Tag Archives: baby carrying advice

Travelling with Kids: Which Carrier to Take?

The summer is fast approaching and our thoughts are turning to family holidays – whether you’re travelling abroad or staycation-ing, heading off to seek the sun or venturing somewhere cooler, the question of which carrier to take is always at the forefront of our minds! We have gathered together some tips from the team here at Oscha to help you decide what to take.

Slings are a great option for travelling families, making it easy to navigate busy airports & unfamiliar streets while making sure you see all the sights along with your little ones. With buggies a pain to take on trains and planes and not allowed at all at some attractions, a sling can be great for families who want to travel with their kids.
Wraps, ring slings and carriers all have their benefits, each can be more suited to certain types of activities, trips & climates: here is a run down of the pros and cons of each carrier type to help you choose which Oscha to pack for your holidays …

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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.

m-shape

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.

How to Choose a Sling for Summer

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 so we’ve put together a guide with tips for baby carrying in the heat and to help you choose the right Oscha Sling for you & your little one this summer.
Type of Sling & Fabric Weight

We suggest choosing a sling in a lighter weight fabric, especially if you wish to wrap multi-layer carries. You could also consider using a slightly thicker wrap for single layer carries, particularly if you are carrying an older child who wants to be up and down a lot, and if you prefer more ‘cush’ on the shoulders. We suggest something between 180 and 260gsm.

While wraps offer a lot of versatility, ring slings are another great choice as they offer a single layer carry, covering less of your body while allowing air to circulate. Also, the long tail can be to cover little legs, or your shoulders, from the sun!

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Bamboo for bigger kids too!

When a new wrapper asks about bamboo they will generally be told ‘its lovely for squishes but won’t work for bigger kids’, in fact there’s many qualities in Oscha bamboo that make it ideal for carrying even pre-schoolers.

Yun Yi wearing her 3 and a half year old son in Zhuzi Ash.

Yun Yi wearing her three and a half year old son in Zhuzi Ash.

It is true that a thicker fabric especially one that is densely woven, will tend to perform better in a single layer carry, but there’s a point where your child gets so heavy that a single layer carry, except in the thickest of sturdy fabrics, is not going to cut it anymore. There’s a few wrappers out there with hardy shoulders who can manage, but for most, more than about half an hour with a 3 year old in a single layer carry will cause achy shoulders.

Image of Nina wearing Nouveau Nebula Baby Wrap (46% Bamboo, 54% Cotton)

Nouveau Nebula Baby Wrap (46% Bamboo, 54% Cotton)

 

At this point most people will need to use multi-layer carries for periods of long carrying anyway, and this is when bamboo really comes in to its own. Oscha bamboo is also very strong, we use a fine thread that is densely woven. Thin wraps that are densely woven can offer great support, it is those that have a looser weave that tend to sag (although this can be worth it when the weather is very hot to allow more air flow).

 

Oscha Bamboo is very soft and has an incredible glide, this means that a very snug wrap job can be achieved effortlessly; passes are easy to tighten and adjust. Some people complain that bamboo is too slippery, but to get a good wrap job in a complicated carry that requires a lot of tightening, like a double hammock or DRS2S it can be perfect. As it is not too thick it also adds to the ease of wrapping and makes it a good all year rounder. Personally I enjoyed using it as a summer-time wrap in Scotland too.

Ambit Natalis Solice Wrap, (46% Bamboo, 56% Cotton)

Ambit Natalis Solice Wrap, (46% Bamboo, 56% Cotton)

 

Ultimately its all down to personal preference, but from one person who carried 4 year old twins (one at a time!) for an hour’s walk each day in total comfort, and found Oscha bamboo a joy to wrap with, I can vouch for bamboo for big kids!

 

Bamboo also has other great qualities as a baby sling. It offers natural UV protection, is anti-bacterial, great for those with sensitive skin. Bamboo is naturally moisture wicking & breathable, and the fabric has a beautiful shimmer. 

 

Here is a review  from Yun of Zhuzi Ash, 46% Bamboo, 54% Combed Cotton. She talks about using this wrap with her two children, her daughter who is 12 months and her son of three and a half years.  To see the original review, click here.

 

I didn’t know what to expect when I received this wrap, but the rich evergreen and bright bamboo green colours and the intricate bamboo design blew me away. Then, I touched it….and it was so soft…yet it felt so strong…I could not wait to wrap with it.

 

Zhuzi Ash wrap (46% Bamboo, 56% Combed Cotton)

Zhuzi Ash wrap (46% Bamboo, 56% Combed Cotton)

One wash and this wrap became floppy as if it was pretending to be a wrap that had been with me forever. The texture is silky, smooth, and incredibly soft – did I say that yet? I mean, I could not get over the softness. It’s also narrower than some other Oscha wraps. I was concerned though, as a soft wrap like this could not be supportive could it?? But I read up on the qualities of bamboo, its sustainability, how strong, and versatile this plant fiber can be. But I had also read that people said it could be saggy. So up it went with my little 1 year old and it was perfect.

 

This is a soft and moldable wrap with a glide that some will call slippery but with deliberate wrapping you can get it to stick just perfectly so that it stays put and that’s when you realize how supportive and dense this wrap can feel. I had to lower my daughter so she could nurse and it still stayed in place but when I wanted to bring her back up I had to rewrap a bit more since I had lost the tension that had allowed it to feel so supportive. It seems to have a slight cush to it – maybe due to the textile weaving intricacy of the bamboo throughout the wrap?? Or is is the bamboo itself??

 

The big test came with my three and a half year old. At a bit over 30lbs, he needed precise wrapping to make sure that he didn’t make the wrap slip down but once again as long as I made sure to be deliberate and guide the rails into place, my big child did not sag or slip down. He was snug as a bug and the wrap remained supportive. Overall, for a small baby, wrapping this narrow, soft and slightly slippier wrap will be easy and on a larger child wrapping has to be deliberate and precise but all in all shows the stretch of bamboo and the versatility of it as an incredibly silky feeling wrap. The artistry of Oscha really shines in this wrap and I can’t wait to use it more since V gets to be a big sister this fall.

 

To view the full range of Oscha Bamboo wraps, click here.

Optimal Positioning When Carrying Your Child

Babywearing International have developed clear and easy to follow guidelines on the best way to carry your child in a woven wrap or ringsling. There is a separate card to show the optimal positioning for each age group and then for each sling type. These positions show the most comfortable way for you and your child. To see the original source on the Babywearing International website- click here.

Virginie and her daughter demonstrating the optimum carrying position using an Oscha woven wrap in a front wrap cross carry.

Virginie and her daughter demonstrating the optimum carrying position using an Oscha woven wrap in a front wrap cross carry.

New born optimal positioning examples

 

Optimal Positioning Infant

optimal positioning instructions for carrying an infant

Optimal positioning for carrying a child n a woven wrap

Optimal positioning for carrying a child in a ring sling

Welcome To Our New Blog

Here we will share what we are up to and involved in as well as useful and interesting information on baby carrying. We will share our own experiences as well as those of our customers and health professionals to give you a well-rounded view into the world of Oscha Slings and what we believe in. We hope you will enjoy exploring our blog and website. You can also connect with ourselves and customers on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Oscha Sekai Zeka baby wrap image

Tjimkje enjoying a stroll with her daughter in an Oscha Sekai Zeka baby wrap. Photography by ‘Jilke became a photographer’.