While it comes easily to some nursing pairs, other moms and babies just don’t breastfeed discreetly.
Sometimes getting the right positioning, latch, and keeping baby focused gets all messed up by trying to use a cover, or position clothes discreetly and the mom ends up with a crying/screaming mess instead of a happily feeding infant or toddler. Read More
I know you love wrapping your baby: the closeness, the connection, and the convenience! AND it’s so pretty! And mastering the different wrap carries is fun and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment!
Naturally, you want to share this amazingness with EVERYBODY. But does everybody want to hear? Are you just turning everybody off of babywearing with your enthusiasm?
Walking Mums offers Intro to Babywearing Walks for trying out different kinds of carriers
Motherhood is an experience that is unique to each of us yet there are certain experiences that many of us have in common. That’s why other moms can be the best allies and friends and help to keep us sane and make us happy.
Jay (founder of the organization) understood that because she felt the absence of that “village” of moms when her baby was born and out of necessity Walking Mums was born.
Each month I give at least one wrap to a Babywearing Group Lending Library. For September I asked groups to send me a photo of babywearing in front of a landmark in their region, or something that epitomizes the region. Today, for Share Your City Saturday (International Babywearing Week), I am sharing some of the photos that were submitted and announcing winners! Scroll to the bottom for winners and enjoy all of the photos along the way!
Babywearing in cities across the globe:
Babywearing with the Kelpies in Falkirk in Scotland – a landmark that represents the engineering famous to this area particularly on the canal and that arts which are a big part of Scottish history. The kelpies were completed last year in celebration of the canal and the renewed industry around them created by the opening of the Falkirk wheel in earl 2000s. From the Forth Vally sling meet.
Continuing with the costume themes, babies as animals are always cute. You can go really simple (buy a hat with ears from etsy, or put butterfly wings from the dollar store around your wrapped baby), or really get into it with a full family costume or a glowing jellyfish umbrella!
It will be October in a couple of days. Have you thought about incorporating your baby carrier into your costume?
These are some of the great costumes entered into Wrap Your Baby’s annual Facebook costume contest in years past. These are some of the “character” costumes inspired by literature, media, even the corn flakes commercial!
In the United States we really like to celebrate our independence with fireworks. This presents a bit of a challenge to parents of young children because:
fireworks happen after bedtime and
fireworks are loud and can be startling and
fireworks are usually accompanied by huge crowds and
the huge crowd is in the dark in an unfamiliar place but
many kids love fireworks.
On Independence Day or New Years Eve, or any other celebration that may inspire fireworks, we must choose whether to stay home where our babies and small children can go to sleep before they become too upset, where they are less likely to be scared, and where we don’t have to worry about counting our children every ten minutes and coming home with the same number we left with . . . or taking them to the thrill and public spectacle of the fireworks!
If your kids are 4 or older, they may have their adorable little hearts set on going. If they have younger siblings, this may mean you’ll be taking a baby or toddler to the fireworks, too.
If you have only one child, don’t make them stay if they don’t want to stay.
Warn kids ahead of time that it will be SO LOUD. Maybe even louder than ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD!
Buy glowstick necklaces or bracelets for your kids to wear. They’ll love them, and they’ll be easier to keep track of.
Before it is totally dark, and before the firework display starts, let them run around on the grass and play with other kids, if there is enough space for them to do so and you can keep your eyes on them. Realize that this whole event may super-energize your children and you want them to get it out while there is still daylight!
Bring a blanket and pick a spot so you are ready to sit down and sit your children down to look up when the fireworks start. It is much easier to keep track of children who are sitting!
A note about courtesy:
Some people really don’t like fireworks. Some of them are children. Some are grown ups. Some are war veterans. Some are mothers of sleeping babies. If you want to practice good manners or just avoid having flaming poop hurled at you, skip setting off your own fireworks around homes that may not be interested in participating.
The photos here were submitted to me by babywearers on Facebook after the 2013 fireworks.
picture by Christi Bedell for BWI of North Central Illinois
Help me teach statues to babywear for International Babywearing Week this week! Wrap up a doll or teddy on a statue, snap a picture and post on my Facebook wall.
Statue should be a person or humanoid animal. No inanimate object statues like cars.
Someone–teddy, doll, or real kid (if safe)–must be in the carrier on the statue. No entries with empty carriers on statues!
One picture per individual.
Unless it is for your babywearing group, then you can post as many as you want.
If posting for your group, include a link to your group. Link should be included on every picture you submit for that group.
When you post the picture, state the city (and country if not United States) where it is located so we can enjoy knowing all the places featured in the contest.
Pictures must be submitted by end of day Monday, 14 October.
One individual AND one babywearing group will be selected to receive a wrap or ring sling. The carrier may be new or used (in good condition). I’ll have to see what’s available when I pick winners! Be sure to check back here to see the winners, and they will also be announced on Facebook.
She was gentle, as many of the moms had no ballet experience. All of them are babywearers, but this was the first time wrapping for many of them. I provided the EllaRoo woven wraps for this fun day. So many moms wanted to participate that we had two classes back to back.
You can GET A THIN, LIGHT, ELLAROO WRAP HERE, perfect for Summer and for fitness with your baby, whether you want to keep baby in a front carry or a back carry. We even had twin moms and nursing moms dancing in these wraps!
A recent discussion on the Babywearing International Facebook page prompted this post. Because this is something babywearers hear a lot.
By wearing your baby in public, we invite others to open up about their babywearing experiences.
middle-aged lady in the thrift store, “All they had when mine were babies was the Snugli!”
excited Asian man: “That’s how mothers carry their babies in my country!”
checkout clerk at the supermarket: “I had one of those when my daughter was a baby!”
mom with arms full of baby at the library: “I got one of those for my baby shower but I couldn’t figure out how to use it!”
African grandmother: “I haven’t seen that since I was a little girl!”
mother with a stroller, perhaps sadly or defensively: “I have one of those but my baby hates it.”
We all know that different things work for different families. The reason why this statement bears further looking into is because many babies who don’t like the sling, really do like it once the problem is found.
How can you respond to a parent who claims that their baby hates being wrapped up?
First, be willing to accept that it is true.
Second, be interested enough to discover if a change might be all that is needed to lead this parent and child to a happy babywearing relationship. You might end up with a friend for life!
Many babies “don’t like being worn” when it is new to them, and when they can tell it is new to their mommy, who is putting out uncertain vibes all over the place. Many babies “don’t like being wrapped up” when it takes too long to wrap them up, and the process is too fiddly, as is often the case when a mother is learning the art.
This mama may benefit from having your help to wrap her and her baby up more quickly, postponing the learning curve until baby is more familiar with the wrap. She may benefit from practicing on teddy bears for a while so that she can learn how do the motions smoothly, quickly and confidently so that it does not try her baby’s patience when she next puts him in the wrap.
Many babies “don’t like the sling” when they have not given it a chance on a good day, when they are dry, and clean, and rested, and fed, and cuddly.
Simply suggesting that the mamma try wrapping up only when baby is in a cheerful mood could change the course of their babywearing adventure. Assure her that once they are both accustomed to wrapping, it will be a life saver during the tired and cranky times, too!
And many, many babies “hate being worn” when the wrap or carrier is too loose, or not adjust quite comfortably enough by a new mom.
For any of these babies (and their parents), a little help goes a long way. Having a friend tweak the carrier (snug this up, pull this down and that up, tilt baby this way…) could result almost instantly in a cozy, snoozing baby and an amazed and happy mamma.
Many babies “hate to get wrapped up” because they dislike the process of getting into the carrier…but are happy once it is all done and they are comfortable.
Tell this mama to go for a walk immediately upon tying the knot. A walk is best because you have the benefit both of the motion of walking, and the distraction of scenery. Babies soon find that the wrap means they get to explore the world comfortably from a really good vantage. But if there’s nowhere to walk: sway, dance, start moving. Housework works really well, too. Baby will likely come to anticipate the fun part of babywearing, and become patient with the process (and, of course, mama will get faster and faster at it the more she does it).
Babies, like the rest of us, can be very particular about details that can be difficult for us to predict given the language barrier. One baby doesn’t like pressure on his tummy; another baby wants to be able to kick her feet; the next baby doesn’t like feeling constrained; and a fourth baby wants to face the world.
Ask the parent if they’d like your help to try out some different positions, or different carriers, to see if there is one that baby will be happy with.
One thing I love about woven wraps is that they offer the most versatility for working with an individual baby’s needs. A mother may need to baby her injured shoulder, or is uncomfortable with a knot digging into her chest, and wrapping gives her the options to accommodate her particular needs. So wrapping can also accommodate baby’s needs. But in this case you may need to try a few different things to find out what the objection is, and what position will find favor with the little one.
Many babies prefer being held upright rather than in a cradle position, and upright carries are recommended from birth as a better position for novice babywearers to keep an infant’s airway clear. If mama has been working a cradle carry, show her how to wear baby upright.
Some babies don’t like having their feet wrapped in the carrier, and there is no need to tuck a baby’s legs into the carry, no matter how young. Help the mama find a comfortable position for baby’s legs with knees froggied higher than baby’s bottom, but still free to hang down. Make sure baby’s legs are not spread uncomfortably to straddle mama, but rather bend up in front of baby between mother and baby.
Some babies will be much happier if you wrap with one or both shoulders and arms outside the wrap. They feel less constrained. These babies might be the one who do not appreciate being swaddled (and might well want their legs out, too, as mentioned above). If baby needs head support, one side of the wrap can be pulled over arm, shoulder and the back of the head (see photo below), while baby’s face is directed toward the more open side, where his or her other arm can be out. This also allows for more of a view.
Some babies want to be able to see the world–not be tucked in against a parent’s chest. You can try wrapping one or both of baby’s arms outside the wrap to give them a better view. You can position baby sideways in the wrap, or wear baby in a high back carry that allows a view over mama’s shoulder. You can try a burp hold with baby high up on mama’s shoulder looking over her shoulder behind her. You can use a hip carry once baby has sufficient head control.
A baby with reflux may do well in a tummy to tummy position, while another reflux baby may hate any pressure on his or her tummy and do better in a sideways position.
Wrapping with baby's arm out of the wrap.
Burp Hold for colicky babies or those who like a view.
If your baby hates babywearing, you may be able to solve it and change that. And even if you cannot solve it, know that everything changes with babies. Often. Try again every couple of weeks. It may suddenly click for you both, and become a valuable parenting tool from which you both derive a lot of enjoyment!
Babywearing groups are great resources for a parent who would like to wear a baby but has a baby that hates to be worn. Your local babywearing group will usually be full of people who have a lot of babywearing experience and different babywearing experiences that they can share with you. They are part of the group because they really want to help make it work for you. Many groups have a lending library so that you can borrow and try out a different carrier, and if they do not, you may find group members who will lend you one of their own carriers to try.
Seventeen years ago I saw a woman wearing her baby in a cloth tied around her torso in a grocery store on Connecticut Avenue in Washington DC. I was 15 years old, and I didn’t know what it was or how you do it, but I decided then and there to wrap up my babies. I didn’t say anything to her. She never saw me, or knew how much she had just effected the course of my life.
I like to think that every time a mama wears this lending library wrap out in public, some teenager, or parent, or grandparent, or person is going to admire it, and quietly go home and find wrapping for themselves.
And if just half of those people one day show one friend, or neighbor, a stranger at the park, or their pregnant sister-in-law how to wrap up their babies . . . well, watch out Democrats and Republicans, because babywearers are about to become a majority party in our nation! (I apologize in advance for this next sentence…) A party running on a platform of love.
No pressure, DC-MD-VA mommies. Please feel free to just wear Vicky around the house, too!
“I wish they had those when my babies were little!”
We modern babywearers often hear this sentiment ridiculously often. I would be surprised to meet a babywearer who hasn’t been told this at least once.
Yet our baby carriers are modeled after cultural babywearing carriers that have been used around the world for centuries!
The period of time in which European and American babies have not been worn, is really a very short gap and we are now returning to something more workable than strollers and bucket seats. We are going back to something simple and functional. Read More
Is it a good idea to wrap up someone else’s baby when you are caring for them? What about when your baby or toddler is with grandma, the babysitter, or at daycare–should you encourage those people to wrap your baby?
A baby wrap is a safe, warm, known refuge for a small person from all the confusion and excitement of the wide world. Being able to provide that safe place for your baby when mommy is away is one of the great boons of babywearing and it is a lucky baby or toddler who has alternate caregivers that wear him or her until mommy’s return.
* Wrapping up a baby that is not yours will keep him more content.
* A wrap will make it easier for you to provide loving care.
* It will provide the baby with a familiar and trusted environment, like a favorite teddy or security blanket.
* It tells the baby that he or she is safe and loved.
* Wrapping up baby will most likely put the baby to sleep.
Teach your babysitters, daycare, and extended family about wrapping. Show them it’s not so hard. Let them find out for themselves how rewarding and wonderful it is, both in keeping baby content and in the way it will warm their own hearts to be wrapped up with such a cuddly bundle.
I guess “feminism” means different things to different people. If it means freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without regard to sex or gender, then none of us should feel like the needs of the feminism movement should dictate our choices. It means that condemning a woman for going to work or staying at home are equally preposterous, and equally harmful to the cause of feminism. It means that bottlefeeding and breastfeeding are both banners of equality and freedom and a woman can know that the less of a hard time she’s given for her parenting choices, the greater the progress of feminism.
The arrival of gender equality should mean that criticizing mothering practices is as rude as arguing with someone about how they decorate their homes.
It is true that how we raise our children is of more interest to society than how we decorate our homes. The results of the former affect us all. But those who feel strongly about how children should be treated can take solace when considering that just as children learn values from their parents’ actions and choices, so can our friends, relatives, and even strangers learn values from observing us. How happy our children are, how fulfilled we seem. If our family interactions inspire others to strive for a similar level of love, compassion, communication and understanding, then we are affecting the families around us more than we ever could by warnings or advice.
This was supposed to be about babywearing, so now I’ll come to it. Babywearing has many benefits for mothers and babies. A mother need not babywear because she thinks she ought to. I hope that mothers will give it a try because it can help make mothering easier. A happy baby makes mothering easier. A baby who cries less, makes mothering easier. Having hands free to feed herself or brush her teeth makes mothering easier. And if it doesn’t make your life easier, or if you don’t want to give it a try, that doesn’t reflect on the quality of your mothering. It just means that you’re not exactly the same as me. It would be kind of creepy if you were.
And for those who think that nursing and babywearing are bad for women, keeps them home when they want to be out, keeps them out of the workforce when they wish they were pursuing careers, to those people I say:
1. Stop assuming that your values and interests are mine! There are as many different ideas of the perfect life as there are human beings. Some are glad to get out of the workforce. Some feel privileged and excited at the chance to raise children full time. Some wish they could stay home but work out of necessity, and some are very happily nursing, babywearing and working a fulltime job.
2. Nursing and babywearing both make it easier to get out of the house, whether it’s every day as a stay at home mom, or action-packed weekends as a working mum. With no bottles to prepare and to keep cold or warm up, and no overstuffed bags to carry them around in, going out is a breeze. No need to be home when baby gets hungry, the perfect food is always ready at the perfect temperature and anywhere is a good place to feed baby.
Babywearing means you don’t have to pack, unload, or set up a stroller, and you don’t need space in your car. You don’t have to change your plans to accommodate the giant wheeled beast—babywearing can go anywhere that it’s safe for babies to go. You don’t have to schedule around naptime, since baby can nap contentedly in the middle of a festival when wrapped up. There is less stress from keeping your toddler in sight or out of the street, and you have less to fear from tantrums or accidents when you keep your baby or child wrapped against you.
As far as the pursuit of happiness goes, I assert that babywearing makes mothering easier in that it helps fulfill babies’ needs more easily, making for an environment in which a mother has more freedom to fulfill her own needs, and partake in the activities that make her happy. Feminist babywearers Unite!
Attached Parenting is a label but you don’t have to have heard of it, studied it, or carefully adhere to it. The heart of it is to listen to and respond to your baby. No one ever hurt, spoiled, or confused a baby by listening to and responding to them. In fact, the practice of listening to and responding appropriately to 4 year olds, 12 year olds, 30 year olds, and 80 year olds alike will be found to increase mutual affection and respect, to produce a greater amount of common ground and shared feeling, to result in more, better, happier, and clearer communication and exchange of ideas, valuable to both parties.
Listening to and responding with love has never taught an individual to expect the world to revolve around them, but it has led individual’s to expect a certain degree of caring and kindness from those they choose to share their lives with. It teaches them to expect more than shallow friends, seek out better than “fair” romantic partners, and to care for others with honesty and integrity, free from agenda.
I urge you not to let social politics dissuade you from answering the needs of the helpless infant entrusted to you. I promise you that the bawling babe has no thought to manipulate you. What depths must a society fall to that such base motives could be assigned to our babies? Our BABIES?
And I remind you that taking care of ourselves and our needs is a full time job, that those of us blessed with parenthood are given a most impossible task in caring in full for the needs of another while we are supposed to be keeping ourselves going as well. If you need to use the bathroom and close the door to get some peace for one minute before you pick up that crying baby, I will not say that you have acted wrongly. Get what help you can in this task from your partner, your siblings, your friends, your parents, your neighbors, church, or community. Don’t kick yourself when your baby has to wait. Take a deep breath and allow yourself a little peace as you do what you need to do. This way you are more likely to be able to embrace your baby with love rather than resentment and in so doing you are more likely to comfort him and still his crying and fulfill you both.
And for those who wonder if some people take Attached Parenting to the extreme, and for those who ask Are You Mom Enough?…I encourage you not to close your minds to the possibility of breastfeeding, cosleeping, or babywearing out of hand. You make your parenting choices that work for you and your family and you cannot know, cannot even imagine, until you are a parent. And those of us who are breastfeeding, cosleeping and babywearing are doing it because it works for our families.
Yes, there are tons of wonderful reasons for me to nurse my babies, but it is no small thing to a mother of three that it is easier, faster, and simpler than any other feeding method. Do I enjoy not having to mix or prepare formula, store it in and out of the house, clean or disinfect bottles, pay for the pleasure of the extra work week in and week out, or try to stall a screaming baby in the middle of the night with stories of a bottle that will be ready soon? I do. I wont judge you if you do it a different way, but I’m doing what works for my family.
Cosleeping may reduce the risk of SIDS but since I breastfeed, it also means I don’t have to get up in the night. It means everyone in my house gets more sleep. It means I don’t have to strategize against my baby or toddler, battle planning how to get him or her to sleep in their own bed, forcing them to get used to sleeping alone, tricking them into thinking that I’m still there. I don’t have to listen to my baby crying while I count out the appropriate number of seconds or minutes before my strategic plan allows me to respond… That said, my first baby only slept with us for about 4 months because we did NOT sleep better together at that point. I laid her in her own bed with as much compassion, time, and patience as I could each and every time. It was not particularly easy, but it was worth it. See how I’m just doing what works for my family? The answer for your family is probably, whatever arrangement allows everyone to get the most sleep. Parents who “don’t cosleep” may also find that they let their child into their bed, or climb into their child’s bed in the middle of the night anyway when they are too tired to enforce the house rules. Why not embrace it and look forward to waking up in a family bed, sun streaming through the windows on sleeping angels of various sizes, waking up to a cuddlefest or a tickle war, or a pillow fight, or a good book read together?
To say that extreme “APers” even let their baby into their bed is, in my opinion, disingenuous. It implies that this is new, radical, and a major sacrifice. The truth is that separate baby beds are the new fad, part of our culture of baby things that keep a baby out of a parents’ arms. I don’t condemn their use out of hand, but I cannot condone the suggestion that not using them often and regularly is some kind of a crazy, creepy, cult experience. Young babies are safest sleeping beside adult human beings (only given that you are not on drugs or pills of any kind, not under the influence of alcohol, and are otherwise healthy and capable). Our presence helps keep their new systems working, and if they do stop breathing in their sleep, we are likely to wake and find them and start them again. And can the fact that most of the families with several children are the cosleepers please put to rest the myth that cosleeping means no sex life? Becoming a parent means creative sex. No more same-time, same-place marital rut for you. Now you’re going to have to be spontaneous, seize the moment, and be willing not to “just finish up these dishes first.” I intend to get myself a bumper sticker: CoSleepers do it on the Couch.
Babywearing is one of my favorite things. That’s why I’m here (on this blog; not why I’m here on this planet—how extreme do you think I am?). I can—and do—go on about the benefits of babywearing, how it promotes babies’ development physically, mentally, and emotionally, but that doesn’t mean I think a baby that doesn’t get wrapped up is specifically at any disadvantage. Just as I think organic food is MUCH better for a child, or anyone, I cannot tell the organically fed children from the conventionally fed. We do the best we can with what we have and with what works for our families. Sometimes my family eats organic, sometimes it’s not in the budget. Babywearing, however, fits my life and budget very well. We don’t have the room or inclination for a stroller. We do a lot of hiking and climbing, and touring down cobblestone streets. We go to beaches, wade through creeks, crowd into little coffee houses, visit Rennaisance Festivals and engage in many other unpaved adventures. I have all these things to fit into my days that I cannot always schedule around naptimes—so babywearing means naps happen at the beach, or wherever we are and doesn’t keep us from pursuing the day’s activities. Besides that, I have three kids, myself and my husband to keep up with, I have all of us to feed and I need my hands free, I have my toddler’s hand to hold in parking lots, and I need to be able to chase her at a moment’s notice. No, mine is not a strolling life. Babywearing works for my family and makes my life easier.
I don’t do any of these things by way of sacrificing myself for my children. Oh, having children means a lot less me-time, and a lot of changes, and I look forward to getting a lot of personal freedom and autonomy back as they get older, but in the meantime nursing, cosleeping, and babywearing make these rough but wonderful years easier, more pleasant, more fun for all of us. Believe me, I am taking the easy road, as I need every break I can get at this point!
Responding to a crying baby is never extreme. Every time a baby cries, he or she is communicating something. They are hungry, or tired, or wet, or hot, or lonely, or even just want to be held by a parent, and is that really something bad, to be discouraged? Why? Even when you cannot figure out what a baby needs, your being there, holding, comforting, singing, whatever you do, helps that baby get through the discomfort or unhappiness with your support. If you are my friend, please don’t leave me alone to cry just to teach me a lesson.
If we are teaching lessons here, can it be that the world is full of loving people, that none of us need be alone? How about acting in the best way you know how, without judgement of others doing the best they can?
I imagine all babywearers hear it, but wrappers more than most, I think: “I would never be able to do that–I’m not coordinated,” or “That looks so complicated,” or even, “I wish I could do that!”
If you are already wrapping your baby, you may have thought it looked hard at first, too. But now it’s easy. So what do you say to the lady in the store who thinks she could never do it?
Some moms in this community had great suggestions. Tegan says, “It’s easy once you get the hang of it!” Simple and believable 🙂 Then, she shows them! That is key!
Mandy offers to let people try her wrap. Because who is going to invest in a wrap if they don’t believe they can use it?
Siobhan explains that is much harder for her to listen to her baby cry. Ah, the emotional argument!
And Haddas tells them that her 6 year old niece taught her…that puts it in perspective!
So whatever you say, keep it light, and speak from the heart. Remember that saying something like, “It’s not that hard, and it helps me so much!” can be more persuasive than a well-thought out argument with bullet points and scientific references.