Monthly Archives

March 2012

Babywearing in the News Babywearing Research Parenting

Keeping a clear head

March 30, 2012

Have you seen these pictures of singer Beyonce, ostensibly wearing her daughter, Ivy Blue, in some type of carrier? I say ostensibly, because in all the many photographs that claim to show Beyonce carrying her baby around town, I can’t spot the baby. I understand her conundrum, of course: she is one of the most famous people in the world and paparazzi follow her everywhere trying to snap pictures of everything she does. Photos of her daughter would probably fetch a pretty penny from the celebrity magazines. I’m sure it’s bad enough when they’re in your face trying to catch you without any makeup on the way to bikram yoga or whatever. When it’s your infant daughter they are chasing down, I understand that your instinct would be to shield your baby from this intrusion. But as a parent who uses baby carriers and a manufacturer of baby carriers, I cringe every time I see these photos. One thing we know very well about safety for infants—not just in baby carriers, but always—is that we should never be covering baby’s face with cloth close around the mouth or nose. A baby’s face should always be uncovered with no fabric covering it, so that the fabric is not pressed against the mouth or nose in a way that could obstruct breathing and so that we can observe the baby at all times, particularly in the first 4 months. We must be able to see baby’s face so we can know that everything is ok in terms of breathing.

So, take all the fashion cues you want from Beyonce, but don’t follow her cue when it comes to babywearing: when you use a baby carrier, never cover up your baby’s face with a blanket, coat, or other fabric. Keep baby’s mouth and nose completely free and clear, both to ensure s/he can breathe easily and so that you can observe your baby and know instantly if anything is amiss.

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Miscellany Product News

Defining “apron-style”

March 28, 2012

This is a term that is often used by babywearers and it’s a shorthand way to describe how to wear many mei tai carriers as well as our pikkolo. A lot of soft-structured, or semi-structured, carriers today have a thick, firmly padded foam waistband and they are worn a little differently than the pikkolo. However,  I know that it is a little confusing, because if you add the babywearing support belt to the pikkolo, then you do wear it the same as other typical SSCs. When you wear the pikkolo without the support belt, it is intended to be worn apron-style. This means that when you put the pikkolo on, you will secure the waist buckle around your waist such that the front curved and piped panel will touch the tops of your thighs at first, and the printed safety warning label will be facing outward, away from your body, and the carrier itself is hanging down from your waist, in front of you, like—you guessed it—-an apron. Then you pick up baby and place him or her against your chest with legs straddling your middle, bring the carrier up between his or her legs and fasten the attachments. So the carrier now is in a J-shape. Or you could think of your chest plus the carrier forming a U-shape, and in the middle is where your baby is sitting. With an SSC with a foam padded waist/hip belt, the J-shape stops short at the waist and goes downward (the foam padded waist/hip belt) instead of upward on your abdomen (the pikkolo’s unstructured, soft fabric body). I’ve made some diagrams to try to illustrate this below. To the left of the shape is the wearer’s body, in profile (from the side):

The pikkolo forms a J-shape when worn.

The pikkolo forms a J-shape when worn.

"Traditional" SSC, with truncated J-shape with padded waist going downward.

"Traditional" SSC, with truncated J-shape with padded waist going downward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this helps to make this easier for some people to visualize! We are also working on some plans to get videos and more photo tutorials up on our blog for people.

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Parenting

Toddlers, tantrums, travel

March 14, 2012

So, I just saw this story (courtesy The Baby Guy, Jamie Grayson) about two parents traveling back from Turks and Caicos who got kicked off a JetBlue flight when their 2-year-old daughter had a meltdown (for about 5 minutes, they claimed) and they had trouble getting her to sit still and stay buckled up and calm for takeoff. (The couple also has a 3-year-old daughter as well.) You can see the story, plus an interview with the family from the Today Show, here.

When I imagine being on a plane with a tantrumming toddler and knowing that strangers’ eyes are on me and that I’m basically holding up the takeoff of the plane—-well, it gets my heart beating a little faster just thinking about it, so I really feel for these parents. Who among us hasn’t been in the position of not being able to settle our child (or children) in a public space? Who among us can’t imagine that uncomfortable mix of anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, and judgment? But apparently, when the Today Show conducted a poll asking people to vote whether or not they agreed with the airline, 71% of people said the airline was justified in their decision. I found that surprising, not because I can say for sure they were right or wrong, but because that’s a pretty strong number feeling so sure that it was right to kick this family off the plane. I understand that it’s a flight, there are safety protocols that must be followed and that something as unfortunate as removing a family from a plane might be unnecessary in extreme circumstances. But then I read the comments on the story on MSNBC’s “Overhead Bin” Facebook page and there’s not a lot of nuance in a lot of those siding with the airline. Really there was just a lot of mean-spirited, nastiness directed towards the parents.

It was clear to one commenter that “these nitwit parents have no parenting skills as their kids couldn’t sit still for even one second while Matt (Lauer) interviewed them.” Wow, I had no idea that a measure of our skill as parents was the ability of our 2- and 3-year-olds to be interviewed on camera for a national television audience in a calm, sit-still and don’t-make-a-fuss way. I must be a real parenting failure then; my kids are 5 and 8 and sometimes I can’t even get them to sit still at a family-friendly restaurant where there are not ginormous television cameras trained on them and a friendly stranger (Matt Lauer) staring at them and asking questions. The parents are both doctors, one a pediatrician, and the Facebook commenters also note that “they must have skipped parenting classes in med school.” They teach “parenting” in med school now?!?

The comments continue to deride this family on the basis of class: they are doctors, and therefore assumed rich, and therefore, snobs, and therefore, they let other people raise their children, i.e. nannies, and so of course, they don’t have a clue how to parent properly. Many commenters also fly frequently and *their* children are never so monstrous, so *obviously* it’s not *that* hard. Because really, how hard is it “to put a 2-year-old in a seat, buckle it, and give her a cookie?” The husband, who remains a bit quieter than the wife throughout the interview and tries to calm the children when they seem restless, is also advised to “grow a set.” I’m pretty sure he has one, or else I don’t think he’s the biological father of those children, but what the hell do I know?

The parents are also “entitled,” “self-absorbed,” “assholes”, and “tote their children along on flights like fancy handbags.” Another bemoans the passage of the good ol’ days, when “parents had the right to discipline their children with more than just words. Nowadays, children have all the rights.” The children are “spoiled brats,” the evidence for which seems mostly to be that they try to talk to their dad during the interview, squirm a lot and the 3-year-old keeps trying to touch her dad’s hair.

THEY ARE 3- AND 2-YEARS-OLD. My word. Thankfully there are some rational, reasonable commenters on the thread. As I’ve said, I don’t know if the airline was in the right or not, I wasn’t there. However, if the tantrum truly did last 5 minutes tops, the child was calm and restrained before they went to taxi and yet the pilot still turned the plane around to go back to the gate and had them escorted off the plane, well, I’m leaning towards “not in the right.” When did people become so hostile towards children? I understand that unruly children can be very annoying when you are on a plane. Sometimes I agree parents can and should do more than they are to attempt to correct that type of behavior. But wow, it’s sad to me that so many people seem to find the ultimate accomplishment in parenting to be iron-fisted control over the behavior of a developing human being.

One commenter, Sandra Richter, juxtaposes how when she flies as a frequent business traveler, she gets the royal treatment, but when she flies with her kids, people give her the stink-eye before they’ve even interacted. She points out that children over age 2 must pay the same fare, yet are much smaller and lighter than an adult passenger. “I regularly watch as enormous adults take up more space than they have paid for, refuse to turn off their iPhones, smash other peoples’ belongings in the overhead compartments, play R-rated films on their laptops for all to see, snore, emit various bodily functions without restraint, and talk at the top of their voices and are rarely addressed by flight attendants.” If bad behavior by adults is so often not addressed, but the second a child doesn’t toe the line, we treat them like this, then, she proposes children must be considered “second-class flyers. If that is the case, may we have reduced flight prices, please?”

Amen.

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