Youtube!

It has been a busy busy couple of months here at Simply Carried! Working from home processing and filling orders and doing outreach has led to less time writing about the exciting things going on here! I have started a Youtube channel to document our new products and goings on at Simply Carried. I would LOVE to write everything down, but my kids very suddenly need the entirety of my attention when I sit down to write during the day. I want to keep people informed and highlight our products, so, we are making videos now! I know it isn't the same, and also it's not perfect for those midnight nursing sessions, but we are having fun with them and learning more each day. Our channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsV3u7b0rQSpUvOaGfps3nA

I will do my best to post the videos here on the blog, but our channel is for sure going to have the most up to date videos! It has been a bit tough for me to watch myself on video, because they are not perfect at all, and my assistant often keeps things rather interesting and spirited. If nothing else, watch them for her! These videos will include live videos of carriers and my thoughts on them, as well as reviews and updates about our business. I am learning about editing and such with each video, so hang in there for me! Also, be sure to keep up with us on instagram (@simplycarried) and Facebook (facebook.com/simplycarried) Here are our first three: 

Week of Thanks

It has been a wild November. We had our first sickness of the cold season and all of us went down pretty hard. Being a small business owner who relies heavily on interaction and using my time to reach people via social media meant that these weren't the most prolific of weeks for the business! I kind of felt like I was just trying to hang on, answer emails and get some orders out in the moments my little ones didn't require every ounce of me (or just trying to recover myself!!)!

We do have some fun news though! I have been wanting to offer Tula Baby Carriers at Simply Carried for a few months now, and our application was finally approved! I did a big old happy dance when I got the email! It was in great timing too. Wesley has been a bit picky about his preferred method of being carried, and the Tula is just about the only thing he happy in for longer periods of time. He is 13 months old now, and fighting the battle of intense need for adventure and exploration and intense need to be near mommy and know her whereabouts at every moment. Poor guy is getting molars on top of being sick last week (which entails a wheezy recovery for him) and has been a wreck. I will never get over how wearing him puts his little head at the perfect height for giving smooches. I think he gets about 20x more kisses while being worn! Anyhow, to celebrate the arrival of Tula to Simply Carried we are having a Tula Tea! We are meeting at Symposium Coffee in Sherwood to oogle and aww at the new pretties and try them out! I'm looking forward to it! I was lucky enough to meet the owner/founder of Tula, Ula, at the International Babywearing Conference before we opened up shop and she was lovely and inspiring. I really hope our customers love the new addition to our line up! 

We will have the Bliss Bouquet and some other fun prints available!  

We will have the Bliss Bouquet and some other fun prints available!  

This coming week I have put together a week of Thankfulness! Every day we will have some sort of sale or giveaway. They will be posted along with other fun things on our Facebook page throughout the week! I hope to get to know our fans and customers better through this wonderful holiday! I have been so thankful for our friends, family and customers for the encouragement to open this new business and gear up for our next big move! Here are the days of thanks: 

T i d a l  R i s e.png

SO I may have had a little bit too much fun making the slides for the Week of Thanks, but I have a new program and couldn't help myself! I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and plan to go out to our local toy store to shop "small" on Saturday for some Christmas gifts! I am so excited that I am now part of this group of businesses. It has changed my life quite a bit and I now recognize the importance of shopping small businesses whenever I can. Thanks for staying tuned and have a lovely week! We hope you'll pop over to Facebook and engage with us there too! 

Bolder Band! The Bold, Beautiful You!

You may have seen pictures of us recently sporting our colorful fun headbands, may I introduce to you the Bolder Band

This is the Jitterbug Bolder Band! Little car selfie in the Starbucks drive-through because how cool is my band? I pulled back the side of it so you can see the crazy of my post-pregnancy hair growth. Mind of its own! 

This is the Jitterbug Bolder Band! Little car selfie in the Starbucks drive-through because how cool is my band? I pulled back the side of it so you can see the crazy of my post-pregnancy hair growth. Mind of its own! 

Why do I love these bands so much? Well, my headband affair and ensuing drama started as an adolescent athlete trying to keep the tiny hair in place and sweat out of my face. Most headbands fell off and those that didn't hurt my head. I spent many moments of soccer games and jogs readjusting and putting my headbands back on. I have tried SO MANY headbands and have only found comfort and fit with one other (a simple Prana yoga band with a logo tag right in the middle of the forehead, but hey, it stayed on).

In recent years I've done more child chasing than running and soccer playing. Post-partum hair loss has resulted in me sporting a crown of tiny little hairs that stick up and make me look a little crazy from 6-18 months after baby is born. After that I can typically coerce them into my pony tail. The humidity in the area makes these hairs have a mind of their own and I have resorted to putting headbands on to help tame the craze. I was getting frustrated with the daily battle of figuring out what to do with my hair and had contemplated chopping it all off when I decided to finally check out these Bolder Bands that I had been seeing advertised. 

I went to the website and was blown away with the style options! I bought three because FREE SHIPPING or Lip Balm (I went for the lip balm, it's fantastic too) and I couldn't choose just one. They arrived within a few days and I was amazed at the quality and the detail. They add a coordinating fabric on the back that they sew the tag on to, and there is no garish tag on the forehead. I ordered Tiki Me, Jitterbug and Navy. They came in an awesome little package with the Bolder Band Mantra: 

Bolder Band Mantra. I love that they include the every-day "tasks" of life and motherhood and acknowledge the boldness and beauty of the little things! I'll admit it, when I opened the package this little mantra upped my inspiration for the day! 

Bolder Band Mantra. I love that they include the every-day "tasks" of life and motherhood and acknowledge the boldness and beauty of the little things! I'll admit it, when I opened the package this little mantra upped my inspiration for the day! 

They are also great for those of us who wear our babies. They are really fun to coordinate with my carriers, and as someone who loves fabric and prints, there are lots of bands that work with my wrap stash. Beyond that, my little guy is fascinated by pulling my hair when I wear him. The Bolder Bands help keep my tiny back of neck hairs nicely hidden and keep his hair pulling ways at bay. 

Bolder Bands are made in the USA and are based in Colorado. The founder and creator Amy Crouse is a mama of three and started making Bolder Bands because her headband would pop off her head when she worked out, so she started making her own. She gave them to some friends and Bolder Bands took off from there. 

The awesome customer service and excitement emanating from this company is something that I want to be a part of! They are SO fun to follow on Facebook and feature fan photos every Friday in a video, and if you are in that video, you get a free band!  Starting in October Bolder Bands will be coming to Simply Carried Parties and Events. We will have them for sale on our website eventually but for now they are available through our parties and events!

I am ordering a variety pack of 20 different colors of bands and am taking pre-orders for local friends and customers for the next two weeks. When they get here we will have a Bolder Band Portland kick-off party! Email me or connect on Facebook to reserve your bands! I need to have 100 pre-ordered before they get here! If you can't get to the party I will get your bands to you either by hand-delivering or dropping them in the mail.  

These are the prints I have coming in! Photos from bbolder.com. I will have them in size Small and Regular! 

These are the prints I have coming in! Photos from bbolder.com. I will have them in size Small and Regular! 

One last word! Because Bolder Band is such an awesome company dedicated to customer service, if your band slips and you have the right size and are wearing it properly (small for heads 19.5-21.5" or regular for heads 21-22.5") you can return your band (minus shipping). As a retailer I will be offering the same! Bolder Band also offers custom bands, and can make smaller and larger bands in some of the prints (you may need to request the items, they are great at getting back to you quickly though). They even have manly bands called Bro Bands.

Get excited folks! Your headband world will be rocked by Bolder Bands! They can be worn in six different ways. They are a quick way to feel awesome about your outfit with a cute, functional and affordable accessory. You may need one in all the colors! The regular and small sizes are $15 a piece for the regular line. Reserve yours today from Simply Carried or if you simply can't wait, grab one directly from BBolder.com. At that I leave you with cute sleeping baby and a relaxing Mollie at the beach in Jitterbug. 

Rocking our Didymos Flamenco Hemp Indio and Jitterbug Bolder Band at the beach. Notice no crazy beach hair! 

Rocking our Didymos Flamenco Hemp Indio and Jitterbug Bolder Band at the beach. Notice no crazy beach hair! 

Family Photos

We recently took some website and family pictures with the lovely Shauna from Shauna Kay Photography. Shauna has been capturing our family fun for three years now and this was W's first shoot with her. We took to the park and did "our thing" while Shauna snapped away. E was a very willing model and had fun striking a pose for the camera and W kind of just wanted to explore and eat things. It was SO MUCH FUN. Now we just need to get these great shots on the site! 
Shauna is a mom of two and is great at finding shots. She doesn't pose you or tell you to do much and she is great with little people. She captures the essence of the moment and even when children aren't very cooperative she gets great shots that are truly memorable. Thank you so much for these lovely pictures Shauna!! 

Little Frog Boulder Opal Woven Wrap Review and Giveaway

Little Frog wraps are now in-stock at Simply Carried! I thought I'd do a review of one because I have not come across any recent reviews since Little Frog has changed their weave a bit in the last couple years. I am surprised these wraps don't get more attention!

Boulder Opal is a 100% cotton wrap with a weight of 240 g/m2. 

It is not crunchy or stiff like I expected it to be straight out of the package. Boulder Opal (and the other cotton blends we have in stock) are smooth and soft right away! Little Frog recommends a finishing wash, so I washed and dried it and out came a floppy wrap ready for adventure! The weave of this wrap has great diagonal stretch (which provides more comfort) and a touch of vertical stretch. Wraps get even softer with use as well!

This is a great choice for learning how to use a woven wrap with. The different colored top edge (rail) and bottom edge make it very easy to figure out where to pull to adjust to the perfect fit. The graduation of colors in this wrap are so lovely and different colors are shown off with different carries and tie-offs (see our guides page for some ideas of different carries).

Little Frog Boulder Opal is Baby-Approved 

This wrap is a great option for babies from birth on. With older babies (20 pounds or more)  it will be most comfortable in a multi-pass carry like a front-wrap cross carry or double-hammock.  Before then it is a great option with any type of carry. 

 Little Frog wraps are made in Poland and were created by babywearing parents Patryk and Marzena. They fell in love with wearing their daughter in woven wraps  and were inspired to create a product that is eco and budget friendly (as well as beautiful).  It has been a lot of fun for me to chat with them through email to bring these wraps to Simply Carried. 

If you are looking for a babywearing option that is totally versatile and provides the utmost of comfort, consider learning to wrap! I love wrapping and share why here. If you want to do so without spending more than $100, look no further than Little Frog

I love this wrap so much, and to celebrate our first month in business and to share the love we are doing a give-away for this wrap (winner pays shipping)! Enter the giveaway here: 

A New Trick for an Old Dawg

We visited Caleb, Mollie, and the kids this weekend. They’ve been into wrapping and “wearing” kids for some time. I’ve watched with interest and some admiration, as they've developed a passion and started a business around kids and wraps. I have to admit that even after all the stories it mattered to me because it mattered to them, it made sense to me because my son was enthusiastic about it. That changed this weekend.

Twice this weekend we went on walks of about two hours. We visited the lovely Tualatin wildlife preserve and an old haunt, Minto-Brown Park in Salem. Both times I “wore” Wesley; once in a ring sling and once in a front wrap. I’m impressed. Wes is an easy baby for sure but as a fairly involved father of 3 and grandfather of 6 I've never had a one-year-old stay that close that long, let alone on an adventure with things to see, black berries to eat, birds to hear, bikes, and so on.

Something always happens, or my back aches, or Grammy can’t resist, or, or, or.
With little Wes tucked into my chest we explored, covered ourselves in black berry stains (sorry son) and generally had a blast. I felt connected at a level surely unique to this approach. He slept, we laughed and made noises, it was magical.

I am truly surprised at how special it was but the coup de grace was yet to come. Grammy is a force of nature with young ones. My own kids, when young, had a marked preference for their mother, it is only amplified with the next generation. It seems they know Grampa comes with the Grammy package but with the two and under set I’m sure not Varsity and I’m usually not even on the bench for JV. Imagine my shock, and I admit it, even triumph when during our goodbye hugs this afternoon I handed Wes to Grammy he pushed away with both hands and lunged for me! Sa-weet! Grampa just made the team.

Caleb and Mollie: thanks for sharing a new trick and your lovely son, it was an experience I won’t forget. Hurry up and get that site rolling, I need to order me a dozen or so wraps – Grampa’s on a roll!

Grandpa and Wesley on Saturday enjoying black berries on our walk

Wesley taking a nap with Grandpa in Tekhni Meandros


The Business of Being Worn. One Week in.

Week One Update:

We have been working on Simply Carried since the beginning of May, but tomorrow marks the one week start of launching our website. What a week it has been. I am also planning a baby shower for my sister this weekend! Our internet had an untimely outage and has not been working all week. I have spent 6 hours on the phone with the internet company to no avail and have been packing our 8 year old laptop (has it really been that long since we started college??) to Starbucks after Caleb gets home from work to work on our website. Me being gone in the evenings has been a bit difficult on the babies (I usually work after they go to bed, but Starbucks isn't open that late) so it has thrown off their routines. The kids have been having a lot of fun with Caleb, and though it is difficult they have had some great time to bond. It was even a little nice sometimes to be able to work uninterrupted. I didn't have to fight the nagging feeling of needing to clean the house and I had a sense of urgency to get down to business. I tried to make the best of it, but having an online store really should involve having the internet at home and it was painful. A service tech comes tomorrow to fix it, hopefully.

Daddy took the kids on lots of evening adventures while I was camped out at Starbucks. 

Daddy took the kids on lots of evening adventures while I was camped out at Starbucks. 

We have been writing some blog entries in the process of working on our website and it has been fun to share them with our friends, family and fellow babywearers now that our site is unlocked. Caleb’s blog The Downsides of Babywearing was a big hit. It makes me laugh every time I read it. I love that he is excited about babywearing and is willing to offer his perspective. We had just fewer than 6500 visits to our site in our first week. I think I only accounted for about 30 or so of them. Part of the reason we have made the blog an integral part of our site is that we are excited about babywearing. It’s not just an online store. It’s a way to encourage people and engage them in what we are doing and what we believe in.

I did make my first few sales this week. I will admit that it made me really excited. Not necessarily because I made a sale, but because people are supportive of and excited about this huge thing I’ve been working on. I feel like people are saying “I believe in you.” Not just people I know either! This makes me happy.  I bought polymailers and shipping labels and some cute stamps to put on invoices. A small part of my inventory will be here next week (along with the Didymos wraps people pre-ordered). Next week I will open up a Little Frog woven wraps and ring slings pre-order, and a Lenny Lamb woven wraps, ergonomic carriers and ring sling pre-order. I am going to make the pre-order process more streamline for these. They will be shipping from Poland so I expect them to be here by end of August, beginning of September.

 I am excited to bring a bigger baby wearing resource with many different carrier options to the Portland, OR area! Stay tuned for Simply Carried meetups and babywearing parties, locals. 

Pavo Accoutrements Ring Sling Prototype Review

Pavo Accoutrements: Gotham Brick Ring Sling Prototype

This was my first purchase at the International Babywearing Conference in Tempe, AZ this year. As soon as I entered the Pavo booth, I saw the familiar Gotham design and had to snatch it up. I have a serious love for this design. It is so fun to look at and the pattern is detailed but not overwhelming. It goes with everything. I was shocked to see that Pavo had ready-made ring slings at the conference and naturally I had to bring one home.

He has a feeling I may be trying to sway him into a nap. 

Before I could get a feel for the ring sling I had to take it home to wash it. Without a wash I could hardly thread the material through the rings. Never judge a wrap or ring sling before you give it a finishing was. They come in loom state and need a wash, dry and iron before they are ready to go. I knew from my experiences with my other Gothams that it would soften up quickly. And that it did. The thickness is still noticeable when adjusting the sling,  but that makes it so much more supportive for my WILD boy. He loves to bounce and lean while being worn and this ring sling is solid.

This ring sling features a pleated shoulder, which I was not in love with comfort wise at first (it’s my first pleated shoulder, I am used to gathered). I have very petite rounded shoulders. I simply cannot wear a purse that is not cross body and have it stay on. A gathered shoulder ring sling tends to scoop my whole shoulder and upper arm up and hang on for dear life, no sliding. The pleated shoulder required more careful adjusting to get the rings high enough while still allowing the shoulder to spread. After a week of wearing it, I have found a sweet spot with it and find it almost as comfortable as my gathered shoulder ring sling (Gotham Fireworks). As long as I take an extra minute to adjust perfectly it is wonderful. 

This ring sling nice and wide. Perfect for nursing with good coverage. 

The only downside to the design of the ring sling is that it isn’t reversible. Gotham is amazing on both sides.  Both sides do show while wearing it (one side shows on the part going across the baby's back, the other side shows on the tail) but I like to be able to switch things up with wrong side/right side with my Gotham wraps. I really like how Pavo used this fabric to cover up the seam though, it gives it a much more finished look. 

This is the wrong side of the shoulder.  (photo taken with a flash, color is pretty true to life here) 

And the bronze rings. Classy. I feel so classy when sporting this ring sling at home and on the go. The pleated shoulder helps with that. It was a pleasure to be one of the first testers of this prototype. I will probably revisit this review again after I have really broken it in.

This what I really look like by 4 pm. I wish I could nap too! At least I feel fancy. 

 

*I was not paid for or asked to do this review. I was not given this ring sling to test out, I bought it and wanted to share my opinions. This is a prototype and the final product is likely to differ

Ovolo Scavenger Hunt - Let the Madness Begin

During the International Babywearing Conference in Tempe, AZ a wrap company named Ovolo hosted a scavenger hunt for 6 amazing wraps. Each day they would hide a tote bag with one of the wraps somewhere in the venue. Then they would post a picture on Facebook of the bag in its hiding location. Since I did not have any scheduled classes at the conference (only Mollie did) I determined I would find one.  I had even picked out the one I hoped to get from the preview picture (yes I know, I’m unusually excited about wraps for a man).

The 6 wraps to be hidden. the top one was my favorite. (Photo used with permission from Ovolo) 

When we arrived at the hotel on Wednesday I took the kids and made a game of scoping out the entire hotel. We scoured every floor and every staircase, keeping track of all the good hiding spots. Thursday morning after a stroll to Starbucks, the wrap hunt madness began. Ovolo uploaded a photo that revealed the secret hiding place of the first wrap. I instantly recognized the lobby fireplace (Ok, the first one was easy). Ella, our 3 year old, and I raced desperately to the elevator. But alas, we were too late. Turns out we were not the only people stalking our prey; the tote and its wonderful textile treasure was long gone. Sadly, I checked my phone. The newly posted picture of the proud babywearer confirmed what I already knew. But never fear dear readers, for five more hunts were yet to come.

As the week unfolded I began to lose hope. It seemed I was destined to miss my mark on every wrap. I was swimming with Ella and Wesley when the 2nd drop occurred and the hunt was over before I even knew it had begun. The next day I was oh so close on number 3. Hunt 4 was lost to a malfunctioning alarm clock (Ok, fine, I slept through it). Wrap number 5 was the trickiest picture to identify. By the time I figured out the location I was once again too late. Hope diminished and shoulders hung, Ella and I returned to the room defeated once again. Only one more chance lay before us. The realization that the last remaining wrap was the one I had originally picked out served to spur us on.  Mollie and I stalked the Facebook page religiously; draining our phone batteries at rates we did not know was possible.

Thanks to our toddler being awake and insisting on going on a walk, all the hard work paid off. The stars aligned and our walk had randomly put us in a very strategic position when the final picture was posted. I immediately knew there were only 3 possible locations based on the type of chair and the wall pattern the tote was pinched against.

This was the clue picture to find the final wrap (Photo used with permission from Ovolo)

This was the clue picture to find the final wrap (Photo used with permission from Ovolo)

My wife and I exploded into action and split up to search the elevator lobbies. Mollie and the kids went to the closest lobby while I sprinted up the stairs to level 4. I struck out on 4 and frantically pressed the elevator button hoping I was not too late. I burst through the door on level 3 and sure enough, there it was. The prize was finally in my grasp: an amazing Ovolo Heartwood Onyx size 5. WOOOHOOOO.

A free wrap and sleeping toddler to boot. Coincidentally the wrap matches the shirt I wore today.  Like I said, stars aligned.

I tried to have a little fun writing this blog and was a bit dramatic and cheeky. But I want to take a moment to seriously thank Ovolo. You guys are awesome!  My kids and I had a ton of fun hunting for these. Ella enjoyed it so much I would pretend to look with her when I knew a wrap was not actually hidden yet. I’m still a little shocked that everything worked out the way it did. I got the exact wrap I wanted out of the 6 hidden. And it just so happened to be the size that I needed. Once again thank you Ovolo for your time and effort in putting together this fun and generous activity.

FYI: Ella is currently passed out on the bed using the Ovolo as a blanket.

My New Wrap and Ring Sling- Tekhni Meandros and Pavo Gotham

I finally have a wrap and ring sling of my own thanks to my awesome wife. She split a size 7 Pavo Gotham Fireworks with a friend who wanted a shorter wrap. We had our half converted into a sling for me last week. At the International Babywearing Conference in Tempe she got me a Tekhni Meandros Petra woven wrap.

Nap 1 and 2. Its always nice when I can successfully transfer him to the bed and then use the wrap as a blanket. Never unsupervised! 

I have been using my wife’s carriers over the last couple years. I’m not the kind of guy to worry too much about wearing my wife’s purple, pink, rainbow and flowery carriers (in fact sometimes it’s funny just to see the looks of horror on the teenage boys' faces in Target). None the less, I’m really excited to have some carriers to call my own that are a little less “girly”. Both carriers look awesome and are very comfortable. Both Fireworks and Meandros were pretty soft right out of the box, requiring almost no breaking in.  

The Fireworks sling is great for my little Wesley right now. He is very curious and enjoys the wide range of motion a sling allows. However, if he is sleepy or if he will be up for a long time, the long size 7 Meandros is perfect. It lets me snuggle him up in a nice sturdy Front Wrap Cross Carry (which has resulted in two of the three naps he took yesterday).  The size 7 is also long enough for me to do a Double Hammock back carry with both Wesley and Ella Kay (our three year old). Unfortunately, this also resulted in Ella taking a nap, so she was still awake and crazy at 10:45 last night.

We finally got her to sleep at 11:15 by going on a walk outside with her up on my back again.

The Down Sides of Baby Wearing

With all the positive babywearing promotion we do, I thought it was only fair we also point out some of the negatives. When determining if babywearing is right for you it’s important to look at the whole picture.  Here are a few things you should be aware of before becoming an avid babywearer.

Baby Carrier Addiction

Many unsuspecting parents have become victims of baby carrier addiction. It all starts with a simple buckle carrier or a Moby wrap. The practicality and convenience of babywearing blinds you to the lurking dangers. That’s when it hits. Carrier Fever: that inexplicable feeling that you NEED another baby carrier. You tell yourself you'll be happy with just one more wrap; that you can stop at any time. Soon you're lost in a world of beautiful designs and fabric blends, consumed by the need to carry your child in style. Don't be another victim of baby carrier addiction, set a budget and stick to it.  

Stroller Neglect

Many neglected strollers hide starving in the closets and trunks of Babywearers. These poor abandoned creatures are left alone in the world without meaning.  They often become jealous and resentful of the additional attention and personal time your children receive. It is not uncommon for a neglected stroller to begin lashing out by “accidentally” falling on your toe when you open the closet. So please, if you choose to wear your baby, don’t forget about your stroller. Giving your stroller a purpose by allowing it to contribute in other ways can allow you to continue to wrap. For example, our stroller is living a long and happy life carrying our bags items at the beach.

No More Free Arm Workouts

Babywearing can rob you of free arm workouts. There is nothing quite like that burn after good workout. With your child comfortably strapped to your back or chest, you no longer enjoy that feeling after 2 hours of holding a colicky infant. In fact, with a quality carrier, your feet may be the only things that hurt. Sure, it’s convenient and comfortable. But you know what they say, “No pain, no gain.”

The Super Hero Complex

Babywearing can make you feel very empowered as a parent. Putting your fussy baby to sleep while doing the dishes can go to your head. It’s very important to remember that you do not actually have super powers. Any attempt to fly, fight crime, breathe underwater, time travel, etc. can lead to serious injury (especially if you're still wearing your baby).

Economic Impacts

The success of many hard working Americans depend on the sore backs, exhaustion and stress of parents. The personal and family benefits of babywearing can inadvertently disrupt these dependencies. This can cause undue strain on local business such as chiropractors, house cleaning services, baby sitters, and more. It’s important to consider the impact babywearing can have on your community.

All jokes aside, we would like to point out a major concern to keep in mind. If done improperly and without diligence to safety, babywearing can result in injury of the child. There are many wrap and carry methods to learn and enjoy. But a child could be dropped or otherwise injured if proper precautions are not followed. We urge everyone to use the following safety precautions when baby wearing.

·         Always use a practice doll or a spotter when learning new carries.

·         Properly secure bindings such as straps, ties, buckles and rails.

·         Never use a carrier with a tear, broken buckle, or significant fraying/material wear.

·         We advise that you do not use a back carry for babies unable to sit unsupported.

 

Simply Carried Update

So the last time I wrote a little business update we hadn't decided to go the the International Babywearing Conference. Well, we leave for that on Wednesday and we are all very excited. Simply Carried is really taking shape! Today we went for a practice run at the airport because neither of us had any idea how it really worked to board and get all of our stuff from one place to another. We are VERY glad we made that choice! 

At the airport for our practice run to make sure we know what to do.

The last month has been a lot of work! Trying to figure out the balance of being a working at home mom and having Caleb work tirelessly on the website has led to some changes. I bought paper diapers to prevent the laundry from piling up so much with our cloth diapers. I have had needy children with teeth coming in, my baby turned 3 and we have visited with family 6 out of the last 7 weekends. This was one of our four free weekends this summer and it went by way too fast! This business venture has brought out a different dynamic in our relationship because we are making so many small decisions together every day that don't involve daily chores or child rearing. It has been enriching and enlightening. 

The last time I wrote about our business venture, I mentioned our logo. We collaborated on a symbol that we decided to use to represent our company. I sketched out a primitive drawing of a mama snuggling her baby's head while she wore him in a sling with my mechanical pencil and some computer paper. I sketched it out while laying next to a baby who needed me in the night and I couldn't sleep. I left it out and the next morning (after sleeping in with the baby) I woke to a much more beautiful draft than what I had attempted on the computer screen. I was so touched that my partner had taken my crappy drawing and rendered my idea into something pretty. We thought, Yay! We have a logo. After consulting with some friends and realizing improvement on our design with our current tools was out of our reach, we hired a graphic designer. 

Her name is Lauren Dillard and even though we have not met in person (we have a mutual friend, who recommended her to me) I swear she knows how to take my words and turn them into something that looks amazing. Her communication of written words into art is a true gift and it has been a privilege to work with her. I have said several times through the process to my husband "HOW DID SHE READ MY MIND?" One of my favorite things is that Lauren worked with the image we created and turned it into a whole concept that better stated who I am and how I wanted to be represented as a brand.  I want to have drinks with her and hug her one day! 

Our next task for Simply Carried is to release the website to the public! We are still working on putting guides up for different types of carriers (we would love to make our own, but in the meantime we will link to our personal favorites), as well as getting some professional pictures taken for the website. We now have five wholesale accounts and are really hoping to have products soon. I will offer pre-orders to help us launch! Hopefully by late August/September. We are going to the IBC this week to check out a lot more brands that we are hoping to carry and network! 

I will post updates on our trip, but in the meantime, here are the classes I'm registered for: 

Attachment theory, neuropsychology and infant carrying 

Stash Share - MTs

Little people, big potential: social media for the juvenile industry

Kangaroo Care is a Family Affair

Babywearing Safety for Educators

The Business of Running a Babywearing Group

Just like a pair of jeans: helping find and fit the perfect SSC for anyone

Building Community, Supporting Locality and Babywearing

Pedagogy of Babywearing: Tips for more effective teaching

Biomechanics and babywearing - chiropractic standpoint

First Snuggles: Newborn-Wearing Benefits and Demos with Ring Slings, Woven Wraps, and
Stretchy Wraps

Head Wrapping and Babywearing: Using African Traditions to Build Health Equality

Learn to Love the Mei Tai

Caleb is taking classes too! The conference has opened up some classes that are not full to partners of people who are registered. He is for sure taking Wrapping and Ring Slinging from a Man's perspective. We are both so excited to enrich our babywearing toolbox and become a better resource! 

 

Babywearing and Breastfeeding

I'm including this as a "Best of Babywearing" post because I feel like it's a win. Every time I'm able to feed or console the baby while wearing him and also attending to other things  I feel a little bit more cool and productive than I probably should. Nursing while babywearing didn't work the first time I tried it. No way. Way too much milk spraying around and nipple shields to be tweaked and tiny bobbling baby heads needing to be adjusted. But I kept at it found some great techniques and have not had to stop to feed the baby while out and about since Wes was teeny. I remember the first time I fed Wes while walking through Target with him in the stretchy wrap. I called my sister and told her how happy I was! He was still a newborn and I was able to browse the clearance for an extra half hour thanks to the victory. Important things right? I nursed my oldest in a buckle carrier regularly too, but not until she was a bit older. 

Disclaimer: even though I can nurse in a carrier while multi tasking, I will attest to truly enjoying having myself comfortably lounged in bed or the couch nursing my baby and snuggling him and staring deeply into his sweet eyes uninterrupted more than most things in this world. I encourage this to happen as much as possible. 

Nursing baby Wes while wrangling the crazy 2 year old (now a 3 year old). 

Nursing baby Wes while wrangling the crazy 2 year old (now a 3 year old). 

Just grocery shopping and feeding/putting to sleep a baby while also enjoying a beverage. 

Just grocery shopping and feeding/putting to sleep a baby while also enjoying a beverage. 

Wearing Me Out....

It has been a crazy last week! My little guy popped two teeth through and has had a rough time with it. Like really rough. Ella just nursed through her turmoils but I find it difficult to soothe my little man who isn't as much of a comfort nurser. This has resulted in 5 out of 7 nights this last week with a two hour window of an awake fussy baby who can't be easily consoled back to sleep. Plus other wake ups in between. All this to say, I've been exhausted and lacking in productivity and I'd be a red hot mess if it weren't for baby wearing. And coffee. Starbucks coffee (don't hate me #stumptown). I feel like I'm just trying to survive and keep my babies happy and the aspects of opening up a business seem impossible on days like that. 

I did make some very small business progress this week that I was happy with. We purchased our business license (because vendors don't want to talk to you if you aren't OFFICIAL). Though I feel mostly fauxficial because I'm still trying to harness my vision for Simply Carried. We also bought our domain name and committed to a hosting website. My tech master has been hard at work learning the ins and outs of the platform we are using and that has been a lot more work than it seems. He also finished up our beautiful logo. We are still arguing about the font. It will probably go to vote. I started emailing vendors and have received one response so far from an awesome company and we are submitting an application that will wait list us until they start distributing to more vendors. My current fear in this process is not getting responses because I am only getting started with my business, and they will not take a chance on us. It's a little chicken versus egg-ish at the moment. 

I also have to figure out which brands I would like to carry. Which has lead to A LOT OF RESEARCH. I love research. So much. My brain will follow bunny trails of research for longer than it probably should. I'm trying to narrow down what I feel are the best carriers for a couple different style types. Wraps, Mei Tais, Structured Carriers and Ring Slings. I'm a little lacking in the mei tai department so I'm hoping to try a few out soon. 

This is a blog about baby carrying. And the business of being worn. And my kids gave me EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITIES for just that this crazy week. Which naturally requires pictures. So. 

Someone is getting her two year molars in. We are trying out a toddler Tula from a friend and its a great fit for my tall almost 3 year old. She has asked to be worn in it more than anything else we have tried in the last year. Could be the teeth, could be the anchors. I didn't think having my kids almost 2.5 years apart would involve them teething simultaneously. It's been a little touch and go lately. 

This guy went up for four wrap naps Friday. That's a record from when he was a newborn. I love being able to comfort him through wrapping and still have the ability to keep my toddler happy and the house somewhat maintained. His current favorite carry (read: the only one he doesn't try to bounce off the top of my tushie in) is a double hammock. I'm using a size five 100% cotton wrap that is mid-weight (Pavo Gotham Marble). It's definitely our comfort wrap and if I ever try to sell it, don't let me. 

This is about the closest we could get to a smile today. Not typical for my happy baby. But he wasn't crying if he was worn and seemed content as he could be, so it felt like a win. 

I'm truly hoping this next week brings about a few things. Happier babies. Responses from vendors. A continued focus on exactly what Simply Carried will be (its not my "thing" to just sell carriers). Sleep. And maybe a chance to try out a couple new carriers. I also would really like to decide if we will be attending the Babywearing International Conference in Tempe in July. It's really up in the air and it's making me crazy. 

I am meeting up with a mom with twin little ladies who wants to learn about the wonderful world of wraps this week, and having a playdate/meeting with a fellow entrepreneur who is letting me pick her brain a little about owning a small business. I love being able to connect with people through babywearing. It is one of my passions and has brought so much joy to my little world. I can only hope it will do the same for others. 

My men. Content as can be. Enjoying some fresh air to calm the evening fussiness we've been sporting. Wearing my favorite buckle carrier in my stash, the Action Baby Carrier. 

Tomorrow we breath new air and new adventures. I'm actually looking forward to Monday. 

Why Wrap?

I get this question a lot. Why would you want to get a big piece of material and secure your child in it when you have easy buckle carriers? The answer "because I like it" doesn't give a whole lot of detail (nor does it sway friends and strangers to take the plunge and try it out). After some thinking I have developed a list of why I wrap, in no particular order, because from day to day the #1 reason I choose to wrap can change:

1. It's versatile. That 3-4 meter length of fabric can get my infant or my toddler comfortably perched on my back, hip, and front in a variety of different carries that are ergonomic and displace my baby's weight according to my needs. When the kids have had their share of ups we cuddle on the couch with our wraps for blankets, use them for hammocks tied under the table, pretend we are ghosts with them, or make forts. After a day at the park, I often tuck my slings alongside my kids as they drift off for the inevitable car seat nap on chilly days. 

Woven wraps are not designed to be hammocks. Do this at your own risk and adventure. 

2. Woven wraps allowed me to get my small baby comfortably and safely perched on my back where he could see the world around him. He could stay close to mama and I had free hands for big sister snuggles and getting some dishes done. Other carriers are not designed to get small babies on your back. They situate the baby too low and it's not safe. You need to be able to check a baby's airway at all times. In my woven wrap I could turn and kiss my young baby's face he was so high and close. It was very liberating wearing my son and being able to multitask early on in his life. Especially with a curious and busy toddler to tend to. *Back wrapping should only be done with a high level of experience with wrapping, in specific high back carries, and only in a woven wrap once baby is sitting unsupported. 

3. Wrapping is fun. It's challenging at first to learn new carries (ways of tying the wrap around you and baby in different positions) but once you nail your first solid double hammock the feeling is similar to scoring a goal for your soccer team. Small victories! Maybe the athlete in me comes out a little while I'm getting my babies situated. My opponent can change day to day with wrapping; between an unwilling wrappee, a super grippy wrap that needs to be tamed down a bit, or the mastery of a new carry. Most of the time I can sway the child or my wrap into a comfortable position and he drifts off to sleep or settles in for some snuggles. Some days I bust out my buckle carrier or ring sling after a frustrating attempt at wrapping, however, and admit momentary defeat. 

4. Wrapping is pretty. Motherhood can leave me feeling like a bit of a mess some days. Between being very much needed physically by my little one and emotionally drained by my big one. There are plenty of days where sweats and a messy bun are the style around here. But wrapping myself and a baby in textured, shiny, soft beautiful fabric with no buckles or rings to dig into my sides makes me feel pretty darn lovely.

I get a little excited that that pretty pile of fabric transforms into a piece that not only looks pretty, but so comfortably keeps my baby snuggled close and eases him into naps. It's also great for keeping him contained when an area isn't baby friendly (he is incredibly mobile). 

5. It brings a sense of community. I didn't grab a length of material and whip a perfect wrap job with no help. I had a friend teach me how to wrap with a doll when I was pregnant and watched several online video tutorials before I wrapped my own baby. I borrowed my first wrap from a mama who had learned to wrap her babies in much the same way. I took pictures of my first wrap job and sent them to friends for critique and received advice to improve my technique to make my baby and me the most comfortable we could be. I have since done the same with new wrappers, passing along a gem of parenting that has meant so much to me. It's an art in some ways that takes practice and time to learn. And any art or hobby that brings parents and babies together is worth investing time into.

When I am at the grocery store and my son is happily perched on my back in a wrap I have grandmothers approach us and chat with me about how cool it is that I'm wearing my son in a fabric carrier (sometimes, yes, it does get called a bed sheet). I'll take it. They talk to me. They talk to my kids.They tell me that they wish they had those when they were new mothers. They ask me where they can get one for their nieces or granddaughters because of how pretty or neat the wrap is, or how happy my son is. I don't typically get questions with my other carriers. For some reason the grannies love the wraps. In a time when generational gaps can seem so great, it's neat to me that babywearing seems to be something everyone can get on board with. Especially in a time where devices with special music, toys or vibrations to keep our children contained are heavily encouraged and marketed.

6. Wraps hold value over time, one way or another. Wraps can typically be sold for at least half of what was paid for them (and there are some that hold more value than they were purchased for over time), or passed on to a sister, a friend or a lending library. Or you can be like me. Once I am done with my wraps they probably won't leave. I have at least enough material to make some fabulous throw pillows, doll carriers, possibly reupholster part of a chair, even make a nice bag or quilt squares. This piece of "gear," if you will, that holds such sweet memories of a tender, short time of my life where I could tickle the chubby feet of my baby as we walked along the sidewalk can travel into our futures and continue to be both useful and a physical reminder of those baby days. Or I could just leave them as is, and save them for my grandbabies with proper storage. They don't rust. 

I said lots of words about wraps. I love my other carriers too. At the end of the day though. This sums it up. If you need to convince someone you need a wrap, just show them this. 

 

Babywearing With Multiple Kids

Hi everyone, this is our first blog in a series we call “The best of Babywearing.” Look for this tag for some short 1-2 paragraph blurbs on our favorite “win” moments in life made possible by babywearing. Without further ado, I will start off with my absolute favorite part of babywearing.

As many can attest, balancing attention between 2 or more kids is a challenge. As a member of the full-time workforce, the reality of this hit me hard when our 2nd child arrived (a beautiful baby boy named Wesley). Bundling our son up in one of our many baby carriers was a god-send. It allowed me to spend close intimate time with my baby early on while my keeping my hands free to play and interact with my lovely daughter. Babywearing has played a huge role in helping me build a wonderful relationship with my son without sacrificing other areas in my life. There is nothing quite as awesome as snuggling my son in a comfortable carrier while playing hide-and-go-to-seek at the park with my daughter. I owe my wife big time on this one, without the research and time she committed to babywearing I would have missed out on many amazing moments in my journey as a father.

Going to the Portland Zoo with Ella and baby Wesley snuggled up in our Ergo buckle carrier