You seem to hear about baby wearing everywhere these days. Moms at the park are talking about it and everywhere you turn a new celebrity mom or dad is wearing their baby and making it the next “hip” thing to do. So what is all the buzz about? Only the latest, greatest, way to carry your baby. Or actually a time honored tradition passed on from moms of old…
Natural families often practice some method of attachment parenting and wearing your baby close to you in a sling, wrap or other baby carrier is often a big part of that. In ancient days women wore their babies to keep them close and safe while they traveled, hunted, foraged, or farmed. Natural moms of today also carry their babies close to them while they work and play. Even breastfeeding is made easier when your baby is cuddled against you in a sling or wrap.
Ring slings and wraps are adjustable, allowing the most flexibility and freedom in how you wear the baby. They can be easily worn by people of different heights (and widths) making it easy for dad or grandma to wear the baby too. You can even get shorter or longer tails depending upon your size. Wrap slings are simply one panel of fabric that is wrapped around the body and tied (or tucked) creating a pouch for baby. The baby can be worn in front, in back, on the hip, facing in, facing out, or lying down. Ring slings are wrap slings that secure by threading one end of the sling through a ring, like a belt, instead of knotting. Some ring slings come with padding on the edges (also called rails) so that the baby doesn’t get red marks on their legs and to provide greater stability. It is easy and discreet to nurse while wearing a ring or wrap sling though it can take a little bit practice to learn how to adjust and wear, but instructions and even video tutorials are available.
Pouches and tube slings have less of a learning curve. Slide it over one shoulder, slide the baby in, adjust the sling so that baby doesn’t fall out and so all the fabric isn’t bunched on your shoulder, and you’re off and running. Pouch and tube slings are not adjustable as they are one or more pieces of fabric sewn together into a single unit. Baby can still be worn in all the ways as a wrap sling, though baby may outgrow the sling before mom is ready to stop. But what mom needs an excuse to have more than one sling or wrap right?
Asian style carriers use less fabric. The baby is supported in a rectangle of fabric and it is secured to the body with four straps: the two at the lower corners tie at the waist and support most of the baby’s weight and the two at the upper corners cross around mom’s shoulders and tie in front. Baby can be worn facing in or out and on the back, hip or front. As there is less fabric, nursing may be more problematic but they are very stylish.
There are many choices in which type(s) of sling is right for you. Try them on at stores or ask your friends if you can try theirs out for a day or two and see which feels comfortable to you. Ask family and friends and online acquaintances for recommendations. There are even discussion forums and groups dedicated to helping you find the right sling for you. It just couldn’t get any easier.
For more reasons why babywearing is awesome check out my previous article… 10 Amazing Benefits of Babywearing. Enjoy!
Which is better…disposable or cloth? The diaper wars have begun and you must choose sides….muhawww.
New parents are faced with many decisions, one of them choosing whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. There are advantages and disadvantages for each diaper type. This issue can be a hot one among parents, a part of parenting politics so to speak, and it seems that you must choose sides. What side of the fence will you choose to be on? Either you’re gonna be a tree hugging, diaper-washing hippie or a landfill-filling, Pamper camper. You’re a pawn in the diaper war…it’s your move.
But perhaps you have decided to compromise and use a combination of both and maybe even throw in a third diaper type for kicks…the more environmentally friendly disposable diaper or the flushable diaper.
Cloth diapers are better for the environment as they don’t end up choking landfills. Deposits can be shaken out into the toilet and processed properly instead of leaking into the ground. There are styles with Velcro fastening diaper covers or snaps meaning more comfort and fewer leaks. Some are “all in one” and resemble a disposable in ease of getting on and off baby.
But, you’ve got to wash them. When you’re out and about, you’ll have to carry the soiled diaper with you instead of pitching them in the closest trash can. The initial cost can be expensive, though you’ll save money in the long run. If you elect to use a diaper service, that will cost you money but there’s an environmental cost to consider as well with the use of bleach and detergents on such a grand scale.
In addition to being used as burp cloths and washcloths, prefold cloth diapers can be used for other things such as dust cloths, hand & kitchen towels, to wash windows and cars, and to polish silver when your baby is done using them for diapers. Obviously, get rid of the worst looking ones. Considering dyeing some of the others for variety or to match your décor.
You can’t beat disposable diapers for convenience. Use it. Toss it. If you’re visiting a new location and run out of diapers at midnight, most corner stores and gas stations will have them for sale. Though there are more and more options for local cloth diapers too. I heard that infamous big box store has them.
Disposable diapers use up space in landfills adding plastic, chemicals, and sewage often wrapped in another plastic bag. They are also expensive and since they are often purchased at grocery stores, the cost is hidden in the grocery bill. Children wearing disposable diapers often potty train later, which increases the amount of diapers the child will wear through infancy.
There are pros and cons for both but in the long run cloth comes out ahead if you care about saving money, living with simplicity, and protecting resources and planet. If you don’t care about any of those things you may be reading the wrong blog. Just sayin. ;)
Awhile back moms across the blogosphere became outraged by a campaign from the City of Milwaukee Health Department designed to convince parents that co-sleeping is not safe. Not only is co-sleeping not safe, it is comparable to letting your baby sleep next to a sharp knife, or so they want parents to think. Of course they do not bother to mention that it is riskier to drive your baby around in an automobile than to bring them into bed with you but that wouldn’t be staying true to their actual mission. The intent behind these posters is not public awareness against some real and true threat, it is all about convincing people they need to buy cribs.
Even Dr. Sears agrees:
Who is behind this new national campaign to warn parents not to sleep with their babies? In addition to the USCPSC, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is co-sponsoring this campaign. The JPMA? An association of crib manufacturers. This is a huge conflict of interest. Actually, this campaign is exactly in the interest of the JPMA.
We have seen these same tactics within the car seat industry for YEARS. Few people actually know studies have proven that past 2 years of age car seats provide no better protection from death in an auto accident than regular old seat belts. But no one makes money when you use the manufacturer seat belt so they skew studies and harp on one stat among many, so that they can get laws passed that require car seats and pad industry pockets. This Milwaukee campaign is no different. They are using a city government to spread their message… “Co-sleeping kills, buy a crib.”
Don’t fall for it and don’t let them get away with it. We need to be vocal about all the ways to make co-sleeping safer and of course be honest that it is not attached, attentive parents who lose a baby to co-sleeping. Rather it is typically inattentive parents who are under the influence of alcohol or other substances and then in their stupor roll over on their infant. When I co-slept with all three of my babies I felt even the tiniest flutter and movement, even while I was seemingly asleep. That is our mommy instinct… the one ingrained in us since the dawn of civilization, when people always slept with their babies!
But just to make sure, here are some tips for making co-sleeping safe.
- Use a firm mattress for the family bed, no lumpy featherbeds or waterbeds.
- Sheets and blankets should be tight and fitted.
- Layer clothing rather than blankets if it is cold.
- Remove extra pillows, including decorative ones. No stuffed animals.
- Ideally place an infant between mom and a guard rail, sleeping pad (my recommendation), or wall. Make sure there are no gaps if you use a wall.
- A large body pillow is a low cost way to fill in a gap.
- Place baby on his or her back to sleep.
- Keep your bed low to the ground and place pillows just underneath so that if baby falls they have a soft place to land.
Another alternative is a bedside co-sleeper. Some parents choose to use these when their babies are really small and then when they reach infant and toddler sizes they move them into their own bed. Do what is best for your family and situation and don’t let fear mongers sway you away from the joys of co-sleeping with your little ones.
Where do you weigh in on this? Yay or nay for cosleeping?
One of the top motivators (in my experience) for women who want to go green and live a little more naturally is the fact that they have become mothers. Many of us come to view the world with a completely different lens when we become responsible for the health and well being of children. Suddenly the products we have always used become suspect and the way we have always done things has become not quite safe enough. It is one thing to use a bottle of lotion with a thousand ingredients on your own body but on your baby??? Heck no!
By now many of us know or at least have some clue that conventional mattresses are full of toxic stuff that we really shouldn’t be exposing ourselves to for 8+ hours each night. It just goes to follow that more moms are looking for safer and more natural mattress solutions for their babies and toddlers that won’t involve breathing in a chemical soup each night. We want to get our wee babes off to the best and most healthy start possible.
Just as there are for adults, there many options out here but the one I am highlighting today is a latex crib mattress from Naturalmat. Latex is the option I typically go for in my home. If you are not familiar with it, natural rubber (a completely renewable resource) is harvested by tapping the milk (sap) of Hevea brasiliensis. The sap is whipped up and turned into latex foam and is a sustainable resource because sap can be collected from the trees up to 180 days per year and the tree heals within an hour. Natural latex is anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, dust-mite proof, and very comfortable to sleep on. Usually you will also find organic wool wrapped around the latex core. Wool serves as a fire retardant and regulates moisture.
This particular mattress is the company’s most allergy safe mattress offering medium support. It has a quilted cover and mattress protector included! It is suitable for newborns and great for older babies offering medium support allowing excellent breathability with great hypoallergenic benefits.
Naturalmat Latex Crib Mattress Features:
- Organic lambswool
- Organic coir
- Natural latex
- Pure cotton cover
- Breathable & Organic
- Does not absorb heat or moisture
- Naturally breathable and self ventilating materials
- Helps babies regulate their temperature and sleep through the night
- Organic lambswool is an excellent insulator, keeping children warm in cold conditions and cool in warm conditions
- Eco friendly packaging made from potato starch and a mixture of recyclable and renewable paper sources
- Anti-Allergy & Anti-Bed Bug
- Naturally hypoallergenic and anti microbial and offers complete protection from bacteria and dust-mites
- A treatment of lemon, eucalyptus and lavender makes our lambswool anti-dust mite, anti-moth, anti-mosquito
- Naturalmat’s organic coir (from the outer husk of the coconut) is sourced from the only certified organic coconut plantation in the world
- Naturalmat’s organic lambswool comes direct from certified organic British West Country farms
- Outer covers are removable and can be machine washed at 140°F
Recommended Retail: $499 (Size: 28” x 52”)
About The Natural Mat Company:
The Natural Mat Company was founded in 2000 in Topsham in Devon, by Mark Tremlett and Peter Tindall, who as keen sailors both became frustrated with the poor quality of synthetic mattresses found on boats. Mark and Peter decided to look for an alternative and found natural fibers to be a more superior substitute for boating. With their knowledge and expertise they quickly developed a business making mattresses for yachts and motor boats. With the arrival of Mark’s first child, they quickly identified a need for a natural offering for babies. With a mission to develop the perfect natural sleeping environment for babies and children, Mark and Peter set to work to create a range of pure natural fiber mattresses. After nine months, they were proud to launch the first range of natural baby mattresses.
Why wear your baby? Simple: it is beneficial for both the baby and the parent.
1. Convenience. When we wear a baby, our hands are free to do other things like carry groceries, cook a meal, fold laundry, etc. It is far easier to run errands, take a walk to the park, and to navigate a crowded shopping area, farmer’s market or busy airport without the bulk of a stroller or carrying car seat. Many carriers also double as blankets, changing pads, nursing covers, etc. and lighten the load of baby essentials you might normally bring on an outing.
2. It promotes breastfeeding. Having your baby so close to your skin and their source of food promotes frequent and comfortable breastfeeding. In many instances, you will be able to walk around while feeding your baby in the carrier and no one will even notice that your wee one is having a snack.
3. It promotes physical development. Babies worn in a carrier close to the body are in tune with the parent’s heart rate, breathe, smell and movements. This in turn helps to regulate a baby’s own physical responses and activates his sense of balance. This closeness mimics the environment your baby knew in the womb. This calms her and allows her to put energy into growing and learning instead of fussing for a caregiver. It also allows the parent to be secure in the knowledge that their little one is eating, sleeping, and breathing well. There is also evidence that contact like this helps premature babies put on weight and gain improvements in health. These results do not happen from swing or bouncer time.
4. It develops secure emotional attachment and sponsors emotional development. Research shows that babies that are held and carried are happier. They cry and fuss far less than babies who are not held and carried. A held baby who can hear his caretaker’s heartbeat and look into their face is secure in the knowledge that they are warm and safe. They are not flooded with the constant stress hormones accompanied by frequent crying and often are lulled effortlessly to sleep by the rhythmic motions they experience as they ride through the everyday activities of their parents.
5. It supports cognitive development. Babies who are held or worn are right up where the action is. They see all the people and places they pass as you go through their day. They are able to observe a parent cooking, folding laundry, using a library card, making change and the dozens of other interactions they have throughout the day. Babies who are held are participants in life and thus are spoken to directly by parents and by others on a much more regular basis than babies pushed in front of caregivers in strollers are. Babies are little observers in a quiet and alert state that encourages learning and brain stimulation.
6. It is a great way for dads, grandparents and other caregivers to bond with baby. When held or carried, babies are able to get to know the other important people in their lives in a much more intimate way than if the just sat on their knee. They are also becoming accustomed to the heartbeats, voices, rhythms and gestures of their fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers.
7. It is a great way to get back in shape postpartum. You have to carry your baby anyway. Wearing them distributes their weight more easily, encourages you to be a little more active, and provides you with a colorful accessory (the carrier) to jazz up your workout gear. You can even find workouts that are meant to be done while wearing your baby if you search online.
8. It can be a great tool to help a new mom combat the baby blues. Having a little person attached to your body is a great way to sneak in mood boosting snuggles and kisses and can help moms bond with their infants without feeling burdened by all of their needs.
9. It is easier than taking a stroller up the stairs or onto a bus. Enough said!
10. It is fun! You will have a more active and engaging life with your new baby, will have arms to spare for your other children and will meet a whole slew of new friends who baby wear too!
If you want a carrier like the one pictured above try the Moby GO baby carrier. Enjoy!