Monday, September 22, 2014

September Member of the Month Nikki Moore

One of our newest VBE's, Nikki Moore is our Member of the Month! 

Let's start simple; your name, children's names and ages?
My name is Nikki Moore and I am mom to two amazing little men – Samuel, 4 years, and Micah, 16 months.

How long have you been wearing?
I've never really thought about how long I've been wearing but I've been wearing on and off for the last four years, since Sam was a baby.

What led you to Babywearing and how has it changed your parenting?
My sister-in-law had her fourth while I was pregnant with my first. When we were visiting, we went to see a musical at a theatre and my sister wore my niece the ENTIRE show in her Moby Wrap. I knew I wanted to give babywearing a shot after that. I had a gauze wrap and a Hotsling when Sam was a baby. It didn't change my parenting terribly much with Sam, but when my second came around, babywearing was a lifesaver. Micah has milk/soy protein intolerance and had a really rough first 6 months as we tried to figure out what was wrong and get him better. Wearing him was one of the only ways he would nap for a while. We branched out to a Wrapsody stretch-hybrid and woven wraps. As he got better, I continued wearing him a lot because I discovered how great it was to be able to take care of my big kid and the baby at the same time. It was wonderful to be free of our stroller so we were able to navigate crowded places easily and go places a stroller can't go, like hiking in the mountains. It's enabled us to do more as a family, even with a little guy in tow. It's even allowed me to participate more in church.

Have you had an interesting Babywearing experience you'd like to share? When Micah was two months old we went to Dollywood with my dad and his family. They were visiting for a short time and it was the only day they could go to Dollywood. But it rained all day - despite a weather report saying it was going to be nice. We had already bought our admission so we decided to stay. Everybody else bought ponchos. I bought an umbrella. I wore Micah on my front in my wrap, zipped up my windbreaker around us, and held my umbrella over us all day. We were the driest members of our party!
Sweet Baby Cuddles

What is your favorite carrier and why do you prefer it?
I love my wraps. They are just so incredibly versatile. I can do front and back and hip and several variations on each. I like to have options! But I also use our Kinderpack and ring sling often too. The different carriers all have their place in our family!

Do you feel like you have support from family and friends on wearing your baby?
I think I'm winning them over. My husband has totally been won over. He loves wearing Micah in the Kinderpack and loves the freedom we have thanks to babywearing. He sings the praises of babywearing to anyone he can. I shared that my sister-in-law is a babywearer as well. My mom even bought a wrap for a coworker as a baby shower gift after seeing me wear my baby! Beyond that, most of my family and friends think it's funny that I wear Micah, but they also see how happy he is when he's being worn. We did get a lot of comments about him being spoiled or people not knowing he was able to walk when he was walking for a couple months at that point, but for the most part we've had lots of positive comments. Our family and close friends see how babywearing helped us get through the rough times with Micah.

What do you like to spend time doing aside from babywearing and spending time with your kiddos?
I love to sew and crochet and make things with my hands. Creating is such a wonderful outlet for me.

What is your favorite thing about living in Knoxville?
Living in the Knoxville area provides such a wide variety of things to do. There's really so many options. We have no excuse for being bored with the mountains and the city and the lakes. I love that there is so much natural beauty and great opportunities to be exposed to the arts as well. What's your favorite cartoon from childhood? I was a Nickelodeon kid growing up so my favorites were Rugrats and Doug. Although, going back and watching Rugrats after you have kids brings a whole new meaning to the show!

Gotta have some juicy in every interview right? Tell us one guilty pleasure of yours?
I am a pretty big geek. I love a good video game. After particularly rough days, my husband and I get on some of our favorite video games and kill monsters together. I carry a Nintendo 3DS almost everywhere with me. I love Star Wars, Doctor Who, Nintendo stuff, and you will often see me wearing a geeky t-shirt.

What do you like best about BWI?
I love that the focus is on spreading the babywearing love and making it accessible to everyone. Babywearing is such a wonderful parenting tool and BWI really wants to share that with the parenting community at large.

What would you like to see in the future with BWI?
I am excited to see our chapter expand and reach more families! I want to see safe babywearing be shared with as many people as possible. Babywearing can be such an incredible help. People need to know the option is out there! What's the cutest habit of your kiddos you feel the need to share with the world? Sam likes to introduce Micah to everyone. Everywhere we go, he tells people, “That's Micah. He's 1 year old.” He also likes to teach Micah things, so we will catch him teaching Micah about numbers and letters, animals, the
weather, and just about everything. Micah is my spunky boy. He's incredibly expressive and very determined. One of my favorite things he does is that he gives unsolicited kisses, complete with his own version of the “mwah” sound. So adorable!

Let's be open ended and vague to close: anything else you just want to tell us about yourself?
I love to have meaningful conversation. I love a good movie or play. I really enjoy being out in nature. I grew up in New Jersey and miss the ocean terribly, but have come to love the mountains as well. I love to be able to help people. I feel strongly that each family has their own journey to walk. What works for one family might not work for another. I really want to support families as they figure out what life as a family means for them and what works for them.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

She makes it look so easy! Troubleshooting your carrier

Ever put on a carrier and wonder, what the heck did I do wrong? Why does everyone else make this look so easy? Well, we're here to help!

From ring slings to pouches to wraps, I am going to give you some tips on how to make your carrier more comfortable so you can make it look easy, too.

First things first, make sure that while you are trying new carries and carriers, you follow the weight limits of your carrier and the safety guidelines. If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask your VBE's, we're here to help.


Ring Slings: One of my favorite carriers is a ring sling. It is great for beginners.

Problem: The ring sling hurts your shoulder.

Solution: Try spreading the fabric of the ring sling over your shoulder. It also helps to make sure that the fabric is not twisted on your back and that it is spread out.

Problem: The rings are hurting your shoulder

Solution: Put the rings at "corsage" position, not too high on your shoulder, but not too close to baby.

Don't worry, Dylan is only practicing with a pretend baby.

Wraps: There are so many different ways to wrap, and therefore several different was to troubleshoot, but here are just a few.

Problem: The wrap is uncomfortable on your shoulders.

Solution: Make sure the wrap is tight enough. The best way to tighten is "rail by rail". This is a common term used in the wrapping world, and it just means grabbing the top hem of the wrap, pulling to tighten and then gathering the middle to tighten and continuing to grab and tighten until you reach the bottom hem of the wrap, keeping the tension the whole time.

Make sure that baby is high enough. It also may be the carry you are trying. Ruck straps (where both shoulders of the wrap go from the seat of baby directly to your shoulders) tend to put more pressure, like in a rucksack carry, versus a rebozo pass (where there is one shoulder pass and one pass that goes around your body and then over your shoulder), like that in a double hammock, tend to put less pressure on your shoulders.

Ruck straps - Rucksack Carry

Carry with a chest/rebozo pass - Double Hammock

Problem: The tails are too long.

Solution: You can tie Tibetan, or do a knotless finish. This just means taking the tails, crossing them over your chest and looping them under the shoulder strap, then tying in front. Another way to get your tails off the floor is to wrap the tails of the carrier around your body one more time. For example, in a front wrap cross carry, generally the wrap ties in the back, but if you have long tails, you can wrap around and tie under babies bum in the front.

Rucksack carry tied Tibetian

Soft Structured Carriers: Great for quick ups and downs and convenient when it rains (no wrap tails dragging on the ground in the grocery store parking lot).

Problem: The straps dig into your underarms

Solution: Tighten the shoulder straps

Tightening allows the bottom part of the strap to pull away from your body

Problem: Your back is hurting.

Solution: Make sure that your baby is in the proper size for his/her age and size. A properly fitted carrier will make it so baby has a wide enough seat and will distribute the weight evenly on your shoulders. Also make sure that baby is high enough.

Grandma is carrying her grandson nice and high (close enough to kiss)

Pouch slings: These carriers are great, widely available and relatively inexpensive.

Problem: The pouch is too loose. 

Solution: The pouch may be too large, or you just may need to flip the shoulder. This allows you to tighten the carrier a little bit. Since pouches are sized, it is important to find the right size. Most manufacturers will have a sizing chart. But an easy way to tell is measure from the top of your shoulder to your belly button. This will give you an estimation for the length/ size you will need.

Pouch sling with an older baby. This is a great fit for mom and baby. Baby is nice and snug and the carrier fits mom properly.

An example of a shoulder flip

Some general wrapping tips:

Once you feel confident with wrapping on the front, and baby is sitting up unassisted, you may want to try back wrapping.

A good back carry to start with is the back wrap cross carry.

Make sure that you have a spotter, someone to go behind you and catch baby is he/she starts to fall. You may also try wrapping over a bed or couch.

Getting a good seat: Make sure that baby is knee to knee in the carrier. This is the most comfortable for baby, and distributes the weight evenly so that it is easier on your back, too.

While wrapping, once you get baby on your back, reach under baby's legs and pull the fabric up under his bum, between your body and his. If you bounce a little, this helps baby to slip into place and the wrap to slip between you and baby.

Getting baby high enough on your back: When putting baby on your back, make sure that they start out higher than you want. The process of wrapping generally makes baby drop a couple inches. 

These are just a few examples to help you out as you learn to wear your baby. The best way is to get hands on help at a meeting from your VBE's. We are happy to help you!