May 15, 2007

Adventures In WHAT?

I hear that from time to time- when I tell people the name of my blog. A friend of mine once said, "Babywearing? Steph, isn't that cruel?" He was only half-kidding.

Well, when I was pregnant with Gray, I was thinking about how this third baby was going to fit in. I joked that I was going to have to probably "wear him" in order to keep him safe from his big brothers and to keep track of all my kids. I was picturing th
e old woman in the shoe. And I only have three kids.

Then I went to a La Leche League meeting like a good little pregnant mommy- making plans ahead for nursin
g the new baby on the way. There I was in awe, watching moms actually wearing their babies (there was such a thing!) in beautiful cool slings. Babies happy and close to mama. Slings that looked more like fashion accessories than baby products. Function and Fashion? I was sold.

Right away I was online looking up baby slings and was amazed at how many different kinds there were. During my search, I learned of other wonderful benefits to wearing your baby. This was serious stuff!

Everything all just made sense, especially when Gray was just one day old and I put him in the sling for the very first time. Since day one he has loved it (and so have I!) It's hard to explain, but it just feels right.


When naming my blog, I kinda figured it as a play on words because yes, I do literally wear my baby in a sling. But also somedays I feel like I've got kids hanging off me and they literally wear me out. But isn't that just motherhood? I love it. Everyday is an adventure. So there you go.

I didn't like the idea of always boxing up the baby in a swing, play yard, or bouncy seat. Many babies are only held when being fed and then they are put down somewhere else so Mommy can do other things. I love the idea of being able to do those other things while still holding baby close, and giving them a better view of the world than from the floor, bouncy seat, or swing. That human touch is so very important, especially in the first year of life.

And I am not saying that I never put Gray down. He did start walking at 11 months and got plenty of tummy time and so forth.

There are no rules with babywearing. Basically you either have a baby sling and use it or you don't. You can be a "babywearer" and still own a stroller and put your baby in the cart at a grocery store. I do sometimes. Just depends on our mood. If my shopping trip warrants the sling, I'll do that. If the big racecar cart is available, then that's what you'll usually see me trying to maneuver around the store. It's basically whatever works. But I always make sure I have a sling with me!

Sometimes the sling is like magic. Definitely works like this for hubby. If I ever leave the hous
e without Gray, I must - my life practically depends on this- leave the mei tai (say it like MAY-tie... not like the drink!) Hubby will notice when Gray shows signs of being sleepy or just needing to be held. He'll put on the mei tai and usually in an instant he's out like a light. This is still the case and Gray is now 19 months old.

When you have a baby that doesn't feel well and nothing else seems to be working, try the sling. It can work wonders. Being held close to your heart and snug & secure is most often exactly what the baby or toddler needs. And instead of being imprisoned to a rocking chair or in front of the tv while you hold a sick child, wearing them in a sling offers you freedom to move about and still do other things.

The most common question I am asked is which type of sling is right for someone just starting out. I usually recommend the ring sling. You'll see these quite often and I love my ring slings still.
That was what I started out with Gray. You can see some lovely ones here at Nest. If you want to try one out, check out your local La Leche League. Most often they will sell slings or at least have some for you to try on! Also, if you already have a sling but aren't confident in knowing how to use it, check out The Babywearer.com here for great tips on how to use your baby carrier.

For newborn and young babies, I prefer the ring sling or an adjustable pouch. My ring sling is what I always have with me and is the fastest sling to put on. Lately my favorite way to wear him around the house or out on long walks is in the mei tai in a front or back carry.

All Natural Mommies offers some very nicely priced mei tais. My mei tai is a Free Hand Baby Carrier and I actually got it through a barter group online. Urban Baby Runway offers a great selection of different baby carriers. You sh
ould also check out The Babywearer.com's 'for sale or trade forums' for easy and inexpensive ways to get a new or used carrier in every style imaginable!

How many slings do you need? Well, I think you need just whatever suits you. One can be just enough! I used to have several but have since loaned quite a few out or given them away. I have a few ring slings (including a mesh water sling- I highly recommend for the shower and pool!!), an adjustable pouch, and my mei tai.

You and/or your baby will most likely develop a favorite. Gray doesn't discriminate and loves them all. How long will I wear him? As long as he wants to be worn, because I would gladly hold him forever...


Pictured above: black ring sling, red Mamma's Milk adjustable pouch, Free Hand Baby Carrier mei tai (by this photo he was just about to fall asleep!)

Also, please check out my Babywearing Tip of the Week every Friday!

52 comments:

  1. Great PSA :)

    I always recommend ring slings for first time wearers. Even though some may be a little intimidated, I think they are so much easier than non-adjustable pouches. I LOVE my adjustable fleece pouch from Kangaroo Korner (don't like their site though) but he was a summer baby so didn't get used right away and he was so big I couldn't do slings as long as I would have liked.

    Indeed, the sooner you start, the better. I was nervous so wanted a friend over and it was a couple weeks before that happened! Cricket hated the stroller so I was really thankful for slings and then I wouldn't have it any other way. Now he prefers the stroller.

    Mei Tais are my favorite these days. I wish I could use slings still, I always see the coolest ones (like nest!) but for my 22 month old, I gotta do Mei Tais. That is when he actually wants to be restricted.

    I'm with you, can't have just one sling/wrap/mei tai!

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  2. I love my ring sling and my mei tai, but I think now, my favorite thing is my wrap. Now that Jack weighs about 26 lbs, I like to use my moby wrap because the weight is distributed all over my back...or front...depending on the way I'm wearing him. He really likes the "joey hold" where he is facing outward on my front. He likes to be able to see from my point of view.

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  3. Well you know how I feel about babywearing (and my ring slings of course!) I think it's funny how much the papa's love the mei tai's - every Friday when I come home from Itsy Bitsy Yoga X is zonked out on David's chest in ours!

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  4. I love Slings! A Ring Sling worked best for me, but I have to say that I think it depends on mama's build and height and such to determine which one is more comfortable. It is also very important to try out a sling before you buy it if possible. Slings can be expensive and you want to make sure you get a good fit. Try a friend's on for size, visit a local LLL group and see if they are selling them as a fundraiser, or know of anyone who makes them at home. They can be less expensive if made by a mama and you can choose your fabric too!

    I also take a sling with me even when I take a stroller. Sometimes baby gets fussy and tired of being in the stroller. They need to be held. And slings are the absolute best if you are in a very crowded store or festival. etc... It's hard to manage a stroller in situations like that.

    Did I also mention, you can nurse in them too?!! When you get good at nursing, you can nurse and walk around at the same time and no one will know! LOL!

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  5. Thanks for the info. I am ready for babywearing this time around. Cara already started me with my first carrier, but I think I might invest in a ring sling soon. So many cute ones to choose from!

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  6. nice post. Your blog is "adventures in babywearing" ;-) shouldnt you have like one post per week w/ atleast one baby wearing photo LOL. Kidding.
    Loved the post.. and the photos are so cute. The ring sling looks really nice... and I love the Mei Tai. I cant wait to get my BBO.. and I disagree. YOU NEED MORE THAN ONE CARRIER! lol hahaha well no I guess thats partly true.. but the true babywearers cant be content w/ just one ;-) or maybe im just addicted... oh well, :-)

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  7. i wish i would have heard of all this with my children.
    I have never seen them until Andrea from fina 'drea had her 2nd little boy taite and came over to the house with him in it. I thought it was so adorable, but i never purchased one.
    Then she actually made one and gave it to me. My youngest is 10 months old and she does okay in it but doesnt like it all the time. I think if i would have started her earlier so would love them as much as all your children do.

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  8. Thanks for all the info! I always wondered how they worked! Too bad I didn't know about them 7 years ago...

    The pics to go along too!

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  9. To tell you the truth, I hate myself for not discovering your blog earlier. It would have save me a lot given that I tried a lot of baby carriers, all of them didn't work for me or my wife.

    Mike
    http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

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  10. We still are exclusive ring sling users over here. She will ask for it, when she's especially fussy. And I am TOTALLY bringing it to Disney World this summer. Guaranteed nap.

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  11. I love my ring sling...it's the only one I've ever used. I had a friend make it for me, but apparently I chose a bad fabric, because it's ripping, and I haven't bothered to fix it.

    I really need to...

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  12. I wish I would have used a sling when my daughter was first born. By the time I tried at 3 months she did not enjoy it at all. Too bad, I would have loved it! Oh well, maybe for the next one.

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  13. I SO wish I had one of these when my kids were babies!!

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  14. I think that I will have to get serious about finding a ring sling. I have the PeaPod and the Bjorn and my daugther doesn't care for either. As with my son, I find that she squirms too much and then gets frustrated.

    Quick question though Steph - did you find it a problem wearing your babies during the summer? Did they over heat at all?

    Thanks for the helpful links! If I can't find any around my city here, I will definitely be ordering one online!!

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  15. When my daughter was born nearly seven years ago, I didn't know anyone who used a sling. Now I see them all over! I found out about slings by searching on line for ways to console my colicky baby. I don't remember now where I bought my ring sling but it was from a WAHM.

    We used the sling daily until Daughter was probably 2 years old. She was (and still is) very petite but she didn't want to use it anymore.

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  16. I don't know what I would do without our slings.
    I started with Maman Kangaroo's stretchy wrap (http://www.mamankangourou.com/pbebe.php?l=en#t5) which was perfect when Kiernan was really little.

    I recently when in to buy a ring sling but walked out with a mei tai instead. I LOVE it.!! I still haven't figured out how to get him on my back by myself, but the hip hold works well, and it's one of the few ways I can guarantee Kiernan will fall asleep when I can't get him any other way. My husband uses the bjorn but I never found that one fit my body properly.
    I don't know what I would have done with my fussy/colicky/acid refluxy baby without babywearing!

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  17. I love baby slings. Luvvvv. WE've worn out one sling per kid, and each of our children has a beautifully centered personality which I attribute at least in part to their time in the sling.

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  18. I have been a ring sling junkie since my 1st was 5 months old. I am starting to have troubles with it though. Levi is 3 months and nearing 17 lbs. His weight has jumped so quickly that my shoulder and back are not happy. I'm not sure where to go from here. A Mei Tai or the Korean style that wraps around the chest??? Is there something else more suitable to babies with bricks in their bottoms? I've got big knockers too so that is another consideration.

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  19. I love babywearing too! I am still wearing Savannah at 11 1/2 months old, and she loves it.

    I, and I feel like I am in the minority here...love the Mei Tei from birth thru about 6 months, then prefer the ring sling. I liked the pouch too.

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  20. I loved wearing Emerson. I think I'd like wearing her like you have Gray in that last pic. I've always liked that sling in pics I've seen in the past. Maybe I'll look for one :)

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  21. I started with a baby bjorn and I sold it. I am now the proud owner of a sling and I love it!

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  22. Step...baby wearing ROCKS!!! ONLY a MAN would disagree! Or a woman that hasn't seen the light! ~l~o~l~

    You have to check out my blog from last Friday titled MOBY...I bet you'll never guess what it's about.

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  23. I was a babywearer...when my 3 monkeys were much younger. I think my 13 year son would be very unhappy with me now...but when they were all younger they loved it...I loved it...It worked for us. Thanks for sharing

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  24. Filtering LifeMay 15, 2007 7:41 PM

    Me + sling + baby = happy baby and mommy. I love my sling, although my daughter is a total moose...so after about 30 minutes I feel like my shoulder is in my shoes. I am glad I can start to wear her in different positions to take the pressure off. People are amazed to see a baby in public in a swing. My favorite questions, "Is that a baby in there?" Ummmmm...are you kidding me? No it is a monkey. I don't get that kind of ignorance.

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  25. The way I see it, babies are the perfect accessory to any outfit - they can hide a stain, cover up a roll, and take attention away from a bad hair day! Haha!

    Just kidding... seriously, if I have kids (of the human variety) of my own someday, I'm totally trying this. Thanks for the info!

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  26. I really REALLY want a mei tai for carrying theBeast right now...my ring sling causes me to have cramps! Ugh! Hubby thinks that my ring sling, and my pouch are plenty! So, I'm unable to buy one! Double Ugh!!! And my mom bought me a back pack snuggly, but those things are so bulky and hard to put on alone!!! They just don't understand that I NEED a mei tai. Oh, and thanks for the pronunciation becuase I've been saying it wrong all along!

    Oh, and when people ask me how I'm going to handle theBeast and a newborn I tell them that I'm going to have the baby in my sling so my hands will be free for the Beast. DUH! lol.

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  27. My sling (kangarookorner.com), a fleece adjustable one was a lifesaver for many months with four kids two and under. Reading through the comments makes me want to get it out again so my daughter doesn't forget how nice it is. I'm afraid she won't like it anymore. She's such a chunk at 25 pounds (7 months old) so the sling would be perfect for taking some of the strain off my back.

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  28. This is a great post! Thanks for the info! I have a 21 month old and a 5 year old. I have only had a wrap for a few months, but it is so nice to be able to put her in and not worry about where she is running off to. I am hoping for another baby, so I really want to try more carriers!!

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  29. Thanks for the link - and you know me even at 3 1/2 we are still "wearing" just about everyday! :)

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  30. I wear my baby until they're about 2.5. The best one which works for me is the Maya wrap. I find that it's easy,and versatille. I can cook, clean and do laundry with it, all without making my baby unhappy. He really likes it...it has lasted through 3 baby boys so far.

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  31. I wish I had known about baby-wearing when mine were little. I would have loved to do that. I guess I can give it a try on future grand babies.

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  32. I 'wore' my baby a lot when he was small (he's 1 1/2 now). He just loved it and it was the best way to comfort him.

    Those slings are really great. They look good and come in handy.

    A good thing to use.

    Sanna

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  33. Do you recommend buying one after the baby is born? Or before? I guess what I'm asking is, does it matter, size of baby, etc..I didn't use a sling with Bubbie and looking forward to it with the new baby. It is so nice to be able to do things that I didn't have the ability to do with Bubbie, with the new baby. Thanks for the post! So informative! :)

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  34. Excellent post! :) I never had any type of babywearing gear w/ my first-other than my arms. lol. I knew I wanted to try it this time around.
    Brennan is almost a month old now. He will nurse, burp, etc, but still be quite fussy. We'll bounce him, walk him, practially trying everything to soothe him. Then I remember the bbay carriers. I have a sling and a wrap. I get him in that wrap, and within minutes he is on his way to sleep. COntent, comfy, and peaceful, once again! I am AMAZED at how well it works. He is more content in the wrap at times than just being held in my arms. I love my moby wrap! (just don't care for the amount of time it takes to put on) He doesn't like the sling as much, but there are days he's happy in there, too. :)

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  35. I have two slings. A ring sling and a pounch sling. Lancelot didn't like the ring sling when he was newborn. He didn't like the cradle position at all, always wanted to be upright! (which is really hard when you can't hold your head up! lol!) Our favorite though is the pouch sling, which I got from Hotslings. For me, it's easier than a ring sling because it doens't have to be readjusted every time!

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  36. I was so looking forward to slingin my second baby, especially after seeing Cara's Rockin Baby sling, but then Kolbs was born with club foot, so the Bjorn was the best I could do for the first 3 months and then he was 20 lbs already so I bought the Ergo and we have been happy ever since! He is now 26lbs. at 14 months and still loves the front of back hold! I look forward to slingin the next baby (Lord willing)!

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  37. Very informative. Thanks!

    Just one question though... if you're wearing your baby, do your shoes and handbag need to match?? :-)

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  38. I LOVED wearing both of my babies! :) Great blog!!

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  39. my son is 2.5 years old and i still wear him from time to time. it has saved me a million times over!

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  40. Such an awesome and informative post, Stephanie! Thanks for all this information. If I have another baby, this is what I want to do! Just so sweet to be that close to your baby and for him to feel so secure all the time.

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  41. Thanks for the great post. It's nice to hear someone talk about the virtues of holding babies. I catch a lot of flack from my in-laws (and others)about not putting my daughter down more, how I'm spoiling her, how she'd never learn to get around on her own, blah, blah, blah. She turned over both ways before she was 4 months old and was cruising at 7 months. That didn't seem to be a problem. And how do you spoil an infant? Cross-culturally, we are a nation that holds our babies the least. Also one of the nations with the fussiest babies. Coincidence? I doubt it.

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  42. Thanks for all the great info! I'm considering getting something to carry my almost 10 month old (the front carrier - baby bjorn type - is just to hard on my back now) and definitely want to use a sling the next time around. If I were to only get one type for an older baby, would you recommend the mei tai?

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  43. Jana, personally I would recommend the mei tai! It doesn't take long to get good at it (looks complicated at first) and it is SO nice for your back! (Front or back carry!)

    Steph

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  44. I can't believe I didn't know that's what babywearing meant. Now that I DO know, it's pathetically obvious. :-)

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  45. Thanks for the info on the slings. I do not need one now, but good to know for future babies!! I see them everywhere and did not know which would be best to start with!
    thanks!

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  46. Great post. I LOVED my adjustable pouch when my daughter was a newborn, but since she is bigger now we almost always use a MT. I also use my Ellaroo Wrap, on occasion, if I am feeling adventurous ;o)

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  47. I love to see the babywearing love being spread. We just don't have enough babywearing education out there for new moms. I think it should be promoted in the hospitals more.

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  48. Babywearing is becoming more popular in Belgium too. Here's a Flemish site about babywearing... So if you ever get a question from a Dutch/Flemishspeaking person, you can refer them to

    http://www.doekentheek.be/

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  49. love your blog! i love slings too :) want to keep buying! hehe

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  50. All I can say is that I wish you were around when I had my two. Seeing that people are still scandalized by the realisation that I breast fed for three years in total you can imagine how isolated I felt at the time!

    I did attend some La Leche League meetings when I had my second child nearly ten years ago. But otherwise felt very isolated by the fact that I was spending my coffee breaks, once having returned to work, expressing so that the babysitter had food for him!

    I have always felt that baby wearing is how us ladies were meant to get on with the business of life, and I did it as often and as much as my decrepid body would allow me to.

    I wish I had had access to your website and blog way back then.

    Keep up the good work! You really are a revelation and an inspiration!

    Thanx

    Pauline
    http://www.freewebs.com/vincacards

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  51. I used Native Baby for my carrying. The first few times I used it, I felt like I might drop the baby. Once I got familiar with it and knew that was not going to happy I was in love. My daughter use to carry it to me to put it on when she felt like being near me!

    Also, BONUS, nursing on the go.
    can you say "meals on wheels"?

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  52. I spent hours carrying a kid hooked up to an IV, and *not* wearing him seemed like a bad, bad idea. With the Eldest snuggled close, he was more comfortable and we could walk, rock, sing (okay, so I never quite managed nursing in a carrier) or just be.

    I introduced another mom on the hematology-oncology floor to babywearing, and woke up one day to find myself a wrapper. Who knew this was so easy and so good - for me?

    okay, and also not so very unpleasant for the kid.

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