Friday, 4 September 2015

Babywearers Supporting Refugees

by Tami Grosset

The most recent news and images from the Syrian refugee situation in Europe has many of us jettisoned into action. We all know how wonderful babywearing can be to keep our babies safe in dangerous circumstances and some community groups and businesses have started collecting carriers to send to the refugee camps in Europe. But is this what the refugees need or want? Will there be aid workers at the camps who can instruct the parents on how to use the carriers safely? Are there more pressing needs for these displaced people that take priority? Is this the very best help we can offer?

If you want to send carriers to the refugee camps in Europe I'm sure they will help in a small way and here are a couple of sites that are collecting. I'm afraid I have not found a Canadian group as yet so you will have to cover the cost of shipping the carrier to the UK (money that could be used more directly if donated through another organisation.)

There are other ways you can help, however. Here are a few ideas;

UNICEF Canada focuses on providing humanitarian relief to children in many countries including Syria.

Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres provide medical assistance to people within Syria.

Migrant Off Shore Aid Station is an organisation that is 'dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea by providing assistance to migrants who find themselves in distress while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe vessels.'

Amnesty International is an international NGO focused on human rights.

Canadian Red Cross is part of the international Red Cross organisation and is working with the Syrian Red Crescent to bring humanitarian relief to the refugees.

UNHCR Canada is the UN Refugee Agency, it 'is a lifeline for people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution—helping them survive, recover and build a better future.'

The International Organization for Migration supports refugees by providing support services to international governments.

If you know of any other organisations that are sending direct aid please add them in the comments and I will edit as appropriate.

Another bigger way to help is to sponsor a refugee yourself, or as part of a group. Here's a link to help get you started;

Of course, if you can't help financially (and many of us just can't) then please join us in prayers and blessings (whatever power you believe in) for the innocent men, women and children who are struggling at this time.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

WEAR ALL THE BABIES: any carrier counts!

by Tami Grosset

WEAR ALL THE BABIES: any carrier counts!
Ottawa Babywearing Group Big Meet 2015
June 13th
(and picnic in the adjoining park from midday)
Maki House
19 Leeming Drive

Demonstrations covering many baby wearing issues will be scheduled as follows;

9:45 Babywearing and Family Yoga Class (presented by Fitness with Kate)

10:00 Babywearing Culture and Traditions - An Aboriginal Perspective (presented by Georgette Whiteduck & Wendiiosta Horn-Allmand from the Odawa Native Friendship Centre)

10:20 A Brief Overview of the Variety of Carriers Available With a Focus on
Optimal Positioning (presented by OBG founder Tami Grosset)

10:45 Intro to Woven Wraps (presented by Véronique Bergeron)

11:00 Nursing in a Carrier (presented by Véronique Bergeron)

11:15 Babywearing and Family Latin Dance Circle (presented by Esther América Dance)

Guests will have an opportunity to buy and sell used carriers in person or get help with a carrier they are struggling to love. There will also be a bake sale and a chance to meet and socialise with members of our vibrant community. 

Photographer Joseph Allain will be at the event taking candid shots of guests as they enjoy the event and all it has to offer. Stephanie de Montigny of Pure Natural Newborn Photography will be at the event offering baby wearing mini sessions. Registration for these sessions is now open here.

There is a limited number of tickets.

You can order your tickets by clicking here!!

We suggest a minimum donation of $5 per adult- any amount will be most gratefully received! Each ticket earns you the opportunity to win any of these fabulous door prizes;

Fireweed Baby ( has donated a beautiful teal size 6 100% cotton wrap with a stunning First Nation traditional 'killer whale' design. 

Cheeky Bottoms is giving you guys adorable gifts for 3 lucky winners! they are cute little cars made with wash cloths.

Trailheadyarns has given you guys the chance to win a beautiful Hand Woven Baby Blanket with tote bag.

Decal cake designs - is giving up a great $75 gift certificate and they have offered to supply us with some yummy cupcakes for our sale table. Just look at the great work this bakery does.

Amie Tracey-Lee - is donating one of the wonderful signs she makes. Wait until you see her great work. It's a lovely wooden sign that reads " Always Kiss Me Goodnight"

Turners Family Treasure - Donated gifts for two lucky people. A reversible Bucket hat and reversible Bonnet. Go check out this very creative mama's items.

Adorit Boutique - donated a gift certificate. It's a great store filled with something for everyone.

Boiron Canada - donated a gift basket. Regulated as medicines by Health Canada since 1990, Boiron homeopathic products meet the highest manufacturing and marketing quality standards.

Joseph Allain Photography - donated a lifestyle mini photo session worth $99 which includes 30 minutes and 3 pictures for you to have.

Cherish the Child - Donated gifts for two lucky people. A wonderful toy carrier and one of her adororable newborn sized boobie beanies. Go look at her work and it will give you an idea of the great gifts that might be yours!

Lococina - Donated a beautiful pair of earrings. This lovely shop uses fair trade fabric and their clothes are sooo comfy looking. You can also find this lovely owner in Byward Market with goods from her store on Sundays.

Basketful - Donated an amazing basket of baby and mom spa items. Are you looking for a great gift for someone? This is the place to go!

Sarah Nagy - Hairstylist A local hair stylist and make up artist has donated a certificate for a haircut at her salon.

Down to Earth Baby Gear has announced they will be sending you guys something too!! I can't wait to see what it is. 

All door donations go towards the Babies of Peace Project and the OBG Sling Library upkeep.

Whether you are an Ottawa Babywearing Group member or just interested in finding out more about baby wearing in Ottawa please join us! We look forward to meeting you on June 13th!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

If The Carrier Fits Baby, Then Wear It!

by Tami Grosset

It seems that more and more frequently we are seeing babies both in OBG and other babywearing forums, being worn in carriers that are too big. Whilst its understandable that parents might want to save a few bucks and pop baby in a carrier that will ‘grow with them’ my concern, and that of many other babywearing advocates, is that babies in carriers that are too big are not being supported sufficiently.

Babies, especially in the 0-3 month stage, need really secure positioning in an upright chest to chest carry to ensure they do not become at risk of positional asphyxiation. Positional asphyxiation (PA) is where the baby’s position causes their airway to become blocked, usually by a kink in the airway, and ultimately stopping them from being able to breath. This flyer from Babywearing International explains a little more about PA.

Babies also need to be seated in a position that will ensure that their legs do not get over extended. With newborns this would mean either a froggy position, sometimes referred to as spread squat where their knees are high and hip width apart. After 3 or 4 months baby would be seated with legs wider apart, but still with their knees higher than their bum. When baby’s legs are over extended (ie when they are seated in a position which extends their legs to a too wide seat) they are at a higher risk of developing hip  abnormalities. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute explain this further;

‘After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. During the first few months of life the ball is more likely to be loose within the socket because babies are naturally flexible and because the edges of the socket are made of soft cartilage like the cartilage in the ear. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation).’

Whether or not parents are concerned about healthy hip development there is the discomfort of sitting in a wide legged position for any length of time. The Beltway Babywearers wrote a fabulous blog about this. I like the idea of an adult sitting on the floor in a wide legged position with straight legs to get an idea of  how uncomfortable this might be for a baby in a too large carrier.

When trying on a carrier there are 2 things to look for when checking for a good fit for your baby.

Firstly look at the panel. Does it hug your baby smoothly all over? Is there wrinkling in the fabric? If there is wrinkling this is a tell tale sign that it does not fit your baby and it may not support them sufficiently to keep them from sinking chin to chest.

Next look at their seat from knee to knee. Can they bend both their legs fully and freely at the knee? If they cannot their legs are overextended.

Some babywearers will suggest that parents can make a too large carrier fit better by using an infant insert or a rolled up receiving blanket. After market products for most carriers are not safety tested.  This includes manufacturers own infant inserts where they are not built into the carrier. Rolled up receiving blankets and towels are certainly not safety tested. Whilst an insert can resolve the issue of the width of the seat there may still remain the issue of the panel being too large and showing wrinkling, thus not supporting baby sufficiently to protect them from PA.

The purpose of the safety testing with regards to infant carriers is only to look at and test the carriers durability and strength. When the current ASTM safety standard was written the authors considered the issue of positional asphyxiation and decided that this was an area that was impossible to test. The standard protects our infants from PA through the mandatory information the manufacturers must provide in user guides, instructional information and weight restrictions. It is up to the user (ie you and I) to ensure that they have read and are following the instructions carefully and that their child fits the carrier appropriately.

If you are concerned that your carrier may be too large for your child there are a few options open to you.

*Visit the store where you bought the carrier and see if they can help you make an insert work for you, ensuring both width and depth are accounted for appropriately .
*Visit a local babywearing group meet and ask an experienced baby wearer to help you check the fit of the carrier.
*If the insert is not resolving the fit issues consider using a different, more size appropriate carrier for a bit, while your child grows big enough for your chosen carrier to work. Stretchy wraps and ring slings are often considered a great carrier for a small baby and can be bought brand new for very little. If you are on a tight budget you will find many low budget options for you in your local FSOT group and there is always the Canadian Babywearing On A Budget group found on FaceBook.
*If there really are no other funds for a second carrier you could just ask in your local babywearing group if anyone has a stretchy wrap or ring sling you could borrow for a short time. Here at OBG we have a loans thread (found in our FSOT group) and if you know of a family that needs a carrier and who has no funds you would be welcome to nominate them for a Babies of Peace carrier.

There are so many carriers now, from which parents can choose. It sure can be overwhelming and might seem like a pricey parenting tool. It needn't be overwhelming or pricey! Its understandable that parents will want to save bucks by choosing a carrier that baby will grow into. But its very possible to have the best of both worlds; an inexpensive carrier that fits right now and a possibly more expensive (although it actually needn’t be!) carrier for later on!