Babywearing with Jess

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Summer carrying


So it seems summer is well and truly upon us!  Here is some tips about babywearing in the heat..



Remember that a carrier will act as at least one extra layer of clothing, if you are using something like a stretchy wrap this number could be as high as three with the extra passes. Dress baby in less clothes, even consider just having them in a nappy and then in carrier without clothes on.


Skin on skin is hot though, wearing a thin layer yourself will help wick away moisture. Something like a muslin cloth between you would also work and has the added benefit of being able to change it for another if it does become sweaty or damp.


Keep Hydrated

Dehydration makes us all grumpy, regardless of age! Breastfed babies will need to feed more frequently in the heat, this will also dehydrate you more, so make sure to keep up fluids.  Babies and children who are drinking water should be offered it regularly.


Cooling Aids

A wet cloth on pressure points (elbow pits, wrists, back of neck etc), a damp muslin in between you, water in a misting bottle, all can help cool you both down. One thing to be aware of is not being too excessive with cooling attempts for the baby or child, they struggle to regulate temperature at the best of times and going from one extreme to the other isn’t helpful when you are trying to encourage your body to handle the heat. Don’t use ice on a baby, it is too much. A cool, damp cloth is adequate in most cases. Another great idea is to think about evaporative cooling, wetting your hair as the adult will help keep you cooler for a longer period of time.




Natural or artificially recreated, both will help keep you cooler. Fans and air conditioners are great when carrying in the heat but obviously not always accessible. Natural airflow is also really helpful in occasions when you can access it.


Do remember that at all times you need to provide access to fresh air for baby, this extends to providing shade in other ways you may transport or sleep a baby. Keep baby’s face clear of fabric, do not cover it with a carrier or cloth. Covering a pram or capsule with a blanket will build up heat and carbon dioxide and is not advisable.


Sun protection

Be mindful of the sun, for little babies who you might not want to lather in sunblock, shade is your best friend. A big hat on the wearer may provide some shade for baby, also consider something like a UV protectant umbrella or of course if the option is there, natural shade is brilliant.

Thanks to Donna from Playful Pukekos for this photo of summer babywearing with her son Jack



Back or hip carries can be cooler than a tummy to tummy position. We lose a lot of heat from our chest areas, regardless of how cool the outer layers of the carrier or any other factors, there is nothing we can really do about the heat transfer between two people. Steel framed hiking carriers which hold baby away from your body may have benefit in some hot hiking conditions for this reason. You can see from this picture taken in New Caledonia when we were hiking up a volcano that both wearer and wearee have corresponding sweat patches! Despite having a carrier with a mesh panel, taking breaks, keeping hydrated – there is very little that can be done to minimise this factor.


Take regular breaks

No matter what you do, there will always be a build up of heat when you are wearing in hot conditions. Always make sure to take regular breaks to let you both cool down, this will also give an opportunity to monitor and reassess the comfort of both you and baby, and make any changes that might help. Taking turns to share the carrying load with another adult may also be a great help if everyone is getting a bit hot.


This infographic is a summary and overview of these points:


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Talking to kids about death and loss, RIP Jazzy


We had to say goodbye to one of our family today, my fur baby, Jazmine.


She was 13 years old, she had a great run and has been part of our family since the beginning. Mr 4 told me she was his first ever best friend, which makes sense as she guarded him sleeping as a baby and their bond only grew as he got older and they would wander round the garden together.


Mr 2 has a limited understanding of what is going on. But for Josh (Mr 4, nearly 5) death has been a topic of conversation from as soon as he was old enough to talk. My dad died not long before he was born, I have never been shy about speaking about my dad, particularly with my kids, because I know my stories are the only way they will know him.


We have experienced several other significant people in our lives die in the short years of his life but none have quite had the significance of this one to this wee dude.


“This is the saddest day of my life” he said to me through tears this morning while we collected flowers from around the garden while my husband dug a grave for her.


Today I was grateful for the way we have talked about death with him so openly before. Today I saw the proof of the benefit of not hiding the sadness, of talking about different ideas of what death means, being open that no one really knows what it truly means, emphasising and explaining these ideas are quite a personal concept-that it can mean many things to different people.


Josh was with me when the vet gave our dog the shot that gave her peace, we were all three of us cuddling as the moment took her. Both Josh and I crying and reassuring her. We talked and cried as we took her body home about how she now can’t feel any pain or get sick anymore, about how much we will miss her and what she meant to all of us.


I believe if we hide or shield our children from these things, we risk the chance we could be robbing them of the opportunity for closure. I think this goes for including children at funerals just as much as I do for putting down a pet and burying them in the yard.


I think we can learn a lot from children about these things actually. Children experience things so intensely, all consumingly, with their whole selves; then sometimes before we as adults have even caught up, they are on to the next thought. Letting them live through that moment, acknowledging it, validating them – it can help them come to grips with it. It can sometimes be faster, and in most cases easier, that trying to fight them on the topic. If this applies for tantrums and general big emotions kids have, it makes sense that letting them experience sadness and grief how they chose to will also help them process.

As we buried our beloved family pet, we talked about how maybe she was going on one of the long daily runs my dad used to do with him or maybe she was chasing pukekos somewhere with no thought for the pain that had plagued her again from her hip in recent months. Then after placing flowers out, we went inside and read two of our favorite books which as so helpful with these conversations; Old Huhu by Kyle Mewburn and Water bugs and dragonflies by Doris Stickney.


We talked about the different concepts of death covered in Old Huhu, we talked about different understandings people have of heaven. We talked about our sadness and the things we will miss, we talked about our dogs favourite things and our favourite memories of her.

Then we played a game and did a few things that made us feel happy. While my husband and I spent the afternoon feeling drained, our son had moments of stillness and deep thought where he looked off into the distance then would say something like,“Jaz was really brave when the vet did all the tests and gave her the shot wasn’t she? This is such a sad day” followed just moments later with, “can I have an ice block?”

If you want more support dealing with trauma, loss and grief with children, Skylight provide an amazing resource, check out their website –



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“Do you know what you’re having?”

Here is an outline of the conversation I have with every person who hears I am pregnant…


Them: “Oh congratulations! Do you know what you are having?”

Me: “Well, I’m fairly certain it is a human baby.”

Them: *sometimes awkward laugh* “You have two boys, right?”

Me: “Yep, they are awesome.”

Them: “Oh so you will be hoping for a girl then?!”




I swear I get asked this every single time. Look there are many things I hope for my kids.

I hope they will be happy and healthy above all else. I hope we can give them a secure, balanced and happy childhood. I hope they find their passions in life and have the courage to follow them above all else. I hope both my husband and I continue to have good, close, strong relationships with them.

I hope lots for them. But none of what I usually hope for is associated with a certain particular set of genitals.


You know what, I think when it comes to baby poo, it doesn’t hugely make a difference if you are cleaning it off little testes or out of little vaginas. It’s all poo.


So, no, I am not particularly hoping for a girl… I’m honestly not concerned either way.

They are children, not accessories… I’m not trying to collect the whole set…

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Trying to get the perfect fit!

We are obviously very fortunate that due to my work and library, we have more than a few different options to reach for when it comes to using a carrier with our own kids…

Jai (Mr 2 but in size 4 clothes) has well and truly outgrown most standard or baby sized carriers despite still wanting to go up quite a lot. I’ve been using toddler size carriers with him for a while but my husband is slower than me to make the shift…

He was religiously grabbing the Bitybean for Jai until long after his first birthday when I finally convinced him something more padded might make carrying our big boy more comfortable. 

From there he took a liking to the Lenny Lamb standard sized carrier… more recently he has been trying out the Toddler sized Lenny Lamb full buckle and commented to me that he didn’t feel like he could get the shoulder straps quite right to make it comfortable for him…

It wasn’t until I put the same carrier on myself that I realised what he meant (being my husband he is like the most unwilling client yet and never lets me help him with fit hahaha)… the Lenny Lamb carrier has two way adjustable straps which means you can tighten them by pulling upwards or down… one length of the straps, the downwards pull in a front carry, is considerably shorter than the other, the safety elastic strap is also quite close to these…

Depending which side of the clip you place on the safety strap, you may have slightly longer or shorter straps to start with. On the left the safety elastic strap is on the bottom side of the buckle clip, on the right it is thread through the top. The configuration on the right will allow for tighter buckles than the left in this case…

The other thing I noticed is the Perfect Fit Adjusters (PFAs), the bits right up near the shoulder straps where it joins the back panel was totally released… tightening these to the maximum will also shorten the straps but are commonly overlooked in fitting.

PFA straps totally loosened off in this picture. Not a bad carrying height for me but if I wanted to make the straps tighter, I can tighten these…

Tightened in this photo – you can see he is higher on my body in this picture

So you can tighten the straps from the buckles under your arms but also at the top of the carrier near the shoulders… 

Turns out after these two adjustments, the shoulder straps in the Toddler sized Lenny Lamb weren’t slipping anywhere near as much of my husband’s shoulders and he found he actually needed to let some more slack out, rather than attempt to tighten further, to make it a comfortable fit!

Sometimes just some small tweaks and adjustments can make the world of difference to fit in a certain carrier… though in saying that, it is such an individual fit and preference of buckle carriers particularly.. 

Who knows if he will stick to Lenny Lamb as his preference or if I can convince him to try one of the many other brands or styles we have! I guess time will tell 😉 

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What carrier is best for me?

Often I get requests for recommendations about what would be the ‘best carrier’ for someone… This is like the hardest question to answer! Because it’s not a simple nor a static question…




So there are firstly many, many factors you want to consider but if we stick to this concept that ‘the best carrier is the one that fits your needs’, then the first questions to answer is going to be, what are your needs?


How old is your baby? When are you thinking you would use your carrier? Do you have preferences over the type or style of carrier you are comfortable using?


For many of us who do use carriers as a tool with our children, our needs may change and that may mean something else might work better but this isn’t to say you need many options, although it is a great excuse for more carriers if you were looking for one! 😉

The other thing to consider is how being an item you are wearing, like if we make the comparison to jeans for example, the best option for you is going to depend on the shape of your body, your preferences and individual fit… So while the favourite jeans of your friend may potentially be the perfect jeans for you, chances are greater that there is probably something you prefer more for you…

The absolute best way to find out some better idea of what works best for you to see and try a few different options. There are volunteer sling meets and groups around the country which is a great place to start, Raising Ziggy has made an awesome list of the options around NZ which you can find on Facebook here. Consultants and paid workshops are another option as well, both providing an option to have some more hands on support and individual guidance through the massive range of options now available.

So if it wasn’t unclear already, there isn’t a simple one size fits all answer for this.

In demo’s I do in workshops I broadly categorize into a few different categories; slings (ring slings, pouches etc), wraps (both stretchy & woven), tie on (meh dai etc) and buckles (soft structured carriers).


four styles.png


There is so, so much option that even within those different categories there are many different brand and style choice options. But as a first step, getting some idea of the range of various styles alone may help you to start to work out what is going to be best for you…


If at all possible though, it almost always pays to try before you buy! It is easy to waste lots of money on a big investment based off someone else’s recommendation alone if you haven’t tried it for yourself too…


If you are not able to get a sling meet and looking for a similar demo of the various types of carriers there are online, check out this video by Louise from The Sleep Store –




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Emily Writes, ‘Rants in the Dark’

Ok, well firstly I haven’t attempted to do a book review since it was a school requirement so don’t expect literary genius from me here and as advanced warning I am probably totally not following whatever is the appropriate ‘book review’ template requirements, but anyway…

I got the chance to go to Emily Writes book launch earlier this week for her new release, ‘Rants in the Dark’. When I got home with my copy finally in my hands, I thought I would just flick through it briefly…




I lost a few hours of time in the end and made that terrible mistake of staying up way to late to cope with kids concepts of morning time because I read it into the wee hours without realising it.

I have been known to ‘binge read’ if I get really keen on a book I may just hide and keep reading it until its over if I can! And that is exactly what happened with this book.

When I was at the launch, I not only bought myself a copy but an extra one which I got Emily to sign so I could give it away to another ‘tired mama’ out there and so I knew I wanted to write something about it and share the awesomeness with you all too.

In what I thought at the time was an inspired moment of genius I thought, “I know, I’ll book mark my favourite ‘one liners’, bits, the ‘gems’ I like most…” This was no help at all as it turns out and actually achieved not much more than using up a whole packet of book tabs and making it harder for me to work out what I wanted to say!



Just a sea of book tabs of highlights… 


So what are my many favorite rants?

The ‘Day 3’ post birth piece, ‘Before I was a mum’ which is about that smug wisdom many of us have about how we might parent before we actually have our own kids, the ‘how to get your baby to sleep’ and ‘is your baby going through a sleep regression’ parts had me literally laughing out loud.

The In-My-Day Committee meeting minutes were also hilarious. The ‘Happy Mothers Day’ rant which suggests that one way we could celebrate this day is just end all the annoying things said to mothers, the ‘this isn’t indulgent’ part about by being responsive to our babies needs, the rant about the pressures we all feel of the evils of ‘screen time’, the ‘how not to be a jerk’ bit which featured one of my top two lines – “How about you get off my tits?” only topped by “get out of my uterus”.

It is not hard to see what has resonated in Emily’s writing. Far too much of parenting now days can feel like barrages of often conflicting advice or pressure – if only on ourselves from ourselves sometimes, to do the best we can as parents.

Emily takes a fresh, humorous and enlightened approach to relating to these real aspects without the bullshit of how to fix it. More so than that, it is uplifting, compelling and a relatable, real story of her experiences in parenting that many would enjoy.

Check out more from Emily Writes here –

You can find the competition to win yourself this signed copy on my Facebook page here – Babywearing with Jess 



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Will you have more kids?


You know it’s this interesting thing that happens at a certain stage in life, isn’t it? The question of you as a baby maker, being obviously that you only need to be a woman as the common denominator for the general public to feel it is of their concern to ask you.

I know I have child less friends who get asked this all the time and who rightly so get sick and tired of it. I know that the minute Josh was born, people where suggesting it was time we considered another! And I also know that we are not alone in feeling that pressure as I heard it often from others too.




Now we have the “two kids” package, the pressure this time round is less, but never the less the question still gets posed regularly enough that its of uncomfortable interest, “will you have more kids?” or “maybe time for another?”

Its asked in different ways depending I guess on your circumstances but the thing people over look quite often when they ask it is, despite modern concepts of contraception and control and planning over these events in our lives for some of us, it doesn’t always work that way.

Yep some people it is like that, planned, coordinated and executed, but not for everyone. When James and I first got engaged and people would regularly ask us about kids, very few of them knew we had been ‘trying’ to convince already for some time.  Every time the question was asked it was like a sting that my body hadn’t yet got the message everyone else was asking me about.

We had been ‘trying’ for two years, we got right to the point where the doctor said, “maybe you guys should consider IVF?”

The pressure I had put myself under and the disappointment I kept feeling at myself every time I did get another period, which was like a soul crushing reminder my body still hadn’t conceived, was getting too much. The ‘trying’ was taking the fun out of our relationship. It was all too much…

This was relatively early stages of our relationship still, we had almost been ‘trying’ almost since we began our relationship. We decided that we would just wait. Focus on other shit. Live life. If the issue was still the same in a few years’ time, we would look at our options then.

Effectively, we stopped ‘trying’. See this sounds silly, cause the only thing that changed was that we didn’t have the same pressure on ourselves, on the situation. It’s not like anything had effectively changed but sex was no longer scheduled or timed and well, I guess I don’t need to say more than it put the fun back into it…. 😉

It was two months later we conceived Josh but I didn’t realise for quite a while. Having PCOS means I don’t usually have regular cycles anyway, the fact I hadn’t had a period in three months meant nothing to me and I had stopped living in hope that a skipped cycle meant I was pregnant. Before then, before then we had kept stacks of pregnancy tests in the bathroom and I would take them all the time, but at that point I had put the concept from my mind.

It was actually a friend of ours who came over after work one evening with an aged bottle of rum which is usually a keen favourite of mine and he offer me a drink, “ohhh nah, thanks, I just don’t feel like it and I’m really tired, I’m gonna go to bed I think guys, I’ll leave you to it.”

He and James both looked up at me surprised and our friend said, “omg, what? Are you pregnant?” I laughed, “I don’t think so! I’m allowed to turn down a drink guys! It that so shocking?! I’m just tired!”

James too laughed, “it’s just that its 40-year-old Appleton’s babe! You love this shit!”

“Meh, not tonight. I’m good, thanks…” and I wandered off into the bedroom, too thinking, I really do love that shit, I just don’t feel like it… Maybe that is a bit strange…? When did I last have a period?

Needless to say, the next day I went and bought a fresh box of pregnancy tests. I did the first and it came back positive… I showed James and said, “no, I think there is something wrong with the tests, give me another one”.

Needless to say, the second one had the same result. Still not letting myself believe it, I said to James, “it’s gotta be something wrong with the packet, you do the last test!”

Entertaining me he took the third test in the packet and after me sitting in suspense on the edge of the bed for the two minutes it took him to return, I eagerly looked up as he walked around the corner, “well, one if of us pregnant and it’s not me!” he smiled. Showing me his negative pregnancy test, he put it alongside the two positive one’s I was still staring out trying to get my head around it.

We thought we had lost Josh when I had a placental abruption at 13 weeks, we didn’t. The placenta grew massive to reattach to the womb lining and he is now a full of energy (and testosterone!) four-and-a-half-year-old.

Between my boys, we had another pregnancy, a baby we call Jellybean. Who was our honeymoon baby, conceived when we went and eloped when Josh was 18 months old. That pregnancy ended in what is called a ‘missed miscarriage’. In between the time when we went for a scan, Jellybean had died and had no heart beat but my body hadn’t caught up with the message yet. I hemorrhaged in the processes of waiting for my body to miscarriage naturally and ended up getting an ambulance ride to the hospital and coming home with a tiny little box coffin with Jellybean inside.

Jai was conceived shortly after and again, despite some issues with bleeds and my massive concerns about losing him too throughout my pregnancy, he is now a full of beans and troublesome 20-month-old. Pregnancy after miscarriage in my experience is quite different. There are fears and concerns and doubts I never had in previous miscarriages the same, even with the huge issues we had early on with Josh. The threat of loss felt much more real.

And I had an amazing birth with Jai, don’t get me wrong, but I really don’t like being pregnant. It’s not a ‘mother earth’ time to me haha I gain shit loads of weight and my hormones go out of whack and symptoms of PCOS seem worse even though they are different. But as soon as Jai was born, James and I kind of looked at each other, “I know we only ever planned for two kids, but is this really our last baby?”

So, I don’t know. I am currently at the point where never having to be pregnant again is actually an incredibly appealing concept. I haven’t got to do things like open water diving in so many years because my body hasn’t been my own, I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding or both. Now with Jai close to weaning, the light at the end of the tunnel in that sense is close enough to catch glimpses of momentarily sometimes.

But I hate what contraceptives do to my body. I hate how they mess with my already normally slightly out of whack hormone levels and yep sure sometimes that stabilises, but at a different kind of balance than what my body considers normal and I find the issues of PCOS worse. Weight is more difficult for me to manage, all kinds of other symptoms I usually don’t struggle too badly with become facts of daily life again like they did through my adolescence.

Jai weaning himself off the boob and having days sometimes in between feeds now means my hormones are already changing balances and messing with me anyway. I think a lot of us overlook how much that affects us as the mothers when a baby or child is weaning from the boob. It makes our hormones jump all over the place too.

And sometimes I sit there on the rare occasion he still asks for boob and I get a tear in my eye and wonder if it might be the last time and I try to savour it as much as I can. Then I catch myself thinking, “would it matter if it is the last time I breastfeed?”

I know after all our battles, struggles and issues with fertility, James and I quickly jumped from, ‘two kids max’ to ‘whatever life throws at us’ but really… there are lots of benefits to just having two kids right? That’s why we always originally agreed on two, well that and we both come from two children nuclear families which probably does have a bit of bearing on how we conceptualise our understandings and expectations of family when we are getting to make the decisions.

But two kids means you’re not outnumbered by little people. We can still tag team and break them up when it gets too much, “you take one, I’ll take the other”. Travel is still somewhat affordable (but man, travel even with one kid is hard, I’m not sure my expectations of that argument still stand in my mind). You don’t need a different car – that one was like a fundamental two kid argument for us but when you really think about it, that one is ridiculous, we have changed cars several times over the last few years anyway.

And while I had thought before I had kids, one on one was easier, when you actually have a wee pack of children, like happens with friend’s kids etc, sometimes they can actually be easier to manage from the adult perspective. They entertain each other more.

But as I watch Jai at the age Josh was when he was conceived and see him finally getting to all those stages of independence, he plays by himself now, he likes pottering around the garden, he is more independent, more capable. He is interested in toilet training, he is trying to drop his day sleep. He runs and jumps and keeps up with his big brother. He is not a baby anymore, even if he is my baby.

They say you never regret having another child but you may regret not having one. And I imagine there is a shit load of truth to that. Because you bond with children, well you are meant to, and of course you wouldn’t regret that extra person to love.

I kind of expected that the threat of doing all these ‘lasts’ with Jai would make me more clucky, more keen to do it again, more set in my mind that whatever life throws at us is the direction I want to go. But strangely I am finding almost the opposite true for me, the idea this might be the last nappy I have to change, the concept this could be the last time I have to lie on an awkward angle to breastfeed my baby back to sleep… while heart moving and somewhat bitter sweet, it’s not making me miss doing it to the point where I want to jump up and start from the beginning all over again.

Its making me rethink just how much I want to in fact… so when you ask me, “will you have more kids?” well, guess what, I dunno… But maybe just realise often when you are asking a woman this, you have no idea of the context, journey or experiences she has faced on this exact topic when you do. You could be actually being really rude and hurtful, in fact, regardless of her journey, you are being rude.

It is her body, her family, her choices. How about we drop the expectations that we are all meant to do the same thing or plan for life the same way or even know what we want or what we are doing or need to explain that to someone else. Because this question of asking a woman about her choices around children, well it’s kind of like asking someone if they are pregnant… Just don’t. They will tell you if that want to talk about it. Otherwise you risk putting your foot in your mouth big time and really upsetting someone.