It’s time for another wonderful babywearing interview and giveaway!

Have you ever tried a pouch baby sling? They are, by far, the easiest baby carriers to use. Completely fuss-free, they are adjusted easily, without any straps, buckles, bulky fabric, or complicated tying methods. Slinglings pouches are oh-so-beautiful, with tons of fabric choices, ranging from classically cute to hip and sophisticated. Slinglings customer service policy is excellent! Since pouches must be sized for an individual wearer, they will gladly exchange any new-condition pouches for another size, no questions asked. Please enjoy this interview with Sara Gower, founder and owner of Slinglings. Read on for details on how to win your own Slinglings pouch!

On the Slinglings website, Sara has written a wonderful account of how Slinglings got its start. Here is an excerpt:

“When our daughter came along in 2005, she LIVED in my pouches. Having an older son made it necessary to wear Katie on my body while tending to him. My husband coined the nickname “slingling” for her, as in, “one who lives in a sling”. It was on a vacation in July 2005, traveling around the Pacific Northwest, that he decided that I should start a business selling my slings. He was so surprised at the attention that a baby in a sling attracted. People stopped us on the streets to ask where they could buy one. He also hadn’t thought about the fact that if Katie had been in a stroller, we wouldn’t have been able to do half of what we did on that vacation! We went hiking up mountain trails with Katie sleeping in a sling, while we watched other parents with strollers turn around when it got too rough. We waded in the frigid waters off the Washington coast while other parents with babies stayed up by their cars with their babies bundled in car seats. We played miniature golf with our son while Katie watched from the sling. Steve even had Katie in a sling while playing pinball with Nicholas.One week later after arriving back home and settling in, Steve had bought the domain name Slinglings.com and our business was born. Steve is a programmer so he immediately went to work on our website.

 

Katie was such a happy slingling that I decided ‘Every baby should be a Slingling’. Our goal is to make parenting easier and babies happier.”

 

 

 

 

And thus, Slinglings was born! Isn’t that a wonderful story?
 
 

 

Now, on to my questions:  

Andrea: Slinglings offers so many wonderful fabric choices. Could you tell me a
little bit about your fabric selection process?
 
Sara: Our most recent batch of fabrics were designed and printed exclusively for us. We started the process in 2007. We put up polls with many different fabrics swatches on our website for customers to vote on for several months. Once the basic designs were picked out, then the colors had to be picked…which may have been harder than picking the designs! We finally decided on 3 designs, 2 of which are available in 2 colorways, for 5 exclusive fabrics total. It was an expensive and long process, but all 5 fabrics have done really well! Two of our best selling fabrics are Apollo and Azul, which my husband designed and we chose the colors for together.  

When we first started, we bought any (and I do mean ANY) suitable fabric that we could find at a reasonable price, whether it was at local fabric stores, online fabrics stores, or from fabric wholesalers. We really made some mistakes in our fabric selections in the first year. We still have some mistake fabrics hanging around on our website. :)

Andrea: Why pouch slings?  

 Sara: They are easy, quick to put on and take off. Compact to fit in any bag. The hardest part is finding your correct size! It is really common for new sling users to wear a pouch too loose, so half the battle is just teaching people how they should actually fit. Pouches are also lower in cost than many other baby carriers, and they are often referred to as the “gateway baby carrier”, because many parents start with a pouch, and then go on to other more advanced, more expensive, or more supportive carriers.

 

 

Andrea: What is the best thing about owning a babywearing company?
 

 

 

Sara: I love meeting with local customers and getting to wear their babies! I am done having babies, my youngest is three-and-a-half, so this gives me a chance to hold and wear tiny babies again. When I can’t meet with customers, I love seeing pictures and hearing about how our slings have helped them. I also love the flexibility that owning my own businesses gives me and my family. Both my husband and I work at home and we can work almost any schedule we like, around our children’s schedules.
Andrea: What is the hardest/most challenging thing?

Sara: For me, the hardest part of owning a babywearing company is trying to teach customers how to use their new carriers by email or phone. I truly wish that I could meet with more customers in person, especially for pouches, because they are much easier to size in person.

 It is very hard to work around our two kids sometimes. We have a seven-year-old son, Nicholas, and a three-year-old daughter, Katherine (Katie). They don’t understand that even though their parents are right there with them, we can’t necessarily drop everything and get them a snack or make them chocolate milk right when they want it! It is a struggle to get them to respect the time that we need to accomplish what we need to do in order to support our family. We have recently moved our business out of our home finally, into a warehouse about a mile away. I thought that I would hate having to “go to work”, but it is so much more efficient and relaxing to go there, get what I need to do DONE, and then go home to my family. I still do all of my computer work at home, but almost all other work is done at the warehouse. 

 Andrea: I actually discovered Slinglings through the No Mother Left Behind
website. Could you tell me a bit about Slinglings’ charitable donations?

Sara: In addition to No Mother Left Behind, we also donate to sling “lending libraries”, La Leche League groups, Attachment Parenting International groups, and other similar groups. All of these groups are non profit organizations that generally promote sensitive, attentive parenting and breastfeeding. Babywearing is a great tool in facilitating attachment between baby and parent, and encourages frequent, extended breastfeeding. We have worked with a few hospitals and county health departments, offering higher than normal discounts on our slings, so that they can provide low income new moms a sling at no cost if they would like one. Instead of the “formula diaper bags” that so many get in the hospital after giving birth, they get items that promote breastfeeding and attachment. 

 

 Andrea: What is your best piece of advice for parents who are new to babywearing?

Sara: Have patience when you and your baby are trying out a new carrier. It takes time and practice for both you and the baby to get accustomed to babywearing. New parents often buy a sling, try it once, then return it saying that their baby cried when they put him in. If I could meet with every customer in person, I could show them just how much their baby will love being worn. It’s often the parent’s inexperience and tension that causes the baby to cry; babies can sense it! When I calmly and expertly :) put their baby in a carrier, the baby is generally so content. I have never met a baby that didn’t like being worn. It’s just a matter of finding the position that the baby likes best (usually upright against the wearer’s chest) and giving the baby time to get used to being in the carrier. 
 

Second piece of advice, wear your baby high and snug! Your back and shoulders will thank you. It is really common for new users to wear any carrier too low and loose. Even Baby Bjorns that I see being worn out in public are usually worn too low. Baby’s bottom should be at your belly button! When the baby is in an upright position, you should be able to easily kiss the top of your baby’s head.
 
 Thanks, Sara, for sharing your advice and the story of your wonderful product.

I would like to congratulate Sara on the purchase of AttachedToBaby.com! Surf on over there to see some more great baby products!

Sara has graciously agreed to sponsor the giveaway of one in-stock Slingling. To enter this giveaway, click over to Slinglings. Then, come back here and leave a comment below, stating which Slingling you like best.

To Obtain Extra Entried for all This week’s Babywearing Giveaways, you can do one or all of the following things:

  • Blog about the Babywearing Bonanza
  • Grab my Babywearing Bonanza Button (see my sidebar) and place it in your sidebar
  • Email five people about the Babywearing Bonanza, and Cc me at: wamcmann(at)telebeep(dot)com

If you choose to earn extra entries, be sure to let me know, so I can give you credit for your hard work!

This giveaway ends on September 10, 2008 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

 

 

Last summer, after reading about several baby-shaking incidents over the course of just a few weeks, I decided that someone should start a charity that gifts baby carriers to parents that might not otherwise have access to them, and also serves to educate parents about babywearing. It is my feeling that so many infant abuse cases could be avoided if more parents and caregivers knew about, and had access to, babywearing. I know from personal experience how much difference a good baby carrier makes, when trying to soothe a high-needs baby. I also decided that if no one had already begun such a charity, I would do it myself.

Thankfully, there was already a non-profit devoted to gifting baby carriers to low-income families, and providing babywearing support and information. This wonderful organization is called No Mother Left Behind, and it had already been doing its good deeds for a year before I discovered it!

Recently, I had the chance to interview the owner of No Mother Left Behind, Andrea Howard. Please enjoy the following interview. It’s the first of four babywearing non-profit profiles I will be sharing with you this week. If you love babywearing as much as I do, consider donating your time and/or money to one or all of these wonderful organizations!

 

Q: I know that Mary Finch originally founded No Mother Left Behind (NMLB). How did you become involved with the organization?

A: I became involved with the organization when Mary decided to step back from NMLB and focus on her family. She needed someone to take over, and being a big babywearing advocate I jumped at the chance to help mothers wear their babies! 

Q: Could you briefly explain NMLB’s purpose, for those not familiar with it?

A: No Mother Left Behind is a non-profit babywearing organization that helps low-income mothers wear their babies. We accept donations from individuals, WAHMs and companies and redistribute them to mothers who have been approved through our application process. 
 
Q: When was NMLB founded? How many carriers have been gifted so far?

 A: No Mother Left Behind was founded almost two years ago, in October 2006. To date, we have donated over 350 carriers and the number grows daily!

Q: What is the best part about being the owner of an organization like NMLB? 

A:The best thing about being a part of this program is knowing that I am helping mothers to wear their babies. I get such a great feeling when I read an email saying ‘My sling got here today, and I love it! My baby is so much happier!’.

Q: What is the hardest/most challenging part of being involved with NMLB?

The hardest part is managing it all! NMLB is really growing and keeping up with emails and questions is getting tricky, especially with a 2 year old and a new baby due soon. We’re expanding, though, and I’m already feeling better about the changes in NMLB! 

Q: Why do you feel that every parent should have access to a baby carrier?

A: I feel that every parent should have access to a baby carrier because for babies, touch and closeness with their parents is an important a need as food, sleep and a clean diaper- but it is also one of the most overlooked needs. It makes me sad to see ‘baby needs’ lists with strollers on the must-have list, and slings/carriers on the ‘extras’ list. There is something backward about that! Babies don’t only WANT to be held- they NEED to be held in order to grow and thrive. Babywearing makes meeting this need so much easier- I don’t know how I’d have survived the first year without babywearing! Every parent needs to be able to provide this for their baby.
 

A: How can a person get involved with NMLB? How much time and money would be required if one wished to volunteer? What about donating homemade or used slings?

 

A: To donate a sling, all one needs to do is fill out the donation form on our website, and we will contact you with instructions for sending your sling in. Homemade and used slings, provided they are still safe to use, are always welcome! If someone wishes to volunteer, they can donate as much or as little time as they wish. We do not expect our volunteers to donate any money- just their time is more than enough! All anyone needs to do is send us an email and offer up their time/services- we can almost always find something for someone to do!
 
Q:  How can a person find out if they would qualify for a carrier from NMLB? How does one go about applying?

A: To apply for a sling, an applicant needs to fill out the application found on our website (or print one and mail it in via post). After the application is received, they are required to send in proof of low income, photo ID and a small fee of $5 to cover shipping their new sling to them.

Q: Do you have volunteers in every region of the country?
 
A: We have volunteers across seven ‘zones’ in the United States. These volunteers are responsible for keeping an inventory of donated carriers and sending out carriers to approved applicants. We also have volunteers helping to process applications, direct donations, fundraise and spread the word about NMLB.
 

Q: Could you tell me about the changes you mentioned earlier?

 

 

A: We’ve recently expanded NMLB and brought on a ton of new volunteers. We’ve split up the ‘jobs’ and I am breathing a sigh of relief at not being in charge of all aspects of NMLB anymore! I am so grateful for everyone who’s volunteered to help bring slings to mothers who need them.
 
 
 Thank you, Andrea, for taking the time to answer my questions, and for giving so much of your time and heart to such a worthy cause!

To learn more, visit No Mother Left Behind today!

 

My mom used a baby carrier when I was an infant. I don’t remember it of course, but I can recall looking at a photo of the two of us, her looking happy with her 1980′s style glasses and teased hair, and a tiny me, only days old, snuggling contentedly inside her front pack carrier. Back in 1982, babywearing mamas didn’t have the abundance of carrier choices that we have today. In fact, only six years ago, when my first child was born, the babywearing market wasn’t nearly as saturated as it is today.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, one of the first baby care products I chose to buy was a baby carrier. Not knowing anything about babywearing, I figured a generic front pack carrier with tons of snaps and buckles, bought from a big box store, must be as good, or better than anything else on the market. Boy, was I wrong! That carrier was so uncomfortable–for me and my son both! I could count the times I wore that carrier on one hand, and each time, it seems I spent more time struggling into and out of the carrier than I did actually enjoying wearing my baby. I should have saved the $30 I spent on that carrier!

I also had a closed-tail ring sling with my son, but it wasn’t a whole lot better. It had far too much padding, making it just plain uncomfortable, and I had absolutely no experience with slings, so I didn’t know how to wear my baby correctly, making the sling quite uncomfortable and virtually useless. These two less-than-ideal experiences with babywearing caused me to give up. I figured that babywearing just wasn’t for me.

Fast forward three years, to the time when I was pregnant with my daughter. My son had recently been dealing with health issues, and I was terrified, thinking there was no way I’d be able to take care of two children at once. How would I ever keep up with housework? Would my son feel neglected? What if the baby wouldn’t let me put her down for naps? With these questions, among others, buzzing around in my mind, I looked into babywearing once again. I discovered the wrap-style carrier, and was very intrigued. It looked so comfortable and versatile! The more I looked at this style of carrier, the more I wanted one! Luckily, my birthday was a month before my due date. My mother bought me a wrap for my birthday, effectively starting me on the happier leg of my babywearing journey.

Over and over, after my daughter was born, I thanked my lucky stars for my baby carrier. She was a very intense baby, and although I love her more than life itself, that first six months would have been torture without my baby carrier! She cried more often than she did anything else; I literally feel, to this day, that my baby carrier saved my sanity. My daughter was only happy when she was snuggled close to me, able to listen to my heartbeat, and I was able to spend extra time with my son and get things done around the house, without having to put her down. For the first year of my daughter’s life, I probably wore that wrap carrier for 18 hours a day. She even took naps in it!

After my amazing experience with babywearing, I felt the need to share the wonderful gift that has been passed down from ancient times. A couple of months ago, my article, Babywearing: a Natural Fashion Statement, appeared in Natural Life. During my research for that article, I discovered so much about babywearing, including numerous brands of carriers that I am now in love with. I have become a baby carrier connoisseur, though I no longer even have a child who is young enough to be carried much. I decided to host this Babywearing Bonanza partly to celebrate my articles publication, but mostly to further promote babywearing. If even one parent benefits from my small amount of expertise, or even one mother is persuaded to give babywearing a try, I will feel like I have accomplished my mission.

I have a lot of great stuff in store for my Babywearing Bonanza. I hope you enjoy yourself, and please participate by adding your own babywearing stories below. I’d love to hear them!

Earlier this week, I mentioned the trouble my son was having letting me go when I took him to school. Well, as suddenly as these emotional mornings started, they stopped! I couldn’t believe it! All of a sudden, instead of crying an hour before school starts, he gets ready and wants to leave an hour early, so he can start playing sooner! It’s been an amazing transformation! Yesterday, he even asked me to come into the classroom with him. I was hesitant, because the last time I went in with him, he clung to me and threw a huge fit when it was time for me to leave. This time, though, he showed me some things he’d been working on, with pride evident in his eyes. I was so filled with pride myself that I could barely speak! For all the mothers of new kindergarteners: Hang in there! It will be okay, and you’ll be amazed how quickly your child blossoms, right before your eyes! :)


Not too long ago, I posted about how I figured out how to create and code the button for my Babywearing Bonanza. Now, I’d like to fill you in on how things are going to go down:

  • I am hosting this Babywearing Bonanza to celebrate all things babywearing. Babywearing means a lot to me, and I am really looking forward to promoting this wonderful parenting skill, and also reading your babywearing stories!
  • The Babywearing Bonanza starts this Sunday (August 31) and runs through next Saturday (September 6).
  • There will be several really great babywearing-related giveaways, also articles about babywearing, and interviews with babywearing experts and the owners of babywearing companies.
  • Anyone who blogs about the Babywearing Bonanza (or for non-bloggers, emailing five friends will work) will receive an extra entry for each babywearing giveaway.
  • Another extra entry can be obtained by grabbing my Babywearing Bonanza button and placing it in your sidebar.
  • So, all together, you can be entered three times to win each babywearing prize! That makes for pretty darn good odds!
  • Each giveaway lasts one week from the date it is posted.
  • Giveaways are open to U.S. residents only. Sorry!
  • No Drive-by commenting! Please read my post and answer my questions appropriately in order to be entered for the giveaway!
  • So…Stop by Sunday and have some fun celebrating babywearing with me!

Find more Tackle it Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

1stDayofSchool021.jpg picture by mamamcmann

Last week, I wrote about my son’s first day of kindergarten. It went so well! So did the day after that! Then…the bottom dropped out. That third day of kindergarten, as we were lining up in front of the school, my son started to blink rapidly and look sideways, like he does when he’s upset. Then, when we got into the classroom, his eyes welled up with tears. I stayed for 15 minutes, and his nose was running when I left. I helped him wipe it, hugged him, and said goodbye. According to him and the teacher, he was only upset for about a minute after I left. That night, he swore it was just “:bad luck”, and that he’d be fine the next day. That’s not exactly what happened.

That next day, he started to cry even before we left home! He was teary-eyed all the way to school, and I had to call his dad at work, who talked him into getting out of the van and into school. When we got into the classroom, he proceeded to stick to me like Velcro, and beg me to take him home. The longer I stayed, the more upset he got; I ended up leaving, almost in tears myself! He tried to run out of the room with me!! His teacher held him, and I waited outside the classroom to make sure he was okay. After what seemed like forever (actually three minutes), he calmed down. It almost broke my heart to leave that day!

Today, he didn’t cause a huge scene like he did Friday, but he did cry when I left, and ask me to stay. I had to be strong, hug him, and assure him that it was much better for him if I left quickly. He says he likes school, so I don’t understand why he gets upset when I leave in the mornings. He’s never been much of a mommy’s boy; daddy has always been “the last word” as far as he’s concerned.

I hope things get better soon. I don’t know how long my heart can take this.

When my kids were in diapers, I struggled frequently with tough diaper rash. When my son was a year old, he had an allergic reaction to some cheap diapers that gave him the worst diaper rash imaginable! His poor little bottom was raw and red and peeling, with little red dots around the edges of the rash. When we took him to the doctor, she informed us that the allergic reaction had been aggravated by a yeast diaper rash, and recommended that we use over-the-counter steroid cream as a treatment. Eventually, the rash went away, but I’ll never forget how horrible it looked, or the profound sense of guilt I had, even though the rash wasn’t really my fault.

When my daughter came along, she frequently had yeast diaper rashes, but I knew enough to buy the over-the-counter cream before the rash became too horrible. Still, with just steroid cream as a treatment, that pesky rash kept creeping back. It never went away for good until she was potty trained. I got to the point where I felt there was nothing I could do to completely tackle that rash!

I wish that Vusion ointment had been around when my kids were in diapers! Vusion is a new treatment for yeast diaper rashes that is so effective it can be obtained through prescription only. It’s also gentle enough that it has been approved by the FDA to treat babies as young as four weeks old, which is how old my daughter was when her first round of yeast diaper rash cropped up. It would have been so nice to be allowed to stop worrying about diaper rashes and focus on other, happier things, like spending guilt-free time with my kids! If your baby has a rash that just won’t go away, ask your doctor about Vusion ointment!

Thanks to MomCentral, for allowing me the chance to help spread the word about Vusion Ointment. Click here to download a coupon for Vusion Ointment.

I am always on the lookout for new ways to effectively and safely clean my house. I love the do-it-yourself cleaner recipes and my husband knows that I would much rather use baking soda and elbow grease when tackling a tough cleaning job than harsh, smelly chemicals. I have yet to find an effective homemade dishwashing liquid, so I was thrilled when MomCentral offered me the opportunity to try a sample of Clorox Greenworks Dishwashing Liquid.

When I first heard of the Greenworks line of cleaning products, I was very skeptical. For one thing, Clorox has become synonymous with chlorine bleach, which green parents don’t usually touch with a ten foot pole! I had to wonder if Clorox was just jumping on the green bandwagon and trying to pass off less-than-green products as the real thing. However, after visiting the Greenworks website, many of my questions have been answered. I discovered that all Greenworks products are at least 99 percent natural, and that these products were in development for five years. They even delayed Greenworks’ original release date, so that the formulas could be further perfected! Also, this new dishwashing liquid has been approved by the Sierra Club and the EPA. What better endorsement could there be?

After learning these handy bits of information, I couldn’t wait to try the Greenworks dishwashing liquid. After all, now that my two-year-old daughter helps me wash dishes, I am more conscious than ever about what I put into my dish water. There’s no way I’m going to needlessly expose her to harsh chemicals! Another reason for my enthusiasm about this product is that I live in the country, with a septic system. My family drinks well water, so I have to think twice about every single thing that goes down my drain. I can’t afford to contaminate my family’s water source!

After trying Greenworks Dishwashing Liquid, I must say that I was extremely pleased! It creates just as many bubbles as every ultra-strength dish soap I’ve tried, without any harsh chemicals. It also smells wonderful. There’s no lingering, synthetic odor that most dish soaps leave behind. Greenworks dish soap has a pleasing aroma that I couldn’t get enough of! The best part is that this product is offered in five different scents: Original, Water Lily, Tangerine, Free & Clear, and Simply Lemon.

At first, this product sounded too good to be true. I mean, a natural dishwashing liquid that cleans as well as the chemical-soaked competition? It just couldn’t happen, right? WRONG! Greenworks Dishwashing Liquid works every bit as well as any dish soap out there. It kind of has me wondering exactly why all those other companies are still using harsh, synthetic ingredients! Look for it very soon in a store near you!

I am presenting this Things I Love Thursday post in connection with The Diaper Diaries. Check it out!


My little boy started school yesterday! I was so nervous and anxious for weeks before the big event, and I’m happy to report that my worries were totally unfounded. He was nervous when we got to the school, and clung tightly to his daddy’s hand, but then he sat down at his desk–which just happened to be by his good friend–and started to play. His teacher is an old pro, and she had the wonderful idea to put little containers of playdoh at each desk. The kids immediately rushed to open the containers and begin playing. I had been worried that he’d be sad or might even cry when we left, but that wasn’t the case. We hung around for a short while, to make sure he was okay, and by the time we gave him his hugs and left, he was focusing so hard on playing that he basically ignored us! Not at all how I expected things to go, but so much better!!

And my little girl exceeded my expectations, too! She had expressed feelings of sadness that her older brother was going to school and she wasn’t. Well, yesterday when it was time to leave, she didn’t sob when we had to leave her brother; she was just slightly miffed that she didn’t get any playdoh!! By the time we’d left the building, she was okay, and for the rest of the day, she revelled in having Mommy’s and Daddy’s undivided attention. We went to the store and bought her some of her own playdoh, and she spent most of the day at the kitchen table in her underwear, playing with it:

We went and picked up my big boy after school, and he was one of the last ones out of the building. He was the only one not bursting with enthusiasm. He was quietly happy and said he’d had a good day and wanted to go back tomorrow. His favorite part of the day was going down the slide at recess. The lucky kid gets three recesses!! I couldn’t get much more out of him, but he said he didn’t have a least favorite part of the day. He seems pretty serious about this whole school thing. I think he’ll be a quiet, serious student like I always was. I’m so proud of my big boy!!!

Thanks for visiting my not-so-wordless Wednesday. For more, hopefully shorter, Wednesday fun, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

After reading that title, I’ll understand if you’re confused! It’s not as strange as it sounds…at least I don’t think it is.

My son is suddenly obsessed with monsters, thanks in part to his favorite show, Monsterquest on the History channel, where they tell the legends of creatures like Bigfoot and mutant canines. Then, they try to capture a photo or live specimen, which hasn’t happened so far. My son is six, though, and loves the mysterious aspect of these creatures and is proud to know more about BigFoot than any other six-year-old around!!

He’s especially fascinated by mutants, ever since watching the mutant canine Monsterquest. Now, any time we see an animal or bug that he can’t immediately identify, he says, “Well, I guess it’s a mutant!” Once he makes up his mind that something is a mutant, there is absolutely no way to get him to change his mind! So now, locusts are no longer locusts; they’re mutant bugs! And barn swallows aren’t called barn swallows around my house. They’re mutant birds! It’s actually pretty funny, and I’m not going to spoil his fun by insisting that these creatures are just run-of-the-mill, ordinary bugs and animals. He’ll figure it out soon enough. In the meantime, he’s really enjoying discovering all the “mutants” around us!

Things I Love Thursday is a great idea I just discovered today. To join in on the fun, check out The Diaper Diaries.

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