Sunday, October 12, 2014

IBW 2014, day 2: Size 4 Woven Wrap

International BabyWearing week day 2: This is a rucksack carry tied in a knotless Tibetan finish with a size 4 Little Frog woven wrap in Pyrope.

This carry is great for quick ups where I need Nae up out of the way so I can do something like chopping vegetables for dinner without having to worry about her grabbing the knife or getting underfoot in the kitchen.

A size 4 (3.6 meter) wrap is short enough that I can get it wrapped without dragging it on the ground if I'm out somewhere and it isn't too bulky to carry around or unwieldy to wrap, but is still long enough that I can do an extra pass or more involved tie-off for my comfort or run a pass under/over her legs to securely reinforce the carry so she can't push out of it by seat -popping/leg- straightening/excessive leaning.

This particular carry is one that I use only for relatively short periods of time because it puts more strain on my shoulders than some other carries I do with a longer wrap. But it's quick and convenient, keeps little hands out of whatever I'm doing, and Naomi loves it because it puts her up high where she can see over my shoulder and feel like she's involved in what I'm doing.

This size wrap also works great for a number of quick hip and front carries that are fast to tie and easy to pop baby in and out of for quick errands, when she needs to nurse, when we're out somewhere and I know she's going to be in and out of the wrap a lot, when she just wants a quick cuddle, or I need her contained for a few minutes; but I'm not planning to have her up for long periods of time.

Someone with less sensitive shoulders would likely be able to use this size of wrap for longer - term carries as well. The thickness, weave and fiber content will also affect how comfortable a given wrap is for particular carries or lengths of time for different people.

Currently I'm on the search for a size 4 wrap that I can wear in a single-layer carry for more than a few minutes at a time. The thinner Little Frog wraps at 190-210 g/m2 aren't going to be that wrap for me, but I do really love the colorways they have, and they are great low-budget wraps for people with younger babies or for multi-pass carries. The thicker Agate, Opal and Flourite colorways are slightly more substantial and have a bit more cush at 240 g/m2, and the linen and wool blends will be even more toddler-worthy.

Little Frog is a great low-budget basic wrap brand that will work well for many people. They are made in Poland, but their website has the option to show text and pricing in English and US dollars as well as Polish and Russian, as well as showing the currency in these and in Euros, depending on what you select in the drop-down menu on the top right corner of the web page.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

International Babywearing Week 2014, Day 1: Hands-Free Comfort

To celebrate International Babywearing Week, and to get back into the habit of posting on my blog, I plan to make a series of posts about various aspects of babywearing. I started off doing this on Facebook, but I thought why not post on the blog too? So this is Sunday's post, with some additional fleshing-out. :)

Having EDS (and the other health issues that go along with it) makes holding and carrying Baby Nae for any length of time difficult and often painful for me. I'm so thankful for the wraps and other babywearing devices that allow me to hold her as needed without undue strain and damage to my back, shoulders and other joints. It's taken some trial and error to figure out which carriers and methods of wrapping work well for me and distribute the weight without causing pressure points or extra pain, but they make life so much more manageable.

Tonight babywearing worked to get a sick, fussy, restless baby finally soothed to sleep by being wrapped up. She's cutting multiple teeth and has a cold, poor thing. And was wide awake for several hours after a brief nap in the car on the way home this evening. Often being wrapped will soothe Nae and get her to sleep when nothing else will. I think being comfortably and gently restrained with even body pressure from the wrap is calming for babies and helps them relax and fall asleep.

In the above photo I'm wearing the wrap in a carry called the Kangaroo carry, which is my favorite front carry because it's easy for me to get snug and secure, it is a fairly simple carry to tie (once you get the shoulder flip down), you don't have to put the baby down to tie it, it's not too hot with only one layer of fabric over baby, and it's relatively easy to get a sleeping baby in and out of without waking her. I can't find a video that shows how to do it in the way I personally find easiest, so I might have to make one. :)

This wrap is a size Medium (4.6 meter, equivalent to size 6) Lenny Lamb jacquard woven wrap in the colorway (name for the color and pattern) called Eclipse Black & Yellow. This is a substantial, 100% cotton wrap that is on the heavier side at about 280 g/m2 . . . it's not terribly beastly (stiff and difficult to wrap with before breaking in) but is definitely substantial and would benefit from some breaking in. I'm not finding it too hard to wrap and tie with after a wash, line dry and steam iron, but I think it will soften and improve even more after breaking in. It feels very substantial and supportive, and is a fairly dense and tapestry-like weave. I really love the look of it, and it looks lovely in a carry that shows the pattern in reverse colors on the back side.

This pattern seems to be mostly sold out, but as of this writing they do still have it at a discount in the outlet in both black and yellow, and also in a turquoise and white version.

Lenny Lamb is a newer brand, and they have gorgeous wraps that for the most part fall into the budget category--you can get a LL wrap in their basic broken twill weave with shipping from Poland included for well under $100, and the heavier and more toddler-worthy limited-edition jacquard wraps still fall into a very moderately priced range. Their patterns are absolutely gorgeous and I've been impressed with the quality and feel of even the "grade B" discounted items I've purchased from their outlet (which have some sort of cosmetic flaw such as a weaver's knot or small pull that doesn't affect the safety or use of the wrap at all). They regularly have a coupon code for up to a 15% discount on their Facebook page, and once you make a purchase you automatically get an affiliate link (here's mine: ) that gives you a 15% credit on any purchase made through your link. 

Do note that the prices are in Polish Zloty (PLN) rather than dollars. You can find out what the equivalent to US currency is at today's conversion rates by typing "convert PLN to USD" into Google. A little conversion widget will pop up, accompanied by a graph showing the conversion rate over the past several years. Just put the amount you want to convert in and it will tell you that, for instance, today 200 Polish Zloty equals approximately $60.47 in U.S. Dollars.

In a jacquard weave, the patterns are not printed on the fabric, but rather created by weaving threads of different colors together to make a pattern that is visible on both sides of the fabric (though the colors are reversed on the back). Lenny Lamb has taken this technique to a whole new level with the amazingly detailed artistry of their patterns. They have even started reproducing works of art such as this beautiful Rennaisance painting, Man of War Between Two Galleys by Pieter Breugel the Elder, on wraps. 

I got the opportunity to try someone else's Lenny Lamb Galleons wrap that had only been through it's first wash and worn maybe a couple of times, and even though it's on the heavier side at 290 g/m2, with its slightly looser weave I found it quite comfy and easy to wrap with right off the bat. The cushy shoulder feel and ease of wrapping were quite surprising in a wrap that new in a more substantial weight range like that--the owner said it didn't need much if any breaking in.

Having a wrap that is beautiful and collectible as well as practical isn't necessary to carry your baby, but it's fun. :)

Disclosure: I was not asked or paid to write about Lenny Lamb products on my blog; I just chose to do so because I like them. I do get a credit toward a purchase if someone uses the links here to buy something. :)

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Ten Minutes

These last few weeks have been grueling physically and emotionally. We've had so much going with illness, camps, the fair, family gatherings, birthday parties and a death in the family. The kids are tired and grumpy and I'm fighting a flare -up.

I wanted to make sure I spent some time connecting with each of my kids today, but I knew it was a rough day physically and my energy would be very limited, so I set a goal of 10 minutes of focused individual time with each kid.

The first one took me for a walk out to the other end of the property to show me her secret place, the second one opted to do a craft together, and the third didn't like any of the ideas I suggested and couldn't come up with any ideas of her own that didn't involve screen time, so reluctantly sat with me and had a bit of conversation for 10 minutes.

I'm not sure if I should hold firm to my "doing something together that allows for interaction and doesn't involve screen time" rule for next time, or if doing something like playing Minecraft together would be more positively relationship - building than forcing a conversation with a kid who doesn't really want to be there.

It took us about an hour to accomplish 10 minutes of focused time together with each of the three older kids by the time we figured out what to do and whose turn it was to watch the baby with each one.

By the time it was done I was exhausted, hobbling painfully, and needed a nap (perfect timing since the baby was ready for some quiet time too). But I'm glad we did it. I'm hoping to work it into our routine on at least a semi -regular basis.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A rap, or chant, or something . . .

Crazy grumpiness today, from everyone in the household including Mom. I was racking my brain about how to "reset" the mood and reclaim the day, and came up with this little rhyme.

"Grumpiness, grumpiness, go away!
We're family (and friends) and we're here to stay!
We love each other; yes we do!
So let's have some grace and some gentleness too!
Gentleness, kindness and courtesy
Make for an awesome family!

I wish I'd had a camera to capture the looks on their faces when I suggested to 4 teens/preteens (my three plus an extra we had today) that we all hold hands and dance in a circle while chanting it. I then proceeded to loudly and animatedly demonstrate it myself, making them all roll their eyes, laugh at me and groan.

My kids think I'm crazy. But it actually worked to dissipate the foul mood. :)

Apparently at this age the ability to embarrass myself in front of my kids and/or the general public is like some sort of secret weapon, LOL.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Too much milk

As I was reading through some old blog posts, including this one mentioning Baby E's fussiness and difficulty with nursing and this one that mentions her inconsolable near-constant screaming, I was reminded of how difficult those first few months of nursing were with all three of my older kids. While they really did probably all have reflux and Ebee definitely had food intolerances too, something I've learned with Baby Nae is one thing I really wish I had learned sooner, as I think it would have helped significantly with my other babies.

I'm so thankful that--I forget whether it was through a lactation consultant or just googling symptoms--I came across the La Lache Leage International page about oversupply and overactive letdown and a few others on the topic.

All four of my babies had many of the symptoms listed. With their rapid weight gain combined with other symptoms, there was no doubt that we had this issue. (Note: some babies actually have trouble getting enough milk because of overactive letdown, so not having rapid weight gain doesn't necessarily rule it out, but it is one factor a lactation consultant will consider.)

Baby Nae had the same kinds of symptoms the older kids had displayed--wanting to nurse constantly, but writhing and fussing even while nursing. Green frothy diarrhea. Massive numbers of wet and poopy diapers, far above average. Arching her back and screaming inconsolably even right after feeding. Copious amounts of spitting up and gassiness. Gulping and spluttering during feedings. More fussing and crying and writhing. Not sleeping unless being held almost upright.

Thankfully, this time around we were able to figure it out and work with a lactation consultant to help manage the issue. The LC showed me some nursing positions to help gravity work to slow down the flow of milk, and I learned how to "block feed"--nursing on only one side for long periods of time. In our case, what worked was about 4-hour segments. I found a smartphone app to help track when I'd fed the baby on which side, and I'd feed her as often as she needed to be fed but only on one side for that 4-hour block of time.

That helped to regulate the milk supply and ensure that Baby Nae was getting enough hindmilk to meet her needs, rather than just getting foremilk delivered fire-hose style at every feeding. Within a week or two, it was so much better. The "colic" was gone.

Which meant that my fussy, colicky, inconsolably-screaming baby turned into the intense, social, active, but basically extremely happy child that she is. And, this time around, I get to experience having a baby that I can actually console most of the time when she cries. Usually if she's fussing, there's a reason that I'm able to figure out and fix. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful that is.

Such a simple thing, but it has made such an amazing world of difference.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Enjoying my Baby

As brand new parents, we were concerned that if we consistently picked our babies up right away when they started to fuss and took care of their needs as promptly as possible, they might become more fussy and demanding. Several books and teachers popular in our circles taught that it was easy to spoil a baby in that way, and that if you responded to them promptly the majority of the time, they would become little "tyrants" who demanded to always be the center of attention.

Now, as more experienced parents, we find the opposite to be true. It seems that a general pattern of responsiveness (as much as possible, within reason) helps a baby to develop the trust and confidence that her needs will be met and her cries will be answered. We've also come to realize that things like cuddling and comfort, eye contact and interaction, are real and valid "needs" even when they don't need to be fed or changed and we feel like we've already been holding them a lot all day.

With each of our kids we've found that, in general, they tend to be less fussy and demanding, and seem to get worked up less quickly and severely in the times we can't respond right away, when we are more responsive to them in general. And the times we do put them down, they aren't as prone to get upset about watching and interacting with us from somewhere other than someone's arms for a while.

I love no longer being worried about spoiling my baby, and just being able to relax and enjoy this time of bonding and connection.

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Monday, May 05, 2014


The other day Ebee was getting a bit riled up and argumentative with her sisters in the grocery store, so I handed her my purse and asked her to carry it (as a distraction, sensory input, and helping her feel like she's doing something important to help).

At the checkout I said, "I need my purse now, please. [pause] Ebee, could you please hand me my purse?"

She rolled her eyes and said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah" as she handed me the purse.

I said in a light, cheerful tone, "Sure, Mom, I'd be happy to hand it to you!"

Ebee, in exaggeratedly bright, winsome tones: "Sure, Mom, I'd be happy to hand it to you!"

The grocery store checkout clerk laughed and said, "That's awesome!"

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