Toddlerwearing – an Ergo Stowaway review

I recently gave the Ergo Stowaway baby carrier a test drive and am finally getting my act together to tell you about it. Hence the many, MANY layers we are wearing in these photos. I know, I’m boiling just looking at them!

Anyway, it’s a really clever piece of kit. When I took out of the box it looked so flimsy I thought that there’s no way I’d comfortably carry my heavy toddler in it (she was nearly two when I tried it) or that she’d feel supported enough to want to stay in it. I was wrong on both counts.

I didn’t wear it for hours, granted, mainly because I don’t generally carry her that long anymore. She wants to walk at least some of the time. I think I painlessly could do a few hours with it though.

This is a surprise to me because I found the Ergo Performance just got a bit small when she was around eighteen months. No matter how I adjusted it, it would start to pull on my shoulders after 45 minutes. It could have been a stage we were going through, I guess, and maybe it would be OK now but I don’t have my Performance anymore so I couldn’t say. The Stowaway certainly seems cushioned differently in the shoulders which made a difference to me anyway.

I would say that the carrier was quite low on Talitha at twenty-something months. It didn’t feel unsafe but I wouldn’t have appreciated it when she was going through a stage of throwing herself away from me for fun. She is also a lot more likely to fall asleep when a bit more enclosed by her sling but I know that’s not an issue for a lot of children.

As with all Ergo carriers it’s very easy to put on and get the baby in it and a breeze to adjust too. What, of course, sets this one apart is how it “stows away”. It folds itself into a tiny bag which fits beautifully in your bag. I was concerned that it was going to be a faff to figure this out, especially since I don’t always find Ergo’s instructions the most helpful (but then I really need you to spell it out for me) but it was quite intuitive, I found.

All in all, I think it would be a brilliant buy, especially if you were going to do a lot of travelling. With a younger baby, it would be absolutely fine carrying them in it for hours. It’s also breathable and lightweight so I imagine it deals with the heat quite well too.

Ergobaby lent me an Ergo Stowaway for two weeks for the purposes of this review. I received no compensation, other than satisfaction of my geeky sling curiosity.

How valuable is baby sign language?

A friend invited me to come along to her Sing and Sign class back when Talitha was nine months or so, I think. I went along mainly because it sounded like a fun structured thing Bristol offered and because I wanted to spend more time with my friend. I wasn’t too sure about baby sign language, mind. I mean, would it actually work?

Most of the way through the course, Talitha wasn’t signing at all. When I saw other babies in the class sign, their gestures seemed more like approximations than signs. You had to want to see the signs, really. Still, I continued to use the signs at home and counted the class worthwhile mainly because Talitha so obviously loved the music and Jessie Cat.

Then towards the end, she suddenly began to sign “Eat”. I wondered if it was a fluke so I tried to contain my excitement. But when I gave her some food, she practically cheered me for understanding her. From then, new signs kept being added. She also began to ask me to name and sign things. It was an amazing insight into what she thought was important: “cat”, “dog”, “drink” and, naturally, “milk”.

I couldn’t believe how much she understood. I still can’t. It blows me away that she can identify and sign some colours, most animals, vehicles and even feelings. If she weren’t signing as much as she does, I wouldn’t realise how many connections are rapidly being made in her mind.
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Babywearing without a babywearing coat

When the weather gets colder, babywearers across the forums and online groups start asking each other how they dress themselves and their babies for winter.

The standard answer is usually: a babywearing coat.

There’s no question that a babywearing coat is the ideal solution to the problem, especially if you’re back carrying with a woven wrap. It allows you to get everything nice and tight without the bulk of many layers between you and your baby, your body heat helps to regulate your baby’s and you don’t end up looking a little bit clunky like this…

Admittedly, this was just a bit of a clunky “double hammock” altogether since I did it in a hurry. In general, if you are going to wrap over this many layers, I think you’re better off with a “ruck”.

The reality is, though, that a lot of people, like me, won’t end up wearing a babywearing coat either because they don’t like the look of any of them, they want to keep their slings display, they have toddlers who are up and down, they have an older child who’s mostly walking or they just don’t have the money to buy one.
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ERGObaby organic backpack and back carry (review)

I started carrying Talitha on my back in our ERGObaby Performance Edition carrier when she was eight months old, around the time she started crawling. For some reason, I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it before then. Actually, the wait worked well for us. Although ERGObaby’s instructions say you can wear babies on your back when they can sit, I recently heard a babywearing consultant say that they shouldn’t be on your back in a carrier like that until they can sit up (as in, get themselves into a seated position, independently). Incidentally, woven wraps can do back carries much earlier but that’s another topic.

The problem

Wearing her on my back, naturally raised the question: where should I put my bag? There are a few solutions for this. You can put it on your shoulder but then you kind of need to hold it there, which I don’t mind but Laurence finds annoying. You can use a bag with long strap and sling it diagonally across your body. This is probably my favourite. If you’ve got a lot of shopping you can roll a bag with wheels – granny chic, anyone? I do do this, though!

The ERGObaby backpack gives you another option – to attach the bag to the straps of the carrier and carry all the weight on your back. I show you how it works in this video. Talitha was grumpy and tired hence the fussing. I promise she was fine and I did give her a snuggly nap straight after. Also, her cardigan obscures it in the video, but the ERGO is all the way up to her armpits. This is very important for safety.

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ERGObaby rain cover (review)

We bought the ERGObaby Performance edition last Christmas just before flying out to Trinidad. I begged to have it as my Christmas present. Laurence called me boring but it’s been one of the most useful bits of baby kit we’ve owned. It’s practically an extension of us.

I’ve been getting more into wrapping recently but having a quality structured carrier has been worth far more than what we spent on it. At any rate, Laurence is unwilling to wrap, preferring the ease and buckles of the ERGO. That’s fine. I appreciate his honesty and the fact that he’ll wear her is enough. (I did a very basic comparison of the ERGO versus the Stochenwiege woven wrap months ago, if you’re trying to decide which is for you.)

Anyway, I’ve got masses of use out of the ERGO because I don’t like either of the pushchairs we own. I’ve also just got on really well with babywearing in general. Talitha and I both really like the closeness it affords us. It allows her to get a better view of the world with the continued security of facing me. When I put her on my back, she gets to see where we’re going too. The ERGO has given us such an easy and comfortable way of finding this freedom together.

The problem & solution

That said, I’ve found dealing with rainy weather a bit stressful. When Talitha was a young baby, I would simply wear one of Laurence’s rain jackets and tuck her in it. An umbrella did the rest. It was plain unflattering and uncomfortable and I won’t do it anymore. She also won’t fit inside the jacket – she’s kind of grown.

This year, we haven’t got that problem. ERGObaby sent me a rain cover to see if that would solve it. I’m actually quite impressed. We’ve gone out with the navy blue water resistant ERGObaby rain cover a fair few times now and it really does the trick. No more worrying about little feet catching the drizzle.
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Babywearing – more than carrying

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Sick baby on holiday

We’ve just come to the end of day nine of Talitha’s mystery illness. A sick baby on holiday – not exactly planned for. A paediatrician I spoke to over the phone thinks it’s a minor virus. Up until day three I thought she was teething. With not a swollen gum in sight and an unrelenting fever, it was pretty clear something else has been going on.

She seems to be getting better now but she’s gone hoarse, so we’ll be calling the doctor again tomorrow. It’s a cute sound – kind of like a baby pterodactyl. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear her cry though and she’s still crying a fair bit because she’s not herself. How do you get a baby to rest her throat? I mean, other than letting her continue playing with the coin found on the floor, letting her share your crisps and never ever even for nappy changes putting her down?
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