Posts Tagged ‘carrier’

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.

 

Taking Your Baby Everywhere You Go

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Taking Baby Everywhere You GoWhen my daughter was born, I never really thought about all of the places we would go. I remember eating at my favorite, quaint café in Southeast Georgia. My cousin was in town visiting our new addition and we had to go have salads, sandwiches, and scones. Johanna was a few weeks old asleep in her car seat, and my anxiety all of a sudden skyrocketed. What would I do if she cried in public? Would I be able to even eat and enjoy my food?

That’s when I realized that babies are really portable. Of course they go everywhere we go. We’re moms. For me, I’m a stay-at-home mom, so my kids definitely go everywhere I go. They’ve been on playdates, to church, to awkward doctor appointments, to the store, and everywhere else I’ve gone practically for the past couple years. Here are some tips for taking your baby everywhere.

Babywear. Just do it.

For me, the easiest way to take my babies places has been to babywear. My daughter lived in a Boba carrier. Babywearing allows your hands to be free and gives your baby the comfort of being so close to momma. For Levi, this has been a necessity. Taking a 2 year old places is hard sometimes, and she has to hold my hand, so, it’s important that my hands are free. (I mean who wants to carry those bulky car seats, anyway?) For Levi, my Tula has been the go-to carrier. He does not like to sit in the car seat throughout the grocery store. He needs to be held, so babywearing is the answer.

Be Prepared.

With kids, you have to be prepared. Have extra clothes. You never know when accidents will happen or a blowout will occur. Have snacks for older children. My daughter constantly needs Goldfish crackers or cereal snacks while we’re out and about. Bring toys. Levi is only 5 months old, and he already needs toys. I usually keep the same 3 or 4 small toys in my diaper bag and rotate them in and out. I’m convinced diaper bags can never be big enough.

Expect the Unexpected.

Yes, your baby will cry in public. Yes, he will get hungry and you may have to nurse during the sermon at church. Things happen. Rest assured when you dress your cute baby in a frilly white dress, a blowout will occur. It’s not the end of the world. Just try to relax and take things one moment at a time. For me, I have to just breathe deeply and remember I can handle whatever my day may hold. It may not be pretty, but I cannot control it all.

Ask for Help.

I always love when we go home to visit. This past Christmas I made plans to meet several friends and their little ones at McDonald’s play land. I made sure my best friend, Ali, was riding in my car. Two extra hands! She was there to help me transport my kids in the restaurant and entertain Johanna in case I needed to nurse or tend to Levi. Spouses, friends, family. It doesn’t matter who helps. Just don’t be afraid to ask. While you’re out in the grocery store, have your spouse take over the list while you take care of the baby. At a restaurant, take turns eating and allow each other to enjoy the food.

Babies are adorable, sweet creatures. You can take your baby anywhere, momma! Babies do cry. They do poop their diapers and get hungry. It’s okay. Just take care of your baby. If someone doesn’t like it, it’s their problem and chances are a gummy grin or adorable spit bubble will bring a smile to their face in the end.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana. She takes her kids everywhere, but she does enjoy alone time, too.

Choosing the Right Baby Carrier

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Choosing the Right CarrierWhen looking at baby carriers, a couple of key questions will help you begin to narrow down your search:

  • What age is your baby – Do you have a newborn or are you looking to wear it with your toddler? Does your child have any special needs or health concerns to keep in mind?
  • How are you thinking you will use it - As an out and about carrier? Around the house? Able to breastfeed in it?
  • What is your price range?

Starting with these key questions, you can work through the categories of carriers and make your selection from there. There are five categories:

  • Pouch – these are size-specific, one-shoulder carriers that are worn like a sash diagonally across your body. Great for quick trips and minimal fuss, but can be hard to find the correct size and not as comfortable for longer lengths of wearing due to the weight being only distributed on one shoulder.
  • Ring Sling – these are generally one size or able to be adjusted to fit a range of sizes and worn in a similar manner to Pouches. They are great for breastfeeding, with newborns and toddlers, and can be wonderful for using when sitting down or when putting on in tight quarters. They can be less comfortable for the same reason as a pouch, and can also feel less secure as baby starts to wiggle and arch.
  •  Mei Tai – these are usually rectangular or square with two sets of straps that wrap around you and knot to secure. They generally have a lower learning curve and can be adjusted to fit a variety of body shapes. They can be a bit trickier to use with a newborn or small baby due to the fixed size of the body panel.
  • Soft Structure Carrier – these are usually rectangular and have buckles attaching the waist and shoulder straps around the wearer. They are generally loved from about when baby is 6 months and up, unless you have an insert or one that features an adjustable base option for use with smaller babies. Some find fit plays the biggest part in whether or not they love this style, since the carrier construction is a more fixed design.
  • Wrap – these are long lengths of fabric designed to be used to carry a baby. They have one of the higher learning curves and a myriad of fabric options, but are highly praised for their comfort and adjustability.

Choosing the Right CarrierThe most common carriers that are loved in the newborn stage are stretchy wraps and ring slings. The comfort and the ability to hug baby while providing the necessary support found in these two styles make them an ideal choice for a first carrier.

If you can make it out to a local shop or babywearing group to try a few different styles out, that is often the best way to find out what you love and what fits you best. Check out Babywearing International for a list of chapters nationwide.

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones. 

Active Outdoors with a Newborn

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was bound and determined to not let the baby change our lifestyle. My husband and I loved the outdoors—this was going to be totally easy to integrate into our new lives as a family of three, right?

For the most part, the answer was yes. We found being flexible was our greatest asset–while she is the smallest member of your family, your child will definitely have the last word in any outings you plan or attempt. Beyond that, though, being prepared to get back outside played a major part in us enjoying the outdoors as a family.

Active Outdoors with a NewbornThe time of year your new baby is born has a real impact on what you can do right away. Babies are sensitive to temperature extremes. My oldest was born in January in Alaska, so lots of layers and quality cold-weather gear were key to being able to get out. At the far end of the spectrum, a friend’s youngest was born in the sub-tropics in July; she was dealing with keeping him out of direct sun and trying to avoid heat rash just going on short walks in the first months after he was born.

Having the right gear can make or break your trips outdoors. Don’t get me wrong–I totally don’t advocate buying out your local sporting goods store outfitting your new baby. A few things can mean the difference between getting outside and being stuck in your house though.

Here’s my list of must haves if you want your baby to start enjoying the outdoors with you:

  • A comfortable, safe baby carrier. Extra bonus points if it has a nap/sun hood on it.
  • A Versatile Stroller. If you plan on doing anything more than walking, you need a stroller. I ended up trying out several (thanks, Craigslist!) and my favorite for our family’s needs is the Chariot. Why? You can jog, ski, and bike with just one stroller and it has both a rain and bug net fly (which also keeps your child’s toys and/or sippy cups INSIDE the stroller). The price is steep, but buying used or waiting for a good REI sale is a good way to save money. If you think you might ever have more than one child, buy the double right away. If you have no need for a bike or ski trailer, there are lots of other quality options out there, too (BOB, City Mini, etc).
  • Layers! Just like you would for yourself, dress your baby in layers. For cold weather, there are lots of fancy baby long johns out there, but I always started with a pair of my kid’s pajamas. Next I would add a fleece bunting or snowsuit, preferably with fold over mittens (my kids hated mittens). These are a great thing to look for second-hand or from discount shops like Old Navy, since they typically are barely used before being grown out of. A hat tops off the ensemble. If they’re in the stroller, I put a blanket on top. Some people will toss a hand warmer into the stroller as well (out of arms reach).
  • Sun Protection. For hot weather, sun protection and breathable layers are key. I love, love, love muslin blankets for both. They also double as carseat sun covers and nursing covers. If your baby is under six months old (sunscreen is generally not recommended for children that young), sun protection is a major concern. Keeping a light blanket over their stroller or car seat, using hats when they are in your carrier, and generally avoiding peak sun hours are all good tools. Heat rash can also be a concern. Here in the subtropics where I live now, all of those adorable rolls on your new baby can be troublesome; if your baby has issues, you can try dusting on a non-talc powder before heading out.

Probably the single most important thing you need to get back outside or moving after a baby is an open mind. I had visions of days-long backpacking trips and cross-country skiing with my babies. My oldest in particular was very adverse to cold; anything over a light wind and he was howling. Both kids refused to keep mittens on in the ski trailer. My kids love being outdoors now though, rain or shine. Is it because we schlepped them all over as babies? Maybe, or maybe not, but we created some great memories in the process.

How did you get back outdoors after pregnancy? Any tips for expectant parents?

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

Staying Warm While Babywearing

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Babywearing can seem  like a labor of love in the summertime, when it’s hot and muggy out and you are wrapped up tight together when you really just want to have cool air blowing on every pore of your body. But in the wintertime, it’s warm and cozy.

Staying Warm While BabywearingIn some parts of the country, and for our good friends in Canada (Eh?) even having that tiny ball of heat pressed up against your ribs isn’t quite warm enough. It can be hard for even the most experienced babywearers to enjoy wearing when you are constantly having to take off your carrier to put on a coat. So how do you manage outerwear while rocking that fabulous wrap?

Here are a few creative ideas for staying warm while babywearing:

  1. Coats made for babywearing. Etsy has a great selection of coats that are literally made for babywearing. A huge plus is they are also cute as maternity coats, or even just wrap jackets! There’s also this softshell version that lets you front or back carry and will also keep you dry.
  2. Poncho. A poncho is the easiest solution since it’s easy to throw on and off, and it’s not size specific if you’re still in the process of shedding pounds post-partum. You can even make a no-sew version if you aren’t picky—microfleece and polar fleece don’t have to be sewn. A few slits for your heads and maybe a little fringe if you’re feeling fancy, and you’re done.  The benefit to these is they are cheap and you can wear it with any kind of carry.
  3. Staying Warm While BabywearingCoat extender. These are also easy to make or have someone make for you. If you know someone whoknits or crochets, just take your favorite jacket, strap on your baby, and measure the length from buttonholes to buttons, and from top button to bottom button. Have them whip up a coat-extender panel  (and matching hat, of course!) in that size with the buttons where your buttonholes are, and vice versa. It will keep your coat nice and snug and baby wrapped in woolly goodness.
  4. Infintity sweater. If you don’t live somewhere terribly cold, a stretchy, knit infinity sweater will probablywork just fine for you. The perfect kind for baby wearing will be one with lots of draping in the front, or a large cowl neck, and preferably long ends that you can wrap around you and tie.

Remember: Don’t ever put your baby in his or her car seat while bundled up in a heavy coat. Heavy coats will compress on impact in a collision, which will affect seatbelt function.

Hopefully these ideas keep you and baby warm while enjoying some time outside in the beautiful winter weather.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer, mother of three girls, and Texas native who recently moved to upstate New York.