Babywearing Basics: Which Carrier Is Best For You?
Paige Plihal: Although babywearing has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, it’s seen a welcome surge over the past generation and is now an integral part of many families’ lifestyles. Why is babywearing so important? And how can you tell which carrier is right for you? I’m Paige Plihal, babywearing expert and owner of Beachy Bundles and this is Parent Savers, Episode 49.
Johner Riehl: Hello again, and welcome to the Parent Savers broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I’m Johner Riehl, and I’m your host, and I’m here to have conversations about subjects that parents of young kids care about. On Parent Savers, we engage with experts in the field, as well as parent panelists in studio who are just like you. But we do have room for you to participate, either via Twitter; you can call our hotline, ask a question/leave a comment; you can go to our Facebook page; we’ve weekly polls now that you can vote in, that gives us some great insight into what our listener are thinking about going into a show. There’s so many ways to get in touch with us, so please do. We love having listener feedback and participation in our shows.
In addition to listening, please make sure to visit our website. You can get more information on the topics we discuss, we put additional resources on each “Episodes” page-we’ve also got a free newsletter that I know you’ve already signed up for-if not, please do. And there’s also a Parent Savers Club, if you need acces to our archived episodes, or for some additional bonus content, it’s definitely worth signing up for. So visit www.parentsavers.com for more information. Before we get into the topic, let me tell you a little bit about myself as well as the other panelists in the room. I am a new-again parent, my son Zyler is one and a half, I’ve got two other boys-Quinner and Whitaker-and they both just turned six and four, so I am a member of the “Three Boys Club,” and we wore all of them in different carriers as they were growing up, but I’m interested to learn more about the topic.
Ursula McDonald: Hi, I’m Ursula McDonald, and I have two boys. Desmond’s four, and Callan’s two, and I’ve definitely babywearing, I’ve felt so fortunate that it’s had this resurgence when I had my children.
Sunny Gault: And I’m Sunny Gault, I am the host of our sister show, Preggie Pals, which is all about pregnancy. I have two little boys as well, and one is two and a half and one is about ten months old-and as far as babywearing is concerned, before any of my kids were born I actually bought a carrier. So my intentions were really good. I want to get an A for effort! [Laughs] Then, didn’t work out so much with my first; wanted to try it out with my second because I heard that when you have two kids close in age, that can be really helpful, especially with breastfeeding-and I’ve kind of failed the second time as well. [Laughs] So this is a good topic for me, because we do plan on having more children, and I’m hoping eventually I will get it right.
Ursula McDonald: There’s still time.
Sunny Gault: Yes.
Johner Riehl: Paige, what about you?
Paige Plihal: I have a five year old and a nearly three year old, and I actually still wear both of them occasionally. So, you know when we do big day trips at Disney or at the zoo or that sort of thing. Babywearing’s still excellent in our family, but I’ve been wearing them since day one.
Johner Riehl: Well, we’ll definitely talk about hat more when we talk about how old you can wear your babies.
Paige Plihal: Yes!
Johner Riehl: Alright, thanks!
Johner Riehl: As we kick off today’s episode on babywearing, we’re joined by Gillian Beerman, mother of four and co-founder of Moby Wrap, Inc., the makers of the popular and well-loved Moby Wrap Baby Carriers. Thanks for joining us, Gillian!
Gillian Beerman: Thanks for having me.
Johner Riehl: There are a lot of different babywearing options out there now, so what makes the Moby Wrap so unique?
Gillian Beerman: The Moby Wrap is unique in that it’s one-size baby carrying option. A wrap style baby carrier is a long strip of fabric that you wrap around your body and then you put the baby in, as opposed to a sling, which would go over one shoulder, the wrap is going to go over both shoulders and it’s wide, so it’s going to spread the weight all the way across your back and down to your hips, making it incredibly comfortable
Johner Riehl: I know my wife absolutely loved ours. She was saying that when the baby was getting a little bit bigger, but before he was really able to support his head, that the Moby Wrap was the perfect thing for her to wear and she absolutely loved wearing it. Do you hear that a lot, and what are some of the other benefits you hear from people for using this type of carrier?
Gillian Beerman: One of the things that I hear is that it’s a great transition tool. SO, mom can wear the wrap, and the wrap will-you know, they’re 100% cotton, and if you haven’t washed it you can still have mom’s smell. Not only is it the smell of mom but also that feeling of being comforted. For example, when I used to teach parent education, I would wear my son, and then I’d have the babysitter come and wear the wrap. And I knew that my son was comfortable and also used to being in the Moby Wrap, so he would only go with the babysitter as long as he was in the wrap.
Johner Riehl: Nice. I’ve seen that you guys have the Moby Go now, too. So how is that different than the standard Moby Wrap?
Gillian Beerman: We created the Moby Go-it has a little bit more structure to it-it has a buckle on the back and two buckles on the sides. We tried to keep the comfort of a wrap, so the straps that go over your shoulders are wide and they are unpadded; so unlike other soft structured carriers which are on the market, which have kind of more backpack-style shoulder straps, the Moby Go has a nice, wide, flat piece of fabric-which gives it the same feeling of the Moby Wrap transitioned into a soft structured carrier. The Moby Go starts for babies at fifteen pounds, so you want to have your baby that has head control already; and it goes up to forty-five pounds. So, a little bit heavier a baby than you would carry in a Moby Wrap.
Johner Riehl: So it’s sort of like, the Moby Wraps are far the younger/newborns, and kind of as they are emerging into infancy; but then once they get their control of their head, the Moby Go is a great option.
Gillian Beerman: It’s a great option, and also for people that are intimidated by the wrap. Some people look at the long piece of fabric and say “I’m not sure how to use that. How do you get that on?” So for those people that may not have the experience and the comfort of the Moby Wrap, the Moby Go again is great option for those older babies. There is a period of time where people are wearing both the Moby Wrap and the Moby Go. So, depending on how your feeling-you’re going to go for a long hike-and maybe mom prefers the Moby Wrap and Dad prefers the Go, so you can take both of them with you and both people can be happy. But definitely there’s a time period in which both baby carriers are going to be able to be used.
Johner Riehl: How can our listeners get their hands on a either Moby Wraps or Moby Gos?
Gillian Beerman: They can go to our website: mobywraps.com. From there, they can either purchase online or they can go to our store locator and find a local boutique near them.
Johner Riehl: We’ve also got a promo code offering. If listeners enter the code SAVE10 on mobywraps.com, they can get ten dollars off the purchase off any baby carrier at mobywraps.com. We’ve also got that information on our website at parentsavers.com. Thanks again so much for joining us, Gillian. We love the Moby Wraps and we’re looking forward to the Moby Go and we loved talking to you!
Gillian Beerman: Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it.
Johner Riehl: Today’s topic is babywearing, and it almost seems strange today if you see a parent just holding their baby. If they’re not wearing them in some sort of baby carrier, that’s what actually sticks out now. Whereas as only, I think, twenty years ago, the baby carriers weren’t around as much. So, it’s an interesting topic, it’s definitely topical. Something that probably all of our listeners either have some experience in or perhaps their decided whether the way to have some experience with it-and for whatever reason weren’t able to get into it. So, thanks so much for joining us, Paige.
Paige Plihal: Thank You.
Johner Riehl: So let’s talk about, just from a very basic standpoint, what are some of the benefits of babywearing? Why is it so important and why do you think it’s so popular today?
Paige Plihal: So, babywearing is really beneficial and wonderful for a multitude of reasons. Infants who are worn regularly receive all the benefits of skin-to-skin, or “kangaroo care”- which is temperature, respiratory regulation, as well as a safe space to continue bonding with their caregivers outside the womb-and to learn some new socio-emotional responses to different situations and environments.
Johner Riehl: What do you mean by socio-emotional?
Paige Plihal: So when baby is right on your chest; they’re looking right at your face, they’re able to see all of your response to a new situation when they’re maybe in an environment that they don’t recognize. Or if they have a new voice, a new person kind of in their spaces as well-they read your expressions and they see how you respond to these situations, and it gives them cues. It helps them to regulate their body.
Johner Riehl: And the skin-to-skin contact is also…?
Paige Plihal: Yes, skin-to-skin is wonderful, especially if they’re little. So-and obviously babywearing is really important for the parent, and also for older siblings in order to minimize sibling rivalry. If you’ve got a parent who’s able to wear their new baby and interact pretty normally with the older sibling, get out and still go do the things that maybe aren’t quite stroller-friendly, or they need two hands for-pushing at the park, that sort of thing. Babywearing’s wonderful for the whole family.
Johner Riehl: Yeah, definitely. You definitely get a lot of free limbs.
Paige Plihal: Yes.
Johner Riehl: I wonder if there’s also a benefit to the baby to being upright-in a position like that as opposed to spending so much time down. That it helps maybe with some of the coordination as they get a little older?
Paige Plihal: Absolutely. When you’ve got baby in a great ergonomic position that like we recommend now on Babywearing International and in the baby carrying industry lines have both made upright babywearing basically the standard. That’s what our goal is. And when baby’s upright, they’re in an optimum position to see your face, to grow; it also helps develop their spine correctly, and when their weight is on their bottom and their knees are higher than their bum, it promotes healthy hip development as well. So, it’s really common that people know an infant-a brand new baby-has a vision field of about six to eight inches; so when they’re right there, upright on your chest, you’re in their vision field and they get to see everything much more clearly than when they’re lying down.
Ursula McDonald: Well, I know that there’s a history to babywearing, and that cultures in the past wore their babies. Then I know there was a long period where we didn’t really see or hear about it too often, and now it’s come back. How-the babywearing techniques that we’re using these days-how are they similar or different from traditional babywearing?
Paige Plihal: Well, babywearing really is just a modern word for a very ancient practice. Cultures all over the world have been wearing their babies for thousands of years, indigenous cultures have been. These practices are still really common in South America, Africa, Asia-and basically what the western culture in recent years has done is taken all of these carriers, these indigenous carriers, and kind of just modernized them and optimized them to our needs. You’ll see people wearing something like a mei tai, which is an Asian inspired carrier; it’s actually really similar to the carrier that Mong people still use. We also use long pieces of cloth like African tribes still use, we just maybe wrap them a little bit differently. And actually, you know, a lot of the carriers we use are just the same as someone in a tribe in Africa would be using. [Laughs]
Johner Riehl: That’s one of the things that kind of freaked me out about baby carriers; especially-actually it still does-especially our second or third kid…especially our third kid, she was really going into getting her own piece of cloth and really tying it the right way. And as a dad, it freaks me out because all of the sudden-like I can trust a buckle, ok? Like click-click, I get it. It snaps, right? But all of the sudden, like “Are you sure your tying that thing right?” What’s going to happen? Do babies every fall out of these things? I guess I get concerned about-Does that happen or what are some things that you can do to stay safe while doing this?
Paige Plihal: So, obviously, it’s really incredibly important to make sure that whatever carrier you’re using you have inspected it before you use it, to make sure that the buckles haven’t been damaged if it does have buckles; the fabric’s in good condition, and then I always recommend practicing quite a few times with a doll or a stuffed animal. When you’re trying something new, you want to practice over a soft area, in front of you have someone spotting you once you really are using the child. And honestly if you’re using a good condition, ergonomic carrier the way that it was intended to be used, babies really don’t fall out of it. And it is really important to note that when you’re talking about using a long piece of cloth to do a wrap, we don’t want to use stretchy jersey wraps-such as the Moby, the sleepy baby wrap-those are not designed to be worn on the back. They’re wonderful for front carries, but those are actually not safe for back carries, and the baby can fall out of a stretchy in the back.
Johner Riehl: Ok, yeah that’s always-I know that’s something that always makes you nervous about, but that’s why you’re here as the expert, and why-I also trust my wife with that more than I do with that. She’s a researcher, like you, so-
Sunny Gault: Ya, but dads’ babywearing!
Ursula McDonald: Yeah, totally!
Sunny Gault: And I was going to ask Johner, have you worn your babies?
Johner Riehl: Totally. You know, I have worn the babies. And I will be honest, I’m one of those guys-and I’m sure I have to say girls, too-weight fluctuates. I was in the best shape of my life when our first one was born, and then when the second one was born probably the worst shape of my life. [Laughter] And I’m kind of somewhere in between right now, but I’m going back in the right direction. But, there were times where whoever we had the baby carrier set for- because you had to make a big adjustment between me and my wife-and so it was just easier to not have to adjust it. But, yeah, I definitely did. I actually remember wearing our first one a lot, and some of our favorite pictures that I have are with me wearing him, and I remember that. But, with the others, my wife wore them more, to be honest. What do you see, in your experience, with dads or moms wearing babies?
Ursula McDonald: And are there certain carriers more suited to dads versus moms?
Paige Plihal: Right. Yeah, I know definitely in our family, my husband was just as happy to wear the babies as I was. I see a lot of dad’s babywearing; it’s a really great tool for a dad to bond with baby, and to be able to calm them in ways that they might not be comfortable doing otherwise. Obviously they can’t nurse baby, but they can hold them in a safe place and have them sleep, and do some nice bonding that way. It’s just really important for dad, as well. And I know a lot of dads do prefer carriers such as a soft structured carrier-such as an ergo or a mei tai-they have a little bit less of a learning curve as compared to an open wrap.
Johner Riehl: There’s a learning curve, though.
Paige Plihal: There definitely is. It’s almost like tying your shoes, really. You have to practice.
Johner Riehl: You do have to practice. But it’s also one of those things where you can figure it out, I think.
Sunny Gault: Ok, so Paige, I have a question. So I have a husband who doesn’t think that it’s the coolest thing to wear your baby. But I understand the benefits, I would like to wear our kids more, and I would like him to wear our kids more. What are some words of advice that you have for moms out there whose husbands may be on the fence or maybe not quit thinking it’s the most manly thing to do? What can you say to them to help in that?
Paige Plihal: I would really encourage them to-you know some guys-it depends what will sway a guy. If they need to see a lot of pictures, or see pop culture-
Ursula McDonald: Sexy men wearing babies? [Laughter]
Paige Plihal: Yeah, celebrity babywearing dads. If they have a partner who is swayed by literature, I would suggest getting on Babywearing International, or thebabywearer.com, and really just printing up some of these researched articles saying “this is why it’s good.” Encourage them in that way, help them to feel supported-and trying new things on, maybe around the house, so that they can get used to it.
Ursula McDonald: Before they venture in public?
Paige Plihal: Right. Exactly.
Johner Riehl: But I think the point is, that it’s not so much that it’s hard to find information as to either why they could or should, or might even enjoy doing it. There’s so much out there that you can find-the way that works best for them.
Paige Plihal: Absolutely.
Johner Riehl: Alright. Well, that’s great. I think that we’ve talked a lot about the benefits of babywearing. When we come back, we’ll talk a little more about some of the specific types of carriers, some of them I’ve never heard about. [Laughter] But then again, I’m not the babywearer in the family.
Sunny Gault: That’s what the episode is about, right?
Johner Riehl: And that’s what the episode is for. So I’m looking forward to hearing a little bit more about things like-am I saying it right-mei tais?
Paige Plihal: Yes.
Johner Riehl: Alright. And ring-slings, and even more. So we’ll be right back.
Johner Riehl: Alright. Welcome back. We’re talking about babywearing with Paige Plihal, the owner of Beachy Bundles and a babywearing expert here in San Diego. Let’s talk a little bit more about the different types of baby carriers available. We were just kind of joking about it-we talked about mei tais a couple of times. So we’re not talking about mai tais or pina coladas, we’re talking about mei tais. Can you tell us a little bit more about those and maybe some of the other different types of carriers that are available?
Paige Plihal: Yes, absolutely. So, a mei tai, like you mentioned, is actually an Asian-inspired baby carrier. It’s a square fabric with four straps coming off it. You have two at the bottom to tie around your waist, and then there are two straps that you use over your shoulders; and you can use this in a front or back carry, depending on baby’s age. Some have hoods, some don’t. Typically, you tie it around your waist. First, you tie the bottom two around your waist, then you hold the baby on your chest and flip the square of fabric up, and then you use the top straps to tie across your body and tie it underneath their bottom.
Johner Riehl: OK.
Paige Plihal: So that’s a mei tai. A couple of brands that you might have heard of are BabyHawk and Posy. They all have different little tweaks, but they function similarly. There are also ring-slings, which are an excellent, excellent beginner carrier. They’re very versatile for newborns especially. They last as long as you’re comfortable wearing them. You can put them-you know it’s a one-shouldered carrier-it’s basically a piece of fabric with two rings attached. They can be sewn in or they can just be threaded through, and it’s really versatile because you don’t have to change the settings and things like you might on a soft structured carrier. They’re also wonderful for nursing.
Johner Riehl: Those are the kind that looks kind of-almost like a hammock, right?
Paige Plihal: Yes, exactly.
Johner Riehl: Like a little pea pod that they’re all snuggled in. [Laughter]
Paige Plihal: It does it looks like a hammock. But you do want to wear the baby upright in the middle times, unless you’re nursing of course. Yes. There are also carriers: woven wraps and stretchy wraps. Both of these are excellent and incredibly versatile for any size of body. You can use them all kinds of different ways. Stretchy wraps, again, are not to be used on your back- but you can use the woven wrap in a back-carry, you can use both in front and hip carries, and they’re really wonderful.
Johner Riehl: And those are kinds with fabric, again?
Paige Plihal: Yes, these are fabric. A woven wrap-typically when a baby carrier is talking about a woven wrap, they’re talking about a piece of fabric that was woven specifically with the intention of carrying a baby. So, there’s so, so many different brands, and a lot of them come mostly from Europe. It became really popular in Europe in the seventies; Germany kind of paved the way for a lot of modern babywearing. So, there are many, many brands.
Sunny Gault: I like to get the most bang for my buck. So, I know a lot of these carriers, they can be pricey, right? So I want to find carriers that not only work for me and my baby the best but for the longest amount of time. So what advice do you have for parents out there that want to, not buy as many, hopefully; and one that works for them, and make it last?
Paige Plihal: I would suggest trying to find some first to try before you buy. If you have a local babywearing group, thebabywearer.com is a great resources for finding a local babywearing group. There are also businesses that offer rentals. You can search for some of those online, and they’ll offer a rental where you pay for the carrier, get to keep it for two weeks or a month and then send it back if it doesn’t work. I would do a little bit of research, definitely, and see what you think might would work best for you and your needs and baby’s age.
Johner Riehl: And friends as well, probably.
Paige Plihal: Right, yeah! That’s part of the wonderful thing about babywearing, is that it’s so popular now that you can pretty much find somebody with your carrier.
Sunny Gault: I know that when you have a newborn, there are certain types that you need to be careful because of the neck position and stuff. What can you tell us about the age of your child and what might be best? What might be appropriate for them?
Paige Plihal: Well, whatever carrier you end up choosing, you want to find one that allows you to carry baby safely. So this is an incredibly important part of babywearing, and some of the things to think about.
When you’re wearing your baby safely, you have them upright, close enough to kiss, you want them to be visible-so that you can keep an eye on them and help monitor their breathing and their temperature as well, and you want something that will have them in an optimum position for hip development and spine development. So a nice, wide base that covers them knee-to-knee; this is especially important for younger infants, but as children get older, it’s not necessarily as important.
And then keep in mind what you will use it for. If you see it, and you think that your baby is going to want to be carried all day every day-you’re probably going to want something with two shoulders-two shoulder support; you want something that’s really going to allow you to distribute their weight evenly. You probably want something that’s versatile, so that you can use-tie it differently, carry them differently and give your body a rest in other ways.
If you work, and you want a carrier to help you run quick errand in and out of the store, and have baby on your hip and able to connect with you in your times off and those sorts of things, then maybe a ring-sling is right, too. Mostly, you just want to make sure that you’re able to keep your baby safe and carry them safely and comfortably, and you as well.
Ursula McDonald: Ya, I found the combo worked for me. I had a soft structured carrier that was kind of my number one favorite, and it was really good for long walks; long walks to the park or trips to the amusement parks, or what have you, and it was going to be that I was going to wear for an extended period of time. And then I had a ring-sling, which I loved, and it was very good for quick ins and outs; if you need to get them in and out quickly, and also you could take the fabric and undo it, and if you were at the park you could use it almost as a blanket out on the lawn and everything. And they could just take a nap or something, and that was good for nursing as well.
Paige Plihal: Yeah. As baby’s grow, they’re needs definitely change. And so the carrier that was ideal for you the first three months maybe is not going to be the most ideal carrier from, you know, six to twelve months.
The great thing about a lot of these that we’re talking about: they hold their re-sale value really well. And babywearing is so popular, it’s not too hard to pass them on and get your investment back, maybe if you need to size up or try something new. It’s not too hard to get your money back.
Johner Riehl: That’s a really good point. That’s one of the things that we finally figured out with strollers, for example. That, you know, you pay a little bit more for a really nice stroller, and then when you’re done with it you can sell it for a good price, and that’s-I hadn’t thought about the babywearers, but it’s true.
Paige Plihal: Yes, and another thing is that a lot of these ergonomic carriers that you maybe can’t find in a big box store, are actually really comparable in price to some of the carriers that are not going to be as comfortable and well designed for long periods of time. So you know, like you said, it may be ten or twenty dollars more, but when you’re talking about something you wear four hours a day, you probably want to pay a little extra to be more comfortable.
Johner Riehl: You were a guest on The Boob Group, last year-talking a little bit about breastfeeding and baby carriers, and I think we talked about it a little bit with the ring-sling. So what are, for folks that are breastfeeding- because breastfeeding goes on now, I mean a lot of-we were just talking to Dr. Zandvliet who I think breastfed until her kids were three, and I know a lot of our listeners go a long time; my wife is still breastfeeding. So what are some good carriers and tips for breastfeeding?
Paige Plihal: You know, any of these carriers that we’ve been talking about-any really well ergonomically designed carrier is actually going to be great for nursing. It might, it will take a little bit to learn how to use it, and to teach baby how to nurse in the carrier-just like it takes them a little bit to learn how to nurse as they’re born. It takes some practice. Some of my tips are to try when baby’s not over hungry, obviously. Maybe practice sitting down and nursing them, and holding them in the same position that they would be in in the carrier-maybe you can hold the carrier over them a little bit. You know, have it around them, not over their head, obviously. Around them kind of in a similar position but not necessarily attached to you. And then you can try it around the house a little bit, moving around and help them to get used to that, too. So, it will take a few times but practice.
Ursula McDonald: What about wearing older kids? How old are they-do you typically stop wearing them? Does it depend on the child?
Johner Riehl: Yeah. You mentioned earlier that you sometimes still wear your five year old, for example?
Paige Plihal: Right.
Johner Riehl: So, tell me a little bit about that and how that works. I’m guessing that’s not in a ring-sling.
Paige Plihal: No, definitely not. I actually wear her in a carrier designed for older kids. I used a Toddler Tula with her, a Tula baby carrier; and it’s got a much wider base then a carrier designed for an infant, it’s designed for a toddler, obviously. She’s still not knee-to-knee, but again she’s five, her hips are much more developed than a one year old. She’s been doing a lot of walking. Really, we just use it if she’ having a hard day, and we need to-we live in a very walkable neighborhood, so we might want to go to the grocery store and she doesn’t want to ride her scooter-so I can put her on my back and I can still let my three year old go on his merry way on his bike. If we’re out for the whole day at Disneyland, and she’s completely exhausted and needs a little place to go, I’ll still put her on my back in that. So, I’ve found that both of my kids really, really love to be worn because I did it every day and their temperaments were happy with that.
Johner Riehl: Right.
Paige Plihal: I felt really lucky about that. I don’t-see I don’t wear them daily anymore-obviously, it makes me sad. But I do feel happy to have a carrier that helps me feel comfortable; they’re comfortable, they’re supported and we’re able to go along as they’re older when they still need it.
Johner Riehl: Maybe up until about kindergarten, it kind of maybe sounds like? Because then, after that they’re kind of going out on their own a little more.
Paige Plihal: Yeah, I mean there are also great carriers for special needs kids that are even wider, you know? Rachel Coleman of Signing Time? Her daughter, Leah, is still worn in a specially designed BabyHawk carrier. She isn’t able to walk on her own, and there are a lot of companies that will work with parents with kids with the special needs, to help them find something so that they can continue on as a family and do the things that they all love to do.
Ursula McDonald: I think that one of the things that I really loved about babywearing, like you said they need to be up so that you can kiss their head.
Paige Plihal: Yeah.
Ursula McDonald I love that in both my ring-sling and soft structured is that always-you know I could be grocery shopping and doing this and doing laundry or whatever-but I could kiss their little head any time I needed to, you know? And that was really I think one of the sweetest parts about it. It was beautiful and I was able to pass it on to somebody else who could use it.
Johner Riehl: What problems do you see parents having when you hear about people that aren’t liking their baby carriers?
Paige Plihal: Typically, they just aren’t using them right.
Johner Riehl: Really?
Paige Plihal: Right. All carriers have a little bit of a learning curve, especially we’ve talked about the ring-sling a lot; one of the biggest mistakes with that is that it’s not threaded properly, so the fabric is twisted within the rings and it’s just not able to support baby and to lock into place the way that it should. Sometimes you just see a baby, maybe with their feet out of the bottom of a waistband of a soft structured carrier or something-and you know-you obviously at that point if you can help the parent you want to try and say “Hey, let me help you get a little more comfortable,” or something. If baby’s just not being safe, maybe the fabric isn’t spread complete up their back because they were in a hurry and didn’t check.
Johner Riehl: Do you ever stop people on the street that you might see-?
Paige Plihal: You know I have and I will. Because if a baby is not in an optimum position, that’s maybe not something that I’m going to approach a parent about, but if they’re not safe of course I want to go help get there carrier spread correctly or have it clipped into place right. Those little adjustments that maybe-we’re all parents and we all get busy and maybe we don’t check. We run off.
Johner Riehl: All right. So what do you think, Sunny? Are you feeling more empowered to dust out the baby carriers either with your kids now or a vow to make it with your future kids?
Sunny Gault: Well, yeah. I actually wore my ten month old just a day and a half ago when we went to the grocery store. So I had my two and a half year old buckled in the shopping cart, and I didn’t-I knew I was going to get a bunch of groceries, so I didn’t want to put the car seat in the actually basket part, which is what I would usually do. So I’m like, “I gotta wear this kid!” Then what I wanted to do- because I actually have a mei tei-and what I wanted to do was put him on my back. But because I’m not experienced enough-like I know moms that just whip their kid right on their back, but it just freaks me out. If I’m going to do that, he needs to be sitting in the back, I need to be able to gently get him up, I can’t do the one-handed “plop the kid on my back;” it just freaks me out. So I was like “Oh, I’ve got to wear him on the front.” But when you’re reaching for groceries and all that kind of stuff? But having said that, I did it successfully; there were some times where is seemed like a lot, like my feet started to ache- because I wasn’t used to wearing him and that’s an additional twenty pounds in me.
So, when I noticed that my body was getting a little bit more weak, I would check his positioning-and usually it was because he was sliding down, or something-it was stretching in a way I hadn’t’ expected or something like that. And then when I would kind of prop him up, adjust the straps a little more and tighten it, it felt 100% better. [Laughs]
Paige Plihal: Great! I’m glad to hear that. That’s what you should do. If you’re not feeling comfortable, check in a mirror or check in a window and re-adjust.
Ursula McDonald: Yeah, with slings especially, I think I see a lot of moms wearing them too high up near their neck, and you have to make sure that your band is really wide and distributed on that shoulder part, and it’s not digging in or anything like that.
Sunny Gault: Yeah, I gave myself a pat on the back afterwards, I was very happy with-you know baby steps! [Laughs]
Johner Riehl: That’s great, I think my favorite part is what you were talking about, too, Ursula. Hold them close enough to kiss. And that kind of underscores, I think, probably one of the big reasons for the resurgence and why people love it so much, is that you’re able to be a lot closer to your baby as your carrying them and still do other things throughout the day.
Ursula McDonald: Yeah. Right, it’s empowering.
Sunny Gault: And you don’t have to worry about what your kid’s up to, because your kid’s right there. [Laughter] Like, “Where’s he crawling off and is he getting into trouble? No, he’s right on me. OK, good.”
Johner Riehl: All right. Well, thanks so much, Paige, for helping us learn more about babywearing and talking about a lot of these different types and educating-I know educating me and I think there’s some great tips as well. For our listeners: if you want more information, got to today’s show on our “Episodes” page on parentsavers.com, and we also have a link to Beachy Bundles, to Babywearing San Diego, and a lot of other great resources for you to get a lot of the information we talked about today. Our conversation’s actually going to continue with Paige after the show for our Parent Savers Club Members. And I’m actually really excited about what we’re going to be talking about; I know my wife will like it, too, we’re going to talk about making your own babywear and some of the things you need to do it yourself and make your own. So join us for that if you’re in the Parent Savers Club, or sign up for it if you’re not.
Johner Riehl: Now, we have a listener comment from Kelly. Kelly writes: “Hi Parent Savers! I just want to thank you for the great app and for making it FREE! I have it on my iPhone, and I love how easy it is to listen to the episodes each week; and I’m a member of the Parent Savers Club, and I love all the extra bonus content. I usually listen in the morning when I’m outside pushing the stroller for our daily walk, it’s the highlight of my day.”
Johner Riehl: That wraps up today’s episode. I say it all the time, but I’m going to say it again; we love to hear from you guys. So if you have any questions at all, comments, thoughts about what Paige was talking about; leave us a comment on Facebook, send us a tweet to our Twitter account, call our hotline-we’ve got a phone numbr set up just to hear from you guys: (619) 866-4775. Send us an e-mail; find a way to get in touch with us. We love having you guys be a part of the show.
Don’t forget Parent Club members, though, we have got a special bonus segment coming up right now talking about making your own babywear. Very excited to talk about that. Next week, we’ll continue the discussion of topics that new dads and new moms care about, so please join us. Thanks for listening to Parent Savers: empowering new parents.
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