Can You Hike In It? Kokadi Arielle Eclipse 

I’ve always been a big fan of Kokadi designs. Unique patterns, colors, and themes. My DISO was their Kurma and I cried when it arrived in the mail. That being said, they tend to be too soft for my taste. I like more grip to a wrap. I’ve also heard they are really prone to snags. So I tend to shy away from them.

However, the Arielle Eclipse is a totally different story. As soon as I pulled it out of the package, I was impressed with the thickness. Soft, but thicker than the average Kokadi. And the pattern did not disappoint. A modern scale/shell pattern. I was excited to test it out, but when it arrived I was still dealing with Hyperemesis, so it sadly sat around for awhile before I was well enough to try it.

Manufacturer: Kokadi
Colorway: Arielle Eclipse
Color: black and nude
Pattern: Shells
Size: Size 6
Materials: 68% Cotton, 32% Bamboo/Bamboo-viscose
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: November 2015

 


First I used it for a wrap nap at a Babywearing International of Portland playdate. Jack fell asleep as soon as I got the Ruck with a Ring Finish tied. Clearly someone loaded it with sleepy dust! It threaded nicely through the ring, and didn’t slid around.

 It also went to the park across the street from us one day. I can honestly say it was the easiest to tie and most supportive Robin’s Hip Carry ever. I didn’t even need to spread the shoulder out to make it more comfortable.

 Then one day I felt great and the weather was pretty nice, so we headed out for a family hike. We picked the Rock Creek Trail, easy but some interesting stuff to look at along the way.

Location: Rock Creek Trail
Distance:  4.5
Trail Type:  Paved, concrete, wood boardwalk
Weather: Overcast, light showers then sunshine
Trail Conditions: Some debris on trail from a recent storm, muddy, but overall well-kept. A bit crowded as it a popular trail.

 We started out trying to get Jack to ride his bike, but he thought the umbrella was more fun. The trails are so wide and even, it was easy for him to walk so distracted.

 There is a bird sanctuary in the middle, which Jack loved. We saw a hawk, stellar jay, and two woodpeckers.

 A quarter of the way in Jack decided he wanted an uppy. I started with Jordan’s Back Carry, but Jack some how popped one of the passes down. It wasn’t until I took a photo did I notice.

 It wasn’t uncomfortable at all, no digging or straining my back. But it bugged me to not have it right.

So I switched to a Ruck Tied Tibetan. And took a picture while we continued walking to make sure the seat was right!

 

Very comfortable still and wonderful grip. The seat held well while I was bouncing Jack to sleep on the way back.

Since he was asleep, we decided to walk to the shopping center down the road for lunch. It stayed very comfortable the whole 30 minute walk. Plus I felt so pretty, the pattern and colors are perfect for an suburban/urban setting. It was nice to feel pretty after several weeks of feeling like crap.

After lunch and a little shopping, Michael wore Jack back to the car. We started in a Ruck Tied Tibetan (Michael ties up his tails regardless of a knotless finish), but the top rail was a bit loose and I could foresee Jack popping the seat quickly.

 So we switched to a Wiggleproof Carry Tied Tibetan instead. Jack couldn’t pop it, even when he started to bounce saying daddy was a horsey.  This is when I fell in love with the grip of this wrap.

I asked Michael how he liked the wrap, he said “Fine. I like the colors a lot.” I asked if it felt comfortable, was it digging anywhere? He said nope. If he didn’t like it, he would have simply said “I don’t like it”. Seriously, man of few words.

 The key feature of this wrap is the texture. It’s soft like your standard Kokadi, but thick enough to support a giant sleeping toddler comfortably. I really credit this to the bamboo. In general bamboo is amazing in almost any wrap, but it really makes a difference with Kokadi’s design.

So, can you hike in a Kokadi Arielle Eclipse? Yes. I would really recommend this wrap for almost any hike and almost any age of child. It’s soft enough for a snuggly newborn nap, but supportive enough for a longer hike to a waterfall with a toddler.

Night Weaned My Toddler

In June, I wrote about how I needed to night wean Jack for my own health. In September I posted how we made some good progress, only nursing to sleep and a little cluster feeding towards the morning. I am happy to report now that he is night weaned and sleeps in his own bed. Has been for a month now. It took nearly 9 months, but we did it.

I kept up with my plan. Nursing to sleepy, not offering my breast first when he wakes up, and only giving him milk when he is about to be really upset. I figured out quickly he still really needed morning milk for awhile. I could hear his tummy growling and his lips were dry with thirst. We were still getting his food allergies under control so he wasn’t meeting all his caloric needs during the day. I let the morning cluster feeds go on for months, until  December when I suspected I was pregnant. I knew morning sickness would set-in soon and I was going to be in rough shape. It was going to be hard enough to eat or drink anything, let alone with a toddler sucking it out of me. I needed to fully night wean him in order to be a good mom to both babies.

Every other night or so, he would sleep through the night. His food allergies were doing great. And he wasn’t nursing as long as before in the morning but still waking often during them. I concluded it was probably more habit than need at this point.  One morning he cluster fed from 5-8 AM….so I drew my line in the sand. We had a chat the next day. I explained that the milkies need to sleep all night long or else they would be too tired to make any milk. So that night when he awoke at 4 AM,  I refused him my breast. And yeah…it did not go well. He screamed and screamed, I started to cry. Michael snuggled him and I went to the couch. An hour later, I heard silence and went back into the room. He was snuggled up on Michael, so I got back in the bed and felt horrible. I kept telling myself I did not let him cry it out. Michael rocked him and soothed him the whole time, we did not abandon him. He was just working through his feeling in this difficult time.

Rough night=clingy toddler
The next night wasn’t much better. He nursed on the couch with me after his bath, but then Michael took him into the bedroom without me. Jack was very upset again. Michael brought him out three times to show him mommy was still here, just in the other room. Nearly two hours later he went down, Michael stayed patience and just loved him through it. I went to sleep feeling horrible, and it only got worse. He awoke at 5 AM demanding milk. I had on a high collar sweater with no boob access at all, which made Jack furious. I just kept snuggling him and telling him it would be okay. I hardly got any sleep that night and still felt horrible. I started reading “Mothering Your Nursing Toddler,” and was assured I wasn’t doing anything horribly wrong. I was doing very reasonable techniques, and I just needed to listen to my heart for what was best for my family.

If I can’t have milk tonight, guess I’ll clean my plate.
But things changed the next day. He ate a lot more food during the day. He asked for more water, too. When my mom put him down for a nap without me, he did so happily. When he woke up, he asked for milk. I said yes, and he nursed eagerly for only a few minutes. He didn’t ask again until bedtime. And then didn’t protest when I said milkies needed to go to sleep. He just flipped over and went to sleep! He didn’t wake up until 7 AM, had some milk and went back to sleep until 9 AM! We both woke up happy and had a lovely day.

He likes daddy putting him to bed now
This went on for a month or so. Maybe milk to sleep, maybe not, depending on how bad my hyperemesis was that day. Some small protest, but usually would go sleep with a few books and some snuggles. When he did wake up at night, I would ask him what he needed. Most of the time it was a pat on the back to go back to sleep. Sometimes it was a glass of water (I started keeping one by the bed each night). A few times it was some cereal because he was hungry. Usually he would be back to sleep within 15 minutes and not wake again until morning. He could have milk if it was 7 AM or later. It was a huge lifesaver, more sleep helped me cope with hyperemesis.

Then one day in February, all signs pointed to move him into his own bed. My mom complained that his crib mattress was taking up too much room in the closet and I need to come get it. I read passage in “Mothering Your Nursing Toddler” on putting a big kid bed next to your bed is a great way to transition toddler out of your bed. And Michael complained Jack kicks him all night long.  I asked Jack if he wanted to try sleeping in his own bed (explaining that he is ALWAYS welcome in our bed, no questions asked). He said sure.
So, we got the mattress from my parents’ house, took Jack to the store to pick out some big boy sheets, and set-up the bed at the foot of our bed. That night we talked about how he should stay in his bed as long as possible, but he can always come to the big bed if he needs to. He nursed a little, we read some books, turned the light out and turned on his glow worm. He was out within minutes and stay asleep till 7 AM. He crawled up to us, had a little milk and slept another hour!

This pattern has continued for a month now.  A few nights we have a fight to go to sleep or he wakes up several times.On occasion, he still needs a pat on the back or some water. But 99% of the time, he goes down easily and sleeps 7 or 8 hours straight and sleeps another 2-3 hours in the bed with us without any milk. And most mornings he doesn’t even ask for milk when we get up. And at least once weeks, he sleeps totally through the night.

Loves his Avengers sheets , Foxy and Glowy .
Maybe in a few months if he’s sleeping longer, we will move the bed farther away from ours or encourage him to stay in his bed if he wakes. After the new baby comes, I am expecting a little relapse due to stress of all the change,  so I am in no rush.

So my advice to encourage night weaning? Love. Like what I said about Sleep Regressions, just love them and help them through it. Also I suggest:

  • Keep reading “Nursies when the Sunshines”.  I suggested this in my last night weaning update, too. It takes awhile for kids to comprehend, so just keep reading it. One night when I said the milkies need to sleep, Jack answered “No sunshine, milkies sleep”.
  • Make a new (flexible) bedtime routine that doesn’t revolve around nursing. If it’s bath night, we play up the bath. Otherwise we make bedtime stories a big deal. “Hurry baby! Daddy is waiting to read to you! Go pick your books and get in bed! Oh, looks! This book has trucks!” At my parents’ house, he gets very excited to watch TV with grandma until he’s sleepy. I say flexible because if he’s had a rough day—like skipped his nap or had an allergy issue— he may need some extra love and gets nursed to sleep.
  • Be patience.  This is a big step for a toddler. How many adults still have trouble putting themselves to sleep? Jack usually needs a full hour to unwind and go to sleep, regardless of who puts him down and if he nursed or not. I know one day I will be able to kiss him and turn the light out as I leave. But that day is not today, he’s still learning to control his body. I got greedy when dropping night feedings started to work months ago and pushed him too far. All my progress fell apart and I learned my lesson.
  • Follow your heart. If you try night weaning and something doesn’t feel right, stop. Maybe you aren’t ready and feel forced into it. Maybe your toddler isn’t ready and is feeling abandoned. Maybe there is another issue going on and ignoring it will make it worse (like Jack’s food allergies and him needed my milk for calories at night). You have the ability to be best mom possible for your child, don’t ever forget that. If Jack had one more night of truly upset and making me feel horrible, I would have thrown in the towel and waited a few months.
  • Find a Lovie. Something they can snuggle and love to find comfort. It can be anything. A blanket, a pacifier, a toy, mommy’s shirt, daddy’s sock—anything! Jack has two, his stuff fox named Foxy and a glow worm named Glowy. Glowy sings him to sleep and he likes the feel Foxy’s soft fur next to him. He sees them in the bed and knows it’s his secure space to rest.
  • Along those lines…Make their own bed special.  Your bed was special because you were in it. Now they have to sleep in a strange bed without your warmth? Help them by making it their own space. Let them pick out their own favorite sheets. Let them help set-up the bed. Lay down in it with them for awhile so it’s not scary. Make it comfy and happy.
  • Don’t expect perfection. At first it might be 1 step forward and 10 steps back. One night of easy sleep, and several night of crying in mommy’s arms. That one night of sleep was GREAT progress, don’t dismiss it. Wouldn’t it be nice if toddlers just slept through the night as soon as told them to and never relapsed?It’s a great dream, but don’t hold this in your mind as the ultimate goal. Focus on helping them learn how to listen to their body and relax to sleep.

 

 

Guest Post, Jaleen Vickerson: We are going Vegan (+ fish!)…

Jaleen Vickerson is a fellow Brand Ambassador for Wrapsody. I have offered her a guest post on my blog to discuss her parenting struggles to a baby with allergies and eczema.  I haven’t posted about it yet, but over the past 6 months I have been struggling with suspected allergies with Jack. It is nice to hear from another mom going through it as well. 

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My youngest son, Carlos, has been an alert and active baby since day one. But over time, his sunny disposition started changing for the worse. At 2 weeks old, I noticed his cheeks were becoming mottled and red. At week 6, I realized that, instead of clearing up, his skin irritation was only becoming more serious, and—worst of all—it was affecting his mood.

He was screaming more than cooing. He was frowning more than smiling. My friends would joke with me that he looked like the famous painting “The Scream.”  This was not the easy, contented little dude I had met in the delivery room!

We knew that dairy was part of the issue, but even after cutting all lactose out of my diet, his skin problems persisted. At 6 months of age, he was finally old enough to be tested for more than one allergen at a time.  

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I was surprised to learn that, not only did he react to milk, he is also allergic to:

  • peanuts,
  • Eggs,
  • Chicken,
  • Beef,
  • cats, and
  • dog fur.

The strangest discovery was that chicken and beef were irritants to his system; I had never heard of anyone having an allergy to either of these foods!

As we all know, parenting is not one-size-fits-all. For myself and my child, I believe strongly in the developmental benefits to be gained from breastfeeding. As a personal choice, I had already decided that I want to continue to breastfeed until my son detaches on his own.

With this in mind, Carlos’ dietary limitations have become mine.

The diet Carlos and I are now restricted to be largely a vegan one. Being Puerto Rican, veganism and vegetarianism are not practices I am used to in my life (until now, there have been no “Meatless Mondays” in my home, for example). The one big exception is that I still can eat fish and shellfish, as he is not allergic to them (little wins!).

During our visit, his allergist went on and on about how important is to moisturize his skin to help fight his eczema—but that, until I change my diet, we won’t see any significant progress with his skin. His allergies are so serious, I was told, that he will need to have an EpiPen on him at all times by the time he turns 1.

While trying to take in the flood of information from his doctor, reality sets in.

For the first time since his birth, I consider ending my breastfeeding journey. And yet, as the doctor is giving me all of these instructions, Carlos is latched on to me, just feeding and feeding and feeding. I take a step back, and realize that going the route of formula feeding is not right for us.

Though it was a lot to take in, my feeling is—this needs to change for my son’s sake, and it needs to change now. I don’t have time to be emotional about it. So I do what I do best: make a list!

  1. Call the husband & inform him
  2. Call my mom to get some much needed support
  3. Go shopping for veggies, fish, and other Carlos-friendly foods
  4. Make arrangements to give the family cat up for adoption
  5. Buy Lysol to disinfect and clean the ENTIRE house once the cat is gone…

A list is something I can work with. It’s factual, I can follow it step by step, and if I forget (because I will!) I can always check my iPhone, where I keep my amazing lists (phew!). Without an organized plan of attack, I know I will get overwhelmed and emotional.  I think to myself, I can focus on this list and it will help me deal.

So. The first step I take on is to review my entire food intake. Since we were already dairy-free at this point, I try to pick out the other irritants to Carlos that I have unknowingly been exposing him to. Looking through my food diary, I realize that nearly every time I sat down to a meal, I was taking in something that was basically poisoning my child. I feel responsible. I become hard on myself. This is not an easy thing to wrap my head around.

If I think about the next few years it seems like too much to handle. I feel like my normal lifestyle is about to be turned upside down, but I also know that being a good parent is about doing what is best for your kids, not what is convenient for you.  

On the way home from the doctor, I stop and get some fish and some salad ingredients, and we start with just that: simple.  One meal at a time.  One step at a time.  

Lobsters

Until…the next list!

-Jaleen Vickerson

Traveling Baby Series: Camping in Yosemite

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After learning from our test-run camp trip to Point Reyes, we were much better prepared for a big camping trip. When we decided to move to Oregon, we knew we needed one last great family memory in California. And we knew it had to be Yosemite. It was calling us, begging our souls to come.  So I planned this time. I researched the campgrounds and booked a good campsite. I planned a route there, and an alternate if we him Bay Area traffic. We also planned to leave at non-commute time. I made packing lists way ahead of time, looked up camping supply lists to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and had Michael double check, too. There was no way I was forgetting anything this time, let alone important things like pillow and blankets. We even packed up most of the car the night before. We were ready this time.

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My little car loaded to the max!!

So that morning came, and we left right on time. I planned to leave around Jack’s nap time, so he fell a sleep shortly after we hit the freeway. We woke up right around lunch time, so we stopped in Manteca for lunch and picked up a few more supplies before we headed into the Sierra. It was all going great…

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SO glad we brought his dump truck!

…then  Jack fell apart. He would not go down for his second nap, just kept crying. So I pulled out my phone and put on Curious George for him, but we lost signal and he got pissed. He was screaming and screaming. Then we started to go up Priest Grade and hit the winding part. There was no where to pull over and I needed to keep the stuff in the front seat from smashing into Michael. All the sudden I heard a weird sound and looked at Jack, he was puking. A lot. All over the carseat. And now crying even harder. I pulled the basket off his dump truck to catch the puke and calm him down the best I could. I yelled to Michael to pull over as soon as possible, and he did as soon as he saw a side road. We both knew he inherited Michael’s motion sickness and felt so bad for him. We got him out, let him breath some fresh air and rebalance his equilibrium. Sadly we had no choice but to load him back in the car and continue on.

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He fell asleep for a bit, but the Park Ranger accidentally woke up him when we got to the entrance to the Park. And then he threw-up some more. We got to the campground and got him out as fast as we could. He was much happier out of the car, and even asked for a snack.

Back to when we entered the park, I was stunned. Yosemite is even more beautiful than I ever imagined. Half Dome took my breath away. Every waterfall, every creek, every tree. Beyond words.

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We got there around 3 PM, so we set-up camp and went for walk in the woods around the campsite. I was so happy to babywearing in the wild. We found a log by the river and started to watch the pink sunset on the granite walls.

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Then we went back to for dinner and got Jack ready for bed. I put him in a base layer of a oneies and leggings. Then we put a big fleece sleeper suit over it. Then I wrapped him in my thickest woven wrap and nursed him to sleep. He was out within 15 minutes. Michael and I sat by the fire (we bought PLENTY of firewood from the store at Curry Village as soon we arrived this time).

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All bundled up and slept great!

After awhile, we went off to bed. We had a much better sleeping arrangement this time. We bought a queen-sized air mattress, brought plenty of blankets and pillows, and good warm clothes. Jack slept between us, so to practice safe co-sleeping, Michael and I each had our own blanket so Jack didn’t get covered up. We were all nice and warm, which was amazing considering that night it dropped to 25 degrees!

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After breakfast in the morning, we headed off for hiking. We check out Yosemite Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, the Lodge, and Yosemite Village. Then Jack had a meltdown. He was exhausted but would not falls asleep in the carrier. He was too excited by all the stuff around him.

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I knew he would go ballistic if we put him back in the car so I decided to walk the 2.5 miles back to the campsite wearing Jack in the Tula.  Michael drove the car back to the campsite and waited patiently for us and hoped we didn’t eaten by a bear (we had no phone reception).

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He fell asleep quickly and I had a wonderful hour-long stroll back to the campsite. I got to stare at the glory of Half Dome the whole time. When I arrived, Jack woke up and we just relaxed around the campsite.

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He has some manners…lol

Later that night, we got dressed up a little and went to dinner at Yosemite Lodge. Michael and I order big fancy drinks and big fancy dinners. It was nice to do something special as a family, Jack had mac and cheese. But he quickly became interested in Papa’s roast duck. After a few bites he decided he needed to entertain the restaurant. So Michael and I took turns, one eat while the other walked him around. He had to stop at every table, say hi and dance a bit, then move on to the next table. Luckily everyone thought he was adorable and was very nice to him. It was a great special night out with my boys. Then back to the campsite, for beer around for us and nursing to sleep all bundled in the wrap for Jack.

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It’s so exhausting getting carried up a mountain.

The next day was our big hiking day. We hiked up Vernal Falls, Jack slept most of the way up. That is a wonderful hike, I highly recommend it! It’s steep, but paved so very doable. Took us about 2 hours around trip going slow.

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Right after the best nursing session ever!

Then I had the most beautiful moment in my breastfeeding career to date. Michael ran up closer to the falls while Jack and I chilled on the rocks. We gazed out over the valley, nursed, and basked in the California sun. Then some snarky teenage punk made a nasty comment about me breastfeeding in public. And before I could even think of a response, this older woman snapped at him for me. She told him it is rude to insult a mother good a nothing but a good job. I thanked her profusely

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We walked back down the trail smiling, Jack even walked some of it too! Then we had a picnic lunch at the Ahwahnee. Just so you know, if you are nursing, babywearing, and hiking at the same time—-you  can eat ALL THE LUNCH you want.

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It started to rain so we went inside to explore the lodge and get a drink at the bar. Jack once again needed to wander around, so one of us drank while the other walked him.

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The back to the campsite for dinner. Jack was thrilled to eat spaghetti outdoors! Then snuggles by the campfire for the last time. That night went below freezing again and there was a little thunder, but we cozy and warm in out tent.

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“I’m helping pack up!”

In the morning we packed up and said good-bye to Yosemite. We timed leaving so Jack be asleep for most of the winding part of the road back, but we didn’t know about the construction. We got stopped for 15 minutes and he woke up. He was not amused. By the time we got moving again, he was screaming to get out of the car. Then the road got windy again and he turned green. I yelled for Michael to pull over. We let him calm down for a bit, but we needed to get going so I put him back in and kept his bucket near by. We just had to make it 30 miles down the road to Mariposa to stop for lunch. But it felt like an eternity. I tried to keep him looking out the window so he would keep his bearings and not get sick—but that is easier said than done with a one-year-old! Just as he started crying again and kinda gagged a little, we made it into town. I told Michael to pull over into the first thng possible and I ripped him out of the car. Crisis avoided.

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Poor baby, no way he was going back in the car that soon.

But were we pulled over was about a mile away from downtown with the restaurants and shops. No was I was going to put him back in the car yet, so in the Tula he went and Michael drove downtown to wait for us. It was a lovely walk, the Sheriff even stopped to ask if we were okay. He totally understood when I said baby was not having the car ride and told me a faster way to walk to downtown. We had lunch, strolled around bit until Jack was good and tired for a nap. Then we got back on the road and went home without any more issues. It was a wonderful trip (throwing up aside) and the perfect send-off for California.

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I don’t really have any different advice from my previous post. Maybe just bring a bucket just in case your baby gets sick. And if your baby can walk (Jack decided to walk about a week earlier), bring a carrier. This was the only we kept Jack out of the dinner when we were cooking. Major lifesaver!

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I hope this inspires you to take your little one some awesome family adventures!

Why I’m Night Weaning My Toddler

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I’ve already posted about all the initial struggles with breastfeeding. How I just set in my mind I was going to breastfeed and pushed through all the it all. As of this post, we have made it 14 months of nursing on demand. Whenever and wherever, I tried my hardest to give my baby milk whenever he asked. This meant learning to walk while nursing a carrier, waking up several times a night and  pumping when I was away. It was not easy, it was a seriously commit it. But I wouldn’t change it for the word. It’s created a strong and secure bond between my son and me.  He looks at me with such love and joy when he nurses—even when he was newborn. One day he will grow up and leave me, but I will always have those memories.

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Wouldn’t go back and change this for the world!

No regrets about my sleepless nights (and if you read my sleep regression posts, there were A LOT of them). I understood that having a baby meant his need come before mine most of the time. I knew it was only temporary. One day he would no longer want to suckle all night in my arms. One day he will have his own bed and I could sleep a solid 8 hours again. I just needed to get through it with love and understanding. There were nights were I cried out of frustration. There were nights my husband had to take over because I was reaching a breaking point. There were many days I just had to power through and smile despite exhaustion.  But I did it, I survived. I did everything I could to help my son sleep the best and get the best nutrition for the first 14 months of his life.

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This is a tired, unhappy mama.

However, the reason I am writing this post is because I came to a realization. In La Leche League, breastfeeding is described as a mutual relationship between a mother and baby. Mutual as in your are both agree to the terms and are happy with the process. I am no longer happy with the sleepless nights. I am ready to night wean him. This was not an easy decision. I have been talking about the idea for several months now and asking for advice. I was trying to push it off because I didn’t think Jack was ready. I follow gentle parenting, and I didn’t want to force Jack to do something he truly wasn’t ready for (physically or mentally). I talked to my husband about it, who pointed out that Jack can sleep through the most of the night—he does so about once a week on a good week. Then I realized the days after he does, I am so much happier. I take him places to have fun. I have more patience for his almost daily toddler meltdowns over nothing. I even take time to do things for myself like work on my blog or take relaxing bath.

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This is mom I like to be. The mom Jack deserves.

Then I began to think about the phrase “Ain’t no body’s happy if mama ain’t happy.” And realized I needed to think about my self this time.  So I talked to myself about what I needed to be happy. It was simple, sleep. I was exhausted from not getting consistent sleep first of all. But I also confessed something else to myself, I was in pain. Night nursing was becoming very painful (I will address why in a later post). I had just been ignoring it, but it was starting to make me resentful of son at night. My nipples would be on fire after he nursed, so much that I was automatically not offering him my breast when he first stirred from sleep. I will think, “Please don’t want milk, please don’t want milk, anything but milk!” But then he nurses, it hurts, and I lay there for at least a half an hour waiting for the pain to go away. Then I fall back asleep for a a few hours at the most, and it starts all over again. I wake up in the morning very resentful. The last part is a fairly recent development, I never used to be resentful over it. I have no idea why the past month or so this has come up, but it has. And ignoring it is not helping anyone. I deserve to be happy. Jack deserves a happy mom who doesn’t resent him. And Michael deserves a happy wife.  It’s time for mama and everyone to be happy.

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He loves his milkies, he is not giving them up easily (and I don’t want him fully to either!)

So I Googled and looked up on Pinterest “Night Weaning”. I found stuff like “How to night wean in 3 nights!” and “Night Weaning Made Easy!”. They all seemed too good to be true. And most were. One mom seriously advocated for shutting the bedroom door and letting them cry-it-out no matter what (including if they vomit out of stress). Not this family’s style. One said she just told her toddler no more milk at night and that was that! Yeah, Jack would never go for that (I even asked him if he could be a big boy and not have milk at night, he gave me a dirty look). One said just drop a feeding each night for a week and that’s it!  Others did things like don’t readily offer your breast, drop feedings one-by-one every two weeks, and have dad do all the comforting until the baby no longer wakes up. All those sound good, but I know my son, he won’t take to that much change so quickly.

I also talked to my previous La Leche League group from the Bay Area online and attending my local group’s meetings They offered various anecdotal advice like trying a pacifier or a bottle of water instead. The leaders suggested I try to figure out why he is waking up—like he is hungry, thirsty, having bad dreams, teething, or too cold/hot. If I solved that issue, then maybe he would sleep through the night. They also said I should ask myself if I truly think it’s the best decision for my family and to make sure I am not giving into societal pressure. I thought long a hard about that—like a whole month long. After one night where Jack woke up 10 times (yes, 10!) and he was a major grouch the next day, I knew we all needed better quality sleep.

"This was taken at 3 AM, the 7th wake-up of the night"
“This was taken at 3 AM, the 7th wake-up of the night”

Once I established that we needed more quality sleep, I came up with a reasonable and gentle way to get it. I do not want to fully wean him, like I said I have no problems with nursing during the day. Jack needs to learn how to put himself back to sleep without nursing. I decided to put all the advice I received into a plan according to what made sense to me. I knew he would not tolerate being cut off cold turkey. But I could start by nursing him to sleepy, then unlatching him and rubbing his back until he falls asleep. Once he okay with that, I could try dropping one feeding. So the first time he wakes up at night, rubbing his back to sleep again. Next dropping another feeding in the same way. Then another feeding. And so on. Eventually we get to no milk until the sun rises the next morning. He understands what I said for the most part now, so I will say phrases like “Night night time” and “the sleepies soon”. I will give him clear instructions so he knows what will happen, “You can have some milk, then it we will lay down together and relax. I will rub your back until you go to sleep.” Most importantly, I will explain everything to him. This is a big change, he deserves to know what is going on and why we are doing it. I will also try to ask him what he needs if he can’t go back to sleep easily. Like are you hungry or thirsty? Maybe he needs milk for another reason like the Le Leche League leaders suggested.

Michael giving Jack kisses to  and snuggles before bed.
Michael giving Jack kisses to and snuggles before bed.

We are on night five of this plan. It’s too early to give a fair assessment, I will update more later. However, I will offer some resources we are using to help the whole family adjust through this process.

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  • Nursies When the Sun Shines— A children’s book that explains how they get to nurse when the sun is shining, but get snuggles and love at night. That way they learn with visuals in a calm, happy setting. I read it to Jack before we go to bed.
  • Sweet Sleep— An awesome book from La Leche League that explains the science behind baby sleep, as well as how to work with your family’s natural tendencies to help everyone sleep well.
  • Nighttime Parenting: How To Get Your Baby and Child To Sleep— Dr. Sear’s in-depth explanation of how attachment parenting helps create a secure, loving environment that encourages good sleep.
  • No-Cry Sleep Solution— I talked about this book more in my 9 Month Sleep Regression post, and it’s still helping now. I got the idea of making a concrete plan from this book. It also has many suggestions on how to end the suck-to-sleep association. And when it is reasonable to night wean.
  • Essential Oils—I have been using some calming oils to help Jack relax when he gets overtired and to help me calm when I get frustrated. Do some research, they work!

 

Carrier Types

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There are countless way to carry your baby. I could dedicate an entire blog just to the subject of babywearing over the ages and in different cultures. But who has time for all that?  Since I get asked about babywearing and carriers a lot, I thought I would make a simple post on the most common types of carriers and provide some resources on them. Not every type of carrier is right for everyone. I LOVE wraps, but maybe you will hate how long they can to learn. So a ring sling may be your jam. Or maybe you want to skip all that fabric because it makes you hot, and go straight for a SSC. So check out the common options and think about what would work for you….

Soft Structured Carriers

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Standard Tula Prisms.

Soft Structure Carriers:  Think baby backpack. Most are pretty easy to use—just a few snaps and buckles. Most are pretty easy to put on alone and most an be shared between wearers easily. Most can do front, hip, and back carries.  Also, most are very economic and can be worn for a long time. Note I said most….not all SSC are created equal. If you buy a $35 off eBay or at Walmart, it probably won’t be that comfortable for you or the baby. Also watch on for cheap, poorly made ones from China, they can actually break and hurt your baby. But a good SSC is amazing and pay for itself overtime. And just because you hated one brand, don’t give up!

Loved this Action Baby we borrowed.
Loved this Action Baby we borrowed.

Everyone is different and there are so many brands nowadays that odds are you can find the perfect on for your needs. Common brands are Ergo, Tula, and Beco. I personally love Action Baby, but we own a Tula since that’s my husband’s favorite.

Woven Wraps

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Woven Wraps: A long piece of woven fabric that you use to secure your baby onto you. Can easily be shared between wearers, great for nursing, and can be tied in many different ways to suit your needs. Can be used for front, hip, and back carries. When tied properly, very ergonomic and comfy. However, there is a huge learning curve. It’s takes time and patience to learn how to wrap. But once you get it, it’s magic!  Once you get a carry down, it is very easy to do alone (even back carries!). Then there is the whole addiction issue….you might become a total wrap junkie and own more than you can count. There are so many brands, sizes, patterns, materials, weaves, and so on. You find one you love and suddenly want to try another. Then another. And another. Soon you’ve spent a small fortune!

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My dream wrap, Kokadi Kurma. It will be buried with me!
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My first and true love, Girasol Tahoe.

It doesn’t have to be this way though, I do know responsible people who only own one or two wraps. But it’s a fun world to get into if you can afford it. Common brands are Diddymos, Girasol, and Lenny Lamb (honestly this list could go on and on). I am a wrap girl, my two personal favorites wraps are my Girasol Tahoe and my Kokadi Kurma (both size 4).

Bei Dai/Meh Dai

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BabyHawk Copper Glow on Olive

Bei Dai/Meh Dai: An Asian-style carrier, sort of a mix between a SSC and wrap. Your baby sits in a like SSC, but you tie/wrap the straps like a wrap. Easy to use and much easier to learn than wrapping. Can be used for front, hip, and back carries. You can do some of fancier finishes like a wrap, but have the simplicity of SSC while putting your baby in. However, since the straps do not adjust like a SSC, it can be harder to share between wearers. And they can be harder to fit as your baby grows and might be too big for a newborn.  And they come in as much variety as a wraps.

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Fidella Fly Meh Dai Outer Space Blue, it’s heaven.

You can even convert a wrap into one. Common brands are Infantino Sash, and BabyHawk. I love Meh Dais for hiking, especially my Fidella Fly Meh Dai. The body panel adjusts so it can fit from newborn to toddler. And it’s sooooo cushy and soft.

Stretchy Wraps

Stretchy Wraps: A wrap made from stretchy jersey-knit fabric that you use to tie your baby onto you. Similar to a woven wrap, but with one big difference—they are NOT suitable for back carries. They should only be used for front and hip carries. Can be easily shared between wearers and very easy to put on alone. A much smaller learning curve than a woven wrap because you can pre-tie the wrap on then insert the baby. Perfect for newborns, so snuggly! And most can support a baby into toddlerhood, but it will probably be uncomfortable. The stretch makes it harder for heavier babies to stay high and the straps might dig into you.  But they are a great way to start babywearing and see if you like wrapping. And they tend to be cheaper than woven wraps. Common brands are Boba and Moby. My first baby carrier was a Boba and I loved it. So snuggly and saved my sanity with a newborn.

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Boba Wrap in Orange, the first time I ever wrapped Jack up at one week old!

*There is an exceptions to the back carry rule. A few brands make hybrid stretchy wraps ones that can be used for back carries, such as the Wrapsody Hybrid wrap .

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Back carry in our Hybrid Stretch!

With a Hybrid, you can pretty much do everything you can with a stretchy wrap (like the snuggly Pocket Wrap Cross Carry) and most of the stuff you can do with a woven (like the supportive Double Hammock). 

Ring Slings

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Lenny Lamb Heavenly Lace Large Ring Sling

Ring Slings: A piece of woven fabric with two rings attached to one end that you use to make a sling for your baby. Can be used for front, hip, and back carries. They are fairly easy to share between wearers, but since they are sized, they may not share well between two people with a big difference in size. For example, a petite wife will probably buy a small and her body-builder husband probably would want a large. They come in many colors, patterns, weaves and fabrics like woven wraps so the possibilities are endless. When picking one, watch for the quality and strength of the rings. Cheap rings run the risk of breaking and dropping your baby to the ground. Ring slings are easy to nurse in and are wonderful for newborns. Also very easy to put on alone and perfect for quick ups. There is a much smaller learning curve than woven wraps—pretty much learn how to thread the sling, place your baby correctly, and tighten. But it can get uncomfortable with a larger baby or toddler for long periods in a front or hip carry, since the weight is distributed over one side of your body. And back carries are a a bit tricky to learn, similar to woven wraps.

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Sigh, the oh so beautiful Natibaby Nebula Ring Sling. I miss it.

Common brands are Maya, Sakura Bloom, and most wrap brands make them as well. To be honest, I am not that big a ring sling fan. My favorite was my Natibaby Nebula, it was so beautiful. But like I said, not all carriers are for everyone. Ring slings and I just don’t get along well, so I sold it.

Here are some wonderful links and resources for some experts:

This is a wonderful chart Wrapsody made comparing different types of carriers. Yes, it’s a biased towards their product (and it honestly is a darn good wrap).  And it goes into more detail on carrier types than I do. But it shows you all the potential options in a carrier.

Wrap You In Love is a totally awesome babywearing Consultant in Germany. Her website is a wealth of knowledge. She explains different types of carriers here in great detail. And here she lists pretty much every brand of carrier I’ve ever heard.

Babywearing 102 is another wealth of knowledge. It started as a Tumblr and now is mainly a Facebook page. Both are a great resource. This babywearing glossary was SO helpful when I started started out.

And lastly, the ever wonderful Babywearing International. I recommend you find your local chapter and attend a meeting. You can borrow carriers until you find the right one for you and get advice on how to use them properly. The website is very helpful if you cannot attend a meeting.

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And regardless of the type of carrier you use, please remember to follow proper babywearing procedures at all times! This nifty poster can help you remember.

And just for fun, here is montage of all these carriers!

Our Babywearing Journey So Far

Hello, my name is Samantha and I am addicted to babywearing. I don’t even know how it ended up like this! Searching swap sites all night long looking for my dream wrap, youtubing videos for new carriers to try, and debating in my head all day about Tula vs. Ergo! All this started with not wanting to be one of those annoying moms with a giant stroller taking up half the sidewalk. I had no idea the world of babywearing would be so engulfing!

Before I got into babywearing, I had seen of Baby Bjorns and other narrow base carriers. I heard they are a pain to get on and can hurt your back after a while. So, I didn’t think too much of them. Then one day on Pinterest I saw a pin about how babywearing places your baby’s spine and legs in a good position. I did more research and decided to get a carrier for Jack.

3 days old.I hated the carrier, but loved wearing him.

I bought an Infantino Swift Carrier and tried it the first day Jack came home from the hospital. I had no idea what I was doing! We went for a walk around the block and Jack was out like a light. I didn’t know all the rules of babywearing yet, but I could tell it wasn’t right for us. He wasn’t high enough, I didn’t like his leg position, and it hurt my back. Plus it was INSANELY hard to put on and off by myself (Michael and my dad had to help me). The only plus was he liked being so close to me and he went to sleep easily.

So much fabric!

So, I looked up other carriers and stretchy wraps came up right away for newborns. I settled on a Boba Wrap (mainly because of the price). Thanks to Amazon Prime, it came the next day! I was so overwhelmed by the amount of fabric at first. I didn’t think I could get the wrap right.

It was love at first wrap.

However, once I just went for it and got more practice, I really liked it. Jack also didn’t like it at first, but, that was my fault. It took me a bit to get the “froggy” leg position right. Once I got it right, he loved it. We went for daily walks to help me recover from childbirth while he calmly slept on my chest.

He kept turning his head out of the sun every walk.

The Boba wrap gets pretty hot. It’s thick fabric that wraps around you and the baby three times. It gets pretty hot in San Jose in the summer. Just a few minutes in the sun, even in the shade, Jack and I get pretty sweaty. It was a great introduction to wrapping, but I needed something else.

So I did some research on babywearing in the summer and discovered that woven wraps are a lot lighter. I found BabyWearing International Bay Area website and saw my local meeting was the next day! One of the leaders let me try her woven wrap and I instantly fell in love! It was light and cool. Also less stretchy so Jack felt very secure against me. And it was so beautiful! My babywearing friend phrased it best, ” We show our children beautiful arts, why not wrap them in it?”

My first love. This will be my legacy wrap.

I ordered a wrap that night. I was amazed by all the beautiful colors and patterns they come in! I spent hours trying to decided what to get. I finally settled on a Girasol Tahoe Exclusive from Woven Wraps. I loved the idea of wrapping my son in the colors of a something so naturally beautiful.

Tahoe wrap at Lake Tahoe!

I didn’t know about sizing so I got a 4. Later I found out most people get a size 6 or bigger so they have extra fabric to work with as they learn. But I made it work.

Our first time wrapping on our own. FWCC.

It took me a few tries (Jack got fussy so I had to switch to a stuffed animal). But once I got it, it became pretty easy. We were so much cooler on our walks. And I loved that he was safe, secure—and I was hands free! I could pick a flower or open the front door without any struggles. I started to try other carries too. We began with a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC), the carry I learned at BWI. It is very easy to do, it just takes some patience.

Took me a bit to get the shoulder flip on a kangaroo carry.

Moved on to a Kangaroo Carry. It’s so snuggly, it’s my favorite for after doctor’s visits.

Rebozo hip carry to pick pumpkins.

Then came the hip carries: Rebozo, Poppin’s and a Robin’s. I love hip carries for when we go to museums or parks when Jack wants to look around, but still be snuggled.

Back Wrap Cross Carry is better with rainbows!

Then I bought another wrap, a longer wrap this time I could do more carries. A Storchwiege Inka. I loved the rainbow colors!  I have to admit, it was way easier to do a FWCC with a longer wrap.  But, I think I learned how to tighten carries better starting out with the shorter wrap.

“I don’t know why you keep throwing me
on your back, but it’s sure if fun!”

After a few months I attempted back carries and it did not go well. I could not get a good seat! I worked on it everyday for a month! Jack was a good sport, but I was getting so frustrated.

First time he was on my back, just scooted the hip rebozo back.

I saw a Youtube video on you can scoot a hip rebozo to your back if you need your baby out of the way for a bit, and that worked well. But, it wasn’t comfortable for long term wearing for me.

My first pre-tied Half Jordan’s Back Carry, I was SO happy.

So, I reached out for help on BWI of the Bay Area’s facebook group. They all told me to come to the meeting first of all, someone will gladly help me in person. But in the meantime, I could try a pre-tied back carry. It is essentially the same as scooting the rebozo carry to your back,  but adding more passes for support. I got it instantly and was so happy. I cleaned my kitchen with my baby on my back that day right away.

I was SO excited to have a good ruck, I took this picture
leaving the meeting right in the middle of Sport Basement!

I continued to do this carry for few more weeks until I got comfortable with doing the passes  and such over my back. But, I still couldn’t make a seat on my back so I still went to the meeting. A leader quickly saw that I just needed to reach inside his legs when I pulled the fabric, not on the outside. Once I did that I did my very first Ruck on my own instantly!

Took this about a week ago, he was two seconds
from a meltdown and I rucked him up quickly.

The next month or so I continued to mainly do the pre-tied carry, but practiced putting him on my back normally occasionally. And as of last week I can just toss him easily whenever!

There was no room to wrap him in the busy parking
lot at the Social Security Office, so we did a pre-tie.

I still do the pre-tied when we are in a parking lot or a place without much room for convenience. But I do Rucks and Double Hammocks when I’m going to be wearing him for a long time.

Michael wearing Jack in a Double Hammock with the lovely DOTD wrap.

I’ve bought more wraps too. I have a gorgeous size 6 Lenny Lamb Day of The Dead wrap that I bought off  The Babywearing Swap on Facebook.  It’s so supportive and soft, I love it so much.

Rebozo in the Little Frog to comfort my sick baby.

And I have a Little Frog Pyrobe in size 3. I love this wrap for quick ups and to make a No Sew Ring Sling. It gets used almost everyday. It’s not quite as supportive as the Lenny Lamb, but it’s still a great wrap.

Poppin’s Hip carries will hurt my shoulder after
a while if I don’t have them tied very tight.

If you follow my food blog, you may recall I was in a car accident 3 years ago and have a permanent back injury as a result. A few carries aggravate it if I wear for long term, but overall it does not hurt my back at all. When tightened and wrapped properly, baby’s weight is evenly distributed and doesn’t not hurt.

Wrapping up for another babywearing adventure!

I can clean my house, go for hikes, go to the store, or calm a sick baby while being wrapped with beauty. You can wear into toddlerhood and even early childhood if you are both comfortable. And you can do tandem wearing when you have another baby!What’s not to love about babywearing? I’m excited to continue this beautiful journey as Jack grows. I will do more babywearing posts in the future. Can’t wait to share our continuing journey!