really need a quicker option, you can tumble dry your Beco on low or the air dry cycle. I recommend the pillow case again for this, to protect the buckles.

Then you go. You should have your Beco back to shiny condition, ready and waiting for that next stain to come its way. Cupcakes, anyone?

Kate Cunha is mom to a tall 3 year old that still needs to go up on occasion. Her toddler Beco is one of her favorite choices.

Back Carry Basics

Monday, August 31st, 2015

IMAG0620So you’ve been wearing your baby for a while now, are very comfortable with front carries and feel that you’re ready to move baby onto your back. Where do you begin?

First, unless you are an experienced baby wearer and experienced wrapper, back carries are typically only recommended once your child is 6 months or older and is able to sit independently. Since you have less visual connection with a child on your back, you want him to have the muscle tone that allows him to sit up straight without slouching. You must also only use carriers that are safe for back carries, such as woven wraps, buckle carriers, and mei tais. Stretchy wraps and water wraps/slings are not safe for back carries and should not be used. Stretchy wraps, such as a Moby, do not offer the support necessary and could allow baby to lean or fall. Water products are typically designed for front carry, water use only.

If your child and carrier meet those criteria, you can now begin to practice back carries. Always start by practicing with a spotter, someone to help you should you need it, and practice over a soft surface, such as your bed. You want to first get comfortable moving baby to your back in a safe environment before attempting to do so out and about. Practicing with experienced help, such as at a BWI meeting local to you is a great start, if possible. Another good idea is to practice moving a doll onto your back and into your carrier before trying with your baby.

There are a number of ways to get baby onto your back, and how you do it will part be up to preference and part due to the type of carrier you are using. Below I’ll link to a few good instructional videos that may help you with your particular carrier, but of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive list.

  • SSC – Soft Structured Carrier – Many moms prefer the hip scoot method of transferring baby, as it has more of a secure feel to it. Personally, I was always a fan of the superman toss before my daughter was old enough to just climb on up. If neither of those feel quite secure enough for you, try this method that involves always having the chest clip buckled for additional security.
  • Mei Tai – The hip scoot works just as well for a mei tai, or you can start out with baby on your front.
  • Woven Wrap – There are many ways to get your baby onto your back when using a woven wrap. You may prefer the hip scoot (again!), or the santa toss, or another version of superman. This video shows a number of examples.

You may notice that I did not include ring slings. While there are ways to use a ring sling for a back carry, they are only recommended for advanced wearers. Back carries with a ring sling are not for beginners.

Back carries can take a lot of practice to get comfortable with. As I mentioned, if you can meet with a babywearing educator at a BWI meeting or other babywearing meeting near you, that’s your best first step toward learning to back carry. Soon you’ll be on your way to a whole new world of babywearing!

Hip Scoot 

Superman Toss

Full Buckle Back Transfer

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She is quite sure she doesn’t get it right all of the time.

Being Gentle on New Parents

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Being Gentle on New ParentsIn June, on Father’s Day, a picture of a beaming father snuggling his young daughter appeared on Instagram. His face is full of joy and pride. It’s a beautiful photo. Unfortunately, the father happened to be incorrectly, and potentially dangerously, using a baby carrier. More unfortunately, the father happened to
be the rather well known actor, Ryan Reynolds.

Internet users were quick to point out how he was misusing the carrier and was potentially placing his daughter in danger. They were quick to offer advice on how he should properly position his daughter. They were quick to yell, quick to berate, quick to tell this perfect stranger how badly he was parenting and how he should be doing it instead.

Now, I’m not a famous person. I don’t have the thick skin that I hope they do. (By the way, his response was perfect.) But I’ve seen this reaction, time and time again, aimed at everyday moms and dads, and I can tell you that it’s enough to make the average person cry. Car seats, baby carriers, diapers, feeding, travel, sleep…everyone has an opinion and many are just waiting to aim theirs squarely at you. As a new parent you’re bumbling, you’re stumbling; you just want a little reassurance and a high five. Turn to the Internet, though, and what you’re likely to find is many people who just want to point out that you’re doing it all wrong. Not exactly the welcome to the online parenting 
community that we’d like, right?

So, can we all just step back a minute? Can we think back to a time when we didn’t have the Internet to make us think we know it all? Can you remember a time when maybe you didn’t use that baby carrier just the right way until a friend stepped in to help you adjust? Can you think of a time when you didn’t read every manual that came with every baby item before you first used it? Can you think of a time when you didn’t have a clue about what you were doing but you still found a way and were proud as heck that you and baby were surviving? I certainly can. Every time I write one of these blogs, I scrutinize every photo I submit just to make sure I’m not displaying to the world some gaff that I, as a brand-new, sleep deprived mother did not know I was committing.

So the next time you come across a photo on the Internet that makes you want to speak up, stop and try this first:

  1. Read the comments. Please, take just a minute to read the comments that others have already left. Has the same bit of information that you would like to impart already been left by 59 other commenters? Repeating what’s already been said simply makes well-intentioned advice seem like an assault.
  2. Assess the situation. Is the offense a matter of safety, or simply a matter of parenting differences? Did the original poster ask for opinions or help? If they didn’t, and if the situation is more about parenting styles, then just keep scrolling.
  3. Private Message. If the advice you wish to give is not already provided, or if you feel that you can offer more in depth detail or support, go ahead and send the mom or dad a private message if possible. If you’re telling someone that they’re doing it wrong, even if you simply intend to gently help them correct a safety issue, you’re better off doing it privately.
  4. Comment gently. Sometimes a private message is not always possible. If you’ve read the comments (or are the first commenter) and what you’d like to share hasn’t already been stated, proceed gently. Compliment the intention, even if the execution wasn’t flawless. Assume people honestly don’t know that they’re doing something unsafe. Something like “I LOVE seeing babywearing daddies! Isn’t it great to keep baby close? I happen to have the same carrier and know they can be tricky at first, so could I offer a tip? In this carrier, baby needs to have her legs above the waistband…” would have been a great way to approach the issue seen in the photo.

The Internet can be a fantastic place, full of information, entertainment, and social engagement. Unfortunately, the Internet can also be harsh, cold, and cruel. The distance between our fingers and the words that appear on the screen seems vast. The security of anonymity can lead us to say things to others that we may never say in person. So, type with care. Embrace those new moms and dads, make them feel welcome. Help them find secure footing in their rocky new world. Be kind.

 Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She is quite sure she doesn’t get it right all of the time.

No-Babysitter Date Nights

Friday, July 17th, 2015

No sitter date nightWhen we had our first child, I was terrified to go out, but my husband was determined to not be those people who stay home forever after having a baby. (Or two. Or a third.) So when our oldest turned a week old, we took her to a brewery to celebrate. As we continued to go out with the baby, I learned to relax, and I learned the best places to take a baby with you on date night.

Besides, when they can’t talk or walk, you can pretty much take them anywhere you go, and as long as they have a clean butt and a full tummy, they’ll do just fine, especially at night when they are prone to just dozing off anyway. It doesn’t always work out, so be prepared for that. But when it does, you get time together that’s kind of alone time, and you don’t have to pay $10 an hour for someone to sit in the other room while your baby sleeps.

Here are my favorite no-sitter date night activities.

  • Anything outdoors. Outdoor activities don’t have the expectation of quiet or decorum, so these are usually a safe bet. Many communities have festivals, concerts, and plays outdoors this time of year. You’ll of course want to know what the weather is going to do since babies are not all-weather friendly. Most venues will offer a VIP option for outdoor events, and this is usually a wise purchase, since you’ll have access to shade (if it’s hot) and bathrooms.
  • The movies. Yep, we were “those people” at the late movie with a baby. We weren’t sleeping anyway, trust me. Once the lights went down, I threw baby girl on the boob and we were set for the whole movie, even the loud ones.
  • Outdoor dinner/dessert and a walk. I love getting dinner or dessert outdoors, and then going for a walk. Not only does it have many health benefits, from regulating your circadian rhythms to having an impact on weight and blood sugar.
  • Have friends over. I always had the easiest time relaxing when we could be at home. Having dinner with friends was always a fun way to be able to keep baby on schedule while still getting to see people. It’s also great bedtime practice if you have an only child and are adding to the family. When you have one child, it’s tempting to keep everything super quiet when they are sleeping. When there are people laughing and talking in the next room it will help them acclimate to there being noise while they sleep.
  • Art shows/Museum night. This is a great way to get out and get some culture without having to worry about the library-like quiet of the museum during the day. Evening events usually involve drinks and socializing, so it’s noisy. I went with a carrier or sling worn over a carefully chosen outfit that would allow me to nurse and wear with ease. Maxi dresses are great for these events.

Whatever you decide to do, make an effort to get out there and continue enjoying some of the things you did before you had baby. Once we had more than one child, we often did these types of things while getting a sitter for the older, talking, walking child, since my babies liked to nurse every two hours or so until they are about six months old.

One thing that does really help make these date nights work is being able to nurse in public. I always covered with my first, sometimes covered with my second, and rarely covered with my third baby. I was just more comfortable with it by then. But I loved the security of always having my cover or a blanket with me in case I wanted more privacy. Whatever you do, know that you have the right to breastfeed absolutely anywhere you have the legal right to be.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.

Keeping Baby Safe on July 4

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Keeping Baby Safe on July 4With the 4th of July just around the corner, many of us are heading to celebrations and parades with our little ones. This is such a fun holiday, filled with family, friends and fun that sharing it with our babies comes naturally. But, before you head out to participate in the fun, read these few simple tips to keep baby safe and happy during the festivities.

When getting baby dressed for the day, think layers and sun protective clothing. I like to give my older babies a good dose of sunscreen before dressing for a summer day to make sure any gaps in clothing are covered. Items such as leggings or long sleeve shirts can help cover and protect skin both from sun and bugs. Clothing with a tighter weave does a better job at protecting from UV rays than looser, mesh-style fabric. Don’t forget the sunhat, glasses and lightweight blankets.

When the sun begins to set and you’re heading to the fireworks shows, remember to bring ear protection. There are many products on the market for baby ear protection. Baby banz provide excellent ear protection for fireworks, sporting events and other loud events. If you’re looking for something a bit less bulky, I’ve used silicone ear plugs as ear protection. They mold to the outer ear and babies cannot pull them off as easily. They do a great job in protecting the noise levels and helps keep the little guys from startling.

During a fireworks display or parade, babywearing can be a lifesaver. By wearing your baby you can tell when they have had too much, make sure they are not overwhelmed or in the line of fire for flying items, and baby is comforted by having mom nearby. Sometimes just being near mom or dad is enough to comfort baby during the busy and craziness of the day.

If baby is still upset over the noise and overstimulation, sometimes it’s best to hedge your bets and head indoors to watch the fun from the safety and quiet of inside. Remember to listen to your baby’s needs and cues as they let you know what they need to make it through the day.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home to three crazy boys in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys knitting, gardening, camping and chasing her kids.