When Baby Doesn’t Like The Sling

I’ve been getting this question (and giving the following advice) for a while in-store now and have been getting GREAT feedback from happy parents on how well it works so I thought I should share it with you all too.

What do you do when your baby doesn’t like the sling? (Or carrier, Mobywrap, etc.)  She fusses and cries when she’s in, but is happy when you’re holding her in your arms.  She doesn’t want to be put down, but also doesn’t want to be in any carrier.  What to do?  My third child was like this.  She did not like the sling and would fuss in it, though she did want me to hold her.  When she was a few weeks old I told her, half-jokingly, “You are the THIRD child.  You WILL be a sling baby.  I just don’t have enough hands!”

If this sounds like your baby, first you want to rule out any physical discomfort.  Make sure the baby is properly positioned: chin off chest, back straight and not hunched over, face clear of fabric, head high enough that you can bend YOUR head down and kiss the top of HER head.  Make sure her legs are not too squished up, sometimes this can bother babies.  (If you have any questions about proper positioning please come into the store or meet with your local babywearing group.)

Once you can establish that there is no physical discomfort, it’s time to look at why else your baby may dislike the carrier.  If they are a baby who likes to look around, try to stand in such a way that they can see what you’re doing.  In a front carrier this does not necessarily mean facing out.  It can also mean facing you, while you stand sideways.  For example, in my (crappy) picture you can see that I am not facing the person I’m talking to, I’m standing perpendicular to them and turning my head.  That way the baby can also turn their head and see everything that’s going on.  If the baby is on my back, I try to hike them up a little higher so they can look over my shoulder and also see everything that’s going on.

If the issue is not your baby trying to see stuff (which you can usually tell by the fact that they’re craning their head all around), and/or your baby is too young to want to look around but she’s still crying, chances are she is just unnerved by this new weird position you’re holding her in.

The temptation is to jump right into babywearing with all its benefits, like being able to stick your baby in the carrier and basically kind of forget about them and go about your business.  And you’ll get to that point.  But first you have to get your baby comfortable with this new thing.

Start having a “daily babywearing time” just for 10-15 minutes.  Make sure baby is not wet/dirty, hungry, or tired.  Put her in the sling or carrier and spend the next 15 minutes actively interacting with her in the sling.  Talk to her, sing, walk around and look at interesting things, do the “mommy dance”, that strange hopping, swaying jig we all do that babies like.   You want her to experience sling time not as “time that mom sticks me in this weird place and forgets about me” but as “special mommy-and-me time when I get her attention.”  You’re also communicating by this constant calm interaction that you are fully aware of this new weird situation (the carrier) and you are okay with it, so she can be okay with it too.  Do this for 10-15 minutes for about a week and your baby will grow comfortable with the sling, to the point that you will be able to stick her in and go about your business.  Babywearing bliss!

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Test Driving the Beco Gemini

I must first say that I absolutely LOVE testing out the new carriers!  I feel like I’m building a relationship with each carrier. Silly?  Why yes I am!

Last week, I spent my time test driving the Beco Gemini.  It is a lovely, versatile and comfortable carrier.  I’m very happy to have tried the Gemini out for a week as it allows me to better sell the carrier when I’m working at Babies Bottoms and More.  Before I used the Gemini in real life, I was just able to tell potential babywearers that it just wasn’t the carrier for me.  I knew of it’s capabilities, but wasn’t wooed by the carrier as I was the Beco Butterfly 2.  Now, I feel very confident in assisting new babywearers and truly showcasing all that the Gemini is capable of doing.

The Gemini is a soft structured carrier that is very different from it’s sister the Butterfly 2.  The Gemini has a weight limit of 35 lbs, where the Butterfly 2 can carry a child up to 45 lbs.  (To be completely honest here, I highly doubt I will be wearing my child to those limits, but I reserve the right to do so if it makes both of us happy.)  The Gemini offers several ways to carry a baby: front carry, facing in; front carry, facing out; hip carry; and back carry.  A unique feature of the Gemini is the foldable headrest which can be used in front carry facing in or in a back carry.  Gemini eliminates the risk of losing a detachable headrest/hood with it’s foldable headrest, however, the headrest does not cover the baby’s head.  

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When testing the Gemini, I started with what feels like the most basic and natural position for me to employ in an ssc: front carry, facing in using the straps in the back pack style.  This position was very handy for allowing Norah to get used to a different carrier than our beloved Butterfly 2.  It allowed me to become familiar with the different features of the Gemini.  This was a preferred position for the nights when I needed to breastfeed Norah in the carrier in order for her to fall asleep.  I felt that the Gemini was very comfortable and far more accommodating for breastfeeding than my Butterfly 2 as the Gemini does not have an internal harness. 

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Back pack style straps.

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Crossed straps

I have to say that in the week I used the Gemini, my go to position was front carry with crossed straps.  I used this at home, at the park, and at the store.  It was just that comfortable to have the straps crossed.  It felt natural and very supportive for my bad back.  It made me wish that every carrier on the market offered this option. 

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Front carry, forward facing 

I have to admit that there isn’t much about a forward facing, front carry that entices me.  I did use this position one day for a long grocery trip and while it was comfortable and Norah LOVED the view, I did not love the carry.  It felt very unnatural to me and like Norah’s body was working against mine instead of with it.  There was nothing uncomfortable about it, but I felt like I had to be extra careful to not bump into the shopping car.  This carry also gave Norah way too many destructive ideas at the store since her arms were in front of her.  She did giggle and talk the entire time we were shopping and she didn’t ever get tired of the view.  I feel like strangers at the store were far more responsive to Norah in the carrier than when she is on my back in the Butterfly 2.  

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Back carry

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The back carry in the Gemini was comfortable and easy to employ despite my fears of dropping my baby.  (Yes, it’s true, my Butterfly 2 has spoiled me when it comes to easy back carries).  I did youtube videos of the best way to put the baby on my back and was always sure to test out the back carry while having her over the bed.  The back carry was easy to employ and the stiffer body of the carrier (when compared to the Butterfly 2 or the Boba 3G) reassured me that Norah was comfortable and positioned safely.  I did use this carrier during a warmer week and do not think that it made either one of us excessively hot.  

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Hip carry

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I’ll admit that the hip carry was not the most intriguing to me and only used it for a short time in my home.  I feel that a dedicated carrier for a hip carry, such as a ring sling, are far more comfortable for this position than the Gemini.  The Gemini performs well in a hip carry, but it does feel a bit bulky.  I much prefer my Hava Ring sling for the days that I want to keep Norah on my hip.  I can absolutely appreciate having the option of a hip carry in the Gemini, but would rarely use it in real life.  

Overall, I was far more impressed with the Gemini than I thought I would be at the beginning of this venture.  I feel like it offers a huge value for $129 considering all of it’s capabilities.  Spending a week getting to know the ins and outs of the Gemini has allowed me to be more confident in recommending this carrier to customers who desire a versatile yet comfortable soft structured carrier.  

Stay tuned!  I will review the Boba within the next week!

 

-Keila

Exploring Babywearing from a Novice’s Point of View

I’m so excited to introduce myself and this new blog series. 

My name is Keila, I’m a 30-year-old (almost 31) first time mom to almost one year old Norah (her birthday is two days before mine).  Having Norah has opened up my world to all sorts of neat things one can easily obsess over like cloth diapering and babywearing.  I’m the proud owner and wearer of a Beco Butterfly 2 and a Hava ring sling.  I have previously used a Moby wrap and a buckled mei tai.  I also own a great stroller which my daughter enjoys, although she prefers to be worn. 

  In my life pre-Norah, I had one friend who was a babywearing, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t get what the fuss was about until I learned about the many options outside of the Moby.  When Norah was a newborn, my friend Kaytee loaned me a buckled mei tai that worked beautifully for us until my dog chewed a hole through it, no biggie, she gave us a cover that fixed the small, unimportant, yet ugly hole.

  As Norah grew and as I discovered that Babies Bottoms and More was my favorite Saturday morning destination, I became more and more fascinated at all the pretty carriers in stock.  I was immediately drawn to the Beco Butterfly 2.  It was perfect for my husband and me since we both liked wearing our daughter.  In the time from when I fell in love with the Beco Butterfly 2 until I purchased it, I would find myself constantly thinking and fantasizing about it.  The carrier we had borrowed from our friend was great, but I found it lacking in back support.  I’ve struggled with back pain since adolescence and was in constant pain from sciatica worsened by pregnancy. 

I was drawn to the Butterfly 2 over the Gemini because of the internal harness.  I knew that I would want to use back carries at some point in our babywearing future, but was very unsure of flipping my baby over my head.  The sling also seemed like it would be fool-proof for novice parents.  The internal harness has come in very handy when learning to employ back carries with Norah.  We have taken Norah on day long trips to the zoo and have both taken turns wearing her.  The internal harness allows us to hand the baby off to the other without having to remove her. 

Another attribute of the Butterfly that drew me to that particular SSC (soft structured carrier) are the colors and prints.  I feel like my daughter has a very vibrant personality and all things she wears must be bright and colorful.  We have the Natalie print Butterfly which has purple straps and bright flowers on the front.  I always receive compliments when wearing her. 

I feel like the Butterfly 2 is easy to use and far less intimidating that other carriers may seem to new babywearers. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be checking out the different babywearing options available at Babies Bottoms and More and testing them out in everyday life.  I will occasionally revert comparison to the Beco Butterfly 2 because it was my first true love in babywearing. 

If you are interested in purchasing or trying on any of the carriers I mentioned, please visit Babies Bottoms and More.  Elisa is a wonderful resource when it comes to the carriers. 

The next carrier I will review is the Beco Gemini.  I’ve got lots to say about it!

– Keila

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Babywearing allows for much better views than a stroller!


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A proud Daddy wearing a purple Beco Butterfly 2!

Tutorial: Customize Your Carrier

 

Here is how to customize your carrier with no sewing machine needed.  I customized a Beco Gemini with a goldfish fabric I had.  I like to switch it up every year or so, and definitely give each new baby their own fabric on my Beco. 

1. Gather your supplies.  You will need a needle and thread, scissors, straight pins, and a piece of fabric about 2 inches bigger on all sides than part of the carrier you want to cover.  For me, this was the center panel of the Gemini.  If I was customizing a Mei Tai I would have covered the entire thing.  The fabric should be woven, not stretchy, and should be washable. 

2. To get the fabric the right size, spread it out and lay it down on the Beco.  Make a small cut in the fabric to mark where you are going to trim it.  I laid it out with the bottom end hanging over where I wanted it by about 2 inches, then made my cut at the top about 2 inches past the top of the Beco. 

 

3. Cut the fabric to size.  DO NOT attempt to cut the fabric while it is on top of your carrier – you could accidentally cut through the carrier and that would be so sad.   Move your carrier off the work surface and then trim the fabric to size.  I used a measuring tape to make a straight line for a cutting guide. 

 

4. Fold the extra 2 inches under and pin it.  You want to end up with a piece of fabric with ends “hemmed” under by the pins that is exactly the size you want to sew on. 

 

5. You can see I laid the fabric on the Beco to make sure it was the right size.  Make sure you don’t cover the snaps! 

 

6. Iron the creases in.  This is also a chance to get any wrinkles out of the fabric so it’s nice and crisp when you sew it on. 

 

7. Pin the fabric panel to your carrier.  This will hold it in place while you sew it on. 

 

8. Make your first stitch go up through the fabric so the knot will be tucked under and not visible.  Slip stitch around the edge of the fabric.  Small, even stitches are the key here.  When you put your needle in you want to put it alongside the stitching, towards the center.  This will preserve the flexibility of that seam and allow the carrier to curve around your child’s body without straining the fabric you are sewing on. 

 

9. You will need rethread your needle at least once.  When you run out of thread, leave about 4-6 inches of loose thread.  Push the needle down through the pretty fabric so the knot you’re about to tie will be on the underside and not visible.  Cut the needle off and tie a double knot.  Pull it snug and cut off the loose ends. 

 

10. Continue to stitch all the way around until the fabric panel is securely sewn on.  You’re done!