Rachel’s Ramblings


Not me, I’m Rachael not Rachel, see the difference? 😉 Anyway, Rachel volunteers at the St Helens meet and I’ve had the privilege of being part of her family’s entire babywearing journey (so far) from the first visit avec bump all the way to “You know how you strongly advised me not to pick an impossible to find wrap and fall in love with it… Well…” I also rather like the idea of us doing “Wrapping Busking” to raise library funds, anyone in? (Read the post to see what find out what I’m talking about!) – Rachael

 

I’ve started, restarted, deleted, rewritten and discarded this more times than I can count. If this were 1990 there would be a large pile of screwed up paper surrounding the bin (not in the bin as I’m a terrible shot!)

 

I want to tell you about all the early years development research I’ve read (partly for work, partly as I’m a geek and love that sort of stuff) about neural pathways; connection; speech, language and social development; and how all of that led me to babywearing…

 

…but it all just sounds really dull and impersonal when I write it down! What does sound much more appealing is the amazing warm fuzzy feeling I got watching my partner wrap our little boy for the first time when he was four days old (when he was very small and wriggled in the wrap, I found it felt a lot like him wriggling in my tummy, an experience which Daddy loved being able to have); the closeness I felt when I had recovered enough from the c-section to be able to put the wrap on and carry him myself; the confidence I got that he was warm and comfy through the winter with him next to me under my coat (and not having to fight him into a snow suit); and the contented feedback our son gave us when he was carried.

 

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Daddy wearing our son at 4 days in the Hana Baby

 

All the science stuff really just confirmed our instincts, that babywearing was right for us.

 

We’re rock climbers and was just 9 days old when we took our son to his first crag – before anyone panics (Rachael!!) we would never climb whilst babywearing but carrying him allows us to introduce him to all the things we love; the countryside, the moors, mountains, beaches, being out in the fresh air. That first trip out climbing I simply sat on a rock and breastfed (random places I have fed is probably another blog entirely!) whilst Daddy climbed but just to be out on the hillside looking at the view and feeling the wind on our faces gave us a sense of normality and in a world that we knew would never be the same again, it reminded us who we are.

 

Daddy on top of Baby Boy's first mountain in the connecta (Cadair Idris in Wales)

Daddy on top of Baby Boy’s first mountain in the connecta (Cadair Idris in Wales)

 

Our son loves being carried too. When we’re out and about people stop and speak to him much more than they do when he’s in a pushchair. He’s a very sociable little boy and loves being in on the conversation which when he’s carried is much easier as he’s at the same height as us.

 

Even around town I find carrying easier. No scouring the shop for the lift only to find it is full of boxes; no wandering up and down the pavement trying to find a dropped kerb or risk stopping in the middle of the road whilst I bump the wheels up and down; no worrying that we aren’t going to fit in the cute little coffee shop that has amazing cakes; no scratching the car and damaging my back humping the pushchair in and out of the boot – but may be I’m just rubbish with a pushchair!

 

We started with a stretchy wrap which Rachael (very patiently) taught us to use and then went on to a connecta which my partner still uses all the time. Now our son is a bit heavier I find wrapping him much more comfortable as I can spread the weight out. Wrapping looks complicated (I am going to start putting a hat on the ground like a busker when I wrap him in public, it always attracts an audience) but it’s really not. I would recommend a consultation so that you have time and space to find the ways of wrapping that suit you. The only health warning that should come with wrapping is for your bank balance – wraps are lovely and trawling the internet looking at new patterns and wondering if a size 4 or size 6 will change your life is addictive.

 

us enjoying a paddle in Barmouth with the FireSpiral Graphite starmap size 5

Us enjoying a paddle in Barmouth with the FireSpiral Graphite starmap size 5

 

I’m trying to think of some profound statement to close with and I can’t, if you persevered with my ramblings this far then you’ve suffered enough. Go out, enjoy the freedom of being able to go pretty much where you like and having your hands free whilst doing it and my favourite bit, having a little head over your shoulder chatting in your ear whilst they share it all with you.

 

P.S. if anyone is interested in the science bit, Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk is a research scientist at the University of Dundee specialising in human connection and babies’ ability to communicate. http://suzannezeedyk.com/

 

September Sling Library Sessons


If you’re on facebook you can subscribe and get automatically pinged about new dates if you’d like: https://www.facebook.com/WaWiSHSlingMeet/events?key=events I will always post them on here though, details of each venue is in the “meets” tab, hover over for the drop down box to select the relevant venue.

St Helens 8/9/15 10.30-12.30
https://www.facebook.com/events/696259723841139/

Leigh 15/9/15 10-2
https://www.facebook.com/events/521261598026722/

Central Warrington 16/9/15 10.30-12.30
https://www.facebook.com/events/1628948057383530/

Golborne 23/9/15 10.30-12.30
https://www.facebook.com/events/1667696386778215/

Culcheth 29/9/15 11-2.30
https://www.facebook.com/events/1043406295678186/

– Rachael

Can you babywear too much?


Dislaimer: This answer is only relevant for full term healthy infants, in an uprght position that entirely follows T.I.C.K.S. guidelines. Any queries use the “contact us” page to speak to me!

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nooooooo 😉

Science bit: Essentially the time limit on being in car seats (an hour and a half for anyone who has managed to miss that) comes from the fact that oxyen levels for babies can drop when they are in that sort of position so they need breaks. There aren’t those kind of problems with slings/carriers so there is no real reason (other than the times she would naturally be out the sling anyway) to suggest that there is anything wrong with protracted periods of babywearing. (Quick citation for lowered oxygen claim: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/3/e396.abstract and http://www.whichcarseat.co.uk/the-medical-evidence-car-seats.cfm)

Anecdotal additional: Look at places where babywearing is the norm, babies are carried all day and are entirely fine.

 

T.I.C.K.S.

T.I.C.K.S.

Anna’s reviews


So, this summer Anna went on holiday, and two fo the library’s newest purchases went with her, she was under very strict instructions to use them thoroughly and then write a review. Anone who has spoken to Anna at our library sessions knows that Anna is VERY funny so this is both informative and entertaining to read!

– Rachael

 

 

Two wraps, one post

 

So this summer, we were lucky enough to have my parents take us all on holiday, due to a reasonably sized lottery win. Obviously the first question for me was not “where are we going?”, but “what wraps shall I bring?”- some call it an addiction, I call it dedication!

Being a peer supporter and volunteer with the sling library, I get to have a good root around the suitcase of dreams (or doom, depending on what a state we have left it in after a meet!), and Rachael kindly let me bring the brand new muslin ring sling, which I in return offered to review. Just before I left, fluffy post arrived for the library from Oscha, including a linen blend wrap that needed some breaking in. OH GO ON THEN.

I also brought a gauze wrap that I borrowed from a friend, and hubby’s trusted mei tai, but for the purpose of this post, I will be reviewing the ring sling and the Oscha wrap.

 

Wrapamore muslin ring sling

 

This was the source of equal measures of cringing and giggling before I had even seen it, due to my phone’s unfortunate autocorrecting- always proof read, people!

First impressions of the sling: It is very plain. The sling itself is a creamy white, with silver rings. I was torn between appreciating the simpleness and the ability to match it with most outfits (making it suitable for summer weddings and parties), and itching to dye it all the colours of the rainbow!

The sling felt nice to use- light yet grippy enough for a good sized ten month old. I would imagine it may not be the most suitable for wearing a toddler for any longer periods, but for a smaller squish and those postpartum aftersweats it would be hard to beat!

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Ring slings have long been my nemesis, but I found this surprisingly easy to get comfortable- it spread well across my back and shoulder, and I was able to get the rings in a good corsage position, as opposed to digging into my neck or somewhere around my belly button like so many times before… The tail is on the longer side, making it suitable for a variety of sizes and heights, though I found myself wrapping it around the rings to stop myself from tripping over the tail!

Axel seemed to enjoy his positioning on my hip as we could interact, yet he could still look around. This made our evening ferry ride a lot more pleasant- the thin material was an added bonus here, it was a very hot ride!

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All in all, I am quite impressed with the ring sling- even if I am not a complete convert, it did keep us nice and cool, and I found it as easy, if not easier, to get comfortable as any other ring sling I have tried.

Pros: Cool. Quick to get on and off. Neutral colour that’ll suit most people and outfits.

Cons: More suited for younger children and shorter carrying sessions. Not as exciting as some other slings.

 

Oscha Norse braids size 7, 40% cotton, 60% linen

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First impression: ERMAGHERD. If pretty is your thing, this is one for you. Stunning jewel shades of red, blue and purple, with gradients of maroon and a muted turquoise, and an intricate braided pattern- this really is a beautiful wrap.

When I picked it up from Rachael’s it had been washed, so the initial cardboard feel of some new wraps, especially linen, had gone, but it was still pretty stiff. I started the breaking in project by putting it at the bottom of my suitcase with all my packing on top. It had its first outing on our second night on Gotland, for an evening walk that turned into a visit to a jousting tournament! We had managed to time our visit with the annual medieval week, so the braids fitted right in! It also showed itself to contain lots of sleepy dust, and Axel fell asleep to the soothing sound of knights, swords and 3000 people cheering!

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The wrap is super supportive, something we discovered already back home, by wrapping the five year old! The ten month old was no match, he felt almost weightless in a double hammock. I was pleasantly surprised as to how cool it was as well, even in a double hammock or front wrap cross carry, both Axel and I stayed nice and cool. I did find it a little bit tricky to tighten when I was wearing a sleeveless top- the stiffness of the still new wrap meant it rubbed a little bit. Some more breaking in will alleviate that though.

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What made this wrap extra special was that the husband finally attempted to wrap- with really rather good results! He left the mei tai in the car, that my dad then took on a trip to the supermarket, so he went and got the Norse Braids and asked me to show him how to do it. I may not have managed to completely convert him to the wonderful world of wraps, but both him and Axel were happy and comfortable.

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As for size, this is on the longer side for me. My so called base size is a 5, so with a 7 I had to do a double hammock instead of my usual ruck for back carries, to avoid too long tails around my feet (I am notoriously clumsy!). For someone taller than me, or a bigger size, it would be a great fit. The husband is 5’10” (on a good day…), and he found it a good size.

I will be sad to see this wrap go, but I know that with a little bit more abu, ahem, I mean, breaking in, it will be a really good addition to the library. I don’t think Rachael will see much of it, except on hire agreements!

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Pros: Stunning. Really supportive. Stayed cool, even at 25 degrees and sunshine.

Cons: Smaller/shorter people may find a size 7 on the long side. Linen takes a little bit of work to get soft (though it is worth it in the long run!)

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Whilst it may seem my love for the Oscha is greater than that for the ring sling, I must say I am very glad I took them both, as I found they complemented each other well. No matter what your Babywearing preferences are, different slings are suited for different things (rhyme unintended). Even if you have your workhorse (or, like me, workhorses), I would definitely recommend trying some other types of slings as well- you may find one to fill a gap in your stash! Scared of committing to buying a sling? Well, that is where the sling library comes in so very handy! Pop in to your nearest sling meet, and Rachael or one of us peer supporters will try and help you find your near perfect fit!

Exciting parcel!


So the other day I had to go the sorting office to collect a parcel (well three, but the other two weren’t exciting). I had to wait until after I’d pressure washed the back garden as I was on a time limit with that, so I feel my patience should be rewarded with a bit of a slooooow (Ha! Like I can exercise patience!) reveal on here…

 

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So there’s the parcel, accessorised beautifully by the youview remote! The more observant among you may have spied a clue, well, what is it? Even if you scrutinise and spot the maker you won’t know what it is…

 

Ok, here is what was inside:

 

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I rather pretty grey wrap. But it’s no ordinary wrap, oh no! This one is made by FireSpiral one of our very lovely British wrap makers, and it’s a teaching wrap! You can see on this photo it is double face, as it has a “right” side and a “wrong” side (obviously opinions on which side is “right” and which side is “wrong” will be entirely divided!).

 

It’s also split into thirds. Anyone who has been taught to wrap by me should know why, I have a picture to demonstrate. (This is me post pressure washing the back garden btw!)

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So if you ignore my slightly gormless concentrating face you’ll see that a third of the wrap is up by the baby’s head (it will get tucked into the back of her neck, although make sure your baby’s face is visible at all times during wrapping), enough to make a little hat. A third is covering her back, and a third is tucked under her bottom. As babies get bigger the ratio becomes less exact but knowing the “rule of thirds” gives you the basics of even wrapping.

 

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And here’s the finished article in a passable Front Wrap Cross Carry! This wrap is ONLY for teaching so won’t go out on hire, it’s been generously loaned to the library by Firespiral (http://www.firespiralslings.co.uk/) to help teach, and I love that this particular pattern is called “The Librarian”. Look out for it at library sessions and consultations!

 

– Rachael