Thursday, September 28, 2017

How to Do Kangaroo Care

I'm writing this series of posts on Kangaroo Care (KC) with dear and beautiful family, friends, and clients in mind.  These are the things that I wish that I had known about kangaroo care for full term infants from the beginning.  KC is SO important, mothers and babies have magically sensitive skin that gives many special benefits to both mother and baby for at least the first 9-12 months postpartum.  Besides the post partum mother, other caregivers can share benefits with baby through skin to skin contact too. Find out more about the medical benefits of kangaroo care here.


PaxBaby Doula Jillian Davidsson took this photo of MamaBird Postpartum educator, Laura Brown, and super new Baby Hazel, as they hold each other close in kangaroo care 


So, How Do You Do Kangaroo Care?

1. Take your shirts OFF!!  If there is one thing that you take away from this series, I hope it is that kangaroo care needs to be skin of baby's naked torso flush against skin of caregiver's naked torso; no shirts, no bras.  You can regulate baby's temperature (and a myriad of other magic benefits) with your magic skin; clothes do not have magic skin and they block the effects!  And so take your shirts, camis, bras OFF!!    

2. Skin is made magic by C-afferent nerves, which exist most strongly ventrally - from the navel to the clavicle, posteriorly - across the upper back, and dorsally - on the forearms.  These magic skin locations exists on all humans.  

3. Positioning: the caregiver and baby should engage in skin to skin contact with baby flush against caregiver using the aforementioned magic body parts.  This is most easily achieved with baby (in only a diaper)
a. laid bare chest flush in the center of the caregiver's bare chest; so that a clear airway (I can see nose, mouth, chest) is easily monitored.  If baby has a frontal medical condition that prevents chest to chest KC, then baby should be in the bare side position (sort of wrapped around a breast) flush in the center of caregiver’s bare chest, or if babies are multiples, lay baby bare chest to each side of a breast, so that the breasts are a resting space for up to two babies each, always monitoring for a clear airway (I can see nose-mouth-chest)
b. head is at a kissable and sniffable level  
c. head rests tilted to the side on caregiver's chest
d. neck is straight
e. face is uncovered
f. nose is uncovered
g. face is visible
h. arms are in a flexed position with the magic forearm skin resting against caregiver's magic chest/torso skin
i. legs are in a flexed position, often referred to as frogged position

4. Back of baby is covered with a blanket, baby carrier, or Kangaroo Care top to help retain baby's heat; if unable to do chest to chest KC, side of baby is covered with a blanket, baby carrier, or kangaroo care top to help retain baby’s heat.

5. Caregiver is upright, preferably leaned back, but not lying down flat.

6. Caregiver is not mobile.

For more info on KC:

Do you have any questions about kangaroo care? Please comment below or send me an email: rachelgaston@hotmail.com or text/phone me 814-933-5668.

My bed propped on pillows is my happy spot for holding baby in kangaroo care. Where do you like to hold baby in Kangaroo Care?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Happy National Puppy Day 2017

Baby Carriers are a great way to transport puppies!

Whether you need to get puppy up/down stairs or to keep puppy up out of the chaos that is on the floor, a baby carrier can often be the answer.  The following video shows using a ring sling with a puppy.  I use this method for getting puppy up and down stairs or to help calm him when he's not ready to give up a game of chase.




The next video shows using a meh dai (formerly mei tai) with a puppy.  I use this method when puppy is especially wiggly, because it holds him super close.  The close hold also helps to calm him down.




16 year old puppies greatly benefit from babywearing too!  The final video shows using a meh dai with a 16 yo dog.  I used this method to get him up and down stairs, to get him in and out of the vet's office, to give him comfort when his old bones ached.




Rudolph, the star of the first two videos is a 3 month old, 10ish lb. Windsprite (breed formerly called long haired whippet).  He and I plan to make more puppywearing videos as he matures!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

18 Considerations for Babies on Back in Tandem Babywearing Carries + Bonus Zombie section!

All normal precautions are doubled. 
Take your time or at least take a deep breath! 
Become that caregiver who always checks themself out in reflective surfaces and take 100 selfies a day!

FOR BEST SUCCESS: the wearer should be comfortable with and quite proficient at front and/or hip carries with the carrier before attempting back carries; otherwise on back for full term babies with no health concerns, you can use a woven wrap up high from day 1, a Mei tai / meh dai up high from the day baby is comfy legs out, a ring sling and soft structured carrier (buckles) once baby sits unassisted.

The Considerations:
1. To avoid dropping baby when putting baby on your back, establish your back loading method (hip scoot, santa toss, superman toss are all popular) and use it exclusively. Practice with a doll/sack of flour/sugar or have a spotter and practice over or near a soft surface.  Use a mirror or record yourself with a set up selfie camera, so that you can see what you are doing.  

2. To avoid dropping baby while wrapping, secure baby with one hand on baby or by trapping the top wrap rails under your neck or in your teeth and by holding passes between your knees.

3. To avoid dropping baby while getting SSC and MT/MD* carriers over baby, secure baby with one hand or the shoulder strap of the carrier, or put baby and carrier on front and swing around to back.

4. To avoid dropping baby when getting baby off of your back, establish your back unloading method (hip scoot, lower to thigh/soft surface, etc. are popular), practice it, and use it exclusively.

5. To avoid seams busting open, especially on older carriers, when tightening a back carry and if carrying more weight than the carrier has been tested for; always check the seams on your carrier and know what weight it has been tested to.

6. To prevent baby from arching himself into objects and possibly out of a stretchy wrap, don't use a stretchy wrap on your back.

7. To prevent babies with legs froggied from leg straightening and pushing their way out of a rigid carrier, do not froggy legs in single pocket wrap carries and single pocket carriers like SSCs, MT/MDs, and RSs.

8. To provide a secure fit, ensure that baby’s knees are outside the panel of a structured carrier; do not use the carrier's insert in a back carry or other devices (like a blanket) in a back carry

9. Unless your carrier's seams have been specially reinforced for tandem carries, putting another carrier through sewn on straps is considered an emergency (zombie apocalypse) carry as the sewn on straps’ seams can rip away making you risk dropping both babies. 

10. To protect the delicate airway of babies under four full term months, do not use a structured carrier on back with a baby younger than four full term months.  

11. Baby’s airway needs to be VISIBLE, wear baby high (with cheek in nape of your neck) and straight - with airway: nose, mouth, chest in a straight line; wear baby tight to prevent slumping and carrier up to the ears to secure head. Learn more about airway issues, here: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/carseats.php

12. If baby has a respiratory complication, even the common cold, use extra care in monitoring their airway.

13. To prevent a sleeping baby's head from flopping, use a scarf or shorty to secure it to your back. Just make sure you can still monitor airway and that the scarf is not across baby's nose and mouth.

14. To keep from squishing back baby when adding a heavier baby on front make sure that the front carrier is not overlapping the back carrier in a way that will squish baby or interfere with the back carrier (some carriers to avoid in this situation are one wrap for two babies, a front /back twin carrier); it is usually helpful to set up the front carrier, add back baby and carrier, and then add in front baby and tighten up the front carrier. 

15. To avoid banging baby into things and prevent baby from grabbing unwanted items, use the first few weeks of back carrying to learn what your new back space feels like and when possible, wear arms in, especially for grabby big kids.

16. To prevent a carrier from exhausting baby's immature torso muscles and pushing the spine into an unnatural position, don't use a structured carrier until baby can sit assisted (and use the same rules that you would for other assisted sitting devices) and be careful when using subsequent wrap passes that you keep baby's back curved properly.

17. To avoid baby leaning out of loose top rails, grabbing unwanted items, disturbing your center of gravity making it hard for you to move, and launching themselves into unwanted destinations, do not back carry with a too large pouch sling or too short MT/MD or SSC; if using a wrap or ring sling, keep top rail snug and no lower than baby's under arms; you can use a tie off (like knotless, slip knot, sling ring) that allows later tightening.

18. To prevent your back carry from coming loose when using one woven for a front/back carry, use a back carry that allows you to easily tie a single knot before beginning your front carry.



NB: when using two carriers on back (this section is not comprehensive because this situation is considered an emergency/zombie apocalypse carry) the highest concern is baby drops from caregiver's body
1. if babies aren't sat deeply into the carriers they could pull themselves out of the carrier

2. it is very likely that one carrier will put pressure on second baby's carrier trapping baby's airway against your body and/or causing pressure points on baby

3. having a second carrier in each baby's foot vicinity, gives them a stepping stone for pulling themselves out of the carrier and you no arms to catch them with

4. getting babies into and out of the carriers is a significant drop risk

*MT/MD = mei tai/ meh dai
RS = Ring Sling
SSC = Soft structured carrier








Wednesday, March 15, 2017

7 Considerations for Babies on Hips in Tandem Babywearing Carries

All normal precautions are doubled. 
Take your time or at least take a deep breath! 
Become that caregiver who always checks themself out in reflective surfaces and take 100 selfies a day!

The Considerations: 
1a. To avoid dropping baby when getting them in the carrier, always keep one hand on baby until carrier is secure around baby; use your shoulder as a resting place for baby while preparing the carrier.

1b. To avoid dropping baby when getting them out of the carrier, secure baby with your hand when carrier no longer secures baby; use your shoulder as a resting place for baby, while removing baby from the carrier; with some carriers you can lay babies down on a soft surface in the carrier and then remove the carrier from your body

2. To avoid banging babies into things, use the first few weeks of carrying to learn what your new hip space feels like.

3. For easier loading, add bigger baby first

4. Baby’s airway needs to be VISIBLE, wear baby high with airway: nose, mouth, chest in a straight line visible to you at all times and tight to prevent slumping and have carrier up to the ears to secure head. For more info on airway: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/carseats.php

5. If baby has a respiratory complication, even the common cold, use extra care in monitoring baby’s airway.

6. Baby’s best fit will be with knees beneath bosom and torso resting on bosom, this may require a bosom scoop 


7. To provide a secure fit in a structured carrier, ensure that baby’s knees can fit outside the panel of the carrier and baby has begun to sit assisted.






Tuesday, March 14, 2017

10+ Considerations for Babies on Front in Tandem Babywearing Carries

All normal precautions are doubled. 
Take your time or at least take a deep breath! 
Become that caregiver who always checks themself out in reflective surfaces and take 100 selfies a day!

The Considerations:
1a. To avoid dropping baby when getting them in the carrier, always keep one hand on baby until carrier is secure around baby; use your shoulder as a resting place for baby while preparing the carrier.

1b. To avoid dropping baby when getting them out of the carrier, secure baby with your hand when carrier no longer secures baby; use your shoulder as a resting place for baby, while removing baby from the carrier

2. To avoid banging baby into things, use the first few weeks of carrying to learn what your new front space feels like.

3. To prevent Baby from arching themselves back into objects, possibly out of the carrier, use both cross passes and the pocket pass with stretchy wraps on front.

4. Baby’s airway needs to be VISIBLE, wear baby high with airway: nose, mouth, chest in a straight line visible to you at all times and tight to prevent slumping and have carrier up to the ears to secure head. For more info on airway: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/carseats.php

5. If baby has a respiratory complication, even the common cold, use extra care in monitoring baby’s airway.

6. To avoid smooshing babies together, keep their airways clear, and keep both babies' spines correctly supported, don't tandem two in single pocket wrap carries and single pocket carriers like SSCs, MT/MDs, and RSs*.

7. If you need to add a back baby second, you can support front baby's head for leaning forward by rolling a washrag into a pocket pass or pulling a cross pass over baby's head; when wrapping front baby leave some extra top rail tightened in for this purpose. 

8a. To avoid buckles from the back carrier being in the face of front baby, move the buckles up high and/or cover them with a burp cloth, babyleg, etc. or replace with a soft scarf or do not use if able, always being aware of visible airway.

8b. To prevent back baby from squishing front baby make sure that the back carrier is not overlapping the front carrier in a way that will squish baby or interfere with the tension of the front carrier (some carriers that will squish baby are the chest clip of a buckle carrier and torso passes from wraps and ring slings)

9. To provide a secure fit, ensure that baby’s knees are outside the panel of a structured carrier or the carrier's insert is in use.

10. Baby’s best fit will be with knees beneath bosom and torso resting on bosom, this may require a bosom scoop: 


*MT/MD = mei tai/ meh dai
*RS = Ring Sling
*SSC = Soft structured carrier

Remember...




Monday, December 12, 2016

Footies + Babywearing = Warm Baby Feet!

Yes, please wear footed pajamas on baby to keep legs/feet/toes warm.

If the footies are pulled tight against the bottom of baby's feet, baby's step reflex can be activated and she will begin walking in the carrier.  The step reflex is present from birth to about six weeks and then begins as a voluntary behavior around eight months to one year old.  Too tight footies can also make baby uncomfortable and squirmy.

Some fixes are:
1. pull down the legs of baby's footies after securing her in the baby carrier ~ this is a good thing to check with any device that you "secure" baby into

2. make sure baby hasn't outgrown her footies ~ if baby's feet, when extended out, pull the pajamas taut from neck to toes, baby is ready for the next size up

3. use baby legs or knee high socks to close the gap between toes and non-footed pants ~ baby legs can also be pulled down over foot/toes to form "socks"



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My Master Resources List

This is a list of many of the resources that I share on a regular basis with clients and that I consult on a regular basis to help answer babywearing and kangaroo care questions.  Here, I share it with you.  Mixed in are some favorite babywearing pics.    
Fall/Winter 2011: My very first back carry!!!  I dove right in with a Santa toss with a 20 mo.
This was back in 2011, when Santa Toss was a pretty popular back loading method.
Look at those flipped shoulders to keep the carry from sagging!
And look at the digital quality of this pic from back then!

How to reach me:
Follow me on Facebook:
My webshop:
Video tutorials:
My client group:
Pinterest
Call/text me:
814-933-5668


6/5/12: Look at that yummy 3 month old in a high back carry!
He used to play with my hair and developed incredible fine motor schools early on;
he could pincer anything. 
Links that I frequently share:
Using the Vija cami set:
Using babywearing to feel better:
Babywearing Charitable Organizations:
Babywearing Schools' Consultant Pages:
The consultations that I offer:
Buckle Carrier first back carry:
Babywear vigilantly:
Carriers that I sell:
All about tandem babywearing:
Vija twin set:
Medical reasons for KC and Babywearing:
My beautiful journey!:
Weekly free babywearing and kangaroo care help:
Babywearing Resume


4/5/14: 7 mo in a high back carry helping me
to volunteer at our local resale event. Those eyes!!
Favorite Video Links:
-Babywearing Bosom Scoop (positioning one to two babies on front of torso) 
-DH all passes spread (IMO the most comfortable carry for a heavy child)
-4 ring Jasmine's
-Newborn in RS
-Ring Sling hack
-RTAS w preschooler
-RTAS w toddler
-RTAS w supported sitter
-Pirate carry
-Tandem RRR/Pocket
-Tandem RRR/FCC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBL6h09pMgc
-Tandem Mei tai high back carry via hip scoot + Strap FWCC with a double twist + putting on a tandem DIY babywearing coat
-Tandem DHTAS/FCC
-Tandem DHTAS/pocket 
-Tandem two wraps
-Tandem reinforced mei tai + supported prewrap hybrid stretch wrap
-Tandem mei tai + FWCC with twist strap carry + Putting on coat
-Tandem two Asian inspired carriers front/back
-Tandem two mei tais front off center
-Lexi Twist in woven wrap
Longer strap BBTai (2015)
-Bump wrapping
-Sick Babies
-DHTAS
One baby in Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC) 
-Twins in PWCC
-And then
You may need to do a bosom scoop to lock baby into place; Have baby straddle his own cross pass. Once baby is straddling pass, lift your breast up and trap baby's knees beneath it, then aim your nipple at baby's belly button, then release the weight of your breast, then have baby's torso lie on the top, outer section of your breast. Trap baby in place with top half of cross pass. Repeat. 
-Babywearing Bosom Scoop 
PWCC in a stretchy wrap begins to become saggy when total baby weight reaches 15-20 lbs.  At which point you can move on to a woven, which will provide you with several double hip options, like
-Tandem hip FWCC

October 2016: This is my first back carry with our beloved dog, Bryce,
on one of his last days.  He just wanted to be held and
I'm thankful that I could do that for him.  Those fluffy ears!
Singleton Woven Wrap carries to start with (carries in parenthesis are the tandem sister carries and can be found in the files section)
-FWCC/PWCC (this can be turned into 3 different tandem FWCC carries)
-FCC (great for combining with a back carry, precursor to Ruck Strap FCC)
-Poppins hip carry (precursor to Amandas hip carry)
-Robbins hip carry with a sling ring (precursor to Jasmines hip carry)

3/29/12: 25 mo + 1 mo ~ front / back slings is how I often got us
from point A to B.  Slip knots were more comfortable and
easier to adjust than rings or full knots
-Supporting baby's head on front
-Supporting baby's head on back, around minute 4
-Using a prop to load back kid
-Legs in/out
-Improving carry to Knee to Knee with a scarf
-MT hip carry
-Back carry in a stretchy
-Traditional Shawl Carries
-Traditional Back Cradle Carry


Christmas tree shopping 2014: 15 mo in back in fleece lined
Connecta buckle carrier + 21 mo in front in pretied Wrapsody hybrid stretch,
all of us covered in a DIY Tandem Babywearing Coat
Master Tandem Resources:
Tandem presentation thread
For more info on how to tandem babywear, see the pinned post and its comments: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tandembabywearing/permalink/851432901612300/  :)
Tandem newborn twins: favorite two in front, off center options
1. Vija Design twin cami set
I prefer Wrapsody for the following two:
2. PWCC with hybrid wrap (stretchy or woven can work too)
3. Jasmines tandem hip carry with hybrid wrap and large sling rings (thin woven can work too)
4. 2 small MTs front off center (Babyhawk, catbird baby, and 2016 BBTai are my favorites)
For more info on how to tandem babywear, see the pinned post and its comments: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tandembabywearing/permalink/851432901612300/  :)
Creating blog post of this
There's basically 4 stages to the first year of twin babywearing. 
1. Babies are in your belly and you need something to support your belly: woven wrap is the best answer to this, tho a few other carriers will work too.
2. Babies are tiny and both fit on your front: see post above for this
3. Babies are small, but not small enough to both fit on your front, but not big enough yet to fit into a structured carrier: my favorite for this stage is two smallish mei tais because if you can do two mei tais on front or on hips, you have the skills to do two mei tais front/back; a woven or hybrid wrap are also good answers.
4. One Baby fits well in your structured carrier without modification: the world is your oyster!
Tandem non-newborn, non-sitting twins: favorites
1. 2 mei tais front off center or on hip (this is my fav because you can work your way up to a front/back carry pretty quickly with it) or
2. A thin wrap + sling rings for jasmines tandem hip carry (this gives you the most options long term, but has a trickier learning curve) or
3. Vija twin cami set (this will only last you until babies reach 15 lbs each, and is a shorter term solution like the weego)


2014ish: DHTAS + FCC (used as a double sling for a cradle carry)
Werewolf family...
Other resources:
-DIY ring slings
http://beltwaybabywearers.blogspot.com/2011/11/getting-good-seat.html

3/26/12: Toddler and Puppy wearing stuffies!!
SSC Comparison charts
Toddler carrier pics comparison
Wrap wearing wiki
Kinderpack Dimensions
Anatomy of carriers
Winter carrying
Some DIY options
DiY Coat
DIY Poncho
Vija Design size chart
Bra size chart
32A-32B-32C-32D-32DD-34A-34B = X-Small
32DD-32F-34C-34D-34DD-36A-36B = Small
34DD-34F-36C-36D-36DD-38A = Medium
36DD-36F-38B-38C-38D-38DD-40A-40B = Large
38DD-38F-38G-40C-40D-40DD-40F-42B-42C = X-Large
38F-38G-38H-40DD-40F-40G-42D-42DD-42F-44C-44D = 2XL
Summer 2016: Tandem MTs front off center with Babylonia doll carrier &
pre-carrier standards mei tai; Jasmine's tandem hip carry with size 3 Vatanai Teesta
& M sling rings; RRR + FCC with size 3 Vatanai Tintagel