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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Babywearing by Meg

    I bet some of you are thinking what the heck is babywearing? Well, babywearing
    is the act of wearing or carrying a baby or child in a sling or other form of carrier.
    Babywearing has been practiced for decades all over the world, however in
    the last few years it has certainly gained popularity due to the rising interest in
    attachment parenting and the philosophies of Dr. Sears.

    Babywearing has many benefits for both the caregiver and the child. These
    include allowing the parent or caregiver to have two hands free to go about their
    daily duties and/or tend to other children while continuously meeting the needs
    of the child. Studies have shown that children who are worn tend be calmer,
    more secure, independent and socially developed than children who have not
    been worn. When a child is carried in a sling or other carrier, their caregiver can
    be seen, heard, smelt and touched at all times. This, along with the rhythm of a
    parent’s heartbeat, is shown to have a soothing and balancing effect on infants.
    By carrying your child, they begin developing socially earlier by studying facial
    expressions, learning languages and they are able to become familiar with body
    language. Children who are carried are able to interact with other people much
    more easily than children who are in a stroller or car seat.

    When a child’s primal/survival needs are met, they are able to form a stronger
    more secure bond with their parent/caregiver, providing them with the opportunity
    to become independent children.

    Now that I’ve covered some of the benefits, lets talk about the different options
    you have when babywearing.

    There are 5 main types of carriers – pouch slings, ringslings, mei tais, soft
    structured carriers and wraps.

    Pouch

    The most common type of carrier, the pouch sling is probably the easiest to use.
    A pouch sling (also called a “tube” or “pocket” sling) is a wide piece of fabric that
    is sewn into a tubular shape. They are fitted to one specific person and cannot be
    adjusted. Most pouches have a curve sewn in to shape the cloth to the parent's
    body and hold the baby more securely than a straight tube. The wearer slips the
    pouch over their head and one shoulder in a sash-style, which creates a pocket
    or seat for the baby. Pouch slings have received a lot of flack in the babywearing
    world in the last little while. The main reason being that positioning in a pouch
    is not the easiest thing, especially with a small baby. I will talk more about
    babywearing safety in a little bit.



    super sweet infant in a cradle carry



    tummy to tummy in a pouch

    Ringsling
    A ringsling is a piece of fabric that is sewn on to two rings, threaded and worn
    over one shoulder. They can be worn a number of ways including tummy to
    tummy – where the baby is upright and held against your chest, kangaroo –
    where the child’s legs are crossed inside the sling and allow the child to face
    forward, a cradle carry which allows the child to be in a semi-reclined position, on
    your hip or on your back. Ringslings are easily adjustable and are more versatile
    than a pouch sling as the same sling can be used for a variety of wearers.

    There are several different brands of ringslings on the market, ranging in price
    and quality. Off of the top of my head, I can think of Mayawrap, Sakura Bloom,
    PSling NY and locally, Sewfunky from Guelph.



    an itty bitty baby in a ringsling, tummy to tummy.



    Multi-tasking at its best!

    Mei Tai
    Mei Tais are one type of Asian Baby Carrier (ABC). They are a square or
    rectangle of fabric with two long straps coming from the top and two shorter
    straps coming from the bottom. The short straps are tied around your waist
    and the longer ones go over your shoulders and tie around the child. There
    are several different kinds - the most popular being the BabyHawk or the Kozy.
    Locally, we have Natural Mother Mei Tai out of Clinton, ON. Mei Tais can come
    padded or unpadded, toddler sized or baby sized and in about 100000 different
    fabrics. (You think I’m kidding right? But I’m totally serious!) It all depends on the
    brand you choose and the preferences of their designer.

    Mei Tais are perfect for both front carries and back carries. You can use the
    same one from infancy to toddlerhood with no troubles at all. I have used several
    different kinds and can tell you they are very versatile and have one of the
    easiest learning curves.



    back carry in a mei tai


    7 week old twins in front carries.

    Soft Structured Carriers
    Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) are like mei tais in that they also have four straps.
    However their straps are different because they have buckles. The waist buckles
    together around the wearer and the top straps buckle to the body panel sort of
    like a backpack. SSC’s are probably the most main stream of all carriers because
    they resemble Bjorns or Snugglies. The difference is that they spread the babies
    legs wider and create a “seat” for them rather than having them dangle from
    the carrier. SSC’s also have more padding than a carrier you would find at
    Wal*Mart or Babies R Us. In addition to this, they can also be used from infancy
    to toddlerhood with no problems, both on the back and the front. SSC’s are
    also adjustable and are probably most appealing to many men. I’ve heard it has
    something to do with buckles making it appear more manly to them?

    The most popular SSC’s would be the Ergo, Beco, Manduca, Babyhawk Oh
    Snap! and locally, Natural Mother Buckle Tais.



    back carry in an ergo



    a front carry in a 4th gen Beco

    Wraps
    Last but not least, Wraps. Wraps (also called wraparound carriers) are long
    pieces of fabric (3-6m) that you wrap around yourself and then tie. There are
    several different ways to tie wraps that enable you to position your baby in almost

    any way you choose. Most ways have the wrap going over both of the wearer's
    shoulders and around the waist, giving very good support, security, and allowing
    the baby’s weight to be spread across the wearers hips, shoulders and back.
    Many babywears feel that wraps are the most comfortable and versatile of all
    carriers. However, there is a bit of a learning curve when starting to wrap. I would
    say out of all of them, learning to wrap correctly can be a bit of a challenge at
    first.

    There are two types of wraps – stretchy and woven. Stretchy wraps are ideal
    for newborns up to 15lbs (although they say they work until 30lbs, it’s a load of
    crock). If you’re looking to make the investment in a wrap, my suggestion would
    be go for a woven as it will last you up to 35lbs (or three years old!)

    The most popular brands of wraps include Didymos, Hoppediz, Storchenwiege
    and Vatanai. Every brand makes wraps from a variety of different fibers such as
    cotton, linen, hemp and silk. You can get them in almost every colour, and some
    even come with patterns, shapes or animals woven in to them.

    Woven


    front carry in a woven wrap



    back carry in a woven wrap

    Stretchy


    newborn twins in a stretchy wrap



    a newborn in a stretchy wrap

    Now lets talk about babywearing safety. In the last year or so, babywearing
    safety has become a very popular topic. With the CPSC and their new
    regulations, babywearing retailers and advocates around the world have come
    together to promote safe positioning and techniques. The following was taken

    from Babywearing Internationals infant sling safety page.

    A baby carrier should mimic how you would hold a baby in your arms. A
    normal in-arms holding position is fairly snug to your chest and somewhat
    close to your face (close enough to kiss). Babywearing advocates have
    been teaching about the importance of correct newborn positioning for
    years and warning against the use of slings that do not allow for safe
    wearing positions.

    Here are some important guidelines to remember when wearing an infant:
    ▪Check to ensure that your baby is not curled up tightly in a chin-to-chest position; this compresses your baby's airway. Making sure there is a fingers' width or two between their chin and chest is a good guide.
    Make sure your baby's back is straight and supported.
    ▪ Monitor your child at all times. Make sure nothing is obstructing their face.
    ▪ Be aware of how your movements affect the baby: avoid any bumping or
    jarring motions.
    (http://babywearinginternational.org/...lingSafety.php)

    You can find some more indepth safety guidelines on their safety page
    http://babywearinginternational.org/pages/safety.php and on the Babywearing
    Safety Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/BabywearingSafety?ref=ts

    The most important thing to remember is to Make sure your baby can breathe.
    Baby carriers allow parents to be hands-free to do other things … but you must
    always remain active in caring for your child. No baby carrier can ensure that
    your baby always has an open airway; that’s your job. Never allow a baby to be
    carried, held, or placed in such a way that his chin is curled against his chest and
    never allow a baby’s head and face to be covered with fabric. Both of these make
    for some very dangerous situations and can put your baby at risk. (Babywearing
    International)

    Some things to keep in mind when you’re first starting to wear your baby
    or are learning a new technique.

    1. Practice with a doll or stuffed animal.
    2. It is best to try a new carry when both you and baby are well rested
    and content.
    3. Use a spotter.
    4. Use a mirror.
    5. Start low – you can start beside a bed or on the couch/floor and once
    you’ve built muscle memory and are comfortable with the motions you can
    move up.

    So, now that you know the basics...I suppose you want to know where
    you can buy these carriers? I would first recommend you join the website
    www.thebabywearer.com. It is a wonderful, wonderful resource. The women
    and men on that site are some of the most knowledgeable and kind people I
    have ever met. There are step-by-step instructions, places to ask questions,
    reviews of almost every carrier you can imagine and a section where you can
    have someone help you troubleshoot and figure out how to make babywearing
    work for you. They also have a For Sale or Trade section, where as a member
    you can purchase gently used carriers from other babywearers and save a bit of
    money. Some of my most comfortable carriers we previously loved.

    Locally, these WAHM’s make fabulous carriers.

    Sewfunky
    Ringslings, pouches and stretchy wraps
    www.sewfunky.ca

    Natural Mother Productions
    Mei Tais and Buckle Tais
    http://www.naturalmotherproductions.com

    Canadian retailers
    Tadpoles and Butterflies http://www.tadpoles.ca/
    Birdies Room http://www.birdiesroom.com/
    The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe http://www.extraordinarybabyshoppe.com

    North American retailers
    Sweet Pickles www.sweet-pickles.com
    Babyhawk www.babyhawk.com
    Granola Babies http://www.granolababies.com/

    Sources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babywearing
    http://www.babywearinginternational.org/
    www.thebabywearer.com
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_sling
    Last edited by Meg; 05-27-2011 at 03:23 PM.
    Leslie
    Co-owner of Londonmoms.ca and Waterloo-Moms.ca

    Mom to my four awesome boys and finally a baby girl!! ages 15 months to 17 years!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kitchener
    Posts
    2,090

    Default

    Great article and great pictures!! Way to go Meg...awesome.
    Lindsay

    mom to Sienna (November 2007) and Zoey (October 2010)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Kitchener
    Posts
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    Default

    What a great article, very helpful. I have one type of carrier that I got as a gift and really didn't realize there's so much variety/pros/cons to all the different types. While I've enjoyed my current carrier, it's not working for me as well as when DS was very small so I've stopped using it as much. This has inspired me to explore some other options and see if I can't find something that works better. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Cambridge (Preston)
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    Maureen you should come to one of the babywearing meetings. The next one is on thursday Aug 4th at 10am at Riverside Park.

    And the one after that is on Sunday Aug 28th at 2pm at Riverside park.
    Rianne

    mother to Lauren March 14 2010

    KWC Babywearing blog

    Find the KWC Babywearing group on Facebook.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Cambridge
    Posts
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    I think you might have been at Riverside park when I was there awhile ago.
    I have many carriers but still haven't tried a woven wrap. I'd like to give it a shot at some point but I'm afraid of the huge learning curve
    My little Prince 07/05/07
    My little Princess 11/03/09

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Cambridge (Preston)
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    You should come to the meeting. There is a bit of a learning curve, but it's really not that hard.Just a lot of practice.

    I'm at Riverside a lot, usually with the kids I nanny, so if you see someone with a double stroller and a girl in a wrap, come say hi.
    Rianne

    mother to Lauren March 14 2010

    KWC Babywearing blog

    Find the KWC Babywearing group on Facebook.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Kitchener
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    Thanks, I think I wiil try to make that meeting on Aug. 4th. Sounds like you ladies of tons of experience!

  8. #8
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    Mar 2011
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    Kitchener
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    Shoot, I didn't realize Riverside Park is in Cambridge I don't have a vehicle during the day so there's no way I'd be able to make it for 10am. I'd try to make the 28th but I have to be in Toronto for a wedding shower that day.
    In the meantime, I got a recommendation to check out The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe in Waterloo because they let you try on all the different carriers they have so I may try that.

  9. #9
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    May 2010
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    We'll be there until 12 usually. So if you think you can make it anywhere in between, that would be fine as well. And I think Steph will be taking the bus from fairview mall, probably at 9.30.
    Rianne

    mother to Lauren March 14 2010

    KWC Babywearing blog

    Find the KWC Babywearing group on Facebook.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Kitchener
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bratt View Post
    We'll be there until 12 usually. So if you think you can make it anywhere in between, that would be fine as well. And I think Steph will be taking the bus from fairview mall, probably at 9.30.
    Yes I will, if anybody wants company on the bus, I'm the frazzled one with a boy in a carrier and a girl in a blue stroller.
    Steph, Mommy to D Jan 4, 2009, and C Dec 9, 2010

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