12 Days of Babywearing – Cheyenne Macgregor

Meet our first community member Cheyenne Macgregor.

How did you get introduced to baIMG_4797bywearing? 

I first started babywearing in 2012 when I had my first child. My father was actually the person who purchased me my first baby carrier. Our son was very colicky and wanted to stay very close to me. My father thought that it would help me get a lot of stuff done around the house if I could wear my baby.
How long have you been babywearing?
I have been baby / toddler wearing for 4 years
How has it changed your life?
Baby wearing has change my life by allowing me to do my normal day to day activities while holding my baby. I’ve been able to accomplish the smallest chores, to hosting events to climbing mountains with my little ones close by.
Have you traveled and found babywearing helped?
We haven’t been outside of the country baby wearing but we have done a lot of traveling within the country; where a baby carrier has helped a great deal. We can easily pack up and go and not have to worry about space in our vehicle for a stroller.
Has there been anyone in your life that has made babywearing click for you or been a big help?

I would say the Almighty Internet. I can easily Google videos and read blogs to better my baby wearing ability. Joining baby wearing Calgary has also been a huge influence in our babywearing journey.

What is one piece of advice you would offer about babywearing?
Practice makes perfect.
What is your favourite carrier?IMG_6131
I loved our soft, squishy Natibaby ring sling for carrying my newborns & have fallen in love with my Lenny Lamb SSC now that my baby is a bit bigger.

What is your favourite carry?
I love carrying my baby in the front so that I can easily kiss her little head. I really like the look of the poppins hip carry and would try to master that if I ever purchased a woven wrap. If I need to get some heavy duty housework done, I prefer a back carry.
If you could have any wrap/carrier (your ultimate DISO) what would it be?
Natibaby Luna Selene 🌙 Either a size 5 or wrap conversion SSC

Maternity Care Provider Fair by Birth Unlimited

Come and join us at the Maternity Care Provider Fair this Saturday hosted by Birth Unlimited.

When and Where:
Saturday October 24, 2015 10:00am – 4:00pm
Pine Ridge Community Centre Calgary
6024 Rundlehorn Dr NE, Calgary

Babywearing Calgary will have a booth set up for you to come and touch some carriers, ask questions and maybe try a few out! If you don’t have a babe yet, we have a weighted baby to simulate what it will be like.
We will be providing a stroller check so you can check your stroller, get into a carrier and wander hands free.

Don’t miss out on our fashion show happening at noon. We will be showcasing everything from newborn to toddler, tandem and a variety of carriers. All of our models are from our local babywearing group.

Come and say hi and see what all the babywearing fuss is about.

8 Questions to ask yourself before buying a baby carrier

One of the top questions we hear is “what carrier should I get?” While it seems like there should be a fairly straightforward answer to this question, there are so many factors to take in to account when choosing a carrier. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide.

1. What age is the child that you want to wear?

  • This is important because there are some fantastic carriers for newborns that may not be that awesome for toddlers. There are also some carriers that are awesome for bigger babies/toddlers, but not necessarily newborns. For instance, newborns love love love ring slings and stretchy wraps, and they are soooo comfy… but many parents find that they aren’t as comfortable once the little one is not so little anymore. They can absolutely still be used for toddlers, just not for extended periods of time typically. And on the other hand, soft structured carriers are a nice back wearing option for toddlers, and while they work with newborns, they’re not necessarily the most comfy.

stretchy wrap

2. Do you want one carrier to last from newborn to toddler?

  • If you’re looking for a one carrier does all the ages, there are several. Woven wraps, soft structured carriers, mei tais, hybrid stretch wraps, ring slings, etc. are all good. So you want just one to last all the time, now you need to ask yourself…

August 09 089

3. Are you looking for quick and easy?

  • If ease of use is something that is important to you, then you could narrow down the list a little bit to ring sling, soft structured carrier (SSC), and potentially a mei tai (although some people still find the mei tai to be “too much” work). Some people prefer the ease of buckles, which makes the choice fairly simple at this point.

babywearing ergo

4. How long will you wear baby for at a time?

  • If you are the type of person who wants to wear your baby all day, then you’ll likely want something that goes on both shoulders. This means a mei tai, SSC or a wrap. Wraps are particularly nice because they distribute the weight across your entire body. They are hands down the most versatile carrier on the market. However, if you said “yes” to “quick and easy”, then you may not love a wrap, regardless of how comfortable and long lasting it can be.

woven wrap

5. Is ease of breastfeeding important?

  • Some carriers are easier to breastfeed in than others. Don’t get me wrong, you can breastfeed in basically all carriers, but if you’re looking for a carrier that can support a cradle hold easily, that would be a ring sling. You can also achieve this in a woven wrap, but it’s not as easy as a ring sling when it comes to breastfeeding.

6. Will you be sharing your carrier with your partner?

  • Take in to account your partners size when deciding on a carrier if you plan on sharing between you two. Some carriers fit petite people better than other carriers, and some carriers are more adjustable to go between sizes.

7. What will you be doing while babywearing?

  • Are you looking for something to wear while grocery shopping, cooking, typing at work, doing yoga, hiking, skiing (yes, this does happen, and typically only by very experienced skiers), or simply to pace the house, sooth the baby, go for walks outside, or even shower. What you plan on doing while babywearing will influence what carrier you purchase. This also falls in a similar category as “how long will you wear baby”, but it also takes in to account the conditions. An example is, if you plan to use your carrier for quick ins and outs to the grocery store during the winter, think about how you will get the carrier on in the wet parking lot without getting your mei tai straps soaking wet. There is a way, but it can be a little tricky if you’re just starting out. You basically do it while either fully or halfway in your vehicle. The point is, it’s worth thinking about it ahead of time.

8. What is your budget?

  • Carriers range from about $50 up to an insanely ridiculous amount of $2000. Don’t let that scare you, the $2000 ones are actually made out of unicorn hair and gold woven together, then sprinkled thoroughly with faerie dust. We’ll save those ones for the collectors. Your average in store wrap will not usually go above $300, although a custom hand woven may be closer to $600. Figuring out your budget ahead of time will help you narrow down your options.

If you’re going in to a brick and mortar store to purchase a carrier, whoever is helping you will be able to narrow down carrier choices, but it will help if you know the answers (or are at least thinking about the answers) to these questions before you go. Also, it is hard to get everything out of one carrier, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting 2 or 3!

And of course this is where your local babywearing group comes in to play. Use the resources available to you and try out as many carriers as you can before purchasing. Go to a meeting and chat with people about what they like, and why they like it. And lastly, choose a budget and stick to it. It is easy to go a little nutzo when buying carriers, and a necessary item can quickly turn in to a collection. There’s nothing wrong with collecting carriers, just be warned, it can escalate quickly. 😉 When I first posted on-line in 2005 wondering what carrier I should get, the response I got was, “don’t ask which carrier you should get, ask which carrier you should get first.”

My stash

Happy carrier shopping!

The Men of Babywearing Calgary: Father’s Day Edition

Happy June! With Father’s Day fast approaching, perhaps you’re scrambling for a present for the special dad, grandfather, uncle or brother in your life. But instead of giving him yet another kitschy tie or pair of sports socks to wear, why not give him something far more wonderful to wear: a baby! That’s right, babywearing isn’t just for ladies (though gentlemen, if you missed the chance to give a Mother’s Day carrier or wrap, it’s never too late!). This blog post is devoted to the strong, caring, supportive, and – dare we say it? – sexy men who babywear in our city.

When we asked the members of Babywearing Calgary to share photos and stories of the babywearing men in their lives, boy, did we ever get a positive response! It turns out that men love wearing their kids just as much as the mamas do, in everything from Kinderpacks to Kokadis. Below, read our profiles of six babywearing dads and learn about what they like to use for babywearing, why they do it, and their best advice for other dads this Father’s Day
Babywearing Fathers in Calgary

Babywearing Papa #1: Christopher

Dad babywearingWhat do you like to babywear in?
SSC’s (soft structured carriers) – but I’m still looking to find the perfect fit.

When do you like babywearing?
Whenever mom is out on a mom’s night out, or when mommy has her hands full (Author’s note: I think most moms would agree this is pretty much all the time!)

Why do you like babywearing?
It gives me both my hands free.

Can you share a memorable babywearing story with us?
One day I took all three kids to see Kung Fu Panda, and my oldest son didn’t want to stay, so I left. I had one child in each hand and the baby in the carrier and all these people kept commenting on how good of a dad I was. I just wanted out of there!

Any advice for other men who want to start babywearing?
Find a carrier that fits you well.
And Christopher’s parting words…he wanted to add that he didn’t understand how the pieces of cloth that we buy are now a hundred-dollar industry (should we tell him the going price for an Uppymama? Probably not!).

Babywearing Papa #2: Rob

dad babywearingWhat do you like to babywear in? 
I like a Boba or a mei tai (his wife wrote in and said that he’ll use a wrap if she wraps it for him).

When do you like babywearing?
When we are out, when we are home and a kid needs to be worn…anywhere and anytime, really!

Can you share a memorable babywearing story with us? (as told by Rob’s wife)
Recently I (Rob’s wife) came home from a day out to see him (Rob) walking down the sidewalk with our almost four-year old and almost two-year old… chasing the toddler like a total goof. He explained that I had all of the carriers he knew how to use in my van (oops!) so he let the little guy walk (run). When I asked him why he didn’t drag out a stroller, he said “because that’s not how we roll!”

Babywearing Papa #3: Denis

dad babywearingWhere was this picture taken?
This is me (Denis) wearing our son Roanan and carrying our son Kian, while hiking in Banff.

What do you like to babywear in?
The Toddlerhawk, because it’s easy to use, and the Maya Wrap ring sling, because I can get the baby to sleep in it and then easily transfer him to the bed without waking him up.

When do you like babywearing?
Whenever my wife is at work and I have all three boys on my own.

Why do you like babywearing?
I like it because it’s much easier than pushing a stroller around, and it works as a comforting tool whenever their mama is not around.

Can you share a memorable babywearing story with us? (as told by Denis’ wife)
He (Denis) once said to me, “I don’t know why you call it the Maya Wrap. It should be called ‘MY’ wrap!” – because he likes it so much!

Any advice for other men who want to start babywearing?
Babywearing is a life saver when your wife isn’t around and you have to put a baby to sleep while taking care of your older children!

Babywearing Papa #4: Steve

dad babywearingWhat do you like to babywear in?
My favourite for a long time was the Boba, but now I am loving our full-buckle Bamberoo. I also babywear in stretchy wraps, mei tais, size 7 wraps, and ring slings if that is what’s close. I even have a Starry Night Raven (an Oscha wrap) on preorder!

What’s special about babywearing in your family:
Sharon (Steve’s wife) sent us beautiful photos of how babywearing has been a tradition in her family for several generations. From her own father babywearing her, to Steve enjoying bonding with their son, to male relatives (a 16-year old uncle and a grandpa) getting in on the babywearing action, there are a lot of babywearing men in Steve’s crew!

Babywearing Papa #5: Kurtis

dad babywearingWhat do you like to babywear in? 
I use the Boba and the Babyhawk – generally I like the Boba better, and I like not having to tie it, plus I like the hood on the Boba.

When do you like babywearing?
I babywear to go out for a walk or going to the store…also it’s a great way to put Max (our son) to sleep. Currently I am wearing Max daily, or almost daily, as I’m the primary caregiver.

Why do you like babywearing?
It soothes the sleepy or sleep-fighting baby, and it’s more convenient than a stroller on the LRT.

Babywearing Papa #6: Aaron

dad babywearingWhat do you like to babywear in? 
I like using our Bambino, and also the Ergo. Babes in Arms helped us pick it, as we are sturdy types and it is easy to use. Back carries in the Ergo are great for me, as I had back surgery last summer and weight on the front isn’t great for me. (Aaron’s wife wrote in and explained that Aaron has generously supported her financial habit of procuring carriers over the years – they’re now on baby #3! Now that is one awesome dad to celebrate this Father’s Day!)

When do you like babywearing?
We coach rugby, so we wear our little man at practice and games to keep him happy and safe – plus it is great bonding time when we haven’t seen each other all day! We also like to hike – we haven’t trekked out this year yet, but Waterton is in our future.

Why do you like babywearing?
I feel like a badass hands-on dad when babywearing! (Aaron’s wife and the rest of us ladies couldn’t agree more!)

The following photographs were submitted by members of Babywearing Calgary and show the proud papas in all their glory.
Babywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in CalgaryBabywearing Fathers in Calgary

By Caitlin Walton & Kate Rhodes

A very special thanks to the following members of Babywearing Calgary who were kind enough to submit photos and share stories of the babywearing men in their lives: Alisha B, Amy W, Angela B, Brooke M, Dawna Z, Elizabeth P, Freya P, Heather G, Heather K, Jené W, Jennifer M, Kaylee R, Krysten Anne, Laura H, Lindsie B, Maja M, Melissa F, Melissa R, Morgan C, Nikayla R, Sarah Louise S, Sasha S, Sharon D, Summer L, and Tara S. We couldn’t have done this without you!

Wearing in a Winter Wonderland

If you’re in Calgary, you know that the past couple days have been just like winter out there.  Overnight the earth was covered with a foot of snow and the winter boots and shovels came out.  Babywearing changes with each season, with little (or big) adjustments being made to how we wear our babies to allow for the most comfort.  Winter is no exception, and now babywearers all over Calgary and area are adjusting their practice in response to the cold weather.

There are many options for wearing in a winter wonderland, here are a few that we’d like to share:

1.  Just bundle up!  Honestly, this is sometimes the easiest route depending on a couple things, like how old your baby is and what you plan on doing.  For instance, if your baby/toddler is 2 and likes to run and be carried, than it is sometimes easier to pick something where you are free to let your child up and down, but also be warm.  In this case, make sure you have some leg warmers for under the pants that will inevitably ride up when he/she goes in to the carrier, and you may want to pick a carrier that is really adjustable, like a ring sling, wrap or mei tai, so that it fits even with winter coats on with very little adjusting.

Another reason you may opt for the “just bundle up” route is if you are expecting and can’t quite make any of those awesome babywearing jackets fit properly.  One thing I now notice that was missed here in the picture though is the leg warmers.  Leg warmers are basically an essential if you go this route, as you can see by the little bit of skin peeking out from above the boot.

2. Babywearing jackets.  These jackets come in many different forms, all offering a solution to a similar goal… to wear your baby without double bundling and of course keeping them warm.  The jackets typically have a hole for the baby’s head, a hole for the wearers head, and then they can be used with any carrier (aside from the frame packs… this is the only time I’m clarifying this.. just assume it from now on) ;).  A common problem with a babywearing jacket is the draft that can enter through the baby’s neck hole, so remember to still dress for the weather and add either a poncho to the babe that can just rest over the jacket, a dickey turtleneck or a scarf.  Even with the draft, these jackets can be a good winter wearing alternative.  A few things to think about when looking to purchase a babywearing jacket, aside for the obvious cost  is

1.  Can I wear this for front or back wearing?  Let’s be honest here, some babywearing jackets say they work both ways, but then really just look like you’re wearing a coat backwards when doing back carries.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like reliving the early 90s and wearing clothes backwards (if this makes no sense to you… google Kriss-Kross, jump).

2.  Can it be worn any other time aside from babywearing?  For instance, can you wear it while pregnant, or even just as a regular non-pregnant, non-babywearing jacket?  If you’re looking for versatility, this may be something you want out of your babywearing jacket.

3.  Is it easy to use when by yourself?  Really, it doesn’t matter how fantastic a jacket is, and how great it is for backwearing… if you can’t easily figure it out when rolling solo, you won’t wear it.

4. Is it your style?  I don’t want to be petty, but to some extent you will care how your jacket looks on you.  Otherwise, why not just wrap yourself in a comforter and call it a day?  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but if that is your deal then you probably aren’t looking at babywearing jackets to begin with.  Although really, just think of all the money you’d save, hahaha.  New plan… purchase babywearing comforter.  😉

Some exciting news for the Babywearing Calgary group is that we have a Mama Parka on route for our lending library.  These jackets average at a $425 retail, so it will sure be nice to try before committing to buy!  I for one am super stoked on it’s arrival, man does it look beautiful!  This is one of the reasons our lending library has a 2 week lending limit though, so that everyone can have a chance to try out some of the wonderful items that we are so lucky to have.

3. Babywearing ponchos.  A babywearing poncho is exactly what it says… a poncho that is made to wear while wearing your babe.  It is essentially a poncho with 2 head holes and a little more room for a carrier.  These can be worn with any carrier and are usually good for front or back.  The reason these don’t typically look awkward for back carries is because a poncho is typically the same on the front and the back, so no awkward pockets, zippers or collars gracing your back while back wearing.  Depending on the weather you may dress your little one a little warmer (and yourself) when using a poncho, as it’s not necessarily going to keep you completely warm in our cold winter climates.  That said, ponchos are fantastic for fall and spring, or to throw over you and your little while going between car and location… or even for snuggling around the house on a cold winter day.

And more exciting news for the Babywearing Calgary group is that we have a Mamaponcho on it’s way to our lending library.  It hasn’t arrived yet, but it is on the way and will be available for rent very shortly!!  Thank you Mamaponcho!

4. Carrier Covers.  These are accessories that you can attach to your carrier to go over baby to keep them warm.  This eliminates the need to completely bundle up your babe, and is a pretty easy and quick option for cooler weather.  Again, you want to check to make sure the cover can be used easily for back carries, although the covers typically attach to the carrier straps, making them generally easily usable for front and back carries.

This looks like a pretty hardcore cover, but there are really so many options.  You can get fleece covers, covers that wrap around the baby’s feet or simply hang down shielding the wind, and covers with or without a hood.  I like the hood idea, but that’s just me.  Sadly, we do not have a carrier cover in our lending library, but we are working on it!  If you are someone who makes/sells carrier covers and you happen to be reading this, please send us a message at babywearingcalgary@gmail.com to discuss becoming a lending library sponsor!  😉

5. Fleece covers.  Probably one of the more popular winter babywearing options are the fleece covers, which can be found in either vest form or full sweater style form.  Either work good, but if it’s really cold these typically don’t hold up without a little extra bundling.  Or if you live somewhere that is constantly windy (ahem ahem.. Lethbridge), these will not keep the wind out.  These can typically be used for front or back carries, but some will work better than others to avoid that “I’m wearing a fleece backwards” look.  Similar to the ponchos, these are fantastic for fall/spring and running between vehicle and location.  With a little extra bundling either under or over, these covers can provide just the right amount of warmth (dependent on temperature outside of course).

This is another item we need in the lending library, so if you have something please shoot us an e-mail!

6. DIY.  Do-It-Yourself.  I truly envy anyone who can actually DIY…. what some people can do with their hands amazes me sometimes. That said, it doesn’t have to be difficult, you can DIY without sewing.  If you’re interested in learning how to make your own “no-sew babywearing fleece” check out these instructions.  Then, once you’ve made it, please take a pic and send it to babywearingcalgary@gmail.com

7. Amauti.  An Amauti is a tradtional Inuit parka designed to carry baby in a back pouch while keeping mom and baby warm.   Often people typically think that the babies are carried in the hood of the parka, although while the hood is definitely large enough to cover both babe and mom, the child does not actually go in the hood.  The baby sits in a pouch created from the back of the parka against mom’s back.  According to amautibaby.com “you can amaaq (carry) a child to 2-3 years in an Amauti”, although the parkas are often large enough to carry bigger children as well!  I just carried my 4.5 year old in an Amauti, and it is now her favourite way to “ride”.  Things to think about with an Amauti is what you are planning to do.  Because the baby/child goes in to the parka with no shoes and without much winter wear at all, this is a carrier that you would use if the baby/child did not need to get out (unless you have outerwear handy).  Also, remember to still dress for the weather and wear a scarf and/or toque, if the hood is down you will likely feel a draft.

Authentic Amautis are hard to find and often need to be custom made, unless you live where they are made locally.  The intellectual property of the Amauti pattern is protected and the seamstresses will not (and should not) disclose their design to anyone, so you must go through a legit seamstress from up north to get one.  You can contact a seamstress at Amauti Baby to inquire about having an Amauti made for you.  We are lucky here at Babywearing Calgary to have a co-leader who happens to own 4 Amautis (yes, you read that right… FOUR), so if you would like to try an Amauti, come to a meeting!  They are not available for the lending library, but I know Jen would love to help you try one on at a meeting.

Well, I hope this breakdown of all the winter wearing options has given you a few things to think about, and has not completely complicated the issue for you.  😉  What I have found in my experience is that winter wearing options are just as personal as carriers themselves, and all good in their own respect.  There is no one solution to all your winter wearing needs, and not one option will suit everyone.  It’s a matter of determining what is important to you in a winter wearing option and then seeking a solution that will support your needs.  We are working to make these options available for you to try out at the Babywearing Calgary meetings, so please come out!  Or, if you have a great winter wearing item, please bring it to a meeting and share!  And lastly, if something awesome was missed here, please e-mail babywearingcalgary@gmail.com and I will add it to the post.

Happy {winter} Babywearing!