{babywearing} in the summer, summer, summertime....

Oh Happy Day!! Yesterday was the first day of summer and Mother Nature was a kind mama to us here in Edmonton and she let the beautiful sun come out to play (it had been raining almost 24/7 here for the four days prior!!) Now that summer is officially here, I thought I would go over a few tips and recommendations for summertime babywearing. Because along with summer, come trips to the lake and/or mountains, camping, city festivals, outdoor farmer's markets and multiple playdates at the playground, splashpark, outdoor pool, etc.... And what better way for your little one to experience all of this summer fabulousness then right up there with you on your tummy or your back in a great baby carrier!

You want to make sure that first and foremost on hot and sunny days, that your baby (and ideally you too) is kept out of direct sunlight for long periods of time. Find a nice shady tree at the park, or walk on the shady side of the street, get them a wide-brimmed hat to wear and use a non-chemical, mineral-based, natural sunscreen to protect their delicate skin (Health Canada does not recommend sunscreen for babies less than 6 months old).

You will also want to make sure that both you and baby are appropriately dressed for the weather. For baby that usually means just a diaper, a diaper shirt or t-shirt (and the wide-brimmed hat) and maybe a pair of the super cute BabyLegs Cool, UV and sun protection leg warmers. For you an easy-to-access nursing tank top or simple tank top or t-shirt is your best bet.

As for what kind of carrier to use, well it is really quite simple.

If you love your wrap, but are finding the stretchy cotton jersey one that you have too hot, then switch to a gauze or a thin woven wrap. Not only is the fabric of a gauze wrap, like the Babyette Gauze Wraps that I have at Natural Urban Mamas, light and airy, it is also considered a non-stretchy wrap and can be used for back carrying as well as tummy-to-tummy carrying.  Also, tying baby in the Front Wrap Cross Carry hold gives you the option of having just one layer of the carrier covering baby or adding the other two layers if needed.

A nice light cotton or gauze ring sling is also another option and perfect for those days and times when your baby or toddler is going to want to be up and down multiple times throughout the day (think festivals, going to and from the car to the pool, park, etc....). Another option for ring slings is a mesh sling that can also be used for water fun! The Babyette WaterBaby Mesh Ring Slings are sturdy enough for everyday use and perfect for heading to the pool with baby or to the splash park where you have to keep an eye on older siblings splashing around and still keep baby close (and trust me you are all going to get wet)!!

Another great option for summertime (and anytime) babywearing is the Chimparoo Mei Tai baby carrier. I love this mei tai for its great design, as well as the fact that it is made with such beautiful woven cotton fabrics that make it a nice light and breathable carrier that is so, so easy to use. The newest version of this carrier, the Mei Tai Plus, has a few very cool design additions that make this a truly versatile baby carrier that can be used from newborn to ~35lbs. It also happens to be one of the only soft-structured baby carriers that I like for a hip carry and I think it has to do with just the right amount of strap and waist padding and the width of the straps.

And if your summer holidays are taking you camping and hiking and hitting the mountain trails, you will want to make sure you have a baby carrier that can keep both you and baby comfortable for longer walks and hikes over rugged terrain. The Pipa Pack soft-structured baby carrier is a great option for babies who are at least 3 months old (for front carrying) and ~5 to 6 months old for back carries. The ingenious inner panel design on the Pipa Pack also makes it super easy to transfer the carrier (with baby/toddler still strapped in) from one wearer to another, so your little one can have a piggy back ride on both mommy and daddy and whomever else is with you!

I will not lie and tell you that you are not going to get a little sweaty while you are wearing your baby this summer, just know that it can be done comfortably with a few slight adjustments or a new carrier. Just remember to take breaks when you need them to cool down, make sure you keep both you and baby well hydrated (nurse and babywear at the same time!!) and get out there and soak up all the amazing and fun times that summer has to offer.  Just don't forget your baby carrier!!

Happy {Summertime} Babywearing Everyone!

Natasha~

 

 

 

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!!

Resistance is futile....I will get you (and you will love me for it)!

Today I chased down a woman who was wearing her baby in a forward facing out carry in a Mei Tai baby carrier...yup, that was me!! (See  * and ** below for how this all panned out!)

Here is the thing. I really am not some crazy lady going around badgering all moms out there who I think are not doing things 'right'.

What I am is an experienced babywearing mama and a certified babywearing educator. I have spent the last 4 years carrying my children around in baby carriers on my tummy, my hip and my back and the last year educating myself and gaining even more experience as a formal babywearing educator.  I understand the mechanics of babywearing, the benefits of babywearing and the joys of babywearing.

When I stop a mama or a daddy to discuss their babywearing, I am not doing it to be a nosy ninny or a crunchy mama know-it-all. I am doing it because, even if they don't know it, what I am about to tell them WILL help them do it better! My advice will likely make their use of the baby carrier more comfortable for them and for the baby. The information I share is meant to inform. Decisions to do or not do what I say are completely up to the parents.

And that is my goal.  To help parents make better decisions about what baby carrier to get, what babywearing can really mean to their parenting and how to do it so that all parties involved are getting the full benefits of this amazing practice.

Today, I worked a wonderful trade show and co-ran the show's "Stroller Check". The concept being that you come to the show, check 'in' your stroller, check 'out' a baby carrier and do some hands-free, paraphernalia-free shopping. What I learned, yet again, is that there are many misconceptions, much misinformation and so many mamas who need to know more about using baby carriers and jumping on this amazing babywearing bandwagon!

Here is some of what I heard today:

"Hes' already 14 months old, I can't wear him anymore!" (Says who??)

"There is no way my toddler is going to like that!" (this from the Mama who's little one immediately fell asleep and had a good 45 min nap in the Pipa Pack while her Mama finished off her shopping)!

"I have a Baby Bjorn, but I don't find it very comfortable". (Uhm, duh!)

"But, my baby only likes to be worn facing out." (Have you tried a back carry?)

And then there was the whole slew of new mamas who were given a carrier or bought a baby carrier or sling, but had no idea how to use it.

And so I wrapped, and tied and buckled all these mamas into different Stretchy, Woven and Gauze Wrap Carriers, Mei Tai's or Soft-Structured Baby Carriers.  And the results where pretty close to unanimous. Almost all of those babies came back sound asleep or just waking up from a lovely nap. And almost all of the mamas came back with this look of wonder on their faces, like they never knew life could be SOOOOO good.

And that MAKES MY DAY and my job so worthwhile!

Yes, yes, I know, I run a retail business. I am in the business of selling a product and making a profit. But the true joy in what I do is knowing that the products I sell and the services I provide actually have an impact on someones life.  What I do changes peoples lives for the better, even if it is just a little bit.

....and I get to hold babies all day long. And trust me, THAT, never gets old!!

Happy Babywearing Everyone,

Natasha~

*For more info on WHY I chased the mama, please read THIS comprehensive article about babywearing and the reasons behind why forward facing out is not a recommended position for wearing your baby.

**and P.S. The Mama was leery of me at first, but listened to what I had to say and we eventually found a proper position that worked for both her and her baby!