Babywearing with Jess


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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…

 

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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).

 

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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 – https://www.facebook.com/SleepStore/videos/10155176699829316/

 

 

 


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Why Dads Babywear…

1

We’re there! We hit 100 reasons…

 

Actually we have so many we could probably go forever!

 

But we were worried that then no one would read them 😉

 

Thanks for letting us share the message of carrying our children, including them in our lives and taking alternative approaches to parenting. All you Dads are awesome and we have been blown away by how many people got behind this idea… Thanks for helping us create awareness about the message of babywearing love with other families ❤

-Jess & James

 

Don’t stop sharing them though guys… there may be something else in the works 😉

 

 

 

REASON NUMBER 1
“So they don’t run off and cause shit when I have stuff to do.”
James & Jai (17 months) — with Williamson’s Exotics.

 

REASON NUMBER 2
“Because I love being close to my daughter, and I want her to know that she is safe and that her daddy loves her too. And it’s good for exercise..”
David & Aoife (6 months) — with SnugLove Babywearing.

 

REASON NUMBER 3
” #1 was so clingy with my wife, I wanted to work more on the bond with #2, for the relationship and to take a bit of the load off my wife”
Kenny & Ezra (4 weeks) — with KarynandKenny Jack.

 

REASON NUMBER 4
“I don’t want her to be upset with me for this” (6 week jabs)
William & Everlynn (6 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 5
“Because the pram is a pain in the arse”
Adrew & Maddi (16 months) — with Dana Chandler – mama bear and The Spinoff Parents.

 

REASON NUMBER 6
“For making the most of my paternity leave to finish making a valve amplifier”
Mike & Penelope (4 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 7
“Lets you go places that might be too much for little legs on their own”
James & Josh (4 years) — with Williamson’s Exotics.

 

REASON NUMBER 8
“Because hands free sleepy cuddles are the best cuddles”
Shane & Jameson (14 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 9
“Because – ice cream”
Dan & Scarlett (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 10
“Keeping our big girl close during a busy market keeps our stress levels down and means i get cuddles too – win win”
Gordon & Bella (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 11
“Cause it’s hard to hold a beer and a baby”
Jared & Sabine (6 weeks) — with Jared Sail.

 

REASON NUMBER 12
“Because it’s the only way I get to game without random keys being hit and cords pulled”
Jason & Magnus (7 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 13
“With 3 children we share the carrying – it’s great to go on long walks and still have hands free when he gets tired”
Paul & Charlie (3.5 years) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 14
“So I don’t lose her in the festival crowds”
Dan & Lucy (6 years)

REASON NUMBER 15
“Love being able to explore the world with her experiencing it through her eyes”
Paul & Mia (2 years) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 16
“Because he’ll hopefully be a dad one day”
Charlie (3 years) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 17
“1. When I’m home from work and only have a few hours before bed time, I like to be able to be close to her without having to forsake the shopping and house work.
2. Since I don’t get much time with her during the week and the weekends are hectic, I don’t want to have to choose between spending time with her and being productive.
3. Sometimes when she’s really cracking it, I can calm her down, make sure she feels safe and can relax.
To sum it all really, baby wearing let’s me be an involved parent without sacrificing the ability to be be a productive adult”
Sheyon & Zara (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 18
“Makes going to weddings super easy! Bubs slept peacefully through reception snuggled up. Everyone comments how happy he is.”
James & Louie (6 months). — with Milka von Essen-Vilovski and Stephen McDowell.

 

REASON NUMBER 19
“Why carry one when you can carry two!”
Paul & Charlie (3 years) & Jude (7 months) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 20
“So she doesn’t trip and hurt herself while we go on adventures”
Damien & Tameka ( 18 months )

 

REASON NUMBER 21
“89 steps, 2 ladders and tight spaces we got this!”
Paul & Charlie (3.5 years) — with The Sling Consultancy

 

REASON NUMBER 22
“I babywear because our family adventures can take us anywhere without the hassle of a pram!”
Gareth & Bailey (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 23
“Oxytocin – the happy hormone is great for dads too”
Paul & Jude (5 months) — with The Sling Consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 24
“Because we are cool together”
Hugo & Valentina (7 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 25
“I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with her throughout the week and when I’m home on the weekend there are too many things to do. Why choose one or the other when you can do both?”
Sheyon & Zara (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 26
“To give her the cuddles she needs while her big sisters play”
Chris & Penelope (3 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 27
“Because it’s easy”
Jake & Alaska (12 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 28
“Because the ladies always love it”
Nathan & Harry (7 months) & Jacob (5 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 29
“Because he is a cranky shit when he doesn’t sleep.”
Jye & Erasmus (16 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 30
“So mummy can go down the street without any of the 5 kids”
Scott & Eben (11 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 31
“Because twins”
Guy & Jake & Aurora (21 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 32
“I love being this close to my children. I can keep them safe from the hectic lives of others and am always on hand to offer comfort when needed….and of course, they are always close enough to kiss xxx”
Brim & Raven (6 months) — with Brim Sorci and Samantha Sorci.

 

REASON NUMBER 33
“Because sometimes the kids don’t want to shop. They just want to be a dragon.”
Simon & Thomas (3 years) — with Mid Kent Babywearing and Zebadee’s Carriers.

 

REASON NUMBER 34
“Because I love to hear her chatter in my ear as we walk”
Neil & Abbie (2 years) — with CLOSER – babywearing consultancy.

 

REASON NUMBER 35
“So he can’t turn the TV off while we’re watching the V8s” #raisingziggy
AJ & Ziggy (11 months) — with The Urban Good Life, Raising Ziggy and Soul.

 

REASON NUMBER 36
“Because the scenic route to nursery isn’t buggy friendly…”
Simon & Thomas (3 years) — with Mid Kent Babywearing.

 

REASON NUMBER 37
“Carrying because we can do everything together this way!”
André & Aurora (16 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 38
“Carrying because toilet aim is better with two hands free and a calm baby than one hand and a hyper baby”
Steveland & Nala (9 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 39
“Because you can make your daughter this happy while playing video games.”
Josh & Emma (2 years) — with Shelley Vanderbyl.

 

REASON NUMBER 40
“Because London is not buggy friendly! And you need your hands free for pokehunting”
Simon & Thomas (3 years) — with Mid Kent Babywearing.

 

 

REASON NUMBER 41
“It’s like walking round with a hot water bottle strapped to you”
Ryan & Jacob (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 42
Because our sons are watching and learning.
Ethan (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 43
“Because it’s the only way the baby will sleep.”
Josh & Wyatt (one week)

 

REASON NUMBER 44
“So that I can hide my beer belly”
Vel & Ains (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 45
“Because it is like having him in one giant hug.”
Jake & Robbie (5 months) — with East Surrey Slings.

 

REASON NUMBER 46
“Because you don’t want them to get lost in the motoGP crowd and the walk from general parking is too far for their little legs.”
Josh & Ethan (2.5 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 47
“Because one child can sleep safely at the park whilst I play with the other”
Simon & Thomas (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 48
“Because it is amazing to snuggle your newborn and builds a special bond.”
Jake & Wilbur (1 day old)

 

REASON NUMBER 49
“Practising for when he’s older”
AJ & Ziggy (12 months) — with The Urban Good Life and Raising Ziggy.

 

REASON NUMBER 50
“Because I like bonding with our daughter”
Jullian & Narra (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 51
“Because if it was good enough for Luke Skywalker and Yoda it’s good enough for us”
Jason & Quin (22 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 52
“Any excuse for cuddles xx”
Brad & Emily (12months)

 

REASON NUMBER 53
“Helps me bond with Xavier and I know it is one of the only places he feels safe!”
Jay & Xavier (8 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 54
“A million times easier than faffing around with a buggy, fighting crowds, plus could never have made it up this hill otherwise! Plus, always in reach of a high five!”
Dominic & Kresten (2 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 55
“Because the grocery shopping needs to get done.”
Josh & Emma (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 56
“So mommy can study for her exams.”
Dombey & Skyla (10 months)

In a traditional Hmong baby carrier

 

REASON NUMBER 57
“Dad’s babywear because we want and need to be close to our children. We need this bond. We want to be present in their lives like any parent wants to. Being close is what counts and nobody can take this from us.”
Danny & Luna (2 years) & Semilla (8 months) — with Danny the Babywearing Dad.

 

REASON NUMBER 58
“Freedom to explore and share experiences (& cuddles)”
Mark & Edison (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 59

“Because it’s easier than having to lug around the stroller on a holiday!”
Saravanan & Shrina (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 60
“Because you can’t get in here with a pram!”
Victor & Blythe (14 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 61

“Because it’s faster than letting them walk. And it gives mama a break”

David & Theo (3 years) & Amy (9 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 62

“Because taking them on adventure is what life’s about!”

Caleb & Silvia Grace (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 63

“Because I don’t have enough hands if I don’t!”

Sam & Jasper (2.5 years) & Cyrus (8 years) & Quinn (4 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 64

“So that baby feels safe when we’re in crowded and noisy places and our hands are free to carry groceries.”

Zi Hao & Xin Ci (2 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 65

“Because prams don’t do beaches, forest walks, crowds, escalators… You get the point”

Joe & Griff (2 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 66

“Because I can hold my wife’s hand and the shopping”

James & Genevieve (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 67

“Because he has little legs and gets tired easily. It’s great to have a back-up plan.”

Andy & Rory (3years)

 

REASON NUMBER 68

“Because there’s no way I’m using a double buggy!”

Martin & Kiriana & Zach (20 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 69

“To keep my daughter close.”

Franklin & Felicity-Rose (2 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 70

“Babywearing means I can try to make him love me more than he loves his mummy”

Steve & Archie (15 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 71

“When Madi gets overwhelmed she refuses to walk – times like this only the carrier and daddy will do”

Jon & Madi (6 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 72

“So I can get a Starbucks Frap and won’t have to share, because He won’t see it. Out of sight – out of mind.”

Rob & Landon (15 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 73

“So I can nurture his love for trees without his hatred of walking winning, and catching pokemon is difficult with one hand”

Jake & Frankie (2.5 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 74

“To pick up chicks while your missus is in the bathroom”

#raisingziggy

AJ & Ziggy (10 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 75

“Because he won’t be small enough to carry forever.”

Mike & Colin (2 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 76

“Because of the views. Baby wearing takes you places people think babies can’t.”

Peter & Alyce (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 77

“Because Ninja Turtles!”

James & Rosie (5 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 78

“Because then she’s easy to carry. And it’s hipster”

Aaron & Elyse (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 79

“Slowing down once we had kids wasn’t an option for us. Babywearing helps us stay active and adventurous, even with a little one. It also helps keep him close. I wouldn’t want him anywhere else.”

Dee & Brody (8 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 80

“Because it’s a big world out there and we’ve got adventures to have”
Jorge & Georgia (16 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 81

“Because it is way too cold in the Blue Mountains in July”

Jiri & Tereza (3 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 82

“Because I always wanted a backpack that kicks tickles and babbles”

James & Genevieve (11 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 83

“Because I love hearing her wee snores and knowing she is sleeping soundly. I love keeping them close”

David & Amy (9 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 84

“So I can be as close to them as I can while on vacation from working months on a cruise ship and to help my wife from her back ache”

Alfie & Sean Paul (4 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 85

“Because of 40 hour work weeks, and this is a way to bond and cuddle her when we’re on the move.”

Tom & Emily (2 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 86

“It helps a baby bond to a man who isn’t their biological dad, but who is their daddy in every way”

Jed & Ezra (8 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 87

“Making climbing castles easier.”

Jason & Eliza (10 Months)

 

REASON NUMBER 88

“To create an everlasting bond.”

R.C. & Avery (12 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 89

“Because I like them. And because it’s useful, it keeps them calm… And so hopefully they like me when they’re older.”
Tim & Oliver (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 90

“Because hiking with a pram just isn’t the same”

Simon & Hunter (6 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 91

“Because I don’t have boobs.”

Damian & Benji (9 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 92

“To get off the beaten track and explore together – and snuggle while doing it!”

Carl & Ingmar (18 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 93

“Because I’m her dad not her baby sitter”

Nick & Bernadette (9months)

 

REASON NUMBER 94

“Because it means going places is never a hassle and he catches my food when I drop it”

Andy & Milo (8 weeks)

 

REASON NUMBER 95

“I’m a dada, I’m a dada”

Jai (17 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 96

 

“For connection, cuddles and to keep up with her big sisters!”

AJ & Savannah (10 months) & Alejandra (6 years) & Lucille (4 years)

 

REASON NUMBER 97

“To bond with baby after deployment.”

Francis & Roman (5 months) & Kai (3 years)

(For extra “aww factor” of these guys, check out – https://www.facebook.com/macatol/videos/10157574288545104/)

 

REASON NUMBER 98

“It ups my chances of getting some.” #parentforeplay

AJ & Ziggy (10 months)

 

REASON NUMBER 99

“Need to get some shit done, and a second set of hands to hold tools makes things easier.”

Tim & Nadia (3.5 years)

 

REASON 100

“Because why the f&*k not?!”

Dads from all over the world & here in little old NZ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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“Wrap Parties” and “Doll Play”

Before really embarking on this Sling and Carrier Consultant process, I like many babywearers, had a decent stash I liked to share with my friends. Babywearers sharing the carrier love is one of the most common ways one might “go down the rabbit hole” and build up a stash of their own.

At children’s birthday parties, BBQs and social gatherings, at Playcentre and SPACE, I just kept bringing along my ever growing stash to share with others. These ladies, my friends, where the ones that encouraged me to find a way to make this passion my work. They were the ones who lead me to discover the concept of a consultant even existed, long before I had set up my business or done subsequent training.

At a Tupperware party earlier in the year (“Wrap parties of my dreams…”) I again had my stash along with me and was pulling out a variety of options that I knew friends of mine had asked me about trying… Someone commented, “now it’s like a wrap party”!

I love that term. Old friends of mine snicker when I am talking to them about my work now and I mention “wrapping”. It’s a funny play on words. I know in part the main blame for the humour here is my youthful consideration of myself as a bit of a “gangsta” in the least authentic sense of the term! My first car had no band expander and my sister and I developed a strong love for the 88.6 Mai FM playlists as we drove to our private school in the Eastern suburbs of Auckland.. Real “gangsta” 😛

And the “doll play”… Well that’s a pretty fun aspect to if I am honest! I didn’t play that much with dolls as a kid, we tended to dress and push around our poor family dog in a pram haha. A certain Miss Four said to me the other day as I had my case out again at her birthday party playing with options with her mum, “you play with dolls a lot more now Jess! I like it!” 😉

The overheads and costs of a consultant service can be high, by offering workshops, it is an attempt on my behalf to make a more expensive service more affordable. One way I have done this is by offering “Babywearing workshops & Library sampling events” at Mama Maternity which I posted about earlier in the week.

Another option is for me to come to you. I can offer small in home workshops with between 2-4 people at $45 per head. Another option is a “coffee group” setting, where I can come with my library and dolls and do a workshop where you are. This option allows for slightly higher numbers but the depth of learning might not be quite as detailed as in a smaller setting.

Parent’s group workshops are $30 per head (plus travel) and appropriate for between 4-10 learners. Consider it a cross between a detailed, more intimate in home session and the more introductory/overview, quick tips and tricks workshops I am holding at MAMA Maternity (these events are held monthly for $25 per head in Sandringham, Auckland).

I will still give you a brief overview about baby physiology and some of the history and benefits of using a carrier with our children and babies. I will talk about safety and positioning in a carrier and answer any questions you guys might have about that. At the start of any of my workshops, the first part will us all doing a bit of talking and me giving my take on any points of confusion or answer any particular questions people might have.

Then I jump into a bit of a quick series of demo’s just designed to give you some kind of taster of the various styles and options available to you. I fear too many people buy an option that doesn’t work for them and rule out the concept of using a carrier all together…

demos ws1.png

After demonstrations we can open the library for playing and exploring with the dolls. Using the dolls to try options and practise new techniques means we can get through more in the time we have together. Being that I am in your setting, children are of course welcome to be part of the experience. There is some rules about them not biting my dolls (which I can’t yet work out how to stop my youngest doing without them locked up in a plastic container!) and unless you are wanting fit assistance with a carrier you are already confident using, I would ask that you use a doll rather than your child to play with my library.

I am currently building up my “mini case” of children’s size carriers and demo dolls so I hope to have that completed to bring along to let your children also be part of the experience in a different way. Also, we are a Playcentre family so I know full well what it is like to be on session, if you would like me to come along to a session or group that is going to have children present and messy play, I hope you realise I won’t be bringing all of my “pretties” along with me 😉

 

 

Just like the MAMA Maternity workshops, the beauty of these learning settings and indeed the nature of consultancy in the babywearing world, is the focus on tailoring the content and focus on what the people within the workshop want to do… The more information your group can give me before we actually do the workshop, the more helpful and selective I can be about the content, information and resources I bring along for you.

If you would like to talk to me about seeing if a Parent’s group workshop would suit your needs or to discuss scheduling or content, please contact me, by email – babywearingwithjess@gmail.com, phone – 0226714060 or through my Facebook page – www.fb.com/babywearingwithjess/


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What’s in a MAMA Maternity workshop??

I recently had the first of the monthly workshops to be held at MAMA Maternity!

There was five attendees and we managed to cover a huge amount of content!

So what is in these workshops..?

 

Well firstly I go over briefly a wee bit about baby physiology and some of the history and benefits of using a carrier with our children and babies. I will talk about safety and positioning in a carrier and answer any questions you guys might have about that.

 

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So at the start there is a bit of us all just talking and me giving my take on any points of confusion or answer any particular questions people might have.

 

Then I jump into a bit of a quick series of demo’s just designed to give you some kind of taster of the various styles and options available to you. I fear too many people buy an option that doesn’t work for them and rule out the concept of using a carrier all together…

 

 

After demonstrations, I provide some more take home information and open the library for playing and exploring with the dolls. I will post more soon about the use of dolls in these settings, but in summary, our kids pick up so much on the vibes we put out, if we practise and play with a baby in the sling, they sense our hesitation of uncertainty in what we are doing… The opportunity to play with dolls first gives you the chance to feel more confident about what you are doing before you even pick up your child!

 

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The beauty of these workshops, and indeed the nature of consultancy in the babywearing world, is the focus on tailoring the content and focus on what the people within the workshop want to do… There are limited spaces on each workshop to ensure I can at least attempt to meet all the varying requests and expectations in this setting which is just intended as a “taster” to the world of babywearing.

 

At my recent workshop earlier in the week, there were a few different requests and areas of interest… There was the Mums and Bubs yoga teacher with no kids of her own who wanted to learn more about babywearing for her clients (check out Lauren Kate Yoga ;), a few ‘experienced’ babywearers who were keen to pick up some new tricks, a new mama keen to hear about slings and carriers could help with her new baby and a pregnant mama interested in exploring the options before she even has her bubba.

 

 

Steph and baby Jessica (7 weeks) had been given a ring sling but where not quite sure where to start or if this was the best option for them. Together we decided, since she already had one at home, we would try using that from the library to see if that option could work for them. So while Steph settled bubs, I went through another demonstration more slowly and in detail to show her how to set up the pouch and put baby in.

When baby Jessica was happy with a full tum, another workshop attendee, Muirie, took the chance to sneak in some newborn cuddles while Steph and I went through the process together using the dolls. I also explained some other ways in which she might find her ring sling beneficial and alternative methods.

 

 

Here Lauren and I were discussing the importance of cupping your shoulder and spreading the back pass in a ring sling so to spread the load of baby. We also spent quite a bit of time discussing how carry your child in any kind of carrier helps to keep an ergonomic alignment when bearing weight.

I actually bought my first ring sling when Josh was about 15 months old (Jai’s age now!) because he so often wanted quick ups and downs in my arms but holding him on my hip was making me bend myself in a kind of C shape to support his weight on my hip bone. The process of doing so over and over again exacerbated the tilt in my pelvis from post birth which I hadn’t really made any effort to correct before then.

 

After some serious pain in my lower back, shoulders and neck and many many trips to the Osteopath, I spent quite a bit of time in the Pilates studio to try and correct it. Wearing a ring sling to hold Josh in that same position he had grown accustomed to being carried in meant the exaggerated bend wasn’t necessary, my back and shoulders help support his weight instead of my hip bone. While I was still essentially carrying him in just the same way, the nature of the sling meant I kept my back and spine straighter and was strengthening my core muscles, not those in my lower back which were trying to compensate for the unnatural curve in my spine and hips.

 

We then also got to spend a wee bit of time playing with wraps and showing some of the ‘old hands’ at babywearing a few off the tips and tricks I picked up through the Slingababy consultant training process 😉

 

These guys where a great ‘taster’ of all the kinds of people I was hoping to be able to benefit from the workshop setting and while it meant we covered heaps of content and various focuses in the short time we were together, everyone also benefited from seeing and sharing everyone else’s experiences, questions and exploration.

 

The next MAMA workshop is scheduled for the 17th October, 2016 at 1030am-12pm – https://www.facebook.com/events/1138734226207351/


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Slingababy Training School; an insight to my experience..

So my last post was really just me throwing out some of the huge ideas that where running around my head after the intensive training process I was just involved with but also after spending almost a week with some people within the babywearing community from all around the country, who have before now, many have just been names I know from being in the same Facebook groups and sharing connections…

 

There were lots of discussions about what we call the art of carrying our children as a result, which is all positive I think… Where I may have been misunderstood is that I wasn’t suggesting we all had to agree on a universal term.. More that it is ok to have different names and ways we refer to this as it means different things to each of us depending on our perspectives… and again, that too is ok…

 

I wasn’t trying to enforce or suggest there should be a “name change” broadly, just that I was actively considering how my language choice influences perceptions of these practises and what I am talking about…

 

And further more, I am still trying to get my head around a whole lot of new information.. I was just asking a whole lot of questions that were running around in my mind. I am grateful for the insight and input from all sides of this discussion and think its pretty cool we are actually talking about it… Just talking about… that doesn’t anyone person has to change something if they don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reflect and consider and potentially question things…

 

And when we do, it often takes a bit of time I find for my brain to catch up.. So this was probably closer to the “here’s a bit of an idea of what the consultant training was like for me” post that I originally had in my mind when I thought about writing about when I got home, that was before doing the training

(to be clear, this is just my take on this learning experience, I am not representing my process here to be that of a universal one or representing other trainees, its just my reflection of the process…)

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There was 18 of us completing the training, from all over New Zealand and also Australia. We all come from different areas and perspectives, businesses and organisations, this was not a one – size fits all kind of thing.. Its was an amazing opportunity though for lots of different perspectives, interests and takes about carrying children.. And we learnt a lot about that but also much more, in terms of baby physiology, mother physiology, child development… a whole broad range of related topics…

 

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I guess the best way for me to provide overview of my personal process for me is to follow the timetable we followed broadly, so on the first day, our focus was largely about this concept on “consultants” as we are all aware this is a relatively new concept to New Zealand and with so many of us in the room interested in this topic alone, this started a lot of conversations among us as individuals… I am not suggestion there where some special conclusions we reached or anything was “decided” on, this was just some interesting discussion…

 

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After a morning of various discussions, perspectives being sharing and learning from everyone around the room with their varied viewpoints and interests, we looked at baby physiology and anatomy and there where some very funny photos of us all pretending to be “babies” in our “chair carriers” to better understand some of the aspects of positioning and the perspective of our children being carried in a sling, wrap or carrier…

 

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The next day, we jumped straight into woven wraps… This day was particularly hard for me, I blogged about it at the time which you can read here, but essentially, wrapping is something I have only ever done with Jai, even then, not that much comparatively to my experience with other kinds of carriers but I thought I had got my head around it a bit in the last year and I essentially had to “unlearn” some of what I thought I knew from my self-taught process and that was really difficult for me… My learning in this aspect particularly is continuing to be “rewired” in my brain, if that makes sense…

 

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(Note the concentrating frowns in this picture hahah)

 

 

We spent almost two full days focusing on wrapping with a woven wrap alone… Not about pretty finishes and the “best” way to do things but rather understanding the differences of the properties of different wraps, the limitations and functions of different passes, how to handle a wrap to make it do what you want it to do…

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We learnt about ideas for troubleshooting when the wrap or carry isn’t achieving what you want it too…

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We learnt about some tricks and tips which might help demonstrate more clearly these concepts when we are teaching them to others…

 

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We learnt about the many various ways we could show people safely to get a baby onto our back….

 

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We learnt about the various back carries in a woven wrap and their various advantages and limitations…

 

 

We learnt some other tips and tricks about various ways we could hold tension in a wrap and other tips and tricks…

 

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(if you are someone who likes names for things, I am fond of the term “the wrap onesie” for this one where you hold tension in you knees by doing a little bow to grab the top rails as opposed to bending down hahah)

 

 

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We learnt lots off each other as trainees on the course as well, all bringing different interests, skill sets and experience with us from our own journeys…

 

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Like these three amazing twin mamas who all showed us more than a thing or two and provided a valuable experience for us all to learn more about tandem wearing from their experiences…

 

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And that was just the first few days!! Over the following days, we looked at ring slings, stretechy wraps, Mei Tai’s, Buckle carriers and a section called “weird and wonderful” where we looked all kinds of different things people could use to carry their child.

 

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We also did lots of talking and learning about mothers physiology and anatomy, about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum periods and lots of exercises and learning around planning and preparing for workshops, consultations and more again about what each of us thought about what being a consultant in this industry meant..

 

Again, there was no one answer here, this was a discussion of our various perspectives, directions we may want to pursue and where we could go to from here… And they where all different, and that is ok and really awesome and exciting.. my previous post wasn’t suggesting we all need to have the same understanding of, more reflecting on the many different perspectives and considering and questioning my personal use of language around it…

 

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(teaching Lorette about the importance and art of the “selfie” for Instagram here hahaha)

 

So to clarify again, my post was based in the premise I was exploring how I would like to refer to myself in a consultancy capacity and seeing as I am hoping to work with midwives, women’s health and other medical professionals, the conations around the title “babywearing consultant” where just something I was fundamentally reconsidering…

 

So to answer again the numerous questions, “Hi, I’m Jess from Babywearing with Jess and I am a Sling and Carrier Consultant trained through the Slingababy Training School” 🙂

 

Others who have been my peers and become friends in this process, have chosen to take different titles and names and that too is ok… It is the direction they have chosen for them, because it best suits them…

 

Just like what carrier you could chose to use, best suits you… 🙂

 

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Babywearing; your baby as an active partner 

So as I have mentioned I have my long awaited training coming up and I am doing quite a bit of reading, this came up in one of my books recently ordered…

It’s in a frequently asked questions section and refers to babywearing and developmental milestones. Addressing concerns that wearing baby may delay milestones such as walking and concerns that baby might not be getting enough “tummy time”..
There is mixed opinions about wearing baby being equivalent to “tummy time”, which this author, a doctor, agrees it is, but that wasn’t my point…

The initial thought I had was about how you can be wearing a child, I often wear Jai to sleep for naps at Playcentre for example, but you can tell almost as soon as they are asleep as they seem to weigh literally kilos more as a “dead weight” than they do being carried alert and awake!

Her point that really resonated with me was this…

“Babywearing is not a passive activity. Your baby is an active partner and will let you know when he has had enough.” 

Maria Blois, MD (2005) Babywearing; The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition

And it’s true, you can’t wear your baby too much…. But just like breastfeeding, babywearing is a learned or acquired skill and the relationship between you and your baby is one that develops and changes as they do and your experience, needs and circumstances may also…
Jai has been worn for naps at Playcentre since he was born, he was worn in a sling from a few hours old.. But first time around, babywearing didn’t become something I really depended on and used almost daily until Josh was about nine months old… Yet for the record, Jai is walking much more competently than Josh was at his age. I certainly don’t think it has impacted his developmental milestones by any means…

And not only that but the nature of our wearing relationship has changed. He’s 14kgs, in size two pants now at 14 months old.. He is a big boy and wearing him on my front isn’t really “hands free” anymore…..
But I still vividly remember coming home from my first Sling Meet years ago and saying to my husband, “Oh my God, there was this lady and she just wrapped her baby in fabric and threw it over her shoulder!”
But now, a “superman toss” or “Santa toss” as it’s often referred to, is something people look at me with the same surprise when I do it on the regular haha 😂 even harder, to me anyway, is transferring an asleep toddler from a front carry to a back one so I can actually function while he naps on me….


This video was taken from the book shelf admist our Playcentre session today, Jai (14 months) wanted up and to breastfeed to sleep, it can be hard at times for a nosey toddler to shut off for a nap on a busy session and those times, usually a boob is required. But once he is asleep, I tend to spin him round to my back so I can actually help with clean up.

After seeing someone’s expression when I did this in front of a large group of people on session yesterday I was curious to see the process as a whole rather than focusing on my passes and straps which you can see me doing here, I am looking at a mirror while doing this… For the record, this is not intended as an instructional video, this is just showing how I do this process… please make sure you have someone watch and be able to help you if you attempt this for the first time and stand over a soft surface.

First I undo my shoulder straps, holding straps tight under my arms, I spin the carrier and Jai to my back, keeping tension in the shoulder straps under my arms to keep him secure and then retie and tighten when he is in position. Finally making sure to check for clear airways and head support.
But as a “dead weight” asleep on me, I really have to tighten him very snug and secure to have full mobility and the easiest way to do that is on my back!
If you are keen to get your baby or toddler in a back carry and are yet to try it, your best bet is to get some hands on help at a sling meet or from a local consultant in your area. But always do it over a soft surface, so if the worst was to happen and you dropped your baby, hopefully the worst thing to get hurt will be your confidence!


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Tieing off a Mei Tai in a back carry

When wearing a Mei Tai with baby on your front, I would cross the straps over my back before bringing them to the front again. When you move on to wearing baby on your back in a Mei Tai, for most of us mums, at least for many others I know, it’s not really anywhere near as comfortable crossing the straps the same on your front, one main reason- boobs! Crossing in front for dad’s, the same way you do for a front carry, when they also generally have broader chests than us mums, (as well as no boobs!) can very comfortable, or so I am told!

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This isn’t too bad as an option for me anyway, it is crossed with a knot in the front so the pressure is on my sternum not over my boobs..

But I tend to go “ruck straps”, like a backpack over my shoulders, pulling the straps behind me before crossing around each side of my back and bringing the the front again.

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Jai asleep on my back at 10 months in a Kozy Carrier with ruck straps.

For me, with my family lineage of competitive swimmers with relatively broad shoulders, I don’t find the Kozy particularly tends to slip off my shoulders so am happy to just ruck tie, making it a quick go to for me quick “back ups”.

The Kozy website has some pretty through step by step photo instructions on their website (http://kozycarrier.homestead.com/instructions.html) and the two strap options for a back carry they list is either crossed over in front or over your shoulders and under your arms, in a ruck fashion. 

I have two other kinds of Mei Tai’s in my collection at the moment, a Diva Essenza with wrap straps which offers many more variations in terms of tying the straps (which is an entirely different post in itself!) and a Natibaby Nebula Toddler Mei Tai which has padded straps, similar to that of the Kozy but much thicker. These shoulder straps in a basic ruck, pull on the wrong part of my shoulders, it feels a bit like wearing an oversized backpack if that makes sense…

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A few people have mentioned the same “slipping” issue that they find in a back carry with a Mei Tai so I thought I would share a few different ways you can “finish” your shoulder straps with a back carry that can help pull them together more and help with the feeling that they are slipping off your shoulders or sitting too wide and being uncomfortable.

There is no really right and wrong way (as long as it’s tight and secure), and different people will likely have different preferences for different reasons so it’s probably best to have a play and try a couple of different options…

Tiebtan Tie Off

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This kind of tie off is probably the most replicable to a SSC chest strap in my opinion. Though it can be a little but fiddly, especially when you are first practising..

There are some much more in-depth proper tutorials out there, this was just a quick slideshow to show the steps of I use to finish off this kind of tie.

Knot-less tie off

To me personally, this doesn’t feel as secure in a Mei Tai with padded straps as it may with a woven wrap or woven wrap straps..

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Essentially the same process as a Tiebtan Tie Off but instead of passing the strap under the shoulder strap and pulling over, you go the opposite direction, tucking over the shoulder strap first and then back under… (I think I just made that sound super complicated.. Haha :/)

Sternum strap

This first step of pulling the slack out of your shoulder straps should be done regardless of how you decide to finish the shoulders in your back carry really, though, I find it even more essential if I am to knot or twist the straps together in front of me as it is your last opportunity to really tighten them again. When you are doing ruck shoulders, you can tug and pull more tension out if needed, after the straps have gone over and under your shoulders.

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Waist band tied, securely pulling up on my shoulder straps to pull the slack from the bottom of the seat before tieing off..

After holding and tugging on your shoulder straps above your head (to make sure any tension is out of the seat), you can alternatively bring your shoulder straps in front of you and twist them around each other a few times..

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Before pulling the straps back around behind me..

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And tie off either behind me, or wrap them around again and tie at my waist..

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Excuse the many, many chins hahaha 😂

This is just a few options, there is so so many more out there also, but the beauty of that a Mei Tai affords you much more versatility and flexibility than a soft structured carrier but will less of a steep learning curve than the woven wrap..

Do you have a different favourite way to finish off a Mei Tai that I didn’t mention?? As always, I would love to learn more!