Category: Babywearing

Girl Talk Workshops

By , December 6, 2012 4:54 pm

The summer session is scheduled to begin on July 13th 2013. Girl Talk’s goal is to empower, educate, and support 9-17 year old girls as they journey toward womanhood. This 6-week course will cover the biology, the history, the legacy, the commercialization, and the power of the female menstrual cycle while creating community and a safe space. Each class will be $20 or the entire course will be $100 if pre-paid. The fee includes supplies as well as ongoing support long after the course is complete! To register for the class or buy a gift certificate for a young lady in your life, please write to me at GirlTalk@stateoftheheart.n et

This Girl Talk Workshop is the class you WISH you had taken when you were young! Join me for this 6 week course on menstruation;  honoring their femininity; finding their power; discovering traditions from history and other cultures; creating self-empowering rituals; and embracing their authentic selves!
This Girl Talk Workshop will be facilitated by me, Justine Julian! My educational background includes anthropology, sociology, psychology and theatre. My professional training is in parent education,  pregnancy & childbirth support, midwifery, and child development.  My most important training and experience has been spent “in the field” while parenting my own 6 children over the last 24 years (including a fantastic 18 year old daughter who has taught me tons about the complicated and amazing journey into womanhood).
We will also be joined by Kathryn Hamilton who is a Fertility Awareness Method facilitator. She has also studied herbalism with Susun Weed and is a passionate advocate for healthy body image and body awareness for young women in our culture.
****While this workshop will be about very intimate aspects of womanhood, this particular workshop will NOT cover topics like sexual education. All of the material we cover in class will be age appropriate for girls in the 9-17 age range. Additional resources or internet pages may be sent home for YOU to research or share with the student to facilitate further discussion and ongoing learning. Some of these resources MAY incidentally contain more mature subject material.

Kids Want to Do What We Do!

By , March 1, 2012 3:21 pm

Bug Cooks a Healthy Dinner for the Family

I have been getting a ton of questions about toddler behavior, household chores, and picky eating lately. I have one answer for all three: Kids WANT to do what we do. But how does that work exactly? What on earth do I mean? How can doing what we do change the behavior of toddlers and children?

Let’s start at the beginning: I encourage babywearing right from the start. Not only because it facilitates successful breastfeeding, regulates infant body functions, provides neurological benefits, makes parents’ lives easier or because slings and wraps and mei tai’s are so beautiful and cool…but because it is the child’s first classroom.

So many parents spend their day doing little else but playing with the baby (or toddler, or both) We have been lead to believe that this sort of constant intellectual and educational stimulation provides myriad benefits for our kids and will make them smarter, more capable, and happier. And we have all been told that Play IS the Work of Childhood. I agree…but more on that later. Additionally, a great deal of effort is spent each day to get our little people down for a nap so that parents can finally get some work done. However, we do a great disservice to our children and ourselves when we scurry about during nap time doing the work of running a household. Instead, nap time (if you are fortunate enough to still have a napper!) should be spent resting or replenishing our own batteries; reading, writing, connecting with friends, stalking around on Pinterest, taking a shower, or (gasp) even snuggling up for a nap with our little ones! Or for those of us who have been fortunate enough to earn income while being at home with our children, perhaps we can make those last few phone calls in silence, finish up our online banking, or crank out a few more listings for our Etsy shop. Teaching our children (of any age) that magic fairies come in while they are asleep/out of the house and transform our homes and work spaces into clean, functional areas is not helping them to be engaged, aware, and responsible household members when they get older and we DO want their help. Additionally, we don’t do any them any favors when we constantly martyr ourselves and complain about our workload. Joyfully engaging in the work we participate in will encourage others to enthusiastically join in. I highly recommend checking out Radical Ideas About Chores to get some ideas of what I am aiming at here.

Instead, include your baby and toddler in the running of a household. They WANT to do what we do. Instead of setting up an Us vs Them situation in our households, we need to expose our children to what we do on a daily basis. Modeling the work of the day…whether that is household, school work, or earning income while at home… provides them with the connection they are craving from you. Talk to your child while you go about your routine. Explain what you are doing, why, how it makes you feel, how you learned to do it, what the alternatives are, what tools you need to do it, etc… *(see note below)

Jean Liedloff, Author of The Continuum Concept, sums up this idea succinctly in her article entitled Who’s In Control:

…because a toddler wants to learn what his people do, he expects to be able to center his attention on an adult who is centered on her own business. An adult who stops whatever she is doing and tries to ascertain what her child wants her to do is short-circuiting this expectation. Just as significantly, she appears to the tot not to know how to behave, to be lacking in confidence and, even more alarmingly, looking for guidance from him, a two or three year old who is relying on her to be calm, competent, and sure of herself. A toddler’s fairly predictable reaction to parental uncertainty is to push his parents even further off-balance, testing for a place where they will stand firm and thus allay his anxiety about who is in charge.

I certainly don’t want this to sound like it is direct conflict with Attachment Parenting principles–it is not. It is perfectly in line with AP and instills a great deal of trust and confidence in children. Liedloff is not advocating for ignoring the needs of a child in leui of completing adult work.  In her work with the Yequana tribe of South America, she observes a lack of  terrible twos, tantrums, selfishness, destructiveness, and recklessness that we call normal toddler behavior here in the Western world.  Equally, she does not find the adults to be nagging, constantly disciplining, or creating endless boundaries for toddlers. There did not seem to be an adversarial relationship between parent and child. Her conclusion? That being held and worn frequently by an adult who was simply going about adult business taught children from the earliest of ages about how to act and behave confidently in the culture. Whatever your adult business of the day may be: including your baby and children in those activities is what will help them become happy, confident, adaptable and pleasant young people and members of society. It will reduce uncertainly, anxiety, and undesirable behviors without constantly relying on discipline techniques.

That might seem doable for a remote tribe of South American’s, but what about modern, busy Western families? How can we apply these ideals to our fast-paced and complex lives?

When our babies were small, they were included in the running of the household and wage-earning activities via babywearing. Snuggled under a chin, they were rocked to sleep by the rythyms of and sounds of vacuuming, running water, the tapping of computer keys and work-related activities. As they became more mobile, they were invited to help us do our work side by side at home and at the office when applicable. By two years old we expect that they will (with supervision and guidance as needed) voluntarily and enthusiastically pitch in for straightening up the house, making beds, folding laundry, mopping floors, wiping off surfaces, dusting, setting the table, feeding the pets, and loading and unloading the dishwasher. By 4 we see them cheerfully helping to use various tools to assist in minor household repairs, lawn maintenance, and yard clean up. After that, we really do not limit the types of activities that they can engage in with supervision: preparing meals, running the household appliances as needed, using household cleaners (all the more important to make sure you are only using safe, non-toxic cleaning alternatives in your home and office! For a green alternative cleaning service here in Erie contact Sarah at Mother Earth’s Keeper)

But what about forcing your kids to work all day long? The last time I checked, there were laws against child slavery, right? Obviously, we don’t use or treat our children as slaves who must do our bidding without question. However, we do not provide special rewards for doing work that is essential to the running of our household. If a family member chooses to take on a responsibility that is not expected, or is asked to help out in ways that are not required, but would be nice, we compensate them. When my 17 year old watches the younger siblings for a special event or a night out for Sir Hubby and I, we consider that to be above and beyond the normal work of the household. When our 8 year old offers to clean out the van as a special favor to us, we reward her with a special outing. The part that so many people forget though is that they WANT to do what we do! We don’t use chore charts or allowances or stickers or rewards. They clamor to get in on the action of unloading the dishwasher. The elbow each other out the way to be the one who gets to pull the comforter up on the bed. They turn the work of the home into the games they play. They set up obstacle courses, assembly lines, and elaborate fantasy scenarios to accompany the work they do. They run from imaginary crocodiles snapping at their heels on the way to feed the dog. They jump over dangerous lava flows to make it to the laundry room. They also take frequent breaks. Sometimes they even ask if we can handle a task on our own while they do something they want to do. They delegate and negotiate just like adults do sometimes. I often tell Sir Hubby that I am just not up to a specific task and would like to trade. Or we negotiate terms so that everyone gets their needs met. The expectation is that the work will get accomplished with team work and that we are all part of the team. We also have realistic expectations of what the needs of our household are. We do not live in splendor. We do not live a museum. We are happy to accept a less sparkling house in trade for eliminating the conflicts and battles that usually accompany “chores”.

But what about kids being kids? What about Play BEING the Work of Kids? Of course they still spend a great deal of time doing the more widely acceptable work of children: playing.  They play outdoors, with toys, with one another, with other children. We go to the Children’s Museum, they ride bikes, they pick flowers, they dig in the dirt, they climb trees, they draw pictures, they read books, and they put on puppet shows. But the work of the adults is not cloistered away behind a private office door (unless we are on the phone, or at our respective out of the home offices) like Ward Cleaver (I mean, what they hell did he do all day? Who knows!) We strike a balance of meeting our adult-orientated work goals, allowing the children to engage in age appropriate activities that they create while also exposing them to the realities of daily work.

But how does this translate into other toddler and child behaviors like food wars and undesirable attitudes?

Food Wars: They have seen us preparing, eating, and enjoying healthy meals since their earliest of days as part of the work of our home. While they are still exclusively breastfeeding and all of their needs are being met with human milk, they observe us enjoying food and sometimes offering it to them without a lot of expectation about whether they eat it or not. This creates a low pressure situation for kids. Any food in the house that they choose to say yes to is a healthy food: we simply do not buy or make junk food to have to say no to. As for nutrition: no child has ever voluntarily starved themselves to death. They have no socially-driven body image hang-ups, nor do they have a political agenda to hunger strike about. And remember: they WANT to do what we do! They will eat food that they see trusted, reliable, loving adults sharing and enjoying in their presence. Offer very small portions, invite them to the table (not to eat, necessarily, just to sit with the family) and enjoy your meal and the wonderful company you are in. Allow them to eat or not without any comment, judgment or expectations. Dr Sears shares some tips here. Does this mean that my kids eat everything we put in front of them? Oh god, no. But we don’t sweat it and we don’t fight about it. My 23 year old and 17 year old eat JUST FINE. They can use a fork AND a knife. They can sit at a table for a whole meal. They even chew with their mouths closed. Forcing them to do it at 3 was not going to ensure that they grew up to do it: it would have only caused fights, stress, and power struggles about meal time. I have the long term goal in mind. Our kids will be just fine on whatever healthy food they manage to sneak in. Again, remember the key is to NOT have junk around for them to make a poor choice with when they do get around to eating.

Terrible Two’s: As for toddler behaviors like tantrums, saying *NO*, and not wanting to be cooperative: the key is not necessarily finding a way to handle the behaviors, but preventing them from starting as much as possible. When we keep our babies close, allow them into our world, show them that they are in the care of competent, engaged, aware, present, and happy adults, they feel little anxiety about our ability to care for them, meet their needs, and keep them safe. Check out Janet Lansbury’s article on toddler discipline for a glimpse into your toddlers brain and why this matters. As they get older and gain confidence by participating in the adult work around them, they feel proud of themselves and their own abilities WITHOUT having to hear it from us. I never say “Good Job!” to my children. Ever. I simply state facts: “You completed that task so quickly!” or “You were able to do that with no help!” or “Helping your sister with her work must have made her feel loved.” Then they own their proud feelings instead of looking to adults to confirm whether they should be proud of themselves or not. The most rewarding thing I ever get to see as a mom is my kids shouting with glee and clapping their hands with pride after they have done something…and they never even look at me to see if I saw them do it.

Be sure to pick up copies of The Continuum Concept, Connection Parenting, and Child Honouring to get a deeper look into the concepts I am talking about.

* I use the terms parent and family to also include hired or volunteer care-providers. Even if parents must earn wages outside of the home, loving, dedicated and competent care providers should be providing these valuable experiences for babies whenever possible. These techniques are not the privilege of families affluent enough to have a stay at home parent—this is a workable model for any person who cares for infants.

Attached at the Heart VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY!

By , February 3, 2012 2:02 pm

It would be an understatement to say that I love this book. This is one of the most comprehensive texts on ALL of the principles of attachment parenting by the founders of Attachment Parenting International; Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker.

Attached at the Heart researches the eight main principles of Attachment Parenting (AP) in depth:

  • Preparing yourself for pregnancy, birth and parenting
  • Feeding with love and respect
  • Responding with sensitivity
  • Using nurturing touch
  • Ensuring safe sleep physically and emotionally
  • Providing consistent, loving care
  • Practicing positive discipline
  • Striving for balance in your personal and family life

There are very few books that I insist parents have in their personal libraries: this is one I wish I could buy in bulk and hand out everywhere I go. I feel so strongly about this that I am GIVING AWAY a copy of this incredible book to one lucky family in the month of February as a special Valentine’s Gift! To enter do ALL of the FOLLOWING:

  1. LIKE State of the Heart Parenting on Facebook (already being a liker counts!)
  2. Tag State of the Heart Parenting in a post on your own page talking about how one of the principles of AP has–or will–made you a more conscious parent.
  3. Don’t have Facebook? Leave me a comment under this post about how your child has blossomed or grown through AP…or how you hope they will in the future.

*Updated on February 14th: I used to choose a winner from all eligible entries. The final winners are Ashley & Jay who are expecting a baby soon! Congrats to them! I know they will LOVE having this book in their parenting toolbox!

Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children

“The key to successful parenting is not found in complex theories, elaborate family rules, or convoluted formulas for behavior. It is based on your deepest feelings of love and affection for your child, and is demonstrated simply through empathy and understanding. Good parenting begins in your heart, and then continues on a moment-to-moment basis by engaging your children when feelings run high, when they are sad, angry, or scared. The heart of parenting is being there in a particular way when it really counts.” John Gottman, PhD Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child (My second favorite quote from the book.)

In today’s fast-paced materialistic world, where every new parent is bombared with all the ‘essentials’ they must have for their baby, and where there are a seemingly limitless number of baby books and ideas on childrearing; it is extremely easy to forgot the most important parenting ingredient: a loving relationship with the child.

The main focus of the book though, is on building a strong relationship with your child above all else. This begins right at birth, if not before. This book gives you all the research and evidence you will need in order to follow your own parenting instincts, instead of the advice easily sprouted by friends, family, and even some professionals, that often goes against your gut instinct.

Babywearing: A World of Possibilities

By , October 17, 2011 2:18 pm

Momma Sarah keeps Eben close as they explore the shores of Lake Erie together in their Sleepy Wrap.

If you are pregnant and you happen to know me, then the chances are pretty high that we have already had this conversation. Babywearing will change your life. It will rock the foundations of what you imagined parenthood was going to be like. If this is the first baby that you have decided to wear, you will be able to join the ranks of mothers who cry to the heavens: I wish I had one of these with my other babies!

I have written numerous times about my own experiences with babywearing: about how to do it safely; how it keeps our babies happier; how it allowed me to keep my baby at the office with me when I had to return to work. I figured it was time to hear from some of the families I know or have worked with about the unique ways babywearing has impacted their lives and provided a world of possibilites for parenting:

The sleepy wrap was a wonderful way to have my mom and sister bond with Eben.   All my mom talked about was how she couldn’t wait to put him in a stroller and go for a walk.  I explained to her that the only way she was going  for a walk was if she put him in the sleepy wrap.  She was reluctant at first but once I helped her put it on, she fell in love all over again.  She raved about how wonderful it was to have him so close listening to her heart beat while they enjoyed a nice walk. A wonderful connection for the both of them. ~Sarah

The Sleepy Wrap is great device! One that lets you hold your child and accomplish a multitude of tasks… such as washing dishes or playing guitar. I believe every family would benefit from having and using one ~Bret

It did not feel natural to place him in any sort of baby contraption.   All of the STUFF I thought I would need went unused;  the crib  turned into a nice big laundry basket! And newborn clothes? Who needs those when baby is kept warm and snug close to your heart! ~Sarah

My aha moment came when I realized how silly it is to push a tiny 9 pound child in a 30 pound stroller/car seat combo…through a crowded room. People are much nicer about moving when the baby attached to you. I also learned that nothing soothes a colic-y baby like a good snuggle in my wrap. Peace, love, and babywearing. ~Erika

My son who had reflux finally fell asleep after a feed (upright in our new-to-us ring sling) and I could actually go do the dishes instead of having to lay on the sofa while he slept on me. He was 4 months old at that point. ~Nichol

I had tried it when my first was born, but didn’t have the knowledge and support to follow through. When my second was born it took me a few weeks to remember my ring sling in the closet. I took it out and took the time to get it right. I could play with my 2 year old without neglecting the baby. This is how it was supposed to be. Also when I was able to put baby on my back in a woven wrap and do laundry, I felt productive again! I am now a member of the local Babywearing International! ~Heather

Hottie McDaddy keeps this baby warm in the Peekaru!

Camille McConnell, a local Sleepy Wrap retailer here in Erie, was kind enough to provide State of the Heart with a beautiful Sleepy Wrap so that I have it on hand to share with families, let them try before they buy, and to give them a sneak peek at the world of possibilities that babywearing will open to their family! Hold the presses! There is some big news in Sleepy Wrap world: they are now called Boba Wraps… same wonderful wrap, different name!

But wait! That is not all: Camille also provided us with a Peekaru to test drive just in time for a brisk northwestern Pennsylvania autumn and winter! What is a Peekaru you ask? It is a fleece vest that zips over a soft baby carrier to keep you and your child warm. It fits comfortably over all carriers, including Hotslings, Ergos, BabyHawks, Mei Tais, and Boba Wraps. So, there are no more excuses for not wearing your baby in every type of weather!

Want to try both of these amazing products and many more? Join State of the Heart, from 7-9 pm on Wednesday October 26th at Caring For Women Midwifery in Sherman NY to participate in a Babywearing Workshop! We will have local retailers, like Camille from Boba Wrap and Mel of Mel’s Colorful Creations with plenty of wraps, slings, peekaru’s, and babywearing know-how on hand to get you off to the best possible start with Babywearing!

Spring Fling Ring Sling Giveaway!

By , May 31, 2011 11:02 am

Spring Fling Ring Sling!

My beautiful friend and sister momma-homebirthing junkie, Mel, has generously donated one of her most stunning creations to-date; she has lovingly made a beautiful handmade ring sling and one of YOU will get to wear a baby in it!

The benefits of babywearing are so numerous that I cannot possibly post them all in one sitting. But here are a few of my favorites:

Wearing your baby can make your life with a baby (or a toddler, or both) much more manageable. Seriously, how on earth do you play tea party or smash ‘em up car races for the 90th time today without keeping your new baby safely tucked into your body?

Wearing your baby allows you to weave through crowded museums, zoo’s, and city streets with ease and without getting stuck in stroller traffic jams.And try stuffing a stroller into your purse or diaper bag!

A beautiful sling can dress up even the most spit-up on yoga pants and saggy tee-shirts! Wearing your baby is also a great way to camouflage your post-baby body if you are still feeling unfamiliar with your new curves. And the beautiful tail on this one can double as a nursing cover in public  if you both are still learning good latch techniques and feel the need for a little privacy.

Babies cry less; in the US it is estimated that babies cry 4 hours a day on average. I am pretty sure that if I added up all of the minutes that all 5 of my babies spent crying I MIGHT get to 4 hours total.

Babies can’t learn as well when they are crying and using their resources trying to get their needs met; babies who are worn have the opportunity to learn more!

Worn babies learn to see the world from a safe and normal vantage point: they get to look adults in the eye when they are speaking to them and engage in communication much more effectively then when they are buckled into a container with a view of the lights overhead.

Update 10pm June 14th, 2011: This contest is now closed…no more entries will be accepted for this giveaway. Congratulations to Jasmine C. who is our winner.

Being His Everything

By , March 4, 2011 6:25 pm

Art and photography are a) non-baby related AND b) something I enjoy spending my time on. Yep, I do have interests that are not my baby!

Now that my Little Chief is one year old I feel like some changes are in the air. The air is carrying whispered sweet nothings from far, far away. I only catch snatches of it: promises about being well-rested again; assurances that it is okay to say “not right now” when he asks to nurse again; quiet nods of approval to my desire to wear clothing that will not enhance my ability to quickly or discreetly remove a breast; momentarily coveting a pair of spindly heels which would never work while wearing a baby in a sling. A slow reemerging from the baby haze. The hormone fog. The feeling of moving underwater. The non-stop-ness of being his everything. Rediscovering the essence of me once again along my parenting journey.

Don’t despair! I am still going to be nursing, and co-sleeping, and babywearing, and doing all of the other important work that helps to provide him with a solid foundation for lifelong emotional and physical health. But the balance is shifting to something more…well, balanced. I am looking forward to moving in this new direction and seeing where my passions for honoring pregnancy, empowering birth, attachment parenting, and healthy living take me this time.

Away We Go With Parenting!

By , March 16, 2010 1:16 am
Lazlo is a happy baby. What's my secret?

"Your baby is so content! What is your secret?"

Parenting can bring out some pretty big emotions. Nothing kicks off a debate between adults quicker than the implication that YOUR/THEIR parenting philosophies might be half-baked…or wrong…or questionably legal…or safe. Say one of these words loudly at the mall, at your next family reunion, or at the office get-together: Circumcision. Co-sleeping. Breastfeeding. Spanking. Childbirth. These simple words can evoke so many different feelings depending on who you are talking to: Guilt. Pride. Jealousy. Regret. Joy.

But the feelings that I am trying to cultivate more in myself are: Empathy and Humility.

I recently watched the film Away We Go. Let me say first: I really loved it. Let me say secondly: I only knew the bare minimum about it, I had not read reviews or viewed any trailers for it. And finally, let me say: the scene about AP values really stung when I first saw it. Here is a clip from that scene. And another. Go ahead and watch them if you have not seen the film. Here is the trailer if you want to get an overview of the whole thing. I’ll wait.

The film depicted several families and several different parenting styles. There was the disrespectful family who seemed to believe that their children were deaf and dumb. There was the super-crunchy AP family. There was the open-arms adopt-a-lot-of-kids rainbow family. The single-parent family. It was very easy for Sir Hubby and I to scoff, guffaw, and feel superior when the disrespectful family was on the screen. What kind of jerks treat their kids like that! But there was an awkward silence in the room when the AP value family came on. Mostly it was quiet because Sir Hubby had fallen asleep. But also, because I could easily identify ALL of our AP values being depicted by these characters. At first, a sort of pride welled up in me…

Hooray for AP values being shown in a movie! Extended breastfeeding! Babywearing! Family bed! Doula’s! Yippeeee!

But then I realized that the film was not praising those choices, but depicting them as kinda crazy. Kinda over-the-top. Kinda awful. The pregnant couple shouts at the AP family, calls them horrible names, and finally flees the house.

Whoa. I start warming my fingers up to draft a strongly worded letter to the writers:

How dare you! Babywearing this! Family bed that! Baby-led breastfeeding this! Don’t you know that studies have shown that AP…

Wait a minute. THIS is what the writers of the film were making fun of! The passionately snobby caricature of AP parents. They were showing how non-AP parents are meant to feel when smug-AP parents berate them or humiliate them or shame them for not being superior enough to make the choice to AP immediately and instinctively. And maybe we don’t do it on purpose…but whenever we proclaim that our way is the best way– the ONLY way– if you want healthy kids, happy kids,  gentle kids, smart kids, compassionate kids, then we have not turned someone on to AP…we have chased them away. They are fleeing the house just like the couple in the movie did. Continue reading 'Away We Go With Parenting!'»

Slings are AWESOME. Period.

By , March 13, 2010 8:52 pm

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) released this warning today in response to infant deaths in last 20 years from the improper use of slings. However, there is no mention that they are specifically referring to bag-style slings– which are not what most dedicated babywearers would refer to as a sling, anyway. The Infantino Sling Rider in particular is one of the types of slings that are responsible for 14 infant deaths in the past 20 years. It is a poorly designed sling, and as Anne over at Dou-la-la points out;

“…these particular brands were created in a response to a trend, without much if any real research, and without a fundamental belief in babywearing as a practice.”

I completely agree that they are probably an ignorantly-executed attempt to get the Big Box Store Crowd on the sling bandwagon after some junior executive saw a picture of a celebrity wearing their baby in a sling on some magazine at the checkout line.

Most upsetting was the steaming pile of crap that came out of the mouth of Don Mays from Consumer Reports on CBS’s The Early Show:

“Don’t use slings at all,” Mays recommends. “There are safer ways of carrying your baby than in a sling.”

Mr. Mays. Ahem. You might want to get your facts straight. For the 10 year time period between 1995-2005, there were 22 stroller-related deaths for children under the age of 5 reported to CPSC. A majority of these deaths involved suffocation, entrapment or positional asphyxiation of an infant. 3x the amount of death in less time. And the leading item that injures and kills babies? INFANT CAR SEATS AND CARRIERS (and that EXCLUDES automobile accident related incidents). 14 deaths in 20 years from slings…meanwhile 182 children were KILLED by improper car seat/carrier use in only 2 years. And 65 infants died from CRIB related accidents. So it sounds to me that slings might be one of the most safe ways to carry your baby.

The CPSC does clarify that:

many of the babies who died in slings were either a low birth weight twin, were born prematurely, or had breathing issues such as a cold. Therefore, CPSC urges parents of preemies, twins, babies in fragile health and those with low weight to use extra care and consult their pediatricians about using slings.

By all means, let’s please include warnings that your sling is a parenting tool, not a replacement for common sense and observation…but saying that no one should ever use a sling is NOT a reasonable recommendation on the part of the CPSC or Consumer Reports. Shame on them.

It is well documented that baby wearing has numerous benefits for both babies and parents. Babywearing is a world-wide parenting tool. Babywearing is a centuries old tradition. Yet, we  wore our baby to the grocery store early today, and I could feel people’s eyes on me…sending out judgey vibes…trying to warn me that I was KILLING MY BABY by giving me withering glares because they watched a 1-minute spiel on The Early Show and can now smugly claim to have been schooled in babywearing by the incredibly informed Mr Mays. Sigh. Usually, I love educating people about the benefits of slings, and usually my happy babies are the best endorsement for them. Now I will have to spend my time convincing people that my baby can breathe and that I am coordinated enough to avoid walking him face-first into the steam table at the Hot Asian Food Bar at Wegman’s. Dammit.

Well, I can just show them this vide0…or invite them to come to a babywearing seminar. What babywearing seminar, you ask? The one that I will offer for free to anyone who wants to learn more about slings. Call me. Text me. Email me. Facebook me. SERIOUSLY.

Role Model Parenting

By , July 1, 2008 3:48 pm

summer-2008-stripThis summer marks my 20th anniversary of parenting. Right this moment, my 4-month-old daughter is nursing in the sling strapped to my chest. My (almost) 14-year-old daughter is stomping noisily up the stairs in protest after having some kind of disagreement with her 5-year-old sister about the last dish of mac & cheese. My 19-year-old son is throwing a load of laundry into the washer. This is my life: a bit chaotic, a tad overwhelming, and completely filled with people I adore. I’m not sure if I accurately recall my life before I started my journey into parenthood two decades ago. Those childless years of my life must not have been very important to me since I have so many rich, vivid and love-filled memories of my life since then. I wouldn’t trade the life I have now, even if I could remember why I would want to. Each of my children has presented unique challenges, and have provided unparalleled joys. Continue reading 'Role Model Parenting'»

Whose Kid Was That?

By , June 1, 2008 3:46 pm

Staying Connected with Bug

I’m a parent educator. I’m a mom of four. I am an advocate for all things AP. I should be able to handle this. So, what the heck am I doing wrong? These are the thoughts running through my head at the grocery store the other day. The store is being remodeled. It is glaringly bright, noisy and busy. The aisles are a crazy maze of disorganization. I have little six month old T-Bird in a sling, while five year old Bug is doing her best to keep up with me, behave, and be curious. The inarticulate wonk wonk wonk of the store manager is blaring out of the announcement system and competing with the world’s most annoying Muzak. All of this is completely grinding on my very last nerve.  Continue reading 'Whose Kid Was That?'»

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