Sunday, July 29, 2012

Product review plus some: ERGObaby Carrier System

Image from http://www.ergobaby.com
We're Baby Carriers 'R' Us! No, really!

When Daniel was first born, I had no idea about the idea or huge cultural trend behind baby wearing, but we were naturally drawn to it like so many of the other childrearing practices we decided to do with little to no outside influence. Before he was born, I went on maternity leave and received so many wonderful gifts from my colleagues, including a Moby Wrap. As comfortable with it as I am now, I looked at this 6 yards of fabric and said to myself "I'm supposed to wrap my child to me using this?". It was at least two months before I got the courage to try it, and we haven't looked back! I couldn't get over how cute he looked wrapped up all warm and cozy to me and how comfortable it was to wear him like that.

For those first two months of his life, we used the Baby Bjorn Air that my in-laws bought for us and let me just say this right now: that thing was a lifesaver. While there are many reasons for parents to  not front-carry, one of them being it's too over-stimulating for the baby and though we wore him tummy-to-tummy 90% of the time we used it, we front-faced Daniel quite a bit and he seemed to really enjoy it (but that is just the kind of baby he is). My one gripe with the Baby Bjorn that I didn't find to be the case with my Moby Wrap, is that after about an hour or so, the small of my back would be strained. Ouch! So for the second month of his life (we didn't use anything for 2 weeks, then our in-laws were in town for 2 weeks and they held him all the time...), we used the Baby Bjorn exclusively before I finally figured out how to use the Moby.


Now he is entirely too big for the Baby Bjorn and I much prefer the Moby (which, after the initial learning curve, is much easier for me than the Baby Bjorn) as it doesn't cause pressure to the small of my back, HOWEVER, it is entirely way too warm for my taste right now for the wrap. Right before we embarked on our trip to Japan (Daniel was 7 1/2 months during our trip), my aunt gave us a Gerry (now Evenflo) baby backpack (pictured here) that Daniel loved! The placement of the backpack put him right up to head height on my husband (who is 6'3") and he saw everything! When he got tired of looking around, he just laid his head on his arms or on his dad's neck area and conked out. There was a neat leg extension device that we could pull out while we were putting him into the carrier, and a soft pouch attached to the carrier itself that we stuffed with toys, baby crackers, his bottle, whatever. SO convenient for the trip.

That is, until I tried it on.

I am significantly smaller than my husband, the design of the carrier rested on the small of my back and with my 20 pound bundle of joy resting squarely on my shoulders and back, I was in serious discomfort. During our trip, big Papa did the majority of the holding (oh, did I mention that it was during our trip that Daniel decided to go all separation anxiety-ridden?). It was during this trip, however, that I noticed how almost every mom I saw while we were out and about used some sort of soft carrier device for their kid. I mean, women significantly shorter in size and build than me carrying older infants and TODDLERS. I was in awe. I know that mothers in Japan do a lot more walking via train, bus, or neither to get around, so this really appealed to me. "If they can do it, surely I can do it with what they're using too", and on our last weekend in Japan, we met up with Gary's previous coworker and her little boy. After a fantastic lunch of traditional Japanese cuisine, we turned to head out and explore the rest of the huge mall. I turned around for but a second and saw in that amount of time, his coworker had strapped her toddler into a soft carrier and he looked SO comfortable. She has one too! I talked her ear off about it and during our time at the mall, we finally found a children's store full of adorable, imported baby and kid items, including an ERGObaby in their adorable Galaxy Grey print. However, due to import prices and the US Dollar to Yen exchange rate, the carrier was almost $200. I knew it would be cheaper back home, so I decided against buying it there (even though I know my mother-in-law would have bought it for me if I really wanted it). When we got back home, I looked up the price and was relieved I didn't buy it: $120 to $200?! No thanks!

When we got back home, I looked into getting one and found that Babies R' Us carries them. I went down the street to our local store and found one (not in Galaxy Grey like I originally wanted but in Camel, which matches my Moby Wrap, so it's ok). A bit of learning was involved in figuring out how to wear it, how to get him into the back position without help, etc, but now after 2 weeks, I am very comfortable with it. Of all the carrier, that is my favorite: it sits low as it buckles at my hip, so that in itself is a huge difference with all the other carriers we own. I find that with the right posture, I can wear him for hours. I think Daniel prefers the intimacy of the front carry, but I love the convenience of the back carry. Such a versatile design in such a simple, straight-forward product. It's no wonder the ERGObaby is so popular!

Today on our outing, he fell asleep and stayed asleep for a good hour, if not more. Despite it being pretty warm outside, I stayed comfortable and noticed how hot I actually was only when Gary took him from me when he finally woke up. The head cover kept the sun off his head and food crumbs out of his hair while, I think, giving him an enclosed, "secure" feeling. One of the moms I ran into on our outing mentioned how the straps are wide and look comfortable; that they are! And of course, the zipper pocket in the front housed my iPhone quite nicely. One thing I have noticed is that the area where the straps and body of the carrier meet is right where Daniel's mouth is, so he goes to town on it. I need to get some sucking pads (available on the ERGObaby website or on various Etsy shops). Perhaps my favorite part about the ERGObaby over all the other carriers is how the baby's body is RIGHT up against you, no cloth or anything in between. You don't even get that physical closeness in the Moby Wrap. I love that.

Look ma, no hands!
There really is no substitute for our arms, though...


So far, out of the 4 various baby carrying styles we have, the ERGObaby is my favorite, with a Moby coming in a close second. Whenever we have our second child I will be more confident in using my Moby at home, while using the newborn insert for the ERGO when we go outdoors. I've even seen mothers in the baby wearing-spheres who wear babies in tandem, usually with the younger child in the front and the older child on the back. While I don't think that will be necessary as Gary loves to wear Daniel whenever he can, I think it's a nice option. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

With a side of crickets.

Holy cow! HELLO! What a jam-packed, completely crazy couple of months we've had! I didn't completely forget about this blog, believe me, but it seemed like every waking moment (both mine AND Daniel) was spent playing, eating, crying, and (primarily for me) job hunting. Still no go on the last little tidbit, but I fear not and enjoy the fact that I've spent 8 MONTHS at home with my little monkey.

Thanks right, folks! Daniel is now 8 months young and gosh, the things he does. In the last few months, he's accomplished so much growth! Let's see...

1. At his 6 month appointment, he was still at 20 lbs. (his dad and I believe he probably gained several pounds between 4 and 6 months, but once he started moving around the weight dropped down to 20) but measured in at a whopping 29 inches! Still a big boy, that one!

2. He's been crawling for a little over a month now, pulling up on anything he can get his hands on (which he actually learned to do way before mastering how to crawl) and as of about 2 weeks ago, started balancing on his two feet completely unassisted! Look ma, no hands!

3. For the sake of updating, because I sucked at blogging over the last 3 months, his two bottom teeth have completely come through and now we look forward to his top two teeth to start poking through. So far, no sign of them though. Speaking of teeth, he's a voracious eater now too! His favorite foods are avocado, sweet potato, and his morning pureed apple or pears mixed with rice cereal (I plan on upgrading him to oatmeal or something with more substance once this box is gone, though). He also loves little baby crackers and cookies, but if he's anything like me, we have to keep those at a minimum.

4. Still babywearing, still co-sleeping, still nursing...

5. Daniel used his passport for the first time when we went to Japan earlier this month! He was fantastic both to and from our destination; he met both sides of his Japanese family and received many gifts. So many, in fact, that we had to pack an extra bag on the way home. His other grandparents enjoyed him greatly! While in Japan, he went to the beach for the first time. Lots of firsts during this trip!

6. Mama. That will be his first word. He's said it on numerous occasions, but not AT me. At least, I don't think he has... until today. When he was whining, all of the sudden I hear him saying "ma ma, ma ma", not his usual "ma ma ma ma". It was very obviously, and I think very deliberate too. WOW! My baby's first word... I'm honored <3


On May 16th, Daniel's dad and I finally tied the knot! It was small, just us and my mother. In a few years, I'd like to plan a bigger ceremony with our family and friends. At that point, I'd like to renew our vows and exchange rings. Right now, I'm wearing an engagement ring and he's wearing his dad's first wedding band.

Like I said in number 5, we went on Daniel's first overseas trip to see family in Japan. It was so much fun, but a bit stressful traveling with the little guy as he chose the day we got there to start separation anxiety (so the only two people he would let hold willingly was myself or his dad). And you don't realize how long 2 weeks is until you're not home, so it was so nice to get back to our place and sleep in our bed after our vacation... but I could tell that Gary wished we could stay longer.

Waiting at the gate to board our flight.

Sleeping away.


His first train ride! We went to the beach.

At his grandpa's Navy retirement... he crawled out to the middle of the stage during the guest speaker's speech!

A foreshadow?

Meeting his second cousins Manato and Rio (Gary's cousin's kids).

Getting ready to venture to Tokyo!

After our Tokyo day trip, we went a bit further to a hot spring hotel owned by his grand-uncle.

The family!

"Do I have something stuck to my lip?"

My aunt and cousin!

Food and drinks with family and some good friends.

Kanpai! Enjoying some drink with my mother-in-law.

He loves his grandparents!

We took him to the aquarium!

Amazed by this dolphin that is hanging out right by the window to his habitat.

Whoa!

Animal show!

Intense look of concentration. 

BUBBLES!
He loves looking at the window on trains.

Meeting new friends! Gary's former co-worker, her little boy who's 1 year, 11 days older than Daniel (who turned 1 on 11/11/11!) and us.

It was a great trip all around, filled with lots of neat things done and seen (that he won't remember, but we'll remember for him!) and the most important thing is he got to bond with his family, especially Gary's sister. She was the last of the family to meet him and fell in love. Gary's grandmother finally got to meet him too, since she lives in Michigan and neither we nor her have had time or funds to visit one another since Daniel was born. During this this trip, he accomplished so many milestones (missing mom and dad, clapping, balancing unassisted, eating crackers and cookies for the first time). I can't wait to take him back when he's older, maybe in a year or two.