Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wordless Wednesday: A Week In The Life Of Joce

Babywearing to, from & all over Vancouver! We brought our Girasol & our Beco, and I can't imagine having done the trip without them! The only regret I have is not also packing the ring sling, as it would've been handy to have for quick ups & to/from car jaunts. Babywearing for the travel win!!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Reasons Why We Wear #4

....because I can work whilst still care for my child. (photo: self portrait courtesy of Sara McConnell)

Monday, 27 January 2014

My Stash Monday: Megan's Story

My babywearing journey (ok, obsession) began when I was pregnant with my oldest son, Walker, in 2011. A friend of mine passed along several carriers for me to try with my new baby, and I had no idea what they were or how to use them. These first three carriers were a Maman Kangarou stretchy wrap, a flower patterned pouch carrier, and a very old Snugli. 

Luckily, the Bringing Home Baby class that my husband and I attended included a babywearing demonstration by one of the lovely women from Milkface, who was so tactful when explaining to me why that old Snugli was not her carrier of preference. I cringe now and wonder what she was actually thinking when she saw it. Trying all of those carriers with the life-like baby dolls in the classroom made me so excited to have a baby of my own to carry. Her demonstration also convinced me to order my first new carrier - an olive green Maya ring sling. 

The old Snugli survived half a trip to the hardware store before it was donated, and the ill-fitting pouch carrier didn't last much longer. The Maman Kangarou wrap was worn around the house until we outgrew it, and the ringsling went everywhere else with us those first few months. I loved holding my little guy snuggled with me in the tummy-to-tummy position. 

A long hike with my sister-in-law where she comfortably carried my niece in an Ergo while my son and I were sweating in the ringsling made me decide to also purchase a Galaxy Grey Ergo. I have no action shots of my firstborn in that carrier, though we used it nearly every day for over a year! The Ergo, and the Boba Air that we later bought as a car carrier, allowed us to bring our little man to graduation ceremonies, forests, farms, and markets where our stroller never would have allowed us to explore. 

When we discovered I was pregnant with our second son, I treated myself to a light blue Boba Wrap from Chiquita Baby. This wrap was a lifesaver as I learned to parent two children. All through our first summer as a family of four, little Freddie slept happily in the Boba on our daily adventures to the park and on our trip to Newfoundland for a family reunion. The combination of that carrier and the waves crashing on the shore lulled him to sleep several days in a row on that vacation. 

The heat of the summer convinced me to try my first 'real' wrap, and I purchased a Calin Bleu gauze wrap from Belly Laughs. This little blue wrap made me fall head-over-heels down the rabbit hole into the land of wrapping, though it has now gone to be used by a new family. The only carry I mastered for the longest time was the FWCC, but that didn't stop me from adding several new wraps to our collection - Kokadi Blue Birds (5), Natibaby Colorado (6), and Natibaby Nature of America (5). I rotated through these wraps on our daily outings with the boys, where they were also used as blankets when needed. When my husband asked me what I would like for our anniversary, a Didymos Orient (6) was also added to our collection. The Nature of America turned out to be too beastly   for me to tame and went to live with another family. 

Around this time, I found the OBG page on Facebook, after hearing about it from a friend. I attended a meet up and enjoyed chatting with the women and seeing other mothers who also carried their babies. This led me to begin hosting an informal OBG meet-up in Barrhaven, which was held outdoors in the Summer, and has since moved to my basement in the colder months. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the women in this group, and love that our shared passion for mothering and holding our babies close has allowed us to become friends. 

A Carry of the Week post on the OBG Facebook page led me to try my first mei tai from the Canadian Swap. I enjoyed it and I felt more comfortable using a MT for back carries rather than my wraps at the time. That first MT led me to add a Silver Waves Didytai and a semi-custom Topatop WCMT to the stash. Since then, I have also added three more wraps - a Heartiness Ethno (7), wool-blend Natibaby Sweetplace (6), and Oscha Sea Breeze (3) in 100% linen. After my first foray into linen, I swore I wouldn't go back, but the bounce and smoosh of this Oscha makes me glad I returned! I finally have mastered a ruck and a passable BWCC, though I still prefer the WCMTs or our Tula for longer back carries. 

I have been very excited to be working with a lovely weaver, Alison Addicks of Weave and Lace, to design and create my first handwoven wrap. It should be arriving this Spring, and I cannot wait to try it. I truly do not know how I would parent my two boys (and stay sane!) without babywearing as a tool, and am thankful I have had the opportunity to try so many beautiful carriers along the way.

A list of carriers we have had in our stash:

Snugli (Gone)
Maman Kangarou (Gone)
Pouch Sling (Gone)
Maya Ring Sling
Babywearing Shirt (Gone)
Galaxy Grey Ergo
Black Boba Air (Gone)
Calin Bleu gauze wrap (Gone)
Blue Boba wrap
Didymos Orient (6)
Natibaby Colorado (6)
Natibaby Nature of America (5) (Gone)
Kindercarry Mei Tai (Gone)
DidyTai Silver Waves
Kokadi Blue Birds (5) (Gone)
Topatop WCMT
Heartiness Ethno (7)
Natibaby Sweetplace (6)
Oscha Sea Breeze (3)
Tula The Wave
Weave and Lace Custom Handwoven 4.5m (Winter Sunset) - (OTW)

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Babywearing Dads Calendar 2015!

We are making a calendar for 2015, which will be available to buy in December of this year and we need your help. This is not going to be any old baby wearing calendar, it will be a ‘Babywearing Dads’ calendar! (Think ‘Ottawa’s Own AP Ryan Gosling Wearing A Baby!’ type thing!)….. something for us to go weak at the knees over! 

Jenna Sparks Bradbury will be helping us with some of the photography but as you know she is about to pop with bub #3 so will be unable to take pics for the first season. Kim Brooks from Breath In Photography will be doing the photography for the winter months, while Jenna babymoons! 

But where will we get the dads from? This is where you come in! We need some dads (approximately 12!) to be our models for the full 12 months.

Please nominate the baby wearing dad in your life by sharing with us a pic of him wearing your babe, if he has one yet! If you are not yet due just share with us a pic of the dad to be. The dad must be a willing participant so please don’t nominate him unless he’s game! Please add, in the photo description
*the name of the dad
*the number of children you have and/or are expecting
*the age of the child he likes to wear
*his preferred carrier
*what he likes about babywearing

Once all nominations are in OBG members will get to vote on their favourite dads. The 12 most liked pics will be selected to represent each month of the year. The dads will join either Kim or Jenna at one of 4 different photoshoots (dates and locations TBD) where they will work their photographic magic creating the images for each month. All Babywearing Dad winners will receive a free calendar as their prize, as well as the adoration of many women in Ottawa!

Be as playful or as soulful as you like. Show us how handsome and sexy the babywearing dad in your life is, when he demonstrates that bonded connection with his worn bub! Get out and about and show us Ottawa in its glory! Most of all have fun!

All entries must be submitted by adding them to this album by Feb 8th. Voting will not begin until February 9th.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Reasons Why We Wear #3

.... because wearing my baby helped me bond with her and recover from my post partum depression.

3 Beco Gemini's & A Boba Wrap

by Tami Grosset

by Elly Vic
When we celebrated the OBG's first birthday we started planning a local lending library. We spread the word throughout our community and before we knew it we had our first few carriers; 3 Beco Geminis (donated to us by Milkface, a local nursing and babywearing boutique) and a boba wrap (no longer needed by myself and donated to the collection). Now, almost a year later we have three large storage boxes full of a huge variety of carriers. Some were donated by members, some were donated by local or online stores, some donated by manufacturers. Others were bought either new, at the best discounted price we could find or used, but in excellent condition. Recently I've been contacted by a few other babywearing groups, asking how we went about setting up the library. I figured I may as well blog about it!

by Kim Brooks
 Putting Together The Rules:
Whilst the lending library is a free resource it was important to us to create a set of rules and a contract to which borrowers would have to agree. This was to protect the library from any liability and also to protect the collection from any damage or loss. We are very lucky in the OBG, in that one of our admins works in the legal profession and as such was able to help us draft our proposed rules. Once they were drafted we presented the rules and contract to our membership, asking for their feedback, by way of a consultation. By the time the library went live the rules and contract were agreed upon.

Beco Gem from Milkface
Acquiring The Carriers:
Once we'd presented the rules and contract to the community the word was out..... Ottawa was getting a sling library! Many of our generous members offered carriers they were no longer using and the collection started to swell.
One of the reasons we wanted to create the library was to discourage our members from showrooming at our local babywearing boutiques. Milkface recognised this and donated the Beco Gemini's as mentioned above.

Natibaby donated by WYB
There are many manufacturers and stores that run competitions online and on Facebook where individuals and groups can win carriers for their lending libraries. We entered a competition with Wrap Your Baby and whilst we didn't win we did exceptionally well; well enough for Diana at WYB to gift us our first woven wrap!
Many of the larger manufacturers will gift carriers to lending libraries, especially if a review is promised. We sent out begging letters to many of the manufacturers. Boba sent us a 3G very quickly and without any additional requests. Having the blog here was, I think a useful way of proving our online and IRL existance outside of the realm of Facebook.
Both Wrap Your Baby and Pax offer a sort of 'kick back' service to babywearing groups and their members. When a member makes a purchase with either of these companies they need to mention the group, and then make a note of it in the appropriate file in our group. For every purchase Pax or WYB give us a credit towards a new carrier for the library. Recently Pax sent us a new WCRS by way of a thanks to our members for buying carriers with them.
With the funds we raised over the past summer (see below for details) we purchased some used carriers from our local FSOT page from mamas we knew. This was great as we did not need to pay shipping and we knew that the wrap was in great condition since we'd seen and played with it at local meet ups!
We also bought some carriers at fantastic discounted prices. In the January/Boxing Day sales we picked up a Manduca for 30% off from Belly Laughs in Kanata. Belly Laughs were happy to help us with this and also donated a Chimparoo wrap that they were clearing from their inventory. Milkface were also holding some awesome sales this new year and we were able to acquire a Chimparoo RS and a Kozy carrier MT for just $20 each!
Sewfunky, a Canadian RS manufacturer and converter sent us a RS. All the businesses that donated carriers have links to their websites and/or FB pages listed next to their donated carriers, on the library page. This, I think, has offered an extra incentive to businesses who wished to donate.

Salsapalooza baby!

Raising The Funds:
Clearly getting a library off the ground requires more than just creating some connections with babywearing businesses and developing goodwill amongst members to encourage donations. Cash is most definitely needed!

Our community picnic and silent auction

We held two fund raisers over the summer of 2013 which gave us enough cash to really get things started. The first was a dance event, Salsapalooza, and the second an auction, which was part of our community picnic. We are currently planning further fund raising events. In February we are holding a Babywearing Ballet class, on the same lines as Salsapalooza. None of these events would have worked without the generous  donation of talents and time by some key members of the group.

Going Forward:
Now our collection is pretty much complete, with just a handful of items yet to be sourced, we are looking at using our remaining funds for new projects, whilst keeping some funds for library upkeep and maintenance. We are planning a project whereby we will gift a carrier to a family in special circumstances and we'd also like to create a babywearing promotional pack to send out to appropriate local healthcare professionals. The funds we raise in the future will go towards this trinity of projects.

by Jenna Sparks Bradbury

Whilst this is not a blue print to creating a sling library I do hope its of some use to you. Please share with us the stories and successes of the libraries you have created. OBG would love to share your experiences!

Monday, 20 January 2014

My Stash Monday: Mari's Stash

I have always loved wearing my children, although the reasons and choice of carriers have changed over the last twelve years. My stash is more like a story as it has become very much who I am.

When I was pregnant with my eldest 13 years ago, my husband and I went to Toys R Us to find a carrier. This wonderful Snugli saw us through colicky hours from what we called the "witching" hour from 7 till 10pm for three months. He became so attached to it and we used it for many an outing to Upper Canada Village and RCMP musical ride. I really wasn't aware of ergonomics at the time. Just enjoyed carrying my little boy and loved the closeness that it brought both of us. The Snugli was packed away when Kieran got too big as it became not comfortable to carry him anymore.

In the fall of 2005 we welcomed twins and a green Maya Wrap ring sling. The sling was great as I could carry both tiny babies at once. This worked for three months until they grew too big so out came the Snugli. I would carry one and have the other in my arms. Oh did I pine for a double Snugli! We loved to go hiking as a family so we picked up two frame backpack carriers second hand. When my husband was at work, I would put one baby in the backpack and the other in the stroller and off we would walk with my four year old. Once the babies had out grown the hard frame carriers I sold one and packed away the other and the Snugli.

March of 2008 our daughter was born and out came Snugli again but she did not like it at all. We planned a trip to Great Wolfe Lodge - a water park. Was I crazy? A six year old, two 30 month old babies and a three month old. Yup I was crazy! How was I going to watch two babies and hold another and hope no one drowned? A little research and trip to 'the baby shoppe' here in Kemptville and I found a mesh pouch by Mama Kangaroo that could go in water and leave my two hands free. Perfect and she loved it. Our vacation was awesome (no one came remotely close to drowning) and Miss Marley loved being carried. When we got home it was summer and I continued using the pouch everywhere. It was my go to tool to get dinner ready with two active toddlers or picking my son up from the bus stop; baby in the pouch and toddlers in the double stroller. Sadly Snugli was given to another mama - it was hard to part with as it brought me closeness to my children in ways I didn't understand until now. I also passed on the ring sling to another mama as it did serve a need but I didn't love it like I did the Snugli.

Fast forward four years to March of 2013 and the birth of a beautiful boy. I love babies and thought the transition to having a baby in the house again would be seamless. Nothing was farther from the truth. A serious case of baby blues and intense jealousy issues by some eight year old's combined with no sleeping, yet having still to maintain some sort of schedule for four other children, proved disastrous. It wasn't until my lovely midwife reminded me to wear the little one that a glimmer of hope returned. I loved wearing my babies and read somewhere that smelling the top of a newborns head can cause you to fall in love with your baby. Out came the mesh pouch and before the day was over my husband was picking up a stretch Mama Kangarou from a mama in Ottawa, and so our lives began to change. I fell in love with a little baby boy and my eight year old daughter stopped being so mad at her mama for having this little baby. She too began to wear him and started to love this little boy.

I purchased my first woven - Northern Lights size 4 from another OBG mama. Blyth traveled on my back and front in a variety of carries from the ball diamond to the pool and to and from school. It was also on the top of our packing list for our camping journey to Lake Placid and hiking through the Ausable Chasm. I did shed a tear or two when I sold this as I wanted to try out some other wraps. Without a doubt I believe that this wrap gave me back my family.

Being a practical person, but loving pretty things too, of course I needed another wrap for when this one was in the wash after camping so I purchased a size three Oscha Juniper Phaise - love at first sight for colour but oh so burlap like! It did soften up and became our Sunday Church wrap. It too has gone on to another home. My husband also wanted to wrap little Blyth and my heart melted. I bought a size six waves for him that he did wear but found that he was never going to master this art and preferred the WCMT (oh did I forget to mention this beauty? Fell in love with one at a meetup and bought one off the Canadian swap) so waves has gone to live with a new family and will be carrying a new squish come April.

Seeing as how my original stash has now been depleted except for the WCMT I was in search of some blue wraps. I loved the look of braids and wanted to celebrate Blyth's Irish heritage so bought a Oscha Knots Chasai Gentian. It is a long two/short three. A perfect size rebozo and is our go to for Sunday mass where Blyth nurses happily for an hour. It is as soft as butter and I really don't see me selling it. I think I will pack it away and hopefully carry my grand children one day or a new Squish (but that is another story). I also bought a size four as I was missing my other four very much - Indio Mystic Petrol Hemp. We are still getting to know each other as it has high standards to live up too. I also added a size five Girasol Snow flame. It is soft and lovely for multipasses and may stay for a while too. Besides I love orange! Right now this is our stash. It is filled with love and purpose and literally takes my breath away when I think about where I have come from to now.

I have also added some baby wearing articles of clothing - a lovely wool poncho to wear in cooler weather and an incredible amauti. It has allowed me to continue walking my older children to school (1.25 km) to school a very important part of our day. Blyth and I get to continue to hear the tales of their day despite the cold and even though he sleeps for most of our walk! I think he is listening to their stories too. It keeps the wind off his face and both of us are toasty warm. Not to mention it is beautiful. So yes, I can be seen walking the streets of Kemptville numerous times a day in this gorgeous coat. I do get a lot of questions about the wraps and the coats but that is okay.
These beautiful pieces of fabric have allowed me to gain a bond with a baby I didn't think may happen and provide him all the love and attention he needs while strengthening my bond and love for my other children without them realizing it is even occurring. These things have allowed me to continue raising my busy family and doing it with love. So you see my stash is not just a stash; it is a story.

by Breath In Photography

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Wordless Wednesday: A Day In The Life Of Emilie

This was when Jeanne had a cold with fever. I placed her on my back to make supper and she fell asleep right away.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Reasons Why We Wear #2

....because wearing my newborn helps me tend to my toddlers' needs and ensures that he knows he is still important, whilst still caring for my new baby.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Reasons Why We Wear #1

....because when my baby is a tiny newborn wearing him allows us to keep cozily skin to skin, which is great for getting my milk producing hormones racing.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

COTW #49 - Half Jordan's Back Carry

by Aline Kelly
Half Jordan's Back Carry (Half JBC) is a carry that has already been covered during regular JBC week, but it's popular enough on its own that we are giving it its own focus week. This carry is essentially JBC without the final horizontal pass and is a quick back carry for wiggly babies. A short or mid-length woven wrap is used, usually a size 2, 3, or 4.

This carry requires a shoulder flip (ie where your wrap comes from under your arm and flips up and over the same shoulder) which many find challenging to accomplish, and you can lose some tension in your wrap if it's not done well. Many babywearers prefer an alternate Half JBC variation with no shoulder flip. The resulting carry is identical! Both variations are included here.

General instructions:
Classic version:
- This carry starts off-center. Drape your wrap over your shoulder to around your waist. Where the wrap crosses your spine is where you will center baby. 
- Get back onto your back and create a seat. The short tail comes over your shoulder, the other comes under your opposite arm (rebozo pass). 
- Taking the long tail, flip it up and over your same shoulder, spread it across baby's back and bum, and tuck it under his opposite knee (cross pass). 
- Tie at shoulder, tie a candy cane chest belt, or do a knotless finish.

No shoulder flip version:
- This carry starts off-center. Drape your wrap over your shoulder to around your waist. Where the wrap crosses your spine is where you will center baby. 
- Get back onto your back and create a seat. The long tail comes over your shoulder, the short tail comes under your opposite arm. 
- Take the long tail and bring it under baby's knee, spread it across his back and bum, and up over your opposite shoulder. 
- Tie at shoulder, tie a candy cane chest belt, or do a knotless finish. 

Video instructions: (Babywearing Faith) - No shoulder flip method

Finishing options:

Friday, 3 January 2014

Frugal Friday: Make Your Own MT

By Tami Grosset

You may want a WCMT but considering the cost of the wrap and then the conversion it maybe out of your budget. This blog ( includes a tutorial which demonstrates how you can make your own Mai Tei carrier, with wrap straps, from a tablecloth. There are many other tutorials available online which offer instructions for similar projects.

NB: I have not personally used this tutorial. As with the making of any baby carrier, please ensure the finished item is safe for purpose.