Milkface Nursingwear Inc

What's new and on my mind at milkface

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ask Andy and Britt


Who are we? Britt and Andy (that's our smiling faces in the cheesy picture to the left!)are a married couple living in Ottawa, Ontario with 3 daughters - aged 7, 4 and 4 (yes, twins!). Britt is the founder of Milkface Nursingwear, Andy has recently joined the company. What can you ask us? Well, we've got opinions on everything! Ask us about breastfeeding, ask us about parenting, ask us about running a business, ask us about milkface products, ask us about babywearing - surprise us!

Today's question - What's your favourite baby carrier?

Andy says: The day I grew an extra set of hands occurred when my first child was a few months old but learning to use them took some time. Britt had purchased a Heart2Heart padded sling to carry our daughter, a VERY needy, colicy baby who did not only prefer being held, but insisted on it! It worked and restored sanity to our home and our apartment dwelling neighbours were thankful, too, I'm sure. Our daughter found sleep more easily when carried in the H2H and Britt had her hands free to start a business (www.milkface.com - have you heard of it?) I tried, half-heartedly, to use the sling but never got it. I guess the print and sling style just weren't my thing.

We spent, quite literally, thousand of dollars on strollers but our daughter refused to ride without challenging the Toronto street sounds and the cry of emergency vehicle sirens with her protestations of discontent. She cried - a lot! If she had the ability she would have told us to pick her up, throw the stroller under the next bus and curse us for putting her through the ordeal. Several different strollers, comfort accessories and affixed educational/distraction toys didn't help. Strollers were out. Good news, our one bedroom apartment got bigger when they were gone.

Carrier options were limited. Ring slings were it and a floral print or teddy bears were your options. Hey, I'm a guy and we don't do flowers or bears. I don't need skulls or wheel grease to wear it, just a solid colour or modest print. No dice. A major retailer had the Baby Bjorn as their sole carrier option and we bought one. I loved it. It felt like wearing a sidearm shoulder holster and I was Harrison Ford in Blade Runner. COOL. Now the problem was that our daughter, the vocal malcontent with the lung capacity and vocal projection abilities of an opera singer, wouldn't fall asleep in it. Never did. Hours in it and it was her window to the world. She wouldn't go to sleep. My "cool dad" gear satisfied me but missed the mark on the big picture and that was helping Britt when she was at the end of her rope and our daughter was in dire need of sleep. My contribution was limited by my carrier options and my vanity that eliminated floral prints and teddy bears from my wardrobe accessory options. Britt never liked the Bjorn. "Built for a man." she said. It caused her muscle pain to wear, a complaint we have heard a number of times since.

As our daughter grew, so did the North American baby carrier market. Manufacturers were going back to ancient global carrier designs and modernizing them making them easier to use, and yes, even fashionable. Britt tried and used them all. Our daughter and later our twins, were not fussy if it was a pouch, sling, wrap or structured soft carrier, they were just thrilled to be carried. It was the Mei Tai, a design that Britt used to carry twins at the same time with, that appealed to me for it was easy to use. it could be used by mom, dad, nan, bop, anyone who was watching the girls without adjustment of rings or buckles. It was easy to set a sleeping babe down in bed from it without waking them and the design options were unlimited. Britt got me one with a sports logo on it. Neat, but not really my thing. In the end it was a blue camouflage design that I chose for when I left the house. I win, baby wins and Britt wins. For these reasons my favourite carrier design is the Mei Tai.

There are a number of different design styles offered in our store. Of those styles there are different variations from different manufactures. Of those variations there are different print and colour options available including a skull and cross bone motif). The world of baby carrying has changed, and I with it. My carrying days are over but I do miss them - too bad I never got a picture of me carrying one of my girls. If you carry your babe, make sure you get a picture or two. Your carrying days are ones you'll want to remember.

Britt says: I get asked this question all the time and, to be honest, have such a hard time answering it! The honest answer is that at some point in my babywearing history (3 kids over a combined total of about 7 years), each style of carrier has been my favourite!

With our first, babywearing was all about saving my sanity. She was high needs, to say the least, and I would scour internet forums in the wee hours of the morning or when Andy was at work to try and find some answer to the constant crying. Over and over, I read about baby slings and what a miracle they were. When our bean was about 10 days old, we went to the only store in Toronto that sold baby slings (yes, I'm dating myself...) and tried to make it work. I had no idea what I was doing, the staff had no idea how to help me and Bean cried and cried. I left in frustration, thinking that all these sling devotees were insane. Fast forward another 10 days or so - I was absolutely at my wit's end, I was still constantly reading about life saving slings and I went back to the store and bought the damn thing. It was a Heart to Heart sling in a pretty awful pattern and I didn't know it, but that ugly sling was about to change the direction of my life.

The next day after Andy left for work, I pulled my new sling out with determination and spent the morning figuring it out, sweating and cursing (and crying just a little bit) the whole time. By lunchtime, I had it figured out enough to go out and Bean and I went and triumphantly visited Andy at his office. Later that day, she fell asleep snuggled up to me and I was sold and never looked back. We used the ring sling daily from that point on and I believe it literally saved my sanity.

When we found out that baby #2 was actually babies 2 *and* 3, one of my first concerns was - how am I going to wear them both? We'd developed a style of parenting with Bean that we felt really good about and I was concerned that we would have to make some unwelcome compromises with 2 babies coming at once. Happily, that wasn't the case. From birth, I was able to carry both new babies in a ring sling (we used the Heart to Heart this time as well - though I had gotten an awesome new pattern that I loved!). Baby carriers had evolved since Bean was little and we had more choices this time around and used and loved them all. When the girls got too big to wear in one sling, I often wore two slings (one on each shoulder) and shortly graduated to my favourite way to wear two babies - one on front, one on back. We used many different carriers for this - wrap on front, ergo on back, wrap on front, mei tei on back, ring sling on front, baby trekker on back, etc, etc. My favourite ended up being two mei tei's - Kozy carriers were my best friends for a very long time.

I continue to be awed and inspired by what my babywearing friends around the world are doing in terms of innovation and manufacturing. I truly believe that there is a great carrier out there for everyone and that you can wear your baby - sometimes we need a little hands on help at the beginning - but it is possible for all of us. My favourite carrier changed daily while babywearing, depending on who I was carrying, what we were doing and where we were going. My baby carriers were definitely the best investment I've made in parenting.

3 Comments:

At 6:41 PM , Blogger Cameron Clark Photography said...

Hi, I wanted to mention the Moby Wrap... it was essential to my survival of the first 7 weeks with a colicky boy. He loved it and Mom could go places... yippie. Hey, why can't I buy a Corsierre in my size right now? Can I backorder one? It seems like the PERFECT TOP!!!!

 
At 3:24 PM , Blogger Tanneal said...

Hi! I am one of your online customers, and I have a question about the Beco Butterfly soft carrier. It says that you can nurse 'hands free' in it, but I'm trying to figure out how? It seems that the baby is upright and held pretty close to the chest (newborn)...could you explain how the nursing would work? I'm expecting my 3rd, a girl, and have 2 very active boys already, so I want something that I definately can nurse in!

Thanks for your help!

Tanneal Haazen
tanneal@hotmail.com

 
At 5:00 PM , Blogger milkfacemama said...

Yes, the Moby Wrap is fabulous - always a great choice - especially for newborns!

You can nurse in the Beco but it's a bit trickier than some of the other carriers. It's not a great newborn nursing position but once you get the hang of nursing, it can be done in the upright position. Some moms who have bigger breasts find nursing in any kind of sling a big challenge and some moms do need to lower the waist support to get baby lower while nursing.

 

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