Babywearing Myths and Misconceptions - Part One.

Last week I sent out a tweet on the TweetyBox and a Facebook status on the Natural Urban Mamas page for all the myths and misconceptions that people have heard about babywearing. The response was amazing! And here I am to set the record straight on a few recurring themes and comments that came my way! Thank you to everyone who posted and tweeted with me about this.

From Twitter, @knikkicharles wrote,

Misconception: "my baby didn't like the snugli, so they don't like being carried..."

There is a very good explanation why most babies do not or have not liked being carried in snuglis, bjorns or any other kind of similar carrier that does not place them in an ergonomically and therefore comfortable position to be carried in. Being carried in these kinds of carriers does not support babies legs properly and can put a fair amount of pressure on their immature spines and necks. These carriers, which also often recommend outward or forward-facing positions put baby in a non-physiological position that places pressure on the inner thighs of baby and the lower spine (the least developed part of your infants spinal column) and can be very stressful for babies. Hence, "my baby did not like the snugli."

Wearing your infant in a soft fabric carrier such as a wrap, mei tai or sling and keeping them oriented to the wearer in a tummy-to-tummy position is the solution here. Ideally the fabric of any baby carrier should extend from the back of one of baby's knees all the way to the other one, making a deep 'seat' for the baby to sit in. This position fully supports the legs and in turn positions the pelvis properly and optimally supports the spine and creates a comfortable place for babies to be!

And @hugabub also tweeted:

Myth: That wraps are too complicated/difficult/time-consuming to tie.

"Babywearing is a skill that you learn and master and is not the result of a product that you buy."

I read this the other day and could not think of a better way to describe it.  That being said, there is skill involved in a lot of things about parenting. It takes some skill to put together a crib, install a car seat, figure out your stroller and assemble all the other gear and gadgets that come along with having a baby. A wrap carrier may look a little intimidating at first pass, but with a little bit of practice you will GET it and trust me, your babywearing efforts will be rewarded 10 fold!  When I first brought home my little 4 pound preemie from the hospital four and a half years ago, I had a stretchy wrap and he lived in that thing. And every day for that first two weeks we were home with him, I would go and look at the online instructions on how to tie the wrap on me and then get him in it. Yes, it took some practice and yes, it took a bit more time, but it was so worth it. So please Mamas, don't just dismiss something because it looks like it is too hard. Try it, PRACTICE, seek out some professional babywearing education if you can and see for yourself. And believe me when I tell you that you (and your sweet little baby) will not be disappointed that you did!

Another lovely babywearing and blogging mama, @joyfulabode, wrote this:

Myth: "Babywearing creates clingy, needy children."

This is actually one of the biggest misconceptions about babywearing and attachment or instinctive parenting as a whole. We are conditioned in our western culture to think that holding a child will spoil them and make them into clingy, demanding little human beings. While in fact the exact opposite is true. Research has shown us that the physical closeness and physiological benefits of babywearing actually encourages children to be more independent and to feel more secure and content. They develop a better sense of self-esteem and are more able to be AT the centre of activity versus being THE centre of attention and that in and of itself promotes and stimulates brain development and cognitive learning. So wear your babies Mamas, and do it often. Give them a safe, secure and rich learning environment and know that a baby has no sense of entitlement, does not know what being spoiled means and only wants to be held close so that their most important needs can be met. Food, touch, warmth and love!

And finally, Josline from Facebook wrote:

Misconception: "That {babywearing} is just for babies!"

Ah yes, because as we all know, babies are the only ones who want to be picked up and carried and held. NOT! Imagine this: you are walking through the mall with your toddler happy as a clam in the stroller, and then suddenly, NOT at ALL and all she wants is for you to pick her up and carry her. The problem is, you kind of need two hands to steer the stroller through the mall and juggle the shopping bags and fish in your purse for your wallet, and....well, you're getting the picture right? We have all been there and gotten the looks from everyone passing by as our toddler is having a scream-at-the-top-of-his-lungs tantrum because we just don't have enough arms to do it all! Babywearing can be a life and sanity saver in this moment and many others like it!

I think this misconception exists because a lot of the carriers like the snuglis and bjorns of the world have a pretty low weight limit on them and once a baby has outgrown these kinds of carriers, parents believe that they can no longer carry them in any kind of baby carrier. Having a good, proper baby carrier that can support both you and your growing baby in a variety of different carrying positions is key to keeping your babywearing relationship going with your child for as long as you both need! And again, having someone to teach or show you the different baby carriers and to explain which is best for all stages and ages is important too. Do a bit of research and find a baby carrier that is safe for carrying your older baby or toddler, will be comfortable for both of you and by all means, keep enjoying all of the amazing benefits that babywearing has to offer!

Stay tuned later this week for Part Two of the Myths & Misconceptions of Babywearing. I still have a whole page full of them to dispell!!

Happy Babywearing Everyone.

Natasha~

References:
1. Strollers, baby carriers and infant stress. by Elizabeth Antunovic (©2008 NAP, Inc.)
2. InstinctiveParenting.com. Benefits of babywearing.
3. AskDrSears.com. Attachment Parenting Research.

Natasha's Pick of the Week: Ring Slings!

I love my ring slings!! The first baby carrier I ever bought was a ring sling and I still have it and still use it.

Ring slings are one of the three kinds of baby carriers that I think all parents should own (the other two being a wrap carrier and a soft-structured carrier).

And here are the reasons why I love ring slings:

  1. You can use a ring sling from day one of your baby's life! And because it is a one-size fits most kind of baby carrier, you do not have to get a specific size for either you or your child. (I carried my 4 lb premature son in ours almost everyday at home!)
  2. Kind of repeating myself here, but ring slings are adjustable. And that means that they can easily work for a 5' 2" Mama as well as the corresponding 6' 2" Daddy, as well as all sizes of babies!
  3. When babies start to move around more, ie, rolling, crawling, walking, they are usually in a constant state of what I call "the ups and downs". As in, please pick me up for a bit....Okay, now I want down....AND now I want up again....and down.... and I think you get the picture. A ring sling can be the perfect solution in this situation-it is easy to slip baby in and out of the sling to suit their ever-changing little minds!
  4. A ring sling is the perfect 'leave in the car' carrier. And this is where at least one of mine is at all times. I use it for when I have those days of multiple quick errands to run and I have to be in and out of the car. It is an easy carrier to use and get baby in and out of and in my opinion is a better alternative to carrying around the bulky and often very heavy baby + car seat.
  5. You can use a ring sling for your toddler. My daughter is two and a half years old and weighs about 30 pounds. Last weekend she fell down one step and twisted her ankle and has refused to walk on it now for about a week. And I don't know what I would have done with out my ring slings for both at home and when we have had to go out. I am also finding that at this age and weight, of all of my carriers (and I have over 20 of them) the ring slings and my woven wraps are proving to be the most comfortable to use with her.

We have a few different brands of ring slings at Natural Urban Mamas and I have used them all and personally think they are all fantastic. You really can't go wrong with any one of these great baby slings:

  • The gurumama Ring Slings are very nice because they have that little bit of designer fabric pizzazz on the 'tail' part of the sling, as well as a built-in zippered pocket.
  • The Ollie Golightly 100% Linen Ring Slings are at this point a very limited item. We only have three more of these and once they are gone, that is it (the creator of these has moved on to other career endeavors). I love these because the hand screen printed images on the tail part of the slings are gorgeous and the different colored bias ribbon to help with tightening makes these very user-friendly.
  • NEW Waterbaby Ring Slings from Babyette just arrived last week and this is the perfect carrier for your beach holiday, summer time at the splash park or pool or even just taking a shower with baby at home. They are made with a breathable, fast-drying, super-soft mesh material and they come in four different colors.
  • NEW 100% Cotton Batik Rings Slings from Babyette also arrived last week and we are so excited about these. The patterns were chosen specifically for Natural Urban Mamas, which makes these an exclusive item to us! Babyette Ring Slings are nice wide ring slings (read-plenty of fabric to support the shoulders of any size baby) and they have the most gorgeous and comfortable pleated shoulder detailing on them.

So go ahead Mamas, get yourself a ring sling and enjoy all there is about them and your babywearing time with your little baby!

And if you are local to the Greater Edmonton Area and need more information or hands-on instruction, be sure to check out our upcoming Basics of Babywearing Workshops and/or book a Private Babywearing Consultation with me.

Happy Babywearing Everyone!

Natasha~

P.S. Remember that proper positioning applies to all baby carriers, ring slings included and I do not recommend a cradle position or forward facing out position in these or any baby carrier.

 

Chimparoo Woven Wraps and Mei Tais

You all know that I love babywearing, that is kind of a given.  But what you may not know is how much I LOVE babywearing with woven fabrics!  Woven materials are the IDEAL fabric for babywearing. They are soft, so beautiful and because they are NON-stretchy, they are STUR-DY. A good woven wrap offers optimal baby support as well as wearer comfort. You can use woven wraps from day one of your baby's life all the way up to....well, let's just say I know a few 4 year olds who still enjoy a nice piggy back in a woven wrap!

Case in Point!

I am very happy to announce that the Chimparoo line of woven wraps and mei tais have arrived at Natural Urban Mamas. Chimparoo is a Mama-Owned Canadian company out of Quebec and all of their baby carriers are made right here in Canada and are 100% Oeko-Tex certified. So yes, they fit all the criteria for products carried by us!!

Often the hesitation with buying a woven wrap is cost.  Some of the European brands can be a bit pricey.  The Chimparoo line of woven wraps are very well priced, with the longest length (5.5 metres) coming in at just under $100.00. This is well below the average $130-180.00 for some of the popular European brands.

Trust me, the versatility and long-term use of a woven wrap can't be beat. You can learn to wrap your baby on your tummy, your hip and your back. A Chimparoo Woven Wrap truly can be the ONE baby carrier that you buy for the whole length of your babywearing journey!

Each Chimparoo wrap comes with a DVD and instruction booklet, outlining all of the different ways to tie your wrap and don't forget that you can also book one-on-one babywearing consultations with Natasha or attend one of our local workshops to learn more.

The Chimparoo Mei Tais are also in stock and they are simply amazing!  These mei tais are made with the same woven material as the wraps and are not only incredibly beautiful, but also super duper comfortable and so easy to use. The construction of these Asian-inspired baby carriers also makes it so that this is easily one of the mei tai brands that I would highly recommend right from the start with your baby.

The sides and front of the body of the Chimparoo Mei Tai have these lovely little toggles on them that can shrink down the body of the carrier to really hug the baby and help get them in the proper positioning for babywearing and the built in head rest is perfect for when nap time happens to coincide with babywearing! The waist straps and shoulder straps have just the right amount of padding to them and again, because of the sturdiness and non-stretch of the woven fabric, these mei tais are great for kiddos up to 35+ pounds!

 

What more can I say Mamas, these really are some great Canadian-made baby carriers, I am so happy to have them at Natural Urban Mamas and I don't think you can go wrong with carrying around your little Monkey in a Chimparoo Baby Carrier!!

Happy Babywearing Everyone!

Natasha~

P.S. Don't forget to check out our SALE section for some really great deals on natural, fair trade and organic baby essentials!!