Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why I don't like forward facing carriers

I am not sure what happened to this part of my blog but it somehow disappeared. Thanks to the sweet mama who alerted me that it was missing! Here it is again. (this does need updating with the newest pics and info so I'll be back tonight to fix that!)

Question: But my baby LOVES to face out! What carrier is best?
Answer: None of them!
I don’t recommend forward facing carries. Here is a very informative article from Boba site to explain why.
Bjorns and other similar carriers are what we call crotch danglers. The baby is being dangled by his or her crotch which is a position that is at best uncomfortable for mom and/or baby but at worst can cause problems with your baby's hip and spinal development.
I guess I should clarify, it is a bad idea to wear your baby facing out all the time or for long periods of time. There are three main reasons (and a 4th reason why the other carriers are better than a Bjorn) so be prepared for a long read!

One reason is babies do better being able to turn away from their surroundings. Facing out they are stuck being overstimulated and can't turn into the comfort of mom's chest if they need to get away from it all. This is a quote from the FAQ on the Ergo website:
The ERGObaby carrier is designed in compliance with the recommendations of Dr. Evelin Kirkilionis, and SHOULD NEVER BE WORN WITH THE BABY FACING OUT. According to Kirkilionis:"Infants in outward-facing orientations can’t turn away from surrounding stimuli. They can't turn inward toward a parent's body if stimuli become overwhelming. In this position the baby cannot make eye contact with his or her parent to evaluate facial expressions, social cues, and so forth to make assessment of the situation. Only choose a baby carrier that allows your child to face you ... never out. There are too many events going on around your baby. A baby has no way to exclude himself from the environment by turning his head away and towards you. Healthy sleep is difficult for a baby who is facing outward. I am not a supporter of the outward facing method of carrying a child." From - A Baby Wants To Be Carried by Dr. Eveline Kirkilionis (available in German) Dr. Kirkilionis is a human development specialist who has researched babywearing since 1985.

Another reason is that in many carriers like a Bjorn the area that supports the baby from below is too narrow so the baby dangles by his crotch instead of sitting on his bum in the carrier. This pinches nerves and arteries in the legs and creates pressure points in the spine, neither of which are good for growing babies. Babies should sit in a pocket of fabric made by the carrier position and their knees should be inline or above their rear. See the difference? (look at the babies' legs)
Beco carrier

Bjorn carriers

The third reason is that it is really uncomfortable for mom. With a better carrier, moms can wear babies for hours but in a forward facing carry, your center of gravity is thrown off. You are supporting baby using your shoulders which pulls on your back and you will give up wearing quickly since it is painful and tiring.

Finally, most carriers like the Bjorn can only be used one way: a front carry. A better carrier like the Beco or the Ergo can be used on the front, back, and hip. Also the Bjorns are rated to 26lbs on their website (not that you can actually use them that long--they will kill your back around 15lbs!) but the other carrier types can be worn up to 35-45 lbs--and they ACTUALLY can be used to that weight! I can put my 42lb 6 year old in my Ergo and wear her if I wanted to (not that I do that often!) I like having options.
Here is a great comparison chart I found. http://www.theportablebaby.com/carrierfeatures.html

I do want to say that I am in no way an expert. This is just the info I have read and what I have experienced with my own children. I used a Snugli exactly ONCE with my older daughter because it hurt my back and I so wish I had this info when she was little so I could have experienced the real joy of baby wearing.

So can you NEVER do forward facing carries? No, of course not! I did them. But I wouldn't buy a carrier if that is basically the only option. I did forward facing carries in pouches and wraps for short periods of time. In a pouch, I froggied her legs and she leaned her back against my chest; this was done before she was 4 months or so because after that she was too big. There are also a few SSC that allow for forward facing carries in a better position, like the Beco Gemini or the Pikkolo by Catbird Baby. I still don't recommend using facing out carries exclusively. Both the Gemini and the Pikkolo can be worn facing in and on the back unlike the Bjorn.

Question: What about just making sure my baby faces in in the Bjorn? Is it OK then?
Answer: Nope!
It still dangles the baby in an unnatural position. Here is an interesting article about the dangers of crotch dangling from another point of view. Workers who have to use harnesses have problems with crotch dangling too! I am not saying your baby is going to die from using these types of carriers obviously but the circulation problem explained here is concerning. Read the part that talks about suspension trauma.

Question: Is it really THAT bad? I just don't buy it. My baby is comfortable or he/she would be crying. I used it with my first baby and he/she is fine.
Answer: You don't have to buy it.
But I have done enough research that I am convinced. I am not the only one who feels this way either but don't take my word for it. Do your own research. Decide for yourself what is right for you and your baby.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WARNING ABOUT FAKE BABY CARRIERS!

I will be adding to this as I gather information but I wanted to get something up on this page before these things hit the market.

On the heels of the BCIA warning about fake Freehand carriers, I found a co-op group on Facebook who KNOWINGLY bought fake Ergos. Beware of buying an Ergo used. These are really high quality knockoffs. They are sold using the Ergo name brand, they have an Ergo box, Ergo tags and zippers and an Ergo DVD. However Ergo themselves has verified that they are fake. There are differences and I have photos to compare them. You can also read more here from the wonderful Jillian of PaxBaby.

For now my recommendation is buy only from Ergo's list of authorized retailers. If you purchased an Ergo from Babysteals, they are real. If you got one from Amazon, probably real. Don't panic if you bought one used and can't verify it's authenticity. It's probably fine. But for now if you are in the market for an Ergo, stick to new ones from known retailers.

Best wishes and safe babywearing!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Babywearing Bags

I get asked a lot about how to carry diapers and things if I am wearing a baby. It is harder to sling a bag over your shoulder if you have a kid hanging on you. I hate "baby" bags. You'll never find me carrying a baby pink bag with Winnie the Pooh. Ever. I only use one traditional diaper bag and even that doesn't look as much like the puffy padded pastel diaper bag (barf!) but even that one is a little too big for everyday use as a babywearer.

Here are some of my favorite bags. (some of these I own myself, some are recommendations from BWing friends and some are on my personal Christmas list!) Spam me in the comments with your faves!

JuJuBe
My #1 pic is the JuJuBe Quick. It is basically a wristlet but it is big enough to hold a cloth diaper (or disposable) a thin wipes case, my wallet, phone, and keys. What else do you need for a quick trip? I can clip it to the rings on my ring sling, the waist of my mei tai or Beco, or my belt loop if I am wrapping. I can also clip it to the grocery cart or a stroller if Sophie is riding that day (which is usually the case since at 3 years, she won't let us wear her much anymore!) I have two of these, I love them that much! Cost: $15

Ju-Ju-Be Be Quick


I also love the JuJuBe Light. It has an adjustable strap that ties wherever you need it which is great since you can thread it UNDER a carrier and tie or wrap it around your waist or whatever you need. It is reversable so you actually get 2 bags for the price of one. There are deep pockets and the slick fabric is easy to wipe down. It holds a deceptively large amount of stuff for such a small bag. It is super lightweight (don't you HATE bags that weigh a ton before you fill them?) and there are tiny crumb holes in the bottom so sweeping out the crushed Cheerios and Goldfish that accumulate in the bottom of my bags is a breeze! Cost: $35

Ju Ju Be Be Light Travel and Overnight Diaper Bag in Black / Silver - 08FF01A-BS


Ergo Backpack
DH swears by the Ergo Backpack. It attaches to his beloved Ergo and he uses it even when I wear the baby. It is manly enough for him and carries a TON of stuff. He loves all the pockets and compartments. It is compact enough for my 7 year old to be able to wear it as well. Cost: $48

Cranberry Canvas Back Pack in action Cranberry Canvas Back Pack baby carrier


Bags from Brooke Van Gory Designs.
These bags are recommended by my fellow BWing friend Megan. I love her designs and must get one of these ASAP!




I can't read Polish but one of my favorite babywearing mamas (Erin of Wrapstar) posted about these bags and now I dream about getting one. I couldn't post about bags without sharing this link!

darmowy hosting obrazków


Mai Poketto
Another of my favorite babywearing mamas (Jillian from PaxBaby) carries these adorable little pouches. They slide on to the waist strap of your mei tai and I assume it would work with a SSC as well. I highly recommend Jillian so if she recommends these, I do too! Cost $25
UPDATE! I got one of these recently and it is super cool! Just as awesome as I thought.



OnBag
I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the OnBag. It is made across the pond and like the Be Light, it ties on. Unlike the Be Light, it is large enough to use for an all day outing. They are not the easiest to find since they are sold out on their website but the good news is that there are babywearing vendors like Birdie's Room who carry them and OnBag includes DIY instructions on their website. $144 CAD at Birdie's Room

Onbag Baby Red/Blue


Other great DIY bag links
(I shouldn't have to say this but these are for PERSONAL use only--NOT to make a sell!)
From my favorite DIY website! Jan's Andrea's small bag pattern
Another cute reversible bag from Jan
Large diaper bags from MakeBabyStuff.com One and Two, and a super easy placemat bag


And my one real diaper bag
BabyStar Tote
I love this bag! It is maybe not the easiest to use unless I'm wearing a ring sling but it will hold everything but the kitchen sink (or the diaper sprayer--haha!) and it is super cute! I love laminated bags since I have 3 messy kids! This is our to and from day care bag. I got mine from Franklin Goose, one of my favorite online baby stores and they have other cute bags too.
Rock the Tote: Print picture

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Delta will get you there, as long as you don't babywear!

I just read this woman's blog about a recent experience with a Delta Airlines flight attendant. She was asked to remove her baby from her sling, not during take off or landing (which is standard) but during the flight while she was nursing. The flight attendant bullied her throughout the flight when she did not take the baby out of the sling as instructed and CALLED THE POLICE on the poor mama who was escorted off the plane by armed men upon landing. Read her blog to find out the rest of the story. (don't worry, it has a happy ending!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It is a GOOD GOOD day!

Well, it's about time. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has finally issued a recall on the Infantino Sling Rider. This is the single worst carrier on the market and there are a LOT of bad carriers sitting on the shelves at Walmart, Target, and Babies R Us. Moms in the babywearing community have been asking for this recall for years since the first reports of babies suffocating in them started to surface. It is unfortunate that Infantino ignored the letters from me and hundreds of fellow babywearing mamas begging them to voluntarily recall this sling ages ago. There are several babies who would still be alive today if they had done so. I pray that those mamas find peace and that Infantino steps up to make things right with those families, although nothing will ever make up for their loss. Judging from their track record, it will take families suing the pants off Infantino to see any action though. Because of this, my personal boycott of all Infantino products continues. I will never give my money to a company who refused to pull a baby product off the shelves that killed babies when used correctly according to the manufactures directions. I am not asking anyone to join me but if you wish to, there are plenty of alternatives to Infantino products. My next blog post will be an ANTI-Infantino buying guide.
Infantino's response to the recall. Thanks but this is too little, too late. What free product will they give the families whose babies died while they dragged their feet avoiding a voluntary recall?

There is great info on how to properly wear your baby. Look at these links for help.


http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10177.html

http://www.sleepingbaby.net/safety.php?PHPSESSID=db425c895f7a58b2d774e9b77fc5e3ea

http://babyslingsafety.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/BabywearingSafety?ref=ts#!/BabywearingSafety?v=wall&ref=ts


Friday, March 5, 2010

Babywearing Overload

The purpose of this post is to explain the different types of carriers, recommended brands for each type, DIY options and instructions on how to use them. I also list places to buy (and NOT buy) and why I am not a Bjorn fan. Please understand that this blog is just my opinion and the opinions of babywearers I trust and should never be the only place you research carriers. I intend for this to merely be a jumping off point for new babywearers! I am no longer babywearing myself so this blog is still up for informational purposes but it is NOT going to be kep up to take wit the newest brands. There are lots of new great carriers out there. Do some homework before buying though. :)

MEI TEI (MT)

What is it? A mei tai is a large piece of squarish fabric with 4 straps you tie on. It can be worn on the front or the back and since it ties on, there is less issue with sizing than a structured carrier and it's easy to share this carrier since there is nothing to adjust. Variations include XL straps, a taller toddler-sized body, a contoured body, pockets, toy straps, a headrest or a hood.

Recommended companies: BabyHawk, Kozy,
Wrapstar, Beanslings, Bamberoo, Dream Carriers, Two Momma Designs, Ella Belly, Happy Slings, Catbird Baby, Freehand

Newly added: Anna Carrie Baby. I have heard this carrier maker has adjusted her designs and they are now safe. I have not tried one myself though.

Similar carriers
An onbuhino (onbu) carrier has top straps that loop through two rings or loops on the bottom so there is no waist strap. Companies that make onbus: Two Momma Designs, Happy Slings A podaegi (pod) has a longer blanket that has top straps. The blanket it tucked under the baby's bum and the straps give support. Companies that make pods: Zidee, Shiny Star Designs, Wrapstar A wrap conversion (WC) is a mei tai made from woven wrap (see below) and has straps similar to a wrap so you get the best of both worlds. Companies that make WCs: Wrapstar, Obimama, Bamberoo, Dream Carriers. I have also heard amazing things about Kindercarry from across the pond.

NOT recommended:
Buying random cheap WAHM carriers off ebay/etsy. This is one carrier you just can't skimp on. Sellers who advertise $30 MTs are using subpar materials and are not sewing carriers properly. First check the list of carriers to avoid. If it's not on the list check to see that the carriers are made with bottomweight material, multiple internal layers of support (batting is NOT enough,) and straps sewn in with X boxes or other safe stitching options (simply double stitching is not enough.) If the listing does not say, ASK. If you aren't sure and there aren't list on TBW, ask on BBC's BWing group or Babywearing Love and Support on Facebook. Also be sure to check reviews on TBW. There are some with less than stellar customer service like Boutique Bella Bambini.

Instructions for wearing
can be found here, here and here.

DIY?
Yes, but a moderate level of sewing is required. Remember to select bottomweight fabrics such as denim, canvas, twill or corduroy and use internal layers and X boxes. Tutorials can be found here, here and here.
SOFT STRUCTURED CARRIERS (SSC)

What is it? A SSC is a carrier with buckles that you clip on rather than tie. It can be worn on the front or the back and hip (although it is not the most comfortable hip carrier.) Because of the waist padding found on most brands, this can be worn hiking or for long periods of time since most of the weight is distributed on the hips rather than the shoulders. This carrier is more difficult to choose since the comfort and fit are based on your size and shape and it is harder to share since you have to readjust the buckles but it is very dad-friendly!

Recommended brands: Beco, Ergo, Boba, Oh Snap, O&A, Angelpack, Action Baby Carriers, Dream Carriers,
Bamberoo, Two Momma Designs, Kanga carriers by Bloo Kangaroo, Ella Belly Click, Pikkalo and Patapum

NOT Recommended: Pretty much anything you can buy at a big box store. Things are changing and some stores are starting to carry the good carriers listed above but stay away from Bjorn, Infantino or anything similar with a narrow crotch which is uncomfortable for both you and your baby (see below for more info on crotch danglers.) I also get asked about frame carriers and I usually say no to those too. If you are a serious hiker, then OK but you'll take someone out with that giant thing most other places. Plus what do you do with it when you aren't wearing it? I can roll up my Beco and toss it in my diaper bag. You can't do that with a frame carrier.

Instructions for wearing can be found here, here and here. A great comparison chart can be found here.
DIY: Yes but a moderate level of skill is needed and you need to be sure your buckles and webbing are strong enough and weight tested to withstand the pressure of babywearing.

WRAPS
What is it?
A wrap is a long piece of fabric wound around you and the baby. There are a ton of different lengths, types and ways to use this wrap. It is the most versitile carrier you can buy but it also has the largest learning curve. There are two main types: stretchy wraps and wovens.

STRETCHY WRAPS are just what they sound like; they are stretchy. These are usually about 5 meters long and although some manufacturers claim they can be used for babies up to 35 pounds, this really isn't practical. They do not have the support needed to wear a larger baby and they are never to be worn on the back (except the Wrapsody.)

Recommended brands
Wrapsody Bali Stretch: This is the superman of stretchy wraps. They are thin and soft and uber supportive. These are strong enough to support a heavy baby or toddler and an experienced wrapper can use these for back carries.


SnuggyBaby: These are a great WAHM brand that are also supportive enough to carry a heavier baby. These are made with a dense weave french terry that is not as stretchy as most wraps and it has a pretty center panel.

Anaju by 3 Tree Designs: These are the softest wraps on the market. Made with %100 bamboo, they are light and cool and perfect for a summer newborn. They come in solid colors and lovely hand dyed patterns.

Sleepy Wrap: These are also French terry but it is thicker and more stretchy. They are wonderfully snuggly but not the coolest wrap around. They come in a wide variety of solid colors and are very affordable and easy to find.

Moby: These have moved back to my recommended list after trying one again recently. I think they must have changed fabrics since the ones I have tried in the past were thick, dense, hot and saggy. A new mom friend of mine has one and it is lovely, soft and breathable. They also no longer have back carry instructions so I am happy to include them on this list especially since they are the easiest to find in mainstream stores.

NOT Recommended: K'tan (too expensive and too stretchy to be useful for more than a few months), Lovey Duds (I have moved her off the recommended list for promoting back carries in a stretchy which is dangerous especially in such a thin wrap!)

DIY: YES! I highly recommend buying 5 yards of stretchy fabric and doing this one yourself. Look for a thick stretch cotton or blend that does not fray and simply cut it down the width of the fabric. You don't even have to sew it!

WOVEN WRAPS are long pieces of woven cotton, linen, hemp, silk, or cashmere. They can be worn on the front, back or hip and with newborns through high school (just kidding!) There are many different brands, weaves, fabrics, and ways to use them so it's maybe the most overwhelming of choices. I recommend a 4.6 meter cotton wrap for someone new to wrapping.

Recommended brands:
Didymos-lots of different weaves and fabrics including cotton, silk, cashmere and linen. Didys have their own sizes too. These are available in the largest variety of sizes and prices. They also make ring slings.

Hoppediz- Hopps are notoriously wide and have contrasting rail colors that make tightening the rails much easier. These are thick dense woven wraps and are harder to break in. There is also a "light" version that is much thinner. These have a pocket on one end that sometimes makes it harder to tie. These make huge knots and I find the width difficult to use with a small baby. These are great to learn to do back carries with a toddler though. They come in four sizes and are relatively cheap new. They also make ring slings, a buckle carrier, a stretchy wrap and organic wovens.


Storchenweige
- Storches have two weaves, Leo and stripes. The stripes are stiff at first but after breaking in are really soft. These are workhorse wraps and will last forever. These come in 5 sizes. They also make ring slings.

Girasol- There are two weaves, old and new. If you buy an old weave used, it will be thick and blankety with a right side and a wrong side. The new weave is much thinner and has the same pattern on both sides. You can also get these with fringe. There are lots of standard colors of these and lots of retailers have exclusive colorways. This was one of my first true wovens and they will always hold a special place in my heart. They are very soft even new and come in 5 sizes. Some mamas do not find these as supportive with larger babies. There is a new diamond weave and since I first posted this, there has been an EXPLOSION of exclusives. Just be careful. Not all vendors are recommended. Stick with the ones on my list below or check reviews on TBW.
Neobulle- These French wraps are some of the softest wraps on the market, even right out of the box. They have some of the most vibrant color choices too. The weave is comparable to Girasol but I find them slippery and harder to use than Girasol. They also make ring slings and other mama/baby products.

BBSlen- These are highly underrated wraps so you can sometimes get great deals on these used. Some colors are thicker than others but most are pretty thin. These are also pretty wide like the Hopps and are also sturdier than most other brands. They come in 4 sizes and carry one of the longest sizes on the market. They also make ring slings.
Dolcino- these are super soft and snuggly and would make a great wrap for a newborn. I found them to be pretty supportive for an all cotton wrap. They come in 2 sizes. Dolcino is distributed by Moby so sometimes people think this is a Moby brand wrap.

Easycare
- These are also underrated and not as well known. They are super thin and become very soft and would be great in warm weather. They only come in two sizes.

Ellevill- Ellevill has several weaves including Zara and Jade in cotton, organic Karma, and silk or wool Zara. These have very narrow tapers and unhemmed edges which some mamas don't like. They used to be hand woven but now they are machine woven. They also come in lots of sizes and there are tons of new ones coming out this year.

NatiBaby- These have become very popular recently with several new colors, patterns and fabrics. These come in cotton, wool, silk, bamboo and linen. They are beautiful but in my limited experience, they are not as supportive---UPDATE---I have been told that there are lots of weaves that are killah supportive. They also make a stretchy wrap.
Vatanai- These are the makers of the famous Pamir which is hand woven on a 100 year old loom. They also do normal wraps that don't resell for upwards of $1000! Their regular wraps are thin and light and while they aren't as supportive, they are killer in the heat!

Bebina
- I have not tried these but I have heard them described as soft, smooth and thin. They have a unique series of zodiac prints as well as a nice rainbow and other colors.

Ellaroo
- These are super thin but are not as supportive over about 25lbs. They have solid black as well as gorgeous colors and all come with fringe.

Oscha: This is a newer brand and since I am no longer wrapping, I haven't even tried one. My babywearing friends love them though and they are in seriously high demand. There are lots of fabric and pattern choices too.

Gypsy Mama/Wrapsody Bali Breeze- These are gauze wraps rather than traditional wovens. They are very thin but very supportive and are some of the best warm weather wraps available. The vibrant colors are unique and amazingly beautiful. These are a bear to break in so you might want to find one used. Some mamas find these much harder to wrap with so I don't recommend them for tentative beginners. But if you are adventurous and patient or an experienced babywearer, these are great! These are sized in yards rather than meters. This company also makes water wraps.

NOT Recommended: I can't recommend Lenny Lamb as long as they work with Johna Bowden of EarthyBliss/ Boutique Bella Bambini.

DIY?
I don't recommend it. I know moms who make DIY gauze or osnaburg but for the price by the yard, you'd do just as well buying a real woven used. Some sellers try to market DIY wovens. Just because a wrap is made from woven fabric does not make it a woven wrap. A woven wrap is designed to carry a baby and there is nothing else like it.


HOW TO BREAK IN A WRAP

Use it!
Wash it (according to the directions--silk, wool, and cashmere should not be put in the washer/dryer)
Put it in the dryer on no heat with an old pair of sneakers or tennis balls.
Iron it.
Sit on it.
Sleep with it.
Braid it
Use it as a swing.
Pull it back and forth through your crib bars


RING SLINGSWhat is it? A ring sling is a long piece of fabric worn over one shoulder that is threaded through a set of rings used to adjust the sling. They come in padded and unpadded and I much prefer the unpadded because they are easier to adjust and they are safer.

Recommended brands: SweetPea Ring Slings, Sleeping Baby Productions, Kalea Baby, Babyette, SnuggyBaby, Comfy Joey, Sakura Bloom, UpMama,
Shiny Star Designs Zolowear, Maya Wrap, Taylormade
A new additions to the list: A Secret Garden who sells water slings on etsy. I have been using one the past two weeks and it is fabulous! 

NOT Recommended: Balboa, Premaxx, SlingEZee, any other heavily padded ring sling with a large pocket or elastic rails. Watch out for slings made with shiny or welded rings (even reputable brands if you are buying used--some old ones used to use them and were recalled.)

Instructions for wearing: I love Zolowear and Sakura Bloom videos. Here is a great tute from Erin of Wrapstar as well.

DIY? Absolutely! Here is a tutorial page and check out this page for info on choosing fabrics. Do NOT use craft rings, hardware rings or rings from tack shop. Only aluminum or nylon sling rings are lightweight and strong enough to be used in carriers.

Pouches
What is it? Pouches are simple loops of fabric folded and worn over one shoulder like a ring sling. The baby sits in the folded pocket section.

Recommended brands: Hotslings, Karma Baby, Gorgeous Baby, Peanut Shell, Lucky Baby, Slinglings

NOT recommended: Seven Slings are much too thin and even with the "free for shipping" codes are not worth it especially since the shipping costs over $10. They are not worth the $10, trust me! These slings are paper thin and rough. It is probably safe enough but it's sure not comfortable at all.

Instructions for wearing: The Hotslings videos are awesome! Also check here for positioning info.

DIY? Not the easiest one to make since sizing is such an issue but here is a tute.


CARRIERS TO AVOID
These carriers have been checked out by me and my fellow babywearers. They are not reputable sellers and I do not recommend buying a carrier or anything else from them. If you find a carrier that you are concerned about that I should add to the list, send me a comment or an email. Thanks! (updated 6/2012)

NEW LISTING!
BOUTIQUE BELLA BAMBINI/ Earthy Bliss
This has been a long time coming. I know I recommended her at one time but that was before her customer service went in the crapper. Although most of her carriers are safe, her oldest version of her ring slings are not safe or easy to use. But even though most of her other carriers are relatively safe, I will not recommend her because of her horrendous customer service and unprofessional attitude both of which I have experienced firsthand. You can read my reviews on TBW if you are interested, username: pumpkinbearsmom. Bottomline: If you have one, fine. If you find one used, fine. I just don't recommend buying from her directly based on my own personal experiences. ****This has been edited to comply with the cease and desist letter I was sent by Johna's lawyer in Sept 2012.****

Rhiamon on etsy: She is selling ring slings with small stainless rings rather than aluminum sling rings. She says "The rings are stainless steel and hold up to 200lbs. They are smaller than traditional rings, making them stronger and safer." Also I am concerned about the fabric she uses as most of the ones listed look like one layer of thin cotton which is not strong enough to hold a baby comfortably and safely. The kicker though is she is not even wearing the slings properly in her photos. I have a hard time trusting a carrier maker who can't wear her own carriers properly.

Strawberry Baby: [THESE ARE CURRENTLY NOT LISTED FOR SALE.]
There are two styles, regular and fleece and both are unacceptable from the small bit of information I am able to get. The regular mei tai is made with bar tacking rather than X boxes which is OK if industrial sewing machines are used which I doubt in this case. The real problem though is that the straps are attached to a tiny tab sticking off the body of the carrier and there is not way that is going to hold up in the long run (you can sort of see this in the blurry cell phone photos on the regular link above). The body of the carrier is only 2 layers of decorator fabric which is also unacceptable. The fleece carriers are all one piece with a fabric panel added. There is no way a mei tai with one layer of fleece is strong enough to hold a baby. I contacted the maker of the carrier personally after being alerted to some serious drama on Facebook and she has now said she is no longer offering them for sale and her Facebook page is gone. I have to apologize to the owner of eLeMeNo Pee for posting that I had contacted her before. I thought I was talking to the owner when I first posted this review but later learned she was just a rep for the company. I have edited those statements out now that I have more info. Of course they ARE still up for sale even though the carrier maker told me she wouldn't offer them for sale anymore.

4bebella: Makes MTs, RSs, and wraps. I have contacted this ebay seller directly to ask a huge series of questions. There are TONS of red flags on these carriers. For both carriers, she outsources the making of the carriers to India and refused to answer if she used fair trade practices to pay her workers. Her RSs do not use the proper rings or the proper fabric. She said they are weight tested but could not tell me how that test was done or if it was the rings or the fabric that was tested. In addition to that, in just about every photo advertising her ring slings, she is using them incorrectly. For the MTs, she refused to answer what weight cotton was used, or how many layers she puts in the carriers, but she does admit that she only has double stitching on her straps which is not good enough. Her wraps are simply hemmed cotton fabric, nothing special and not worth the money. She does offer a money back guarantee but you have to pay return shipping and a 30% restocking fee. There is nothing good to say about ANYTHING this seller produces. UPDATE: A mom on my message board took one of these MTs apart and it was garbage. It was simply 2 layers of lightweight fabric. There was a small bit of cotton batting but no inner layers and no bottomweight fabric. In addition, the straps extended less than an inch into the carrier and were simply sewn in using the topstitching of the body fabric. Avoid this at all costs!
UPDATE #2 The maker of this carrier has posted on my message board saying that this review is unfair. She has claimed that I have never contacted her. I have found the email that ebay sends when you get a message and I am happy to try one out for myself but from the information I currently have, I am not convinced that this carrier would be safe to carry a chihuahua much less a child. I stand by this review and I feel obligated to share that with y'all!
Bundle with Love: Makes pouches, ring slings, stretchy wraps and mei tais. Fabrics for RS and MT are much too thin, RSs do not use the correct rings, MT straps are much too narrow where they meet the carrier. Unknown if this seller uses X boxes. Plus it drives me nuts when carriers are advertised being used incorrectly and she uses the name brands Maya and Native to describe her carriers. On etsy & ebay

Cuddling Baby: This is one of the worst MT makers I have encountered. First the carriers are not well made. She advertises that she uses 4 layers of material and batting and uses X boxes (which has not always been the case--she only changed when people complained) but she is just using a thin poly/cotton blend fabric which is not strong enough for a baby carrier. Also if you look at the photos of her carriers, you can see how narrow the straps are where they meet the body and who knows how far those straps extend into the body of the carrier. X boxes or not, this isn't as safe as it should be. She admits to making 60-70 of these a month and common sense will tell you no one can do that and still take the time needed to make a safe well-made carrier.
In addition to all that, this seller's track record is spotty at best. Her ebay reviews speak for themselves (including the retalitory feedback left for her unhappy customers) and she has a disclaimer on her website that she was in the hospital so she could not complete some orders quickly. However, she continued to take orders that she knew she could not fill and lied to her customers about it. Moms had to file with Paypal to get their money back. Then she also told a mama on my message board that the delay was due to a house fire which was another lie because a local mama checked with the fire department and there was no fire. Local mamas also report that she is posting on Freecycle that she has carriers available right now even though she has jilted her ebay customers. She also had a series of deaths in her family that delayed shipments. This woman must have the worst luck on the planet!
Also operated on etsy under the name Beeba but that account is now inactive (it was opened in Nov 2009 during the time she was supposedly in the hospital and took orders through Dec 2009)
TBW reviews as a vendor and for her carriers and more info here, here, here and here. Photos here. Notice that anyone defending her carriers is not really very experienced based on feedback and post counts. Also look at her own personal responses.
UPDATE: One of the moms on my message board took one of these carriers apart to demonstrate how unsafe it is. It was actually worse than I thought. See here for more details and to see how bad a bad carrier can be.
This carrier maker is out of business but she has been popping back up on esty occasionally under variations of the name BeeBa. This is the current one. Beware. As soon as she gets some bad feedback here, she’ll close this username and open a new one.

Little Rubi: Makes MTs, pouches and RSs. Judging from some of the close-up picks on ebay, the stitching is not very straight. Her carriers are very close to looking like either Kozy MTs with a rounded top or BabyHawk MTs with padded headrests and I hate copycats. I think for the price, I would rather have the real thing. These might be better than I think but there is no proven track record on TBW and she is not wearing the slings properly in her photos either. The copycat idea aside, I worry about the safety of the carrier.

Milky Baby MTs: These are very similar in quality to the 4bebella  carriers. Also the straps are not angled and that is not a design that will be comfortable to wear even if these were made well. How much can you trust a carrier for less than $20? UPDATE: Another mom I know took one of these apart and like similar carriers on this list, it has no support, no X-boxes and only lightweight decorator fabric. UPDATE #2: I have corresponded with the owner of Milky Baby recently. She claimed that the carrier is safe but said that she is using decorator fabric as support, batting for the guts, and triple stitching for the straps. I explained how to make the carrier safer and she promised to start using x boxes and extending the straps further into the carrier. This is great news but until she starts adding more layers and uses thicker fabric, I will not be able to take Milky Baby off the list.
UPDATE #3: I just checked on Milky Baby on ebay and she's still using the same photos and description so I am not convinced that she has strengthened the design of her carrier. :(
UPDATE#4: I got to try one of these in person (Thanks Cat!) and it is garbage. The straps and back are made with thicker canvas type fabric but the straps are only one layer. They are hemmed around the edges not doubled so they are very very thin and narrow. The straps extend less than 1 inch into the carrier at the waist and the shoulders. The body itself is made of just three layers, the thicker strap fabric, a thin layer of batting, and a VERY thin layer of cotton. It is uncomfortable even with my tiny peanut who is about 13lbs. Still not recommended.

The Loving Bean (on etsy) Blog : She might be done selling slings but just in case I am listing her. She was selling slings with craft rings and tried passing them off as aluminum SlingRings. She had two listed and a fellow babywearer linked me after she convo'd her and asked about the shiny craft rings she was using. The seller told her they were Sling Rings but there is no way because the ones pictured were very thin and shiny, not thick and dull like aluminum rings. Then she sent a pretty defensive message to my friend about it accusing her of harassment (she just asked for a better pic of the rings) but then she told me she had sold it locally. I don't want moms being harassed but I don't think that was the case here, especially since she has also accused me of harassment as well. UPDATE: This mom convo'd me several more times (for a total of about 10 times so who is harassing who?) and now has resorted to the foulest language I have ever seen a mother use! Plus she has admitted to sending all her friends to harass me as well. Etsy has gotten involved since this is against their policy. If this is the way she treats customers who ask questions, I would not buy anything from her! Be safe, buy only brushed metal rings!

PLACES TO BUY
To buy used

The Baby Wearer: Must be a member (it’s free!) and to sell on the FSOT board, you must be a member for 30 days AND have 30 posts. This can be a little overwhelming at first.
Diaper Swappers: Must be a member (it’s free!) and there is no post minimum to sell. You do have to have 10 posts to add photos though. You will find the occasional crappy carrier here but there are lots of great deals here too.


Ebay (do you really need a link?) Just be wary of non-name brand slings. Do your homework first. When in doubt, shoot me an email with the listing and I'd be happy to check it out for you!

To buy newRiver Bugs
Jessica carries Moby, Sleepy Wrap, Ellevill, Ellaroo, Didymos, and Bebina wraps. She has the super cool Boba and Oh Snap by BabyHawk and Ellaroo and Comfy Joey ring slings. She also has highly coveted dye spots with DyeHard custom dyes. Her store is ever expanding and she is a sweet mama to boot!

Zerberts
Ruth has free shipping to the lower 48 states and discounted shipping everywhere else.
She carries AngelPack, Action Baby Carrier, Oh Snap, BabyHawk, Eden MTs, SweetPea Ring Slings, Kalea Baby Ring Slings, Hoppediz, and Wrapsody.

Sweet Pickles Now known as The Blueberry Tree (You can still get there through the old website though)
(there are 2 different links to the regular site and to Hyena Cart)
Susan carries these wraps: Colimacon & Cie, Didymos, Girasol (including exclusives!), Natibaby, Storch, and Wrapsody (including exclusives!) plus
Catbird Baby MTs, Pikkalo, Olives and Applesauce, and sometimes SBP ring slings. She also carries lots of other cute baby stuff!

Frogmama
Lorene has killer sales on Becos and other great carriers!
She carries Angelpack, Beco, Oh Snap, BabyHawk, Didymos, Storch, KarmaBaby, Slinglings, plus lots of other cool natural mama and baby items.

PaxBaby
Jillian is one of the coolest mamas I know but she looks way too good for a mom of 5 and one on the way!
She carries Sakura Bloom, Hotslings, Kozy, BabyHawk, Beco, Ergo, Oh Snap, Olives and Applesauce, Pikkalo, Wrapsody, and BBSlen. She also does super cute custom Beco and Wrapstar carriers with matching drool pads! She has just acquired "Pimp My Carrier" and can now help you make your babywearing experience even cuter!

Bebewearing Mamas
Naomi carries Slinglings, Comfy Joey, Kalea Baby, Eden MT, Catbird Baby MT, Sleepy Wrap, BBslen, Didymos, and Ellevill.

Metro Minis
This NYC retailer has just about everything you could possibly imagine from carriers to about a million other baby products! They have some of the best Girasol exclusives as well!
MTs: Kozy, Napsack Baby, and Mei Tai Baby
RS: Upmama, Pslings, and Sakura Bloom
SSCs: Ergo, Beco, Oh Snap, Angelpack, Pikkalo
Wraps: Girasol, Didymos, Barabarn, BBSlen, Ellevill, Storch

Quirky Baby
Kozy, BabyHawk, Hotslings, Ergo, Beco, Oh Snap, Angelpack, and Wrapsody, plus this is also a retailer of Babylegs

McKinley Kid Baby Gear
This Alaskan retailer sells Beco, Ergo, Pikkalo, Catbird Baby, Ball Baby Overall (discontinued but so great!), Sakura Bloom, Storch, Ellaroo wraps, KarmaBaby and they have killer sales!

Heavenly Hold
This shop carries Ergo and all the possible accessories, Beco, Oh Snap, BabyHawk, Slinglings, and SleepyWrap as well as lots of other great mama/baby stuff.


Granola Babies/ Piece of Cloth
Giselle sells lots of different brands of wraps and other carriers. She has just branched out into cloth diapers and other natural baby stuff.





Marsupial Mamas
This was off the list for a while while I acted like a middle schooler. The owner was badmouthing this blog and I thought, "Fine! Then you don't need to be on it!" The company has since changed hands and I have have unbunched my panties and honestly, they belong on the list. I have heard nothing but great things about the customer service.

Regarding Peanut
This is a store that is recommended by the owner of It's a Preemie Thing which I LOVE so I checked them out and decided to add them here too. Katy carries Sakura Bloom ring slings, Pikkalo SSCs and several brands of mei tais and wraps. She is a fellow preemie mama as well and has a great buying guide found here.



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Peanut is finally home!

It has been a crazy couple of weeks. For anyone who hasn't heard our story, here is the whirlwind that brought our little mouse into the world.

I was not a good patient at all. Throughout my pregnancy, I avoided prenatal testing and even skipped some of my appointments. My doctor was certainly frustrated with me to say the least. On February 3rd, I got a phone call from her office saying they would like to see me as it had been 2 weeks since my last visit and I had not made a followup appointment. I had a meeting after work but since the doctor's office is right down the street from my school, I figured I could go really quick and make it back in time for the meeting. When I got to her office, I got the usual lecture about how I needed to get my gestational diabetes test done and then we got on with the exam. My baby belly was still measuring small, even smaller than it had been two weeks prior. I had also not gained any more weight and that was concerning. Then we listened to the doppler of the heartbeat and it sounded strong at first but while we listened, it plummeted, scaring us both. My doc hooked me up to the monitors and we listened to the baby for 20 minutes. She was wiggling around in there the whole time so that was reassuring and her heart rate did just what it was supposed to (needless to say at this point I would not make it to my meeting!) Then we did an ultrasound so she could measure the baby since I was measuring so small. My doc had a hard time getting measurements but eventually determined that the baby was growth restricted, meaning that at some point in the pregnancy she had just stopped growing, maybe as much as 3-4 weeks before. In addition to that, I had absolutely no amniotic fluid left. My doc switched off the monitors and said, "You are having this baby today!"

I burst into tears! First, we were almost 5 weeks early! Second, I just knew that all this lackadaisical prenatal care was the cause of this and it was all my fault if something happened to her. Also I had just walked out of work with my desk a mess, nothing was graded and I didn't have any of my maternity sub work ready to go. We didn't have the baby's room set up, her clothes washed or anything. I was totally unprepared. I am used to being totally unprepared for things or having to rush and do things at the last minute but never like this! The doc sent me right over to L&D and I called my mom and Tim who rushed to the hospital. They were prepping me for a C-section, my worst nightmare. I wanted a natural birth this time after having 2 epidurals with my big girls. But this baby was transverse and in distress so a C-section was my only option... that is until the doc examined me again. My wiggly girl had turned head down and we could try inducing instead. The hooked me up and mild contractions started. It was just a few minutes before I knew there was no way we were going to make it through an induction. The baby's heartrate dropped below 100 during each contraction and these were tiny contractions, and it took longer and longer to climb back to normal. We called in the nurses and they called the doc who confirmed that a C-section was safer. At that point, I agreed too since it was clear the baby wasn't going to be able to tolerate labor.

They wheeled me in and I will spare you the gory details of the C-section, partially because I don't know them! They told me they would tell me as each thing was happening but I told them not to. I just wanted to know when the baby was out and that she was healthy. The anisthesiologist's assistant was just about the sweetest person I've ever met and she reassured me the entire time. The C-section was more than Tim could handle so he stayed outside and my mom sat with me. I was OK with that since she was way more supportive than he could have been given his state of mind. He does not handle this kind of thing well and he had been a basketcase since I called him with the words, "emergency C-section."

Audrey Elaine entered the world at 9:50 pm and weighed just 4lbs 15oz. They had told me that it was very likely she would have some breathing issues and that my hospital was not equipped to handle a high needs preemie so she would probably be transferred to Austin. That's exactly what happened. I got to see her briefly twice before they rushed her off. Tim went with her and I didn't see either one of them for 2 days after that since he didn't leave her side. Recovering from the C-section, especially that first night, was pretty awful. I was worried about the baby, I was worried about my other two girls, and I was worried about work, especially since this hasn't been my best year and my boss had already been too forgiving of my shortfalls.

I got out of the hospital Friday night (the 5th) and Tim likes to tell people I bullied my way out. He exaggerates. My doc said I was doing fine and offered to release me a little early knowing I had not seen my little one and she was all the way in Austin. I just took her up on the offer, but I would have started begging to leave even if she hadn't said I could go. We took Jules up to see Audrey and that first visit was short and difficult. The next day was better since we got to hold her but she still had an IV and a feeding tube and tons of probes and wires and beeping machines. It was scary. The good news was her lungs were mature and she was able to tolerate breathing room air without assistance. Her breathing issues were because of a double pneumothorax, which is an air pocket surrounding the lungs and they docs had done all they could, using a needle to draw out the air in the pocket, and now we just had to wait for her body to heal itself. They were feeding her formula through a feeding tube until my milk came in and that was not going well either. She was not digesting quickly enough for them. When she got my milk rather than formula, she did MUCH better so they took her off formula altogether once my milk came in.

Then it became a waiting game and the days just run together during all this. At first we got good news everyday. Her IV came out, her feeding tube came out, they were upping her feeds, but then she started losing weight rather than gaining and the answers about her going home became, "Maybe tomorrow." There were many maybe tomorrows though. I got to room in with her, meaning they gave me a hosital room and she stayed with me, in order to get her feeding well and get her weight up. The first night, she lost again! The next night she gained barely 1/4 of an ounce, still not enough to go home. Finally the last day she gained 30 grams, more than an ounce and they showed us the door. Home at last!

There are obviously lots of things I left out like I am so blessed to have my parents who broke all their plans for 2 weeks and came to live in my house and watch the girls while I was in the hospital. Best of all, they got the whole house ready, including Audrey's room so we were actually ready when she came home. I am so lucky to have such a great team at work who has taken care of everything and told me not to worry about anything and a boss who didn't get mad like I thought and was really worried about me and celebrated the updates on the baby! I am blessed to have family and friends (IRL and online) who have watched the girls and brought us food and just offered prayers and support. I also thank my doctor (and her secretary for calling me that day!) and all the NICU docs and nurses for saving my little Audrey's life! This has been one of the roughest times in our lives and we have survived it with all your help.