Babywearing with Jess

Leave a comment

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 😉 

Leave a comment

The best bits of Christmas…

As I try not to stress out and lose my shit whilst dealing with some of my not-so-favourite parts of the lead up to Christmas- I tried to switch my thinking…

Trying to change the talk in my head from “you piece of shit paper, stay still! Argh where has the end of that fucking tape gone now?”

So putting on my big girl pants, I thought, take a breath Jess, what would you say to your bestie right now if you walked in and she was in that state?
(that’s a wee trick I got taught years ago about trying to be kinder to yourself in your self-talk…) 😛

I would probably say, “Chill out… Nobody cares that much about the wrapping paper-except for the toddler but he will just be concerned about trying to eat it! This bit is shit and a pain in the arse but… why don’t you tell me about some of your favourite Christmas traditions instead?”

I realised most of my favourites are ones we just made up! 😉


What are some of your favourite holiday traditions in your family?

I outlined some of what makes it special for us in this post, The Magic of Christmas


Would love to hear yours??

Leave a comment

The big black cloud that follows me…

There is a big black cloud that follows me along life in recent years… Like a storm front, it builds momentum and ramps up covering me in darkness sometimes, unable to see through it.

That sounds dramatic but its how it feels. Since my Dad died five years ago, the grief and loss I have been like the surf at the beach for me. The nature and extent of which I feel them changes, it isn’t just my Dad I have lost.. In the time I have been writing this blog alone my Nanna (Dad’s Mum) has passed away, I have had a miscarriage and lost three friends along the journey.

Like the surf, sometimes momentum builds. The waves crash and its like that cloud is over me again. Sometimes there is indicators and warnings, like anniversaries or events I know are going to trigger loss…

Other times there is no warning or reason at all. Like this morning.. I just woke up feeling sad… Before we had even had a morning coffee I was crying about something I wished I could tell Andy (a friend of ours we lost this year..)

While talking to the boys and changing Jai’s nappy, I started crying at the significance of their names and how I couldn’t tell my Nanna we put Percival in his name.. I know how special she thought it was that Josh’s middle name was Grahame, my Dad’s name.

And before I knew it I was screaming at James and the kids because no one could find the keys and because I felt pissed that the burden of responsibility of finding them was placed on me. I just wanted to send a few emails, I was just pissed off.

And now they aren’t here and I can’t remember who it even was I was meant to email. I just feel overwhelmed with sadness.

I guess sometimes I just feel like I need space to feel things without having someone there to feel like they are interrupting me…

I wrote this last week, not even realising what the date was or thinking about the fact I was probably feeling sensitive to things because of the looming anniversary.

Grief is an all consuming beast.  The death of someone close to you doesn’t ever really “heal”, I guess you just sometimes get better at coping with it, though sometimes you don’t… I guess sometimes you come to learn the warning signs and signals, like the date, but clearly, six years later, i still get that one wrong too…


Launching paper boats for Dad with the boys..

I think we too often forget that grief doesn’t only come with death. I have grieved many processes, ideas and plans over the last few years not just people.. When we were landed smack bang into huge legal proceedings unexpectedly, I think all of us involved in that shit show grieved in some way or another. When after 18 months of blood, sweat and tears sunk into this fight, some of us grieved the end of it, it just fizzled out in the end.. we all had the “you won” call but it certainly didn’t feel like there was any winners…
Not that long later we were grieving one of our own who we lost along the way. Grief is complex and it’s messy and it’s difficult. It’s multilayered and multifaceted and sometimes it jumps up and surprises you.

I don’t think it really ever goes away.. Well that’s not my experience.. It just changes. And life happens. And further grief will happen… Its always hard, its always kind of raw…


When our friend passed away, he left behind a four year old daughter and his partner.

Empathizing big time with these guys, I just wanted to do anything I could to help. I searched out resources and books people recommended in these cases once again, I had already been through the same process looking for books for my own kids that related to my dad and death in a way that might help them understand.

Skylight Trust is a great place for resources for the record and Old Huhu is a great book which is a favorite in this house. The first time I saw it was actually on a Playcentre visit when Josh brought it up to me to read and I turned into this sobbing mess of a random mother in the corner unable to control my emotions about how beautiful the book was.

But one of the things people said to me in this time again like the prior, that really doesn’t sit well with me, “your children will lift you up through your grief”…

I call bullshit.

Yes they give me a reason to try and battle through it. They give me a reason to try and get a more positive perspective on things. They give me a reason to keep sharing stories of my Dad, another reason to keep his memory alive. But they certainly don’t lift me up through it.

In fact, I feel like sometimes they pause me processing it.

When I had a miscarriage and the grief storm clouds really closed the horizon for a while there for me again, I had to hide from Josh to feel like I could process things. You can’t really be a blubbering mess in the corner the same way when you are caring for kids…

And yes, it is good not to get stuck in the blubbering mess stage but sometimes you need some of that. I feel like if I can feel it, like experience it, then it’s the first step to acknowledging it. To processing the emotions…

Well I am not a mental health expert but that is my take on it anyway…


Beautiful sunset tonight ❤

Launching paper boats for Dad on the third anniversary of his death, conciding with Josh’s first birthday party…

Skylight Trust is national not for profit trust that enables children, young people, their family/whanau and friends to navigate through times of trauma, loss and grief –


Sling Meets vs Sling & Carrier Consultants

Navigating the differences between volunteer and paid roles in the Babywearing Community



Sling meets provide a great introduction to the world of babywearing which would suit lots of people looking to find out more. They are a free service, run by dedicated volunteers who give generously back to the community by sharing the babywearing love.

Sling and carrier consultants are another option. They are a paid service which just like any other business has overheads and operating costs to cover. That’s not to say that a sling meet doesn’t have those things but they generally use fundraising, donations, volunteer hours and sometimes membership fees to cover their costs of operation.


Before I look at the differences between the two though, I would like to first give an outline of some of the similarities and how these people and groups both act as a great resource of all kinds of information babywearing related.

Both will be able to provide you information about safety and positioning in a carrier. Both could be able to help you troubleshoot or work with you to find optimum comfort using your carrier. Both would be able to provide you some guidance about the pro’s and con’s of various styles and brands. And among both groups you will also find a lot of variety in the approach used and the specific service provided.

As a collective from both respective groups sat down and discussed the differences between the services offered, we came to the conclusion that the main differences boil down to just two; time and price.

Time at a sling meet is a very precious commodity. The time frame limitations is one of the main restrictions to the level and kind of support that is offered in this setting. These generous volunteers often have large groups of people wanting assistance and support. The time available to cover something in particular depth or in the case of a special circumstance is limited and therefore the information must be too.

Due to the paid nature of consultancy, often things could have more opportunity to be taken at an individual’s preferred pace or in their preferred manner. With more time and a tailored and specialized service, there is a depth of assistance and support that consultants could offer that can be outside of that possible in the time available in a sling meet setting.

Another aspect to the consideration of time is the time and place of the service offered. Sling meets are usually at a fixed time and place and commonly will have “holiday breaks” like other support groups do. In the situations where someone is maybe not able to make the time and date of the sling meet or would prefer to choose those factors, a consultant would be a better fit.

The aspect of price is obviously a big difference between the two. Sling meets run by volunteers are a free service in the community. Sling and Carrier Consultants all chose a different approach and focus for their business and services offered and many will have a different “specialty” in an area or approach that they are particularly passionate or experienced in, but all will provide this service at a charge. Training costs, ongoing upskilling, teaching resources and our time, both with you and in preparation of meeting, are all aspects of this charge.

As we discussed this relationship and dynamic, it was a Slingbabies leader, Natalie, who made an incredibly valuable comparison in my opinion. The La Leche League provide a breastfeeding support service run by dedicated volunteers around the world. Lactation Consultants also provide a support service for breastfeeding mothers.*

Together they help to boost the rates of breastfeeding in New Zealand by offering support, guidance and assistance in the area of breastfeeding. But the manner, approach and service offered by each is incredibly different but complimentary and more powerful combined.

Just like that of the babywearing world.


Josh and I at a West Auckland Slingbabies meet on 13th September, 2013. 


To find an up to date list of Sling Meets and Consultants around the country here –

Another list can be found here –



As you can see, I was still screwing up my face at understanding wraps at the Slingababy Consultant Training in Christchurch just under three years later! While I have improved and learnt a whole lot, the learning never stops!


(Thanks to Sandy, Kelsey, Natalie, Sherylee and Amy for help with this article x)



*I have simplified the comparison to LLL and also the various tiers and levels of support and services within both the volunteer and paid sectors of the support available here. Within both LLL and sling meets there are various kinds and levels of support, group leaders and peer to peer educators are another differing level of support and guidance again. With the intention of being all inclusive and the limitations of my own lack of knowledge and experience within both sling meets and LLL, I am not able to do justice to the various roles or kinds of support. If you have any insight or feedback, I would love to hear from you –

Leave a comment

Being heavily pregnant sucks… But have you tried collecting some liquid gold while you wait?! 

So I could start listing all kinds of wives tales about how to encourage your babies arrival but at the end of the day I actually prescribe to the more science based concept that labour is only really triggered naturally by baby releasing a hormone signal when their lungs are fully developed enough and they are truely ready… 
Try as you might, even if you bring on early onset labour, which I’m not convinced all the things I did had no effect on the process and drawn out nature of my first labour as all the OBs kept telling me he was too big and they were going to induce me yada yada (he wasn’t for the record, either of them despite that pressure both times), it’s not in your best interests, for either of you, to hurry the process along despite the general feel of “over it” and hugeness you may feel… Evolution has designed us for this, unless there are otherwise medical concerns, sorry to tell you, it’s not the last time your baby is going to make you uncomfortable and just try hang in there best you can (see my previous post about trying to hang in there and things that helped me here)

Something you can do though, that you shouldn’t do before full term due to the risk of it onsetting labour, is try to express some colostrum. Hand expressing is probably enough nipple stimulation, I used a pump when I was late pregnant with Josh (as well as drinking about 3 litres of raspberry leaf tea the day my waters broke with him hahaha) but I don’t think it particularly produced more, nor did it help my whole “natural” outlook and Oxytocin rush when I first started breastfeeding Josh. It just made me think of cows at milking time as my first introduction to considering my boobs for anything other than an sexually oriented part of my body… Hand expressing is a much kinder intro..  

For me, I found using a wide necked shot glass I could hold to my nipple, or but on the bench and lean over and squeeze or I guess massage my boob towards the nipple worked best.. The cow comparison whilst not glamorous, works for a reason.. But milk and colostrum don’t come from your nipple, they are excreted in the ducts in your boob further up.. Massaging downwards towards your nipple stimulates the same action as a baby suckiling… 

I discarded colostrum relatively early in both my pregnancies. The first time it just plain freaked me out hahah the second time I realised the power of that liquid gold..  
When Josh was born it took a long few drawn out days for my milk to come in and with an unhappy baby screaming lots I felt pressured into giving him formula to supplement… Again, I am not knocking formula here, just like medical interventions during birth, aren’t we so damn lucky they are available to us in this day and age when they are needed (I appreciate this particularly as I hemoraged after Josh’s birth and would have died myself if not for medical interventions at that point).. But if you are leaking from your nipples at all or can manage to express some colostrum, that stuff you are getting is seriously liquid gold… Much more than an alternative to formula to help supplement feeding if needed, colostrum, the clear or gold liquid your boobs produce before making milk, is seriously beneficial! 

With the concern of my milk taking a while to come in again second time around and leaking colostrum from about 20 weeks, I started expressing and storing my colostrum from 38 weeks in case I needed to supplement Jai in the early days like I did Josh.  I didn’t, I had my placenta encapsulated this time around and gratefully had a pretty smooth and uninterrupted birth process this time round and I woke up with the “boob job” look of someone whose milk had come in the day after Jai was born! 

So I had 100ml odd of colostrum in my deep freezer which was donated to a local family with a baby in NICU with serious health issues which helped that baby get out of hospital… 

I have blogged about this before but the general outline of storing and using expressed colostrum has been pulled as an exert from that post below; 

If you express some colostrum, store it in a fresh clean syringe, put something over the end to seal it (some of the small syringes we had came with covers, others we just used tinfoil to seal) put it in some kind of container and put it really deep in your freezer (if you have a deep freezer or separate chest freezer use that it will keep longer) and if you don’t need it post birth then save it for when your baby gets sick the first time, cause they will and it’s horrible to watch tiny babies sick and feel powerless to do anything, and then, dig out your little stash of liquid gold! There is no age limit for when antibodies are good for, you could give it to sick big kids or even take it yourself if you wanted!

To use it after you have frozen it, get a glass of room temp water, stand your syringe in it upside down without submerging it in the water. You don’t want to heat it, that will kill off some of the antibodies, it will defrost very quickly in small syringes. We used a mixture of 1, 3 and 5ml syringes (maybe a few ten mls by the end there..), start small, and don’t express for long. You don’t want to over stimulate your nipples and force labour (let baby decide when they are ready) but if you are anything like me, I was leaking colostrum in both my pregnancies before the third trimester so after 37 weeks I started collecting it. Again the first time round I didn’t really realise how valuable it was and didn’t store more than a few mls properly.

Even if you don’t manage to express anything, nipple stimulation will release Oxytocin, same reason sex is recommended to onset labour, so it may well just hurry bubba along after all! 

1 Comment

While you wait…. Dealing with those drawn out last few weeks of pregnancy

That last month of being pregnant is the absolute worst part of it in my opinion… If you are anything like I was with either of my pregnancies, your baby is at the point where you are not sure if there is anymore internal organs they could potentially push on… You feel huge and uncomfortable and that last bit of waiting is so, so drawn out..

My cousin is at that point on her first pregnancy at the moment and while I keep reminding her it will soon be a distant memory, I am acutely aware, at this moment in time, that’s not really at all any help! So I was thinking, here’s five things that did kind of help me, retrospectively thinking, when I was a snappy, grumpy, well and truly over it pregnant lady, which with Jai happened well before a month prior to his birth…

Get your cook on!

So obviously you have probably already been in “nesting” mode to some degree in the processes of getting ready for baby I imagine.. Sometimes it can be hard to know if you’ve got everything you need ready but honestly, tiny babies need very little “stuff” but they do need food, like you will, especially if you are breastfeeding..

Having stuff you have prepared to chuck in a slow cooker in the morning while the baby isn’t losing it or stuff you have precooked and frozen that is good to reheat when it’s witching hour and your baby just wants to cluster feed and you just need to eat or you may pass out or eat one of your own limbs, that helped me… I don’t think you can do enough of that. If your freezer is full, fill a friends or a family members and get them to bring it over to you when yours is empty.. It’s like a present to your future self from your present self, or at the very least it’s a few more easy dinners… That helps… 

Stock up on “self care” and pamper yourself.

While tiny babies don’t need much “stuff”, they do need lots of you.. Your own self care will likely be low on the list of your priorities for the next few months at least… (look up the “fourth trimester” if you are not familiar with the concept..). So get a haircut, get your eyebrows done, have a massage… Whatever those things are that make you feel good, make you feel like you are caring and nurturing yourself-do that. It will help you feel more equipped to nurture someone else, for little while at least..

If you do all those things and bubba is still comfortable and not going anywhere, do them again. Keep doing them over and over. Soon most of your energy and attention will be on caring and nurturing someone else, be a “loving parent” to yourself first.. It’s good practice, it’s good for you and the little person inside you and once you have your beautiful baby in your arms you will be totally focused on nurturing them, so do some self nurturing in the meantime… That helped…

Try some visualisation and relaxation techniques.

You don’t have to buy into the concept of hypnobirthing as I have blogged about before, but for any case scenario how your labour works out to be, being relaxed and calm as much as you can in totally going to help you and baby both.

Remember, fear is the enemy of birth. On a really basic level, when we are stressed or fearful, we admit adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone… If you think about it from caveman times, if a woman was “labouring” and something scary or stressful presented itself, like a saber toothed tiger at the mouth of the cave, just to throw a visual in there, labour would halt. We would have the protection and guidance of our tribe to decide of we would fight or flee the tiger, establish safety, and sometime later labour would begin again…

Oxytocin is the “love hormone”, the one you want to progress and have no interruptions to natures process, unless obviously it is needed and aren’t we lucky in this day and age that in those situations, medical interventions are available to us… But even still in those case, the more relaxed and calm you can be, the better..

Practising visual relaxation techniques, mindfulness, there are even some apps you can download that will help you practise these techniques, either for specifically for birth or just in general. And the benefits of practising that won’t just help with birth, I can assure you, even if not in those first initial period, there will be times the baby is crying and you don’t know what to do, staying calm will help you but that is bloody hard. If you are lucky and never experience that scenario, I can assure you there will be times your toddler is pushing your buttons, maybe because they have emptied the same bloody bucket of toys you have already picked up 200 times that day, in those times too staying calm will help you.

And if you are even luckier and never have to deal with that, I can assure you there will be a time, probably after 100 other times, that your three year old will have a tantrum, maybe about not getting the right coloured lid on his cup say…. Again, being able to be calm is really, really going to help you. But that’s also really, really f#cken hard sometimes… Having techniques you have practised and can draw on will really help you in those times. Learn and practise them now. That will help…

Connect to bubba

Make something for your baby, write them a letter, sing them songs, paint pictures, make scrapbooks… Whatever your thing is, do something that you will get to keep and give to your baby you are yet to hold in your arms much later down the track. I wrote letters lots to my babies in my puku, especialy at the end of their time there.. I wrote about my dreams and aspirations for them, I wrote about all the love and anticipation I felt about meeting them for the first time and after a while, I wrote about how I am ready and they are nearly cooked and soon they will be served an eviction notice by doctors who would make them come out, even if they didn’t want to 😉

When I was pregnant with my youngest son, my eldest son and I made things for him together. One of the things my then 2.5 year old spent months working on was a mobile he made for Jai. He made it from drift wood and pumice and shells we found at the beach. He drilled holes in the pumice and I helped him thread and them and tie the shells on string. When he finished, like a true artist, he stood back and admired his work and said, “baby will look at it and say wow!” 😳


And that hangs proudly in Jai’s room and he does indeed look at it and say “wow”… But the reason I suggest this is for more than “making something” for baby… It’s more about truely connecting with that little person inside you. For the smoothest labour possible, you and your baby will work together, feeling connected and in touch with your baby is going to put you in a better position to do this.

Plus remember, your baby has been able to hear your voice for a long time now, they can feel you touch them, they can even see now! Think about the experience from their perspective though, they are warm and comfortable and safe inside your tummy. They have never know anything else, the experience of making their way into the world outside is, I imagine, just as unsure and full of the unknown to them, as it will be for you. Talk to them, tell them you will keep them safe and warm and feed… Reassure them, the process in turn should help to reassure you… At least that’s what I found. And that helped…

Embrace being pregnant

You’re baby will really only truely come when it is ready (or when medical interventions make it) so none of the old wives you can try or suggestions you may hear are going to make baby more ready to arrive and encouraging or trying to force labour before that point is not going to have a positive outcome for either of you. Your body is doing some amazing shit, it’s growing a whole new person!

Even if you don’t feel it (trust me, I don’t think I ever felt it!), what your body is doing is beautiful.. Honour it. However you feel comfortable. Take a belly mould, get your belly painted, have a blessing ceremony (I always loved that idea), do a photo shoot… Just honour it.

For me I did photoshoots while pregnant with both my kids. I had hair and make up done both times, I had studio lighting and great photographers in an effort to make myself feel more glamorous and beautiful.. I did not, for even a second feel either of those things for even a moment during either of those shoots.. I was 36 weeks pregnant in both of them, I felt huge and uncomfortable and cumbersome, generally just awkward..


But both of those photos now hang proudly in our lounge above the kids play area. And they are beautiful, even if when I look at them I see flaws and imperfections.. They are beautiful, striking images of a beautiful and special time and both of the kids have a special affiliation with “their” picture.. They have significance and meaning beyond any kind of intention that could have been planned for them.


Yes it’s uncomfortable, awkward and drawn out but also in retrospect it is such a short period of your journey and soon you will have that beautiful baby in your arms and it truely will be like a distant memory… I promise x

Leave a comment

Baby slings and sling meets

If you are new to the world of babywearing, or just keen to find out more, your best port of call is a Sling Meet.. If you are in Auckland, Slingbabies is probably the group you are after. They have meets in East, North and West Auckland currently and the West Auckland one, (the one I head along to when I manage to sort a drop off session for my big boy at Playcentre cause its normally a session day for us) is this coming Friday, the 3rd of June, held at Sturges West Community House, 58 Summerland Drive, Henderson, from 10-1130am (

Sling meets are a great place to seek information from a variety of unbiased sources, most are volunteer run by mums passionate about babywearing. They often seek a koha (donation) from visitors to cover venue hire and such but these services are run on love, not money. Some, like Slingbabies West Auckland, offer a large and extensive library of carriers to try and hire, and at really reasonable costs.

I recommend anyone, regardless of level of experience or any other factors, try before you buy when it comes to baby carriers, slings and wraps. The standard loan period with this kind of sling meet gives you more than enough time to work out if you like a certain option/style/brand is for you or if you want to try another. And a sling meet like this is your best, most comprehensive way to do this in many standard situations… It was my gateway intro to babywearing when I borrowed a Kozy Carrier Mei Tai from the Slingbabies library over three years ago now!!

At a meet like this, someone may briefly outline the variety of styles of babywearing options available; from a Pouch sling, ring sling, stretchy wrap, woven wrap, Mei Tai, Soft Structured Carrier etc and provide some kind of outline of how they look and function. This will give you a good idea of what kind of style you think might suit you, an awesome outline if you are yet to purchase something or looking to try something new, alternatively it may provide you will some idea of where or how the option you already have stacks up to those others on the market…

If you are seeking help with a carrier, sling or wrap you already own, this is the place to ask. With lots of knowledge collectively between the volunteers and others attending, it is a rare case that someone can’t help you!

I have managed to sort my affairs to be able to come along this month, particularly exciting for me as I currently have a beautiful tester wrap, Neo from Tarabeau in The Netherlands that I am excited to show off to an apreciating audience 😉


Come along if you are in Auckland and not busy, it’s great fun to play with other options, soak up knowledge from other babywearing mamas and learn so, so much about the world of babywearing! Even if you are not in Auckland, be sure to check out the Slingbabies website, it’s a great source of all kinds of knowledge, relevant articles and links!