My Babywearing Journey & Baby Sling Carrier WrapyTM

Bekah title photo wrapy

Legalese Nonsense: I have been provided this wrap by Wrapy for reviewing for free, but have the freedom to state my own opinion and thoughts, and all my words and babywearing adventures and snuggles therein are thusly my own.

I can not even emphasize enough how much I love babywearing. Feeling the closeness and snugness of my little one, and their warm breath gently against my chest… smelling that baby smell… oh my…it just sends me and my oxytocin hormones into overdrive!

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Ollie and I snuggling when he was a baby!

I can still remember the first time I encountered baby-wearing as a missionary kid in Africa. I saw these fearless, bold warrior women who had survived brutal civil wars in west Africa, and yet had the tenderness and affection to hold their little ones close. These moms were living in the “poorest of the poor” conditions, and yet they knew more about baby-wearing than I have ever known with all my Youtube videos and online tutorials at my instantaneous disposal. They aren’t necessarily aware, like we are in our first-world society, of the benefits of baby-wearing scientifically speaking, but they know it is necessary if they are going to provide for their families. It isn’t a trend there or a fashion statement, it is survival. I always admired that, and long to live fearlessly and boldly in the face of life’s adversities like they have. To be as bold as a lion, but as gentle and tender as a lamb.

WRAPPPPY
My “bold as a lion/tender as a lamb” pose! Am I convincing? hee hee

Fast-forward years later, I am in my early 20’s and longing for a child after we had lost our Lily Neveah in March 2011. I had long since thrown out of my mind any real remembrance of baby-wearing from those brave West African women, but one Sunday, I saw a gorgeous young mama at our church baby-wearing her little newborn, and it was in an adorable stretchy wrap (although back then I didn’t know what a stretchy wrap was even). I thought it looked SO comfy and cute and stylish even.  I relished the thought and prayer and hope of one day holding my very own baby close in my arms and having the chance to babywear him or her.

Shortly after this encounter with the lovely young mom at my church, to our delight, we became pregnant! I quickly started researching everything I could about baby-wearing and had bought my own stretchy wrap, ring sling, and even a soft structured carrier, and then I awaited in eager expectation for my rainbow child to arrive so I could put the carriers to use.

Oliver - not even a day old yet! <3
Oliver – not even a day old yet! <3

When my son finally came into my eager arms and vacated my womb, I pretty much immediately put him into his first baby carrier the second we left the hospital, which was a linen ring sling. I also wore him in our stretchy wrap we owned, and loved the bond and connection I felt with my son in those moments I would babywear. We tried various carriers, and had many learning curves, but we both grew together not only in closeness, but together in our babywearing abilities as well. Oliver, with his continued trust in me as I attempted various different wraps and carriers with him, and me with learning to baby-wear properly. I still remember my biggest struggle was pulling the wraps strand by strand to make sure they were tight enough. BOY – can it be a workout, but so worth it once it is all done and secure!

WRAPY SUNSHINE
So supportive! Even my back is “happy as a clam” in this carrier!

 

 

With our son we ended up, as he got older, favoring our soft structured carrier and my woven wraps for their durability and support – especially with my back because I suffer from scoliosis, bone spurs, and arthritis in my spine (that is right… I have a horrible back. *cry * Chiropractor once told me that he has 70-year-old ladies with better backs then me!), but there is something so special about those newborn stages with our stretchy wrap and the coziness it brought that I always hold very dear to my heart. I can’t even count the days I spent with Oliver as a newborn in his stretchy wrap as I did my college coursework whiles my husband was at work. Oliver has always been my active child! Even from the womb, he was constantly moving, so it was no surprise that we always had to be moving (which my postpartum body was grateful for) to keep him happy, so our carriers became serious life savers!

Wrapy - Can buy on Amazon!!!
Wrapy – Can buy on Amazon!!!

All that to say, I just delivered our daughter 1 month ago, and so, my dear kindred reader, thou canst imagine my inner thrill when I was offered to receive a stretchy wrap from the company called Wrapy to try their product out and write a review. I just received the wrap a couple days ago, and have FINALLY been able to try it out! I was immediately enthralled with the softness and loved the dark blue color of the wrap. When I put it against my skin, the smoothness and coolness of the wrap just heightened my anticipation to put my darling daughter into it! I loved how easy the instructions were to follow, and before I knew it, my daughter and I were smooth sailings.

Wrapy copy
Such cute packaging!

 

Wrapy looking down
She fell RIGHT asleep once in it! She was super fussy, but this wrap was a miracle worker! <3

Now, because it is a stretchy wrap, I did have to work at making sure she was at kissing level and practice my T.I.C.K.S. (YES, beloveds, I am a stickler for SAFE baby-wearing so please research to ensure you wrap safely before starting), as well as make sure the wrap was tight enough. I also always go ahead and watch several wrapping videos on youtube to make sure I have everything correct and even learn helpful tricks and tips!

Side note: One of my favorite YouTube channels for baby-wearing is Wrapping Rachel, but there are numerous other tutorials on there that are fantastic!

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Ollie enjoying the sunshine!

Within a couple minutes of experimenting, tightening, and following the instructions, everything was super snug and wonderful with my Wrapy, and I was able to go outside and enjoy being with my toddler and husband in this beautiful spring sunshine! I also was able to just sit and cuddle on the couch later and let her slumber peacefully against my chest. I even was able to get some housework done, and work out a little bit, which my body desperately needs (so please give me grace for these photos! I am not in the shape I need to be yet, but I finally have the “all clear” to resume all activities postpartum – aka excercise as much as I want – YAY!) .

Josh and Ava Wrapy
Hubby loving his snuggles with Avonlea in the Wrapy!

She didn’t awaken or stir throughout all of these activites – even during our walk at a local park, which is a testament to how soft and comfy the wrap was against her delicate newborn skin! I was so grateful to have the perfect accessory, in a stunning color, to help me go about my day with success. Even my husband, who never enjoys wearing wraps of any kind, thoroughly enjoyed wearing Avonlea with our Wrapy, and kept on talking about how he couldn’t wait to wear her again!

Baby-wearing has seriously changed my life, and Wrapy is a fantastic brand, to hold your newborn close and get things done throughout the day! It is made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex, which makes sense as to why it is so soft and breathable. It is super comparable to other stretchy wrap brands, and even more affordable then most, which I am all about!

Back view!
Back view!

SAFETY Note: I don’t find this stretchy wrap, or any stretchy wrap brand for that matter, supportive enough to do any back-wearing safely or carry a toddler in, but for the younger baby stage, they are fantastic! I also don’t recommend doing the cradle hold that is listed in the instruction manual (a lot of stretchy carriers offer this carry suggestion, but it isn’t safe due to potential breathing restriction issues.) I am one to always er on the side of caution with these type of matters.

Hubby kept on exclaiming how surprised he was at how much he loved this wrap! He has NEVER liked a wrap before! (PS: Aren't baby-wearing dads the best?!)
Hubby kept on exclaiming how surprised he was at how much he loved this wrap! He has NEVER liked a wrap before! (PS: Aren’t baby-wearing dads the best?!)

In glorious conclusion, I love how with baby-wearing I am able to accomplish all my daily goals at once and even have the freedom to chase around my wild toddle-bear as well! Since I am in school, working from home, trying to be a mom/wife, and look for a job in the medical field… to not be as productive as possible in a day is not really an option for me. I also go stir-crazy having to just sit around, so baby-wearing has given me access to new freedoms and saved me many times! I will forever be grateful to baby-wearing for allowing me to be a present and nurturing mother, as well as a productive and fearless woman in this crazy, fast-paced world!

Have you tried babywearing? What was your experience? What carriers do you enjoy? Tell me about it all, my kindred spirits!

Affectionately yours,

Rebekah M. Clark

PRODUCT NOTE: Here is the direct link to look at purchasing your very own Wrapy baby-carrier! So worth it in my opinion!

Christmas Gift Guide 2013 ~ The Perfect Gift for Any Baby

Christmas Gift Guide

Yes–that’s right! This is the kick off post to my Christmas Gift Guide!

Now, now–before you start hurling rotten tomatoes at me and shouting the virtues of Thanksgiving hear me out! I agree–the Christmas trees up in the mall already *are* a bit much. But when it comes to shopping–well I’ve been Christmas shopping since February!! If you were around last year you’ll know I believe in shopping early and staying organized, and then using the month of December for traditions and family — not fighting the crowds and focusing on the material! Every year I try to have ALL my Christmas gifts bought and shipped by December 1st–I’m nearly there!

So with that disclosure I’m super excited to bring you ….

 Graco Little Lounger
Legalese Nonsense: I will absolutely drive to Dallas if it means I get to meet other bloggers, have 3 hours of drive time sans kids singing at the top of my lungs, get fed, learn exercise tips from a pro, and walk away with one of the coolest baby products I’ve ever seen. All mommy thoughts, lack of pregnancy announcements, and before mentioned erratic behavior is all my own.

First off I will preface this post with the fact that NO — contrary to what you seeing me with a baby swing that holds infants up to 30 lbs. might lead you to believe — there will be NO big, exciting announcements from me concerning the expansion of our family at any point within the next-couple-of-years future! (unless you all know something I don’t?!) *However* I know that most of you do have babies, will also at some point in the next-few-years future have one, or know someone who is pregnant right now. I seems like every time I turn around another friend or family member is announcing their pregnancy, so there is a lot of use for the Graco Little Lounger in my life and I knew there would be in yours as well!

Continue reading “Christmas Gift Guide 2013 ~ The Perfect Gift for Any Baby”

Almost a Big Boy & How Luvs Is Helping!

Luvs Diapers The Clue Is In the Blue
Legalese Nonsense: After 3 weeks of washing sheets, stuffed animals, and blankets *every* day I was ready to say yes to anything that would provide relief! Cue SheSpeaks & Luvs offering me a chance to try their Super Absorbent Diapers! All skeptical opinions, almost big boys, and adorable diapered tushies are my own.

Tyler is a big boy…..almost. At 3 years old he’s potty trained (mostly) and in a big boy bed that he stays in (4 nights out of 7).

When Amber was little almost as soon as she turned 2 I jumped on Operations Lose the Paci  & Ditch the Diapers, with the motivation of new baby arriving soon I was happy and relieved when she was both Paci-Free and Potty Trained relatively quickly & easily. Tyler…well Tyler is a whole different kettle of fish. Ever my super strong willed boy he’s also still considered “the baby” since there is no new little Elliott planned for a very long time to come. Also I’m very thankful for many of my mommy friends with older boys who highly encouraged me to not push potty training until he was after 3 years old–advice I was more than happy to listen to!

So his paci hung around for a super long time past his 2nd bday at night & naps until Bob figured out he was still using it and put and ending to all that cold turkey. (brutal but it worked, haha!!!) As far as potty training goes I halfheartedly started off when he was about 2 1/2 and he’d “get” it then decide he didn’t really care anymore, and with how busy I’ve been over the past 1/2 year and how much travelling we’ve been doing I knew that when he was ready, it would happen, so I haven’t pushed it. Once he turned 3 I cracked down and now he’s doing well but I still need/use diapers for naps & bedtimes. I’ve been having problems lately, however, since he’s such a big kid and he still naps for several hours a day and sleeps for 11-12 hours straight at night (no hating please–he’s a force to be reckoned with when he’s awake and *never* stops moving, which is why he needs so much sleep, haha!) So anyways because of all of that lately he’s been *soaking* through his diapers–even those uber expensive over night ones, boo!

Continue reading “Almost a Big Boy & How Luvs Is Helping!”

Five Unique Baby Shower Gifts You’re Overlooking ~ Mama’s Emergency Kit

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: I was provided with a pack of BabyGanics Hand and Face wipes to clean off Tyler’s adorable yet always dirty face. All amazingly clever ideas, pictures, and messy babies are my own

Today’s gift idea of giving a Mama’s Emergency Kit is super practical and super fun!! I had the most amazing MOPs group in Boston and they always had the most clever, practical crafts–this is one of the ones we made and it has come in handy *so* many times since then! It’s small enough to stick into your purse or leave in your car glove box.

I tried to find where they printed off this beyond cute insert for the baggy but couldn’t find it–you could easily make one for yourself using PicMonkey and free stock people or if I get enough interest I’ll create a new, downloadable one–so let me know if you’d like me to!

Continue reading “Five Unique Baby Shower Gifts You’re Overlooking ~ Mama’s Emergency Kit”

Care For Babies ~ Blissful Bathtime

When you have a little one suddenly everything that you’ve always taken for granted seems like a BIG DEAL! Bathtime for a newborn? Traumatizing! (for the parent that is–haha) By the time you have 2 kiddos (like me) you’re an old pro! My top tips for bathing a newborn or baby?

  • Use a baby tub, it makes life easy — (plus it can double as a “water table” when the kiddos are older!)
  • Get everything within easy reach in advance (washcloth, soap, shampoo, towel, etc)
  • Use it as bonding time when they’re little and you have to watch every move anyways, make them giggle, talk to them, enjoy those precious fleeting moments!


And because anything related to babies makes me think of this, I have to share this amazingly adorable video of Amber when she was itty bitty in the tub!



Having great bath products can make all the difference whether you have a newborn or a “big kid”. As you know my kiddos both have sensitive skin, so when it comes to bathtime I’m always on the lookout for great, all natural products to use for them!

Mommy Bliss All Natural Baby Product


Mommy Bliss has just released the first and only line of Natural Bedtime Products for Infants — a big deal when you’d love to use the “soothing” nighttime lines on your baby but can’t because of their sensitive skin!


There are three products in the line–Mommy’s Bliss Sweet Slumber Baby Wash,
Mommy’s Bliss Sweet Slumber Massage Cream, & Mommy’s Bliss Sweet Slumber Mist 

Each is made with all natural ingredients that are hypo-allergic (meaning I can use them on Amber too!!!) and each contain essential oils that are historically associated with relaxation and sleep such as English Lavender Oil, German Chamomile Extract and Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, among other natural, soothing botanical ingredients. 


  
 I’ve been hearing great things about essential oils from so many of my friends and I’ve really enjoyed using these products that include them! They smell wonderfully and the quality is great as well! The bubbles *really* bubble and the massage cream is rich and creamy and really glides smoothly when you rub it on your little one! I sprayed the mist on Amber & Tyler’s pillows and also have used it to freshen up the room–it smells so good! (and I’m not normally a lavender girl-but I’ve found that “the real thing” does have such a pretty, calming smell!)

 One of the best things about this line? The availability and the price! They retail for between $5.99-7.99 and you can pick them up at Walgreens!

Don’t forget to pin this post–just click the little button at the top and add it to your Parenting or “Green” board!

Nicole Elliott

Love2Read Book Review

With his new job Bob has to be gone a lot. I knew it would have to come at some point, he is in the military after all, but playing “single mom” with a toddler and a newborn is proving to be a little tricky! I also knew it would be hard on Amber to have Daddy gone working all the time when she’s so used to having him at home. When I got the chance to pick a love2read book out to create and review I knew the My daddy… one would be just perfect for us!!!! Each page begins with My daddy… but I was able to completely personalize it with my own pictures and the rest of the sentence. I love how it turned out and Amber does too. Plus I think it made my husband feel really special when I showed him the book we made where he’s the star! The quality is great and the pages are made of thick glossy card stock so they’re easy for Amber to turn and won’t wrinkle easily. These books are super affordable too! I’ve already recommended them to several friends after getting mine in and definitely plan on purchasing more in the future! With tons of different themes there are so many different books you can create!

To show you how amazing this little book is here is a video of Amber “reading” it with me!

Love2Read Book Review

6/19/2014 Update — so now many years later this little book is still one of our favorites! Amber (who is now 6) read it to us last night and it makes a perfect “early reader” book. She loved giggling over the old pictures and she found the page where “you and Daddy are in loooooove” to be especially giggle worthy. So happy we have this book and now I’m inspired to go make a few for Tyler!