by Samantha Slade, guest blogger
As an urban family staunchly against owning a car, the thought of pushing my newborn baby around in a car seat just didn’t make sense to me. My husband and I paid little attention to strollers as we registered for baby supplies, opting instead to sign up for an array of slings, wraps, and other carriers. Most of them didn’t really work for us once baby arrived, as my wiggly baby would work himself halfway out of even the snuggest wrap I could muster. We quickly found that all of us–Mom, Dad and Baby –were partial to the Baby Bjorn. I could throw baby into the carrier and hit the town. After one long day, however, while removing him from the carrier, I heard his back crack. I thought… “Wait a minute… He’s only 2 ½ months old – that seems way too young to need his back cracked!” Coupled with the lower back pain that I was starting to feel from carrying my 14 lb. boy around with me, I began to question our carrier. With a long weekend to NYC looming ahead of his, I knew that getting a different, more ergonomic carrier with better support would be the best thing I could do for the backs of both the baby and I.
That’s when I discovered the whole world of soft structured carriers (SSC). Being a librarian by training, I began extensive research to see what carriers were out there. It seemed that many of the SSC were designed for babies 6 months and up. I needed something now, and I wanted to find something that could grow with baby. Also, I had spoken to a couple of former Bjorn users, and they all said they had used the carrier for longer than was comfortable for their backs because their babies loved facing out so much.
With this as my working information, I knew when I found the Pikkolo that I had found my new carrier. It is a work horse. It can accommodate baby at the age he is now, allow him to face-out ergonomically, and be used until he is a toddler. Plus by choosing the Café Au Lait plain brown style, it is a unisex carrier that doesn’t make my husband feel awkward when wearing.
I’m very happy with the versatility of the Pikkolo. I recently had a friend in town with her toddler. She asked me all about my Pikkolo throughout dinner. We stopped into a salon afterwards to say hello to a mutual friend. When she mentioned her sister was having a baby, my visitor pointed at my carrier and said “THAT’S the carrier to give her as a gift!” After 2 months of use, I can only say I wholeheartedly agree.
Norway. At least according to the organization Save the Children’s Annual State of the World’s Mothers report. The US did not do all that well, ranking 28th–which is below Greece, Portugal, pretty much all Western Europe and just above the former Soviet bloc. The reasons cited for the US’ poor ranking was that more women die in childbirth or after than in most wealthy countries and shorter maternity leave and fewer maternity benefits. Of course, our individual situations are so varied and it probably seems that in many ways, such rankings don’t have much to do with us personally. But one thing that I think we can do as individuals is learn as much as we can about pregnancy and birth when we find out that we are expecting a baby. Not any particular “method” or philosophy about pregnancy or birth; there are many and people will probably have strongly varied opinions on them. Just learn about the biological and physiological facts about pregnancy and childbirth. For one, it’s fascinating! An amazing thing happens to our bodies when we become pregnant and prepare to give birth! But more importantly, in my opinion, is that learning about what is happening to our bodies during pregnancy helps us overcome natural fears about the process and make informed choices about what’s best for us and our families. There are many types of childbirth classes that you can take together with the baby’s father and research suggests that fathers who become involved in the education process have a huge positive affect on birth outcomes. Read books and articles and ask your doctor or midwife to suggest places to find soundly researched info that can help you understand pregnancy and birth and prepare for the big event. Then instead of something that is happening to you, it becomes a process that you are a part of, and if you get thrown for a loop by some unexpected event, you will be that much better able to stay calm and make the decision that is best for you and your baby.
Last week when I was in Louisville, Kentucky for the ABC Kids Spring Educational Conference, I saw a story in a magazine about this great organization called PUMP: Providing Urgent Milk to Parents. This Florida nonprofit organization began when local moms donated their pumped breast milk to a suddenly-widowed father of a 6-week-old daughter. In that first month, moms donated over 2,000 ounces of milk, all of which is screened before being distributed. They continue now to help provide breast milk to babies in Central Florida who cannot be fed by their mothers due to extraordinary circumstances. They of course depend on moms who are willing to pump and donate their milk, but also have community support from businesses that serve as milk drop-off locations, as well as individuals and corporate sponsors who donate supplies and money. Get Pumped is run by volunteers and does not charge the recipient families for donor milk. If you are in central Florida, or have friends in central Florida who can help, tell them about Get Pumped. And maybe the organization can serve as inspiration for people around the world who would like to provide breast milk to families who need it!
Learn more about the organization at its website: https://www.getpumpedonline.org/.