Monthly Archives: November 2015

Cairis Review – Lauren and Simon

We sent one of our Cairis carriers to a family who were just beginning to explore babywearing with their first child. We asked Lauren how she got on trying it out with her son. They received one of the first completed carriers 7 months ago just as he was born.

What were your first impressions of the Oscha Cairis?
The fabric- quality and design- were absolutely beautiful, and the sling as whole, extremely attractive; it had a real ‘wow’ factor (subsequently reflected in the number of comments I received when I wore it out and about). The accompanying instructions were very clear

How easy did you find using it and putting it on at the beginning? Were you used to using any other baby slings or woven wraps?
I had never used a sling or woven wrap before and found the Cairis very easy to use. We followed the instructions step-by-step and had the carrier in use within five minutes.

You can see how easy it is to use the Cairis with a new born by viewing our instructional video.

Do you find it comfortable to wear for long periods?
It is very comfortable to wear. When my baby was very young I commonly wore it for up to 6 hours. I am quite petite and it adapted very well to my size. Likewise, my son was a particularly small baby, and I loved how the sling could be adapted for him.

When do you tend to wear your baby in the Cairis?
Around the house, out shopping, running errands (particularly when using public transport). When Owen was younger (and the weather was nicer) I used it out on long country walks.

Is it easy to transport when you are out and about and your child is being carried?
Yes- I use the bag that came with it. It folds down well so it very convenient to transport.

How happy do you think your child is in the sling? Is it a good height for them to see out?
He’s always been very happy in the sling. I regularly use it to comfort him when he’s distressed and almost instantly calms. It is a good height for him to see out.

Do you prefer to use it on your back, front or both?
I’ve only recently starting using it on the back, and I now prefer it as it’s easier to go about tasks, and now he’s heavier, it is more comfortable for longer periods.

How easy do you find adjusting the size when sharing it with your partner?
With a little bit of practise, very easy.

Over all, how happy are you with the appearance and functionality of the carrier?
Very happy. Given I had never used a sling before, I wanted something easy to use, and the Cairis was certainly that; I felt confident using it almost immediately. A real advantage for us was being able to adapt the sling, using the cinch, for when our son was first born; he was of a relatively low birth weight so he would have been too small for mainstream carriers. It was lovely wearing something so attractive, and I constantly received compliments on the carrier when using it.

Will you continue to use the Cairis?
Yes

Do you have any other comments?
Receiving the sling instantly changed the way I went about the day. My son loved being in the carrier, and I would wear it for large chunks of the day; I knew he was happy, and I could talk to him as I went about activities. Because it is so convenient to use, it made it so much easier for my husband and I to go out- using for example public transport or out on long walks in the countryside. He would either sleep, or watch what was going on around him.

 

Cairis Review – Dr. Rosie Knowles

We asked Rosie Knowles from Sheffield Sling Surgery to review our new, half buckle, soft structured carrier.
Rosie is a family doctor based in Sheffield, UK and has been carrying her children for seven years; she is a Sling consultant and a certified babywearing consultant instructor.

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Harriet trying out the Oscha Cairis with Rosie

It’s been a privilege to work with Oscha on the development of their new soft structured carriers. The Coorie ring-tai is a fabulous carrier, amazingly comfortable with painstaking attention to detail. The new baby Cairis half-buckle is a simpler soft structured carrier, once again made from Oscha wrap fabric, designed for use with children between 7 and 15lb. It is handmade in Scotland with the same loving care and with focus on comfort for both parent and child.

What is a Half-Buckle?
A half-buckle is a mei tai with a buckled waistband and long straps that can be wound around the body to distribute the weight of the child.

The waistband of the Cairis is minimalist, to avoid bulkiness for a younger baby, and to prevent any digginess around the hips for an adult. There is no padding in the very central section of the waist, with light, soft padding at the corners of the panel that moulds nicely around your contours. This light padding carries on into a long “tongue” of fabric which ensures that the side-positioned buckle doesn’t dig in. The webbing moves smoothly and is easy to tighten.

Tightening-the-waist-band

This minimalist style makes it easy to “cinch” the waistband to make it narrower for a younger child. Oscha provide a ruched semi-elastic strap that can be tied around the base of the panel, making it both shorter and narrower. This will ensure that a small baby’s legs are not over-spread and the panel isn’t too tall.

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The Cairis has lightly padded shoulder straps that fan out into wrap straps that are about a quarter of the width of the full wrap. The angle of the straps has been carefully chosen to keep them resting on the flat of the shoulder, rather than riding too high towards the neck. This, combined with the breadth of the curved top panel, helps to avoid any feeling of constriction or restriction of view for baby. The padded straps are sewn in such a way to allow moulding and they stay in place well rather than sliding around (due to the grip of the fabric). The wrap straps are easy to tighten snugly and aren’t too bulky around baby’s knee. The little extra width keeps the bunching for the leg passes comfortable, and they can be spread a little for some extra seat support. The fact that the straps are not super wide is helpful to avoid getting tangled up in excess fabric and it would be easy to use this in windy weather, for example.

Straps

The panel is lovely and floppy, which allows for a good degree of snug fit, which you often don’t get with more structured panels, and allows adjustability for a range of sizes of child. There is no bulky padding at the sides, but the double thickness of the soft wrap means that it is still comfy around the legs. The top half of the panel has a little bit of very soft floppy padding that adds a little support around the upper body and neck. It has a fully removable hood that can be ruched up along the two fabric runners at the side, and can be attached to the panel and the straps by a clever system of loops and poppers that add plenty of adjustability.

Hood

How does it feel?
It feels lovely, as it is so lightweight and soft. It is very easy to use, being very simple without too much fabric to feel swamped by. The light padding to the waistband means it is mouldable and comfortable with no digging around my middle. The straps were a good width for me; not too wide and I was able to keep them central on my shoulders. The knot is easy to make as the straps are not at all bulky, and as they are fairly narrow compared to something like the Coorie, I felt more comfy when I took the time to spread the width around my side, and for heavier babies, to have them spread across baby’s bottom for extra lift. The panel is quite tall, but as it is so soft and lightweight it is very easy to allow it to fold down over the waistband slightly to reduce its height. Being double thickness, it doesn’t sag.

I had to take a little care with hip scooting into a back carry to ensure the long waistband tongue remained in place, but it was lovely to have the padding rather than webbing across my front. It was fairly easy to spread the wrap straps across baby’s bottom for extra lift due to their reduced width; this would be preferable for a heavy baby/small toddler. I found knotted finishes more useful than knotless, as the straps didn’t have the bulk and heaviness required for the friction-dependent knotless finishes like the Tibetan. To be honest, the padded straps were robust and supportive enough with no sliding around not to need this kind of finish.

The body panel is made of two layers of wrap fabric and is rectangular, 38 cm (15in) at the base of the panel where it meets the waistband and about 45cm high from the waistband to the top of the gentle curve. The top half of the panel has some light padding across the full width to add a little support. The hood is adjustable (by runners of fabric at the two sides), it rolls up and can be secured with cute little poppers.

The padded section of the shoulder straps is medium width – 8 cm wide and the padded part before the straps flare out into half the width of the wrap is 47 cm. The total length of the straps is about 215 cm. The wrap strap width is about 18cm.

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It has been carefully and thoughtfully handmade with very neat stitching and hemming. There is appropriate sinkage at the shoulders with sturdy box stitching visible on the outside, and the panel feels well sunk into the waistband and the shoulder straps are the same. The hood loops are very sturdily sewn. I have not seen the internal structure of the carrier but it has passed all the relevant safety standards.

Summary
I really like this baby buckle tai. Much of the comfort and all the style of an Oscha wrap in a simple and easy to use package, that is suitable from birth. I’d be most happy to have this in my library and would have used one for my own children on the days when wrapping just wasn’t practical.

Making the Oscha Cairis

Making the Cairis – Style & comfort through simplicity

Each of our carriers has a slightly different focus – the Coorie embodies elegance and intricate tailoring, the Cairis is stylishly simple and easy to use. With both of them my focus has been on making an extremely comfortable waistband and trying to create the snug, supported feeling of being in a woven wrap.

The baby Cairis (meaning ‘to care for’ in traditional, colloquial Scots) is suitable from the newborn stage, it is accessible for new babywearers, and has a pretty, streamlined aesthetic, making it a pleasure to use. It is essentially a half-buckle but with a few very unique elements that make it quite special.

The really exciting new feature of the Cairis has to be our Strata-linea® waistband (patent pending). After much dreaming, puzzling, trial and error we came up with something that is simple, yet super effective.  A padded ‘tongue’ extends the waist band – it sits behind the buckle and goes round the waist to protects the wearer from digging  caused by narrow areas of pressure on a waistband.

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The Strata-linea® waist band provides streamlined comfort.

Not only does the Strata-linea® waistband feel extremely comfortable, it also looks pretty, and, with the reduced digging, it creates a pleasing silhouette for the wearer. I’m so excited to finally bring out this new development as it was what I was always searching for when trying out so many carriers (really a lot!) with my children. We have used a lightweight, safety tested, YKK buckle and co-ordinate the webbing to keep the styled look throughout.

We carefully considered how to streamline the Cairis to showcase the beauty of the woven fabric and to offer a baby carrier that is simple to use and light-weight. We made the Cairis fully reversible and avoided using any stiff foam so that you can easily roll the waist to make the body panel exactly the right height for your baby. This allows the carrier to grow with your child.

We also created two accessories that further expand the time you can use the carrier with your child – the hood and the body panel cinch. The cinch can be tied around the body of the carrier and pushed down towards the waist band. Used in combination with rolling the waist, this makes the body panel the right height and width for newborn and very young babies.

The Hood can be attached with poppers and the cynch makes the front pannel smaller.

The Cairis has a curved headrest which provides essential head support for infants and until your child is around 4-6 months. When you find your child has grown too tall for the headrest to provide support when they fall asleep, the hood can be used. We have made the hood detachable so that it does not get in the way when you are putting on the carrier and also when you don’t need it. It is simple to attach and easily adjustable, with poppers and rouches to create support where it is needed.

The carrier features unique Oscha ‘Flare’ straps; padded shoulder straps that fan out from a central join – we’re pleased with this feature, it is simple and effective yet looks very pretty and neatly displays the reverse of the fabric when the straps are spread. Flare straps provide cushioning over your shoulders but allow you to spread the fabric out under your child to increase support if desired.

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Images showing the flared straps.

The features we’ve included in the baby Cairis make it perfect for its intended age range (from newborn up to 2 years, 7lbs – 25lbs). We are also currently developing a toddler version with elements that will make it ideal for children of that age and we hope that this will be available to purchase within the next few months.

The baby Cairis has been safety tested to BS EN 13209-2:2005 & ASTM:F2236-14.

I am proud to introduce the Oscha Cairis to our carrier range, and can’t wait to see it coming to life in a wide selection of our patterns and colourways over the coming months. We have some reviews to share with you over the next few days and maybe even a give away ahead of the launch next week. I hope you will love it as much as we do!

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Virginie wears the Cairis with Alma on their trip to Thailand.

WindelManufaktur 3 in 1 Nappies

As we launch the new Windelmanufaktur nappies, created in Germany using a range of Oscha fabrics, we thought it would be great to know a little more about designer and founder Stephanie.  Former architect and mother, she has developed a convenient, leak proof product that supports an environmental approach, and allows for a variety of fabric designs and blends to be used. Resulting in an innovative, unique nappy that is both practical and beautiful.

Sekai Jol 3 in 1 Nappy

Sekai Jol 3 in 1 Nappy

We chatted to Stephanie about her motivation and the special features of this innovative nappy design.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?   
I’m Stephanie, 37 years old and a mother of three children. I was an architect writing my PhD thesis in history of architecture, but then the kids came…. they really changed my life. In 2011 I began to blog about our family and our children, about me and how we tried to live a simple and sustainable life. For example, we don’t own a TV or car, we always buy organic groceries and have a garden where we grow a lot of our own food. We often ask ourselves how to solve different aspects of our life in a more sustainable way.

What motivated you to design high quality re-usable nappies and how did the story begin?
With three small children, we soon looked for a way to reduce the amount of rubbish produced through disposable diapers. After testing many different cloth diapers, we were still not satisfied and my husband suggested that I should “come up with something better“. Somehow, this caught my interest. I have a passion for creating and as an architect I had the necessary passion for construction and geometry. I finally gave in and dived deeply into the world of cloth diapers!

I wanted our nappies to be beautiful and simple and to make the least amount of laundry possible. Trial and error produced a huge mountain of prototypes, and in the end one construction really caught my interest: the ManufakturWindel was born.

They were then tested extensively on my own children, then on friends’ babies, and from then on the story took off. A friend wanted some, another friend, I received lots of emails emails… And there I was, I found something people really needed and it was better for the environment than what they already had. Bang!

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Sekai Jol re-usable Nappy

Once you start looking into sustainable baby care, you don’t usually stop with cloth diapers. Many other products that are created as disposables come into consideration. That is why WindelManufaktur also creates washable changing mats, organic cloth wipes and washable nursing pads.

What makes your nappies different from other 3 in 1 reusable nappies?
There are different aspects:
1. I do really care for where the nappies are produced. They are made by hand here in Dresden, Germany. I put a lot of energy in producing locally.

2 . I really care where the material comes from. You won’t find cheap fabric on WindelManufaktur-Nappies. I do not want my fabrics produced in asian sweatshops with inadequate circumstances for the employees, let alone kids working in them.

3. I always choose those details that ensure that the product has a long lifetime and won’t have to be thrown away early. For example I use Snaps and every seam is topstitched.

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Outer Nappy, Inner Nappy and Booster Inner Snapped together.

4. I always choose the better material where there is one. Most of the fabrics are produced in the European Union, so I am sure about the ecological and the working standarts in those mills.

5. I offer a real choice of wonderful fabrics – from basic design to an all natural collection to the high-end fabrics made by Oscha in Scotland – I always choose a clean and classic look but in a broad range of designs.

6. My 3 in 1 reusable nappies are really easy to understand and they produce the least laundry possible.

Has your previous career as an architect influenced your development and design of the nappies?

Yes, and it still does in almost every everything I do, from small sketches of this idea or that improvement. The habit of thinking three-dimensional when it comes to designing garments helps a lot. These days I plan my next innovation – and I put together pieces of rubber band and topstitching in my mind for hours. I think creating can come to be a habit, more than work.

For parents who haven’t invested in re-usable nappies before, can you explain why this product is beneficial and can save them money in the long term?
Yes, it is a rather easy calculation. Fortunately my husband is an Excel-Expert and has created a big Excel-Sheet where you may insert all the costs on both sides. It is still in German but we are working to translate it into English. You can insert all your own REAL costs you would have with disposables or with cloth nappies and see at the end how much you could save. My hubby even added the wear and tear of the washing machine 😉

When it comes to what you save: It added up to over £700 less investment with cloth diapers in comparison to disposables for our family. That is not only a good week of holidays in summer but also a huge amount of chemicals that will not touch my babys skin and a ton of waste being saved.

I really do invite you to calculate that for your family. The results are extremely surprising. However, I do realise that at first sight spending £10 per week for disposables seems to be less than buying everything at once. When calculated properly, almost every family realises how much could be saved with cloth nappies.

Why have you chosen the different fabric options for the inserts?
Because every fabric behaves differently regarding how much and how fast it soaks up the liquid, how fast it dries, how thick or thin the fabric is and how fast it leaks liquid under pressure. That is why the combination of soakers is the key to finding THE soaker combination which is perfect for your baby.

Can you tell us about your personal experience of using them?
I loved the combination of cotton terry and hemp!! Most parents choose to use the cotton terry insert as the one closest to the skin. With its soft textured surface it catches everything very well and fast. Additionally you could then use one of the other soakers. The booster soaks as much as the hemp soaker, while the booster soaks faster but hemp is a complete natural fiber. The bamboo soaker is the best choice to be folded and to be positioned under the area were the liquid hits the soakers.

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Bamboo Inner, Hemp Fleece Inner and Booster Inner

What are the most important things I need to know when I cloth diaper with WindelManufaktur?
I’d say it would be to buy the right size, don’t forget to adjust the elastics in the inner diapers when you have a small baby, remember the inserts have to be prewashed and then enjoy! All new things need a bit of adjustment – cloth nappies are the same. Give yourself a couple of weeks and don’t stress out. It will work. Plus: We are there to help you!!

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Back of the Nappy, showing side seams snug against baby’s leg.

Read more about the  inserts and the inner nappy written by Stephanie and the Oscha Day packs here.

We have put together a simple day pack which includes:
1 x Oscha Outer Nappy
2 x Inner Nappies
2 x Organic Cotton Terry Inserts
2 x Hemp Fleece Inserts
1 x Bamboo Insert
1 x Booster Insert

Items included in one Oscha Day pack.

Purchase this amazing Nappy set on the Oscha website.