Friday, January 27, 2012

My Babywearing Story

As a part of the babywearing community I think I took it for granted that EVERYONE knew what babywearing was and how AWESOME it is.  I thought wrong!  So more than just give you a boring history of babywearing I decided to share how I got into babywearing.

When I began to register for gifts I wanted a Baby Bjorn so bad because it was the carrier in the store.  I got one at my shower and my hubby was so excited.  It was HIS baby holster.  Ok what about me?  I got a Moby wrap.  Well my pumpkin eventually outgrew the Moby (when they start to sag it's time to upgrade) and I had to find something else because I HATED walking through the mall with a stroller and Akira never wanted me out of her sight.  She could be put down but she had to see Mama at all times.  This was fine with me. I wanted her as close to me as possible.  So what to do?

I did the same thing I do for everything else...went to  I LOVE DR. SEARS!  He understands my practice of attachment parenting (AP) versus the long lectures you hear from non AP parents when you tell them you co-sleep or babywear (only in America, this is the norm everywhere else in the world).  Dr. Sears encouraged wearing instead of wheeling.  I thought okay he's a doctor AND a parent (my own personal validation).  He said to "Carry your baby in a sling many hours a day, and then put her down for sleep times and tend to your personal needs."  This was just what I wanted to hear!  I WANTED to hold my baby.  I didn't think it was cumbersome or that I was spoiling her (and if I was why is it YOUR problem anyway?).  Studies have shown (including my own experiments with my princess who hates to go to sleep) that worn babies:

  1. Cry less
  2. Learn More
  3. Are more organized
  4. Develop human characteristics faster
  5. Are smarter
At  this point I developed two more best friends BabyCenter's Babywearing board and Babywearing Swap as well as  OH MY GOSH!!!!  There are tons of moms out there just like me!  We co-sleep, we wear our babies like we wear our clothes and there is no criticism there on being weird.  PLUS I get to shop for new baby holsters!  My pumpkin now is worn anytime I am doing something around the house (dishes, laundry, vacuuming) or anytime we leave the house.  How great was it to navigate the mall during the Christmas rush without a bulky stroller! So here is a look at my current stash (personal action shots to come with my in depth reviews of each).
Here is a quick and dirty of the types of carriers taken from Carry Me Away:

Ring Slings: Ring slings are made with fabric that gets pulled through 2 rings to fasten the baby to your body. The size of the pouch which holds the baby can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the the fabric through the rings.
Ages: Birth through toddlerhood.
Recommended Positions: Cradle carry (for infants), nursing (infants and toddlers), forward facing seated carry (infants), hip carry (older infants and toddlers)
Get a ring sling if:
  • you (or the person you are buying it for) want a secure nursing carry for a newborn
  • you want a quick hip carry for an older child
  • you want to share the carrier between people of very different sizes
Pouches:Pouches are the simplest carrier to use. A pouch is a piece of fabric sewn into a tube shape. Pouch sizing is very important and can be a bit tricky, especially when buying online. Once sized, a pouch requires no adjusting - just pop baby in and go.
Ages: Birth through toddlerhood.
Recommended Positions: Cradle carry (for infants), nursing (infants and toddlers), hip carry (older infants and toddlers)
Get a pouch if:
  • You (or the person you are buying it for) want a super simple, no fuss option for your infant or toddler.
  • You have a child who wants to get up and down a lot
Mei Tais: A Mei Tai consists of a rectangular piece of fabric with 4 straps that you use to tie your baby onto you. This type of carrier is wonderful for longer carrying times and for people with back/shoulder issues as the carrier distributes weight over your entire upper body.
Ages: newborn through preschool age as well as for hip carries. This carriers offer the option to nurse hand free, though some women with larger breasts may find it slightly difficult.
Recommended positions: Upright facing in (infants and toddlers), upright facing out (older infants), high back carry (infants and toddlers), back carry (older infants and toddlers), hip carry (if mei tai has wide straps )
Get a mei tai if:
  • You want a versatile carrier to last for several years that can be used for long periods of time and in a variety of positions
  • You want to carry an infant on your back

Buckle carriers: Buckle carriers are a modern version of the mei tai - they secure with buckles, rings or clips rather than knots.
Ages: newborn (some brands) up to 4-5 years old
Recommended positions: Upright facing in, upright facing out, back carry (older infants with head control, and toddlers)
Get a buckle carrier if:
  • You love the functionality of a mei tai but prefer buckles over tying knots and/or don't want to deal with long straps
  • You want a sturdy carrier for hiking or long walks with an older child who is still light enough to carry
Wraps: A wrap is a length of fabric that is tied around the baby and the caregiver. Wraps offer the most versatility of all carriers and also have the highest learning curve. Wraps can be stretchy or woven
Ages: newborn on up
Recommended positions: all of them (unless very stretchy, in which case back carries are not recommended)
Get a wrap if:
  • You (or the person you are buying it for) want an incredibly versatile carrier and aren't afraid to spend a bit of time learning how to use it.
  • You like the idea of connecting with our babywearing ancestors.
 Now for my ever growing stash:

My Ocah Hopp Lima Wrap Conversion Mei Tai (WCMT) (Pumpkin's Sleepy time favorite) A WCMT is simply a mei tai made from a woven wrap.  This one was made from a Hoppediz Lima.:

Next up is my Wrapsody Orion woven wrap.   This one is 6 yards long.  My longest by far!  Wrapsody makes some of the more affordable ones out there.

Here is my Ball Baby Overall Mei Tai.  One of the few I bought new.

Here is my Girasol Cocoa Almond.  It's 3.6m long.  I use it for short back carries like the rucksack

Here is my newest addition made by Shanna of Sweet Slings.  So comfy and affordable!  It's called the precious love mei tai:

And here is my Beco Butterfly 2 Full Buckle that I bought from a mama on TBW

This is my Bamberoo Full Buckle carrier bought from a mama on TBW (but am thinking of selling since me and pumpkin love MTs more):

I also have a BabyHawk Oh Snap which is out on loan to my converted BabyWearer coworker!

Hubby's Boba Classic Full Buckle:

Leave me a comment with your favorite carrier or to ask me a question if you want to know where to start.  I am always willing to loan out a carrier to try.

Happy BabyWearing parents!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


 This week I made up my mind to just jump! I decided I was going to do those things I had been afraid to do or try for fear of failure.  I decided enough was enough and today was the day.  So I logged on and created this blog.  I have no clue where it'll go or if anyone other than me will ever read it but I'm doing it for me (and my daughter).  I can't teach my little princess to be a fearless woman who dares to dream if I don't do it myself.  I can't tell her what she can do or be if I never set that example. 

So let me introduce myself!  I am Rachelle T. Gardner (because Rachelle Gardner is also out there somewhere) born and raised in Washington, DC.  I am married to my very own version of Survivorman, my knife making Damien.  Our friends call us Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  We have one little girl, our princess Akira who is 13 months at the time of this post.  I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, and friend who is happens to be a Bible totin, pistol packin woman as well.  I am a Delta (oo-oop), Shooting Diva of the DMV (hey ladies!), a Computer Forensics Examiner and did I mention I have an event planning company (  Hopefully I can make this blog a little interesting and find my voice in the cyber world.  I'll have pictures and reviews of the many baby carriers I own and will purchase (I'm kind of addicted).  I will have the latest in what I'm shooting (can't tell you how many we have in the house, lol) and how hard or easy it is to conceal for a woman.  I may let Damien show off some of his knife making skills (Yay Calvary Knives!).  Feel free to comment or make requests for content.  I could use all the help I can get!  Until next time....