Thursday, December 17, 2009

Babywearing Choices

I think the practice of babywearing is incredibly beneficial for babies. I have practiced some form of babywearing with all of my children. I have many different slings and carriers. I have personally found the wraps and Mei Tei to be much more versatile, but it all depends on what you...and your baby, ...are comfortable with.

My velour lined denim tube and hemp cotton fleece pouch style slings are ideal for cradle carrying a newborn, or for hip-carrying a toddler. I have even found the denim one to be tough enough for carrying a 4-yo child for a short time. For tips on wearing your baby in a tube or pouch style sling, check out, and for instructions on making your own check out

I also have a Moby Wrap. Now this is a really fantastic wrap style baby carrier. This wrap is so versitile that I or my husband can both use it, it can carry a child from newborn up to 35 lbs with ease (is weight tested for up to 45lbs), and is made of soft, streachy cotton. For basic instructions on wearing the Moby Wrap, check out

For links to various tying methods appropriate for the Moby, and for the faux-Didymos described below, check out

I found the greatest deal on some open work knit fabric at Walmart...$1/yard!!...I got 5 yards, and just had to use it to make slings ...
I made a faux-Didymos style and a faux-Maya Wrap style, as well as junior versions of both for my daughters dress-up box, and I think they turned out beautifully!

Here is Kayla modeling both the faux-Didymos and the faux-Maya Wrap...

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To make the faux-Didymos, I took The 5 yards of fabric and cut the whole thing exactly in 1/2 along the full length of the material. I then cut off the last 2 1/2 feet or so from the length of one section (I'm short, LOL) and hemmed the large piece around with a 1/2 inch hem. Done! Easy as pie... You could taper the ends if you like, but with this fabric, I actually like it squared...I just gathered each end into a simple knot, and it looks great.

For tips on different ties with the Didymos style sling, check out

For the faux-Maya Wrap (ring sling), I took the remaining half of the full yardage and cut it in half, leaving 2 sections, each 2 1/2 yards long. I hemmed both sections around, giving me 1 Junior size faux-Didymos (pictured below). Taking the other, I folded one end in an even 3 to 4 inch wide zigzag (like a paper fan) and zig-zag stitched across a couple times about an inch in...folded the end down about 4 inches over 2 (2 1/2 inch I think, LOL) welded steel rings and zigzag stitched 3 or 4 times to securely attach them. Done! For ring sling/Maya style wearing instructions, check out

I then repeated the steps for the maya on the small reamining piece, using shower curtain loops that snap open (for kid safety) for the Junior faux-Maya Wrap (below)...

Here are Natalie and Madison modeling the Junior versions...

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I have a solarveil water sling. This amazing fabric is super lightweight, and fast drying, making it ideal for the pool, beach, or shower. Top that off with amazing sun protection blocks out 70/80 % of UVA and UVB rays with a single layer, and 90/95% with a double layer. Makes you really wonder why the company doesn't manufacture it anymore. Here's hoping they change their minds! With an ever dwindling supply available, I can't even express how glad I was to get my hands on some!

I also have a Podegi, which is WONDERFUL for backbakc carrying a toddler, but by far my favorite besides the Moby is my Mei Tei:

For more information on various types of slings and baby carriers, check out:

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Why Wear Your Baby? a FAQ

Here is some information on the benefits of carrying your baby
in a sling, pouch, or wrap, as well as some safety tips. Much of this information was gleaned from a longer
article at

Why Wear Your Baby in a Sling?

Babies whose mothers wear them in slings are calmer and cry less. In most
cultures, where babies are held almost constantly, they are typically in a quiet
alert state and rarely cry for more than brief periods.
  • Slings provide a gentle way of transitioning babies from the calm environment
    of the womb to that of the outside world. Babies in slings continue to be rocked
    by their mothers' movements and to hear their mothers' heartbeats. This helps them
    to regulate their own systems.
  • Babies in slings are more receptive to learning and display enhanced visual
    and auditory alertness.
  • It facilitates bonding. When babies are held closely, the adult and the baby can
    see each other's faces, leading to frequent verbal and non-verbal interaction,
    enhancing speech development.
  • Babies who are carried in a sling facing away from the adult get a bird's eye view
    of the world and its wonders. This kind of gentle stimulation enables babies to learn
    about their environment at their own pace.
  • Experiencing a wide variety of stimuli helps babies' brains to develop to their full
  • Mothers are more easily able to calm their babies if they are frightened, providing a
    safe haven.
  • It is easy to nurse discreetly when the baby is in a sling as the fabric shields both
    the baby and the mother from the public view.
  • Mothers find it easier to carry on their normal daily activities when they wear their
    babies. Both their hands are free and their babies are quickly soothed. Housework, shopping,
    walking for exercise and even using computers become more manageable tasks. Some mothers
    even take their babies to work in their slings.
  • Older children appreciate that their mothers' free hands can attend to their own needs,
    like tying shoelaces or making snacks.
  • Traveling is easier when babies are tucked securely into slings.
  • Twins can be worn in slings too ­ one on each side.

    Safety Tips

  • At first, help to support your baby in your sling with your hands. When you get used to
    the extra weight and learn to balance properly, you will feel confident enough to go "hands
  • Do not wear your baby in a sling in potentially unsafe situations, like by a cooking stove,
    when drinking (or carrying) hot beverages, or when using sharp knives.
  • Bend at the knees if you have to pick up an object, keeping one hand on the baby.
  • Remember that toddlers have long reaches, so keep well away from dangerous objects when
    carrying them in slings.
  • Walk carefully around corners and through doors.
  • When traveling, babies should only ride in approved infant seats made for cars or bicycles,
    never in slings.
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  • Getting Attached

    What is attachment parenting? What makes it different from other parenting styles? When you hear the term attachment parenting, you think, aren't all parents attached to their children? The answer is yes, and no. The norm for parenting in our country is to have lots of places to 'put' the baby. Playpens, swings, carriers, bouncers, walkers. Attachment parenting takes a more hands on approach.

    Attachment parenting is term coined by pediatrician Dr. William Sears (author of many books including The Baby Book with his wife Martha) more than 25 years ago. He noticed how mothers in other cultures raised their children in a natural, instinctive manner. The parents and children had a strong, secure attachment. Dr. Sears and his wife have raised eight children using the attachment parenting technique. They have also written several books on the subject.

    So what does it take to create an attached family? The eight ideals of attachment parenting are as follows:

    1. Preparation for childbirth

    2. Emotional responsiveness

    3. Breastfeed your baby

    4. Baby wearing

    5. Shared Sleep

    6. Avoid frequent and prolonged separation from your baby

    7. Positive discipline

    8. Maintain balance in your family life

    Preparation for childbirth-

    Connecting with your baby begins in pregnancy. Make an informed decision to make your birth experience positive for yourself and your baby. Maintain a strong relationship with your partner. Create a peaceful womb environment for your baby, and try to avoid stress. Prepare yourself. Learn what to expect at the birth of you child, and those early days. Take childbirth and breastfeeding classes.

    Emotional responsiveness-

    Emotional responsiveness means simply responding to your babys cries and cues. When your newborn turns his head and roots at his fist, pick him up to nurse. Each baby has their own special set of cues. Observe your baby. You will learn what all the little signs mean. Common cues or cries indicate hunger, tiredness, discomfort, and loneliness.

    Other reasons babies cry include overstimulation, mothers stress,needing to be held or put down, needs skin to skin contact for security,has gas or colic, or a 'high need' baby who requires lots of physical contact.

    Breastfeed your baby-

    Breastfeeding your baby gives them the optimal nutrition, tailored just for them. It provides many benefits for both mom and baby. So can bottle-feeding parents use the attachment parenting technique? Of course. Bottle-feeding parents can hold and feed their babies in the same manner as breastfeeding mothers. Switch positions during the feeding, and avoid propping the babys bottle so baby will benefit from the holding and touching.

    Baby wearing-

    Baby wearing is the practice of "wearing" your baby in one of several styles of carrier. Slings, pouches, front packs, back packs, and many other styles of flexible cloth carriers are used to secure the baby to the parent. The baby gets the benefit of being close to the parent and observing the world from a safe place. The parent gets a hands free way to carry baby and continue the tasks of daily life. Babywearing helps satisfy the baby's need for closeness, touch and affection.

    Babywearing promotes and strengthens parents' emotional bond with their baby.

    The movement that naturally results from carrying your baby stimulates their neurological development.

    Babies cry less when worn or held.

    Holding helps regulate their temperature and heart rate.

    Baby feels more secure.

    If you don't "wear", be aware:

    To hold your infant as often as possible (especially if bottle-feeding).

    Avoid the overuse of baby devices (swings, pacifiers, jumpers, plastic carriers).

    Babywearing facilitates easy outings and travel.

    Shared sleep-

    Shared sleep, co-sleeping, the family bed. In short it means the family sleeps together, at the infant stage. Shared sleep facilitates nighttime feedings, and actually reduces the risk of SIDS. It also increases the quality of sleep of both parents and baby. Safety is important, of course. A firm mattress, light coverings, and no heavy quilts. If parents are not comfortable with co-sleeping, then use of a "sidecar" style baby bed is fine. Having baby in a close proximity is the important thing. At an older age the child is encouraged to sleep in a separate, but nearby bed. Eventually the child will move to a room of their own. Check out for more information on safe cosleeping.

    Avoid frequent and prolonged separation from your baby-

    Babies have an intense need for the physical presence of their parents. Frequent seperation can interfere with the developement of strong attachment. If seperation is unavoidable, help your child work up to them. Avoid multiple caregivers. Introduce a responsible, consistent, loving caregiver. When you return to your baby, immerse them in love and affection. This will re-cement the familial bond.

    Positive discipline-

    Boundaries and limits are necessary as children grow. Positive, non-violent methods of discipline and loving guidance promote the development of self-control and empathy towards others. Begin by understanding that your long-range goal is to teach your child how to make good decisions. They learn by following their parental role-models, so be the sort of person you'd like your child to be.Learn the stages of child development and what is normal for these age groups.

    Maintain balance in your family life-

    Remember not to overextend yourself. An overworked, frazzled parent will lead to an overstimulated, frazzled baby. Do not overschedule activities. Find a support system within your community. Be sure to make some time for just mom and dad. Get a friend, family member, or mothers helper to play with the baby to give you and your spouse a little 'we' time.

    Remember, you can never be too responsive or attached to your child, or your child to you. It is virtually impossible to 'spoil' a baby, so don't hesitate to follow their cues, and your own heart. Do what is best for your child, your family, and yourself.

    For more information:

    1. Attachment Parenting International (API)

    Clairmont Place

    Nashville, Tennessee 37215

    Phone or fax: (615) 298-4334


    A big thank you to API for thier help in compiling this article.

    2. The Baby Book, William and Martha Sears, Little Brown & Company, New York, 1993

    3. Parenting the Fussy Baby and High-Need Child, William and Martha Sears, Little Brown & Company, New York, 1996

    4. The Attachment Parenting Book, William and Martha Sears, Little Brown & Company, New York, 2002

    5. Ask Dr. Sears-

    6. Kelly's Attachment Parenting-

    7. La Leche League-

    8. Get Attached Today!-

    9. Mothering Magazine-

    Enjoy getting attached to your baby! :D

    Busting Boredom

    There is nothing that can make the summer (or winter) seem longer than being bored. When your child tells you they are bored, here is your solution…

    With that first complaint of boredom, you will need to gather a few things, or you could do this in advance so you are prepared. You will need:

    • Construction Paper
    • Marking pens
    • Tape
    • Coffee can or wide mouthed jar (a pickle jar works well)
    • Writing paper or printer paper
    • Scissors

    To start, you and your child will need to make a list of activities that will bust the boredom…keep in mind that there are about 3 months of summer vacation, so you will need quite a few options. It is great if you end up with lots of ideas, as this project really works for any time of the year. Examples of activities to list include:

    Make a "Boondoggle" keychain

    Make a "Hairy Head" grass plant

    Make a pet rock

    Make boo-boo bunnies

    Make a painted shirt

    Make a handprint pillowcase

    Make a handprint apron

    Make rain sticks

    Make paper beads/ make paper bead necklaces

    Make a solar system necklace

    Build a dream catcher

    Make a tissue paper butterflies)

    Make fun masks

    Make a newspaper kite

    Make your own parchment

    Make "homemade" bubble bath

    Make a fairy (pdf)

    Make a fairy house for the garden

    Plant a fairy garden

    Print each project name neatly on the writing paper, or print them out on your printer. Cut them into strips with one project name on each strip. Make a label for your can or jar using the construction paper and marking pens, then affix it with the tape. Place the strips into the can or jar, and the next time your child cries boredom, have them draw out two or three options and do one. You may want to try and stock up on the supplies needed for the activities you list if they include things you don’t normally have on hand.

    Here is to a fun and boredom free summer.

    Happy crafting!

    The Art of Infant Massage

    Massage isn’t just for mom and dad anymore. Babies love to be massaged, too. According to new research from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in Florida, babies who are massaged regularly sleep more soundly, have stronger immune systems, and are less gassy and colicky than babies who are not. Infant massage is also a great way for parents to spend one-on-one time with their baby, and to create a very special bond.

    Infant massage isn’t just something for mom to be involved in either. Unlike breastfeeding, infant massage allows dad to establish a positive paternal bond which many fathers have a difficult time establishing. This positive paternal attachment will continue as the child grows. Not only that, but it will also allow mom that much needed alone time, to shower, to get last minute things done, or just to relax.

    You don’t need any special training to learn infant massage. Just choose a space that is safe for baby, ideally a cozy blanket on the floor. Don’t choose your best one, however, as you don’t want to ruin it with lotions or oils. Baby will be in only a diaper, so make sure the room is warm enough that baby will be comfortable. Wash your hands and coat them in a mildly scented lotion or oil, and rub them together so that they will be warm on your baby’s skin. Start at the head with soft gentle strokes, working over the face, chest, tummy, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Next gently turn baby over and massage her back. If baby fusses, you may be stroking too firmly, or she may be too cold. Try lightening your touch and covering her with a light blanket, exposing only the areas which you are massaging.

    Infant Massage Strokes:

    1. The Butterfly Stoke: This light stroke involves gently trailing your fingers over your baby’s body. It is best used on sensitive areas like the face, and is a great first stroke when introducing massage to your baby.

    2. The Twist: This is a light wringing motion is used for massaging baby’s limbs and involves placing your hands side by side, encircling the limb, and turning your hands gently back and forth. Hold baby’s arm or leg softly in your hands and massage by gently moving your hands in opposite directions, moving slowly down the limb.

    3. The Squeeze: This is a gentle pressing motion which involves gently sandwiching a parth of baby’s body, such as hands, fingers, feet, and toes, between your thumb and forefinger and pressing and rubbing very lightly.

    4. The Effleurage Stroke: This motion involves large firm strokes that sweep the palm of your hand along baby’s skin, exerting very gently pressure. This stroke is ideal for chest, tummy, and back. For ideal results, move your hands in opposite directions.

    As baby relaxes under the gentle motion of your hands she will likely drift off to sleep, feeling very secure with your soft gentle touch. Enjoy this special time together. It will most likely become your favorite part of the day.

    Building the Perfect Children's Library

    There is no greater gift you can give your children than a love of books. Reading to your child gives you both wonderful quality time together, and opens up the world of knowledge for you child. It is never too early to start to build your child’s library.

    Even the youngest infants love to be read to, and to look at and explore the bright colored pictures. There is a wealth of baby board books available to choose from. Your baby won’t mind if there aren’t even any words. Just the act of holding a book and looking at the pictures is stimulating to young minds.

    Some of our favorite baby board books include:

    Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

    Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

    Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

    Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

    Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz

    Here Comes Mother Goose by Iona Archibald Opie

    My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Archibald Opie

    The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

    As your child heads into the toddler years, reading to them becomes even more important. Their little minds are like sponges, and the things you read to them about now will stick with them for a lifetime.

    Our favorite toddler books include:

    Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

    Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin

    Peek-A-Who by Nina Laden

    Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth & Laura Huliska-Beith

    Where's Spot? by Eric Hill

    Brown Cow, Green Grass, Yellow Mellow Sun by Ellen B. Jackson

    From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

    What the Sun Sees, What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri

    When You Were a Baby by Ann Jonas

    Oh My Baby Bear! by Audrey Wood

    The kindergarten aged readers will want to start reading for themselves, though they will still delight in having mom, dad, or big sister read to them.

    Some age appropriate books for the kindergarten set include:

    Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

    Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10 by Judy Finchler

    First Day, Hooray! by Nancy Poydar

    The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing

    Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson

    Tiptoe Into Kindergarten by Jacqueline Rogers

    Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

    If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff

    The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

    Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

    Young readers will be much more independent in their reading, but they will still need some guidance in choosing books that are at the appropriate level. It is never too soon to start to introduce the classics, and there are many delightful ones just perfect for young readers.

    Some of our favorites include

    Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

    Stuart Little by E. B. White

    The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

    Eloise by Kay Thompson

    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

    The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

    Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

    I hope that you have a great time building your child’s library, and that you have a wonderful time reading and learning together.

    Preparing Your Older Children for a New Sibling

    The birth of a new child is an exciting time for any family. It means that there will be a whole new life, with all of its demands, added to the family. It also means great change for the family, which can be difficult for any older children to deal with. What sort of issues are common older sibling responses? How do you deal with them? How can you help your older child be more prepared for the arrival of a new sibling?

    While there is no way to completely prepare a child for the arrival of a sibling, there are some things you can do to help the transition. A toddler or preschooler may understand the basics of what to expect, but there is no way to completely prepare them. Jealousy will be inevitable, but you can help to smooth the way.

    Many hospitals and birthing centers now offer sibling classes that can help you child adjust to the reality of becoming a big brother or sister. Talking to your child about the impending arrival, involving them in your prenatal visits, and letting them attend the ultrasound are some easy ways to peak their interest, and allow them to adjust to the inevitable. Have them practice holding a baby doll like a real baby. Have them help choose the new baby's name. Allow them to pick out the coming home clothes for the new baby. These things will help ease the way before your new arrival is born.

    Some basic tools for you to help your young child adjust after the birth to the presence of a sibling are:

    Ease the initial meeting

    Arrange for siblings to visit if Mom and baby are in the hospital for a few days. When the new baby comes home, arrange for someone to bring over a birthday cake. Have the baby and your older child exchange presents. Have gifts on hand for the older child when friends and family bring baby gifts.

    Don't over react to your child’s misbehavior

    Your toddler or preschooler will misbehave to get your attention. Expect it, accept it and ignore it. Giving him or her negative attention just reinforces the idea that bad behavior will get them what they want. This will wear off in time.

    Give your toddler/preschooler one on one time

    Try to spend some one on one time with the older sibling; a book before bedtime, color together, or make a weekly event of McDonald’s for breakfast on Sunday. Let them know they are still your baby too and special. Encourage fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to spend more time with the older child, too.

    Let the older sibling help

    Give the big brother or big sister jobs that they can do with pride. Kids love to help and feel "grown up." They can gather items for diaper changes, pick out the days clothes, help fold laundry,Then praise them for their help and cooperation. Be specific when giving praise. "Thank you for folding the diapers. That was a big help to Mommy."


    Explain things to your child in simple terms he can understand. "The new baby is so little, she could fall out of a bed. She will use your old crib now."

    Even the most perpared child will have some issues with the addition of a new sibling. Some reverting to infant-like behavior is common in young children. They may want to have a bottle or pacifier returned, or take up carrying around that love-worn blanket again. They may be resentful of the time that must be spent with the new baby and demand constant attention from mom or dad. No matter how trying your older childs reactions are to the new baby, remember that it is all completely normal, and will usually fade away in a very short time.

    Best of luck to you and your expanding family!