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We all know that parents wear a lot of "hats" throughout the years, but one that we don't talk about often includes being prepared to teach our children about the good, the bad, and the ugly that exists in the world around them. Part of raising children requires having a level of self awareness that we may not have yet reached, and the truth of the matter is one of the best ways to learn about yourself (especially on this level) is to be willing and open to learn about new and other perspectives. It's not really a question about whether you agree or disagree with social issues/topics (ie: privilege, racism, classism, ableism, rape culture, etc). It's about HOW you choose to present/confront your children with these issues. And just because your littles may not be "old enough for this stuff " yet does not mean that you shouldn't be paying attention now because, let's face it.... just because something does not affect you or your daily life, does not mean it does not exist. And denying that these issues exist is just as bad as openly accepting/practicing them. Instead of rambling on and on through my lens about this stuff, I wanted to share a recent Facebook post of mine and the conversation that transpired. And since everybody loves a little Facebook drama, I figured you wouldn't mind........ lol
A little backstory about me: As a female minority (with immigrant parents), there were a LOT of things that I experienced early on that left me feeling isolated and like there was something wrong with who I was. Only within this past year have I discovered that I am not the reason that I have had many of those experiences that I carry with me, which should make it pretty needless to say that I never considered myself (let alone had any pride about being) a person of color(PoC). In fact, looking back I realize that I have spent most of my life trying to present myself as exactly the opposite. Recently, I have grown more confident in myself and have even taken it a step further to embrace my identity as a woman of color (WoC). Undoubtedly these changes have come thanks to being able to unpack my past and FINALLY learn and grow from it. The pain is real and isn't always the easiest to put behind you when it's all you've known growing up. Then, think about how much that baggage you carry can potentially affected transition into adult life....
While I am still an observer in the social justice world, who mostly prefers to engage through silent observation, I do sometimes come across a social media post- or issue- that really hits a nerve for me. Especially in light of recent events in Paris with ISIS, I can't help but see so much hate spew and target "certain" groups/demographics. This is the same ignorance that works to uphold the best interests of the majority, reinforces oppression, and encourages MICROAGRESSIONS. When you read this, please keep an open mind and remember that if you don't have anything productive to say, you DON'T HAVE TO read this. If you are not familiar with the concept of "privilege" THIS VIDEO is a great place to start! Remember, this is not about any ONE INDIVIDUAL person. My goal isn't to try and change your mind nor am I calling anyone wrong..... #knowbetterdobetter
The "just woke up and scrolling through Facebook in bed, pre-coffee post"....
Grab your popcorn and tea... here come the comments! (I divided each comment and it's sub-thread/replies with a line for organizational sake; each heart color coordinates with the same profile throughout the thread's entirety.)
*the police discussion continues amongst others
*Full transparency: I chose not to include the comment that I wrote this reply for because of the comments length, but the gist was "problems exist, can't we all just get along."
*LINK FROM POST: What's The Matter With 'All Lives Matter" (This article is a VERY broad reference for why "let's just all get along" isn't an option yet-IMO)
Thanks for reading and stimulating your brain! Comments are welcome, but please be mindful about what and HOW you say things. Be sure to follow the blog so that you don't miss more posts about our life in toddler world and other adventures!
Payal is the proud first time mother of toddler twincesses. She holds a degree in Psychology and Sociology, and is a total nerd at heart. She created TwinMommy101, where she is dedicated to sharing her own experiences with raising twins, her love of babywearing, gently parenting, healthy living, and much much more, all while creating a supportive community for moms of multiples to connect.
The thought of potty training has terrified me even before I had kids. I don’t know if I owe my thanks to all the horror stories from friends/the media, or if it's the mere thought at having to deal with cleaning up poop and pee (especially when it isn’t mine). Either way, it should come as no surprise that when I found out I was expecting twins, I instantly became FEARFUL of "potty training" (and teething) time the most. Lucky for me, I ended up naturally following a path of gentle parenting and I was able to find a MUCH easier solution to my toilet training fears.
ELIMINATION COMMUNICATION (EC) is something that I have talked about since the girls were 7 months, and what we still practice today. (Technically after the age of 2 it is not considered EC, but we have been practicing this since infancy, so I still consider what we do to be EC.) The end goal for us IS to put our pee and poop in the toilet, but it is not expected to happen all at once. What we have been doing in our home is POTTY LEARNING. We are LEARNING how to control the muscles that hold and release our “waste.” We are LEARNING how to keep our pants and undies dry so that we don’t have to keep changing our outfits. We are LEARNING how to not depend on a diaper and we are LEARNING how to do something that the rest of the world does: use the restroom. Instead of negatively reinforcing an "accident" (teaching them to use the potty to avoid undesirable reactions/consequences), we acknowledge the situation and converse about what we can do differently next time.
Here is what a typical conversation looks like:
“I see that you went pee pee and didn’t make it to the potty and now your panties/pants/socks are wet. I know that it can be hard to stop playing and remember to make it to the toilet in time, but we have to remember that we need to try and keep our panties dry. Next time let’s try to squeeze and hold it and tell mommy "potty" and go sit and put pee pee in the toilet. OR try to go when mommy asks you to sit so you don't have to worry about it later.” (Because I constantly prompt/ask them to take a break from their activities and sit on the potty. But of course they never do.)
Here we are at 2 years old (26 months) and are (FINALLY) celebrating our official graduation from diapers to “big girl panties!” Now I am not about to sit here and tell you that it’s been easy. Because it wasn’t. BUT as with everything else with this thing we call parenting, it’s all about patience and the message that you send your children. And honestly, I HATE the phrase “POTTY TRAINING.” I am not “training” my children to do anything. Peeing and pooping is a natural part of life and using the toilet is not a “trick” I am trying to teach them.
"There's a nice logic to the elimination communication method. (Elimination communication) takes place in cultures where there is a greater degree of intimacy between parents and infants." -Leslie Rubin, MD, a pediatrician at the Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University School of Medicine (Source: Web MD)
If you think about it, asking a child to start controlling when they use the restroom is a HUGE thing. It requires attention/awareness of controlling both an urge and the muscles that hold and release. By the time littles are toddlers, all they have known is doing their own thing and going whenever, and getting a diaper change later. (This is huge factor in regards to why we chose EC.) Adding the pressure/demand that toddlers also restricted to going in one place can really stress a kid out because now there are so many new skills to be learned and expectations to be fulfilled. There have been times where we are playing outside and the girls have had permission, and even been encouraged to pee in the yard. Because, for us, it's more about the acknowledging that they need to go, not going in a particular place. (Obviously we emphasize that going in the toilet is our goal, but I'm still not trying to put too much extra pressure on them.) If we are in the house and they start to go, I rush over and ask them to hold it (I have a toilet near by 99% of the time we are diaper free), but I let them it's ok if they can't. Honestly, it can be SO hard to stay calm. I think it's a gut reaction to panic and become upset/angry. But thanks to our playmats (and hardwood floors), I know it's just a small mess and that it won't take long for me to suck it up and just clean it. (And the longer I wait to pursue toileting, the bigger the puddles will be. Huge factor #2 as to why we chose EC!)
I feel like this is a much better way of getting them to WANT to use the potty instead of making a big deal about them not getting to it in time because we all know that “accidents happen.” It's all about baby steps. "Concentrate on controlling your bladder, work on giving me cues, I'll work on being more observant about your natural cues, and let's try to make it to the potty." (I'll take what I can get, when I can get it.) And I try to dialogue about it as often/much as I can in between.
"While the practice [of EC] may sound like relative heresy in the U.S., it's embraced in at least 75 countries including India, Kenya, and Greenland." -Web M.D. on "Potty Training Before the Age of 2"
Last, but not least, I feel like it is important to note that we do NOT associate "incentives" with hits in the potty. I know it sounds "mean" at first if you don't understand why, but hear me out.... Using the restroom is a natural part of life and does not require tangible rewards. (You didn't give your baby a "prize" for starting to roll over, crawl, walk, etc. did you?) I DO personally agree with praise-to a certain extent, but obviously I'm not going to throw a party every time someone goes to the bathroom where they are supposed to. I will tell them that they did an amazing job keeping their panties dry. Or I may ask them how great it feels to know that they went "big girl potty" and now don't have to worry about sitting in a wet/dirty diaper. And when they go unprompted, I tell them how proud I am of them stopping what they were doing to use the toilet. Nothing above and beyond any other milestone they have reached so far. I want them to know their efforts are appreciated and that I am truly proud of them, but I also want to make sure they build their self confidence and the desire to continue doing what they are doing ON THEIR OWN. Most importantly though, I don't want them to feel self-defeated if they have an accident because they know they won't get a "prize." (Which is one more reason that I spend so much time dialoguing with them during their misses.)
To put this whole incentives thing into perspective let's pretend you want to learn to play the guitar. And every time you play a chord correctly after you finish learning it, I give you $100. (Obviously the longer you learn to play, the harder your chords/songs will get.) And since you are going to make $100 every time you get it right, I think it's safe to say that you are going to be extra motivated to get it right quickly. And now here you are, really trying to get it right but your lack of experience just does not allow you to do so. ("Practice makes perfect" right?) Would you be more upset at your novice skills or at missing out on $100? It's the same concept.
Overall, EC/potty learning has been one of the most difficult concepts to stick by, ESPECIALLY because I have two, but it's not impossible or irrational. There are "levels" of EC (part-time, full-time) so there is no need to feel committed to the concept 24/7/365. True, it's all about going at your baby's pace, BUT a stressed out big does not make the situation any less stressful to our littles. If you have access to it, seek help. It can sometimes be easier to either take turns going diaper free with a partner/friend OR do it with someone else around to keep you company- and calm lol. (It's ok to have help!) If you get frustrated, try to think about all the money and time you will save by not having to change diapers. Soon, all you will have to do is wipe and flush! No more scraping mushed up poop off babies butts. No more stinky diaper pails. No more "whoops I ran out of diapers and need to go to the store" dilemmas. And if you get caught up in the moment just remember "They are learning something new. They are still so young. And THIS TO SHALL PASS." (Trust me, when it does, you will be over the moon about your freedom from diapers!)
Ear protection isn't something we often talk, or think, about when it comes to our babies. I am definitely no expert in science, however I do know that hearing is a valuable gift that should be protected from a young age. Even before I became a mother, I used to be a worry wart at loud events about all the adorable littles around me and the massive amount of noise around us all. When it became my turn to take my littles out to a ball game (and other loud events/venues), I couldn't be happier to have found an easy solution to ear protection, even though I went the long way around to figure it out.
WHY earBanZ? Knowing that my children's hearing/ears are more sensitive than adults, and that it can get really loud inside of the Georgia Dome during an Atlanta Falcon's game is what sparked my interest in shopping around for ear protection. I wasn't sure when the girls would be around loud noises again, which made me more doubtful that I needed to spend "big money" (more than $5) on something, but I knew that I didn't want to take even that one small chance.
The first two games that the girls went to, we thought we'd try simple earplugs. Nothing fancy, a couple of dollars, and we are off easy peezy right? NO. Talk about a disaster. Aside from the fact that the girls wouldn't even touch them, they were WAY too big to fit. The main reason I got these particular earplugs was... because I had not a clue what else I was supposed to be looking for! It wasn't until I bumped into a mommy friend on Facebook who had the earBanZ on her little when I realized that I was just being lazy and not looking hard enough. After a quick chat, I felt SO relieved to know there was a potentially easier solution to my, now third, game day headaches. Since I learned about earBanz the night before our next home game, we went to our local retailer instead of ordering online. (A list of retailers can be found at the end of this review.)
My thoughts before trying it: I was SO nervous about the girls not keeping the earBanZ on and I was worried our outing would turn into a repeat disaster, especially since the first chance we had to try them out was the day of the game. After the complete fail with the earplugs, I was super skeptical that the girls would want these bulky, and seemingly heavy, things on their heads. And for about $25-$30 a pop, I was in no mood for a fight from the girls about it. (ps: they are not heavy AT ALL. The infant pair only weighs 6.4 ounces! The kids pair: 6.7 ounces.)
We opened the earBanZ together early that morning so the girls could have a chance to try them on and get a feel for them. (We were watching a movie that morning in bed and slowly getting ready for our big day.) I explained to them what they were and why it was important to wear them, and well, I think it's pretty needless to say that I was beyond shocked when they refused to take them off after we put them on. The girls even insisted on finishing their movie with them on and well.... that was that. (The photo above/to the left is their first time with their earBanz and as you can see... they are pretty content!) To top it off, we've never even had any issues with them taking the earBanZ off during the games. In fact they fell asleep during one game and weren't bothered by ANYTHING. They slept through 2 quarters, a few touchdowns, and LOTS of noise. (Needless to say I felt like I had hit the jackpot in parenting that day!)
My experiences: Now, I'm not gonna lie. When I first got the earBanZ I was nervous about them putting too much pressure on the girl's little heads. (ESPECIALLY when it came to the "Kids Size." We are definitely still tiny when it comes to size; see the chart below for more information about sizing.) With both sizes of earBanZ you will notice there is a super soft foam that goes around the earphones/ear cups-which are shatterproof fyi. The soft foam helps keep the headphones from digging into baby's head while still allowing them to seal and sit firmly in place.
And since I'm on the honesty train here, I'm gonna go ahead and tell you that I DID put on a pair of each size eventually, just to see what all the hype was about. Right off the bat, I was SO amazed at how much I could actually hear! Think about when you dim a light. You can still see what's around you when you turn the lights down low, but your visibility is reduced. The earBanZ offer the same exact feeling but in regards to sound. I can hear everything around me, it's just not as "booming."
The one thing that is important to note when you are in the market for your own earBanZ are the two sizing options that are available: Infants and Kids.
- INFANTS: The infant size is recommended for 0-2 years. These headphones offer a cushy headband as well soft padding around the actual part that covers baby's ears for more comfort. These headphones are like the old school ones where you can slide them up and down the "headband" part. These are slightly less compact for traveling, and also seem to put slightly less pressure around baby's head. The infant ear protectors are more egg shaped and does not have any metal pieces on them.
- KIDS: The kids size is recommended for 2-12+ years. You can tell the kids earBanZ apart from the shape of the earphones, as well as the metal part that attaches the headband the the ear protector. The headband is padded for comfort, along with the soft foam ear cups. The headband itself does not adjust in length, however you can easily adjust the size by sliding the ear protectors along the metal connectors. This size folds up very compactly and offers a slightly firmer "suction" to wearers. (When I put the kids size on, I KNOW they are not going anywhere. And I cannot hear my keys clicking as I type right now, but I can hear the music that is playing on medium volume from my Mac. In case you were looking for that mental picture lol.)
So far: Places we have used our earBanZ in the past 12 months that we have owned them: professional sporting events, skating rink, fireworks shows, Stone Mountain Laser and Fireworks Show, MommyCon (large natural parenting convention), in our playroom, plane rides, and in the car (especially for longer rides). Using the earBanZ at all of these places/occasions make life so much easier since I know that the girls stand less of a chance of hurting their ears. I also feel like they are calmer when they have their "special head-fonnnnes" on because there is less noise in their world to overwhelm them with.
In fact, the other day while we were playing at home, I asked one of the girls (26.5 months old) if her listening ears were broken because, well.. she wasn't listening. She said "WAIT MOMMY!!," ran over and grabbed hear earBanZ, put them on and said "Ok mommy. I wistening now." And then she promptly proceeded to pick up all her food toys off the floor and put them back in the drawer.
I have been using earBanZ for over a year now and I don't see them going anywhere anytime soon. To this day, the girls REALLY love wearing them. They are always playing with them/taking them out and about with us, which you won't ever hear me complain about because I'd much rather be prepared to be able to do anything while we are out!
I HIGHLY recommend this product for anyone who is considering taking their child out to loud events or venues (such as but not limited to: "sporting events, firework shows, concerts, parades, around loud motors/engines, etc.). I am so glad that BanZ has come out with these awesome, and affordable, headphones. (The price was a bit off putting at first, but we have gotten MUCH MORE than our money's worth from our earBanZ.) There has definitely been a time or two where I have started to feel like a "that mom" because no one else's babes have hearing protection. And it's usually at that time that someone stops me and thanks me for protecting by babies. I wish there was an easier way to approach a fellow parent/caregiver and kindly suggest they look into ear protection for their littles, but that situation can go one of two ways, and I really don't want to risk ruining mine or anyone else's day by being misinterpreted for rude and condescending. Which is why I need your help spreading the word! And as an added incentive...
I am giving a pair of earBanZ (WINNER'S CHOICE) away! (Giveaway runs October 18-21)
*BLOG FOLLOWERS: Check your email for this post! You will find your bonus giveaway entry instructions in this exact spot!* Be sure to follow me on INSTAGRAM and like my FACEBOOK page to enter! If you are a blog follower, please be sure to check your email for this post because it has your bonus entry instructions! (*this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States; winner's choice= size and color) ~Winner will be selected via random.org and announced October 23 at 4pm EST~
MORE INFO ABOUT THE NEED FOR CHILDREN'S EAR PROTECTION: READ MORE from the NY TIMES about why hearing protection is important for children.
WHERE TO PURCHASE: CLICK HERE to visit the Baby BanZ website and learn more about their products. (HERE specifically for the earBanZ.) Don't forget that you can purchase these at BUY BUY BABY and BED BATH and BEYOND, both of which are notorious for frequently offering 20% off coupons!
RELATED POSTS: Going to a sporting event with littles? READ MORE about what to expect and how to be ready for everything. Traveling with littles? Read more about PACKING and TRAVELING with TWINS. Also, be on the lookout for more posts about traveling with toddler twins, as I recap our 2 months on the road flying, driving, and boating all in one summer!
*KINDLY NOTE THAT TWINMOMMY101 WAS NOT COMPENSATED FOR THIS REVIEW*
As we wrap up what has been, by far one of the funnest weeks this year, I want to take a moment to thank each of you who have participated and help spread the babywearing love. I can't say it enough times: without babywearing I don't know where we would be today. For many people, carriers are the easier/more accessible option when it comes to starting out with babywearing. While I am still exploring many of these options and combinations, I do have a few basic tips to offer. (Please stay tuned next month for more exciting announcements and babywearing info!)
#EmbraceYourOptions is about exploring all the options available to you. What carriers do you have? What can they do? Have you fully explored all the options they have to offer? What about options around you; lending libraries, friends to trade with? What sort of options do you have?
When I first started out babywearing, I managed to get by with only a DIY stretchy wrap followed by a DIY woven. I managed to try (and fall in love with) the mei tai at 6 months thanks to the same special friend that introduced me to the world of wearing! It was over 16 months before I finally was able to try my first soft structured carrier (ssc)!
MT CARRIES TWINGAROO WRAP/SSC COMBO RING SLING TIME LAPSE
Happy Friday! I am so sad that we are nearing the end of International Babywearing Week, however I did make sure to save the best for last! Be sure to try your hand at the Double Hammock back carry today- which is the featured Carry of the Day for the #twinmommy101babywearingchallenge! This carry is not one I have dabbled much with yet because I have always been intimidated by the chest pass. (But with a little time and practice, I realized I was making it out to be worse than it actually is!) Be sure to follow the blog for more updates, info, and tutorials as they become available. Don't forget we still have giveaways running until the end of the week! Keep scrolling to see what is up for grabs! (and again, I saved the best for last!) Leave a comment with your thoughts about our theme spotlight, COTD or, if you have any questions.
#EmbraceYourFamily: Who are the people in your life that support you daily? Do you have a babywearing family? How does babywearing impact your own family. Do you have other babywearers in your family? What does babywearing mean to your family?
*More links and info about the Double Hammock are coming soon!*
Watch how to wrap Double Hammock Double Rings:
Look how easy and quick it is to DH!
Thought/questions about this carry? Leave them here in the comments!
I invite you to take a few moments today and read my latest guest series “Real Talk With Twinmommy101” which is being featured in World of Moms. Get to know the real me and why I do what I do….. I also want to take a moment to thank you for being a part of our journey and allowing us to be a part of yours. YOU are what makes Twinmommy101 keep on chugging!
If you haven’t heard of World of Moms you are missing out! “World of Moms is a community that’s been created to build a one-stop destination for all you mommies. It aspires to bring together like-minded women who believe that sharing experiences doubles the joy of parenting and reduces the agonies associated with motherhood. A place to connect, share your experiences, give and get advice, and vent anonymously.” And the best news is they are featuring a new series written by yours truly!
Your baby REFUSES to let you put her down for the 20th time, you have another one running around with yogurt covered fingers, taking her diaper off, touching everything on the way to the bathroom. What’s a mom to do? Toddlerhood doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Learn 5 easy ways to be ready for just about anything your toddler may throw your way.
A yogurt covered toddler and stage 5 clinger (S5C) combination is only one of the many adventures the girls like to take me on during our time together. And let's face it, these aren’t the easiest moments to get through. I mean, I haven’t even had time to brush my teeth or use the bathroom, let alone make coffee. All I know is that there is an inevitable mess in/on the way to the bathroom and that my day is going to be a long one.
The options I am left with for the above scenario are to either take the S5C with me while I chase, and toilet, yogurt baby or, put down the S5C, risk upsetting her more, and tend to my almost potty independent “dessert bowl baby.” Either way, I feel backed into a corner and like I’d rather bang my head against a wall. And we’ve all been there, whether you
You can find a full list of my guest appearances HERE!
I can't believe it is already Day FIVE of International Babywearing Week! Time surely does fly when you are having fun! All this week I have been featuring the Tandem Friendly "Carry of the Day Challenge" where we have been focusing on carries that are suitable for wearers of twins and one baby. Today we step it up another notch and shift to back carries (or front/back tandem carries if you have TWO babies to wear!) Today's carry is a long time favorite of ours and is a great place to start exploring tandem front/back carries.We are also launching two AWESOME giveaways! (Keep scrolling for more info about these carries as well as info about back carries in general!) And of course leave a comment with your thoughts about our theme spotlight, COTD or, if you have any questions.
#EmbraceYourDay: How does babywearing help you get through your daily activities/demands? Sometimes it’s not about adventures or style or getting out but just getting through everyday life. What does babywearing do for your day?
LAST DAY TO ENTER!Twinmommy101's IBW Giveaway: Sling Rings
Watch how to wrap HJBC/REBOZO Tandem Carry:
Watch how to wrap HJBC (with extra pointers and a ring finish!):
Watch HJBC/REBOZO Tandem Carry in real time action:
Watch HJBC in real time action:
Thought/questions about this carry? Leave them here in the comments!
Happy Hump Day and welcome to the fourth day of International Babywearing Week (IBW) 2015! Today is the last day you can enter to win a Twingaroo Twin Baby Carrier as well as the cute suck pads that protect the carrier straps for your curious and drooly baby from Emma, Bemma's & Moore! If you wrap, or have a fun mei tai/Asian style carrier, don't forget to enter to win a set of sling rings courtesy of Anklebiter Adventures (Scroll down this page to enter, and click HERE to view a full list of giveaways going on this week!)Today's carry is the PERFECT solution for anyone who has two short wraps (as opposed to a longer one) OR anyone who is looking to tandem hip carry two babies of significantly different sizes. This carry is only suitable for woven wraps and requires the use of a large sling ring. Miranda's Tandem Hip Carry is semi poppable and completely independent- meaning you can get your babies in and out with having to take/wrry about the other one become unsecure. AND that it requires minimal adjusting when putting babies back in. And of course leave a comment with your thoughts about our theme spotlight, COTD or, if you have any questions.
#EmbraceYourStyle: What inspired you to seek the have the carrier(s) you have, or have previously owned. Why do/did you love it? Why is that carrier your style? How do you incorporate style into your babywearing? What are you favorite ways to feel snazzy while babywearing! (Lately I have been finding myself more and more drawn to sling ring finishes. They always add that extra "flare"- and some days my mommy get up needs a little pick me up! And don't forget about suck pads: the sure way to add a little flair to any carrier with straps)
Don't forget about our special IBW 2015 promotions!
Watch how to wrap Miranda's Tandem Hip Carry:
Watch how to wrap Robin's Hip Carry:
Watch Miranda's Tandem Hip Carry in real time action:
Look how easy it is to Robin's Hip Carry!
Thought/questions about this carry? Leave them here in the comments!
This week has been flying by so quickly, and the fun has only begun! Today there are TWO giveaways running (scroll for more info and direct entry links) in addition to our awesome promotions and of course the Carry of the Day (COTD) challenge! The COTD was by far one of my favorites and most used carries throughout our babywearing journey (both the tandem and solo variations). ESPECIALLY for those "in between" days when the girls were too big for tandem front carries but too small for me to feel comfortable front/back carries.
Be sure to leave a comment with any of your thoughts about our theme spotlight, COTD or, of course if you have any questions. #EmbraceYourVoice: tell the world who you are and what you have to say! What does babywearing mean to you? What do you wish someone would have What would you want to say to a new wearer? What ways does babywearing allow you to embrace your voice/self as a parent or caregiver?
Watch how to wrap Amanda's Tandem Hip Carry:
Watch how to wrap Poppin's Hip Carry (for beginners):
Learn Tips and Tricks for Amanda's Tandem Hip Carry:
More about how to wrap Poppin's Hip Carry:
Thought/questions about this carry? Leave them here in the comments!
It's not just another "Manic Monday!" Today is the second day of International Babywearing Week (IBW) 2015 and things are about to get SO fun! Our first giveaway starts today, and what better way to celebrate (tandem) babywearing than with a Twingaroo Twin Baby Carrier? (Scroll down this page to enter, and click HERE to view a full list of giveaways going on this week!)Today's carry was our favorite when the girls were small, and is still a favorite for when one baby wants front snuggles- 2 years later. This carry is both woven and stretchy wrap friendly and is semi poppable0 meaning that you can leave it take baby in and out with only slight readjusting/retying. And of course leave a comment with your thoughts about our theme spotlight, COTD or, if you have any questions.#EmbraceYourVoice: tell the world who you are and what you have to say! What does babywearing mean to you? What do you wish someone would have What would you want to say to a new wearer? What ways does babywearing allow you to embrace your voice/self as a parent or caregiver?
Watch how to wrap the Tandem FWCC:
Watch how to wrap one baby in a FWCC:
Winner's Choice (size/design) Action Baby Carrier 10/8-10/10 Twinmommy101's IBW Giveaway: Action Baby Carriers
Welcome to our 2nd Annual International Babywearing Week (IBW) Celebration!
I can't believe it's already that time of year again! This year we will be celebrating International Babywearing Week with a Tandem Friendly Carry Of The Day (COTD) Challenge! (Whether you are wearing one or two babies, there is room for you to play along too!) In addition to our daily carrying fun, we will have daily giveaways and more! Please be sure to LIKE and FOLLOW our FACEBOOK PAGE as well as our INSTAGRAM so that you don't miss a chance to win wraps, accessories, carriers, and more! If you follow my blog, everything will come directly to your inbox so you don't miss a beat!
Here is a list of the carries that we will be practicing for the week. *If you are following our blog, you won't miss more in depth info about babywearing (amongst a few topics) later on down the road!*
For more information about each day's carry and other IBW 2015 happenings on Twinmommy101, click on the links below: (links will not be active until early morning of each day-EST) SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
Don't Forget About Our Special #IBW2015 Promotions and Discounts!
You DON'T want to miss this!
Read more about babywearing and the role it has played for us HERE! Read more about how your baby's development plays a role in your wearing options HERE! Read more about the benefits of babywearing HERE! Read about the "Six Reasons Why You Shouldn't Babywear"
Happy Babywearing! #wearallthebabies #embraceyourworld #ibw2015
As the temperatures drop (they soon will!), any good parent will have plenty of coats and other winter accessories to keep their children warm. Its what we do as parents. Something some parents don't realize is while they need bundled up outside the car, inside the car seat they need to ditch that winter coat! The reason coats aren't safe in the car seat is because, though you may tighten the straps so it passes the "pinch" test with the coat on, the thickness of the coat will compress in a car crash, leaving slack in the harness that wasn't there before.
In the picture above you can see the difference in thickness between the coat normally, and those inches of slack that can happen from the compression, even if it is a little bit, it is just enough to cause the child to be possibly thrown from their car seat, and potentially the vehicle as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some products meant to keep baby warm in the car also aren't safe. Snow suits, swaddles, bundleme's and similar. Any fluff can compress and be a dangerous.
Bright side is, it is not needed! Once the car does warm up, your child will probably get too hot (and cranky!) from having their coat on. Think about it, ten minutes into your drive, you take your coat off because you get too hot, your child will get warm too. And they aren't able to take their coat off if it is under the harness.
So what is a parent to do? They need warmth outside the car, but no coats, snowsuits or other thick layers inside the car.
Luckily today, there are many great options! 1) There is the option to warm up the car ahead of time, then wrap a blanket around baby to go to the car. 2) Babywearing! I am a huge fan of babywearing! With my child, I just put him in the baby wrap or carrier, and wrap my husband’s big coat around us both! We stayed warm outside the car, and didn't have a coat to be unsafe in the car. (Some colder climates may not be as efficient) 3) Blankets. Keep some stored in your car to put over the child and harness. If they get too warm, they can always take it off themselves. 4) You can also put their coat on backwards OVER the harness. They will be warm and safe, and can take it off as well if they get too warm! 5) There are great and SAFE products out there now for this reason: - There is the Car Seat Poncho that they can wear inside and outside the car. - "Shower cap" style covers, such as the Cozy Cover, that go over the top of the seat but don't interfere with the harness or go behind the child. (this should still be removed once the child is in the car to reduce the risk of covering baby’s face, or keeping baby too warm) -There is also the Noggle (which is really great for winter and summer) that is an extended for your vents so that heat and a/c can better reach children in the backseat.
The Car Seat Lady has a great post about alternatives to big coats in the car. http://thecarseatlady.com/warmandsafe/
If you have a thin coat that you think may be thin enough that it won’t be a problem, test it before you ever put the car into drive. Simply buckle them in with it on, tighten it properly and WITHOUT loosening the straps, unbuckle the child and take the coat off. Then rebuckle and do the pinch test again to see if there is any slack now that the coat is off. If there is, then it is not a safe option. If there is no slack, then it is a safe coat to wear. Some fleece coats work well for the car seat.
I hope this article has been helpful and able to give you some good insight and advice when it comes to winter coats in car seats, as well as some safe alternatives. For more information or if you would like to schedule a car seat check to ensure your child is safe, you can find a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area at cert.safekids.org.
Chances are, if you’re reading this amazing blog, you love to babywear. Do you ever wish you could wear your baby more often, but feel you can’t because it’s too cold, too hot, they are sleeping, they might fall asleep, etc. etc.? If so, here are some tricks and tips!
- Too hot or too cold outside to spend a few minutes getting baby into a carrier? Try bringing baby inside in whatever your alternative method of choice is, (stroller, car seat, in arms, cart, etc.) then getting them into your carrier in the temperature controlled building. You can bring a bag/backpack in with you to store your wrap, and swap it out to store baby’s winter clothes, or other items you need while you’re inside.
- Try wearing your wrap, sling or carrier while you drive. In most cases, you can keep it out of the way of your seat belt, or have just one thin layer between you and the seat belt. You can also master the art of putting your carrier on while you’re sitting in the car, (after you park of course!) or climb into an empty seat in the back to get your carrier on and get baby inside it before you leave the car.
- Finally arrive at your destination, only to look back and see a sleeping baby? Get your carrier ready for baby, loosen those straps quite a bit, slowly undo all the buckles, sliding one arm out at a time, lean in and get baby onto your chest as quickly as possible, stand up, sway a bit to convince them to keep sleeping, then tuck them into the carrier.
Are you wearing a sleeping baby and need to get them back into their car seat? My favorite method to transfer baby into a car seat involves a few steps. I try to remember to prep the car seat for a possible sleep transfer as soon as I take baby out of the seat, but if I forget, I do it as soon as I get back to the car, or ask my partner or a friend to help me out. I loosen the straps enough so that they are out of the way of where baby will go. Some car seats have magnets, or pockets etc. where you can store the buckle tongues. If your car seat does not, you can purchase pins with magnets in them “lulu clips” to use. Use accessories like these with caution, as putting the pin through can damage some car seat covers. You can also tuck the tongues into some of the padding of the seat, or loosen all the way and hang them off the side of the seat. I then loosen whatever carrier I am using. With a soft structured carrier or mei tai, I take the entire thing off and let it hang around my waist while I transfer baby. With a ring sling, I just loosen enough for the fabric to fall away from baby. Depending on which wrap carry I’m using when wrapping, I unwrap enough to get baby out or unwrap fully and try to aim carefully so the wrap falls onto the front seat, or behind the car seat. If you’re lucky, at this point baby is sound asleep against your body. I then lean into the car, trying to maintain as much contact between baby’s body and mine until they are inside their car seat. Most of the time, I need to pause at this point to let them fall back to sleep before I extract myself from the car seat. After a few more seconds, I slide the shoulder straps onto baby, grab the buckle tongues, snap them in, then do the chest clip, tighten the straps to pass the pinch test, slide that chest clip up to arm pit level, and hope that baby is still sound asleep!
****Disclaimer**** Remember a baby carrier should never be used as a safety device. Baby must be secured properly in their car seat at all times while the car is moving.
Be sure to check out this week's special FEATURE FRIDAY post by Twinmommy101 and see what she has to say about SweetPea Ring Slings! And don't miss the giveaway going on today (9/18 on her FB and IG!)
When you have a toddler, or are in a situation where frequent up/downs are likely, a ring sling will be your best friend. You can skip all the steps and time that it can take to get a poppable carry with a woven wrap in place and ready to go. And, even though it's poppable, you may have to readjust from time to time. You don't have to worry about buckles, snaps, straps, or ties. You can wear your baby from birth up until (typically 35 lb), and you are set to go in 2 seconds if you need to nurse. Is there anything more a babywearing gal can ask for? Ah, yes there is. A breathtaking print!
I have only used ring slings for about nine months now, but I can say without a doubt they are on the top of my list for quick (and inconsistent) ups and downs, and that I wish I would have had the chance to try them sooner. SweetPea Ring Slings is an American based (internationally available) company that has been in business for almost 10 years! Their handmade slings are not only supportive and comfortable, but they are also reversible so that you have the option to choose which side represents yourself/energy/mood that day.
When I pulled my ring sling out of the box, I had no idea that I should have deeply exhaled first. The "Effervescence with Purple lining" premium sling is beyond breathtaking. I love the way the solid purple really accentuates the beauty and detail of the Japanese screen print on the opposite side. If you are wondering how they got their slings to have different color sides, it may help to mention that this sling is a double layered sling. That means that the fabric of each side are sewn together to give you the reversible option.
I was not at all familiar with a double layered sling, and to be honest it was a bit frustrating in the beginning. I found it difficult to tighten my sling after putting my baby in due to all the material that i had to pull between the rings. I was worried that the thickness of the layers was going to be hot, and that the width of the shoulder would be overwhelming. (It spread almost 2-3 inches down my arm!) I wasn't sure if it was going to be a good fit for me, but keeping in mind the struggles I had when I first started wrapping pushed me to keep trying. The love I had found for ring slings was too big to let this beauty go unused, and as with most new things/"tasks" that are unfamiliar to you (both in and out of the babywearing world), you may have to give it a few tries before you find your place with it. (Or realize that it's not the option for you.)
After a few frustrating tries, I took a step back and decided to take the time to get to know my sling. What's the shoulder like? Am I spending enough time threading it? Is it just me leaving too much slack before I put my baby in? Here is what I learned:
- The thickness of the sling is not hot at all. The cotton breathes enough to not create sweat or excess heat between you and your baby. But also keep in mind that it won't wick moisture and that the double layer may take just little bit of extra time to get used to. The big plus side to the double layer is that it gives added support while wearing my baby and extra cush on the shoulder. I don't see myself wearing a newborn in it only because I feel the thickness and length may be a bit much for such a tiny person. (After the baby gains some head control, I would definitely make the attempt to roll the tail under the top rail-behind baby's head- to make a head rest and have at it!)
- The shoulder is an Eclipse shoulder, which is a style exclusive only to SweetPea. I found that if I was going to wear for a longer period of time, it was more comfortable to spread the shoulder out more, but if I needed to reach and have a larger arm span I could work with the gather to make it smaller without having it subsequently dig in my back. It just took a little bit of playing around and actually using it to find what worked best for me.
"The Eclipse shoulder is reinforced on the inside of the sling and the way that the shoulder is pleated results in it being very lightly padded for comfort... It cups your shoulder without restricting arm movement. The way that the sling is sewn is designed to fold around the edge of your shoulder- no matter which side is facing out. The pleats fold up, to create that cup." (Read more about the Eclipse shoulder HERE)
- Threading a sling (overall) seemed way more intimidating for me that it actually turned out to be. With the double layer you want to make sure you take the extra time to properly thread your tail through the rings. I like to do an accordian fold and then guide my tail accordingly. They key, especially with double layers, is to make sure that as you are threading the tail BETWEEN the rings (step 2 of 2 for threading a sling), and that the material does not gather or bunch in ANY area. That is what (I later discovered) was the issue that was preventing me from successfully wearing the first few tries. The tail should pleat and you should be able to pull each strand without affecting its neighbor.
After I got through troubleshooting the threading and learning the best way to work my tails through the rings, I was ready for round 2. ENTER TODDLER Once I was able to finally get her in (no I wasn't leaving too much slack!), I could appreciate all the features my sling had to offer. The wide shoulder makes it easy to accommodate my specific wearing needs at the time. (Long wear-spread shoulder; need for more arm movement- gather the shoulder.) The way the pleats fall on the shoulder, especially in regards to weight distribution, made me recheck the shoulder after wearing because it felt padded from the way it rested on me. And even though the sling is wide, it did not once ever dig into my neck! No matter how much she wiggle wormed around in it.
My favorite part of this sling, after the print (because of course "save the best for last") was the pocket! The whole point of babywearing is to be hands free, but with a cell phone, keys, sippy cups (we only use them for outings), chapstick (etc), something still usually always ends up in my hand. I have to admit, I didn't even bother with the pocket at first, because in my past experience utilizing it only led to a heavy tail that bumped into my thigh/waist every time I moved. That is not to say I did not acknowledge it's presence though. When we were out at the GA Aquarium, I found my collection of things to carry getting to be more than I could handle so of course first instinct was "Hello, you have a pocket!" I put my phone, 2 pairs of shoes (infant size 4), a few pieces of paper, AND a bag of Goldfish (crackers, not animals!) in there. I was sure that it was going to be a recipe for uncomfortable, but to my surprise I actually forgot I even put anything in there.
The pocket goes across almost half of the tail and is at the very very bottom. It has a zipper, which helps "flatten" the items in the pocket, and the depth of the pocket helps balance out the weight. (aka, it's distributed across the bottom.) This is where I especially appreciated the width of the sling. Not only could I wear my almost 30 lbs baby, but I could stay completely free from knick nacks and necessities (like my cell phone.) The length of the sling (and having the double layer) surprisingly helped take the weight off the tail. I know it sounds backwards, but trust me.
Overall, if you are in the market for a ring sling and feel like you may be in the mood for something that doesn't limit you to one solid print front and back, this is a great option for you. Don't get frustrated or intimidated by the double layers, because it really is just about taking a few minutes to learn how you and your sling will work best together. It's no different from wrapping in the sense that you still have to make sure your passes and seat are all in the right place and properly secured. (With a ring sling, you have the advantage of not having to involve baby in the adjustment/setup process!) I wasn't sure how much love I was going to have for this sling in the beginning, simply due to the fact that it gave me a hard time at first, but I can honestly say I have found myself reaching exclusively for it for a few weeks now. The perks of a ring sling, with the convenience of a mini purse, mixed with the comfort of a (hip carry in a) woven wrap, AND a print that will catch everybody's eye (not to mention gorgeous!)? Yes please!
Use the code: TWINS when you check out to receive 10% off any sling from the Etsy Shop
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS SHOP (code expires 9/25/2015)
Choosing and installing car seats for your children is a necessary, yet sometimes overwhelming task. While all car seats on the market are safe, some meet our needs better than others. When dealing with multiple child restraints in the same vehicle, the list of needs can become a tad more extensive and can, as a result, make accomplishing your task more difficult. Like with any child restraint and vehicle configuration, you want to assess how much space you have to work with, as well as any specific restraint or vehicle requirements you may have. Here are a few guidelines/tips to follow that can help make traveling with multiple children easier on you and your day. (Please refer to the end of the post for additional resources for car seat shopping)
-Always reference your vehicle manual to confirm whether or not there are any restrictions set by the manufacturer when it comes to installing restraints (car seats, boosters, etc) in certain positions. It has become increasingly common to see, for example, certain vehicles equipped with overlapping seat belts (when a buckle stalk for one passenger is placed between the lap portion and buckle stalk of the neighboring seat). If this is the case, installing 3 restraints across that row would be prohibited. This is especially common, but not limited to, some Toyota and Hyundai models. Additionally, some newer higher end model Fords, Lincolns, and Mercedes' have inflatable seat belts, which would restrict you to either a universal anchorage system (UAS) install to that particular seat of the car, if applicable, or use a restraint that allows this type of seatbelt install (currently limited to certain Britax models).
-If you need 3 restraints across is indeed allowed and required, look for narrow profile ones, especially if they will be installed facing the same direction. Some restraints are much safer bets than others for fitting 3 across. If you're working with infant seats, you could also try a baseless install so you're working with an even smaller footprint. Some restraints also prohibit any side overhang when installing a restraint outboard. Puzzling seats (placing them in alternating directions) can work to your advantage sometimes. You could install 2 rear facing seats outboard and a forward facing seat center, or vice versa. And don't forget you can load the child through the vehicle hatch if that's an option! (Read more about how long you should leave your child rear facing HERE to see if puzzling is an option for you!)
(photo credit: CARS.COM)
-A seat belt install as opposed to a UAS install will, in most cases, gain extra width. Three consecutive seat belt installs or 2 outboard seat belt installs and a center UAS install will generally be much easier to achieve than three consecutive UAS installs.
-Verify that each restraint is independently tight. A good install is one that has no more than 1'' movement at the belt path. You want to make sure each seat is installed correctly without relying on the seats next to them. To check this, install a restraint in the center position first, followed by the two outboard. Then, uninstall the center restraint and verify movement of both outboard seats. If they are independently tight, you have properly installed all 3 restraintss across the row.
-With children riding in boosters, especially those who cannot buckle themselves yet, it's easier to install them outboard to make enough space for bigger hands to buckle the belt, as opposed to doing so in between restraints and other child seats.
-Any forward facing 5-point harness seat should be top tethered (see photo below). Although not mandated by law in the US (unlike their Canadian neighbors), a top tether limits head excursion significantly. You will need to install the restraint in a seating position with a designated anchor point as indicated by the vehicle manufacturer. Most vehicles manufactured as of 2000 are equipped with 3 user-ready anchor points in a rear seating position. Their position varies by make and model so you will want to consult your vehicle manual to know where yours are located. If you need additional tether anchor points, contact your local dealership to see if you have the option to have some retrofitted to your vehicle.
-Older children who safely ride in the vehicle with their seat belt alone, or those who ride in a backless belt positioning booster, should be seated in a position that is equipped with a head restraint. Many vehicles only have headrests outboard, for example, so it's another variable to consider. (On that note, they must also ride in a lap/shoulder belt only. Lap only belts should only ever be used to install harnessed seats.) Lastly, check your vehicle manual for any restrictions on use of the third row. If none, still pay particular attention to belt fit. While not the case in all vehicles, belt fit in the third row is notoriously poor. If you are unable to achieve a safe belt fit, consider installing a harnessed seat in lieu.
Your vehicle manual and your child restraint manuals will be your most important resources when installing any car seats, and as always, contact your local Child Passenger Safety Technician for help here: http://cert.safekids.org/ in the US or here: https://canadiancarseatnetwork.com/find-a-tech/ in Canada.
For more information and a detailed list on cars to consider if you need to install 2 or more seats in your car, CLICK HERE. For more information about buying used car seats and budget friendly options CLICK HERE For information about car seat shopping in general CLICK HERE
Angela is a Canadian SAHM of 2 beautiful little girls. She left her corporate job to raise them and discovered a passion for child passenger safety (CPS) after learning she had made some critical car seat mistakes when her oldest was a baby. She loves helping keep their babies safe as a CPST (technician) and has been doing so for a little less than a year.
Having a baby is quite expensive, believe me I know! Over the years, I have found many ways to save money with a baby. Some by going non-mainstream routes (cloth diapers!) and some by goodwill and yard-sale hunting. I have managed to save a lot. Some things are great to buy used (they grow so fast, buying all new clothes at retail seems crazy to me!) BUT the one baby item you should NEVER buy used, unless there is no other option, is the car seat!!
On most yard sale or BST (buy/sell/ trade) pages online, you will see the rules usually require the seller to disclose whether the seat has been in an accident, and the expiration date. While this is a good start, it doesn't cover all the bases because, there are many more things to consider with a used seat.
In addition to not being able to verify whether it has truly been in an accident, and it very well may not have been in a crash or expired. But that doesn't mean that there can't be other conditions that can pose as a safety hazard, with the damage being not visible at all. In the pictures below you will see my used car seat example that also doubles as a demo seat where I work. Though it has not experienced a crash or expired yet, it has several things wrong with it. Just looking at it, you couldn't tell! I tested my husband on it (he's married to a CPST, so pretty knowledgeable..) and he could only find 3 errors! Just looking a used seat over isn't a guarantee its safe to use.
Things to consider if you HAVE to get a used car seat: (PLEASE NOTE that while buying a used seat is not advised, we understand that this may the best option for some)
1) Does the seat include the manual, all the parts and pieces, and have all the stickers still readable and intact? The manual and stickers contain important information for a correct installation. And the parts are necessary as well. 2) When is the expiration date? ALL car seats expire, and this includes the car seat bases. It’s important to not use past the expiration date because it has been tested and proven unsafe to use past that time. Foam and plastics break down over time. The expiration dates vary from 6-10yrs from the day they were manufactured. Bases expire as well. Always check that it is a base that came with the seat or is approved for use with that seat and that the base is also not expired. 3) Has it ever been in an accident? Car seats are a one-time use item. Once it has been in an accident, it is considered unsafe to use and should be properly destroyed. 4) Has the seat been recalled? It’s important to check if it has, because that is a safety issue. If it has, make sure the recall has been rectified. 5) Was the seat ever checked on an airplane? Car seats that are checked on an airplane have an unknown history. They are unsafe to use. 6) Has the seat, cover or straps ever been cleaned? If so, was it cleaned properly? The straps should never be submerged in water and the rest should never be cleaned with anything more than mild soap and a little water. 7) If it is a bucket style rear-facing only car seat, was it ever placed on top of a shopping cart? If so then it is unsafe for use. Doing so can damage the locking mechanisms of the seat. Even if you hear it “click” into place and check that it doesn’t move, it still can damage the locking mechanisms and is still unsafe.
AND MOST IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER: 8) Do you trust the person you are getting this car seat from with your child’s life? That is essentially what you are doing when you get a used seat and put your child in it. You are trusting that this person is 100% honest with you when answering the questions above and trusting that after their time using the car seat it still works safely and properly in an accident like it should. (While I would like to think all people do the right thing, often there are people who morally have no issues with lying and selling an unsafe seat to make a few bucks. It happens often.) For additional resources: You can find another used seat checklist here
If you want more proof on the dangers of used seats, check out this photo where the car seat looks perfectly normal, when it was actually in a car crash. This is why it is important to remember that you cannot guarantee that a used seat is safe just by looking it over.
At the end of the day, yes car seats are expensive, BUT that doesn't always mean that you are limited to used seats if you are working with a budget. There are ways to find good deals and options that are affordable. (Please note that it is better to buy a "cheaper" seat new than an expensive seat used. Expensive doesn't necessarily mean safer, all car seats pass the same safety standard, and buying any car seat used is a gamble. A "cheaper" seat used properly is just as safe as an expensive seat used properly.)
1) There is a group on facebook called "Car Seat Deals" that shares coupons and sales for car seats. 2) Some stores, like K-Mart, do layaway through out the year or have payment plans to make buying a new seat more affordable. 3) There are car seats that you can buy new that are priced below $100 that would work for the average child. (see picture below)
For more information or if you would like to schedule a car seat check to ensure your child is safe, you can find a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area at cert.safekids.org or feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the Author:
Shaina is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) from Missouri who is also an army wife. She is a stay-at-home mom who volunteers at her local Free Women's Center, where she provides car seat education and seat checks. After having multiple miscarriages, she was determined to keep her miracle child safe. While educating herself about parenting, she realized her passion was car seat safety and became a CPST. Shaina is a "crunchy" mama that loves babywearing and cute cloth diapers. In her spare time, she also enjoys crocheting, photography, and home canning.