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Maya Wrap Introduces Their New Shoulder – The Comfort Fit!

23 Mar

maya wrap comfort fit shoulder new

I love Maya Wrap ring slings for so many reasons, but I’m even more in love with them now with the newest shoulder design called the Comfort Fit!  What’s the difference between the traditional “Lightly Padded” shoulder and the new Comfort Fit?

The LP (or lightly padded) shoulder features a unique, padded shoulder that comfortably cups your shoulder and pleats that spread out to distribute baby’s weight across your shoulder and torso. The set structure keeps the shoulder of the sling sitting comfortably on the top and ball of your shoulder without fabric coming down over your upper arm and restricting arm movement. The Comfort Fit shoulder features a classic gathered shoulder with a comfort band allowing you to adjust the spread of the shoulder to your desired width and an elastic seam across the back of the shoulder to prevent overspreading.  The more spread the shoulder is, the farther down your upper arm and back the fabric can cover, offering more support for heavier babies for some wearers.  Both shoulder styles are available now at QuirkyBaby and will ship for FREE within the US and free gift with purchase!

Here’s a quick video I made (with a very fussy little 9 month old!) to show the new design features and compare it to the previous shoulder:

Updated Sakura Blooms and NEW Silks!

20 Sep

Check out the GORGEOUS new Simple and Essential Silks available from Sakura Bloom.  I think my favorite is the Bittersweet~Raspberry! Yum!  What’s yours?

sbessbittersweetraspberry

Sakura Bloom silk ring slings are so soft and moldable, lightweight while incredibly supportive.  I couldn’t believe how breathable they were until I took one for a spin on a summer evening!

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One Year at QuirkyBaby and a Giveaway to Celebrate: Win a Maya Wrap Ring Sling or Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Wrap!

1 Sep

Well, it’s been a whirlwind year for me at QuirkyBaby!  Taking over on Sept. 1st of last year, I couldn’t have imagined how many amazing people I’d get to meet and help on my mission to spread the babywearing love (…or what it would be like to run the business over my first year through a devastating hurricane, while pregnant, having a baby, and surviving the early newborn days and colic!)

One of my favorite blog posts that I made this year was entitled, “You Are a Baby Carrier.”  As I work to make babywearing accessible for all different types of caretakers and babies, the heart of my mission is that it is the ACT of carrying your baby in your arms that matters, more than the product.  As an avid babywearer who really loves to try out everything I can get my hands on, it is fun to get caught up in the rage of the latest “it” carrier, wrap conversion, newest wrap, etc.  But, it’s important to come back down, sometimes, and remember that every carrier is a “real” baby carrier.  There are none that are better or worse than others.  Everyone has different tastes and opinions for what he/she likes in a carrier, and each baby likes different ways of being held for different reasons. Certain carriers might fit and feel better to one person and maybe other carriers fit and feel better to a different person, but that doesn’t mean that carriers are ranked in terms of good, better, best.  They all help us to carry and care for our children, and that is the most important thing of all.  It’s not about the brand, or how much you spend. It’s about the act of carrying your children and whatever carrier you prefer, can afford, and find comfortable to do so.  There was a blog post on Where We Wear, recently, that really sums it up so eloquently.

Two of my favorite carriers are a Maya Wrap Ring Sling and a Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Wrap, both of which I’ve sadly heard described sometimes as “beginner” carriers or not “real” carriers, as if they’re fine carriers to start out with and then one must move on to something else. There is no reason that these brands should be labeled as “entry level” carriers, as if one MUST graduate to something else to be part of the babywearing community.  If you choose to expand your horizons, that’s one thing, but many “real” babywearers, like me, still use carriers like the Maya Wrap and Wrapsody as go-to carriers with newborns, toddlers, and even preschoolers.  Maya Wrap Ring Slings are one of the original wrap conversions – made from wrap fabric woven in Guatemala and converted into a ring sling.  Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Wraps are not your every day stretchy.  Besides the fact that the colorways and patterns are gorgeous, they are supportive enough to take you from newborn through preschooler, can be used in every type of carry one might do with a non-stretchy (including back carries and tandem carries!), and the slight stretch has such a lovely bounce on your shoulders and helps wrap with that second-skin quality.  I have just a “few”pics (and, believe me, there are more!) of how much use I’ve gotten out of my Maya and Wrapsody.

mayawrapsodycollage

So, to share my love of these brands, and to celebrate my first year at QuirkyBaby , I’ve teamed up with Lizzy from Where We Wear for a giveaway! 

Visit Where We Wear and the official Where We Wear Facebook Giveaway Page for details on how to enter, and don’t forget to submit your own pictures and stories to the Where We Wear blog to help continue the mission.  At the end of 2 weeks, a winner will be chosen at random from all entries.  The lucky winner will have the choice of a free Maya Wrap Ring Sling in Berries or a Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid  in Bridgid.  I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful babywearing pics and hear your wonderful stories!

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brigid1 

Breastfeeding & Babywearing: About nursing in a carrier…

4 Mar

breastfeeding in a carrier

Can I nurse in this carrier? Which carrier is best for breastfeeding? Can I be hands-free while nursing? These are very common questions I hear, so let’s tackle them…

Can I nurse in this carrier?

For sure, most baby carriers are absolutely able to be used for nursing. There is a caveat I always share, though. Anyone who has ever been a new nursing mama will admit that those first few days, weeks, maybe even the first couple months of nursing were a learning process for both mama and baby. Likewise, any babywearer can try to remember back to her first times using a baby carrier with a floppy baby…and it was also a learning process! Both of these are skills that take time and patience to develop, so I ALWAYS recommend feeling confident in each skill separately before trying to combine them. In fact, nursing the newborn in a carrier can be extra tricky because they have no head control, which can complicate things in terms of your ease and comfort, as well as safety. When breastfeeding the newborn, as well as when wearing the newborn in a baby carrier, mamas should be completely aware of baby’s comfort and breathing. This can be especially difficult when trying to do both at the same time. However, if both skills are worked on separately, when it’s finally time to combine them, baby is usually a bit older, with more head control, and mama and baby are both usually a bit more comfortable with the ins and outs of their breastfeeding relationship. This is a great time to work on nursing in your carrier. Another important consideration in terms of ease of nursing in a carrier is the clothing you’re wearing. Nursing clothing, or clothing that allows you to access your breast without pulling up your shirt (so v-neck, scoop-necks, etc., where you can just access the breast from the top) will make life so much easier.

Which carrier is best for breastfeeding?

Which carrier is best for wearing and/or breastfeeding really is a matter of personal preference. There are so many factors like the physical build of the wearer, age/stage of baby, and just one’s own preference for a “feel” of a carrier. Most carriers can be used for nursing, with the exception being carriers that have a panel between mama and baby, which might make nursing difficult. Many of us who have nursed our children find that we “learned” to breastfeed with baby in a cradle position in our arms. Wraps and ring slings can support this semi-reclined position, if desired, though one has to be a bit more cautious in that cradle position, making sure that fabric behind baby’s head is not forcing baby into a chin-to-chest position (which can interfere with baby’s breathing, whether breastfeeding or not) or forcing baby into the breast , AND remember to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS monitor baby and return to an upright position when baby is done nursing. There has been so much development in the world of “baby” (specifically in Kangaroo Care and Breastfeeding) in the past few years, and we now know that most babies naturally orient themselves vertically, between the breasts…think biological nursing, laid back breastfeeding, the breast crawl, skin-to-skin kangaroo care, etc. So, MANY mamas (including myself) have found that we actually have more success breastfeeding baby in an upright position (added perk – it helps vary your nursing positions to work the less-used milk ducts in your breasts). This can be done in any carrier that allows upright, tummy-to-tummy positioning, and mei tais and buckle carriers can make it especially easy since you can just loosen up, lower baby down, and then re-tighten baby at breast level. When baby finishes, again, you need to return them to the higher, upright position.

I LIVED in my Catbird Baby Pikkolo when my daughter was a baby, because I loved how easy it was with the dual-adjusting buckles to lower her down and then tighten her back up again, not to mention the fact that I could use it without the structured waist belt meant that there was nothing digging into me if I were nursing in the Pikkolo while sitting down. Again, it’s still important to monitor baby while nursing him/her, and this position is best when baby has good head control. If you have particularly large breasts, any carrier might be tricky to nurse in, and you might prefer a stretchy or woven wrap where you can pop baby out for nursing, but use the “x” of the fabric to help with discretion, if that’s important to you.

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A Note on Discretion While Nursing

Ring slings are often recommended for nursing b/c the tail allows for “discreet breastfeeding.” Besides my own opinion that we need to make nursing in public more socially acceptable and you shouldn’t feel the “need” to cover up for others, some mamas prefer to be discreet for their own comfort. When baby is new and you’re both learning to breastfeed, it makes more sense to NOT try and cover up. You really need to see what you and baby’s mouth and airway are doing. If discretion is important to you, it’s probably better to practice at this point in a private place, rather than try to cover up. If you’re a more competent/confident nursing mama, nursing in a carrier can be discreet but you still should NOT attempt to cover baby’s face while he/she is nursing. Many babies actually hate being covered up, but it can also prohibit good airflow, make for a hot, uncomfortable experience for both mom and baby, or hinder breathing. I hear ring sling tails often being described as “wonderful for covering up while breastfeeding.” For your own peace of mind and for baby’s safety, please do not cover baby’s face (while breastfeeding, or while wearing).

Alternatives for nursing discreetly in a carrier:

  • Pull up the edges of the carrier to cover up a bit.
  • You can use the tail of the ring sling or fabric from a wrap to cover over the top of the breast, but, again, not covering baby’s face.
  • Carriers with head rests can allow you to have some privacy, but still be able to look down and monitor baby.
  • Hoods used for discretion while nursing can be attached in a diagonal position, which will make you both a little cooler and allow for some airflow, as well as letting you see baby’s face and nursing position.

lillebaby_nursing

What about “hands-free” breastfeeding?

I don’t know about you… but, I was never able to be “hands-free” when nursing my daughter in my carrier. I always needed one hand to support the breast while she nursed. I’ve actually heard this from a lot of mamas, so I know I’m not alone. Being hands-free while nursing was a promise of baby carriers that was really appealing to mamas a few years back, but most people who have experience nursing in carriers and most babywearing educators will tell you that very few people are actually able to be completely hands-free. It’s completely normal if you are not able to magically breastfeed baby in the carrier and have both of your hands free for something else. One hand free is usually quite helpful, even if the other hand is helping to support breast or baby.  Also, again on a safety note, being “hands-free” or “one-hand-free” while nursing does not mean that you are free of monitoring baby while he/she nurses. It is always important to know how baby is doing and pay attention to his/her breathing and behavior when breastfeeding in the carrier.  If you’re still nursing your toddler in your carrier, you might actually get lucky and finally achieve “hands-free” nursing if he/she helps out a little by supporting the breast on his/her own!

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Remember: Being able to breastfeed in your carrier is a fabulous perk of wearing your baby, and wearing your baby PROMOTES breastfeeding!  I hope the information I’ve shared helps moms and their babes do this comfortably and safely.

For more information and individualized help with breastfeeding and babywearing, try reaching out to your local babywearing educator, consultant, or babywearing group.

How was your experience breastfeeding in a baby carrier? Any stories or suggestions to share? Leave a comment! 🙂

Tweak of the Week #2 – Ring Slings

19 Feb

Have been fighting a monster of a cold for close to three weeks and finally got my voice back…yay! Next tweak of the week: Ring Slings. Hoping this video will help those with ring slings learn some tricks to getting the rings to stay in place, stop sliding down as you adjust, or ride up on your neck. Enjoy 🙂

YOU are a Baby Carrier!

4 Oct

You know, this past summer I attended the International Babywearing Conference in D.C. It was such a great experience to be among “my people”! In a session called “Practice, Not Product,” we were discussing different baby carriers, the tendency for those in the babywearing world to talk about one type being better than another, etc. For many of us, baby carriers are like pairs of jeans. Each type or brand will fit each person’s body and tastes differently. There is no one “best baby carrier.” There are so many! Some people prefer buckle carriers, some prefer the feel of fabric in a wrap or mei tai. Some people (like myself!) LOVE a ring sling, some have never been able to get the right feel. As a babywearing retailer and as a babywearing educator, my goal is to help you find the carrier that suits your individual needs best, or work with a carrier you have to get the best out of your babywearing experience.

It was in this session that I had an “Aha!” moment… Having studied human development, I believe in the importance of holding your baby. Maybe not all the time, but certainly a lot. I believe babies come into this world expecting to be held, soothed, nurtured, and kept close. It was only a recent development in the span of human existence (the Victorian era wasn’t that long ago, when you consider all time) that we decided children should be separate from us and independent from the get-go. Those wonderful scientists who devoted their lives to studying the development of the human mind and body (and who I had to read again and again in college!) found that children need be dependent before they can be independent. They need to feel comforted, before they can learn to comfort. We nurture them now, because we want them to grow into amazing human beings who will feel it’s important to care about others and the world around them. And then it hit me… WE are baby carriers!

We were given these fabulous things called hands and arms to take care of the child’s expectation to be touched and held. Without any device, you are a carrier. So, a baby carrier, as a product, is just a tool that allows us to use those other things called hands and arms to do the gazillion other things we need to do as parents these days, while still meeting that basic need. We know that when we fulfill the most basic needs on the pyramid, children are free to grow in every other area, cognitive (smarts!) and social-emotional (feelings). We come fully-equipped to carry our babies in our arms. Sometimes, we need some help…sometimes, we need our hands! Let QuirkyBaby help you find a carrier to match you and your baby’s needs.

I carried my daughter for 41 weeks…
Pre-Baby

We carried her from the moment she was born…
New Baby

Daddy Hugs

Found our “tools”…
Pikkolo

Daddy, Baby, and Boba

And are still carrying her today!
Maya snuggles

Meet the New QuirkyMama! (and a few other “new” things at QuirkyBaby)

19 Sep

Wrapsody Orca Sea World
Hi! I’m Rachel, the new owner of QuirkyBaby. I’m so excited to take on this new venture, after teaching elementary school for close to 10 years, most of that time as a kindergarten teacher. So, here’s a little background on me and my journey to QuirkyBaby…

After graduating from Connecticut College with a degree in Human Development and having completed the teacher certificate program there, I dove right into the world of early childhood education. As a teacher, my goal was always to interweave pedagogy and best practice with my knowledge of childhood development. In today’s world, unfortunately, developmental appropriateness and elementary school curricula do not always go together, hand in hand, but that’s a story for another day…

In May 2009, I was finally blessed with the birth of my daughter, Jane (after a bunch of miscarriages and a lot of trying!). Words cannot describe how overjoyed my husband and I were at her birth and have been every day since then. I’m sure many of you can relate! I hadn’t read any books about parenting, wasn’t even familiar with the term “attachment parenting,” or anything of the like. We just followed our instincts with our new baby, and didn’t worry about following any set of rules laid out by any “experts” who didn’t even know us or our baby. Later, we discovered that many things we were doing with our baby did fall in line with what is called attachment parenting, but we always found it a bit funny that following instinct and meeting the biological and developmental needs of our baby actually had a name. It just seemed normal to us! And, one of those things that felt normal was to hold her…a lot!

It felt right to hold and cuddle our baby. On top of that instinct, Jane also had some reflux, so our doctor advised holding her upright after she ate…which was all the time. I wanted to hold her as much as possible, needed to hold her after feedings, so off I went to find one of those Moby wrap things I had seen in magazines, or one of those “my ties” my friend had (yes, I did mispronounce mei tai in those days –and just in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced may-tie)…

I discovered a tiny ad for QuirkyBaby in Mothering Magazine one day, sipping on tea at Borders, saw that it was local, and e-mailed the owner – Jane. Funny coincidence!

I went to my consultation expecting to walk away with one of those Moby wraps or mei tai, but, ended up falling in love with a CatBird Baby Pikkolo. It’s still one of my favorite carriers to recommend – as poppable as stretchy wrap and as easy to use as a mei tai!

Pikkolo at the Beach

About a month later, I decided I “needed” another carrier, something I could eventually use on my hip – enter the Maya Wrap ring sling.

Maya Wrap Cowgirl

And, of course, when Jane was around a year old, QuirkyBaby Jane demonstrated the NEW Boba 2G (now, of course, updated again as the Boba 3G) at the Central NJ Babywearing Group meeting, and I had to have one of those, too!

Boba Crossing the Tracks

Thus began my love of babywearing, and trying out anything I could get my hands on. I was interested in learning all about different types and brands of carriers and new ways to carry. Immersed in TheBabywearer, I read every how-to, tweaking/tips, tutorial thread, and watched tons of videos. I was very lucky to have a willing guinea pig (my Jane is pretty easy-going, making all of those hours bending over in front of a mirror a tad bit easier). As QuirkyBabyJane went back to work full-time and needed to give up leadership of the babywearing group, two other babywearing mamas and myself took over leadership, and then babywearing education became a part of my life.

After 2 years of leave from teaching, I returned to the kindergarten classroom for a year. But, I soon realized that I wanted to slow down life a bit, and have more time to spend with my family and spread the babywearing love. So, I chose to retire early and take on a this new venture, which still allows me to use my passion for and expertise in infant and early childhood development, but in a whole new way!

Babywearing Family in Disney

So, as the new owner of QuirkyBaby, I hope to continue Jane’s (QuirkyBaby Jane, for clarification) mission to help new parents find carriers that are comfortable and functional. I also want to thank Jane for her mentorship and friendship. She has helped me develop as a mother, as a babywearer, and as the new “mama” of her QuirkyBaby. My husband would say she’s my Obi-Wan!

I’m the new girl on the block, but there are some other things “new” at QuirkyBaby! As the weather cools, check out the Kowalli Baby Carrier Cover. There are also some new BabyHawks and ToddlerHawks in stock. One of the brand new, limited edition Beco Gemini patterns is already up for pre-order at QuirkyBaby, and keep your eye out for even more new patterns coming soon! Finally, QuirkyBaby has brought back local consultations, so if you’re in the Central NJ/Philadelphia Metro Area, check out the QuirkyBaby Local Offers page.

Baby Carrier Sales and News at QuirkyBaby, June 2011

1 Jun

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  • Memorial Day Sale continues for a few more days! Take 10% off and enjoy free US shipping on most baby slings and baby carriers at Quirkybaby. Baby sling and baby carrier brands on sale: Babyhawk, Kozy, Boba, Scootababy, Pikkolo, Maya Wrap, Moby Wrap, Hotslings AP, and Wrapsody. Baby accessories on sale including BabyLegs and Sunday Afternoons Kids Play Hats. Sale doesn’t apply to sale items, Ergo, Beco, and Sakura Bloom products, but you can still qualify for free BabyLegs on orders over $100!
  • Need to protect those tender little arms and legs from the sun? Check out the new designs in BabyLegs Cool, with a UPF protection factor of 50+! Other great sun protection items: Moby Wrap UV baby wraps, and the best kids’ sun hats ever from SunDay Afternoons that are cool, comfortable, and actually stay on!
  • Need a cool, lightweight, and portable baby sling or baby wrap carrier for hot summer days? A woven cotton ring sling from Maya Wrap or a single layer linen ring sling from Sakura Bloom will keep you and baby cool and ventilated.  Need two-shoulder support? The Wrapsody Bali Stretch is a great option for those who want a traditional all-in-one carrier for newborns through toddlers, while the Ergo Performance gets rave reviews for its high-tech breathability and support.
  • New Beco Gemini patterns coming soon! Lucas on Espresso and Aiden on Espresso will expand the boy-friendly/gender-neutral range of this extremely popular buckle carrier that enables forward facing out, forward facing in, hip, and back carries.
  • In other Beco Baby Carrier news: Beco Gemini and Beco Butterfly in the sunny, cheerful Luna organic print have been discontinued. Limited Edition Beco Butterfly in Ever and Duke are in stock only while supplies last! And there are still a few Beco Butterfly carriers on sale for $20 off with free US shipping in Aiden, Lucas, and Natalie prints.

January Sale — Enjoy Fantastic Savings on New or Like-New Carriers and More

4 Jan

It’s a new year, a new decade, and time to m ake room for some new products at QuirkyBaby — so it’s time for a massive clearance sale! Most of the carriers are brand-new, first-quality — all of the returned items have only been tried on and are in like-new condition. Here’s your chance to get an Ergo Baby Carrier, Maya Wrap, BabyHawk, Hotsling, Go GaGa bag, or Tummy2Tummy DVD at bargain prices!

Shop the QuirkyBaby outlet now.

December Deal #7: Plain & Fancy — Sale on Maya Wrap Ring Slings

14 Dec

The deals continue! On December 14 & 15, take 10% off all regular and 20% off all organic Maya Wrap Lightly Padded ring slings. Maya Wrap’s sling design is one of the most comfortable out there, and a ring sling is a staple of any babywearing wardrobe!

Don’t forget, there are other holiday freebies at QuirkyBaby, too, including free BabyLegs on qualifying orders, free $25 Restaurant.com gift certificates on qualifying orders, and free gift wrap on every order!