Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Baby Wearing Part 1: My Journey

Long time no post! Sorries and apologies... life happened and I fell off the blogging wagon. Again. Le sigh.

And life goes on. It's just blogging after all!

If we know each other on Facebook, you probably know that I've been swimming into the world of woven wraps. I've used baby carriers before and still have one, but after reading about and trying woven wraps, I really wish I had known about them 5 years ago!

I won't go terribly into depth here, but my baby wearing journey is as follows:

Moby wrap
Pouch sling
Britax carrier
Tula (standard)
Leo Storchenwiege (5/6)
Didymos Cotton Indio (6)
Didymos Hemp Indio (3)
Didymos Nino Rose (7 - was supposed to be a 5!)
Didymos Kurbis Wool (2)

L: Kristen kept nice and snuggly while I get to eat!
R: Kristen nursing while I spend time with Derek.

Why have I been switching over to wovens? Firstly, I love their versatility. I thought wraps were more like the Moby, which were hot to use even with my winter babies and so long - fabric was everywhere! That's why I went with the pouch sling, for quick ins and outs before my baby could walk, but I found it straining on the shoulder. I also couldn't use it after baby was a certain weight and size. Moby also has its limitations; even though it advertises use up to 35 lbs, many (including me) have found that it starts sagging after about 15 lbs of weight because of the stretch, requiring me to readjust and retie every 10-15 mins. Not a productive way to spend my time!

Derek at 8 months, about 18 lbs?
I then found out about the pouch sling, and I was really intrigued because it would allow me to  I could pop my baby in and out for quick trips to stores or when he was fussing and wanted out of the stroller. While it kept my hands free and was easy to put on, I found it strained my shoulder quite a bit and decided to stop using it.

Kristen snoozing from a walk, me imitating her.
I would NOT recommend outward-facing carrying.
When I found out I was expecting my second, The Britax carrier came out and I got really excited. I had heard that the Baby Bjorn was not the most comfortable due to insufficient lumbar support and spreading of the weight across larger portions of the wearer's body, like the shoulders and back. Britax addressed all of that and I was so excited to find a brand new one including the toddler insert for a fantastic price on Kijiji.

I used both the Moby and Britax with my second. Moby was during the infant months, Britax from about 4 months onward. It allowed me to breastfeed almost arms-free while I spent time with my toddler. We could read together, takes walks out, and I could do chores (hehe, if I wanted to!).

I learned about hip dysplasia not long after and decided I wasn't going to have my child outward-facing. I continued to use the Britax but would have Kristen facing inward, which she didn't appreciate as she wanted to look around. That was difficult to do with the padded structure of the Britax.

Kristen in a standard-sized Tula.
I didn't start looking into other carrier options until my second child was about 18 months and thought about the possibility of walking with her to pick up my eldest from school. I knew I'd need something more comfortable and, even better, could do a back carry. I came across the Tula, along with the Beco and others, and decided on the Tula for the possibility of carrying my eldest in it as well, since it has a larger panel than most.

I got the Tula, I loved the Tula, still love the Tula, but once I found out I was pregnant with my third, realized that I may need to somehow juggle three - three!! - kids at the same time and it would be great if I could wear the younger two and hold the older one's hand. I could get another Tula but they aren't recommended until an infant is 8 lbs and may still require an insert because infants are tiny and, as mentioned, Tula panels are large. Ideally a child's position will have the knees higher than the bum, but with a large panel and small legs, the legs will just stick straight out.

Tula sleepy dust!
I put the hood up afterwards to hold her head.
I saw a picture of a friend on Facebook wearing both her kids with wraps, a newborn and her toddler. I was in awe and completely intrigued. They looked so comfortable and happy. And so snuggly! But I didn't really consider wraps until I heard more moms recommending them in Facebook parenting groups. I finally took the plunge and goodness, is there a LOT to learn!

It's not only about how to use them, but once you start, everyone has different preferences, and there are a plethora of wraps available to meet everyone's preferences, no matter how nuanced. From thickness/thinness, breathability in summers to warmth in winter, grip to slipperiness, bounce/stretch to very little give... and all of those are put in consideration with who is wearing AND who is being worn. I'll describe more in the the dedicated wraps post, but carrying a newborn is different from a 6-month-old, which is different from a 1-yr-old, which is different from a toddler/walker, which is different from a preschooler (yes, you can carry preschoolers!). More support is needed with more weight, but walking kids may end up being in and out of wraps requiring quick ups/downs and even better, pre-tying. All of these are affected by the different weaves and fabric blends available along with what size is used.

Carrying Derek in my first attempt at a ruck carry with a
size 3 Didymos ETHI (Emerald Turquoise Hemp Indio).
Note: The right shows how inexperienced I am as his "seat" is coming undone!
With all that consideration comes the many brands offered, just like baby food - or say, buying gardening tools, or power tools. Each brand has their reason for distinction, as well as varying price tags. I've chosen to stick with Didymos, mainly because I love their patterns and colours and they aren't as expensive as some other brands. I know if I start dipping into other brands I'll be racking up wraps like crazy!

So that's it for now. I'll try to put up a stash shot of my carriers* and wraps for reference. =) Stay tuned for my next post on healthy baby wearing!

*If they aren't sold first

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