Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why I Wear My Babies: An International Babywearing Week Guest Post!

Sarah with her youngest

I'd like to introduce you to a dear Diaper Parties, colleague, Sarah Wallace Lapham. When I signed up for the International Babywearing Week Giveaway, I knew I would ask her for input. She is a mother of five who has worn all her children in one way or another, and has even made her own wraps! She is a Diaper Parties Senior Consultant and Team Leader and is also a Doula and a talented seamstress. Read on to hear her awesome story of how babywearing has helped her in her busy mommy life!

Why do I wear my babies?  That question has been asked to me so many times in many different ways over the past decade.  I am a busy mother of five and I tell them “because I love them and I also love to be able to keep them close and be able to live too!”

My baby wearing life started when my oldest was a newborn.   We received an Infantino Snugli front carrier as a baby shower gift.  I was overjoyed to be able to keep him close and at that point, had no idea that the Snugli was less than “the best choice” to make.  We (husband and I) wore him and noticed his chubby little legs turning blue when he hung there on our walks.  Yet, he was still close and that was good! We were happy, but I just needed to figure a “better way.” 

I was shopping one day and noticed another Infantino product, the Infantino ring sling.  I bought one eagerly and used it for my son until he outgrew it.  Our second child also used this sling.  We used it until it wore out, literally.  Thankfully, we used it correctly – as we would find out many years later that this was going to be a recalled product (known as “the death bag” for improper usage).

Five years went by before we had our baby number three. Yet, when he was only four days old, I decided I NEEDED a new ring sling.  The family and I drove for two hours to get a Maya Wrap ring sling from a distributor in my area of Ohio.  This was our “go to” carrier with him.  I had him in it and I had a hand free for both of the older son and daughter.  This was the time I really realized what baby wearing meant to me.  Baby wearing equated freedom.  I did not need to be tied down to a stroller.  We could go shopping at the grocery store, I could do laundry, and I could clean the kitchen.  I would never go without again. 

With this child, I also found the love of a Mei Tai carrier.  I decided I wanted one by looking at pictures of happy mothers and fathers with their babies.  I found a tutorial on the internet and I was able to copy the fundamental construction of sewing a Mei Tai carrier – ‘Et Voila!’ we had our Mei Tai carrier right before we went to Washington DC for a vacation.  I was over the moon with this Mei Tai, and thrilled that I could jump on and off of the DC Metro trains without the bulk of a stroller.  I could also hold my older children’s hands all the while knowing my baby boy was safe and tied to me.  He would sleep in it or nurse, or be quietly alert as we sightsaw all over the City. 

Now, as I found myself a mom again for a fourth time, my ring sling from my last baby never “got dusty” between my third and fourth.  The moment she came into the world, she was placed in a snug “chest to chest carry” and she rode around like that until she was a big girl and started hip riding.  She loved the ring sling as a baby and young toddler. We even then branched out to water ring slings, for pool or beach usage.
Also at this time I started making slings for people, partly because people would stop me and ask me where I got mine (and there were no easy places to find them locally).  Thankfully, I had been a seamstress for over 20 years at that point and I knew (by reading) the way to make a safe baby ring sling. 

Finally, now with baby number five I found a new baby wearing love.  As all veteran mommies do, I looked for a newer and more exciting way to parent.  With the help of social media venues and the other internet sites in general, I found that I was missing an entire world, and entire facet of baby wearing that I had never tapped into.  This was the world of woven wraps.  I decided at the first moment that I saw them, that I would be a wrapper and really have never looked back.  Wrapping is like “baby wearing nirvana” to put it bluntly and concisely.  I have many wraps in different lengths – which some call “long pieces of pretty fabric.”  But I beg to differ, with these pieces of fabric, I can do nice front and back carries, I can do hip carries and I can turn them into ring slings (either by using a single ring I carry in my purse, or by tying a slip knot in my wrap).  My youngest child is constantly worn now.  I think this makes her a happier, more content child.  She is currently eight months old and she is almost always on my back.  I make the joke that she will learn how to cook early, learn how to wash clothes early and pretty much anything that she sees me do, from the comfort of my back, as she can see everything at “almost eye level” over my shoulder. 

I encourage everyone to try baby wearing at least once.  When done correctly, I am sure you and your baby will love it.  You will have a more relaxed child and you, as parent, will be much more gratified.

I hope Sarah's story has encouraged you to try babywearing if you haven't already! If you do wear your babies, tell me your reasons in the comments!
And don't forget to enter the International Babywearing Week 8 carrier giveaway, here!

Monday, October 8, 2012

International Babywearing Week Giveaway Event!!

It's International Babywearing Week, and to celebrate, we're participating in a huge giveaway event, hosted by Happy Mothering, Eco-Crazy Mom and Green Moms Media. As part of this event, we’re giving away 8 amazing baby carriers! That means 8 of you will win a baby carrier to help you keep your baby close to you!

Our wonderful babywearing sponsors will be providing the following carriers to our lucky winners:

Onya Baby Carrier {$149 value; US/CAN entries}

The Onya Baby Carrier is the only babywearing option that allows you to wear your baby not only on your front and back – but also enables you to convert nearly any adult chair into a safe seat for your baby! It can be used with children up to 45 pounds. Read Happy Mothering's review here.

Kozy Carrier Mei Tai, sponsored by QuirkyBaby {$89 value; US entries}

The Kozy mei tai carrier features a breast cancer awareness pattern in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This versatile two-shoulder baby carrier works for newborns through toddlers and has flexible and adjustable shoulder and waist straps that fit most wearers. Read Happy Mothering's review here.

Ergobaby Organic Lattice Carrier {$145 value; US/CAN entries}

Ergo Organic CarrierOrganic. Ethical. Ergonomic. The Ergobaby Organic Carrier has all the advantages of the Ergobaby Original Carrier, crafted with soft 100% certified organic cotton twill and sateen. The carrier has padded shoulder straps and a waist belt to comfortably distribute baby’s weight between your shoulders and hips. The carrier holds and cradles your baby just the way you do, with your baby’s legs properly supported in a natural sitting position.

Catbird Baby Mei Tai Carrier {$89 value; US/CAN entries}

The Catbird Baby Mei Tai Carrier features a beautifully simple design, with no buckles, straps or wrapping required. It has wide padded straps, a small hood and can be used with babies from 8 to 40 pounds in multiple carrying positions. Read Happy Mothering’s review here.

Snuggy Baby Wrap {$56.00 value; US entries}

Snuggy Baby CarrierSnuggy Baby wraps have everything that you could want in a baby wrap; comfort, support, and style. This baby carrier is completely adjustable so one size fits all. It works between various care givers of all body types. Because you create a custom fit every time you tie it on, the wrap grows with your child, ensuring that they get a comfortable secure fit from the time that they come home until you are ready to stop carrying them (generally around 35 lbs. or 3 years). The decorative panel lets you avoid having the same old boring solid wrap that you see everywhere else, and there are many designs to choose from!

Boba 3G Carrier (Value $120-$125; US entries}

Boba Baby CarrierThe Boba Carrier 3G is designed for babies and toddlers alike (7-45 lbs.) with many incredible features not seen on other soft structured baby carriers. Available in 4 beautiful patterns and 3 stunning solid color combinations, the Boba Carrier 3G is the perfect option for any baby wearing family! This carrier is made from 100% cotton, comfortably fits heights 5’0” – 6’3”, and has a waistband range of 25” – 58”. Features include front and back carry options, an adjustable sleeping hood, easy adjustments for easier fit & breastfeeding, removable foot straps, adjustable chest straps, multiple pockets for on the go storage, and more!

Lil Peeper Keepers Woven Wrap {$35.00 value; US entries}

Lil Peeper KeepersLil Peeper Keepers woven wraps lend needed support far past the snuggly newborn stage, all the way up to the heavy chunker toddler stage! Because of this, woven wraps are the logical choice for a wrap that will work from newborn to toddler. These wraps are ideal for year round use as they are made from very lightweight cotton gauze, offering great comfort for both mom (or dad) and baby. Length: 5.75- 6 yards, Width: 22-25 inches, Fabric content: 100% cotton, Edge: Rolled hem. Many gorgeous colors to choose from!

Moby Wrap, Sponsored by Dinker & Giggles {$44.95 value; US entries}

The Moby Wrap is a versatile, 100% cotton babywearing option that uses your entire back, as well as your shoulders, to carry the weight of your baby. This carrier is being sponsored by Dinker & Giggles, a blog about raising kids naturally, with giggles. Read Alaina's post about the Moby Wrap here.
Are you ready for your chance to win one of these amazing baby carriers in celebration of International Babywearing Week? Simply complete the Rafflecopter form below. The more entries you complete, the more chances you’ll have to win! Please note: you’ll see this giveaway posted on a number of blogs. Please only enter on one blog. Thanks and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This contest will run through October 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm PST (October 15, 2012 at 12:01 am EST). The winners will be chosen the following day and announced on Happy Mothering, Eco-Crazy Mom and the participating blogs once winners have been confirmed. US/CAN entries welcome (each sponsor has individual country requirements). Must be 18 years or older to win. The sponsors provided us with free samples of these products to review or compensation, and we were under no obligation to review them if we so chose. Nor were we under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Happy Mothering and not to Facebook. Please note that Happy Mothering, Eco-Crazy Moms, Green Moms Media, the International Babywearing Week Giveaway Event and participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The 2012 Choose Your Charity Event!

Welcome to the 2012 "Choose Your Charity" Event!

As you know, I am very excited to be a part of the first "Choose Your Charity" Cloth Diaper Charities event! See my original post about this event here.

You already know I work for Diaper Parties, LLC. I love that our mission is to help families make the choice to use cloth diapers, as well as help with other aspects of their parenting journey, such as babywearing and using natural products for their baby and their home.

Our mission is as follows:

Diaper Parties, LLC strives to educate families about the numerous cloth diaper and natural parenting options available today. Our customers are smart, earth-friendly, and economical, and realize the benefits of using cloth diapers. We offer a wide variety of natural parenting products at the same price as other retailers, but with the added benefit of having an educated and hand-picked consultant that can give you professional advice.

Our new Pay It Forward Campaign fits right into our mission.
One needy family will be selected from nominations/submissions and will receive an entire stash of cloth diapers and accessories. Some of my favorite brands have been very generous and joined us in this effort.

To make this charity event a success, we need votes from you! Choose your favorite cloth diaper charity, and you will be entering to win $300 towards the charity of your choice, as well as a prize for yourself--$200 in diapers and accessories! More info here.

Once you enter, please leave a comment telling me which charity you voted for (you can nominate one that isn't listed) and why! Thanks for your help!

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below! :) Good luck!!