Monday, June 3, 2013

Babywearing Rocks

When you are thinking about how to raise/handle your baby and child, I encourage you to take a step back from the normal way you have (probably) been taught.  Babywearing, cosleeping etc. are all coming back into use because they have been practised for centuries and found to be not only useful to Momma but good for baby as well. I was going to write a rather broad entry today, but after I started, found it mostly centered on babywearing, so I'll focus on that for now.
  I think this post could be called "Moby Wrap and Ergobaby review", it's just my experiences with both of these carriers, plus a little extra thrown in--just a warning for ya...
     The Moby Wrap  ( ) was my favorite carrier from birth to around 9 months.   Just don't be put off by the fact that you have to do your own wrapping, your Moby will come with a book on the different ways to wrap and carry your child, and it really is quite easy.  There are also tons of places now like the cloth diaper store, Little Padded Seats (, that do free classes on cloth diapering and baby wearing, I'm sure they would be happy to demonstrate wrapping a Moby.You can even pull up a part of the Moby to support your baby's head while she's too little to hold it up.    The Moby is so comfortable, and secure, that little baby isn't going nowhere!
 You can technically breastfeed while wearing the Moby, and I would do so on occasion, but I found it uncomfortable for the odd angles it created while breastfeeding.  It was nice to do while hiking with it when my son was little, and I would just shift him to feed, then shift him back.  Only trouble is, when shifting him back sometimes in order to get a secure hold I would have to undo part of it and tighten it again, once I got the hang of it--not that difficult, just remember you don't have to undo the whole thing to tighten it.  During really hot weather hiking could be difficult with a babe, since there are several layers of fabric around them making them warmer.  My son also hated to have his feet inside the wrap.  Once he was strong enough to push against it, I absolutely had to use a hold that kept his feet out. 
  Eventually I ended up having to get the Ergobaby carrier ( ) for hiking, since my son started pushing his shoulders out of the Moby when he got older and I felt it ceased to be safe at that point.  The Ergo baby ended up being so handy for hiking (and back carrying) that I have not tried the hiking carry suggested by my Moby, I just leave my Ergobaby in the trunk and get it out and wear it until he is too tired to hike/walk anymore, then load him up.  Because I remembered how hot my son would get in the Moby during the hot summers here, I got the "performance" carrier that is extra breathable for hot weather--when you will be doing most of your hiking.  If it is cold, I have a wool army blanket that I cut two holes in, one in the middle for my head, and one a little further out for my son's head.  I sewed an old dickie into my head-hole and I have an instant turtle neck.  I have yet to figure out something to make my son's ride warmer since any turtle neck or hood would make getting the baby poncho on over both of us (by ourselves) difficult.  You can now buy very expensive baby wearing coats, but I did not want to spend the $300 + for a coat I wouldn't use that often.  If you have, or can justify the money, I'm sure the coats are awesome.  I've had good luck with my baby poncho though, but I do wish I would have thought of it earlier.  I've only had it since he was about 18 months old, and certainly could've used it when he was younger.  It was well worth the around thirty dollars from the military surplus store to get the blanket.
  You can technically get an infant insert for your Ergo baby and use it when they are an infant (the infant insert supports their head and makes the whole thins more sturdy for them), but personally I liked the Moby better for that stage of existence.  I think it more closely resembled the womb, and was more comfortable for both baby and Momma.  The Moby feels like wearing some sort of heavy tee-shirt, very comfy, and the Ergo baby is like wearing a backpack (comfortable for a backpack, but not all that comfortable in general).  I do love my Ergobaby for hiking but I only use it for loading him on my back. The few times that I tried a hip carry or something else, I found it way too annoying to have to re-adjust all the straps.  To me, the Moby was easier for many types of carries, and the Ergo baby excels at the back/hike carry position.  The Moby would be difficult to use a back carry with until your child was pretty old too, long after you'll probably prefer to hike with them on your back.  If your kid starts screaming and needs to nap while hiking, you'll need to have the napping hood already pulled out of its zipped pocket so that you can reach behind you and get it over their head, you'll want to adjust it ahead of time so that it is about as snug as can be, otherwise their head will still be at a really odd angle when they are sleeping in it.
  I recommend buying the cargo carrier to snap onto to the Ergobaby.  It is just big enough to carry a water bottle, and maybe a diaper and wipes--you'll need it.
  I can't really give you any tips on other types of carriers because I simply haven't tried them.
I can tell you my son's Grandmother got a cheap backpack style carrier from a big-box store, for when he came to visit, and it had thin straps and looked quite uncomfortable--not something I would buy to use full-time at my own house.
  The Moby is around $60, I do know people who have made their own Moby out of similar material.  I am unsure though, that you would be saving much money because of how long the wrap needs to be, and sewing parts together would make it less sturdy.  I think it's worth the money to just buy it.
  Babywearing helps to keep your infant happy, their digestion good, and their little brains stimulated, plus it frees your hands so you can more easily do housework or go for a walk, shop etc.  Babywearing is one of the many things that people used to do, that we have taken for granted, then rediscovered all the amazing benefits (

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Why of Buying Real Soap

Since I seem to be on somewhat of a toiletry bent of late, I thought it might be interesting to go into soap and soap-making.
  I dabble (or at least I used to when I had more time) in just about every craft I can think of.  I don't really get good at any one thing, but like having some rudimentary knowledge and ability at lots of things.  I decided many years ago to try my hand at soap making.
  For years I just made my own soap, and gave the extra away lavishly for birthdays, X-mas etc.  Then, thanks to the proliferation of meth-making in Iowa, I could no longer obtain lye, the necessary ingredient in soap making.  I suspect if you are a plumber or something you can obtain special dispensation. You may even be able to have it shipped (expensively) to you, where it can be monitored.  Basically, lye is used in making meth, and so they have banned it from store shelves here in some vain hope of stopping it from being my knowledge all it's done is keep me from easily or inexpensively making soap.

  The regular soap you buy at the store is actually closer to a detergent.  It may be a straight up detergent--it's been too long since I did my research.  I just know I don't want to use it.  It dries my skin out, and I suspect it dries out pretty much everyone elses too.  That's probably why people buy so much lotion.
  Those body washes everyone loves so damn much are the same thing.  Any time something foams consider it suspect.  Foaming agents like Sodium Laureth Sulfate were supposedly added in the Great Depression to make people feel like they were getting more for their money.  Foaming doesn't actually equate with better cleaning or more cleaning, it does equate with more drying. Even natural foaming agents like too much coconut oil in a soap can dry skin.  To add insult to injury, all that soap scum on your tub comes from the crappy store-bought soaps too.  I have to say, since I made the switch years ago, we don't really get soap scum in our tub/shower.
  All that drying out isn't just an itchy or unsightly problem, it can cause skin issues too.
  When I was a teenager I had some sort of skin condition on my face, it was unsightly, and we went to many doctors to try to get a diagnosis.  After about a dozen doctor and specialist visits I just gave up.  Years later, when I started making my own soap and using that on my face instead of harsh "deep cleaning" products, it magically disappeared.  When I gave it to my friend her acne disappeared too.  My Mother-in-Law also had a skin condition clear up after switching to my soap. One would suspect that a soap made from real lye would be harsher than what's on the shelves, but obviously not. If the PH in the soap is right, it's just right.
  Beware of antibacterial soaps too.  Just like our guts have beneficial bacteria so does our skin.  The good bacteria can offer us some protection, but not if we kill it with antibacterial soaps.  If I was a doctor or nurse working around a bunch of staph infections etc. I would do a bit more research, but since I don't, my family doesn't have anything like that in the house, we are not high risk and simply have no need.  My guess is, the hands would be the only place even a nurse might need antibacterial soap most of the time.
  I don't make soap anymore.  I find it more convenient and satisfying right now to just buy it rather than make it.  So many people are hand-making soaps these days and I can find so many wonderful essential oil (and not fragrance oil)scents, colors and types there is little reason for me to do that until I have more time.  
  Those are my thoughts for tonight.
Good night folks.