Baby Wearing – Part 2

Why would it be of benefit to you as a mother to carry your baby, using any method?

It would assure you that continuity is available for your baby.  After nine months of carrying the fetus, where gentle rocking motions were constant, it would make sense to allow for this continuity to continue outside the womb.

You and your baby are bonding in the first few months after birth. Babies need to feel, smell, and touch you for assurance.  It stresses baby to have separation from you.  Yet, you need to get things done, right? Baby-wearing allows for both!

It assists in cognitive development (Gross-Loh, 46) when you carry your baby. The baby is in a calm state, content, and observing all the time while learning about their world.

You learn about your baby as well. The attachment of mother and baby is strengthened; mother is able to understand baby’s cues easier which develop a mutual trust.
Let’s take a look at some of the various methods used (by country):

Mexican women use the Reboso, a traditional shawl wrap that usually would be given to girls at Menarche and worn as a shawl or neck wrap until needed for carrying a baby. The Lakota use a cradleboard, the Japanese and Malasian women carried babies on their backs…

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Things to Consider:

In the first six months after having a baby the hormone relaxin may be in your system. It is important to be aware of “postural adaptations that may adversely affect your spinal joints (Ohm, 18)”.  If feeling Fatigued or feeling muscles tightened (such as tightened muscles of the neck or shoulders).  Jeanne Ohm recommends a chiropractic visit.

When you are using your baby wrap, sling, or carrier consider your back.  The higher up and closer your baby is, the more comfort you will feel.

Consider the type of carrier you will use. Of great concern are the types of slings that are like a pouch and hand low, with lots of material.  It is potentially dangerous for the baby as the baby may lie in a “C” position with his/her chin tucked towards the chest.  This position can potentially cause breathing issues, or asphyxia (suffocation).

Baby Wearing – Part 1

Baby Wearing

USA 1920s
1950s – American Woman Carrying a Baby

Many cultures have used baby wearing for a variety of reasons.  Some cultures have lost the wisdom behind its use, and many have gravitated to more modern ways, such as the use of a stroller or pram to bring babies along with them on walks and to the store.

In pre-historical times mothers had to devise ways to forage and hunt while carrying for babies. Skins, bark, hand-woven reeds, or bark would have been constructed to assist in keeping baby close and safe. When woven fabrics were invented, women would have utilized long woven wraps or shawls to tie their babies into carrying positions either next to the chest or on their back.

A few words for baby carriers in various languages exist:

Amauti: an Inuit back pouch that was incorporated with the coat, the pouch created when cinched at the waist.  The baby was then held high up on the back lying on a bed of fur within the pouch.

Dakkohimo or onbuhimo: a Japanese carrier using cloth and straps that would go over the shoulders. It was worn either on the front or the back.  It could be used by the mother, siblings, or grandparents.

Mei tai:  Chinese fabric panel with for straps attached at each corner.  The bottom two straps are tied at the waist; the upper two crisscross either for front-carrying or back carrying. The fabric panel supports the whole torso.

Podaegi: used by Koreans used a blanket-like appearing traditional wrap that has straps.  Infant through toddler-aged were back-carried.

Kanga: a rectangular cloth that wraps around both mother and baby to assist back-carrying used in Kenya.

Selendang:  A rectangular batik cloth that is tucked and folded to form a sling is used by the women in Indonesia.

Can’ic’ik’oƞpa: The Lakota “cradle board” using two attached boards for carrying.
The Welsh kept their tradition of blanket-wrapping until the 50s, when it almost died out.  It is seeing somewhat of renewal today. You can see images here: Celtic Baby Carrying

Around the early 1900s the use of baby carrying or wearing became out of fashion, because of social ideas.  It was thought that only poor persons used this method.  It was deemed a method of “spoiling” a baby, to spend so much time in such close contact.

To continue on this topic see: Part 2


co sleeping

Co-sleeping as defined here is “bed sharing”. It means to share the bed with your infant, for the purpose of breastfeeding, as well as bonding. This could encompass the use of the crib or bassinet in the bedroom (in general) or beside you when you sleep or not.

In Gettier’s article, she distinguishes between those parents who intentionally share the bed nightly, and the parents who are reactive bed-sharers. A ‘reactive bed-sharer shares the bed due to having “child sleep difficulties and / or to ease nighttime feeds (9)”. This would occur less regularly and are for shorter periods of time. Those parents who regularly sleep with the child, have the child in their bed for the full night.


• If there are two parents within the household that choose to bed share both parents must agree to be
vigilant and responsive to the infant.

• Babies who are born small for gestational age should avoid bed sharing

• If the mother smokes, she should choose same room sharing, not bed sharing if she does not
shower nightly.

• Bottle feeding parents (without breastfeeding) should also use room sharing [never prop the bottle].

• Think of the safety of the baby, and suffocation. If you have a bed set, remove the mattresses (placing
headboards, et al into storage temporarily) and move the mattresses to the center of the room.
Babies and roll and move, get wedged between the mattress and headboard (or mattress and wall)
and suffocate.

• If you choose to keep the head and foot boards , eliminate the spaces that are between mattresses
and the head or foot board.

• Older children and pets should not be sleeping in the bed with the infant.

• Co-sleeping is not recommended if you are or have been drinking. Nor is it a good idea to share your
bed with baby if you’re doing recreational drugs.

• Bed sharing should be on a firm mattress, with no duvets or heavy bedding. Infants need to be away
from pillows or other bedding that may obstruct the infant’s breathing.

• NEVER co-sleep on a couch, recliner, or chair.


There benefits to bed sharing.
These include: higher percentages of breastfeeding rates, longer feeding times, increased feeding during the night. Keep in mind, babies tummies are small and they would therefore feed more frequently.

It is known that there is a greater immunological benefit in breastfeeding. It is known to be a “protective factor against SIDS (Vennemann et al 2009, Gettier, 10)”. Mothers who breast feed longer are less likely to develop breast cancer as well.

Babies who bed share are awake for shorter time periods than those who sleep separate. It is thought that bed sharing assists in a “synchronization between mother in terms of arousals and sleep stage shifts (McKenna and Mosko 1994, Gettier, 10).” Both mother and father seem to get much more sleep with bed sharing, than those who do not.


The Careful Decision to Bedshare. Lee T. Gettier. (2010) International Doula. Vol. 18, Issue 1

*A more detailed document is available at the Hokṡiyuhab Oti Childbirth Education Classes*

Diapers vs. Disposables

Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables

cloth diaper“I was afraid of the smell and the grossness factor of poopy diapers”. I have heard this as the reason cloth diapers are not used, by a friend. Yes it would smell if you did not tend to the diapers by rinsing the diaper in the toilet then placing them in a pail. “My cloth-diaper pail, with water and vinegar in it, didn’t smell nearly as bad as the garbage can full of [disposable C] diapers (Shawna Cummings)”.

WHY Use Cloth Diapers?

For starters…consider the contents of the manufactured disposable diaper. They are made with plastics (a petroleum-based product); most brands are bleached and so would contain trace amounts of dioxin. Dioxin is a carcinogenic (cancer-producing), by product of the paper-bleaching process. Jay Bolus states that ‘Dioxins can be toxic and persistent, stick around in the environment for a long time, and accumulate in our bodies (, 58)’; they do not biodegrade easily and are persistent in leaking toxins into the soil.

Dioxins are the stuff that is stuck against your baby’s bottom, tossed in the trash and then ends up in landfills. Not only do you expose your precious child to toxins, but the diaper ends up in the soil contaminating the soil for literally generations to come!

Then there is another factor: use of natural resources and the costs for replenishing the environment and clean-up. In Sweden the conclusion was reached that “plastic diapers use three times as many natural resources as cloth (Margulis, 58).

chart for diapers

The use of plastics in the disposable diapers also exposes infants and young children to contained heat. It is bad enough for female children, but the males wind up with exposures to heat on the genitals. The male genitals are outside the body for a reason, in order to keep them cooler than the body (98.6 degrees). Obviously the heat contained cannot be healthy for a male enfant!

Cloth for Diapers

The first and foremost reason to use cloth is: NO Dioxins! When washed with natural soaps, the cloth diaper is the gentler choice. The chances of diaper rash or allergy reactions from cloth diaper use are diminished if laundered correctly.

Also, please consider the use of wash cloths instead disposable wipes. Disposable wipes are also manufactured with petroleum-based materials.

diaper pinCloth diapers are now made with a variety of materials. These materials are cotton, flannel, bamboo, and hemp. Use cloth that has not been bleached, and your baby’s bottom will thank you!
You can buy cotton diapers with no form-fitting features, or diapers that are form fitting that would need large diaper pins to keep them on baby.

You can also buy them with special fabric called “PUL” sewn on the inner layer, with closures made of Velcro or snaps. Some diapers have a removable “refill” insert. Even these should be made of natural materials.

leslie's boutique wet bags“Wet bags” are excellent for keeping soiled diapers from keeping the house or room from smelling. You can wash the bag itself every other time you wash the diapers. I would recommend the use of white vinegar in the pre-wash for odors.
If you decide to use cloth diapers, two wet bags are what I would suggest, a larger wet bag for general use around the house, and a smaller one for when you are running around town or visiting a friend. The small wet bag should be large enough to hold 2-4 diapers.
~Image is from Leslie’s Boutique Wet Bags

For cleaning the cloth diaper, consider mild soaps (preferably biodegradable if using a washer at home) and no bleach. You can purchase non-scented types of soap or scented. Non-scented is less likely to cause allergic reactions. To assist with softening and whitening cloth diapers I would recommend the use of household-grade washing soda, and hanging them on a cloths-line outside (sunlight and air are wonderful for any diaper any day).

Where Are the Cloth Diapers Sold?

Target sells regular diapers and pre-folds, as well as diaper pins

A few sites online are: Bummis BumGenius Cotton Babies Smartipants

If you want to make your own: Natures Fabrics [See: diaper pattern hand-out]
Join a forum to learn more: Diaper Sewing ‘N More

See my pinterest post at: Make your own cloth diapers


Mothering Magazine. No. 160 May-June 2010. The Diaper Dilemma. Jennifer Margulis.
Real Diaper Association