Where Has Wrapping Taken You?

Now that I’m traveling fulltime in my wrap, I’m inspired by all the places it’s easy to get to with a wrapped up baby.  You know, like the middle of a creek:

Wraps in Creek

And isn’t it remarkable, the number of things you can accomplish with a wrapped up baby.  Like feeding your older kids, or vacuuming. Even using the computer.

Wrapping makes life easier, and I want every new parent to know it.  So I’ve decided to make a slideshow of photographs that demonstrate this.  I need YOU to send me your pictures. Where have you been, and what have you done?

From all the submissions I receive, I’ll choose not one, but THREE people to receive a really gorgeous glass mother pendant like this one (or another from my store):

Glass PendantSend your photos to me at diana@wrapyourbaby.com

Send as many as you like, but they should show a baby/child being worn in a wrap (not other carriers):

  • in an interesting or difficult to access location
  • at an interesting/unique event
  • or while accomplishing a task/multitasking.

I won’t use every picture, but please include this line in your email: I give you permission to use this picture (or these pictures) in promotional material.

Babywearing Excursions

Our dear friend Robby took us to the most beautiful national park yesterday: Grandview in West Virginia.  He also brought his camera so I have a great shot of me, my baby, and the heavenly forest surround.  I also have a slightly less picturesque shot of my husband with our one year old beside a breathtaking and treacherous ravine.

So, when wearing your baby out on hikes or other outdoor adventures this summer, I think my family photos can provide an easy to remember babywearing endorsement:

 

Wrapping makes it easy to hike and nurse!

Hands free nursing on a hike!

 

 

See what can happen if you don’t bring a wrap?

Is it summer, or what?

We’re crossing state borders regularly now, and so far we haven’t escaped Summer.  Most of the country is HOT right now! Mothers of babies are, perhaps, destined to be a little warmer than the rest of the population.  Like pregnant women, it is part of the package: we trade uninterrupted sleep and bodily autonomy for the joys of motherhood.

Well, growing a baby in your womb is hot work, and producing milk on demand is hot work, and holding a hot little bundle of joy is hot work.  The last thing you want is to wrap all that warmth up in a thick piece of fabric!

What to do?

My suggestions: thinner fabric, and cooler carries (less layers).  And when all else fails, how about taking your babywearing into the water?

Keep your baby’s comfort in mind, too.  Make sure neither of you are getting overheated.  If you need to, find an indoor playplace to replace outdoor playground outings.  Stay hydrated.  Use a hand held fan.  There are lots of options, and here are a few more ideas for staying safe and comfy in warm weather.

What tricks do you experienced babywearers have for staying cool while staying close?

 

https://wrapyourbaby.com/summerbabywearing.html

Wrap Your Baby . . . On the Road

on the road

Not content to go on supporting a life we don’t love ecstaticly, we are making a BIG change. My husband just quit his day job doing construction, even though construction pays the bills. But that’s the thing—we’re getting rid of the bills, too. We’re trading in work and bills for a life of freedom on the road, traveling, making music, spending our time together and showing our kids everything that’s wonderful in this wide world.

I can not tell you how excited I am. We’ve lived in this city for eight years and all three of our children were born here. Two of them have never been out of the state! June 17th, that’s all changing. That’s the date we drive away. It’s not a vacation, it’s a new life.

We don’t plan to do it forever. We have a long term dream of owning land and homesteading somewhere beautiful. The idea to travel was born of my husband’s music—this is a tour to sell his recently released album Son of Ojito.

Maybe a year. We’ll see how it goes. And we’ll also be looking out for our dream land as we go.

I am excited for Wrap Your Baby, too. Stripping our expenses as we are gives Wrap Your Baby an opportunity to really support us. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a labor of love, but even better if it can buy groceries, I say! And that’s the point of this change. We want to live on the things we love. If music and babywearing can support our family, how cool is that? Utopian, even!

I’m going to chronicle our adventures at FreeRangeDreams.com where I hope by spelling out how we’re making it work for us, that we might get cogs turning in other people’s minds too. No other family will want to do exactly what we’re doing, but I hope to inspire some ideas about how to live an unconventional life of your choosing. I might even run contests: make a drastic and wonderful change in your life and win a prize! What do you think of that?

Are there others out there living wild and woolly? Will you leave a comment to tell me about it?

 

New, to-die-for, gauze wraps, just in time for Summer!

The Gypsymama has magiked up three new wraps, each as stunning as all her others.  She is a remarkable woman, and for those who don’t know, she is responsible for the Bali Breeze wraps: breathtakingly beautiful works of batik art on gauze for the thinnest, coolest, babywearing around!

Bali Breeze Hope

Bali Breeze Hope: same wrap job shown below

Rainbow Hope Wrap

From her right side . . .

BBB wrap Hope

. . . and her left!

Although, most of the credit for the new rainbow wrap Hope has to go to Wendi Stemmons, who designed it and submitted it to the Gypsymama’s design-a-new-wrap contest.  The public spoke, and Hope was born.  This is my favorite of the three new colors and I think you’ll agree it’s a stunner!  But lovers of gray or purple will swoon for Lily, and the pink-brown pairing in Lana has caught many a covetous eye.  Aint it great to live in an age of such a wide color selection for wraps?  The space program is cool, too, but really, there’s a wrap that matches almost any mother’s dream, and that’s nothing to cough at!

Bali Breeze Lily

Bali Breeze Lily

 

Bali Breeze Lana

Bali Breeze Lana

 

So, while Hope is my favorite, I believe it’s one of the other two that has been the most popular.  Which is your favorite?  Or is your dream wrap as yet just a dream?  Feel free to describe your perfect wrap in a comment–I’d love to know!

New baby, no blog?

For those that are wondering, I do have the itch to blog many wonderful things now that I have a newborn.  And I am doing lots of wrapping, including nursing in the wrap and tandem wrapping with my 18 month old.  But I’m so busy and my hands are so full all the time, it’s been tough to get to blog.  I probably would manage anyway, but on top of that, I haven’t managed to recharge my camera batteries SINCE CASSIDY WAS BORN!  And, btw, he is almost 2 months old.  So!

I just can’t bring myself to blog about squishy newborn wrapping without pictures.  It’s such a . . . waste.

So, sorry, for the lack of blogging.  We’re in a big transitionary phase just now, after which I plan to have my act together and my ducks in a row.  No, it’s not a duck act.

I’m going to end off this apology blog and do a couple of real ones now because I have some pictures to go with them.  Not pictures of the baby, sorry.  My husband has taken some with his phone, though, and when we have a chance to breathe for four seconds IN A ROW, I’ll get him to send them to me and do some retroactive blogging.  Deal?

Mothers Day Contest Winner

I learned so much and my heart swelled twelve sizes as I read through the comments on my Be Nice To Mommies post.  There was so much profound truth to be found in this collection of fifty-some motley experiences!

Marley won a free wrap for her essay (copied in full below), but I benefited from reading every one of the essays, and I can tell I’m a nicer person just for having read them!  What I learned:

It turns out that mothers–all mothers–need support, not correction.  She knows what’s best for her family, and when you can believe and respect that, then you are in a position to help HER realize it.  If you approach other families with the intention of helping them, rather than the intention to change some specific practice, then you have a chance of making a real difference.   Be a friend, whether it’s to your sister-in-law, your college roomie, or a stranger in the mall, approaching as a friend will reap the largest rewards. Katie recalls that in one of her desperate mothering moments, her mother advised her thusly: “You know what to do. You’re his mommy.”   Katie goes on to say, “It’s hard to explain what that advice meant to me. She had confidence in me even when I didn’t. She knew I could make the right decision. And that even if I didn’t that we’d all learn from the experience and we’d all be okay.”

And simply by being a loving person, and interacting with your own children with ever-present love, causes those around you to want that.  Lisa wrote of the person who influenced her parenting, “She showed me how to respect my baby as the person that he was instead of wishing that he could be different.”  And Kelly says that the person who influenced her ” taught me that becoming a parent is something honorable and that children are sent to teach US, as much as we are to teach them. She has taught me that in giving through parenting, we are actually receiving, because we develop qualities within ourselves that help us reach our true, whole human potential . . . She has taught me how to love like a river.”

Marley’s essay shows how valuable it is to simply set a good example.  Let your loving and happy family be what inspires change in others and in the culture.  Realize that the only way people change their minds is by their own initiative.  You can be the inspiration, but you can’t change their minds for them:

When I found out I was pregnant in December of 2009, we were so excited! So excited we went out and bought a crib, pack of disposable diapers and wipes, and a couple soothers. I had this idea of what having a baby was in my head. Bottles, sposies, strollers and crying. I was confident because I had watched all of my young friends have babies, and besides seeing them change a diaper or put a bottle in their child’s mouth, it didn’t seem like something I couldn’t do.

Fast forward to the following July and I am three weeks to my due date. My cousin who is nine years older than me invited us to their house for her two year old son’s birthday party. Walking into her house, it was so warm and her little man was such a competant and independant child.

At dinner he drank unassisted out of a cup and asked for help to go upstairs to use the potty. After dinner, my cousin slipped away, and I looked into the living room and GASP, she was breastfeeding him! The look on her face was of pure love as he played with her necklace.

That night I went home and began to really think about what kind of parent I wanted to be to my unborn son. After seeing my cousin, I couldn’t imagine being like my friends from back home who layed their baby in a chair with a propped up bottle. I started to research breastfeeding and stumbled across http://www.drmomma.org That website changed me, my partner’s, and my son’s lives for the better.

Thanks to my cousin just being an attached and intuitive mother, we are now cloth diapering, intactivist, bedsharing, baby carrying, part time EC-ing, babyled weaning, extended breastfeeding fools! I can’t ever imagine making my son cry it out, or missing out on the bond that breastfeeding has given us. Grumpy chap? Throw on the wrap and go for a nature walk! Not to mention not having to change a poopy (cloth!) diaper in months!

I have never told her thank you for what she unknowingly did for our whole family. I couldn’t imagine where we would be if not for my cousin on that one summer day. I am so thankful and grateful, and I’m sure my now nine month old son is too!

20% Ellaroo Wrap Pre-Order Sale

Cielo Ellaroo Wrap

***adding the link for ordering (go ahead and order now): http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/ERpreorder.html

If you are planning to buy a wrap in the near future, here’s a short but sweet opportunity to get a whopping 20% discount on a great summer wrap!

After shipping out all the orders from my Mothers Day Sale, I found that I’m low on EllaRoo wraps and I began preparing to place an order. Then it occurred to me, why not offer a big discount to any of my customers who want to pay in advance and it will be especially worth your while because you can choose from a wider selection of colors than I normally stock in my store!

EllaRoo has twenty different wrap designs and only a handful are commonly found sold in US stores. My order with the distributor is your opportunity to pick from ALL TWENTY of their current designs! You can view the available color choices by clicking here.

I need to place my order pretty quickly, so if you want to take advantage of the discount you must order and pay for your wrap tomorrow, Monday, 16 May. It will take approximately three weeks to get from Europe, to me, to you after I place the order, so you’re looking at early June for delivery.

Come back to this blog post tomorrow for the link to the sale-price Ellaroo wraps. I’ll add it right to the top of this blog post.

Be Nice to Mommies

Rebozxo Hug

This is a message of love. I thought about waiting until Sunday to post it, but I think it’s never to soon to spread a message of love. Let’s not wait—let’s start now!

In honor of Mothers Day I propose that we be nice to all the moms we meet (including the ones we encounter only online). I propose that we celebrate the hard work we’re all doing as mothers, no matter what different choices we’re making because, of course, we are all making these decisions out of love and with the best information we have.

New Baby Love

We’re also making these decisions under a lot of pressure because this job uniquely positions us to affect the future of our children, and all of mankind! I know I agonize over it, and I bet the mom who made the opposite choice agonized too.

Make mommy love, not mommy war! I know it can be hard, when you feel passionately about a subject—especially one having to do with the treatment of innocents—not to get into an argument when someone disagrees. But think it through now, and make a strategy of peace so that when you encounter other opinions, you will be prepared to respond helpfully instead of angrily.

Each One Teach One

Here’s what I want you to think through:

  • You probably feel passionately because you feel that children are being mistreated. When you encounter someone with a different opinion, do you think your angry words, physiological threats on their children, and name-calling will cause this person to change her mind, thereby resulting in better treatment of children?
  • When your two year old daughter grows up to be thirty-something, do you want anyone EVER to do or say something to her that makes her feel miserable, stupid, or cruel?
  • Have you made any parenting choices you would do differently now?
  • Think of a time someone influenced your parenting. No, don’t just think of it, write it down and send it to me. I want to know how someone has influenced your parenting, whether it was a stranger at the grocery store, a good friend, or a relative. I want to know how they approached you and how it made you feel, how it changed your parenting, and how you feel about that change and the person who inspired it.

It will be a contest! I’m not just making this up as I go. Well, I am, but when you own your own business you can do that. It will be an essay contest and I will pick one essay and send the writer of it:

one free wrap!

 

It can be any in-stock EllaRoo, Bali Breeze, Storchenwiege, or a water wrap.

I’m just copying and pasting from above now, so feel free to skip ahead. Your essay should say how someone has influenced your parenting, whether it was a stranger at the grocery store, a good friend, or a relative. I want to know how they approached you and how it made you feel, how it changed your parenting, and how you feel about that change and the person who inspired it.

  • Write it as a comment on this blog post.
  • It can be one paragraph or several.
  • I’ll choose the winner on Monday the 9th of May…
  • …so your essay must be submitted by the end of Mothers Day (Sunday, 8 May, 2011).

Mommy Love

Easygoing Babywearing

newborn in wrap

My wrapping style, like my parenting in general, has gotten more comfortable and relaxed now that I’m on the third baby.  You know how they tell you that your newborn baby needs to wake up to nurse every two hours, should have 6-8 wet diapers per day, and needs to wear a hat?  These are rules designed to help out new, nervous parents, and they’re designed to reassure them too: baby’s peeing enough, thank goodness!  The rules are training wheels.

Like riding a bike, once you learn to parent you never forget.  And you never need training wheels again.  So I haven’t counted diapers, have no idea how often Cassidy is nursing, or how long he’s slept in between.  I know enough to know he’s healthy and thriving without those measurements.

Wrapping has rules, too, and once you understand what they’re for and what really matters, you don’t need them anymore.  For example, if you know why your baby’s knees should be positioned higher than his or her bottom, you understand enough to know that your baby is positioned well without checking knee-butt level ratio.

Sure a Front Cross Carry is supposed to cross in between your baby’s legs, but as long as your wrap job provides a good seat, you can cross over the legs instead, rebozo style.

Sometimes my baby’s feet are wrapped in the wrap, sometimes they stick out.  Sometimes one sticks out.

And when I lower my baby to nurse, in an upright position, he often ends up reclining in more of a cradle position–without my having rewrapped him.  And it doesn’t matter whether he’s upright or cradle, just that I know he’s supported ergonomically and can nurse comfortably.

I don’t want to give the impression I’ve given over to lazy wrapping.  Rather I feel that it’s effortless (for the most part) and more like improvisation.  Maybe I don’t plan exactly what carry I’m doing.  I just get my baby positioned where I want him and when I’m done, he’s all wrapped up!

And while I’m worrying less about the details, in a way, I pay more attention to them, too.  For example, this baby is my littlest and as such I pay closer attention to his vitals.  I’m not worried, I just want to make sure his face isn’t buried in a blanket, since he’s not as buff as my others (yet).  And by this point in my babywearing career I understand the physiology behind the danger of letting my baby’s chin fall against his chest.  And I recognize that this can happen in an upright position as well as a cradle position, so I am attentive to his chin position and far more likely to tilt his head back, than I am to worry so much about supporting the back of his head.

From this perspective, I have advice for babywearers that perhaps haven’t gained this confidence: RELAX!  Yes, it is important to use your carrier correctly for safety and comfort, but remember that you can adjust on the fly, you can take it off and try again, and you can learn something from every attempt.  So try to keep it light.  And if it’s working, don’t fret over whether it looks just the same as in the picture.  In fact, don’t be afraid to mix it up, some!  Remember, wrapping isn’t just functional…it’s an art!  Art is meant to be a unique expression, not a reproduction!

Rebozo as Birth Aid

Wraps–they’re good for babies in utero, too!

 

Gently Rocking Diana's Belly

Gently Rocking Diana's Belly

At our Mom’s Circle, my friend Evelyn has taken the rebozo to my pregnant belly a couple of times.  SO RELAXING!  I’m looking forward to having this tool ready during labor, when my husband can use our rebozo to help me relax my body and allow the baby to do what he or she needs to do to come out.

More information from SpinningBabies: http://www.spinningbabies.com/techniques/activities-for-fetal-positioning/rebozo-sifting

This one was super nice too–made me feel real loose, just like I want to be in labor.  It was a fast rigorous wiggling of, well, my bottom!

 

The Wiggling of the Bottom

The Wiggling of the Bottom

I remember reading in Spiritual Midwifery about squeezing the hips at a certain point in the birth to open things up, and I bet a rebozo could be used toward that end similarly to how its demonstrated in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QyQGBwFWMM

Just make sure you know what you’re doing, because as I recall from the book (and no one’s quoting me on this, right?), the squeeze is like squeezing a clothespin–it closes the bones at one end and opens them at the other.  You want to make sure you’re opening up the right end at the right time.  No need to make baby’s passage any tighter than it needs to be!

I tend to feel a lot of lower back ache during labor, though, so I may have to remember to try it for that, as they’re talking about in the video.

I’ve not used a rebozo in labor yet, but I’m hoping to get the opportunity this month!  I’ll be sure to let you know!  In the meantime, does anyone else have rebozo-in-labor stories or information to share?

baby safety

infant

Anyone who sells or promotes a product should accompany that pitch with advice for using the product safely.  But it’s lately occurred to me that “babywearing safety” is mostly the same thing as “baby safety” and is good for any parent or caregiver to be familiar with, whether or not a baby carrier is in use:

  • an infant’s neck should not be curled with the baby’s chin against baby’s chest–this obstructs the airway and has proven fatal in small or weak infants.  When your baby is in your arms, crib, carseat, swing, baby carrier, or anywhere else, make sure that you can easily fit your two fingers in the space between chin and chest to ensure that your baby has a clear airway.
  • as much as possible, you should be able to see your baby’s face.  Proximity is the best defense against SIDS both because your baby’s body will take breathing cues from your body, and because you will be there to observe if something goes wrong and can intervene before it is too late.  Babies’ faces should not be covered.  Even a breathable fabric will leave your baby inhaling stale air and will prevent your being able to see his or her face.
  • spines have a natural curve that we should support.  Keeping a baby’s back straight and flat is not optimum, nor is a concave curve, as often occurs when a baby is worn facing outward (with the baby’s back against the babywearer’s stomach).   Teach your baby to lie flat in a baby device only in moderation and stay mindful that each flat baby holding device you use adds up to more flattened-spine time.  This may include strollers, carseats, cribs/bed (if baby sleeps on back), playmats, etc.  Remember that evolutionarily, that baby’s body expects to be in arms most of the time, where it can curl up into a desirable position.
  • spines are developing throughout the first year of your baby’s life, and it is important not to put stress on the spine by sitting all of the baby’s weight on the base of the spine.   Baby carriers that hold babies upright but do not support their thighs, suspend baby by the crotch, with the entire weight of baby resting squarely on the base of his or her spine.  When using a device to carry baby upright, make sure it is in a more seated position, with the carrier coming under to support baby’s thighs at least out to each knee.
  • when holding, wearing, or otherwise keeping baby close to you, make sure your activities are safe or out of baby’s reach: cooking, cleaning products, etc.  Don’t chop veggies if your baby’s waving arm is within reach in either a high chair or a back carry.  Ditto with the hot burner, using chemicals with fumes, and other hazards that I’d hope would be obvious!

What did I miss?  Leave a comment to let me know!

Babywearing Awards

I was looking over the awards for babywearing advocacy and outreach from Babywearing International.  It’s wonderful to see how different groups are reaching out and helping the people in their communities through babywearing.

But I also thought of the influence each of us makes just by stepping out our doors with a comfortable, safe baby carrier.  The people who see you may have never heard of such a revolutionary device.  You are changing minds about how convenient babies are!  You are giving parents ideas of how they can make parenting less stressful, or maybe even leave the house more often.  You are normalizing incorporating a baby into your actual life.

This goes against either end of the parenting extremes:

  1. Becoming a parent means giving up your life and you’ll never be able to do anything fun.
  2. With today’s conveniences, becoming a parent doesn’t have to change your life at all.

Instead, we babywearers are casually depicting a third option.  We are demonstrating, without preaching, the joy of keeping your baby close, coupled with the convenience of going out for work and fun.  Our babies are getting all the nurture they need, from the people they need most, and also being exposed to the world they are growing up to be part of.

Just think, babywearing is a way you have found to improve the quality of life of your baby and yourself; and is also showing others around you how they too can have an easier time of it, and we may even be orchestrating a large-scale cultural shift in the way society thinks of and treats babies and children.  Imagine if people in line at the airport or restaurant didn’t groan when they saw us coming.  Imagine if they smiled instead, seeing the next generation of amazing, resilient, compassionate, imaginative, humans being raised right in front of them.

And what about our children, and their friends, clever little sponges growing up to wear their babies and change their worlds?

For such worthwhile contributions to individuals, families, and societies, in the action of babywearing and any other mindful examples set by you, I hereby commend each of you and award you with the title Remarkable and Influential Person and encourage you to get an ice cream sunday!

Confession Time

I’m a big promoter of babywearing while pregnant.  What a break for a pregnant mother not to have to carry that toddler in her aching arms, awkwardly on one side or the other of her baby bump!  How wonderful for a soon-to-be big brother or sister to get to cuddle with mommy in the days leading up to such a major transition.

That’s not the confession part.  The confession is that babywearing has gotten to be too much for me.  Don’t get me wrong: it’s always been and still is more comfortable than in-arms carrying.  I still toss Annabelle on my back in a quick rucksack for the walk from the car to the store…where I put her in a shopping cart.  And I still bring the wrap every time we go somewhere in case she insists on getting out of the cart, or on being picked up.  But I try to talk her out of it.

The fact is, I’m in a frail zone that was never a part of my previous pregnancies.  I attribute this weakness to the fact that my pregnancies were close together (Annabelle was 7 months when the new baby was conceived) coupled with the fact that I am still nursing.  Oh yeah, and chasing after a very adventurous one year old (day AND night).

I’m working on getting my strength back with extra attention to nutrition, supplementation, and rest.  I think I’ve just hit the point where I’m drained, but I’m confident I can be replenished.

And I hope to locate and dust off my video camera in the next month and make some pregnant wrapping videos because I think pregnant babywearing is a beautiful, valuable, comfortable thing for many pregnant mommas, and an option they should know is open to them.

I was embarrassed at first when I agreed to use the rented stroller at the zoo last week but not anymore.  That’s what I’m here to (finally) say: Babywearing is great and should be comfortable when done correctly.  But if it’s not comfortable, don’t do it, and don’t be ashamed.  Whether you’re pregnant or not, your body deserves to be treated well and you need to find where babywearing fits into your own family’s balance of caring for babies and caring for parents.  It might be a greater or lesser tool than in some other family.  And if it doesn’t make your life easier, it’s not a tool at all–more of a hairshirt.  I do not endorse hairshirts.

Most often, discomfort caused by babywearing can be fixed with practice or the help of a more experienced babywearer.  Sometimes you just need to put that baby down.  It’s a good time to play on the floor together, or cuddle with a book on the couch.  You’re still a super-mommy.  Just ask your kids.

I’m Feeling Judged

Our Moms Circle is wonderful.  It is a circle of mothers who come and bare their souls with love and honesty both in the asking of questions, and the answering, the telling of trials, and the listening.  We strive to listen with our hearts, and ask questions of the mother in need, to help her find and say her own truth and answers.  Sure, we have advice and compassion for getting bit, sick babies, starting solids and every other mom-topic.  But we also have a safe place to cry and heal and share understanding.

We’re open to all moms and babies.  We don’t bill ourselves as adhering to a particular parenting style, because parenting styles are too generic–too one-size-fits-all–to be applicable to real families.  We do encourage and support each other in listening to our babies and responding to their needs in the best way we are able.  So, yes, we do tend towards the crunchy, the natural, and the attached…and the popular tenets that those labels accompany.

A brief discussion of circumcision, in which everyone who spoke agreed it was terrible, suddenly culminated in the confession from one of our moms that her baby is circumcised.   She spoke about family pressure and a medical history of one family member.  Then another mom spoke up.  Her baby is circumcised, too.  She spoke of her research while pregnant, her husband’s feelings, and the fact that she is embarrassed to change her baby’s diaper at our group.  Mom number three instantly spoke up with the same feeling, and expressed regret about her one year old’s circumcision and told how she cried through the Bris.

As we talked, it became clear that just about everyone there had something they were embarrassed about in their parenting choices.  Some felt conspicuous for using disposable diapers.  Some were embarrassed to formula feed at the group.  And several people would get fast food on the way to group and then deliberately NOT bring it in to our crunchy, natural, mom meeting.  So we got to laugh at ourselves some.

It was suggested that Evelyn of the Peaceful Birth Project re-institute her opening statement at each group, that there is a lot of information here, and each of us should take what rings true for us and leave the rest.

But in the main, as we discussed what is making various members feel judged, it wasn’t anything another person was doing or saying.  It seems to be internal.  When we have regret, and wish we could have done something differently, we definitely perceive judgment because we are judging ourselves.  But even those parenting choices with which we are 100% sure about can lead to discomfort when we are alone in those decisions among a group who differs.

In the case of circumcision, we talked about how most of us would have circumcised our sons at some point in our lives, and it was only a question of whether we became informed before or after giving birth to a little boy.  We talked about finding acceptance and forgiving ourselves.  We talked about how to talk to our little boys about what happened, or how to address it if they have siblings who remain uncircumcised.  But the fact is that a mother might still intend to circumcise her next son.  All of the understanding seemed based in the assumption that no one would want to do this, after they found out.  And those of us who feel strongly about it, cannot imagine a mother who WOULD want to do it.  But we don’t get to choose for every mother.  We get to choose for ourselves and our sons.  And our group is open to ALL mothers.

I know that I don’t feel judgmental of mothers who circumcise their sons.  But I do feel that it is entirely worthwhile to passionately spread information for that mother’s next son, and for the other women who might have sons.  To forebear out of politeness would be cowardly.  I never want to make a mother feel badly about her parenting choices.  But we can all benefit from gaining knowledge and experience from which we can make better and better choices.  The choices are completely up to the individual, but the knowledge is public domain and every mother is entitled to it.

So, our little moms circle cleared the air.  And it was really nice.  I wish the internet could follow our example and have Mommy Circles instead of Mommy Wars.

Physiological Info on Babywearing

This is a fantastic and detailed examination of the physiological benefits of wearing your baby (or alternately, the physiological damage of not holding babies enough):

http://www.sleepywrap.com/2011/02/strollers-baby-carriers-and-infant-stress/

It also covers positioning in a carrier.  Obviously, having a baby in a carrier isn’t enough.  The material isn’t magical.  It’s using the material to hold your baby in an appropriate position that leads to optimal growth and development.  As for magic, that’s in the human touch, body warmth, eye contact, heartbeat, synchronized breath, muscle symmetry . . . all this breeds wonderful, magical physical, mental and emotional benefits that will lead to happy babies and happy caregivers.  If you’re as impressed by all that as I am, please pass on the information and spread the love. Happy Babywearing!

Wrap Your Baby on the road…

Wow–sorry about the two month long lapse of blogging!  Instead of making excuses, why don’t I jump right in with what’s up right now?

My family has decided to take our leave of the house, the job, and the stable predictable life (such as it is with kids) and travel the country instead.  No worries–the job I referred to is my husband’s construction, renovation and constructions work.  Wrap Your Baby is not a job, so much as a mission, and Wrap Your Baby comes with us.

So me, my husband, my 6 year old & 1 year old daughters, our baby (arriving in the Spring) and a whole lot of wraps will be moving into a motorhome named Benny the Brave.  We didn’t name him, but the name is very fitting, don’t you think, for such a bold move?

Ada and Benny the Brave

Ada and Benny the Brave

The transition will take a few months, as we have possessions to be freed from, a house to rent, and a baby to have, but we hope to set sail this Spring.

There’s a lot to adjust to and work out–how to stock inventory on the road, where to accept returns/exchanges, the easiest way to find the closest post office each day for shipments . . . and figuring it all out will be a blast.

I’ll be blogging about the new life, starting now with the baby steps leading to our departure, and if our journey interests you, please check it out at FreeRangeDreams.com

I chose the kindercoat

fleece bw jacket

I recently added to my store several options for cold-weather babywearing.  Of all of them, I picked a kindercoat for myself and this is why:

  • I only want to own one coat for normal use, pregnant use, and babywearing use.  I’m a minimalist.
  • The fleece insert, used solo, is perfect for most of the cold weather we get in Florida, but I plan to travel a lot soon, and want to have the lighter option as well as the heavier option.
  • I want a coat I can wear with a front or back carry, a newborn (coming soon) or toddler (I think I can call my 11 month old a toddler now) or both!  Also works for babywearing while pregnant (my current scene).

Predictably, the cold weather dissipated immediately upon arrival of my kindercoat.  I tried it on a few times but couldn’t get any real use out of it until yesterday.  I used just the fleece insert, which was the perfect weight jacket to keep us both warm for a chilly evening walk.  The fleece insert is pretty much identical to the fleece kinder jacket, which can be bought separately for a significant savings if you don’t anticipate encountering heavier weather.

With only my six year old around to photograph, here’s what we looked like:

fleece sleeping

fleece sleeping2

fleece sleeping3

I actually love that last photo!  And speaking of love, this is what I loved about the kinder coat insert:

  • Easy to put on over baby and get head through the head hole.
  • Easy to tighten (via drawstring) the opening behind baby, so it is snug and doesn’t let in the cold.
  • Easy to tighten the bottom (via drawstrings) to cinch close around my body.  This kept Annabelle’s feet tucked inside the warm coat, and kept cold air from coming up through the bottom.
  • The collar of the jacket that Annabelle laid her head on covered my hair, which kept it from getting pulled!
  • The whole thing was soft and warm.
  • When we went inside later and Annabelle was asleep, I was able to remove the coat without waking her.

Moms Circle Meeting Today

Today’s meeting culminated in a fantastic birth discussion.  We went from giving advice to welcoming a baby into your homes, hearts, and lives, to Joanna’s birth story which contained such beauty and inspiration that tears, questions, and observations all flowed freely.  Our “new baby” advice was aimed at the expectant moms in the group (both of the pregnant mamas at today’s group will be first time moms) and our mama whose baby will be leaving the NICU soon to come home for the first time.  Each mom had specific circumstances worth considering, as each of us is unique in our situation.  And we all anticipate bringing our babies home with such eagerness and love!

As someone who recently welcomed a new baby, Joanna contributed her experiences and segued right into her birth.  We discussed the emotional issues present in pregnancy and birth, dad’s feelings and often-unaddressed emotions, the impact of the presence of others at the birth (Joanna was alone with her husband when they met their baby), the things that contribute to a peaceful birth, and the things learned from birth that make EVERY birth experience valuable.  Evolution has brought birth to what it is

It all makes me reevaluate my own births–in my experience, always a valuable exercise.  It makes me think about my births to come, as well.  Just listening helps to work through some of my own thoughts and hang-ups, but tossing out thoughts and ideas in our safe and loving circle really moves me forward on my personal discovery process and is so much fun!  I can’t wait to birth again!

Dana had an excellent topic that we didn’t get to (I realize now that I am home, sitting at my computer), and I hope that next week we get to discuss parental expectations. . . how to recognize them and change them if need be!  As a momma going through a transitional phase right now, this is of great interest to me!

We discussed carseats, cloth diapers, tummy time, and natural cleaning products.  We discussed how to mother while healing a sprained ankle and the best kind of footwear.  We discussed diaper rash and milk-sharing.  We laughed, we cried.  It was a meeting of the moms.

Stretchy Wraps

All of the wraps I use are woven wraps.  There is another kind of wraparound carrier known as a stretchy wrap.  Stretchy and woven wraps are close cousins in that they are both long pieces of fabric which you tie around yourself and your baby in the position of your choice.  They are tied similarly (or, in many cases, identically).

The difference?  The stretchy wrap has more give, so it is less sturdy and secure as your child grows heavier, or in a back carry where you cannot keep an eye on the fabric, or quickly thrust out your hands to adjust as needed!

All the advice I give applies to woven wraps.  Stretchy wraps are great, too, but have a more limited use, and I have very little experience with them from which to give advice.  Look for tons of tips and experience on the premier (and free) babywearing discussion forums: www.thebabywearer.com

Do not consider my instructions as applicable to stretchy wraps!  This is the only tutorial I have for a stretchy wrap: http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/pocketwrapcrosscarry.htm You can find plenty more from more knowledgeable users on Youtube.  Have fun!

More about woven wraps here.