Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Babywearing

Thank God for baby carriers! Especially for my little snuggler Henry who wants to be attached to Mama 24/7 :) I have tried out 6 different kinds of baby carriers, and between the two of us (James and me) that count bumps up to 7! We also have 3 strollers: an umbrella stroller, a jogger (our baby car seat snaps into the jogger - we sometimes used that for Calvin when he was an infant), and our awesome Contours Options LT tandem stroller. 

Love our tandem stroller! I can change the configuration of the seats to have them face me, face out, or face each other. It handles well and has a ginormous basket for carrying all our crap. Or groceries :) This was a group shower gift from lots of friends and family who chipped in - so, Thank You Thank You Thank You!!

Though I think our stroller is awesome, the baby carriers are so versatile that ultimately they have been more useful. Plus, like I said, Henry is much much happier being carried. If Henry is fussy, I can wear him around the house while I'm washing dishes or cooking (gotta be careful with cooking, though, and use common sense - I put him down if it's time to do something over the stove or in the oven, for example.) When Henry was still nursing, I was able to feed him in the Ergo, and actually I still can, but not hands free anymore. Obviously babywearing is great for hiking, since trails aren't stroller friendly. It's also great for shopping with babes too small to sit in the cart, or who can't sit up because of hypotonia, or if you've got two under two and the cart only has one seat! When we just had Calvin, it was easy to go out to eat while he was a newborn because he was tucked up in a sling or wrap. And while they were tiny, we've let them sleep in the Ergo or sling so we could stay up and play board games at a friend's house. (Now we just put them to bed :)

Babywearing also keeps little ones close so they feel safe and comfy snuggled up with mama or daddy. For some kids like Henry, this can be really important. Henry happens to be one of those babies that just really likes being held. One school of thought about parenting "needy" babies like him is to go ahead and hold them close and let them feel safe as much as possible and that eventually, that feeling of safety will carry over to the times when they are not being held. Another reason Henry really benefits from babywearing is that from what I've read it's common for Dup15q kids to get overstimulated easily, and this can make it hard for them to calm down and go to sleep. Wearing Henry, and especially keeping him facing me, creates a nice calm place for him to be even when we are out and about. Bedtime can be really hard for Henry, but I do find that if I wear him around the house for the hour or two before bedtime, he is calmer and falls asleep faster.

Here are our favorite baby carriers:

The Boba Wrap:

Like the more popular Moby, this is just one long piece of fabric that you wrap 'round and 'round and then tie. Putting it on is a bit of a pain and takes some practice. My midwife taught us how to do it, but there are lots of tutorials on YouTube. When Calvin was an infant, I used this ALL THE TIME. I'd just wrap it on over a nursing tank and wear it the whole time we were out of the house. So, the solution to the problem of taking it off/putting it on is to just put it on before you leave the house and then only take it off when you get home, or if you're going to be away from your baby (obvs). Bonus: it covers a postpartum belly relatively well. 

What makes it different from the Moby is that the fabric is stretchier. This means you can wrap it on yourself snugly and then stretch it open to put the baby in and then the baby is really secure. I never used the Moby, so maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like it's harder to get the baby snug in there because when you put it on, you have to leave enough slack to get the baby in. Whenever I saw other parents using the Moby, there always appeared to be a litte loose fabric around the baby, whereas you can see in the pic that it's wrapped nice and tightly around baby Calvin. 

I will say I think this one is best for really teeny babies. It wasn't quite as comfy for Henry, who was bigger than Calvin from birth. But I really think this is perfect for newborns because they're just so close and you can pull the fabric over their heads so they can sleep (which, of course, newborns do all the time!). It's funny because it's almost like still being pregnant! 


The Ring Sling:


Most other parents I know do not love the ring sling and say that they could never get it to work for them and their babies. But I love it, and it totally works for us and has since my kids were newborns. There are a few ways to wear a ring sling and again, YouTube has lots of tutorials, but these pics show the two ways I've used it. In the bottom pic you can see newborn Henry in a kind of cradle hold. At first I thought the way the cradle hold curved their backs was bad, but my midwife assured me that it was fine, and both boys were always happy and comfy that way when they were teeny. Henry quickly became too long to fit this way comfortably, but my shorty Calvin could be carried in this cradle hold in the sling for months!

The top picture shows an upright hold, kind of like carrying a kid on your hip, which works for Henry now. There was a gap with Henry when I couldn't use the sling because he was too long for the cradle carry, and didn't yet have the head control for the upright hold. I think this would only be a problem for hypotonic babies. 

The con with the ring sling is that it's not truly hands free. It's just not as secure as other carriers/wraps so I always feel like I need a hand on the baby just in case the fabric slips one way or another. Still, this one is the one I like to use in the house because it's so comfy and lightweight and it's a quick transition to get him in or out of it.


The Ergobaby:









This is our all-around fave. You can do front, back, or side carry and it's totally comfy for mama, daddy, and baby. (Though if Henry had more severe hypotonia, it wouldn't give quite enough head support, but I've seen moms who have adapted theirs by adding some padding.) It's easy to get on and off, and it's easy to adjust. Some parents say it's hard to clip the neck strap behind your head, but I say it just takes a bit of practice. I have no problem with it. The Ergo is designed to support healthy hip development for babies and there's a new Ergo 360 which features an outward-facing option. In the first pic you can see that I'm using an infant insert to give newborn Henry some extra support and padding.

Other good things about the Ergo... Our kids could/can sleep comfortably inside. There's a hood, which is nice for Ergo naps and also for porcelain skinned babes on sunny days (I'm looking at you, Henry!) and a pocket to stuff the hood into when not in use. And there's a zipper pocket big enough to hold phone/wallet/keys and even a disposable diaper ;) 

Our first Ergo was the water-resistant "performance" one and it met with an untimely death when I shut the car door with the strap hanging out and the strap got caught under the tire and ripped off :( We immediately bought a replacement, and opted for the organic one in a pretty navy blue which I love, but in the rain I was missing the performance one! 


The Kelty Frame Backpack:


We don't actually own this one, we're borrowing it from a friend. Obviously these frame backpacks are for bigger kids and they're great for hiking or long walks because the weight of the kid and the carrier is more on the adult's hips and less on the back and shoulders. The main thing we like about it is that Calvin is up high so he can see all around, whereas in the Ergo on his dad's back he can only see to his sides. We only use one this for hiking. It seems too bulky for other kinds of outings, but we have friends who use their frame backpack all the time. 


A few carriers that did not work for us:

Pouch sling: This was like a non-adjustable version of a ring sling, and I could never get Calvin comfortably situated in it. 

Pouch ring sling: This was one of those that kind of looks like a bag with a strap. This one basically swallowed Calvin. He may have just been too small at the time, but other slings that are more adjustable can be used for teeny babes as well as bigger babies. 

Baby Bjorn: These don't give the hip support for the baby that the Ergo and some of the other similar carriers do. Henry was always too floppy in general for this one - not enough support all around. And for me, it felt like all his weight was on my back since it doesn't have a waist strap. 


Anybody else love babywearing? Which carrier is your fave? 





2 comments:

  1. wonderful! thanks so much for taking the time to write! what a treat these blog posts are!

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  2. Diana, I really enjoy and appreciate your posts!

    ReplyDelete