Viewing entries tagged
review

Babycarrying around the world

Babycarrying around the world

As a Doula I always take my new mums a stretchy wrap to try out once they've had their baby. It makes so much sense but only when they've given birth and have their little ones in their arms can they truly see why - and they almost always say it becomes their no.1 baby item for a million reasons. 

Since arriving in Thailand I've noticed there aren't many babies being pushed around in prams or buggies. I've been chatting to locals about babies a lot and I see them riding on scooters and motorbikes, sandwiched between two adults and hammering down the highway so, it seems they're the only wheels infants tend to use in Thailand.

Babycarring, or babywearing has been a way of keeping our babies safe and content while we got on with our days, since the beginning of time.  

It is especially necessary for the parental generation of the human species to fully understand what the immaturity of its infants really signifies: that the infant is still continuing its gestation period, passing from uterogestation to exterogestation. Among the most important of the newborn infant’s needs are the signals it receives through the skin, the first medium of communication with the outside world.
— Ashley Montagu
index.jpg

Why did we stop?

In fact, in 1733, William Kent invented the first 'wheeled baby transportation device'. In the 1830's, they were brought to America, but it wasn't until the mid 1800's that 'prams' became popular and we can thank Queen Victoria for this because she popularised the use of the 'Perambulator' and, as with medication for birth, formula milk and hospital births, it was soon seen as 'the thing' for newborns if you are an upstanding and affluent member of society.*Eye roll. So basically then, baby wearing, breastfeeding, home birth, and natural birth was considered something of the past - something for the lower income classes.

The comeback

In recent years, though, baby carrying, which never went out of fashion in other cultures, has been making a come-back in Western culture.

  • Ann Moore created a new carrier in 1969 after having seen African women carrying their babies.

  • In 1981, Rayner Gardner created the ring sling for his wife and their baby.
  • In 1985, William and Martha Sears began baby wearing their youngest and then babywearing began to truly gain recognition in the United States. Coincidentally, the Sears' also coined the term “babywearing”.

With research on our side, birthworkers and people in the baby community have been able to present baby wearing to the general public as beneficial for babies again. 

I wrote about why it makes sense here

See also:

Ring slings

How to wear and a review of the Aura Leaf

15403850_10154473067407771_1007852406745093055_o.jpg

Structured carriers

Like the ERGO 360...

solly.png

Stretchys

A review of the Solly Baby and a how to plus why to...

Wovens

For front carrying

Hybrid

A review of the Zarpar Bebe

Wovens

For Back carrying

A babycarrier for both my boys

A babycarrier for both my boys

IMG_20180610_140942_580.jpg
20180620_154605.jpg
LUCYPARK3.jpg

I got me a Zarpar Bebe! Why did I feel it was necessary to get another baby carrier?! Here's why:

  • I wanted a carrier that would allow me to carry Bodhi now (3 weeks old) and also my 2.5 year old, at different times obviously. So basically an all ages, all positions sling. These are quite rare. Newborns need so much more support and toddlers need more material, more surface area, more padding on the shoulder straps for us parents. But this sling manages to do it all INCLUDING a front facing position for when Bodhi gets older. *Babies should only face forwards when they have total neck control and a decent body control, i.e definitely no sooner than four months but for some babies it's past 6 months. A good read on this front-facing debate can be read here.
  • A bit like a Mei Tai or other conversion slings, the Zarpar Bebe has the comfort of a wrap with the ease of a structured carrier that many parents are looking for. Me? I love a woven wrap because of the way it feels for me and my babe, but there are times when quick, easy and with less material bound round us both, really is necessary...especially when travelling in hot places.
  • It's also really breathable being predominantly made of linen. I wanted a carrier that was suitable for hot climates (for those who don't know we are relocating to Thailand in August 2018) Linen is one of the natural world's most absorbent materials so rarely feels damp, even if taking on a fair bit of water...or sweat! It also has the natural ability to prevent bacterial growth.
LUCYZARPAR1.jpg
2018-06-16 04.03.29 2.jpg
LUCYZARPAR2.jpg
LUCYZARPAR3.jpg

The best things about the Zarpar Bebe wrap are: 

1) Simplicity. It's quick to get on. Promise. Being a bit of a perfectionist (wannabe?!) I had a look on the Zarpar Bebe instagram story highlight for a video tutorial for carrying a newborn and it couldn't have been easier for me to get Bodhi in for his first carry.

2) It's a hybrid. I'm a woven wrap lover, purely because I adore the snug, wrap feeling and there is so much more support for the both of us. The Zarpar feels like a woven wrap but for those of you who can't be doing with the intricacies of the wrap or creating that all important seat for your little ones bottom, this kind of wrap does that bit for you. 

3) Comfort. The shoulder straps on the Zarpar are really comfortable but it's not a huge bulky carrier with loads of padding - the padding is lightweight and made from bamboo. It still feels like I can bundle it into my day bag easily.  As I said I also love that it's linen - it already feels like it gets softer the more I wear it and it's really breezy - breathable for my baby and I don't roast in it either. 

4) Jemma of Zarpar Bebe is a mama of 3 little babes herself and has built an ethical and sustainable business with a beautiful ethos. She has partnered with Sabah Nepal to help support women of rural Nepal to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. 

Pointers for getting used to the Zarpar Bebe:

  1. Make sure the little wings on the outer edge of the shoulder straps are out and covering your shoulders because I find that it really makes a difference to the top rail of the wrap for supporting your baby's head. The shape of the carrier changes if you've got narrow shoulders like me and the straps aren't spaced out on your frame properly.
  2. Because the carrier is so versatile, the wings/ties are long, so stuff them into your back pocket or tie the wrap whilst standing on a clean floor to avoid getting the lovely while linen FILTHY in a day!
  3. Check out Jemma's instagram for some really simple story tutorials in her highlights to get you started. 

I basically love it. For a UK stockist check out https://www.catkinkids.co.uk/ otherwise you'll get some hefty shipping and customs charges if ordering from UK.

More reading: 

Babycarrying: It just makes sense

Meet the Makers

Babywearing Around the World

London Slings - a sling library run by Rachel and Katherine, two experts, mamas, a midwife and a teacher, who run workshops, 1:1 consultations and sling clinics in South London. They know their stuff.