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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Product Review: Compact Tangle Teezer

Tangle Teezer

Just a quick rave on a really cool product that was referred to me called the Tangle Teezer! After a few week’s use, I can honestly say that I am addicted to it! It is now my hair necessity and would bring it for travel so the Compact Tangle Teezer is a great item!

I was also told by some good friends based in UK that it's their only hair brush now and is popularly used in salons around Europe! It's proudly made in Great Britain. It's claim to fame is that it's the only comb in the market that glides through wet, vulnerable and colour treated hair with no pulling, tugging or yanking.This what my good friend Leslie of Little Earth Tiddler told me and I was skeptical but since C was quite happy when he used the demo sample, I was okay with getting it with further research/sampling.
Boy, I am sure thankful that I was referred to this item!
Here is C's test at the Mommy Mundo Fair. He was so eager to give it a try and it got yaya's look of approval.


Here's a better shot of the item that we actually got. As I checked online reviews, most are awesome so I had totally high hopes but was not fully convinced that it was a good purchase since it's a pretty pricey brush for a child.

I use it to de-tangling both wet and dry hair…so note that I when I get out of the shower and wipe down my hair, the only thing that comes into contact with my hair is this Compact Tangle Teezer that I got from Little Earth People! It is easy to use with its ergonomically shaped brush for a painless comb! Aside from ensuring that my hair is combed through with no pain, it also provides a relaxing head massage for most scalps so good for sensitive scalps! I do not have to worry about “pre-brushing” from ends of the hair to work up to my roots. I can use it from roots to tips! It cuts my combing and drying time into a few minutes (I timed it to be 2 minutes) compared to 30 minutes of de-tangling! I can do a lot more things with those extra 28 minutes! Check out my little experiment below...actual test - I'm sold!


This comb is also marketed for fidgety kids, since it combs effectively per stroke and is de-tangles in a minutes!

Funny that the kids and I are fighting over this one brush now since it de-tangles our hair faster and is with less pain (less stress on their maids/yayas)! So far, it's with me (haha!) and I've been using this for days and  have been bringing it around whenever I travel and can't leave home without it
I love how fast I get my hair manged after my shower and the massage is very heavenly! :P


I cannot wait to get more when new shipment comes since my mom and I want one for ourselves! I'm getting a few of these for some good friends of mine for 2014!

You can order your own Tangle Teezer at Little Earth Tiddler via their FB page or their website.

Happy grooming!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Breastfeeding while Babywearing

Love this and had to keep reminding myself and other babywearing and breastfeeding parents out there...

Tips for breastfeeding in a soft stucture carrier: (based from the Leaky B@@b's entry)

1. Be confident. Fake it until you are.
2. Be patient.  It may take time and practice and being patient with the process will help in the long run.
3. Practice at home when baby isn’t hungry so you don’t feel stressed or rushed.
4. Release strap on side you’re going to feed from.
5. If necessary undo back clip.
6. Loosen and lower waist if you need to get the baby still lower to the breast.
7. Wear a low cut stretchy neckline and pull breast out the top to avoid wrestling with pulling your shirt up with baby on you.
8. Slip hand in top or side of carrier to free breast and latch baby.  Can use two hands usually if needed.
9. Large breasted women may find a rolled up receiving blanket placed under the breast helpful for support.
10. If baby has trouble latching, leaning forward may help give a little more space.
11. Once latched tighten straps for hands-free Breastfeeding.
12. If you feel you need more coverage snap one side of the hood.  Leave the other open so you can see in easily.
13. Once baby is done eating, slip hand in to put your breast away.
14. Tighten strap and waist to raise baby back to the safest position with the top of their head easily kissable.
Breastfeeding carries on!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Babywearing 101: How to Tie Mei Tai's and similar carriers

Continuing with Babywearing Month, I'm here to tackle one of my babywearing carrier weaknesses - tying Mei Tai's. I know that that I still have to pause, think and fumble as I use my own Mei Tai's. Fortunately, I was able to get/acquire a new Mei Tai (hybrid/edited) called the Ruxpin that enabled me to go...

FROM THIS

TO THIS...faster, easier and definitely with my son's (3 yrs old!) and hubby's approval.

Photo (left to right): Ruxpin with my daughter (at closing 11 months); Ruxpin with my 3 year old son

What is a Ruxpin?

It's a "Mei Tai upgrade" as what I call it. It functions the same way and the concept is the same. This is now my staple with regards to babywearing on days that it would just be me without any help.
It has a a few features that are not included in the traditional Mei Tai that I really appreciate. The max weight for this carrier is 30 lbs.

These are:
  • Fabric.The cotton & jersey combination is a fab idea! Cotton on the upper section enables a firm fit while the jersey tail-ends enables wearer to pull and stretch to fit/securely and easier without the friction of a thick and sturdy cotton while provide support. The jersey fabric also enables this carrier to have shorter tails since the length can go longer when stretched and retracts when in original position.
  • Back panel support.The a crucial reason why this is carrier rocks! It enables me to affix/place or even babywear alone since this simple panel enables me to pre-fix the back portion without having someone also check & hold its proper position. The rest is easy after someone places my baby unto the carrier since the tails are already in position for pulling and support.
  • Detachable head padding.
    It can work for babies and toddlers. Customization on a per child basis.
  • Interchangeable panel design.
    There are so many designs and colors to chose from; as an added bonus, there's a small pocket on the inside of the panel for convenience.
  • Key/Toy hook/ring.
    This enables the mom to hook up baby's toys, pacifier, her phone, keys, etc for those simple walk around the neighborhood moments
(1) front with head cushion; (2) Back with head cushion; (3) front without head cushion; (4) crucial back panel support

As a guide in helping me (and other babywearer readers here) with any type of Mei Tai, I scoured around the web for easy and visual instruction guides online. The below are a few that I found useful. I hope this would help you in your Mei Tai carriers!
***********************************************

Mei Tai Photo Instructions (From Obimama.com)

Please read all instructions for front carry and back carring in a mei tai; nuggets of wisdom and babywearing gems are sprinkled throughout.

Standard Front Carry

(1-5) Tie your mei tai ( pronounced MAY tie) comfortably around your waist using a square knot. (8-10) Center your baby in the mei tai body, and lift the mei tai up between baby’s legs. Always keep at least one hand on your baby, or hold baby securely using straps. Practice over a soft surface such as a mattress, and use a mirror or other reflective surface to check your work. You can also enlist the help of a trustworthy spotter.
(11-13) Flip the straps over your shoulders, and cross them in an X on your back, taking care to not twist them. (14-16) Arrange the shoulder pads to your liking, and spread the straps wide across baby’s bottom as shown. (17-19) Pass straps underneath baby’s knees, and tie in a knot. (20) Baby should be high on your chest, not low on your belly. There should be no loose space between you and baby–the carrier should be bandage tight and very supportive. Baby’s face should be visible, her head close enough to kiss, with clear airways.

Front Carry with Lexi Twist

(1-7) Tie your mei tai comfortably around your waist using a square knot. (8-10)Center your baby in the mei tai body, and lift the mei tai up between baby’s legs.Make sure that your carrier is fitted to your torso snugly. (11-12) Flip the straps over your shoulders, taking care to not let them get twisted or bunchy. The wider your straps are, the more comfortable you will be.
 

(13-16) Cross the straps on your back, then bring them to the front and cross them over baby’s bottom (not baby’s sensitive spine). (17-19) Twist the straps, to form a seat. (20-24)Pass the straps under baby’s knees, and tie off in a secure knot. Baby’s knees should always be higher than baby’s bottom.

 Standard Back Carry

If baby can sit unassisted, he may be ready for a back carry. (1-6) Tie on carrier just below bust line, at waist, or on hips depending on age of baby or your particular physical preferences.  (7-9) Lift baby onto your back, positioned squarely. (10) Lift the body fabric between baby’s legs, all the while keeping a secure hand on baby. Tie on your baby over a soft surface such as a mattress, and use a mirror or other reflective surface to check your work. You can also enlist the help of a trustworthy spotter.

(11-12) Holding both straps, carefully bounce baby down into the carrier. Baby will be seated fully in the body of the carrier, with no bunching fabric. (13-14) Pin one strap between your legs while you arrange the other strap. (15-22) Pass the straps across baby’s bottom in an X, creating a wide, supportive seat. You should be able to feel baby’s breath on your neck.
(23-27) To create a Tibetan chest strap, crisscross the tails of the shoulder straps, passing them underneath the opposite strap at armpit level. (28-30) Tie in a square knot. (31-34) Spread the passes across your chest for greater comfort.
 

Back Carry with Lexi Twist

(1-6)Tie on carrier. You can tie the knot off to one side or centered. If baby is small but wishes to have a great view of the world, tie the waist up high on your torso. If you child is very large, long, and heavy, tie the carrier onto your hips so that your pelvis will bear some of the weight. (7-10) Slide baby squarely onto your back Keeping your back tabletop flat, bring the body of the carrier up between baby’s legs.


(11-12) Bounce her deeply into the seat so that there is no wrinkled body fabric and her knees are at a higher level than her bottom. (13-16) Cross the straps over your chest, and then cross them over baby’s bottom. (17-19) Twist the straps over baby’s bottom, creating a sort of a seat. (20-22) Bring the straps back under baby’s knees, and tie off in a square knot.

(23) A double knot is an acceptable option, but will not lie as flat as a square knot. If you have excessively long tails you can tuck them under your waistband or tie a bow. (24-28) Arrange the straps comfortably on your chest and shoulders, and go!

Tibetan Style (from Monkey MeiTai UK)

Tibetan-style is a way of providing extra support during back carries.  It is especially useful when carrying heavier / older children as it takes the pressure off the shoulders.  There are two ways of doing this: knotless, and knotted.  We will detail the knotless first.
When your child is in a secure back carry (please see our Instructions for details on how to do this), untie the shoulder straps and hold the right strap securely between your knees.  Take hold of the left strap, pass it across the front of your chest, and slip it under the right shoulder strap.

 Pass your right hand up under the diagonal formed by the left shoulder strap, and take hold of the strap.  Pull it down firmly to secure the strap.

Take hold of the right shoulder strap, pass it across your chest and under the left shoulder strap.
Pass your left hand up under the diagonal formed by the right shoulder strap, and take hold of the strap.  Pull it down firmly to secure the strap.




To achieve a knotted Tibetan carry, pass the straps diagonally under the opposite straps (forming a cross on your front) and simply knot at your chest.  For both styles, you may also choose to spread the diagonal straps for added comfort.


If you are having trouble with the above, maybe a YouTube Video will work too.
Front Tie / Back Tie / Newborn, respectively

 

Enjoy and happy babywearing!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Babywearing and Breastfeeding: a perfect match

Another entry in celebration of Babywearing Month...


Breastfeeding + Babywearing Correlation
Just after August's Breastfeeding Month, it's fitting to also mention that breastfeeding and babywearing go well hand in hand. Many baby slings and other carriers offer mothers privacy and for many mothers, the option of nursing hands-free while tending to other activities or household chores. Not all mothers can nurse hands-free in a baby carrier. Large-breasted mothers and mothers of small or hypotonic infants may need to support the breast or help maintain proper positioning of the baby's head or body. Even so, a properly adjusted baby carrier can help reduce arm strain and allow a mother more freedom of movement while nursing, even if it does not allow her to be completely hands-free.

Babywearing can help premature babies and babies who are slow weight gainers to gain weight at a faster rate. Since the baby is held up close to the mother, the baby will be able to be nursed more often and often for longer intervals. Kangaroo care is well-studied and has shown clear benefits to premature and ill infants.
Not all parents find breastfeeding in a sling or carrier easy. It is important, before attempting to breastfeed in a carrier, to first master the art of breastfeeding without a carrier. Latch and position are vital, and it is important to establish these first before adding a carrier to the mix. Where breastfeeding difficulties exist, babywearing can simplify the other tasks of parenting by allowing a parent free hands to deal with breast pumps, bottles and other supplementation devices.

Some parents prefer, even with the best carriers, to take time out and sit down to nurse a baby. Some babies may reflexively clamp down when nursing while a parent moves around, so nursing while babywearing is not always entirely comfortable. Individual experience will vary radically not only from parent to parent, but also from baby to baby, even within the same family. Some babies nurse very well in slings and carriers, others do not.

Final Note ~ an interesting quote/note to think about:-
"Babywearing is extremely beneficial to getting breastfeeding off to a good start.  When babies are worn, either skin-to-skin or in a baby wrap/carrier, they cry less, are more neurologically centered, and feel less stress.  Skin-to-skin and babywearing in the first month after childbirth has been proven to help bring in a mother's milk more quickly and help develop a sustained milk supply.  As a breastfeeding mom, it is easier to sense when your baby is hungry because you will notice all of the 'hunger signs' (smacking lips, hands to mouth, rooting) before it accelerates to the last sign (crying!)  Also, it is very easy to master breastfeeding while babywearing, which allows the mom more freedom to go about her day without worrying about breastfeeding in public or scheduling her day around when her baby might be ready to eat.  For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding and babywearing, check out the web site about Kangaroo Mother Care (www.kangaroomothercare.com)."
-- Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Founder of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, LLC

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Babywearing Celebration continued: Do's and Don'ts of Babywearing

Do's and Don't's of Babywearing
In any baby carrier you use, please make sure to ensure the below guidelines of care. This is based on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Recommendation in the US
  • Baby's  face should not be covered.
  • Baby should not be too low in the sling; kissable level.
  • Baby’s chin should not touch his chest. Ensure air passages is clear.
  • Baby’s face should not be pressed into wearer. NO to the Cradle Position (please see photo below.)
  • Baby should face up.
***WARNING:  Facing out position is not recommended because the baby cannot be in a natural curled position with the bum lower than the knees. Because of the baby being further away from the carrier this changes the gravity for the carrier and you will find it gets uncomfortable for you. Some babies get over stimulated from being carried facing out. If your baby wants to see more I recommend you to do a hip carry, baby can look forward and backward and can “hide” if it gets over stimulated.***

MORE INFORMATION AND NOTES TO REMEMBER:
  • Babywearing is not appropriate in certain activities. Use common sense. If an activity may present a hazard to your baby, do not do it while babywearing.
  • Do not use your baby carrier during activities such as cooking when there is a chance the baby may reach for or be exposed to dangerous items such as knives, hot beverages, and stoves. 
  •  Do not use your baby carrier during athletic activities such as jogging, skiing, cycling which could be hazardous to your baby. Additionally, you may strain your own back or lose balance, resulting in serious injury to you or the baby. Cyclic activities may injure your child.  
  • Flammability requires that you use extreme caution around heat sources in any carrier. 
  • Your baby carrier may not be specifically designed for use in Water.
  • When you Travel the safest place for your baby is usually in an approved car seat, not your baby carrier.
  • Pay attention to your child while Breastfeeding. Ensure baby's air passage is clear.
    Also, if you are breastfeeding, do not allow your baby carrier to dig into your breast tissue because this may lead to Mastitis.
  • To avoid muscle soreness, Build Your Strength Gradually
  • Remember that when you are baby wearing, your center of gravity is higher and it is easier to lose your balance. 
  • Switching shoulders and proper lifting techniques will help you avoid injuries to Your Back.
  • If your baby falls asleep in your baby carrier, please be sure that your baby is breathing normally. 
  • Do not put extra items in your carrier when babywearing. If your carrier has a pocket, items which could injure or cause discomfort to your baby should not be placed in it.
All of these recommendations should be kept in mind within the context of your knowledge of your baby. For example, leaving fabric over baby’s face while you’re shopping in a busy store and baby is sleeping is probably not a safe choice for you.There is little movement on her part and your attention is divided.Walking through the park breastfeeding with the fabric over baby as a cover is a safe choice for me. I can feel him sucking.I can feel every breath both from his nose to my breast and the expansion of his chest/abdomen against mine. I peek in constantly and have a little opening or “window” to gaze at each other and for ventilation. Wearing baby in a Baby K’tan with her cheek against your chest over the top of the fabric while the rest of her is wrapped in a safe cocoon against your body is definitely a safe choice- safer than a crib and safer than a stroller. 

The below is a safety diagram for Do's and Don't's regarding a Ring Sling/Pouch/Suppori pouch but the concept is essentially the same as indicated above.

If all-ends else fail, ensure that the baby's bum and knees are above your waits and that air passage is clear for the baby.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Babywearing Month: What carrier are you wearing?

I'm all excited to share my experiences for International Babywearing Month! It's a very addicting habit that I've grown to love and since S really appreciate this and I was able to convince my hubby to also start using ours more often than just carrying S on his own.


What is the right baby carrier for you?
Cloth baby carriers come in an endless array of fabrics and colors, from basic solid cottons to exquisitely embellished silks. Whether you're looking for something to use every day, a carrier for a special occasion, or slings to match every outfit, the choices are yours to make, whatever your personal style. Your baby carrier (or carriers) can be both functional and attractive.The array of baby carriers available today can be a bit overwhelming, but don't let that keep you from finding a carrier (or a few) that work for you! If there's a Babywearing International chapter or other nonprofit, free-to-attend babywearing group near you, you can get free babywearing help and can try several types of carriers, which will give you a better idea of what to buy or make. Another source of help is online communities like the forums at TheBabywearer.com
There is also a helpful brochure at School of Babywearing.com that is very useful here.

What are the types of carriers out there?
All of the types of carriers below can be used to carry babies and young children on the wearer's front, hip or back, although some are better for one or the other carry.  Most of these carriers can be used from birth until parent or child chooses to stop carrying.  This can sometimes be age 4 or beyond! 
Whichever carrier you choose, look for a carrier that holds your child in a position you would naturally carry them in arms in front, on your hip, or for a piggyback ride
The baby should be in a "sitting position" with the fabric/support on the back knee portion and goes around the baby's bum area upward. 
Most carrier manufacturers list weight limits for their carriers, but there is often a significant discrepancy between the published weight limit and what a particular user finds comfortable. Also, technique makes a difference. Buckling or tying on your hips feels very different from buckling or tying around your true waist. Help from experienced babywearers can save most beginning babywearers both time and money as they review their babywearing options.

These are some of the ones I have in my stash/collection...
  • Ring Sling

    This carrier is a shawl with a pair of rings attached to one end, i
    n its simplest and most elegant form, . The ring replaces the knot or tuck-and-twist method of fastening used with traditional shawl carriers such as Mexican rebozos or Indonesian selendangs. Some ring slings have padding where the sling rests on the caregiver's shoulder or along the edges of the sling, and some depart further from traditional shawl carriers by having the fabric at the end of the sling folded and stitched into a rope-like tail.
    • Recommended Age: newborn and up
    • Carries: tummy to tummy and hip
    • Advantages:
      • adjustable to fit anyone with it's adjustable straps 
      • Easy to get baby high and tight
      • Adjustable for a perfect fit every time
      • Can be shared between different-sized wearers
      • Comfortable, discreet breastfeeding (video demo here)
      • Best for snuggle/tummy to tummy kid.
      • Long tail can have a pocket
      • Six positions including back
      • With practice, quick to put on
      • Best for snuggle/tummy to tummy hold

    • Disadvantages:
      • Longer learning curve
      • Some dislike the tail, especially dads
      • Takes up more space in diaper bag, especially padded ones
      • Some find the rings get in the way of mom and baby
  • POUCH

    This carrier is a tube of fabric with a curved seam, a pouch sling is a sleek carrier option. It is sized to the adult wearer, and what it lacks in adjust-ability, makes up for in convenience. Few carriers take up less space in a diaper bag or are as quick to put on and take off as a pouch. 
    • Recommended Age: not recommended for newborns, best when baby can hold his/her head up on his/her own; roughly 4-5 months and up
    • Carries: tummy to tummy, hip 
    • Advantages:
      • Simple, easy to pop it on and go
      • Shorter learning curve / to properly master this carrier
      • Streamlined look
      • Lightweight and packable
      • Dad-friendly
      • Five positions including breastfeeding
      • No rings allow a more comfortable back carry
      • Can be less expensive
    • Disadvantages: 
      • Less adjust-ability
      • Can be challenging to fit initially
      • Cannot be shared between different-sized wearers (fitted only)
      • Fewer positions
      • Less discreet breastfeeding
      • Less airflow/breathable - at least with regards to my own pouch's fabric is a bit thick and thus me and my baby sweat easily because this. Not a nice feeling when you are trying to enjoy the bonding moments
  • Stretchy Carriers (SAYA or K'TAN):

    This carrier is a wrap-type baby carrier that is made up of two pouches uniquely linked together to form one unit. It is a hybrid sling that merges the benefits of all the major carriers
    • Recommended Age:  newborn until toddler age without changing sizes. 
    • Carries: newborn, tummy (hug), front (adventure), hip (explore)
    • Advantage:  
      • provides the convenience and nursing discretion of a ring sling: doubles as a discreet nursing cover and allows you to breastfeed on demand
      • ease of use and deep pockets of a pouch sling
      • comfort and dual shoulder support of a wrap or SPOC (simple piece of cloth)
        *  carries your baby higher on your chest unlike other baby carriers. This is called the “kiss height” — you will just need to simply tilt your head forward to kiss the baby
        *  feels secure when worn properly. It literally feels like a hug. The weight is distributed evenly on shoulders so you feel no strain at all. Pediatricians and expert caregivers say that its gentle, soft structure make it perfect for newborns, even preemies!
      • has no rings, buttons, snaps, sticky velcros or other attachment tools to work with
      • positions are versatile and can be modified to your preference and needs
    • Disadvantages:
      • requires to be fitted to the wearer - size is not adjustable to other wearers
      • the stretchy wrap carriers tend to feel too weighed down and saggy beyond about 15 pounds for toddlers
  • MEITAI:


    This carrier is a modern take on a traditional Chinese baby carrier with a body panel, shoulder straps, and waist straps still carries the traditional name, "mei tai" (pronounced"may tie"). The new-generation mei tais typically have either wide, padded shoulder straps, or extra-wide, wrap-style, unpadded straps for the wearer's comfort. They also offer a variety of features such as headrests or sleeping hoods for the baby, pockets for diapers or other essentials, and fabric choices that range from strictly utilitarian to truly luxurious.I.e. Hop-Tye, Ruxpin (above)
    • Recommended Age: can be used for newborn and upward but is best would be when your baby can hold his/her head up on his/her own (head control); roughly 4-5 months and up
    • Carries: front, hip and back
    • Advantages: 
      • adjust-ability - can be adjusted for newborns provided that the baby is nestled down properly in the carrier and the padded edge of the carrier comes up enough to support a small baby's neck and head
      • back-support provided
      • no plastic-y anywhere on the carrier to potentially dig into the wearer or the baby
      • possible to wear baby facing away from your body though not a very healthy position for baby's developing hips and spine. Babies who are old enough to want to check out what is going on around them are happy in a high back carry, which allows them to see the world while still being properly positioned. This is one of the many options of this carrier
    • Disadvantages:
      • practice is needed since the straps take getting used to be tied on your own so I normally ask assistance from my hubby or maid to ensure S is secure
      • could be a bit hot for the baby so I normally use this when we go to the mall and for longer period of walks
  • SUPPORTI

    This carrier is another variation of the pouch that is made up of permeable triple stitched, knitted yarn that offers both stretch and strength and without a ring. It does not retain heat and very useful during hot summer months. The high tenancy yarn is a special type of polyester. This specific yarn is so durable, that it is also used in motor vehicle parts. 
    • Recommended Age: not recommended for newborns, best when baby can sit-up and hold his/her head up on his/her own; roughly 6 months old (7kg/15lbs) to 24 months (15kg/33lbs)
    • Carries: tummy, hip
    • Advantages: 
      • lightweight, compact and convenient: can be held in the palm of your hand or simply in your pocket. Machine washable
      • comfort support : no more stiff shoulders or other weight induced stress caused by most baby carriers, because baby's weight is not concentrated on the muscle between your neck and shoulder, but on your shoulder bone
      • balanced support: babies weight rests on hip and strong deltoid muscle
      • sturdy, stretch: knit mesh structure snugs the shoulder keeping it in place. Conventional carriers and slings rests on the delicate trapezius muscles which is not as strong and there are a lot of delicate blood vessels. Wearers may suffer from sore back and stuff neck.
      • breathable air-permeable fabric: triple thread, triple woven mesh structure allows for air flow. Other carriers lack air-permeability and can cause discomfort for both wearer and baby and may cause heat rash. Perfect for warm/hot/humid climate areas.
    • Disadvantages:
      • can be frayed through use; no watch or jewelry is advised when using this carrier
      • the amount of net needed to pull up over my baby's back that would allow security compromised the netting under my baby's bottom
      • didn't allow for total hand-freedom as I constantly had to have my arm around S to support/protect her; it's more for one-hand freedom while the other hand supports
      • cannot be for long use since lesser back support compared to the other carriers I have; I moved around more when I use this since the movement would limit the gravity to my back in one
      • the strap can dig into baby/toddler's legs as they grow bigger; not to be used for older rowdier babies/toddlers since lesser support on them and you
      • Not a one-size fits all carrier - see below picture. It doesn't stretch to reach my hubby's shoulder. My Suppori is a size M. Although I later found out that I could have stretched it further to his shoulder cap but definitely tighter on him.
  • Combi Magical Compact carrier 

    This
    is a structured carrier that provides head support for a newborn but also have the added flexibility of being able to accommodate a toddler in a rear carrying position.
    • Recommended Age:  Newborn baby (3.4kgs) right through to a toddler (14.9kgs)
    • Carries: Cradling (newborn 3.4kgs to 7.4kgs); Forward-facing (7.4 kgs to 11.3 kgs);  Rearward-facing (7.4kgs to 11.3 kgs); Back Carry (11.3 kgs to 14.9kgs)
    • Advantages:  
      • it offers the optimum head and back support and comfort to a newborn baby
      • may be used as a breastfeeding aid
      • is ideal for hot climates as it provides maximum airflow
      • allows you to enjoy a direct line of sight to the baby so you can enjoy the baby’s first smiles and expressions
      • use this longer day-use like traveling in airports, hiking, etc since it will have better and longer back support use with less adjusting/repositioning, if fitted correctly
      • roomier area inside the carrier would allow fussy/"figity" babies some room to move around and airflow
    • Disadvantages: 
      • since it is a structured carrier, not all babies can conform perfectly to the carrier. It may not perfectly hug the baby for exact support and thus, center of gravity of you and your baby is in front that will not be good for your back
      •  upon placing the baby, the hooks and how to effectively tighten can take getting used to
 There are other brands/variations to the above and here are other babywearing options for you also.
  • Woven/wraparound Slings

    I do not have this but have seen it around town. It is a simple long strip of cloth/scarf that makes into an elegant and comfortable baby sling. They can be short, for quick one-shoulder carries, or longer, to distribute the baby's weight evenly over two shoulders and the wearer's torso and hips. They come in a variety of fabrics like natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, hemp, wool, and silk that are more breathable to the more appropriate texture than synthetics. Some wraparound slings are specially woven to have exceptional performance as baby carriers, offering strength, breathe-ability, just the right amount of diagonal stretch, and the right texture for holding the baby securely; these highly prized textiles are sometimes known as "German-Style Wovens" because this type of sling was developed in Germany.
    They
    come in different sizes, from 2.20m – 5.30m long and between 60cm and 75cm wide. 
    What size you need depends on the carries you want to do and on the size of the carrier.
    • Recommended Age: newborn and up
    • Carries:  front, back, side, one and two shoulder holds
    • Advantages:
      • Versatile and can do many different carries with just one cloth
      • Comfortable to wear, even with a heavy baby, as the baby's weight can be spread widely over both shoulders and the waist/hips. 
      • Very secure  
      • Can be used for newborns right through to older toddlers
    • Disadvantages:
      • Practice and learning is needed to tie the cloth
      • Can take longer to learn to use than most other carriers (mainly for back carries)
      • May feel some constraints by the amount of fabric; can also be hot, depending on the fabric
      • Can be tricky to avoid dragging the fabric on the ground, which makes wrapping problematic on wet or muddy surfaces
  • Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) or Buckle Carriers

    These carriers
    are basically modern MaiTai`s. They are adjustable and one size fits all. carrier consists of a body panel and shoulder and waist straps, soft structured carriers replace knots with buckles and add a thickly padded waistband and shoulder straps. Some of the brands come with a newborn insert. The result is a different weight distribution and overall different look and feel from a MeiTai, putting this style of carrier into a category of its own. Soft structured carriers offer the convenience of buckles yet are vastly different from framed backpacks in that they hold the baby securely against the wearer's body. (i.e. Ergo, Manduca) Carrier comparisons can be seen here.
    • Recommended Age: Babies approximately 68cm long and up
    • Carries: tummy, back, hip-carrying
    • Advantages:  
      • Suitable from birth  through toddler-hood and provide the benefits of body-to-body contact for the baby (although some require or include a special insert for newborns) 
      • Some offer a shade-hood for shielding your baby from the rain and sun or anything that might cause harm 
      • Most “daddy friendly” carrier
      • Easier to back carry in since you don’t have to tie anything
        ***NOTE SSCs can not (in general) be used for high back carries.  This means baby will sit lower on your back and may not be able to see over your shoulder.  Because of this, babies who can not yet sit on their own should not be worn in a back carry in an SSC in order to make sure they are not slumping and compromising their airway
    • Disadvantages:
      • Buttons/buckles could be in places that are harder to reach or takes a bit more effort to unclasp
      • No forward facing option (not advisable anyways for infants) but for older kids, this is a drawback
      • Trickier to fit both wearer and baby and may not fit as wide a size range of both wearer and child
      • Good brand (good quality) carrier can be quite expensive
  • Podegi or Podaegi

    This Korean baby carrier is a panel of fabric with two straps, instead of four like a MeiTai. Another name/term of it is called Pods.  It's more narrow blanket wrapped around the baby compared to more traditional wide blanket counterparts.
    See more here. It is not a very common carrier to find but MeiTai sellers might be able to customize one for you if you are interested to purchase this type or you can make one of your own here /here or at the Korean Baby. Also similar is the chunei. 
    As I researched, I found a lot of similar carriers of this type from all over the world though it's in French, I'm sure we can appreciate the wonderful photos of this carrier here.
    • Recommended: 4month onwards
    •  Carries: tummy, back
    • Advantage:  
      • One size fits all 
      • Hands-free
      • Comfortable and warm for the baby (for cold climates, this is a plus)
      • Easy to wash
      • Can serve as a blanket
    • Disadvantage:  
      • Practice is required since it could be harder to tie properly and snugly
      • Very warm for both the wearer and the baby (for hotter climates, this is a negative)
Frequently asked baby carrier recommendations from friends:- 
Like breastfeeding, babywearing takes some work at the beginning to get the hang of it.  If I had a nickel for every time I was stopped while wearing my baby out in the world and told, “Wow, that looks amazing.  I wish I could have that.  I was given a Combi Magical Compact Carrier but it hurt my back with it's center of gravity for me in the middle of my baby and me. I had to try many styles, types, and brands before I found the perfect carriers for me and my babies.  And it took practice to get the hang of using each one.  But once you make it over the hump, there is bliss on the other side.  Don’t be intimidated and don’t quit!  Get recommendations from other like-minded parents.  This is important- other like-minded parents.  You may have a lot of friends who you like and have a lot of history with who occasionally use ...i.e. Baby Bjorn and tell you to get one but look for role models around you.  If you see a mom loading groceries in her cart while reading a list with her older son and as you get closer notice she is even breastfeeding too- ask her about her sling!
I am frequently asked about my carriers.  I take it as a compliment each and every time.  Go shopping!  Every store that sells slings has models to try on.  Stores like the Mamaway, Tickled Moms, Mama.Baby.Love  and Rustan's have people there to give you all the help you need.  My favorite carriers are Ring Sling and Baby K’tan for newborns and MeiTai as my son grew heavier and needed more support.  There are many other types (ring sling, structured carrier, moby wrap, etc.) and brands.  And for each type of carrier there are numerous position options for baby.
 Now, before you run out and get a carrier, I should also put a warning note based on my experience since I have already two kids to compare. Kindly heed this to mind. For me, given the above benefits, it's no wonder there's a big trend in babywearing these days; but do take note, not all babies/kids like to be babyworn. I knew that my son didn't like being babyworn. He would rather be carried to sleep then left him be when he is already in deep sleep. I remember he would breastfeed on me then after he is done, even if he is already asleep, he would get up and move to the end of our bed to sleep in his own spot. I counted that as he didn't want to be hot and wanted his own space. This is the total opposite with my daughter who would rather sweat in bullets with me being breastfeed or carried or worn than be left alone in our bed to rest better.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mark Your Calendars: Babywearing Meet 10/12, 2-5pm



Babywearers unite! I'm preparing and deciding what to wear for this event. SO many carriers to choose from!!!


Join us for a babywearing meet on 12 October 2013. The event will be at The Roxy's Event Place at Tomas Morato,from 2-5pm.

There will be activities like short talk on babywearing safety, MomBa and babywearing Samba.
Come and join us and GET CARRIED AWAY!:)



Friday, September 20, 2013

International Babywearing Month: What is Babywearing?

OCTOBER is International Babywearing Month! Yes, I know it's still September but I have to share this in preparation for an exciting month of random babywearing activities! I'm excited out of my mind, most especially since I have recently been addicted to it. S's been a real game changer on how active I am with regards to breastfeeding and now with babywearing. Yes, I know it's like the "new age mom activists" popping up.


What is Babywearing?
Simply put babywearing means "holding/carrying a baby or young child using a cloth baby carrier.

Holding babies is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living. Babywearing helps a new dad put a fussy newborn to sleep. It allows a new mom use both hands to make a sandwich. It lets an experienced parent or caregiver carry a baby on her back and wash the dishes, do the laundry, take a hike, or weed the garden, all while keeping the baby safe and content."
As in anything, babywearing is a skill that takes time to master and as you use it, the better you become. The manuals may say one particular way to do it but it is up to the user to find what is best for them. There are many baby carriers around like
A commercial baby carrier is not necessary for babywearing since there are many people use simple pieces of cloth to safely and comfortably carry their babies. Additionally, there is a learning curve with any baby product, including commercial baby carriers. Parents and caregivers often benefit from thinking of babywearing as a skill they can learn, rather than as the result of a product they can buy. Many babywearing techniques can be learned in just a few minutes. Some techniques, such as carrying a baby on your back, take more time and practice to master, but the extra effort is rewarded with liberation and increased comfort.
There are many benefits of babywearing that I can vouch for since I babyworn baby S:-
  • Bonding moments increased with babywearing and less dependencies in others. Scientific studies have shown that through babywearing - a mothers' oxytocin is increased through physical contact with her baby, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness in the mother; similarly, the father carrying the baby has benefits for the paternal bond
  • Breastfeeding + Babywearing = Happy Baby and Mommy
    I liked the fact that I can breastfeed on demand, anytime and anywhere with just a sound from S. I do not have to worry about expressing milk to have someone at home give it to her when I go out or pickup my son from school.
    Where breastfeeding fails or is not possible, babywearing can aid attachment by encouraging closeness during bottle feeding and freeing at least one hand
  • The hands-free option of babywearing enabled me to not worry about having a maid with us while still being able to make sure the house is in order. I go out with S whenever the maid is on leave/vacation and I am not afraid/dreading it. It makes my relationship with my maid better and doesn't make anyone feel bad with regards to giving them space to themselves. Also, it enables me to multi-tasking with one free arm taking care of my toddler son while at the same time, ensure my daughter feeds in a secure manner.  A superwoman feat is correct!
  • Baby S, who's babyworn better than her brother, Big Brother C, are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone is constant. Parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) have balancing and soothing effects on infants. Attachment between baby and parent is more secure.
  • Studies showed that babyworn babies developing socially earlier. They are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language.  Evidence-based benefits for full term babies include improved state organization and motor system modulation; improved temperature regulation; and an analgesic effect, reduced crying, improved maternal responsiveness, and babies who were more securely attached. I can attest to this but it doesn't mean that Big Brother C is not affectionate. I had to show him affection and be sociable in a different way like encouraging to talk to other kids under supervision (since they might be total strangers, etc) and giving as much affection without seemingly smothering him. 
  • An interesting benefit I have read on Wikipedia is that babywearing decreases risk of positional plagiocephaly ("flat head syndrome") caused by extended time spent in a car seat and by sleeping on the back. Sleeping on the back is recommended to decrease the risk of SIDS. Cranial distortion resulting from non-vehicular time in car seats has shown to be more severe than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress.  Concern over plagiocephaly has also led the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that infants “should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning." None of the babywearing positions require infants to lie supine while being carried. Infants can even be worn while they sleep, also decreasing sleeping time spent in a supine position.
    Also, preterm babies have been shown to receive marked benefits from babywearing including shortened hospital stay, decreased illness, higher exclusive breastfeeding rates/longer breastfeeding duration, increased weight gain, improved temperature regulation, and improved maternal sense of competence.
More Babywearing entries as the days come around that I'm so excited about.
I will also try to update you all of any babywearing events around the Metro for the month. Exciting times again!!!

7 Tried and True Breastfeeding Positions. What works for you?

BabyCenter Blog by Dennis Cortes
19 September 2013

Some of my fondest memories as a mother were breastfeeding my children. Touching their soft skin, listening to their contented little sighs and staring into their eyes as they look up so adoringly at you–it was amazing. Breastfeeding is some pretty powerful stuff.

I can still vividly recall those first few nights at home after my babies were born. It felt like we were the only two people awake in the world sometimes. Sore and a little beat up, I tried my best to position the little squirming ball of humanity to my breast. Do women know how to do this instinctively? Am I doing this all wrong? Why is this so hard?

I had some struggles along the way, that’s for sure. Somehow I managed to maintain a breastfeeding relationship with most of my children. Once I gave birth to baby #6, I realized I became a seasoned veteran at breastfeeding along the way. How did I know this?

I had my favorite breastfeeding positions down pat. There was no need to experiment–I knew which ones were the most convenient and the most comfortable for both of us. Hands down, my favorite breastfeeding position was laying down. When you can both mother your child, feed her and doze in and out of sleep–that’s not laziness, it’s just pure genius. I gave up the notion of a crib a long time ago, which meant we were free to nurse and fall back asleep. I would usually lay my daughter across my hip (which was very soft and padded, by the way) to briefly burp her and then we’d switch sides.

On those occasions when I couldn’t lay down to nurse my baby girl, I would use the football hold. That is, until she was big enough to play with her feet and yank my nipple because her attention was directed across the room. Ouch.

I asked a few of my breastfeeding mama friends, and they shared a few of their favorite breastfeeding positions.

 
Lap Position: You will find yourself breastfeeding with your sweet babe spread out on your lap quite often.

 Side Lying Nursing: This is probably my favorite breastfeeding position! Once the oxytocin starts to flow and you begin to feel drowsy, it's the perfect time to nap.
 
 
Cradle Hold: The most common breastfeeding position. It's easy and comfortable. 

 
Babywearing - Sling: I never quite figured out how to nurse while wearing a sling, but lots of moms swear by it. 

Foodball Hold: This is great for moms who are new to breastfeeding because it gives a great view of baby's latch-on.

Lying Flat Back Position: This is supposed to be a restful position for mom--until the baby gets the idea that he's hungry!

Tandem Hold: For the mothers with two young nursing babes, there is the tandem hold. 

My second favorite breastfeeding position--comfortably on your lap, head cradled in your arms, eyes looking up at you and their tiny hand griping yours.