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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: CatBird Mei Tai

I have decided to update this review since I have been using this mei tai for several months, and I believe it deserves a proper review.

For those who don't know, a mei tai (pronounced "may tie") is a traditional Chinese baby carrier. It is a square (or rectangle) of fabric with a strap coming from each corner. Mei tais are awesome carriers because they can be customized to fit any size or shape wearer. You tie them on, so it is easy to fit it to each person. Mei tais are also great for different sized babies. MTs can have the waist rolled (folded) down to adjust the height of the carrier, and the waist can be cinched with a string or ribbon to customize the width so baby will always have the proper knee to knee coverage! What this really means, is that a bigger MT will last you longer than a small one.

I was in search of a CatBird Mei Tai for months before two suddenly came up at a great price. The first I got was an older cotton version, with a cute pattern known as Loteria. The second is a new version organic canvas color block (same as the one pictured above). The older version lacks some of the features in the newer version. So this review is aimed at the organic color block mei tai. Both mei tais are made in the USA.

The CatBird Mei Tai is generously sized. It measures 20.5in high, by 15.5in wide. It fit baby perfectly at 16mo, with the waist rolled twice for arms out. Now she is 21mo, not quite knee to knee, but she can still be arms in or out. The fabric is sturdy, supportive, and sewn together well. It is cool enough for hot weather, but over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, I prefer the cotton over the canvas. The CBB is a flat style mei tai - no seat darts or shaping.

The CatBird has a hideaway hood that is big enough for use with a toddler! It ties on to loops on the shoulder straps. When not in use it can be tucked into the body of the carrier. This pocket can be used to carry a diaper, wallet, or other small essentials. You could also fold up a washcloth and stick it in there to create a headrest for baby. 

This carrier also has a loop sewn onto the base of the carrier. It can be used to cinch the carrier's width. According to the manual, this is supposed to be used to make the carrier narrower for a front facing out carry. I do not recommend carrying a baby facing out for several reasons (see my, 'Why Not Face Out?' post here). Instead, this can be used to cinch the width for newborn use. The current recommendation is for babies to be legs out from birth, so rather than froggying babies legs in the mei tai, you could do a legs out carry. Just be sure that you have the fabric supporting baby from knee to knee, with their bum lower than their knees. See my 'Infant Positioning' post for more info.

The CatBird Baby MT has lightly padded shoulder straps and an unpadded waist. I like the unpadded waist because it is more customizable as far as where you can put it, and you can roll it up for a smaller baby. The padding on the shoulder straps is just enough to make it comfortable with a bigger baby, yet, not with so much bulk that it still doesn't fold up small. The top straps measure about 72in. This isn't extremely long, but the average sized woman should be able to do the instructed tie offs. If you are plus sized, planning to tie Tibetan, or do other ties that require more fabric, it may be a better idea to find a mei tai with longer straps. Even a fluffy mom can use it comfortably tied under bum though.

For reference, I am a size 14 with a DDD chest, and I can just do this tie: front carry, straps crossed in back, crossed over baby's bum, and tied in back - with a toddler. I can do ruck straps easily, TUB (tie under bum), and carry a newborn. I can not do Tibetan straps.

There is a padded waist strap available as a separate purchase. I have just ordered one, and will comment on it's comfort once I have used it more.

Overall Support:
I find this carrier to be very comfortable! I have used it on zoo trips, walks to the park, beach days, etc. If I am going to be carrying for hours straight, I prefer an SSC with an older baby or toddler. If I am going to be carrying for long walks, need my hands free, or want to go shopping, I choose my mei tai. This is a five star mei tai!

I was in search of a CatBird Mei Tai for months before two suddenly came up at a great price. The first I got was an older cotton version, with a cute pattern known as Loteria. The second is a new version organic canvas color block.

For those who don't know, a mei tai (pronounced "may tie") is a traditional Chinese baby carrier. It is a square of fabric with a strap coming from each corner. 

I love these!
  • The shoulder straps are wide and lightly padded - super comfortable
  • Perfect length on the straps to get a nice, secure carry
  • The newer version's larger body is awesome
  • Hideaway hood is large enough for a toddler!
  • Cool enough for summer weather,  but over 80F I prefer the cotton over the canvas.
  • Bottom is unpadded, so you can adjust body size to different size babies. The 16 month old I watch needs it rolled once for arms out. She has plenty of room to grow!
  • The base is adjustable for a facing out carry. I do not recommend this carry, but it is possible.
  • Made in USA

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Recent Recalls

Recalled Peg Perego Pliko-P3 Stroller
223,000 Peg Perego Strollers and 5,600 Kolcraft strollers were recently recalled. This is on top of 485, 690 Chicco high chairs, 15,400 folding children's beach chairs, and 37,800 Old Navy water shoes, 105,400 Flexible Flyer Swing Sets, and more that were also recalled in the past month.

Addressing the strollers issue...
The Peg Perego strollers were recalled because of a death and near death of two babies. The baby died from strangulation because he was not buckled into the stroller, and slid down to be caught between the seat and tray. The second baby nearly died from the same thing.

It is important to note that all children riding in strollers should always be buckled in. This is not the first time that a baby has died in a stroller when the were not buckled in.

The Kolcraft strollers recalled are the Contours Options LT Tandem strollers sold between February and July of this year. No deaths or injuries have been reported. They are being recalled because the wheels can break. Consumers should call Kolcraft for a free replacement wheels.

I would like to applaud Kolcraft and the CPSC for making such a quick recall. They kept children from being injured or killed by recalling the strollers quickly. The Peg Perego strollers are only being recalled now, eight years after that baby died. This puts other children at risk, including the second baby who nearly died two years after the first baby did. I will note that the PP strollers were no longer sold after 2007, but could still be used.

To find out more about these recalls, visit http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljul12.html

How to Keep your Family Safe:

Seeing the amount of recalled items a year is overwhelming. So many products, from so many trusted companies have the ability to hurt your family. What can you do to keep your family safe?

  1. Check all second hand items you get to see if they have been recalled. www.cpsc.gov has a search engine, or you can type the name of the product and the word "recalled" into Google or Yahoo.
  2. Send in the recall card that comes with many safety important pieces of gear to be notified of a recall. Baby carriers, strollers, and cribs often have these.
  3. Sign up for recall e-mails from the CPSC. You can decide which categories to receive information from. They will not send you any e-mails except for recalls.  https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx
  4. If you notice a problem with a product you have, report it to the CPSC via their website.
  5. Spread the word. If you hear about a recall, tell people. Tell your friends and neighbors. Tweet and post it. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Perfect Stroller

I recently wrote in one of my buying guides what my perfect stroller would be. Here is what I came up with:

"In a perfect world (where the laws of physics are nonexistent) you would be able to have a stroller that weighs 1lb, is full featured, has reversible seats, holds child at parent height, and fits on public transit. This is not possible, so some compromise will have to be given."

I had to laugh when I realized I already own that stroller, in fact I own several different types...
  1. Weighs 1lb - mine all weigh less!
  2. Full featured - some are, some aren't
  3. Reversible seating - baby can face the world or me
  4. Child at parent height - check
  5. Fits on public transit - barely takes up more room than the baby
Well, what is this magic stroller called? A Baby Carrier! Yes, my wraps, mei tais, SSCs, and ring slings certainly do all of the above, and at much less the cost than what that magic stroller would cost.

So, if you are looking for the perfect stroller, maybe it's time to check out my 'Types of Baby Carriers' post.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dear Nanny - Crib Climber

Dear Nanny,

My 18 month old recently learned how to climb out of his crib. How do I get him to stay in bed?

Climber's Mama


Dear Climber's Mama,

Congratulations on your toddler! Many communities suggest moving your little one into a "big kid bed" once they begin climbing out of the crib, but what do you do if you feel like your child is too young to be in a real bed? There are many safe ways to help deal with this.


  • Remove 'steps' from the crib. Is your child using a crib bumper, stuffed animals, or something else to boost themselves up? I might be a good plan to take out their improvisational steps. As long as your child's lovey doesn't disappear, they should be fine.
  • Ask your child to stop. Say, "You need to stay in your crib until mommy (or daddy, nanny, grandma, etc) comes to get you." Some children this actually works for. Some it doesn't.
  • Use a sleep sack at night to keep your son in bed. A sleep sack is cozy and will keep them from being able to spread their legs far enough to climb out. Just make sure you do not overheat your child.
  • Put their crib mattress on the floor until they are mature enough for a real bed. This way if they fall out, they won't get hurt. 
  • Buy a crib tent. I have been saying it for years, crib tents are dangerous! 330,00 crib tents were recently recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, "CPSC is warning parents and caregivers who own these products that infants and toddlers are at risk of serious injury or death due to strangulation and entrapment hazards presented by these products."
Toddler sized sleep sacks:

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Baby swaddled in an Aiden & Anais Blanket

For centuries all over the world, people have been wrapping up their babies. Even in cultures that had little influence from any others swaddled their babies. Native Americans had cradleboards that they tied their babies into, Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes 2,000 years ago, and hospitals today all over the world send babies home swaddled.

Swaddling babies makes them feel like they are being hugged all around. They feel safe and secure tightly cocooned like they were in the womb. Studies have shown that swaddling babies helps them sleep longer, remain calmer, and swaddling even promotes growth. Swaddling also acts as a sleep cue for your baby. If baby is consistently swaddled right before it's time to sleep, their body will soon associate swaddling with sleeping.


  • Swaddling is not something that is instinctive. Incorrect swaddling can contribute to SIDS (overheating and loose blankets in crib) or stunted growth. It is perfectly safe properly done though.
  • The swaddle should be tight, you don’t want baby to be wriggling out. Loose blankets = bad.
  • Do not overdress your baby, the blanket is another layer. Take off a layer underneath the blanket if baby gets warm.
  • Use a breathable blanket when you swaddle to help prevent overheating. Think cotton for room to warm temperatures and wool for cold weather
  • Beware of slack in the blanket at the top of the swaddle. Put baby’s shoulders level with the top of the blanket to keep there from being any slack. Slack in the blanket can cover baby's mouth/nose.

*The following swaddle technique comes from Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block.

Dr Harvey Karp's DUDU Swaddle

Dr. Harvey Karp teaches the DUDU (Down, Up, Down, Up) Swaddle. This is basically the same swaddle that has been used in hospitals and homes for many years. Here's how to do it:

Step 1 - DOWN
Hold baby’s right arm straight at the side.
Bring the blanket down and tuck it under baby’s back.
Grab the blanket by the unwrapped shoulder and tug it snug.
Don’t be surprised if your baby cries louder when you wrap.  Your baby doesn’t know what’s best! They don’t realize they’re just seconds away from happiness!  

Step 2 – UP
Hold baby’s left arm straight at the side.
Bring the bottom point of the blanket straight up and place it on the shoulder. Tuck the rest of the blanket under the whole left arm. 

Step 3 - DOWN
Grab the blanket a few inches from baby’s left shoulder and pull it down…just a little bit. 
Hold that small fold of blanket pressed against baby’s chest like you are holding down a ribbon to make a bow.  

Step 4 - UP
Grab the last free corner.  Pull it straight out (to remove any  slack) then in one smooth motion bring it up and across baby’s waist.   
Wrap it snugly around the body like a belt, to hold baby’s
arms down FIRMLY.
This last snug and tuck keeps the whole swaddle from popping open.


If your child is at risk for hip dysplasia, then a hip-friendly swaddle should be used. See this link for more details.


Products for Swaddling

  • Aiden & Anais Blankets are my favorites. They are light and breathable, and perfect for year round use. You can double swaddle if it's cold in baby's room. They are huge, which makes them perfect for swaddling a baby, especially if you end up swaddling for several months.
  • The Information Blanket is small, so it will really only work for newborns. It is a blanket with infant care guidelines printed on it. For every English language version purchased, another blanket is given to a mother and her baby somewhere else in the world to help fight infant mortality.
  • The Loving Baby Swaddle Blanket is a specially shaped blanket to make swaddling easier. It also makes the swaddle more secure.
  • The Miracle Blanket is another swaddle cheater that makes it easier to get a nice tight swaddle.
  • The Woombie is less a blanket and more of a cocoon. You just zip baby in! It is stretchy so baby can still move around like they did in the womb.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dear Nanny - Flat Head

Dear Nanny,

My baby is developing a flat spot on the side of his head. I have been doing tummy time and I hold him in different positions throughout the day, so how is this happening? I thought flat heads only came from babies who were never held. Could there be something wrong with my baby?



Dear Unsure,

Plagiocephaly (flat head) is very common in babies, in fact, most babies have a flat head at some point or another. Even babies who do tummy time can get flat spots. I have heard of a baby that was mainly carried upright in a sling or wrap that did not develop a flat spot, but other than that most babies I have known had plagiocephaly. 

Your child's sleep surface is the likely culprit. Babies spend most of their time asleep. If they are in the same position for several hours every day, then they develop flat spots. You hear this mainly from babies who sleep in swings, car seats, or other sitting devices for the night. However, the crib is not exempt here.

At this point it is important to note that cribs are the only sleep surface that is certified for infant sleep. In fact, the AAP stated in a recent article that, "there are multiple concerns about using sitting devices as a usual infant sleep location. Placing an infant in such devices can potentiate gastroesophageal reflux and positional plagiocephaly. Because they still have poor head control and often experience flexion of the head while in a sitting position, infants younger than 1 month in sitting devices might be at increased risk of upper airway obstruction and oxygen desaturation." You can find the full article here.

It sounds like you are doing things right. Tummy time and holding your baby in different positions throughout the day can help combat plagiocephaly. At your next pediatrician appointment, have your doctor look at your baby's head. They will tell you if it becomes something to worry about. You can also use the Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support to try and help. Just always provide supervision when your baby is using it and never let baby sleep on it unless you are awake and watching. It is a pillow, and thus a suffocation hazard. If it is used in the bouncy seat while baby is awake, then it should be fine.

I hope this helps!

- Katie

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Newborn Layette

About Layette
Layette is fun to buy. Instead of telling you brands, all you have to do is find the cutest clothes and buy them. Here are some great fabrics:
  • 100% cotton is popular in baby clothing because cotton is natural, breathable, absorbent, and strong.
  • Bamboo is becoming increasingly popular because it is a sustainable textile, it can manage moisture, is naturally soft, and naturally anti-microbial. Bamboo is great for the basics.
  • Merino wool is a nice outer layer in cooler weather. It can regulate temperature, manage moisture, is non-allergenic, and a natural fire retardant
  • Fleece is moisture wicking, dries quickly, and resists most stains. A great outer layer in colder weather.

What to Buy and How Much

  • 6-8 side-snap shirts, 0-3mo
  • 2 newborn or 0-3mo light-weight hats
  • 4 pairs of socks or booties, newborn size
  • 5-7 onesies in the 0-3mo size
  • 4-7 gowns or sleepers, 0-3mo
  • 4-7 outfits, 0-3mo
  • Homecoming outfit, newborn size
  • 2 pairs of no-scratch mittens
  • 4 large swaddling blankets and/or 2 sleep sacks
  • 4 bibs
  • 4-7 burpcloths
  • 10 washcloths
Cold Weather:
  • Bunting/Coat/Carrier Cover
  • Thick hat
Sunny Weather:
  • Sun hat/bonnet
  • Sunglasses

Temperature and Layers
Babies under six months lack the ability to self regulate their temperatures. This means that they need to be dressed appropriately for the temperature, and you will need to carry an extra blanket with you all year round.

The rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one more layer than what you wear, but if you are always hot or cold, than this might not work for you. Here is a general guide:
65°F and under: 3-4 layers - diaper and undershirt or onesie, sleeper or gown, hat, and an outer layer appropriate for the temperature (ie: sweater, bunting, winter stroller cover)
65-68°F: 3 layers - diaper and undershirt or onesie, sleeper or gown, and a swaddling blanket or sleep sack. While baby is awake you can use a light hat.
69-74°F: 2 layers - diaper and undershirt or onesie; sleeper, gown, blanket, or sleep sack
75-79°F: 1-2 layers - diaper and undershirt, onesie, sleeper, or gown
80-84°F: 1 layer: diaper and undershirt or onesie
85°F+: Just a diaper, and a fan wouldn't hurt either...

Clothing sizing for babies is done by age. They use the average weight and length of a baby for each age group. Unfortunately, not all babies are average. They all grow at different rates. Some babies spend all of three weeks in the 0-3mo size, while others won’t leave that size until they are five months. It is frustrating because trying to squish your children into too small clothes can stunt growth, while putting too big of clothes on can twist around the baby or cover their faces and suffocate them.

Notes About Newborns
People love to buy teeny tiny baby clothes, and they love to buy in the newborn size. Unfortunately, babies grow out of the newborn size quickly, and some babies never fit in them. If you put layette items on your registry, make sure they are 6mo+ items or else you will end up with 50 newborn outfits and no 9-12mo outfits.

To see my full layette guide, go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltguides/fullview/R2A7D1P7CX3CXR/ref=

Modern Day Diaper Service

It used to be (and for some cloth users still is) that a diaper service could come collect your dirty diapers, and return the clean. Nowadays, most people use disposable diapers, but diaper service is still available in a different way.

No more running to the store in the middle of the night for more diapers or making a make-shift diaper out of a dish towel! Modern mothers (and other caregivers) can have diapers delivered right to their front doors! It works like grocery delivery services. You sign up online, and once a month you receive a box of diapers in the mail. The only thing you have to do is change the size accordingly when baby outgrows the current one. 

Amazon.com offers this service under their "Subscribe and Save" section. If you order a monthly shipment, then you pay less. What a great way to save time and money! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Best Toys for 0-6mo

Lamaze Freddie the Firefly

You are never too little for toys! At least as long as they're age appropriate. When searching for toys for the 0-6mo range, there are a few things to keep in mind. At this age the most fascinating things to a baby are human faces - babies are the best at staring contests. They also like big, bold, contrasting patterns in black, white, and red at first, but after a few months they will prefer bright colors. The fan is mesmerizing, and they can spend hours staring at light fixtures. Your house is already filled with baby fun, but a few (not fifty) toys are nice to have. Also, do not forget to read to your baby! Babies love to hear your voice, and they are too little to care whether what you read is a baby book, the sports section, or People magazine. 

Here is my list of the best toys for 0-6mo:

Dear Nanny: Carseat Help

Dear Nanny,

We have a 2yr old boy and are expecting a baby girl next month. We want to buy a new "girly" cover for our very boy looking car seat. Do you have any recommendations of where to find a good one?

One and Counting!


Dear One and Counting,

While I understand your difficulty (who can resist all of those cute baby girl prints?), I have to caution you against your plan. Adding anything to your car seat that did not come with it is extremely dangerous. This is because it was not crash tested with the seat, and may compromise the safety and integrity of the seat. Even items that claim to be crash tested for safety (read JJ Cole BundleMe), can compromise your seat because while it may have been crash tested, who is to say it was tested in your particular seat? These items can affect the fit of the seat on the child, or the overall safety.

Do not lose hope yet! Some car seat manufacturers allow you to buy swap kits for the car seat to change the pattern. Call the manufacturer of your seat to see if they do the same. If not you may be able to find someone (only if they have the exact same seat) to swap covers with. For example switching the cover of your SnugRide 22 for another SnugRide 22, but not a SnugRide 22 for a SnugRide 35. I would check with the manufacturer before doing even that though.

Hope this helps!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Review: Munchkin Stroller Links

This is my review from Amazon.com Rating: FIVE STARS

I use these with a Chicco Capri Lightweight Stroller, Tangerine and a Mutsy Mutsy Easyrider Umbrella Stroller, Black. This product works great with these two strollers!

-They are quick and easy to attach
-they stay together even over rougher terrain (mud, playground mulch)
-the wheels never get entangled
-My turn radius is still really great

My only problem comes with me using two different strollers. The Mutsy is a little larger with taller handles, and the frames don't match up exactly, but these still work great!

*They will not fit through some doorways, but so far I haven't had any insurmountable problems.

UPDATE (2mo later)
We used this the other day at the museum with a 2.5yr old and a 1yr old. I was - once again - amazed by how well they stayed together with two toddlers in two different strollers! No problems at all! When we went through somewhere tight we unhooked the strollers in seconds, and re-hooked them again later.

At a retail price of less than $10, these are more than worth their weight in gold.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Keeping Cool in the Heat

Wading Pool from Babies R Us
As we are now in yet another 90+ degree week here in Chicago (today was the coolest at 94), I thought it would be appropriate to talk about keeping baby cool outdoors. Over 90 degrees is too hot for a baby or young child to be outside, especially for longer than a half hour. Young children overheat very easily. Yet, staying inside all day will make anyone stir-crazy, so I am going to list some tips, products, and ideas for staying cool.


  • Infants under 6mo cannot wear sunscreen. SPF/UPF clothing could be worn, as well as hats, sunglasses, and stroller shades.
  • Over 6mo, your child should wear sunscreen even if it's cloudy. Always use a hat and sunglasses, even eyes can get sunburns!
  • Children should be kept mainly in the shade to help prevent overheating
  • Hand your child their water to drink. If you just ask, then you can be sure a two-three year old will say "No" just to be contrary. Offer water rather than juice or milk
  • If you are a breastfeeding mother, than you are in luck! Your body is making milk that is more watery in the hot weather to keep baby from dehydrating. Do not try this with formula without asking your pediatrician. Do not offer an infant a bottle filled with water.
  • Use a washcloth or wipes on baby's neck, head, feet, and wrists to help keep them cool.
  • Plan trips to the library, baby classes, story time at bookstores, and to a mall to get your little one out of the house without exposing them to the heat for longer than it takes to go from car to building.
  • Set up a water table, baby pool, or sprinkler to keep kids cool. Toddlers love to fill and dump, so add some cups to make it fun. A half inch of water is perfect for laying a small baby in in the shade. Please read my drowning post prior to any water activities. If it's too hot or you have no yard, than play in the tub for awhile or set up some pans and cups on a towel on the kitchen floor or sidewalk.
  • Meeno Baby Stroller Seat Liner - really works! We have one and it is fantastic! Obviously, on very hot days baby will sweat anyway, but it really cuts down on overheating. Get a light color to keep baby cool.
  • Protect a Bub Sunshade extension - Extends the shade on your stroller to completely cover baby. Get a lighter color to keep the shade from absorbing heat.
  • DreamBaby Stroller Fan - A clip-on, battery operated fan. The reviews are not great, but so far I haven't found anything better. I just bought one.
  • TogetherBe Peekaru Ozone - blocks 95% of UVA/UVB rays. Great for those too little for sunblock. Fits over carrier, car seat, or stroller.
  • Coolibar UPF 50+ Sun Blanket - Great for those too little for sunscreen. This company also makes hats and sun suits with UPF protection.
  • BabyBanz - Sunglasses that can't be pulled off! For newborns through the toddler years.
  • 3 Foot Wading Pool - At $6 what's not to like?
  • Step2 Naturally Playful Sand and Water Center - This one is nice because it has an umbrella that can be raised and lowered.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Types of Baby Carriers

There are a lot of different types of carriers out there, and new ones are being created each day. Most carriers fall into one of these categories:

Amauti from amautibaby.com
  • Babywearing Clothing: Throughout history, people from many cultures simply wrapped their clothing around themselves and their babies. The African Kanga and Japanese Obi are both examples. Now we have new designs, and some custom made traditional clothing available for babywearing use.
    • Amauti Coat: (Amauti Baby) Traditional Inuit coat with a back carrier built in. Used with newborns and up. For use in winter or cold weather climates only. Beautiful, expensive, and custom made.
    • Kangaroo Care Shirt (Nuroo, Vija Designs) A stretchy shirt with a built in baby carrier. Meant for kangaroo care with preemies and newborns. Holds baby similarly to a stretchy wrap. Not for older babies or toddlers
LittleLife Freedom Frame Backpack www.littlelife.com
  • Frame Backpacks: (Kelty, LittleLife, Deuter) for the outdoorsy family, framed backpacks protect the baby from harm. They are comfortable for a day of hiking, and often sold at sporting goods stores. Use with older babies and toddlers. Interior frames (with the frame inside the material of the backpack) are becoming more popular than exterior frames. Dad-friendly
CatBird Baby Mei Tai, catbirdbaby.com
  • Soft Unstructured / Asian Style Baby Carriers: A rectangle or square of fabric with ties that secure baby to you. Easily adjustable to different wearers. Mei Tai (pronounced “May Tie”) is popular, others include Hmong, Onbuhimo, Podaegi, Chunei, and Bei Bei
    • Mei Tai: (Catbird Baby, BabyHawk, Kozy) an easy to use Chinese carrier for all different ages, comfortable for short or long term carries. An unpadded waist strap is a plus here, the bottom can be rolled up to make a smaller body size to fit a younger infant.
    • Podaegi: (FreeHand) A Korean carrier that is traditionally worn on the back. It is basically a blanket with a long strap over the top. The strap goes over the wearers shoulders and back under the baby's bottom. It is used for newborns and up.
    • Onbuhimo: (FreeHand) A Japanese carrier that is very similar to the Mei Tai, except, instead of  bottom straps it has two loops that the top straps are threaded through.

Ergonomic Kinderpack from kindercarry.com
  • Soft Structured: Easy to use and position baby. Great for travel, can be used from birth until toddler depending on the carrier. Often padded for greater comfort. Usually uses buckles or snaps to secure baby safely. Easily adjusted between wearers. Many dads prefer the look of SSCs.
    • Front pack: (Bjorn, Britax) not recommended because they hold baby in a way that stresses their developing bones and joints. Better for short periods of wearing with smaller babies.
    • Structured Hip Carrier: (Scootababy, Playtex) for parents and babies who love hip carries. Structured with one shoulder strap. For babies 6mo+. Many other carriers offer hip carry options, but this one is much more comfortable. Only for those serious about hip carrying.
    • Ergonomic: (Ergo, Beco Butterfly II, Kinderpack) Great carriers hold baby in the correct position with baby front to front with the wearer. Best for older babies and toddlers. Comfortable for both baby and wearer, can take the place of a framed backpack. Men tend to prefer these types of carriers for their less 'girly' looks.
    • Half Buckle: A structured waist supports baby’s weight, and mei tai shoulder straps allow for easy adjustments
    • Reverse Half Buckle: Structured shoulder straps provide total comfort, while a tie waist allows you to place the waist wherever you want
Silk Brocade Zolowear Ring Sling, zolowear.com

  • Sling: a piece of fabric that is looped around the body, usually over one shoulder. Strains shoulder if worn for extended periods of time
    • Pouch Sling: (Hotslings, Slinglings) A loop of fabric folded to create a pouch. Easy to use, but sized by the wearer, so they cannot be shared between caregivers unless everyone is the same size. Not great for newborns.
    • Adjustable Pouch: (Zolowear, Mama’s Milk) A pouch sling with some adjustability in length to help get the right fit. Not nearly as adjustable as a ring sling
    • Bag Style Pouch: (Premaxx, SlingRider) NEVER USE with babies – babies have died in this type of carrier, giving all carriers a bad name. These carriers are pouch slings with elastic edges and a deep pouch. The elastic easily covers baby’s face, causing suffocation. OK for hip carry with a toddler. 
    • Ring Sling: (Maya Wrap, Zolowear, Sakura Bloom) Easily adjustable to different wearers, features a ring over the shoulder, which material is threaded through. Works well for newborns through young toddlers. Easily my favorite type of carrier. AKA traditional or open tail ring sling.
    • Close Tail Ring Sling (Hava, Sling EZee): Similar to an adjustable pouch, this is a ring sling with a strap to adjust instead of the rest of the fabric. Does not adjust evenly like an open tail ring sling, and can be tricky to use with a newborn because of that.
    • Close Tail Buckle Sling (Balboa Baby): Sort of like a cross between a bag sling and a close tail ring sling. Not recommended for newborns – can closely resemble bag style slings.
    • X-Sling (Cashmere Cuddles, Michiko Baby): These are not very common in the US. This carrier has a loop over each shoulder, and is sewn together in the middle. This makes an X on the wearer's front and back. Baby is slipped in to the X for an easy two shoulder carry.
    • Stretchy X-Sling: (K’tan, Blue Celery, Caboo) Like a X-sling, except that the material is stretchy. These can be used to hold one or two babies. Holds baby like a stretchy wrap without the tying. Great for newborns, generally too stretchy for older babies and toddlers.
Didymos Woven Wrap, didymos.com
  • Wrap/Wraparound: a long piece of fabric that is wrapped and tied around the wearers body. Baby is slipped into the fabric for a secure hold. Distributes weight evenly for long carrying. From birth until 40lb +. Easily adjusted for different wearers. Can carry two babies at once.
    • Stretchy: (Moby, Boba, Wrapsody) more popular and easy to adjust, great for newborns, not supportive enough for older babies, hot in warm weather.
    • Simple Piece of Cloth: Exactly what it sounds like, a sheet, blanket, shawl, or length of fabric wrapped around wearer. As long as you test the seams and body, then it is perfectly safe for baby. Jersey, Osnaburg, and cotton jacquard are popular SPOCs. Sometimes people make them into DIY wraps.
    • Woven: (Didymos, Storchenwiege) If you were going to have only one carrier, this would be it. Woven carriers are stronger than stretchy ones, meaning no need to adjust tying during the day. Can be used from a newborn to a young child. Has a steep learning curve.
    • Short Woven Wrap: Rebozo, Kanga > Native carrier, knotted over the shoulder or chest for easy adjustment between wearers. Depending on length, they may be used with some full length wrap carries. Woven wrap companies make wraps in all different sizes to suit different wearers and carries.
    • Mesh/Gauze Wraps: (Wrapsody, BabyEtte) Somewhat stretchy and cool for summer. Many prefer to use a lightweight woven wrap when it gets hot. The mesh ones are often used in water. Less supportive for heavier babies.

How to Hire a Nanny

How to Hire a Nanny

First you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want a nanny or nanny share (where 2 families share a nanny to save costs)?
- How many hours will I need a nanny for?
- What kind of education background am I looking for in my nanny (nanny school graduate, college educated, has a degree in early childhood education, took some classes, is a mother, is a grandmother)?
- Will I need a nanny with a car, or will she need one made available to her? Would I be OK with nanny taking children on public transit?
- Do I care if my nanny prefers to be paid under the table or do I want someone who will do their taxes?
- Do I want an English speaking nanny? Or do I want my child to have the benefit of learning two languages?
- Do I care if my nanny is a US citizen?
- Will I provide food for my nanny, or do I want her to bring her own?
- Do I want my nanny to be CPR and First Aid certified? Would I be willing to pay for nanny to receive this training?
- Do I want a nanny who would be available for weekend babysitting?
- Will I need my nanny to do any household duties? Some nannies charge extra for doing chores around the house.
- Do you mind if nanny uses her cell, computer, etc while child is awake? While child is napping? Do you mind if your nanny naps while child is napping?
- Do you want your nanny to sign a contract?

Cost of a nanny:
- Educated nannies in this area generally start at about $12/hour, but you can do a weekly salary if you and your nanny prefer. 
- Taxes can be taken out by you, where you would need to get him/her a W2 form, or you can pay your nanny and let them decide whether or not they want to pay their taxes.
- Be aware of other costs like things your nanny buys for your child (meals, activities, etc), gas money, food for nanny to eat, etc
- Many people offer their nanny 2wk paid vacation (1wk of their choosing, 1 of yours), paid holidays, and a couple of sick days as well. Many families pay the nanny for the week days they do not need her (ie: the random Friday off)
-Will we be providing insurance? Most nannies get their own insurance, but you may run across some who will expect you to provide insurance.

- Nannies can be found at a variety of places: nanny schools, colleges, nanny agencies, ads, parenting forums, word of mouth, etc
- You could start this several months in advance (if you are picky in requirements), but it may be easier to find someone closer to the date (like a couple months before). Also you would be able to see how the nanny would interact with your child
- Make sure you lay out all your cards at an interview so your nanny will know what she’s getting into. Mention pay, hours needed, expectations, etc.
- Ask your prospective nanny about what they expect as far as pay, time off, overtime, etc
- Give your prospective nanny situations and ask them how they would handle it. Tantrums, crying that won’t stop, illness in the child, illness in the nanny, etc
- Ask your nanny what they plan to do with your child during the day
- Make sure you check your nanny’s references and run a background check.
- Ask references questions like: Was she ever late? If there was one thing you could change about her, what would it be? What was your favorite thing about her? How long was she in your employ? Why did she leave?

The process of finding a nanny is arduous, but having a nanny you can trust to take care of your children is well worth the effort.