Natural Parenting — babywearing

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Forward Facing Strollers Stress Babies 10

 A recent study confirms what those of use who practice intuitive and attachment parenting already know; forward facing strollers stress babies and inhibits their social and language development. It sometimes makes me wonder about the ability of mainstream culture to empathize at all with babies. According to the CNN report last Friday: " The research found that children not facing the person pushing them were significantly less likely to talk, laugh and interact with their parents. Based on a study of 2,722 parents and children, the study by Dundee University's School of Psychology calls into question the designs of many of the world's most popular baby strollers. "Our experimental study showed that, simply by turning the buggy around, parents' rate of talking to their baby doubled," said developmental psychologist Suzanne Zeedyk, who led the research. Zeedyk's study, published by British charity National Literacy Trust, included an experiment in which 20 babies were wheeled in buggies for a mile, spending half the trip facing their parents and the other half facing away, Parents using face-to-face strollers were more likely to talk to their children, who were less likely to exhibit signs of stress, the study said. "Our data suggests that for many babies today, life in a buggy is emotionally impoverished and possibly stressful," Zeedyk said. "Stressed babies grow into anxious adults." The study found that 62 percent of all children observed traveled in forward-facing prams. For children between the ages of one and two, the figure was 86 percent." We should not need a study to tell us that babies want to be close to their caregivers, and all the items of mainstream parenting are designed make our lives more "convenient" but they also detach us from our children, both physically and emotionally. Attachment parenting advocates already know this and this is precisely why we wear our babies. Eye contact, closeness, conversation and communication leads to happier, healthier babies and parents. Of course, if you are think babywearing is too primitive or might hurt your back, you can always drop $500 or $1,000 on a nice rear facing stroller system like Bugaboo or Orbit. Read more at CNN.com Image Source: Flickr.com

The Motrin Mom Videos 6

For those of you who are not aware of the controversy, Motrin put out an online "ad" which in all likelihood was simply a publicity stunt, which basically mocked babywearing. The ad would appeal to more mainstream parents who have a preference for strollers and a more detached parenting styles, but feel compelled to make an attempt at babywearing because so many celebrities are doing it and many major retailers now carry slings and carriers and somebody, somewhere is wearing a baby every where you look. The fact is, however that babywearing has very real psychological and physiological benefits for both baby and mom and that is precisely why it has grown in popularity, rather than simply being a "trend". It is an offensive ad but as they say, there is no such thing as bad press, right? I know I will never buy a Motrin product. Check out this great post on the Motrin/babywearing issue and then watch the original video and a couple of great comeback videos that started twitter and the blogosphere afire a few days ago: The original Motrin moms anti-babywearing video that caused all the ruckus:

The best comeback of all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpqpAGLS2t4

Babywearing Makes a Difference 0

Bringing Up a Smart, Happy Baby How Babywearing Makes a Difference Have you ever wondered how you can get your baby to stop crying? How you can get something done around the house when your baby doesn't want to be put down? Have you wondered how you will get out and about now that you have a baby? Babywearing will calm your baby down, let you work with both hands free, and give you complete freedom to get out of house - all while your baby is securely on your body. Even celebrity mamas are realizing just how wonderful babywearing is. Mamas like Angelina Jolie, Michelle Williams, Liv Tyler, and Joely Fisher have all been spotted wearing their babies around. Babywearing is easy - just pick up one of the many baby carriers on the market and pop your baby inside. Most carriers come with clear photo instructions and some even come with videos to help you learn to wear your baby! Your baby will love being close to your body. A fussy baby is soothed by the rocking motion as you walk with him in the carrier. It's similar to how he felt in the womb - including the close, cradled position. As your baby grows you can carry her sitting up and facing out or straddling your hip. She can see the world and you can get out in the world! Your baby will be able to interact with others in a way that is just not possible when she's close to the ground in a stroller. Babies in traditional societies were able to learn how their family and culture worked right from the start - because they were right there with their mothers. Your baby can have the same benefit. Your baby will pick up on language quickly because he'll be listening to you as you talk with other adults. The shifting and bouncing that your child gets in the baby carrier will help enhance her sense of balance. She'll gain muscle tone and strength as she travels with you and learns how to adjust her body in the sling or carrier. It will also make her happy to be an active part of your day. Having your baby snuggled in the sling or cheerfully straddling your hip will leave your hands free to get some things done. Some baby carriers even allow you to put your older child on your back. What fun for baby and how nice for you! You'll easily be able to handle the housework. And you'll be able to take your baby out without having to lug a heavy stroller or baby carrier. Your sling or baby carrier will also keep your baby close to you. People are less likely to ask to hold your baby while she is safely in the baby carrier. You can nurse your baby discreetly in a sling. And when you are in crowded areas your baby will feel more secure and be happier - meaning you can still hit your favorite malls or enjoy popular natural trails. Wearing your baby in a baby carrier will result in a happier, more secure baby. And you'll be a happy mama (or maybe daddy!) knowing that you can take care of life and still get out to play - all with your bouncing baby on your hip! by Kristen Hart About the Author: Kristen Hart is the owner of Natural Birth and Baby Care.com, a website devoted to healthy pregnancy, natural birth, and the best baby care. You can learn more about babywearing and research all different types of baby carriers at Naturalbirthandbabycare.com Baby Wearing, The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient TraditionSheryl's comment: As a single mother, my New Native Carrier was the one thing that I absolutely positively could not live without. My daughter is now two and we still use it regularly. She sits in it rather than laying down so we can dash through airports, stroll through farmers markets or just walk to grandma and grandpas without all the extra "stuff". I usually ask her if she wants the sling or stroller and she will inevitably pick the sling. While using the sling we talk and I get to shower her little noodle with kissies. While she is in the stroller however, we are generally just lost in our own thoughts. A stroller ride is a far cry from bonding. When she was younger I regularly nursed her in public and people never knew. The outside of the sling covered her head and people thought she was sleeping. If I have the privilege of having another child I can pretty much guarantee that I will use the sling even more especially during the first 9 months or so. Babies love it and I promise that it makes your life unbelievably easier. Buy Babywearing, The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/happykatie/1511812102/

A Guide to Baby Carriers and Slings 1

Baby Carriers & SlingsAuthor: Anne Dhir So you have decided to buy a baby carrier or sling to carry your baby? Welcome to the wonderful world of baby wearing. The next question is what type of sling will you choose? What are the differences? This article will guide you through the vast array of baby carriers and slings that are now on the market.
  • Wraparound Sling
  • Ring Sling
  • Pouch Sling
  • Soft Carrier and Backpack
Wraparound Sling This is probably the most versatile of all the slings .Wraparound slings are sometimes called "a simple piece of cloth" as they are constructed from a long piece of fabric that is tied around your body ensuring that your baby is held securely in place. The wrap can be used to carry the baby in many different positions and offers a versatile travel system. A baby or toddler can be carried on the parent's front, back or hip or with shorter wraps they can be carried on one shoulder if desired. Most carries involve the sling being worn over both shoulders and often around the wearers waist in order to offer maximum support to the baby. Wrap baby slings are made from either a stretchy fabric or woven cloth. The length of the fabric varies but is usually between 6-20 feet long. The stretchy wraps are usually made from materials such as jersey or micro fleece and allow the baby to be lifted in and out of the sling as desired. This type of wrap is particular popular for young babies but they may not be as comfortable for the parent as the youngster gets heavier. Woven wrap baby slings are often available in a wide range of colors and designs. Cotton is the most common type of woven wrap available but hemp, silk, linen and wool are also used. Most weaves used provide some stretch allowing the fabric to conform to the baby and wearer's body. Woven wraps tend to give more support to heavier babies and toddlers. As the fabric is wrapped around your waist and shoulders, the baby's weight is well distributed which ensures that they are a comfortable choice for the wearer. They are particular suited if you suffer from back pain. It may take time to learn how to tie the sling correctly but the effort will be worthwhile. Excess fabric may be used for more discreet breastfeeding while the wrap may also double up as a blanket or changing mat while out and about. Ring Sling This baby sling consists of a piece of fabric threaded through two rings, forming a loop. The cloth wraps around the wearer's body, from shoulder to the opposite hip and back up to the shoulder. The end of the fabric is then threaded through the rings to create a buckle effect. The baby can then be placed into the pocket of fabric in either a sitting or lying position. The sling can be taken off and put back into place without rethreading. The baby's weight creates tension on the fabric causing the friction between the fabric surfaces and the rings to lock the carrier in place. This type of sling is easily adjustable to suit different wearer's size and different wearing positions. Ring slings are available with padded shoulders, some models also have padded edges. Some rings slings also have a curved seat sewn into the fabric. A variety of fabrics is used in ring sling designs including cotton, hemp, rayon and silk brocade. Most commonly used are homespun fabrics and lightweight twills. It is important to ensure that the rings are sturdy and have been stitched repeatedly to the fabric. Ring slings can be used from birth and are also suitable for toddlers. They are an excellent sling for breastfeeding as they are adjustable allowing them to be lengthened to allow easy access to the nursing mother's breast. They can also be quickly adjusted once feeding is done. Pouch Sling Pouch slings are probably some of the easiest slings to use. They are formed by a wide piece of cloth sewn into a tubular shape. Simple pouches do not tend to have rings, adjustable pouches may adjust using a variety of methods including zips, buckles and press-studs. Most pouches have a curve sewn into the fabric that will hold the baby more securely in place. The sling is slipped over the wearer's head and worn sash-style across the body. Most baby wearers find that they adapt to using the pouch sling very quickly. Pouch slings can be used from baby to toddler and are an excellent choice for situations in which the baby is frequently removed from the pouch and being placed back into it. The asymmetrical weight distribution can make carrying heavier children more challenging. Pouch slings offer excellent value for money and are relatively easy to make. Soft Carrier and Backpack Many different types of sling fall into the soft structured carriers and backpack category. Although there are many different types of designs most are structured and often have shoulder straps and waist straps. Some of these carriers are suitable from birth and there are models that are ideal for carrying older children. If you're not sure, double check with the vendor. Some carriers are closed with buckles. Chinese inspired mei-tai are tied at the waist and under the baby's bottom. They are usually quick to put on and can be a good option for heavy toddlers. Now that you understand the different types of baby carriers and slings that are available on the market it is time to consider which option will best suit you and your family. Things to take into consideration will include how you wish to wear the sling, whether you intend to keep the baby in the sling or keep removing from the sling, if you require a sling to provide discreet breastfeeding and also how willing you are to practice using your sling until you get it right. Armed with this information it just remains to wish you and your child many hours of very happy baby wearing! About the author: Anne Dhir is the owner of http://www.calinbleu.com, a company specializing in comfortable baby carriers and http://www.slingmeet.co.uk, a forum where parents can meet up with other sling parents locally. Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/zen/31039045/

New Parent Preparations 0

new parent preparations So you're pregnant? Congratulations! Your life is about to change in ways you might find unthinkable (and we're not even talking about the surrender of your once slim waistline to proportions most comparable to that of a Dr. Suess character). Pregnancy is the beginning of a new life for a baby, but also a new life for you as a parent. If this is your first baby, you may be filled with an endless list of questions and concerns. If you're a veteran of the labor and delivery room, you've got a better idea of what to expect, yet every pregnancy, like every mother and child, is different. Making Choices While pregnancy and birth have physiologically been the same since the beginning of time, your options as a pregnant woman today are greater than at any previous time in history. After confirming your pregnancy, your first (and arguably most important) decision to be made is choice of caregiver. While traditionally in the U.S., maternal care has been provided through obstetrical physicians and hospital births, there is a growing movement towards return to low intervention, midwife-assisted births*. How do you know which is right for you? Consider what is most important to your birth experience (always remembering that birth is anything but predictable and flexibility is vital). Are you interested in birthing natural, without the aid of drugs or invasive procedures? Would you rather give birth at home or in a birthing center as opposed to a hospital? A midwife may be the right choice for you. Conversely, if you know up front you'll want an epidural at the first sign of labor pain you'll probably find the anesthesiologist at your local hospital to be your best friend. Keep in mind, each choice has its pros and cons and it's up to you to weigh which option is the best for your needs. If you give birth at home and have complications, you'll need to be transported to the hospital. Epidurals may provide excellent pain relief (or not), but have potentially serious, although rare, side effects. Some birthing centers will not accept a mother attempting vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC). Being an educated consumer in your pregnancy will allow the best possible birth experience and beginning for your new baby. Planning for Baby Somewhere around middle to late pregnancy (usually about the time you can no longer see your toes because of your protruding middle), you'll want to start making accommodations at home for your babies expected arrival. If this is your first, trust yourself to the care of an experienced mommy friend who can prevent "New Mother Shopping Syndrome," i.e., going to Babies 'R Us and spending an exorbitant amount of money on baby paraphernalia that, not only do you not need, but you will never use. Yes, the mommy bear that emits sounds of the womb is cute. No, your baby will not be fooled. This is the time to cultivate self control, which will particularly come in handy when your precious baby has become a 16-year old who has just wrecked the family car. Babies actually need very little in the way of gear for the first few months of life. If you're planning to family bed, you can skip the nursery furniture altogether. Some good choices of useful items include a five-point harness infant car seat, a quality hospital grade breast pump if you're planning to breastfeed (Medela is the gold star standard), and plenty of Onesies for sleep and play. A baby sling is also useful for helping mom get things done around the house while still meeting the babies need to be held, and also for discreet public breastfeeding. Also unnecessary are baby toys, gyms, etc., which will not be of interest to the infant until they are at least six months old. Delivering the Goods Prepare for labor and delivery by compiling a plan for your caregiver sharing your wishes for birth. Discuss your feelings on all types of childbirth medical intervention including the use of epidural, IV's, artificial rupture of the membranes, fetal monitors, episiotomy, etc. Remember that a birth plan is simply that, a plan. Since no one knows exactly how any given birth will proceed, it is not a guarantee of any kind*. While the mother's experience with birth is important, the ultimate goal is a healthy baby, whatever it takes to achieve it*. A birth plan is simply helpful in communicating the type of birth experience you would like to have, and if you have made a wise selection in caregiver, you will have someone who will work with you to honor these wishes to the extent they are possible. You may want to hire a doula to assist during labor. A doula's purpose is to support and be an advocate for the mother, and can be helpful in achieving the mother's goals towards birth. Surviving the First Weeks After nine months of waiting and planning, your baby is finally in arms. What next? Despite that you might feel you've gotten away with something when the hospital staff actually allows you to leave with your baby (whom you think you have no idea how to care for), remembering a few simple tips can help things go more smoothly. Feed your baby on demand. Don't try to schedule feeding sessions, which can be detrimental to establishing a proper milk supply if breastfeeding, and simply isn't good for baby. Keep a record of wet and soiled diapers for the first few weeks to assure baby is taking in enough breast milk or formula. Hold baby as often as possible. Contrary to popular opinion, he can't be spoiled. Always remember to place your baby on his back to sleep and tummy to play, to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Call your pediatrician if your baby develops a fever, or if you have any questions or concerns. Most importantly, remember motherhood is a work in progress and cut yourself some slack. You will make mistakes, learn, grow and change. Both babies and parents are born, and neither reaches their full potential overnight. Author: Barbara Eastom Bates About the author: Barbara Eastom Bates is a freelance writing living in east Tennessee with her husband and two children. In addition to writing articles about pregnancy and parenting, Barbara develops quality of life media for Navy and Marine Corps families. Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/supercake/438139776/