Babywearing with Jess


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Two ways to make a DIY babywearing “doll”

So I have posted before about why sling and carrier consultants love using babywearing dolls, it makes it easier to practise, its not only safer but makes sure your attitude and general vibes to the process, which are in turn passed on to bubs, can be more confident and it helps when learning.

But I also mentioned, professional babywearing dolls are expensive.

 

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They are made to order and hand crafted. The have rotatable joints and weighted limbs and bodies. The are pretty important to us as consultants {for the love of God people, if you aren’t going to pick it up like a real baby, grab it by the clothes! I dread to think how quickly one of my dolls arms is going to be ripped off!).

But in saying that, I only in the last few months got dolls of my own. And I have been demonstrating and showing people tips and tricks with a carrier for much longer than that!

There are a number of ways to do so.

Obviously an actual real life child is an option. In my experience they can be a pain though. They have needs and desires and can be difficult and vocal hahaha all this is obviously what is normal with children but in a demo or practise setting, it can be a bit of a barrier…

So, while I have actually strapped a bag of potatoes to me to show someone a finish when the kids where in bed, I do recommend you use something at least with a resemblance to arms and legs…

 

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If you have a doll or teddy with a soft body it’s an option.. if you can find one that has some resemblence to knees and hips that’s even better but hey, work with what you’ve got!
My kids have a toy koala that is roughly baby sized and has knees of sorts and it’s feet even have some bean weightedness to them so that’s a good option for me… I have also used dolls, like maternity setting ones which are typically not that weighted.

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So there are a couple of ways you can make your own option… one horrified my children and husband and they all declared I wasn’t allowed to play with the kids toys anymore and get my own, which I did.. but I will get to that in a sec.. first a less permanent solution…

 

 

The Weighted Nappy trick 

So you have a soft toy or a doll that has hopefully some resemblance to arms and legs, hips and knees would be great but a soft body toy will work if that’s what you have…
Using rice or river stones or something similar to create some extra weight, put them in zip lock bags. I tap over the zip locks because I have had one “rice explosion” incident..  the doll equivalent to a poonami I guess! 😉
Then I use a cloth nappy, I’m sure a disposable would probably also work but the studs or Velcro on a cloth one, plus the fact you can take out some extra inserts or padding if you need, makes it my preferred option. Plus it means I get to use some of the cute nappies that Jai has outgrown too! 😉

Just stick your weighted bag inside the nappy laid on the floor and put it on your doll or teddy…

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You can take it off when your done and no one gets hurt… OR there is another option…

 

The full blown ‘decapitate, gut and stuff’ method 

 

This is the one that had my husband and kids looking at me horrified and telling me to stay away from the toy box.

 

I said to then, “the koala is actually a really good option are you sure I can’t make it weighted properly?? It will still be a cool toy just heavier… I’ll just unpick it’s throat, pull out some stuffing, put some rocks in there are sew it up again! It won’t even take me long!”

Yeah… they snatched the koala out of my hands haha Josh screamed, “get your own toys mum!!”  hahaha fair enough kid…
So I did.. while I am totally keen for having a menagerie of animals instead of somewhat creepy looking doll faces looking out at me from the plastic storage tubs, most of them are not quite as fit for purpose as the dear koala of theirs…

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So I went so a soft body doll option from Kmart.. These ones are actually a great option for me cause its “no sew”. The dolls heads are actually attached to the bodies with cable ties so it makes for a clean decapitation in that sense…

Just cut the cable ties and unthread it and you have a head less doll. Next gut it. you don’t need to pull out all the stuffing but I found it best when we go some rocks into the plastic bits of the arms and legs.. my kids actually thought this was a great activity to help me with when it wasn’t their toys I was decapitating so the dolls got rocks left right and centre really… we even weighted their heads a little bit!

Then we put stuffing back in. Into the plastic bits too, hoping to prevent a bit of rattle but that only really half worked..

 

 

Once your baby has stuffed arms and legs again and a bit of a bum, stick a bag of rocks or sand inside, similar fashion to the one used in the Weighted Nappy option and put it in the core of your doll, close to the bum if you can but you want to put lots of stuffing under and around it too or you will end up with a lumpy bummed or backed baby haha

Either of these is a great option of you have a wrap or sling and are pregnant and keen to try before bubba arrives… Another option of course is to check out a babywearing educator or workshops near you 🙂 – http://babywearingeducators.co.nz/babywearingeducators/


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Homemade baby wipes

So I’m into anything that saves me money right.. And I am a big fan of cloth nappies (but that’s another post in itself!) and find that using disposables and commercially produced baby wipes often tend to exacerbate nappy rash on both my kids.. 

When my baby was exclusively breastfeed, we tended to just use like make up removers or cotton pads with some warm water when doing nappy changes instead of wipes… Once they start soilds, the game totally changes and for us using liners was even more important in terms of stream lining the process… And sometimes, water didn’t cut it anymore.

I admit, the convinence of store bought wipes took over for quite sometime… Particularly when out and about. But we were seeing more irritation and going through a heap of them! We had tried paper towels with a water bottle but it just wasn’t as convinent…

So I saw this great video on Facebook by Mama Joy but hadn’t tried her technique. It was only after getting some Tupperware for my pantry and had an extra 1.7L container that looked like it would fit the half cut paper towel roll perfectly that I decided to try it.

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So after hacking the paper towel roll in half, I got a big tablespoon of coconut oil, a few squirts of baby wash and just under a cup and a half of boiling water in a jug and mixed it all up.

Then after stuffing the paper towel into the container, I just slowly poured it over, making sure to cover the edges of the cardboard liner (see Mama Joy video for more details). Once it’s soaked in, you can easily pull out the cardboard tube and you can pull the wipes from the centre.

Then by adding the pour top off the Tupperware container, it was like such a convenient hack that makes the homemade baby wipes just as convinent as store bought!

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Plus I used some from the portable wipe packet I have (one of those Huggies refillable ones) to clear the facepaint off myself at Playcentre this morning and felt first hand just how much more moisturing and soothing they are than the drying feel of store bought baby wipes!

Never going back! 😉

(if you need details for an awesome Tupperware consultant, my friend is a great contact, talk to Jan –jan_junior@windowslive.com

DIY Babywearing Solutions – Fabrics

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Since I have started exploring some DIY solutions for carrying babies (here is an in instructables I have been working on
http://m.instructables.com/id/DIY-Stretchy-Wrap-for-Newborn-Babywearing/?ALLSTEPS), I have come to have a whole new appreciation for the various fabrics I come across.

This amazing flow chart was shared on a group I am in this morning and it was so great I had to share it and keep it for my own records! If you are thinking of making a DIY Babywearing solution, check this out and then make sure you join the DIY Babywearing Facebook group for more great resources like this.
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By Alyssa Leonard, shared on DIY Babywearing Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/247329292025830/)


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I didn’t babywear today…

For the first time since my youngest son was born eight months ago, I didn’t wear him at all today.

This weekend I have been hiding away from my kids and husband busily working on renovations in the wee cottage we have on our property. Painting and home renovations are very therapeutic to me; I am an “active relaxer” and in order for me to clear my mind, I need to be really engaged in something physically to give my brain space to think.

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Renovations in progress! Thanks to Mr 3 for helping pick the colours 😊

As I was contemplating that very thought, it occurred to me that renovations & home DIY stuff has been something I have turned to everytime I have been faced with something that seemed too big to handle.. When my Dad died, I completely renovated my house before renting it out. When his mum, my Nanna, passed away not that long after, I renovated my now husband’s family property. When I had a miscarriage not long after that, I retreated without my husband and son, to the new property which we had just bought and did all kinds of renovations there..

Maybe it is something about the old state of things being restored and renewed that helps me process and move forward from things. I always seem to have a sense of completion or I guess a kind of closure on that chapter of my life once I have physically finished the project..

Anyhow, as I was painting and thinking and processing and healing, a few conversations I have had recently with some of my beautiful mama friends kept coming back to me… And then this meme made its way into my newsfeed…

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Then the thought occurred to me that I think sometimes, I might be quite good at hiding it! 😉

Yes at the moment, I wear my kids quite a lot; yes I also breastfeed on the go with my youngest in a sling or wrap quite often; yes my youngest will happily “wrapnap” on me amongst chaos and noise; and yes, because my big boy has been carried a lot of his short life too, I sometime wear both of them at the same time! But we do this because it works for us and that’s not the same for others, and nor should it be.. Besides, just cause that’s what people see, doesn’t make it our constant reality, nor is it without its downsides…

The fact is babywearing is just a parenting tool, one I am very passionate about, but it is also a workout! Carrying around 10kgs strapped to me for usually at least a few hours a day for the last eight months has taken its toll on my body and I am starting again to have issues with old injuries after many years without thinking of them. Breastfeeding on the go is bloody draining, not to mention dehydrating, especially in this crazy hot weather! And if I don’t make self care and listening to my body a priority I am prone to getting “touched out” & snapping at everyone (I know this not because I am great at doing self care but more because I am actively trying to get better at NOT doing the latter)…

I was going to write more about Babywearing Self Care but think that probably deserves it’s own post… My point was more that those things are just the way we have best worked out how to cope with this transition to a family of four…

You may wish that your baby would breastfeed or nap in a carrier like mine, but I wish my baby would sleep without me beside him somewhere besides the hammock he has outgrown and yet we continue to try stuff him into! You may think it’s impressive that I will tandem wear my children, I am impressed your three year old will actually hold onto you when you piggy back them! It’s all perception and perspective…

We recognise each others strengths as parents, but how often do we forget all that shit and just pat ourselves on the back for the awesome stuff we do for our own kids?!

Comparison and self criticism seems to come with the territory with motherhood in my experience and yet we do ourselves no favours with it. Recognise the awesome shit other mums do, tell them about it & remind them they are awesome (we should tell each other more often I think!) but then do the same for yourself.

You are awesome, you do amazing things for your kids and your family, don’t let anyone (or yourself for that matter!) make you compare or question otherwise!

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