Friday, November 18, 2011

It's cold out, but that shouldn't stop you from going out

**This month we are focusing on babywearing in the winter.  This post was previously published on our blog in Feburary and we thought it was still appropriate, especially now that it's getting cold again.  Happy Babywearing (in the cold!)**

In celebration of Idaho's sub-zero temperatures this week, we're going to talk about babywearing in the cold.

First, I want to stress that sub-zero temperatures are really cold.  And you should know your limits, as well as make conservative decisions while out in the cold, especially with your baby. 

There are a many different reasons we take our babies (and by babies I mean babies and toddlers) out in the cold. We need to go out to the store, or to a meeting, or general errands, story time at the library, sending an older sibling off on the bus in the morning or outdoor chores. 

More reason we might take our babies out in the cold is that we are out skiing or snowshoeing or just taking a brisk walk around the block a few times to get our blood moving and get out of the house for a bit.  It's good for the soul and makes us happy, healthy parents.

For general errands, I don't worry too much about my baby getting cold.  I put him in a couple layers, put his little wool socks on him and this amazing wool hat.

Then I put a ring sling on, put my coat on and pop him in and out from his car seat.  The same pop-in and pop-out idea works well with nearly any carrier if you tie it loosely and put your coat on over it.  If I feel it's breezy or too cold, I do just wrap my coat around him, use the ring sling tail as a wind shield, and kind of hunch over with my back to the wind.  If you aren't sure how to make it work, try it at home in the warmth of your living room a few times to get it down.

The reason I don't worry too much about him getting cold on quick trips is because he's up against my body and my body heat keeps him warm.  Plus, that little hat is amazing.  I feel like it keeps the wind from going all the way to his core.  If I feel like it's going to be too cold, I put a little fleece outfit on him, which could be his fleece footie jammies.  The issue is also that I don't want bulky clothing on him in his car seat. 

Now of course there are those times when you will be out for extended periods of time getting your Christmas tree, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, or whatever you like to do in the winter snow and cold.  (You probably want to refrain from things like downhill skiing and ice skating with a baby on your back.)

If you aren't into buying extra baby gear, you still have options.  This is a great example:

She put her baby on her back in her Ergo and put her husband's coat on backwards.  Of course she needed help to get it zipped up, but it worked and she got out and had a great time in the great outdoors. (Notice also that she's using poles.  A great way not to fall down!)

Along the same lines you can wear a too big coat the right way and the baby on your front.  Many of us have husbands that are bigger than we are, so that can be convenient.  And inexpensive.

Here's another example:

It was a gorgeous day that day and I felt that I didn't need a ton of layers.  So I just wore a base layer with a fleece over it and put him in a few fleece layers, including that awesome hat and wool socks and these awesome little wool mittens.  (He got all his awesome wool for Christmas.)

When I got back to the car and all back in his seat I felt his hands and feet. He was toasty warm still.  He also slept through the whole adventure.  (Notice also that I have poles.  Again, they are a great way to not fall down with a baby on my back!)

Something else you can do is put your baby on your back and wrap a large blanket around you and the baby.  This is basically what many traditional cultures did, even using the blanket as the carrier.  You can find some good instructions with photos for a front carry here.

And while we're on the subject of traditional carriers, we can't forget the Amauti.  The Amauti is a traditional carrier of the Inuit people.  It's a coat that goes on over your head and it has a large pocket in the back.  It also has a large hood that goes over both you and the child.  On first glance it may look like the child is in the hood, but that is not the case. 

Here the baby is pretty bundled because it was so cold.  But again, after our trek out to get the Christmas tree I checked his hands and feet and he was toasty warm.

And here's a picture of it with the hood over both mom and baby.

The trick is finding an Amauti.  The design is legally protected by the native people and they are not mass produced.  But with a little determination and a little help, it's very possible to find one.  There are individuals out there who make them or they are available used as well.

There are other great options when it comes to clothing made specifically for babywearing in the cold.  There's the Peekaru fleece vest:

This vest can be worn with a front or a back carry over your favorite carrier.  On not-so-cold days you can wear it with just a base layer.  On colder days where you need a coat, you can put your baby in a front carry and put a coat on.  You probably won't get it zipped, but you are both still plenty warm.  The same company also makes an amazing coat, The Peekaru Soft Shell, that can be worn in either a front or a back carry.

Another option is the Kindercoat. Made by Childrens Needs, a company out of Utah.  It's a great option for both front and back carries with your favorite carrier.  And the way it's made, it converts easily into a nice coat when you are not babywearing.  Check out their many other outerwear options as well.

If you are looking for something more fashion conscious, the MCoat may be be just what you are looking for.  It's an amazing down coat that works as a maternity coat, a babywearing coat, and a regular coat with just a couple zips.  It doesn't work in a back carry, but it is a gorgeous and warm piece of clothing.

Yet another option is a simple accessory for a carrier.  Catbird Baby makes a carrier cover that tucks around your baby and creates a windproof barrier as well as providing warmth.  It's inexpensive and very practical. 

If you are more of a do-it-yourselfer, there are patterns for babywearing coats like this one or you can just make something up. 

Obviously this is not a complete list of all the cold weather babywearing options, but it ought to be enough to get you started and get you thinking.  The whole goal is to keep your baby warm while getting out and about, whether it's a quick trip to the store, outdoor chores that must be done, getting an older kid on the bus, or an all day excursion in the great outdoors.  Basically, you can't do it wrong if your baby is warm and comfy and you get done what you want and need to.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bowl, Baby! Bowl!

We had a little bowling party this week.  Babies came, too!

And, the baby got to bowl!

So did his big sister.  She was pretty excited!

Go play!  Babywearing makes it so much easier!  And so much more FUN!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I love babywearing meetings

I think my favorite part of babywearing meetings is the brand new moms.  I really wish that I had discovered babywearing with my first baby.  Because it's so powerful!

These brand new moms come in looking for something.  I'm not convinced they really *know* what they are looking for.  They are tired--the kind of tired you only get when you have a newborn.  They are not quite in their element because this "mom" thing isn't quite who they are yet.  But they are looking for *something*.  Sometimes *anything* will do. 

And then we throw a carrier on them and get their baby all snuggled in.

And suddenly, there is a baby who is comfy and happy and a mom who suddenly feels that everything in the world is right.  Or at least it can be.

Behold, the power of babywearing! 

And then these moms who came in weary and unsure nearly skip out of the meeting full of confidence and hope.  I've seen it over and over and over again. I am just as in awe of it now as I was the first time I witnessed it.  And every time I see it it brings those feelings I had when I first figured it out rushing back so powerfully that I nearly cry.

Hold your babies close!  It's where they are supposed to be!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

IBW 2011: Make it Monday

The Idaho Babywearers have been busy this year!
We were able to help organize International Babywearing Week for 2011, and boy has it been fun.
One of the events was "Make it Monday", a day when we were able to teach others how to make their own safe baby carrier.
We had a blast!

Woo hoo!

Our newest Volunteer Babywearing Educator, Rachel was teaching a mama how to use her mei tai.

Our President Angela and darling new Melina in the super awesome wrap donated to us by Didymos in honor of International Babywearing Week! Thank you Didymos! (Now all of you come check this wrap out from the library, it is awesome!)

Our other President Marie with James wearing a Boba donated to us in honor of International Babywearing Week! Thank you Boba!

Looks like one baby doesn't want mama to sew right now!

Here is another little one (almost) patiently waiting to be worn in her new carrier!

Check out our new leader in training (in the middle) Kendle Hammon! We are so excited!

VBEs and buddies.

All of our leaders who were at the meeting. We are excited that nearly all of us have our Volunteer Babywearing Educator Certification. By the end of the year we hope all of our leaders will be certified!

Katie modeling the awesome Taylormade mei tai also donated to us for this week! Thank you Taylormade! (That babydoll is kind of scary though.)

Angela modeling with the read deal.

Our first finished carrier! What sewing skills and what a good looking mama!

We had a great turnout, a fantastic time and we hope you will all come out and sew with us again!

Thursday we will have a Babywearing 101 class, come join us! Check out our facebook page for details!
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Walk It Wednesday!

To celebrate International Babywearing Week, we’re going to strut our babywearing stuff for “Walk it Wednesday” down at the Idaho Falls Greenbelt Trail! We’ll meet at 1pm at the corner of Memorial Drive and E Street (there’s a bandstand and picnic tables at this area of the park along the river). We’ll walk south toward the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho where there's a playground for kids--about a 15 minute walk. There is easy parking across the street from our meeting point at the LDS church (north corner of Memorial Dr and Riverside Dr/E Street). See you this Wednesday--let's gather in mass and turn some heads!
Here's a map of our meeting point: Memorial Dr & E St

Monday, October 3, 2011

Preparing for International Babywearing Week 2011

The Idaho Babywearers have been a BIG part of International Babywearing Week 2011!
We helped plan the activities for the week, organize the awards and help get sponsors.
One of the biggest jobs we had was to send out the packets to groups all over the world!

Rachel, Angela, Marie and Kimber got together last week to get the packages ready.
(Melina helped too!)

The official Babywearing International Groups got some extra goodies in their packages! Another reason we are thrilled to be a part of BWI!

Kimber was very excited about the packages!

Melina got a bit tired. Poor thing.

But Angela worked through the night getting boxes ready to ship out, complete with duct time in true Idaho fashion.

Wanna know what we got in OUR kit? Keep watching for a blog post!
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Come sew your own!

Mark you calendars!  Monday October 10 from 6:30 to 9pm at the Rigby Library we will be hosting a Make it Monday sewing lab to celebrate International Babywearing Week!  If you have some sewing skills and a sewing machine, you are invited to come sew with us!  We are requesting a $2 donation to help cover the cost of the library space.

Kimber, who created the Ball Baby mei tai, will have pre-cut Ball Baby kits available at the event.  A kit will be $10. It is JUST the fabric all pre cut and in a bundle.  They will be available that evening.  You might want to bring a few different colors of thread, or something neutral.

A BBO mei tai in action

So you've never made a carrier before?  That's okay!  There are lots of FREE patterns for pouches, mei tais, ring slings, wraps, and even soft structure carriers at Sleeping Baby Productions.  (PLEASE keep in mind that these are patterns offered for free for PERSONAL USE.  No selling, please!)

pouch, stretchy wrap, ring sling, stretchy wrap, pouch.

The single most important factor in a baby carrier is SAFETY.  And the two most important things for you to do are find a safe pattern and buy the right fabric and other supplies (like thread or rings).  Quilting fabric is NOT appropriate for the weight bearing parts of the carrier.  Canvas or a sturdy twill is what you need for straps and body fabric of a mei tai.  A sturdy linen or similar fabric is lovely for ring slings.  If you want to make your carrier a pretty one, you can buy that pretty fabric and use it to accent your carrier.  Also, we recommend you pre-wash and dry the fabric.  That way you can wash your carrier without worrying that it will shrink and get all funky.

Locally the best place to find awesome canvas is Home Fabrics in Idaho Falls (solids are in the back).  You can also find decent fabric at Walmart and Jo-Ann's.

If you are making a ring sling, don't go to Jo-Ann's or any other craft store and get craft rings.  You MUST buy rings that are specifically made for baby carriers.  You can find those here at  They are super reasonably priced and safety tested, etc. Lots of manufacturers use these exact rings and they come in MANY colors. (And we can't in good conscience let you use un-safe rings!)

Ring sling

What you need to bring:
--The printed pattern you plan to use
--Fabric, rings, padding, etc. necessary for your particular pattern
--Sewing machine in good working order
--Iron and ironing board or pad
--Thread (Good thread!)
--Other notions that are necessary for sewing
--$2 donation to cover the cost of the space

What we will do:
--Help you make sure your carrier is safe
--Answer questions you may have along the way
--Provide some yummy snacks

We know that you probably have kids and all, but we do ask that you only bring non-mobile babies.  There are lots of sharp things involved in sewing and we would really hate to see a baby get hurt!

Come join us for a fun evening out!  (And if you have any questions, email Heidi--mrs_donnelly at hotmail dot com)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Last year for the conference the Freehand family came and brought us one of their BRAND NEW soft structure carriers.  I was absolutely intrigued by it, but was pregnant and had an uncooperative toddler.  So I didn't get to try it.

Plus, everyone hogged it and it was checked out constantly.

Then a couple months ago the Freehand family visited us again.  And they brought another soft structure carrier.

But alas, I still didn't get my hands on one because they were all suddenly checked out again. 

But then I got to run the Rexburg meeting this last month.  I called Jentri when we were done to drop the carriers off at her house and report on the meeting.  I was so disappointed that the Freehand hadn't come back and I couldn't borrow it! 

"It's at my house," she said.  "I haven't gotten it back in the bag.  That's my fault."

I may have squealed in delight.  I finally managed to get my hands on the Freehand!

Let me tell you, this is a great carrier!  I don't have an infant any more, but it's super impressive for my toddler and preschooler!

Super light weight. Great support, even for my three-year old!  We took it on a hike on Sunday.

The Little Mister in it.  He's one and pretty chunky.

I found it pretty darn comfortable for the hike down and back--about a mile total.

He seemed pretty comfortable and content, too.

Here's the three year old.  She got tired of walking and the husband had the one year old.

Now the base on this is pretty narrow, but the way the straps come out of the base they provide some pretty awesome support so the bigger kids aren't hanging in the carrier.  I think it's brilliant!  (The Freehand mei tai has a similar design with the triangle extension of sorts at the base.)  Again, super supportive and comfy for me!

Awesome carrier.  Awesome company.  Awesome Freehand family that you can feel good supporting.

Happy Babywearing!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

International Babywearing Week, October 10-16th 2011

International Babywearing Week is fast approaching and there are some great contests! Check em out and enter! Spread the babywearing love!
Google Doodle Contest
Winner could get their doodle on during IBW2011

Deadline: October 1, 2011

Doodle must be original artwork by the entrant or a team of entrants
A team of entrants must submit the artwork together.
Winning doodle will be submitted to It is up to to accept the winning doodle
There must be a minimum of three entrants for prizes to be awarded
Limit of 3 entries per person or team

Email entries to:

Please include:
  • DOODLE in the subject line
  • Your first and last name (include all team members, please)
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • And don't forget to attach your entry! 

Best babywearing blog post or series by an individual

Deadline: October 1, 2011

Entry can be a single blog post or a series.
Blog entry must be an original piece on a personal blog.
All photos must be the property of the blogger OR the blogger must have permission to use the photos.
There must be a minimum of three entrants for prizes to be awarded.
Entry must be babywearing related.
Entries must be published between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.

Email entries to:
Please include:
  • PHOTO CONTEST in the subject line
  • Your first and last name
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • And include links to your entry!

Best babywearing blog post or series by a business

Deadline: October 1, 2011
Entry can be a single post or a series
Blog entry must be an original piece on a blog maintained by a business.
All photos must be the property of the blogger OR the blogger must have permission to use the photos
Entry must be babywearing related.
Entry must be published between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011
There must be a minimum of three entrants for prizes to be awarded

Email entries
Please include:
  • BUSINESS BLOG in the subject line
  • Your first and last name
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • And don't forget include links to your entry!

Photo contest

Deadline: October 1, 2011
Limit of three entries per individual
Photos must be the property of the individual OR professional photos may be entered with permission of the photographer
The contest is open to professional photographers
By entering the photo contest you are granting Babywearing International permission to use the photo for official BWI business.
Photos must be taken between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011
There must be a minimum of three entrants for prizes to be awarded

Email entries
Please include:
  • PHOTO CONTEST in the subject line
  • Your first and last name
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • And don't forget to attach your photo!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rexburg Porter Park Celebrate Youth

What a fun time.  Nothing like bringing all the kids down for a fun FREE day in the park!

Marie and James in the Boba:

Jentri and Kylan in their Ergo (I think they live in that thing and she is the queen of tricking it out!)

Our awesome booth:

We're working on a banner, but in the mean time, a Wrapsody works just fine.

A couple mei tais in the breeze (pink Kozy and black Baby So Smart)

FYI, our co-president, Angela, is due any day now.  She looks so great!  And sporting an Angel Pack!

This totally made my day.  A little monkey-wearing.  And TWIN monkeys no less!

And some cowboy wearing, too!  We love cowboys! 

That mei tai is made by Sweet Slings and it's really quite fabulous!

Proof that we were there and having a great time in our Ellevill!

What fun spreading the babywearing love!  Come see us at a meeting soon!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beware of fake carriers!

Recently BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance) released a warning against fake carriers.  One of the contributers to the warning was Hamilton Radcliffe of TogetherBe.  He and his wife Melissa came and visited us at a meeting in Rigby recently and we love them and their products.  But apparently they are awesome enough and original enough that someone, most likely out of China, has copied their design and is making an inferior product and is selling it to unsuspecting parents.

Unfortunately, TogetherBe is not the only company that is having trouble with the fake copies of their designs.  Ergo, Hotsling and Moby are also dealing with it. 

There are several issues here.  First, it's illegal.  These fake companies are not only stealing the design, they are stealing the logo, the photos and packaging design.  And they are selling many of these fakes under the real brand name.  Others, like TogetherBe, they have re-branded and claimed it's being made by another company.

The products they are making are inferior.  Ergo, Hotsling, Moby and TogetherBe all make a great product that have great reputations.  These copies are not safety tested and the fact that the people making them are making fakes in the first place should be an indication of how much they don't care for your baby's safety.

At the Rexburg meeting this month a mother brought in her fake Ergo. It came from the site  Compare that site to, the real Ergo Baby site.  Yes, the images are they same, but it's pretty easy to steal images.

So here's how the carriers compare.  On the left is the Galaxy Gray Ergo from our lending library.  On the right is the fake Ergo--that claims to be an organic, but I highly doubt it's anywhere near organic.

And the flip side.

One of the most obvious differences is the labels on the flip side.  Here is the real label:

Pretty standard label.  It meets all the labeling standards, I'm sure. It's even in a couple different languages.  Also notice the address . . .

And the fake label:

Notice the typo.  "Never nubuckle . . . "  HUGE red flag!  Ergo has been doing this for long enough now that they aren't going to let something like that get past them.  And the fake label has no address or contact information.  Another HUGE red flag!  Labeling standards require an address. 

There is also a slight difference on the woven label.  Here is a real Ergo Organic label:

And the fake:

These are all very minor difference in comparison to the quality difference between the two carriers.  The fake Ergo was inferior in quality to the point that it was not even close to the same carrier as the real Ergo.  The fabric was different, the webbing was different, the buckles were different and the stitching was sloppy.  There have been reports of straps ripping and buckles breaking on the counterfeit carriers.  In fact, Hamilton Radcliffe of TogetherBe easily ripped a strap of the fake FreeHand mei tai he bought to test.

You cannot tell from the photos on the website if the carriers are fake or not. The website photos are the same photos as the real site because that's where they were stolen from. Even the packaging is copied. 

Bottom line is that if you are looking for a great baby carrier, you are most likely looking for a good deal as well.  However, price should be a huge red flag for you.  Ergo, like many reputable companies out there, has very strict pricing policies and they rarely go on sale.  So if you do find a brand new Ergo for $78, it's most likely a fake.  Ebay is not the best place to buy them, either.  The best thing to do is go to the manufacturer's website and find the retailers through there.  Do your research.  Ask around.  Call the real company.  Talk to us about where to get your carrier.  Don't get a fake and let the criminals take your money in exchange for a questionable product just to save a few bucks.  The real thing is worth the extra money and then some.

If  you are like me, you are super picky when it comes to who you trust with your children.  The same should be true of who we trust when we carry our children.