How Me and Babywearing Came To Be – Part 1/8

IMG_7774In June I was honoured to be interviewed by Birdie’s Room as part of their Spotlight On Babywearing Education. It’s quite a bit to read, so I’ve broken down the interview into eight parts (full version can be found here). It was encouraging for me to reflect on my journey first as a mother, then as a babywearer, and finally as an educator and consultant. It hasn’t been easy, as this is still a new field business-wise and using a carrier is less normalized than, say, strollers  – which are not an alternative to carriers, but are a great partner to carriers in this journey of parenting young children. But I believe that parents should be given as many tools as they can to succeed in raising the next generation, and to remain sane while doing so!  – and that babywearing can contribute greatly to that success and sanity. I’m thankful that Birdie’s Room gave this opportunity to share about my passion!

And without further ado…

Spotlight On Babywearing Education, Part One.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m a homeschooling mother of 3 kids 6 years and under. While I wasn’t expecting to be here – I completed my Masters of Divinity in Biblical Studies to be involved with church ministry – I’ve been open to homeschooling even before I had children. Like anything it has its ups and downs, but I love the time that I get to spend with my children. I also love music, and am currently learning to play the ukulele. I can’t wait till my kids can join me in playing! Re-watching TV series on Netflix is another pastime of mine – Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, House, Being Erica. I’d watch a new one but I get so drawn in, nothing else gets done!

How did you embark on your Babywearing journey?  

I started with a Moby with my first baby. I saw a friend use it at church and loved how close baby could be to the parent. It was intimidating to watch her wrap, and then learn it myself! – but the desire to hold my baby son close was my motivation. With my second, I invested in a Britax light structured carrier because I found the Moby uncomfortable when my son was 12 pounds and wanted something that lasted longer. While it helped, I found it bulky and difficult to bring around when not in use. When my daughter started to walk, I realized I would need something that I could use quickly when I took the two kids out together. I tried a Tula and while it was great, it didn’t completely meet my needs. I saw a friend who carried her 2 children, a toddler and infant at the time, in 2 woven wraps at a music festival and found it fantastic that there was something which allowed us parents to do this! I started with a mid-size wrap and was able to use a traditional sling carry for quick trips like crossing a parking lot or paying for something at the store, and use a ruck for her nap times when we were out. Once my third was born, I was very comfortable using woven wraps and haven’t looked back!

Winning the wrap & using it!

Congratulations to Crys, the winner of our giveaway! We had a great time getting to know the wrap, and it was sweet seeing her baby fall asleep within minutes of snuggling in. He was definitely fussy during the wrapping but calmed down fairly quickly. Crys is also the first receiver of our BabyLegs promo! With each lesson $35 or more, you can pick out either a newborn-sized pair of BabyLegs, a set from their BabyCool line (has UV protection!), or a good regular pair of BabyLegs. Available until supplies last!

 

 

Big ups in a big mall


Had a mother-daughter morning date at Yorkdale on Saturday. It’s been so long since we just hung out! I brought a wrap just in case she got tired after lunch. I didn’t think we’d actually use it but, as you can see, it came in handy. I think it was the first time someone over the age of 2 was carried around at Yorkdalr, and even more so inside Nordstrom. 😬 

It was a great time together when she was up though, much better than dragging Her Whineyness through the mall and parking lot. We got to chat, since her head was right beside mine and we could hear each other, and see dresses together, and I got to feel her sweet head at my neck when she wanted to lie it down. Instead of stressfully ending our outing, we had a lovely and snuggly 15 minutes together. 

Teething and fussy baby but tired arms = wrapping time

img_6518Just a short post here. I think toddler is breaking out yet another bunch of teeth (5 came out at one time, then another 3 before the previous group completely broke through!) as he’s been fussy, not nursing and not wanting to sleep. I’m not playing this game another night but my arms are tired from holding him for 30 mins already, so into a wrap he goes. Didymos Smeralda Prima size 4 in a Front Wrap Cross Carry tied under the bum allowed for snuggles, giggles, a late night snack and less-tired arms.

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Review: Junah soft Shell Coat part 2

Okay, I’m having some tech/layout difficulties with this post, but since it’s a long time coming, I’m going to post what I have anyway so readers can view the pictures and get a sense of the coat more closeup.


I really need to set up a proper photo drop! Some of these were taken at Harvey’s while my kids were at Gym class. =P And yes, I enjoyed some nice, fresh onion rings before heading back!

So this is a continuation of my review on the Junah Soft Shell Coat, focusing on the babywearin panel. Sadly I can’t find the maternity panel, but if the babywearing part interests you, you’ll find the maternity panel will service just as well. =)

What I Love

As you can see, the babywearing panel comes with its own hood. It’s one less thing to think about or carry! Velcro makes for a quick closure, and the hood is also has drawstrings for the edge to get a snug fit if preferred.

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Junah babywearing coat babywearing panel, hood open with toggle strings untucked for display.

What are those long strings, you ask? They are drawstrings just under the collar of the panel, which meets your child’s neck. They thread through the coat when the panel is on the back so that the wearer can tighten up the top if your child falls asleep. When the child is awake she would want to look around and would need the space to do so, but when asleep, the space is only a place for the head to flop around, so gently pull on those strings to bring her in closer to your back for a good snug nap as you go along your hike, walk, or shopping trip.

As you can see, the strings can be tucked into its enclosure when not in use. This is helpful when using it for front carries and for storage.

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fdfdf Junah coat babywearing panel, hood closed with toggle strings tucked away.

Following are some pictures taken during a rainy winter walk. I finally got my selfie stick and had an opportunity to walk out! Here is a picture of the coat from the side. As you can see, I did not zip the coat all the way up to give some room.

Even with my toddler getting bigger, I did not feel compressed or squished in the coat. I felt there was enough room to move around. I forgot to take a picture of this but the back of the coat, just above the opening for the child’s head, the material is ribbed and flexible, accounting for the need for movement while babywearing. Isn’t that awesome? =D

 

Junah coat with babywearing panel on the back, side view.

Si

 

 

So cold, need babywearing panel…

…but it’s nowhere to be found! =( ** I’m so sad that I can’t seem to locate it. I had it to take pictures with in preparation for my review, then needed it t take full-length shots but now it’s gone missing. =( Sorry for those who have been waiting. In the mean time, I will aim to get the Angel Wings fleece hoodie review up, and here is a shot of my very make-shift winter babywearing efforts for an impromptu outdoor outing!


In this picture I am wearing my Junah but, sadly, missing my babywearing panel. We were not expecting to be outdoors aside from in/out of the car, so I’m glad that I:

  • randomly grabbed my Junah wool sleeves (so warm!);
  • grabbed my Didymos Stone Cashmere Prima scarf (so soft!);
  • a decently grippy mid-size wrap in Didymos Verzasca Waves, recently returned from a visit to a fellow babywearer;
  • had kept a pair of BabyLegs in the car to slip under my toddler’s fleece pants.

I really, really wished I grabbed one of my long woolies just for kicks though, because it would have been really useful! I would have been able to cover my toddler’s feet since I didn’t bring any warm foot wear for him, and I could have created a nice warm chest pass for myself. Ah well!

Again this is a very make-shift effort to babywear in the winter, and definitely not what I would recommend! But, in a pinch, it worked for the 30 mins we lasted out and about. This was taken just before I went back to the car actually!

**UPDATE: I FOUND IT! And I will finish my review. And I will post pics of us at the Toronto Christmas Market!

Rave: The Versatility of Woven Wraps

Just a quick blurb to show an example of why I love wraps. The Olders want to shovel snow with Daddy in the front yard and driveway but their shovels are in the back yard. Of course Mommy will get it but Littlest doesn’t want to be left alone. So, I quickly throw him up on my back in a cushy and warm wool wrap, size 6 so I can half-knot in front and use the tails to cover his bare feet while we step out into the crisp, cold winter air. It’s only for a minute or so, and I could probably have his bare feet out while wearing a buckle carrier, but I absolutely love that a base-size wrap can help me get him up quickly, keep him warm (with the wool) and cover his feet. I was originally going to leave him to play but he’s been quite attached lately as he’s breaking in five teeth, so I’ll bring him with me to prevent a melt down and him scooting through the wet mess left by The Olders’ boots from an earlier play time. 

It was quick, he was happy, we were warm, and we got to enjoy a nice winter moment together. 

Review: Junah soft-shell coat, Pt. 1

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Wearing my 7-month-old in Didymos Teviot v1 using Front Cross Carry (FCC) under a Junah soft-shell coat, Feb 2015.

Sooooo… reviews take more time than I realize! I’m used to reviewing beauty products, which after awhile all have a similar template. So here is my first official review of a babywearing jacket! This is of the Junah soft-shell coat on its own, without panels. I realize too that I’m missing a full-length picture, so I’ll add that in as soon as possible. Feel free to ping me with any questions!

I’m pretty picky about my jackets, so it took a lot of hemming and hawing before I finally took the plunge and bought the Junah soft-shell coat. Previously, I had the BellyCoat, but I realized I wanted to do back carries as well as I chased the older two through the snow (which sounds more picturesque than reality, haha…).  So I sold the BellyCoat, 2 other wraps (sniff sniff to Teviot v2 and Jade), and contacted Erika at Everything Mom and Baby to add this coat to my outdoor wardrobe.

What I Love

Practically speaking, I love that it covers 3 seasons – almost 4, actually – and covers 3 “Mom” stages of pregnancy, babywearing, and sans-baby. It truly can be The One go-to jacket for me. It has a detachable hood, one each for me and baby, is fleece-lined, waterproof, wind-proof, but breathable. The hood is a bit longer in the centre which helps give better coverage over the face, and the sleeves are a bit longer on the outer wrists, which I love when it’s raining but not terribly fond of when checking the time. It’s not quite warm enough on its own in winter but a thin wool sweater or a fleece jacket underneath would remedy that issue. I usually use wool wraps with a Double Hammock carry or Shepherd’s carry so my chest has a second layer, so I would use extra sleeves only to cover my arms.

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High collar with Velcro closure, open.

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High collar with Velcro closure, closed.

The neck has a separate cover, minimizing the need to a scarf. This means one less item to grab, and less fabric obscuring my view of baby. In some ways it keeps me warmer than a scarf since it’s made of the same weather-proof material as the rest of the jacket.
Aesthetically, it’s a well-styled jacket. It won’t come off as designer but without the zipped-in panels, it gives a nice shape without feeling like I’m being squeezed into a sausage. 😜 [Full-length photo to come!]

What I Would Improve

It’s completely a matter of preference, of course, but instead of Velcro to close the collar, I wish it used snap buttons – or even better, magnets. I hate how Velcro catches on things, and it’s worse on wool wraps! Given that I would use this jacket when it’s colder and would use wool wraps quite a bit, it adds a layer of caution in the midst of getting everyone out he door.

I also which it had an inner cuff with the sleeves. On windier days that aren’t cold enough for me to need a second layer, it would be helpful. At least the sleeves are long enough that it’s not a huge issue though.

So this is the Junah soft-shell coat on its own. I’ll review it with the maternity and babywearing panels next!

Winter Babywearing

I can’t believe that just last week we had t-shirt-worthy weather and now we are joined by a decent covering of snow. I’m glad we have our snow tires on!

I’m also glad I have my babywearing coat and hoodie. For their price they are a fanTAStic deal because most babywearing outerwear can be used for front carries, back carries, during pregnancy, and on its own, so after all is worn and done it can still be a great jacket in your regular rotation. =)

There are a number of options available, including ones from Liliputti, Junah, and the M Coat. For reviews and comparisons, definitely check out Wrap You In Love (from Germany) and Mommy Gearest (from Canada). The ones I have chosen for myself are the Junah soft-shell and the AngelWings hoodie. I’ll give further reviews in the next week but generally,  I love that both of these can be used almost year-round, which is great for the weird weather moments we may get. Since I’m basically wearing a heat pack, I don’t need to wear much in the winter (i.e. not necessarily a sweater like I normally would, or a down jacket). I would layer myself and my baby well and have the Junah on over us. If it gets really cold and we want to go out for a walk, I’m eager to try layering my AngelWings hoodie under the Junah. =D If you’d like to check out either of these in person, drop me a line.

There are other considerations for winter babywearing as well, such as footwear and bunchy scarves. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on those with you over the next couple of weeks!