Babywearing a Newborn

Last week was international babywearing week so I figured this would be a good time for me to talk about my experiences of babywearing a newborn.

My babywearing journey started out with one of the dreaded ‘crotch danglers’ renowned for being particularly bad for babies. But I admit, I ignored these facts, and was seduced my the marketing and vast amount of rave reviews about the Baby Bjorn. As a professional marketer, when I’m not a mama, I should have known better.

That said, at the time though, I swore by it. Babe loved it, daddy did and so did I. By seven months I was starting to hate it, argh the back ache!

This time around with Boyo I’m a whole lot more educated and I’ve been able to gather advice from the great babywearing mamas on twitter and the sling meet forum. The resounding advice was to get a stretch wrap for when the baby is small.

In the UK there are two main types of stretch wrap available (that I’m aware of). The Moby (American I think but made in china) and the Kari Mee (with great british made credentials). So then the tough decision of which to go for. The Kari Me is apparently more stretchy than the Moby, which has it’s positives and negatives. In the end I went down the totally unethical route and purchased the one I could get the cheapest. That was the Moby which I bought (well my mum did as my birthday present) from Slumber Roo.

In total I have four wraps/carriers etc, three of which I can use with the newborn. The Moby is my saviour, but my Baby Hawk mei tai is also useful when Boyo wants to look around, or in hot weather (we had a few early October), plus a ring sling my friend kindly gave me (which I’m promising to give a good go next week for breastfeeding on the move). We also have an Ergo Baby but this requires a newborn insert.

I essence I love my Moby and so does Boyo.

What’s your favourite carrier for a newborn?

Babywearing lifesaver moments

Sometimes I really wonder where we would be without babywearing babe as a toddler. At times it has been a real lifesaver.

1. Cooking
Cooking diner balancing a child on your hip can be a bit dicey at times, but with the Baby Ergo, I can just chuck her on my back and away we go. You do need to watch the flailing legs sometimes – and the odd wandering hand grabbing something off the side, but that comes with the territory – as a babywearing parent you get used to that kind of thing anyway.

2. Clingy moments
Babe can often be quite needy in terms of physical closeness, which I don’t think is such a bad thing – after all she is only two years old and she still spends quite a lot of time away from me while I’m working. There are times, when she just wants to be carried everywhere even when we are in the house. The other morning I found myself doing the ironing with her on my back, the perfect way to keep the wayward toddler under control!

3. Out for a walk
Babe is walking quite a lot now, but there is only so far her little legs can take. At the weekend we headed up to the forest for a poddle around the childrens trail. As it happened, she was not in the mood for walking at all, so we were able to put her on our fronts or backs and get around the trail in about half the time – result. It meant I actually had time to go to the supermarket afterwards!

4. Busy Christmas and January sales shopping
So you’ve tried navigating down the high street with a  buggy, and its a TOTAL nightmare. There is something inside my head that is crying out at me saying “charge, full steam ahead”. But I’m just a tiny bit too polite for that. It’s a stress you really don’t need to add. The carrier has been a godsend during December and January for any trips into town, and its small enough to bag up and carry when she wants to have a little poddle.

So as you can see, my love affair with babywearing remains strong.

Babywearing Your Toddler

We’re all babywearing again in our house – even babe who I caught trying to put her teddies in the mei tai one day. The advancement has come in the form of upgrading to an Ergo Baby. 

Why change again?
After getting the Babyhawk Mei Tai for mother’s day earlier in the year, hubby’s opinion of it swiftly moved from skepticism to envy. At the same time, there was not a cat in hells chance that I was going to get him to use the mei tai. After a few months of being out and about and striking up random conversations with people we saw using the Ergo Baby, hubby was won over. We quickly concluded after some additional research from the expert babywearing mums on twitter that this was the way for us to go – sell the Mac Pack walking rucksack and BabyBjorn and get an Ergo active.

Ergo Baby in front carry

Quick thanks to my advisors
I should quickly say a big thanks to the following lovely twitter ladies for their feedback, that was all important in helping us make our decision. Much appreciation goes to Tamar England, Morgan AKA CityMama2Q  and Maverick Baby. There are some other babywearing twitter mama’s that I haven’t mentioned…a thank you to you too. I should also thank Surfer Girl who originally commented on my sling post and mentioned the Ergo – thanks chuck.

I’ve got to admit, the mei tai has taken a bit of a back seat since we got the Ergo. I have still used it a couple of times – nursing in while cooking the tea and for a more stylish look when going into town. That said, here are the reasons why I love the Ergo for carrying a toddler:

1) Easy and quick to put on, no faff, just over the shoulder and buckle into place

2) Extra padding round the waist, which is really good now babe is getting a bit more hefty.

3) Has a little pocket (well I’ve not used it yet, but I can see how useful it could be)

4) More unisex – ours is in a lovely green

As I alluded to above, the mei tai still wins over in feminine style (well yes I do look like a little chinese woman but it’s definately more lady like than the all buckle outdoorseyness of the Ergo). I also find the mei tai easier to haul round from front position to side, I’m struggling with grasping the side carry in the Ergo.

More toddler carriers
I am very excited, Slumber-roo an online sling retailer is also sending me a Scootababy and Boba soft carrier to review – so it will be interesting to how these compare to the Ergo and Mei Tai. I’m afraid it might leave me wanting to buy another carrier though. Review coming soon.

Wrap-up and get babywearing

Guest post from Michelle Mattesini from Devon API.

My nearly 3-year-old daughter came across one of my chunky knit scarves the other tonight in a drawer she had not previously explored sufficiently. After various attempts to attach herself to the knitwear she was able to discover a way of enveloping her stuffed toy pig into the ‘wrap’ and allowing it to breastfeed! I realised that her blossoming skill is something I will be able to help her with if she chooses to babywear her own little ones. It struck me as strange that babywearing is something I do every day and yet something I had to learn as an adult – there was no inherited skill to be passed down or modelling to absorb or any direct wrap-related experience as a child that would infuse me with a sense of what to do. 

Michelle with her eldest in the Moby in Tromso, Norway during a house-swap holiday

I admit that the initial arrival of my 6m long Moby Wrap was tinged with the idea that this was unfathomably complicated and more Asian than Devonion. An Eeyore toy assisted in some pregnant wrap practice and I now hope  that rather like riding a bike, my ability to unfurl, loop, throw and tie a piece of fabric to turn it into a baby’s favourite place will stay with me forever.  The wrap was a Moby, a conservative choice in black, no rings or buckles and made in Thailand. What was made in the home of a Thai woman was then the home of our first daughter for at least 8 months. Sometimes I felt like a curious oddity, but very quickly I felt undressed without it! The benefits were wonderful – I have beautiful memories of looking down at her blue eyes as she woke up from a snooze, of friends cooing at her sleepiness tucked up and cocooned through the winter months, of being able to hold on to her when otherwise she may have been unnecessarily prodded, stroked or pulled away.

My husband loved wearing the Moby too – he would walk for hours along the seafront listening to audio books while our baby slept. I often stayed home tucked up and grateful for some precious extra sleep knowing she was safe and happy. My husband is a large guy so with his coat done up over the wrap on a cold day he cut a strangely malformed silhouette that was often only explained by the emergence of a tiny hand. That waving hand transformed my husband from would-be beast to adorable dad! As our daughter grew we bought an Ergo having read every review and blog posting and forum we could find – it became an obvious next step and that Ergo is now literally coming apart at the seams from near constant daily wear through the last stages of my first daughter’s babywearing life (via Spain, Portugal, Norway and further afield).

 I was excited about reviving my Moby for the arrival of my second daughter – I even went a little wild and bought a silk shimmer Moby D – but I couldn’t quite find a position that worked (that dodgy shoulder) so we bought an Ergo Heart2Heart Infant insert. After 6 months we are both weaning ourselves off the comfort of the insert and enjoying so much feeding in the Ergo that I regularly forget how eye-opening my profile view often is.

An elderly gentleman noticed our baby in the Ergo today and only later, when I realised I hadn’t bothered to pop my nipple back in my shirt, did I wonder what or who he was referring to when he said ‘what a bobby dazzler’! Even without the insert, heart-to-heart we remain and perfectly positioned for lots of love-gazing.

Next month we head to South America to stay with friends.  Travelling with the carrier always reminds me of how safe baby and I feel together, we can float through airports (even through security scanners) and having hands for luggage and other little hands is incredibly helpful. We also discovered with our youngest daughter that once she was up and walking, the wrap was great in crowded places because she was above the dangers of cigarettes, shopping baskets, elbows and licking dogs! The wrap also allows us places a buggy couldn’t go…through dense forest, small shops, across sand dunes, over the many stiles where we now live. Sometimes, not being able to see your own feet ensures a need for extra cautiousness, but it’s nothing pregnancy doesn’t prepare you for!