Hiking & Babywearing
Now that the weather is getting warmer, we’re all itching to get outside and explore nature. There’s plenty of fun to be had in West Michigan during the summer, but one of our favorites while babywearing is hiking. Did you know that West Michigan has over fifty trail systems to explore? With babywearing, you can go farther and explore more than you could with a babe-in-arms or with a stroller.
Hiking can be done with any carrier type, but there are perks and drawbacks to each depending on your carrier preferences and the age of your child(ren). We’re going to outline some main points below, but feel free to attend one of our free educational meetings to learn more or get one-on-one help for your situation!
Soft structured carriers (Ergo, Tula, Lillebaby, etc.) are one of the most popular options for hiking. They’re good for front carries for little ones, or back carries for when your kiddos get older. They can be one of the fastest options that are also comfortable for longer excursions. Some even have pockets, airflow panels, or other features that may be helpful while hiking.
Frame packs (Kelty, Osprey, etc.) are another popular option, especially among hiking enthusiasts. They’re a good option for older children who can sit unassisted and who only want to be worn on the back. Many have storage for extra gear or for hydration pouches. The main drawback of frame packs is that they tend to be heavier and bulkier. You can learn more about frame packs at BWI of Portland’s blog here: http://bwipdx.weebly.com/blog/hard-frame-carrier-101 or here: http://bwipdx.weebly.com/blog/hard-frame-carrier-fit-comparison
Meh Dais (Babyhawk, CatBirdBaby, etc.) are a versatile option that can be used for smaller babies on the front or older babies on the back. The openings in the sides of the panel offer a good amount of airflow between you and baby, so it can be a great option when it’s warmer outside. The drawback of meh dais is that they have longer tails, but there are many ways you can tie to keep the tails out of the way and keep your shoulders comfortable, too!
Woven wraps (Girasol, Didymos, Lenny Lamb, etc.) are the most versatile option for hiking as babies can be worn on the front or back, plus many wearers find them to be the most comfortable on the shoulders. The drawback of wrapping is the time you have to put into it, plus the fabric can get warmer than other wearing options. Wearing with a shorter wrap is also an option, as you can get the benefit of the versatility of wrapping without having to worry about having too much fabric.
Ring slings (Sakura Bloom, Sleeping Baby, etc.) or pouch slings (Sevenslings, Hot Slings, etc.) can be used for hiking and are especially useful when you are going short distances or your baby likes to get up and down a lot. They don’t tend to be the most popular for when baby gets older or for longer excursions, as they are one-shoulder carries. Their man appeal is that they are fast to put on and fold up small, so they’re easy to take along when you’re not sure if your baby will want to be worn.
When it starts to get warmer, your preferences may change as well. If you want to learn more about wearing when it’s warm, check out our blog post on hot weather wearing here: http://bwiofgrandrapids.weebly.com/blog/hot-weather-wearing
Is everybody ready?! October 5th kicks off International Babywearing Week! International Babywearing Week (IBW) is an annual event sponsored by Babywearing International. It is a week-long opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for, and focus media attention on the many benefits of babywearing!
The theme this year is "Best Seat in the House," which babywearing certainly gives your little (and not so little) ones. When a child has a nice, comfy seat in any kind of carrier, they are comfortable, close to a loved one, and able to see and participate in ways that are not possible without babywearing. Let's help Babywearing International spread the word about the 'best seat in the house' and have some fun while we are at it!
Here with Babywearing International of Grand Rapids we have a number of online and in-person events! With both indoor and outdoor options, along with active and a bit more relaxing events, there is something for everyone. BONUS: Most of our events are FREE and a few even offer chances for FABULOUS PRIZES! Check out our Facebook fan page or website for more information on specific events. We hope to see you at an event (or all of them)!
Participate online throughout the week in our Facebook group's photo scavenger hunt. Watch for the list to be posted on the 5th and get snapping for a chance at a prize and a lot of fun :)
We can't wait to celebrate with all of you. The fun kicks off this Wednesday, October 5th at 5:30 at a park near you!
Why I Wear: Janine's Story
How long have you been babywearing? 7 years and counting
What are your favorite carriers? After trying almost everything, I've finally determined that wrap conversion Mei Tais are my favorite. But I do love ring slings for quick 'uppas' and wraps when I'm in the mood.
I began babywearing shortly after delivering my first baby. I struggled as a first-time mom with postpartum depression and babywearing gave me something I felt confident in. It allowed me to connect with my high-needs infant and made night-time consoling possible when nothing else worked.
As my daughter grew and I was able to view babywearing as more than an emotional tool, I learned to love how much easier babywearing made life when we were out-and-about. I have enjoyed wearing all three of my children.
Today I continue to wear for many reasons, including connecting after long 60-hour work weeks, accomplishing household tasks, and enjoying time with family.
We often get the question, “What is the best carrier?” or “What is the most comfortable carrier?” With over 200 carriers in our library, it’s hard to say that any one is the best! Trying on carriers is much like trying on jeans—just because a brand works well for someone else doesn’t mean that it’s the best brand for you!
When it comes to soft structured carriers, it can be particularly tricky as there are so many options when it comes to size and features. We have over forty soft structured carrier brands in our library, but there are even more brands out there to try.
If you have not yet found the buckle carrier that is right for you, or you’re not sure what you’re looking for in a soft structured carrier, take a peek at all these varying features. The list is not exhaustive, but it’ll give you an idea of what all is out there.
Why I Wear: Arika's Story
How long have you been wearing? Almost 3 years
What are your favorite carriers? Currently on a soft structure kick, but love them all!
I discovered babywearing when I was creating my baby registry and researching motherhood. I chose an Ergo Galaxy from Target. Little did I know the world of carriers that was out there! Looking back I wish I had know about BWI of GR. A ring sling would have been a game changer for my constantly nursing, only wanted mom baby.
I didn't wear her much until she was 4 months and finally fitting the Ergo with the blanket trick. Even then, we constantly were like, “Oh, we will carry her. We don't want to have to hold the carrier.” Fail. If only I'd known how much easier that trip to Ikea and the Red Wings game could have been!
When I was about 6 months pregnant or so, a friend told me about BWI of GR and I went to one of the last Ecobuns meetings. It was cool. I watched ladies wrap. VBE Cassi was showing a few who asked how to nurse in a sling. I thought, “Never will I wrap or be able to figure out nursing in a carrier.” Oh, how things have changed!
Baby #2 lives in carriers and has from day 4ish. I need to keep up with my big kid and now keep my early walker (yup, even when living in carriers they learn to walk ;-)) safe and out of trouble! I nurse her in various carriers. I am learning to wrap and use each of the carrier types at one time or another.
Babywearing has literally changed my life. We go where no stroller has before! My non-napping baby naps in a carrier daily. If baby gets hurt, toddler gets hurt or isn't listening—a carrier can fix it. I promote babywearing any chance I get and can't say enough good things about it! I am sad that before I know it I will have no littles to wear. I then will be a squish stealer just to wrap them up close for a minute or 20. :-) For now, I enjoy it as much as I can and will for the short few years I have left and—of course—spread the love if I can!