One of the topics we discussed in our Natural Baby Care Class was the benefits of babywearing and the various babywearing options. There are so many great benefits to discuss as well as a variety of babywearing options out there, it can be really overwhelming to figure out which style is best for you. In our class our doula brought along a few different carriers for us to try out and show us how they actually work.
Did you know?*
- Babies that are held/carried often cry less.
- Babies that are held/carried are calmer.
- Babies that are held/carried are better sleepers.
- Babies that are held/carried nurse more frequently.
- Babies that are held/carried have better digestion, especially those who experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Babies that are held/carried develop better.
Fitted Pouches- A simple tube of fabric that does not have any rings, snaps or buckles. The wearer choose the proper size based on their height, weight, chest and shoulder-to-hip length. This may require you to purchase two different fitted pouches if both you and your partner plan to use one and you are not the same size. At this time we have chosen not to go with the fitted pouch but our Doula Sarah, highly recommends the Hotslings brand and loved to use it with her daughter.
Adjustable Pouches- These are similar to fitted pouches however they can be sized via snaps, zippers, drawstrings or a product similar to Velcro but much stronger called Aplix. These are great because they work well if you loose or gain wait however they can be much bulkier than a fitted pouch.
Ring Slings- A ring sling is a a long loop of fabric that is set through adjustable rings. There are two types closed-tail and open-tail. Closed-tail slings such as the one seen here the fabric ends in a strap that can be adjusted, they are usually much more padded and can be bulkier. Open-tail slings have a wide length of fabric that are passed through rings and has an open tail of fabric. The tail can be used for shade, breastfeeding cover, a blanket or burp cloth.
(Source: Maya Wrap)
Sarah brought her Maya Wrap for us to see and test out during our class and both Neil and I really loved it so we decided to add it to our babycarrier stash. Things I loved about it: how you can easily adjust it with one hand, the extra piece of fabric that can be used as a cover when breastfeeding, how you can easily loosen the sling and breastfeed, it’s lighter for summer time, the padded shoulder and how natural it seems to wear it.
Asian-style Carrier (onbuhimo, podegi, hmong, bei (these use 2 straps) or mei tai (uses 4 straps)– These style carriers use square/rectangular panels of fabric and two or four straps to secure baby. The mei tai (may-tie) style of carrier is the most popular. Our friends have the Babyhawk mei tai style carrier and absolutely love it. For now we are going to stick with the carriers we have/registered for but are considering getting a Babyhawk some day.
A Wrap- A wrap is basically a really long rectangular piece of fabric that your wrap and tie around your body. It is the least structured and can be used by any body type and you can tie it so you are able to carry in a number of positions. It can be rather tricky at first to get used to and to make sure you are doing it correctly but after a few tries you’ll get it. It is great for newborns and smaller children (under 20 lbs). As you can see in my photo at the top I have been practicing with our MOBY wrap.
Soft-pack Carriers- These are actually based on the Asian-style carriers are little more structured with buckles and extra padding. These style carriers generally allow for limited positions which include front, back and side. We purchased the Ergo Options Carrier off of Babysteals after being highly recommended by a number of people and fellow bloggers.I have also heard great things about the Beco Baby which is a similar style.
Do/did you practice baby wearing? What kind of carrier do/did you use?
We not only learned about the various types of baby carriers but also how to correctly use them. Sarah demonstrated the proper position for the baby in each of the carriers she had, neither of us had a mei tai so we did not get a demonstration of that carrier, however we were provided handouts with photos that discussed proper and improper wearing of each baby carrier.
*Source: From Babywearing: The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition by Maria Blois, MD (Pharmasoft Publishing, 2005) found in excerpt from Mothering magazine.
**Source: Mothering magazine– article Babywearing 101
- StylebabyLog: How To Tie The MOBY Wrap
- Fitnessista: Next Wrap Step
- Kincaid Parade: The Sling Diaries: love and The Sling Diaries: style
- More Like Home: Baby Carriers
- Daily Garnish: Babywearing Updates (And Videos)
Disclosure: We are not babywearing experts. All the knowledge above is based off of materials and discussion provided in our Natural Baby Care Class.
A few weeks ago we had our Natural Baby Care Class with our Doula Sarah.
In this class we discussed a variety of topics which included:
- Attachment Theory/Parenting*: We discussed this theory of parenting based on Attachment Parenting International‘s (API) Eight Principles of Parenting which include:
- Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting
- Feed with Love and Respect
- Respond with Sensitivity
- Using Nurturing Touch
- Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
- Providing Consistent & Loving Care
- Practice Positive Discipline
- Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life
- As an introduction to the class we discussed what to expect when we first see our newborn baby including the birth weight, length, what their head will look like- including hair, babies skin, colorings and birth marks, baby’s eyes, baby’s mouth, etc.
- We learned about a newborn’s sensory skills which includes vision, hearing, senses of smell and taste, and sense of touch.
- Also include in this section we discussed a newborn’s reflexes and motor skills including: the Rooting and Sucking Reflexes, the Palmer (grasp) and Plantar Toe Reflex, the Babinski Reflex, the Startle (Moro) Reflex, the Fencing (Tonic Neck) Reflex, the Walking Reflex, the Crawling Reflex, Eye Reflexes, and Reflexes that are Permanent.
- Lastly, we learned about infant states of alertness including quiet alert state, active alert state, crying state, drowsy state and sleeping state.
- Safe Sleeping Choices
- Normal Sleep Behavior
- From Flats To All-In-Ones
- Nighttime/ Heavy Wetters
- Wraps, Slings, Font/Back Carriers/Pouches
- Babywearing Safety
- How to select a car seat based on child’s age and size
- The importance of keeping your child in a rear facing seat up to/past three years and then in a forward-facing car seat until at least 7 years of age.
- Getting your car seat checked at a police or fire station.
- We learned about the 8 reasons your baby is crying: too hot, fighting, stress, gas, hurting, lonely, hungry and boredom.
We had initially planned to write one big post about what we learned but honestly this post would be a mile long even as a condensed version of our four hour class. So, instead of putting this all in one post we decided to go ahead and cover the bigger topics in individual posts*. These post will include: Attachment Theory, Breastfeeding Basics (this will be covered more in our breastfeeding class post), Newborn Sleep, Cloth Diapering and Babywearing.
We took our natural baby care class from Doula Sarah Campbell of Mother Rising Childbirth Services.
- Water spots. It seems this week that someone at work has enjoyed leaving a watery mess on the sink, allowing the water to drip off the edge. Now that my belly is so huge, I have to lean in a little further to reach the knobs which has resulted in a watery mess all over the front of my shirt. Tip: If you spill water all over the counter make sure you wipe it up!
- Lack of food options. We found out this week that although the food is supposed to be good at the hospital/birth center, that unfortunately the vegan options are limited. Anyone else experience this issue? Also unfortunately the town is really small and the take-out options are just as limited. I guess we will have to plan on bringing meals with us!
- Laundry done. We finished (almost) all of the baby laundry including sheets, baby carriers, and other baby gear.
- Touring. We were FINALLY able to tour the birth center! We have been trying to find time for the past two months to tour the birth center. However, between our busy schedules, the distance away from the birth center (we’re 75 minutes away) and then how busy the birth center has been lately we haven’t been able to tour. On Friday, we had our 36 week appointment and so I called in the morning to see if we could tour before our appointment and they finally said yes! We were so excited and we’ll tell you more about the birth center in a later post.
This past Saturday our friend Cate hosted our baby shower and what a beautiful day it turned out to be! It was sunny, warm and the perfect location. Right on the lake.
We enjoyed a spectacular spread of salads, chips, veggies, dips, and stuffed grape leaves.
We also dug into this bassinet of fruit, complete with an orange baby, that our hostess Cate and friend Abbey created for the party. These proud mamas were so happy to show off their sightly jaundiced baby.
We sipped on Vignette Wine Country Soda (non-alcoholic) which was really delicious. I have had, and really enjoyed, the rose, chardonnay and pinot noir but I think the brut was my favorite. There were also mimosas available, juices, coffee, and Mighty Leaf iced teas.
For dessert and as a parting gift for our shower guests, there were a variety of flavors of macaroons (my new favorite snack) from Pure Sweets. The flavors included The Sphinx (rosewater cardamon), The Poodle (Lemon Lavender), The Elephant(Cashew Butter and Caramelized Nuts),The Owl(salted almond vanilla bean macaroons dipped in organic single-origin dark chocolate) and The Panda (single-origin chocolate chunk macaroons). Pure sweets were really accommodating and every flavor was delicious! You can read my full review of Pure Sweets over on RWT.
Our guests all took turns writing messages to the baby on a chalk board and having their photo taken with it so that we can create a photo guest book for a shower keepsake and to show our baby.
We, and the baby, were spoiled rotten with amazing gifts from all of our friends and family.
We loved everything and are so excited for the baby to arrive so that we can start using everything!
We had a wonderful shower and it flew by so fast! Now we are on to the next step of washing items, organizing the nursery and getting everything ready for baby’s arrival.
When it came to creating our registry I must have created, deleted and re-created our registry at least four times before finally settling on items we really wanted/needed. At first I just went by what I liked and then I started to do more and more research. Reading tons of blog posts and recommendations from other parents which caused me to re-think what we should register for. Finally we decided what to register for and set up an Amazon Universal Baby Registry and a Babies “R” Us registry (they do online registries which are also available at the store for those family members who aren’t comfortable with the internet). Below we’ll share some tips for creating your registries and examples of items on our registry.
- Use a universal registry – Amazon is great, but sometimes you can get products elsewhere. Amazon’s universal baby registry allows you to add items from any website as well as items from Amazon. Amazon is also a great option, because you can get the gift cards at just about any grocery store these days. This allows those not comfortable with shopping online to give you something you really want.
- Create a We’re Expecting Website/Blog and under the registry category make note of things that you would really like–> example: “Items that we really need: Seventh Generation Wipes, California Baby Products, Cloth Diapers (Bum Genius, Applecheeks, Fuzzibunz, Charlie Banana or Bummis), gift cards for baby clothes (since the gender is being kept a secret) and anything organic or Eco-friendly would be great! If you live in the Burlington Area, Butter Noodles in Williston has a number of the items on the Amazon Baby Registry.”
- Make changes as necessary. We used our registry as a reminder list and if we found and item on our list for a good deal on BabySteals, EcoBabyBuys or Craigslist we just removed the item- it is nice to hope that someone will gift you something but if you really want it don’t hold back on buying the item, especially if its a good deal.
- Don’t be afraid to register for big ticket items. Many times a few people will go in on one more expensive gift such as a car seat, stroller, or cloth diaper kits.
- Don’t register for clothes, receiving blankets or burp cloths. People are going to give you these items anyway and if you don’t they are easy to purchase on your own over time.
- Register for items you REALLY need. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the options out there and it is easy to overload on all the cute baby items out there but make sure you really focus in on the items you need and avoid the novelty items.
- Don’t be afraid to encourage people to only buy from the list – While your loved ones have good intentions, you’ve created this baby registry to be full of things that you and your partner want for your baby. Encouraging family and friends to buy from the list helps you ensure you are not getting too much of a good thing.
Examples of What We Registered For
What are your baby registry tips?
- Tiny Sneakers: Why Registering is Like Baby Care 101
- Fitnessista: What We picked
- The Wannabe Athlete: A Little Baby Registry Help
- With Two Cats: How To Tackle A Baby Registry
- Writing Chapter Three/(never home) Maker: Baby Must Haves (0-3 Months)
- Writing Chapter Three/(never home) Maker: Baby Must Haves (3-6 Months)
- A Healthy Slice of Life: My 5 Favorite Baby Must-Haves
- Pregtastic: Registry Tips and Desired Gifts
- The Bump: Registry Checklists
I just received an e-mail in my inbox from TheBump.com informing me of the 10 must-dos before labor. Now, we already have a list of our own but I was curious to see what they had to say. Here are their 10 must-dos:
- Take a birthing class. This we have already done. We took a birthing class, a couples yoga for labor and birth class, a natural baby care class and a breastfeeding class.
- See a movie. This is on our list to do especially since we have a few passes that we need to use up! Now what should we go see?
- Know the breastfeeding basics. As I mentioned above we took a breastfeeding class and we also briefly talked about breastfeeding in our natural baby care class.
- Pack your hospital bag. This is something we still need to do and it is on the agenda to do this weekend. What did you pack in your bag?
- Program important numbers into your phone — and your partner’s phone. This is something I was just telling Neil that we need to do, he needs to add our doulas number and our placenta encapsulation persons (not sure the technical name) number into his phone. We both already have all the birthing center and midwife numbers in our phones.
- Freeze some meals, or round up takeout menus. We haven’t done this at all yet. I planned on picking up some easy frozen options at the grocery store soon, such as veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, frozen veggies, etc. We also have a CSA that starts next week so we will have lots of fresh veggies to make up salads and quick meals. We did stock up on almond butter and quinoa on our last Costco trip which are both great to have on hand. What are your favorite meals to freeze?
- Get a crib and wash the sheet. Well we have the crib and it’s been set up for awhile. We also have a pack n’ play which will be set up in our room and likely used at night for the first few months. I spent all evening yesterday washing baby clothes and baby accessories.
- Install the car seat. Another thing that needs to be done. This weekend we are planning to clean out the car and give it a good vacuuming, etc. and then we will be ready to install the car seat.
- Make a labor playlist. We started thinking about this last week but I haven’t worked on it much lately. This is on my list of things to do as well as finding a good set of speakers to bring with us since our birth center only has a CD player not an mp3 hookup.
- Read a novel. Honestly I don’t know if this is going to be possible in the next four weeks to do. I have a number of parenting/baby books I want to read but no specific novels right now.
What is on your list of things to do before labor? In addition to those listed above we also want to get the house as organized and clean as possible, work on a number of blog posts and find time to do a few more “just the two of us” things.
[babymoon] n. last big child-free getaway
When it came to deciding on whether or not we would have a babymoon, we flip-flopped back and forth for awhile, trying to decide whether we needed to take one and if it would be financially responsible to take one. Just when we had decided against doing a babymoon for financial reasons (it’s so expensive to travel in February/March!) an opportunity to travel to South Carolina came up. My parents had made a last minute decision to rent a condo in South Carolina for the month of March and invited us to stay with them for a week. Now this was not what I had imagined our babymoon would be (beach front, just the two of us, romantic), but it was an opportunity for us to get away, take a trip to a new place and do it inexpensively.
Since we would be spending our time sharing a condo with my parents we decided that we would make sure to make a little time for ourselves. We ended up decided to have a ‘babymoon date’ to Charleston, just the two of us. We rented a car and drove the two hours south from Myrtle Beach to Charleston. It was a beautiful day and we spent it walking around the downtown, enjoying the sites, the water and a romantic and delicious lunch at S.N.O.B.
Although our trip wasn’t what we had envisioned our babymoon to be it was a wonderful last big child-free getaway.
- Plan ahead. If you know that when you become pregnant you’d like to take a babymoon make sure to budget in advance for your trip. We had taken a trip before becoming pregnant and unfortunately that didn’t allow us to have our ideal babymoon.
- Travel between 18-24 weeks. I recommend this for a few reasons the first of which is comfort, you will be so much more comfortable, have more energy and be able to enjoy your trip more during this span of weeks. Another reason is that airlines and cruises often do not allow you to fly/cruise after a certain point, although you can talk with your pre-natal care provider and request written permission for the airline/cruiseline. Lastly, if you are driving to your destination sitting in the car can become really uncomfortable fast and may require numerous bathroom breaks.
- Relax. Rather than taking an adventurous trip or plan on visiting a number of attractions chose a destination that allows you to sit back, relax and just enjoy each others company. Plan a spa day, spend the day sitting by the beach or pool and just unwind.
- Pregtastic Podcast: Babymoon Boom
- The Bump: 10 Babymoon Tips
- Pretty Little Mustache: Babymoon-Puerto Rico
- KathEats: Babymoon- Jamaica
- CaitlinHTP: Babymoon- South Beach
- Carrots and Crackers: Babymoon- Kiawah Island
- Heather’s Dish: Babymoon- Denver
- Daily Garnish: Babymoon- Vegas
Our Babymoon Gallery
When it comes to birthing classes, there are a variety of options. From hospital based classes, naturally focused birthing classes, and those that are combinations of both. Some specific types or methods taught in birthing classes include the Lamaze Method, Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing, Birthing From Within, BirthWorks and The Alexander Technique. We were really interested in taking the 12-week Bradley Method class, which teaches natural childbirth and partner-coached childbirth, but unfortunately there is no one who offers these classes in our area (or even the state). What we did have for options was pretty limited and many of the classes that were available focused more on hospital births (ones with medical intervention) or were really focused around the procedures/what to expect at the local hospital (Fletcher Allen, which we won’t be going to).
Left feeling frustrated and not wanting to drive the 75 minutes to the hospital we will be giving birth at for childbirth classes (each way for six weeks), I finally reached out on twitter for some ideas on what to do. To my delight, a few people came back and suggested that I look into local doulas, as many offer childbirth classes in addition to their doula services. The next day I was at Healthy Living Market perusing the local services board and ended up taking home four doulas’ business cards to contact about classes. One doula contacted me back to let me know she was available to teach birthing classes and we signed up for two four hour sessions. We also signed up for her natural baby care class (and also eventually hired her as our doula). In addition to taking private birth classes I also read Birthing From Within, and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Neil read The Birthing Partner which we will discuss further in future posts.
So what did we learn? Since we spent eight hours discussing a variety of topics I’ve decided to condense what we learned into the top 10 things we learned, here they are:
- Sign that labor may begin soon: Examples of this are backache, cramps, PMS symptoms, nesting urge, upset stomach, and baby “drops.” However, as a reminder these don’t mean that you are going to go into labor right away these are just signs that your body is preparing for birth.
- The Labor Process: We discussed how labor begins (always good to know), what to expect in early labor, active labor and transition. One of the most important thins from this part that we learned were the preliminary that labor may be about to begin which include bloody show, water breaks and Braxton-Hicks Contractions and positive signs that labor has begun which include a gush of amniotic fluid, progressing contractions and dilation of cervix.
- What to take note of if your water breaks before you arrive at the hospital:
- Time your water broke
- Amount (was it a gush? it is leaking?)
- Color (you want it to be clear if it isn’t call 911)
- Odor (there should be no smell if there is a foul odor immediately contact your care provider)
- Hydration: making sure that the woman is hydrating throughout labor.
- Encouragement: encouraging the woman throughout labor.
- Lights: making sure that the lights are dim.
- Protect: being the protector of the room and making sure to keep a safe space for the woman.
- Sounds: being aware of the sounds and trying to keep the outside/unnecessary noise to a minimum.
What others are saying:
- “We took Bradley Method with our first. Ended up having a c-section after 36 hours. Took no classes with our second and had a natural birth after just 12 hours.” -CK
- “Hypnobirthing worked well for me. I’m terrified of medical situations in general and the hypnobirthing techniques were really useful and allowed me to have a drug-free birth.” -AD
- CaitlinHTP: Pre-Birth Review of Bradley Method
- KathEats: Thoughts on Childbirth Class
We took our birthing class from Doula Sarah Campbell of Mother Rising Childbirth Services.
I was planning to write about my Top 10 Labor & Delivery Fears but as I began to write this post I found that only three fears really stood out for me.
- Not making it to the birthing center. I know that this baby is not going to come in a matter of minutes and our midwives have assured us that we are fine to head down when I am having contractions around 5 minutes apart but the 75 minute drive to our birth center still makes me nervous. I do not want to have the baby in the back of our car!
- Having a C-Section. At 31 weeks, we found out that the baby was breech and although there was still plenty of time for them to turn, I was still nervous that they wouldn’t and I’d end up with a c-section. A c-section means a longer recovery time and I really want to have a natural vaginal birth. After regularly doing supported bridge and other poses that are meant to help with a breech baby, the baby turned head down.
- Laboring forever. I mean honestly who wants to labor forever? I know I have little control over how long I do labor, but I am hoping that it isn’t for hours and hours on end.
What were/are your labor and delivery fears?