Posts Tagged ‘baby wearing’

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!

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!

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.

Avoiding Flat Head

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Avoiding Flat HeadWhen my son was a baby, a mom friend of mine with a son the same age noticed her baby’s head seemed to be developing a flat spot. She was concerned and took him to her pediatrician; turns out, they recommended he be fitted for a helmet that would reshape his head. This was totally new to me. I had never even heard of this, let alone see a baby wearing one.

I found out then that it’s not terribly uncommon. Flat head, or plagiocephaly, cases have gone up since pediatricians began recommending babies be put to sleep on their backs (for SIDS reduction). Babies can develop them if they sleep in one position for a long time, or even from their car seats. They form because babies are born with very pliable skulls, and the skulls will mold to where they feel pressure (this is also why babies born vaginally often have cone-shaped heads for a bit after they’re born).

If you notice your child has a flat spot, you definitely want to bring it up with your pediatrician. The upside to babies having those pliable skulls is that in mild cases, they can resolve on their own with parents taking precautions, and in more significant cases can be treated with occupational therapy and/or an orthotic helmet or headband like my friend’s son had.

So how do you avoid this? Having your baby lay in a variety of positions each day is important. Tummy time not only builds your baby’s strength, it also gives the back of her head a break from resting against a flat surface. Baby wearing is also a great way to give the back of your child’s head a break. Reducing the amount of time your child is in a carseat can help, and turning your child’s head alternating directions when you lay them down on their backs to sleep helps, too. And remember, the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to correct.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.