Getting the Right Fit with Baby Slings & Carriers

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our first Manduca.

We bought our first soft structured carrier (SSC) back in 2011, before the arrival of our first kid. The carrier came highly recommended by a work colleague. I was eyeing the baby bjorn then. But when I read up about SSCs, there was no turning back.

Back then, babywearing didn’t get that much attention. It was just another alternative to taking your baby out. My parents never used one, much less hear about different types of carriers. I had seen people using sarongs to babywear, but never really took notice of it any further. But heck, look at how much babywearing had come. This basic Manduca has seen me through 4 kids, and has reached a faded brown hahaha. But we use it more often than the black one we got in 2014. It is so soft now that it has been worn in.

When we received our first Manduca, we fumbled with the infant insert. We panicked when Ollie cried so hard in the insert. We weren’t sure if we were wearing him the correct way. Looking back, I could almost tell what we were doing wrong, hyper-extended legs without the insert, not wearing close and high enough, footed pjs..

Of course there is Youtube. When in doubt, nothing like a video to ‘walk’ you through the process. But Youtube can’t tell you a fair bit of stuff. Let me tell you why.

After 6 years of babywearing in a SSC and trying out a wrap, I thought I had it all figured out. Until I went for a fitting session at Baby Slings and Carriers. Case in point, me with Alex in the JPMBB stretchy wrap before the fitting session, and a next day after a fitting session. I had started wrapping Sarah in 2016 after watching a Youtube video and hoping for the best that she doesn’t slide out of it.

left, my crappy wrapping skills; right, after having proper lessons on wrapping!

What I learn at a fitting session was having Pearline, a babywearing consultant and owner of Baby Slings & Carriers, telling me how tight I can wrap Alex without hurting her and providing both her and myself better support. Seriously, it felt SO much better. I had been constantly lifting her to re-tighten the wrap prior to the fitting session. As the JPMBB wrap was stretchy, there was actually alot more leeway and I could have wrapped her tighter and higher. Poor kiddo was always ‘drowning’ in my slack wrapping skills. Hahahaha. I was told that I could wrap up to a 2yo..very tempted to wrap Sarah one of these days just to give it a shot!

they have a wide range of wraps for you to try!

Not only are the team at BSC all about just getting you the right fit, I had a chat with them about support for the babywearing momma as well. In 2017, I found out that I had mild cervical spondylosis. I had been experiencing some neck problems and after an xray, we found some degenerative discs in my neck. Bummer. I also had been seeing a chiropractor for my back problems. After 6 years of babywearing and realising that A LOT of information was about having the right spinal & hip support for the baby, but nothing much was said for the wearer. I was really glad to be able to speak with Pearline about such issues and how babywearing should support BOTH the wearer and baby. I was realised to hear some of their advise does tie in with what my chiropractor says, about wearing baby closer to spread out the weight across the body, as opposed to baby hanging off me.

chatting with Pearline about wearer support

Obviously BSC have their own range of baby carriers that they retail (helloooo Manduca!), but they are not biased about their own products. There is no one fit cos well, we are all of different size, and one might just feel better using another carrier based on the support it offers. But heck, I am biased towards the Manduca so obviously I’m gonna be raving A LOT about the XT that we are using!

crash course on the XT

No fiddling with an infant insert any longer. Best idea evah, and it is f****** cushy! The shoulder straps too! I could easily want to rest my head against it to rest on it. This photo was when Alex was 2 weeks old. Back in Ollie days, we would have panicked if he as much shrieked his head of in the infant insert. Under the watchful guidance of Pearline & Michelle, and A LOT of shushing to soothe Alex, we got her nicely snuggled in the carrier and left her as that! It was the first time I actually had the shoulder straps crossed behind my back so as to make the carrier more snug for Alex, curving the panel around her. Steep learning curve siah. Back carry and side carry I can handle, but crossing the straps was another level altogether.

upgrade!

Now that Alex is 4 months old, we upgraded the XT with the ellipse ZipIn. Without the ZipIn, the zipped up panel was too short for her (her head was bobbing backwards); extending the panel fully meant she would drown in the carrier. Having the ZipIn meant the panel would still be able to provide her with the necessary neck support whilst being in the carrier. Major upgrade for us compared to the previous versions of Manducas! I had the opportunity to borrow a Size It and ellipse ZipIn to try old Manduca and they still worked like a breeze. You can always get this accessories if you managed to get your hand on Basic or Blackline Manduca.

look ma, no insert!

how the size it looks

How the fitting session felt:

You don’t feel pressured to buy anything. There is a charge for the consultation, $20, which I feel is worth it because you are paying for their time to guide you into making an educated decision about the carrier that will suit you.

Ask them ANYTHING. Okay, maybe not questions like recipes for their best bak kut teh recipe or something. Ask them anything in relation to babywearing. Tell them your concerns. When in doubt, ask! Else how to get the right fit?

Definitely bring baby along. They are really patient and will want baby to be comfortable before fitting you. No one breaks out in a sweat. Just a nice calm carrier fitting.

meet the team

They’ll be the ones to walk you through your fitting! Have an awesome and calm fitting!

Category: Reviews

Day 76: choices

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the tings, sans Alex

today, the boys talked about getting married. I was telling Donald about a friend and his girlfriend.

Oliver: eeee girlfriend!
Quentin: hey! Don’t say eee girlfriend!
Me: Yes, you’re right, Quentin, there is nothing wrong about saying girlfriend. I was daddy’s girlfriend before getting married, and Daddy was my boyfriend.
Oliver: what!

And we got into a discussion about what getting married was about. I asked them what they thought getting married was about.

Oliver: kiss and get a ring!
Me: well, getting married is more than just about a kiss and rings. When we get married, we do have same rings, but getting married is more than that. It is about a promise between two people. I promised to take care of Daddy, love him and be with him for as long as possible. Daddy has promised to protect me, love me and be with me for as long as possible too!
Oliver: when did you become daddy’s girlfriend?
Me: I became his girlfriend in 2005.

The realisation that 14 years has gone by. And that we don’t really feel any different from when we were 23 and 25. And now..we are 37 and 39. Age is just a number. It really is. But how quickly 14 years have gone by, and we barely realised it. How many 14 years would we have together?

I recently made a decision about our family. The business would have to take a backseat. With Alex turning 4 months and being more awake for longer periods and more aware of the people around her, I wanted to focus more and be there for the kids. A few events with the kids had made me realised that I wanted to remember more about that.

Quentin was growing up and proudly taking his role as an older brother to this two sisters. He is awesome. I can always count on him to emotionally care for his sisters, to not them be upset or distressed.

Oliver is in primary school. His time with us has been reduced significantly, and as his interactions with his siblings. On the other hand, he was getting some one on one time with his father on the way to school. Donald’s time has come in to be the role model to his son. I would still pick him from school, and one day, he asked if I could pick him up without his siblings. I had the rare few occasions of picking him alone when my dad would come over in the afternoons so that the other two kids did not need to tag along.

My heart ached for him. Ollie asks the most questions about everything, about life, about concepts, about principals. He thirsts for knowledge, any kind of knowledge as he thinks about it. And I try my best to answer it as much as possible. I love talking to him as we go through life. And he tries his best to understand the way a 7yo can. I have resorted to hiding notes for him in his school bag so that he is reminded that we are there for him, and he is not forgotten.

One other reason why I wanted to focus more on the kids was…the trust they placed in us. Yesterday, I was upset with the boys, who had promised to keep their Lego sets before I released the new sets to them, only to have them break their promise when they were completed with it. It had happened so many times. I reminded Oliver that the trust had been broken time and again, and I was so done with it. I told him that I was disappointed in him. And he knew that I rarely severely discipline him.

Donald stepped him to talk to Ollie, and made him aware of his emotions. There was anger at not being able to play Lego anymore, and there was sadness, as I was disappointed in him.

And there was reconciliation, something that I didn’t have as I went through a very tumultuous relationship with my mother. I made sure that there was reconciliation after every scolding, and trust was built again, and there was love. I reminded Oliver that I may be angry with him, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love him. Reconciliation is when he voluntarily gives me a hug and kiss, walks away and comes back for another hug and kiss after saying good night. He goes to bed reassured and secure, and we start again the next day.

This is us with our kids. We are not perfect, but we move on and try again the next day, and we talk.

Earlier last week, I dreaded the school holidays, about breaking routine and catering to all four kids. Would we have cabin fever?

Then I had fun at our outing yesterday at East Coast Park. Sure I had my mom watching a napping Alex in the tent, whilst I spent time with the kids. It made a diff. But it also reminded me that the school hols should be a time to remind ourselves of the flexibility we had before Ollie went to primary school and that all the more, we should head out and spend time together. So I started looking around at things to do for the school hols.

As it is, I am typing this and prepping cookie dough so that the kids could cut the cookies out tomorrow as an activity. And Oliver has requested to learn about temperatures and the earth-moon-sun rotation tomorrow. WTH. My brain is gonna hurt reading about it. We borrowed books from the library too, so we will be reading some books together.

Donald told me something, when I told him I wanted to focus more on the kids. I was feeling guilty as we were financially tight, and every cent from the business does help us to go along.

‘well, do it. You became a SAHM to be with the kids, not build a business.’ And I am very very thankful for his support and very fortunate to be able to do so. The assurance and peace to be with the family. Today, I am reminded again that I probably have another 5-6 years before I have even lesser time with Ollie as he grows and makes more friends.

If not now, then when?

Both Donald and I have had to make some decisions, regarding work and family. It has always been a no brainer for us, to have as much time as possible with the kids is top priority. Almost everything else can wait. Well, except money for insurance. No insurance and 4 kids is a disaster hahaha.

Adulting sucks but ah well, we’ve got the 4 monsters to look after, it’ll all be cool.

Category: Daily

14 Valentine’s later

14 Valentine’s

Dear you,

you would wonder what the fuss about this watch is. But bebe, this is now more than a watch. This is you telling me that I matter.

Of course you matter to me! How can you say that you don’t matter to me?’¬†I could almost hear that indignant exclamation.

When you asked me the all important question of whether I liked you that fateful 17th April, I was secretly grinning whilst chastising you to ask me again when you were not drunk. I was at the point where I felt I was mature enough to handle a decent relationship after a slew of disastrous ones before.

You meant a lot to me.

There was the romancing, surprises and then a lot of practicality and logic came in as we continued our relationship for the next 4 years, then 10 and then now 14 years, with 4 fabulous kids. We have an awesome relationship, we do. And I am thankful for that. You have supported me and taken care of me in many ways.

Well, except the secret girly part of me.

Amidst the practicality, there was the girl in me who yearned for flowers, surprises and little notes. But I struggled with the practicality aspect cos flowers don’t last and they are a waste of money; surprises are hard to come up with and we are mostly tired; and you just don’t do notes. Most times, I’d give myself a mental slap and say..come on, you don’t need this lor. But I secretly wanted to feel special, like more than normal days, can? Like someone was doing something special for me. Especially on 14th Feb, no matter how commercialised it is hahah. Like surprise me dammit!

But practical lor. Cos priorities hor? Laundry has got top priority in my life okay. No food never mind cos can tabao. BUT THE KIDS CANNOT BE WITHOUT UNIFORM. WTH.

Moments like you telling me to sleep my pregnancy cravings off (‘just sleep, it’ll be morning soon and you’ll forget about it’).¬†WHO SAID BEING PREGNANT IS QUEEN HAR?? hahaha. But okay la, you made up for that this latest pregnancy by going out to buy me hokkien me at 10.30pm.

Or I see something that I thought I might want to get, but I’d get less than positive comments about it and it would totally kill my mood. Not you buy for me summore, is ownself want to buy for ownself (albeit using ah lau’s salary). End up being killjoy.

Cos practical lor. It is not life and death. Adulting SUCKS. hahaha. Didn’t help that these days I felt more like a mom than ever. My life revolves around laundry, meals, household chores, keeping the kids alive and getting them into bed on time so I don’t have to deal with cranky kids. Family time is around 1 hour before you put the kids to bed and when they are asleep, it is mostly work time.

But the ones that made its way to my heart, the most precious and memorable surprises that get me grinning each time I think of it:

the first birthday gift, you recording yourself singing happy birthday at places we hang out at in Tasmania (circa 2005)

…you secretly buying the engagement ring that I wanted on the pretext of heading to the toilet (circa 2009)

…how you had planned to propose with said ring (circa 2009)

….a replica of our wedding bouquet in Perth for our 10th year paktor anniversary¬†(actually not supposed to count cos is planned one!)

to 2019, with this watch. I had showed you what I wanted with a screenshot at 9.49am on 13th Feb, and you managed to get it before it sold out. And probably cos I was grumbling in front of the kids about how I never got what I wanted when my husband bought me gifts. #truestory I wait for 10 years leh!

I loved hearing how you went and got it, and how you had to tell R not to get the watch cos I asked her to get the black one for me from Japan. Cos you said sold out and I went and checked the story on G-shock FB page.

I wanted to beam when you handed me the box but I didn’t want to let you off easy yet. Heng I didn’t cos YOU SAID IT WAS MEIJI MELTY KISS (WTF, box similar size summore.) Then you saw me beaming, once I opened the box right. haha. It’s not just about the watch, it is about you heading out to go get it okay! It’s not the first choice but it is WAY better than first choice, cos MY AH LAU BUY ONE! kekekeke. Not ownself buy. =P

Thanks for satisfying and making this secret girly girl super happy. <3

Category: Special