Category Archives: Babywearing Benefits

Travelling with Kids: Which wrap to use in the heat?

“What are the best slings for the heat?” – This is a question we get asked all the time as the weather begins to warm up and people start to begin travelling to warmer climates than they are used to!
Comfy carrying in the summer heat comes down to three choices: type of carrier, the fabric and the type of carry you use.  Read on for our guide to choosing the right Oscha Sling for you & your little one this summer.
Choosing a carrier

Baby wraps and ring slings are popular choices for summertime carrying as they offer complete adjustability, allowing you and your little one to be comfortable together in the heat. Our Cairis Carrier is also a good option for summer carrying as the unique, lightweight design allows for natural airflow and all the comfort for a traditional woven sling.

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A Father’s Heartbeat

Skin to skin carrying is one of the best gifts a baby can be given. Skin to skin contact helps them regulate their temperature, heart rate and breathing rates[1]. It produces oxytocin in both the caregiver and the baby calming both of them, and the beauty of skin to skin is that Dads can do it too[2]. This is not only fabulous for bonding, but also for occasions where mum may need further support or medical treatment.

Cuddling up under Sekai Quicksilver

Skin to skin from a father is so reassuring – whilst they may have only met moments ago, the warm embrace, the sound of his heart beating close and his familiar voice, reassures the baby that right here – they’re safe, they’re protected, it’s a beautiful home from home.

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Scottish Baby Boxes: How to use my new baby wrap?

We were so delighted when we heard the announcement that the Scottish Government were going to introduce baby boxes for all babies born in Scotland, based on a Finnish Project that’s been running since 1938. I remember researching the Finnish boxes[1] when I was pregnant with my children, thinking they were such a great idea and wishing we had similar here – and now we do!

The boxes contain over 40 different items that the government considers essential for new babies and for parents, and the box itself can be used with the mattress and sheets inside it to become a safe clean sleeping area for the baby.

Scottish Baby Box Announcement, courtesy of the Scottish Government

Whilst it’s a wonderful gesture to receive new items for your baby – the reason for the box and gifts goes much deeper than a simple gesture, as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “It’s a simple idea with a proven record in tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents”[2] All babies will now have a guaranteed safe sleeping area, clean clothes and basic essentials.

Imagine then the joy at Oscha HQ when we discovered that a baby carrier was going to be included too.

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Top Tips for Carrying in Winter

The Winter Solstice may have passed & the days are getting longer, but there’s still an icy nip in the air. A question regularly asked by babywearing mums is “What is the best way to carry in the cold?”
As with all things there is no single right answer so we talked to our models and photographers, as well as some babywearing experts, to see what they do when the days turn chilly.

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Why Good Writing about Babywearing Matters

We take a look at Dr Rosie Knowles’ Why Babywearing Matters, Pinter & Martin, 2016.

With interest in babywearing increasing at a significant rate over the past decade, and recent growth of academic studies into the benefits of carrying your child, Rosie Knowles has produced a timely and accessible summary pulling together relevant information about the benefits of this practice that will appeal to both newcomers and long-time carriers.

Rosie Knowles Oscha

Rosie (a GP and Babywearing Consultant who runs her own Sling Library and shop) is well known and highly regarded within the babywearing world, and for good reason – her work promoting carrying not only in her hometown Sheffield (known as ‘Sling City’), but more widely in the UK and beyond, has undoubtedly contributed to a better understanding of babywearing benefits. She is passionate, knowledgeable, dedicated and motivated – any discussion with her on this topic is immediately engaging and heartfelt.

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Scottish Baby Sling Stories – Using the Plaid

Vicki delves into historic Scotland to find out more about the age old tradition of carrying children in slings! She meets our new designer Evonne’s granny and great aunt over a cuppa to hear about their personal experience in using the ‘Plaid’.

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When our new designer Evonne told her granny about the products Oscha makes, her granny said,
        ‘Oh, I know all about that, your great granny carried me in the plaid.’
Intrigued, I drove westwards on Scotland’s hottest day of the year (temperature reached a miraculous 27C!), navigating the tangle of motorways which slice up Glasgow, and out the other side to Dalry, once a thriving textile town, where the last mill closed only a few months ago, to find out more.
Evonne’s granny, May (Mary), and her sister Fay, greeted me with tea in china cups, lots of cake and a fascinating glimpse into 1930’s and 40’s Scotland.

Their mother had nine children and they lived in a two-roomed tenement flat with no running water or electricity. ‘We had to carry buckets of clean water up a flight of stairs and the dirty water back down again,’

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Hip-Healthy Baby Slings

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute acknowledges Oscha Woven Wraps, Ring Slings, Baby Cairis and Coorie as “hip-healthy” baby carriers (when used as directed). This means that our slings provide the correct support to your child’s hips, which encourages the normal hip joint development that is especially important during the child’s first 6 months.

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Woven Wrap, Ring Sling, Cairis, Corrie

Woven Wrap, Ring Sling, Cairis, Corrie

The IHDI has reviewed the Oscha products that are suitable for babies under 6 months as the risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation is greatest in the first few months of life.  By six months of age, most babies have nearly doubled in size, the hips are more developed and the ligaments are stronger, so are less susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.

IHDI supports proper babywearing with the hips in the M-position as a method to encourage healthy hip development. Our Coorie and Todder Cairis also hold the hips in this position as recommended by the IHDI but as these products are for use with older babies, they are not eligible to be tested for ‘hip healthy’ positioning.

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A little information about healthy hip positioning:

If you would like to read more about Hip Dysplasia and baby carriers, you may want to read Dr Rosie Knowles blog post about ‘Busting some Hip- Healthy Myths’. Rosie is a qualified GP and an experienced Sling Consultant. http://www.sheffieldslingsurgery.co.uk/healthy-hips-busting-some-myths/ she explores Hip Dysplasia in detail and recommends different styles of carriers for healthy hips.

You can explore the International Hip Dysplasia website to read more about hip healthy positioning and the research around preventing hip dysplasia here http://hipdysplasia.org/

Benefits of Babywearing- A Dad’s Point of View

Ciaran McKenna, AKA The Babywearing Dad, talks about why he enjoys carrying his first son in a sling and why he would recommend other fathers  do the same. Ciaran will be this years Face of the Fair at Babywearing Irelands annual Wear a Hug Fair.
Ciaran also reviewed our Starry Night Midnight wrap recently (pictured below), read what he thought here.

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I am a first time dad, like all first time dads I had no idea how this was going to go. I didn’t know what kind of a father I would be. Without babywearing I think things would be very different. I didn’t wear him for the first 6 weeks, mainly because I thought I might break him! I know now that that’s nonsense, and the next time round in will do it as soon as the baby is handed to me! In the run up to the Wear a Hug Fair I’d like to talk about some benefits of babywearing for any dads out there that might have their doubts about it. Don’t forget you can always contact me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you’ve got any questions. I’m always more than happy to talk about my love of babywearing!

1. Bonding

Anyone who has read a few of my blog pieces or interviews knows that this is always a big one for me. It can seem to some dads that mom can bond faster than dad, and why wouldn’t they? They could have just carried the little one for 39ish weeks! The best way to bond, in my opinion, is babywearing. Having your baby so close to you, sleeping on you, getting used to your voice, your smell, your heartbeat. You can also do skin to skin, or kangaroo parenting while babywearing, which is a great way to bond too.

2.  Hands Free Parenting

I honestly don’t know how parents who don’t babywear get anything done! Feeding/walking the dogs, hanging out washing, stuffing nappies, making lunch, playing Xbox, all these and more are done in our house whilst babywearing. It’s so practical, and your baby is happy and contented the entire time (often asleep!)

3. Sharing Hobbies/Experiences

When babywearing you can really go pretty much anywhere. There’s no clunky buggy stopping you get in or up places and you are hands free. I’ve done some hillwalking, hiking, collecting plants for college work and changed the spark plugs on my bike with my little fella strapped to me. He was delighted and I got to continue doing things I like while still parenting and having my baby close to me. This also gives Mom a well deserved break which earns major brownie points; another benefit for dad!

4. Settles Babies Quickly

I have yet to find any way to soothe or calm my baby as quickly and easily as babywearing. Even my mom wears him now when she minds him! It’s unbelievable, and no matter what’s wrong it always helps, be it the position he’s in giving him relief from wind etc. or just the close cuddle giving him comfort, it has yet to fail. Every morning now for nap time he goes in a wrap for 10 minutes and he’s out like a light, and can be transferred to his cot (if I don’t want to just sit there cuddling him). Happy baby makes for a happy dad, and that time in the cot gets you a break for a cup of tea, or making bottles!

5. Impress Your Lady!

There isn’t a babywearing mom out there that doesn’t find their partner wearing their baby extremely attractive! I don’t know exactly what it is, but I haven’t met one woman who doesn’t love it!

Ciaran will be at the Wear a Hug Fair this weekend in Kildare, Ireland. Why not pop along to say hello if you’re near by.

Research Into The Benefits of Babywearing

Zoe and Vicki recently attended the Flemish Babywearing Conference in Antwerp and were fascinated to hear about current research exploring the benefits of babywearing. Here they share a personal view of what resonated for them.

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When you’re working every day designing and making baby wraps it’s great to take time out to be reminded of the difference that baby wearing can make for babies, their parents and carers. After attending this two day conference and hearing about the growing evidence base demonstrating the benefits of baby wearing we returned with a renewed enthusiasm for the work we do. Here’s a brief foray into some of the things we learned.

Professor Reinhard Graf, an Orthopaedic Consultant from Austria was first up. Ebullient in his bow tie, he talked passionately about hip development of new born babies and what can cause developmental dislocation of the hips, otherwise known as hip dysplasia.

Many communities swaddle babies tightly from birth so the baby can be kept warm and safe, as well as easily transported over long distances and difficult terrain. Unfortunately tightly swaddling babies and wrapping them on carrier boards can lead to developmental dislocation of the hips. Essentially, it’s not healthy for babies to be forced into extending their legs for long periods of time; they need to be carried in a more natural position, with their knees tucked up. Reinhard told us that where communities had moved away from tight swaddling, to allow the baby to be carried with bent legs then the incidence of hip dysplasia reduced dramatically. Baby wearing, where the baby is correctly positioned to support flexion of the hips, can help both in preventing and addressing developmental dislocation of the hips.

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Showing the flexed ‘M’ shape of the babies hips and knees when carried in a woven wrap.

Both with animals and humans the baby naturally clings onto the parent with their legs bent and apart and so resting on the mother’s hip. Dr Evelin Kirkillonis talked of three different sub-categories of mammals differentiating between altricial such as cats and rats which need care and attention after birth for a period of time, precocial such as horses, elephants which are born, licked clean, nudged to stand up and off they go to find some food and finally the parent-clinging. Human babies, like apes and kangaroos, are ‘clinging young’ as Evelin called it, and need the closeness to the mother/parents for secure attachment as well as for food and safety.

Touch between parent and child, another key aspect of wrapping, also helps the production of oxytocin. This really does seem to be the wonder hormone, stimulating good cell growth, inhibiting cancer growing cells and killing cells that are not functional. It’s produced everywhere in the body; heart, cells, gastro-intestinal tract, skin, brain leading to a connective web, all influencing one another as Professor Kerstin Unvas-Moberg, who has published a number of books on oxytocin, told us.

As well as being key in the production of breast milk, when oxytocin is released it reduces anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, pain and leads to weight loss in men. It increases social interaction, curiosity, growth and restoration, wound healing and weight gain in women (oh well, nothing’s perfect).

Skin to skin contact is key in the release of oxytocin and creating attachment between parents and baby. So it’s critical that parents have the opportunity to touch as soon as possible after the baby’s born, and of course baby wearing creates close up touch between child and parent.

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Babies carried close enjoy plenty of instinctive, positive touch.

The importance of skin to skin was also the theme of the presentation given by Tina Hoffmann. She talked movingly of a project, which Didymos were involved in, to design a wrap for carrying premature babies.  This was a subject close to our hearts as Zoe’s twins were premature. It certainly would have been great to have the enlightened team of midwife and consultant, whom Tina worked with around instead of the general ignorance of and resistance to kangaroo care we encountered. However, things have moved on in six years and there is more awareness of the benefits of kangaroo care now.

The wraps Didymos designed hold the baby securely against the parent so they can relax and even lie back and drift off without fear of baby slipping. They are soft yet stretchy allowing easy access for the nurses in case they need to quickly remove the baby and are simple, so tubes won’t get entangled.  Tina said they found fathers initially reluctant to wear their babies but having been persuaded once they were invariably keen to continue.

In between workshops we enjoyed catching up with babywearing consultants and healthcare professions attending the conference, and hanging out with our friends at Connecta, as well as meeting people from other wrap companies. We, somehow, still found time to explore the beautiful old town centre in Antwerp, window shop for jewellery and stock up on Belgian chocolate.

All in all it was a great two days and we’d like to thank the conference organisers for a seamless event and all the speakers, most of whom were presenting in English, which was not their first language – much respect.