Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mei Tai Tutorial--Front Carry

Want to know how to wear a Mei Tai carrier? Read on...

Front Carry

1. Tie the Mei Tai around your natural waist. This is important, because if you tie it on your hips, it will be very uncomfortable and can cause lower back pain. Tie it snugly using a square knot.
2. I like to put the straps over my shoulders, cross them in the back, and bring them around in a loose tie. It is easier to get the baby in and tie it if you already have everything where it is supposed to be.3. While keeping a FIRM grip of your baby, lift him up and put his legs into the carrier. If you feel unsure, have someone there to help you the first few times.4. Once your baby is in the carrier, you need to snug up the straps before tying them. To do this, grab the straps and pull down on them while giving a little jump. This will get your baby snug to your body and take up any excess in the straps.5. You can tie the shoulder straps several different ways...under the legs and bum, over the legs and under the bum, or around the baby's back. This is really a matter preference. I do it whichever way is more comfortable at the time. Usually around the back is most comfortable for me. Once you know which way you want the straps to go, tie it in a square knot.This carry is very versatile. I have used this with newborns, and still use it with my 1.5 year old. It is conducive to nursing, which I have done many times, and sleeping.

If you are using it with a newborn, there are a few simple modifications that you will need to make. The body of the carrier might be too long, so just roll it once (I will add pictures of this in the next couple of days) and then tie it around your waist. A newborns legs are too small to go around an adults waist, so try "frog legging" them. This means to cross the legs and bring them up against you. This might not look comfortable, and wouldn't be for an adult or an older child, but babies just came from a snug and cozy place. They are used to being scrunched up and actually find it quite comfortable. As the baby gets older, you can put their legs out normally.
If you have questions, please email me at

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mei Tai Carrier--Side Carry

Side Carry

1. Tie the carrier around your natural waist, but off to one side. Tie it snugly just like you would for the front carry.
2. Take the strap in the back and lift it up over your opposing shoulder. The strap int he front goes over the same shoulder. I know this may sound confusing, but the pictures should help. Tie it loosely so it stays put while you put the baby in.
3. Lift the baby in so that she is sitting on your hop. Remember, if the carrier is tied snugly around your waist, it won't actually put any pressure on your hip.
4. Once the baby is in the carrier, give a little jump while pulling firmly on the straps. Then tie the straps around the baby's back. Some babies like the side carry and some on them don't. Try it and see what you think.
This carry is good for babies from about 6 months old until either of you doesn't want to do it anymore. Again if the body of the carrier is too long, just roll it once and the baby should fit just fine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mei Tai Carrier--Back Carry from standing

Back Carry

1. Tie the carrier snugly around your natural waist, with the tie in front and the carrier in the back.
2. Lifting your baby onto your back can be a bit tricky until you get the hang of it. Have someone there to help you if you don't feel sure of yourself at first. The best way I have found to do it is to lean over and grab my baby firmly. Get the baby onto your back and then adjust him to where you want him to be.
3. While leaning over and while keeping one hand on your baby, reach around behind you and grab one of the straps. Keep leaning over and pull it up over your baby's back. Do the same with the other strap.
4. Once you have a firm grip on the straps, stand up. Give a little jump while pulling up on the straps to get the baby snugly into the carrier.
5. You can tie it a couple of different ways. Which tie you use depends on what is more comfortable. You can cross them over your chest or you can use them like a back pack. I prefer to wear it like a back pack because I think it looks better, but if I'm going to be wearing my baby for a long time, I will cross them over my chest because it feels more comfortable for longer periods of time.

6. After you figure out which way you want the straps to go, bring them around behind you and under the baby's bum.
7. Tie the straps with a snug square knot.
Here is a picture of my daughter also. She just turned 3, but she is as tall as a 4 year old and weighs 39 lbs. She fits in and rides in these carriers as well. And just because I wanted to show you how well these are made, here is a picture of my husband wearing me in the mei tai.
This carry can be used with any size baby, but I prefer to use it with bigger babies and toddlers. I like to have my newborns close to my chest. I feel better about having them right where I can see them when they are little. Once they get bigger and like to look around more, the back carry is perfect. It is also great for sleeping.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mei Tai Carrier--Back Carry from sitting

Back Carry

I will post pictures of this in the next couple of days.

1. Lay your carrier out of the couch or bed so that you can sit down in front of it and the straps will reach you.

2. Sit your baby down on top of the carrier.

3. Sit down in front of your baby and tie the straps snugly around your waist (the same way you do with the other carry positions),

4. Reach behind you and grab the straps

5. Bring the straps up over your baby and over your shoulders.

6. Pull the straps snugly and then stand up.

7. While holding the straps snugly, give a little jump to get your baby positioned in the carrier.

8. Then just tie the straps across your chest and around under the baby's bum or over your shoulders like a back pack and under the baby's bum.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Swine Flu Anyone?

E has swine flu. She has had a constant fever, aches, chills, no appetite, and an awesome cough. Her fever has been right around 103 for a couple of days. I hope it breaks soon. B and C now have fevers too and each of them is developing a pretty nice little cough. So far J seems fine. All 4 of them are on Tamiflu, so hopefully it doesn't get too bad. We are in quarantine for 7 days.

The saddest part is that because of the quarantine E doesn't get to finish the last few days of school and she is pretty bummed. I guess we are just going to hunker down and try to make this next week as enjoyable as possible. Lots of movies, lots of popcorn, and lots of meds.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Infant Acid Reflux

"Does your baby seem to spit up a lot? Grab your burp cloth and join the group! Infant acid reflux, more accurately known as gastroesophageal reflux, is a common problem. In fact, more than half of all babies experience infant acid reflux during the first three months after birth, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Although infant acid reflux is most likely after a feeding, it can happen anytime your baby coughs, cries or strains. And it's probably tougher on you than on your baby. Even when soaked in spit up, most babies who have infant acid reflux are healthy and content.

Infant acid reflux typically resolves on its own by ages 12 to 18 months. In the meantime, changes in feeding technique — such as smaller, more frequent feedings, changing position or interrupting feedings to burp — can help keep reflux under control. In a few cases, medication or other treatments may be recommended."  This is directly from the Mayo Clinic website.

I added the emphasis at the end.  That is the part that I want to talk about.

During my 3rd pregnancy I had an ultrasound at 14 weeks that found a subchorionic bleed.  The Dr. said that they are fairly common and not to worry about it.  He said that they usually resolve themselves on their own and are not a problem.  So I didn't worry about it.  2 weeks later I started to have mild contractions (I contracted early with my first 2 pregnancies also and it wasn't an issue).  I continued to contract several times a week, but not regularly for the next several weeks.  The Dr. didn't seem worried, so neither was I.

Six weeks later I had my 20 week ultrasound to see how the baby was doing and to check on the bleed.  The baby was fine, but the bleed didn't resolve itself.  The ultrasound tech said that I had an abruption and that she could see the contractions I was having during the ultrasound.  She also confirmed that they were "real" contractions.  When I met with the Dr. he asked me all sorts of questions about my contractions, if I was having any cramping, or sharp pains, or spotting/bleeding.  He wanted me to document the contractions to see if they were random, had some sort of rhythm to them or if they were caused by certain activities.  To make a long story short, I ended up on partial bed rest for the last three months of my pregnancy and my daughter was born at 38 weeks.

I noticed in the hospital that she was spitting up which I thought was odd.  I was nursing her and I knew that my milk had not come in yet, so I wondered how she could be spitting up when there wasn't much there to spit up.  The nurse told me it was normal and not to worry about it.  When we went home, it just got worse.  I took her back to the Dr. several times those first few weeks because I knew something wasn't right, and I didn't know what to do about it.

The Dr. suggested that I cut out foods that commonly cause issues for new babies...but I was already doing that.  Then she suggested I cut out all dairy for six weeks.  I did that and it did not make a difference.  The Dr. finally put B on Zantac.  Within about a week and a half, she was a different baby!  She still threw up regularly, but she wasn't crying all the time.  She started sleeping better and she was finally happy!  By the time she was nine months old, she was completely off her medicine and totally fine.

Now, fast forward to my 4th pregnancy.  I had complications with this one as well.  The worst of which was problems with my heart.  I also had early contractions, but they weren't as bad as they were with B.  By the time I was eight months pregnant, I was having "episodes" with my heart several times a week and it was affecting my ability to function properly.  All of my children have had shoulder dystocia births (which is where they get stuck in the birth canal...two of them broke a collarbone).  These deliveries are high risk.  So, C was born at 36 weeks.  He was in the NICU for a week and then he was able to come home.  He was born on a Monday and they didn't let me feed him until Thursday (don't worry, he was on IV's).  Even though there was nothing in his stomach, he was spitting up quite a bit.  I instantly suspected reflux.

When he came home, he always ate like a champ.  Then he would cry and throw up a TON then he would cry some more and then he would be hungry again.  It was a never ending cycle of crying, eating, crying, puking, crying...Sometimes I joined him in the crying part because we were both exhausted and miserable.  The Dr. started him on Zantac and I was so excited.  I assumed it would help him as much as it helped B...even though his was way worse.  I didn't really see much difference.  He was also put on Reglan and something else that I can't remember.  They x-rayed his stomach to check for pyloric stenosis and thankfully he did not have it.  Nothing seemed to be helping very much.

We had already elevated the head of his bed and kept him propped up after each feeding.  I was feeding him less, but more often...we did everything.  Finally the Dr. decided to put him on Prevacid.  It made his hair fall out in chunks!  I was horrified and stopped it immediately.  The Dr. said that that isn't one of the side effects listed by the manufacturer, but it happened when he was on the medicine and stopped when he stopped it.  If you look it up in Google, it is also a side effect that some people do experience.

By this point, we were desperate!  We went to a pediatric gastroenterologist and he put us back on Zantac and added Mylanta Supreme.  Wonder of wonders, that combination worked!  From that day, I noticed big changes in C's temperament.  He still threw up, but as long as we kept him upright for at least 30 minutes after each feeding, he was a happy baby!!!

It took a lot of experimenting, but we were able to figure out that he couldn't just be propped up a bit after feedings.  He literally needed to be vertical or he didn't do very well.  This was a bit of a challenge because I had three other young children to take care of too.  Sometimes I couldn't hold him when he needed it.  I had a baby carrier that I could put him in, but it was not very comfortable for either of us.  He was a pretty chunky baby (another sign of reflux) and so he was heavy!  I did a ton of research to try and find another carrier that I could use with him for extended periods of time that would not hurt my back.  That's when I found the mei tai carrier.  These are Asian style carriers where you literally tie your baby to your body.  They become a part of you.  I also found that they are pretty expensive.  I looked at several different styles and picked out my favorite parts of them.  Then I combined everything I liked and made my own.  It is what saved both of us during those really hard months.  He didn't outgrow the reflux until right around his 1st birthday.  He still has an easy gag reflex, but he is just fine.

I'm working on some carriers to offer in my store.  Check back soon to see them and to see how to wear them.  Thanks!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Diaper Bags

Let's talk Diaper bags.  At one time diaper bags were, in my opinion like maternity clothes used to be...purely functional.  They did the job, but didn't really add to your appearance at all.  Thank goodness things have changed!

When my first was born I spent a lot of time trying to pick "the perfect diaper bag".  It had to have just enough pockets and places to hold everything I needed, not be monstrously big, and still be somewhat stylish.  I ended up with something similar to this.
When my second child was born (18 months later) I quickly realized that my "perfect" diaper bag wasn't big enough for two kids.  I still had the same requirements as I did the first time.  It just needed to be a little bit bigger.  I ended up with something similar to this.

When my third child was born (20 months after #2) I had to swallow my image pride and get something completely practical.  I used the same bag for #3 and #4.  I had 3 kids in diapers at the same time twice!  I needed lots of room for lots of stuff.  I ended up with something similar to this.

Yes it is big, but it holds everything I need.  Now that my 4th child is almost 18 months old, I am getting excited to put this down and get a nice stylish purse...

There are as many different types of diaper bags as they are types of diapers.  When you are looking for one, you need to figure out what your needs are and what type of person you are.  You also need to decide if you are going to buy a new bag with each new child or if you want it to work for multiple children.

If you are they type of person who constantly has blisters because you just can't make yourself wear more practical shoes that may not perfectly match your outfit, then you may feel like you will have to sacrifice practicality in the name of fashion.  Not necessarily.

If you are the type of person who wears tennis shoes with your suit because comfort is the only way to go, then you may not really care what it looks like as long as it gets the job done.  Finding a fashionable diaper bag that is also completely practical and comfortable might be easier than you think.

Check out these different sites. 

There are tons of options in all different price ranges.  You can also think about using a computer bag with lots of pockets, which was what my second bag really was.  Or you can try a back pack.  They have lots of different compartments for all of the different things you need to carry.  Look through the old purses you already have.  Maybe one of them is big enough or has enough compartments to hold what you need.  Chances are that if you already own it, you already like it.  Or you can look at small duffle bags, which is what the diaper bag I currently use is.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Burrito Babies

I have a ton of friends who are either pregnant or are have just had babies.  I think the next several posts will be on all things baby.  This one is about swaddling.  Ever heard of it?  Know what it is?  Know why babies like it?

Swaddling means "to bind (an infant, esp. a newborn infant) with long, narrow strips of cloth to prevent free movement; wrap tightly with clothes." (from

Babies just came from a very snug and cozy environment where there wasn't a lot of room to move around.  When they are born they don't have control of their muscles so they arms and legs tend to flail around.  This can make sleeping very difficult.  Swaddling an infant comforts them and makes it easier for them to sleep.  It helped all 4 of mine anyway.

There are a few different ways you can swaddle the baby.  This is what worked best for us.  Once they get older you can swaddle with the arms out.  Some of mine liked this and some of them didn't.  You can swaddle a baby until they don't like it anymore.  A friend of mine swaddled her baby until she was almost 8 months old.  She wouldn't sleep unless she was wrapped up tight.

1.  You will need a blanket.  I always used a receiving blanket.  It works best if it is square.  If the blanket you are going to use is not square, just fold one edge down until it is.  If your baby outgrows this blanket, just use a bigger one.
2.  Fold the top corner down about 1/3 of the way.  This is where your baby's head will be.
3.  Put your baby onto the blanket.  Make sure they are changed and fed before you swaddle them or you will have to undo them in a few minutes.  (sorry about the naked baby doll.  None of my kids are little enough to swaddle anymore and I couldn't find her clothes.)
4.  Fold either side over the baby and tuck the edge under the baby.  This will keep it secure.
5.  Take the bottom corner and fold it up.  If it is too long and will cover the baby's face, just fold it down a little bit.
6.  Take the other side and fold it over the baby.  Wrap it around and under the baby.
And that is how you do it.  Now you know why we call them "burrito babies".  :)

You can also buy swaddling blankets.  I have never used one, but I have several friends that have used and loved them.  As far as I know, they all work pretty much the same.  Here is an example.