Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hop-Tye by Hoppediz

Yet another super cool product from Hoppediz!  The Hop-Tye are not new, but have not really been available to the US market.  After seeing some of their latest limited edition Hop-Tyes, I decided to order a few.  When they arrived, I was surprised at just how neat these carriers are!

First, these are made out of Hoppediz woven wraps, so they are a lot like a wrap conversion in comfort and feel.  They also have wide, wrap style shoulder straps that spread out and cup the shoulders like a wrap, and the waist belt has light padding in it.  I haven't gotten to try one yet, but they seem like they would be really comfortable.

There are also lots of fun features that make these mei tais unique.  First, they have adjustable draw strings at both the top and bottom of the body of the carrier.  This allows the wearer to make the carrier narrower and snugger with a little baby.  The base can be cinched together to allow a little baby to be legs out more comfortably.  They are designed to be used from birth on up.

These mei tais have a sleeping hood that attaches to pull strings on the shoulder straps.  These pull strings allow the wear to easily pull the head rest up when doing a back carry.  Anyone that has tried to put up a sleeping hood while their little one was on their back knows that this is not easy!  So this is a really neat design feature that I think is too cool!

All Hop-Tyes come with a matching carrying case and a detailed instructional booklet.  They are also all limited edition and Hoppediz only carries each design for a limited time.  I love the Miami with the flower on the hood and the Kalaoa is just stunning!  The Kalaoa has a panel of decorative fabric over the wrap material.

I am really looking forward to trying one out myself when my little one arrives, but I was really impressed with how nice they are once I saw them in person.  Let me know if you have been lucky enough to get your hands on one of these, I would love to hear what you think!

Summery of details:
  • Extra-wide wrap style shoulder straps and padded waist straps provide extra comfort
  • Headrest w/attachable pull string to easily pull up headrest when doing a back carry
  • Adjustable base allows you to cinch the body of the carrier together for younger babies
  • Designed to be used from birth on up
  • Can be used for front or back carries
  • Comes with a matching carrying case
  • Detailed instruction booklet included
  • 100% cotton, tested for harmful substances

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hoppediz Fleece Covers

I just tried a Fleece Cover by Hoppediz and I was surprised at how cool it is!  Now, in all fairness, I have not tried any special cold weather babywearing gear in the past.  I always just wore an over sized jacket or coat when babywearing in fall and winter.  But when I got my Hoppediz Fleece Cover in, I couldn't resist trying it out even though I am 9 months pregnant and don't have a baby to wear right now!

To learn more about your babywearing options during the colder months, check out our article about babywearing in fall and winter.

One of the things that annoyed me the most when babywearing in winter was that my chest and neck would get so cold since I couldn't zip my jacket/coat all the way up over my daughter.  Plus, I didn't like wearing anything too thick or with too many layers under my coat since I was still nursing regularly.  A wide scarf probably would have helped a lot, but I never remembered to bring one since it wasn't something I usually used.  So I always ended up feeling cold from the chest up.

The Hoppediz fleece cover is kind of a hybrid between a standard babywearing cover and a babywearing vest (see article for details).  More affordable than a babywearing vest, the Hoppediz cover protects your neck and chest like a vest, but is more like a standard cover in the front.

Other features I love about this cover:
  • Zippers on both yours and baby's neck openings, plus draw string for you to pull yours closed tightly around your neck if you'd like.
  • Has a hood for baby
  • Front pocket for a warm place to tuck your hands!  Love that!
  • Zipper between baby's cover and your neck piece which can be used to separate the two if you don't want to use the neck piece for yourself.
  • Reflective tape on front pocket and baby's hood
  • Elastic drawstrings on the sides to tighten the front cover more snugly around baby 
Other details:
  • Designed to be used with 4 to 18 month olds
  • Machine washable
  • Made with soft polar fleece with an anti-pilling finish both inside and out.  100% polyester that has been tested for harmful substances.
Here, I have lots of pictures to show you.  My coat is a bit short and I am using a doll for this demo, plus I am 9 months pregnant right now, but hopefully it will give you a pretty good idea.

This is how it looks under a zipped up coat.
Check out the pocket in front!  I love that there is a place to keep your hands warm!
Here's a side view.  The front hangs down around baby.
Close up of baby's opening.
Zipper that separates your neck piece (on bottom of photo) from baby's cover.
Picture of front with pocket to keep your hands warm.
Inside view of baby's pouch.  This is what covers the body of your carrier and baby.  You can also see the elastic drawstring that allows you to tighten the cover more snugly around baby, especially when being used alone without a jacket or coat.
So what do you think?  Without actually having used it in action, it seems like it offers a lot of nice features for a good price.  I am looking forward to trying one out if my baby is big enough before winter is over.

Fall/Winter Babywearing

As the weather is cooling off, we've been getting lots of questions about babywearing in fall and winter. There are lots of options out there for people who want to wear their babies while being outside in the cold.

The most common and least expensive are covers. These are kind of like blankets that attach to the carrier and keep baby covered. The Monkey Pocket and Winter Carrier Cover by CatBird are both examples of covers.

Then there is the Peekaru Original which is a fleece vest that zips over both you and baby completely covering you on all sides. These are nice because they can be worn under a coat, but give you coverage completely up to your neck, unlike the covers which only cover the baby. Suse Kinder also makes a fleece babywearing vest.

Hoppediz makes a fleece cover that is kind of a cross between a cover and a vest.   Find out more by reading this detailed article.

Finally are the more expensive coats and ponchos like Suse's Kindercoat and Peekaru Soft Shell that are designed specifically for babywearing. These are the most expensive option, but are a great option if you are not on a budget.

Fall/Winter Babywearing on a Budget

You don't have to be rich to babywear this winter. The best option is to use any over sized coat or jacket. You can go buy one specifically for babywearing (you can find lots of good deals at stores and resale shops), use your husband's or mother's like I did, or use your old maternity coat if you were lucky enough to have bought one.

An over sized jacket or coat can be easily zipped up over both you and your baby. This only works well for front carries, but I preferred front carries in winter anyway so I could keep a close eye on how my baby was handling the cold.

You can tuck a blanket around baby for extra warmth when it is really cold, similar to how covers work. Like with covers, your chest and neck will be exposed when using a jacket/coat since you can't zip all the way up, so you will want to make sure you are wearing something warm underneath or use a scarf to protect your chest and neck area. Luckily, babywearing in winter does have the benefit of keeping both of you warmer!

If you are crafty, you can always make your own babywearing coat or poncho. There are lots of patterns you can find on-line. This isn't always a cheap option since it depends on what you decide to make and the materials required, but it can definitely save you some money, especially when it comes to babywearing coats.

Happy Babywearing and enjoy the weather!


Update to respond to Chrissy's question:
One issue I'm trying to figure out is something quick and easy so I can get the baby in quickly if I don't have her bundled and we're getting her from her carseat to the carrier in a parking lot in a blizzard. I'm thinking a stretchy wrap might be good for this so I could have it pre-tied and ready to go, then baby is under 3 layers of fabric while I get the cover on. What do you like to use?
First, I never have my baby's bundled when they are in their carseat.  It is actually not safe to have a heavy coat on underneath the straps of a carseat because it can be unsafe in an accident.  To find out more, read this article.

Because my daughter only wore a thinner jacket (usually a fleece hoodie) in the car, I was always faced with this situation when babywearing in winter.  What I did really depended on where I was going.  I usually did put the carrier on at home first with my coat over the top, especially with sometime like a stretch wrap or ring sling, but that was mostly so I didn't have to do it when I got where I was going.

If I was just going from the car to the store, I would usually just hold my baby while I covered them with a warm blanket and wait until I was in the store to put them in the carrier.  This just seemed like the quickest and easiest option.  Some people I know would sit in the back seat and put their baby in the carrier before getting out of the car at all.  Whether this is something you can do depends greatly on what kind of vehicle you drive and how much room you have.

If I was planning to be outside for any period of time, I honestly just took off my coat in the freezing cold, put the carrier on and in position, then put my daughter in it as quickly as I could before putting my coat back on over both of us!  In this situation, it would definitely be easier and quicker to put on a Hopp cover than a babywearing vest, but in most cases, I wouldn't bother unless I was planning to stay outside longer than it would take me to run into a store.  I know that sounds a bit crazy, and I'm sure I got lots of looks while standing outside my car strapping some contraption on me and my baby without any coat on, but it worked for us!  If you can fit in the back seat of your vehicle, I would probably recommend doing that.

Hope that helps!  Have a great winter!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Newborn Safety

Ever since the recall of the Infantino SlingRider in March 2010, babywearing has come under attack as being dangerous. These bag slings are in fact dangerous and the babywearing community was relieved to see the recall of these carriers. Unfortunately, other slings and baby carriers are now being lumped together by people who do not understand the difference. You can read this article for a detailed description of what a bag sling is and what makes these particular carriers so unsafe.

Tragically, any baby carrier can result in death when used incorrectly. This includes car seats, infant swings, bouncy seats, strollers, and any device a baby can be placed in. The risk with any newborn being placed in one of these devices is that they can experience positional asphyxia. This can occur when a baby is incorrectly positioned in a "C" shape where baby's head is curled down towards their chest. This position can cause their breathing to be restricted and newborns are at risk because they do not have the strength to reposition their heads to allow them to breath properly.

Newborns that are experiencing distress breathing may sometimes make noises, especially while sleeping. This can sometimes seem cute, like little whimpers in their sleep, or even snoring. But in fact, if these noises are being made with every breath, this is a huge warning sign that your newborn is having difficulty breathing. This actually happened to my first while someone was holding him asleep in their arms. We thought it was adorable, but after it continued for over a minutes, we decided to reposition him and he stopped immediately. Looking back, I had no idea he was having difficulty breathing and that the way he was being held was causing it. Not all babies will make noise though, so don't assume you are safe if they are quiet.

So how can you make sure your newborn is safe? Here are some simple rules to follow to make sure you are wearing your baby correctly.

1. Use the Heart to Heart position with newborns, formerly known as "tummy to tummy". Baby should be positioned upright with their chest to yours and baby's head should be "kissably close"! The cradle carry can be used for nursing, but return baby to a heart to heart position when done and before baby is sleeping. I do not recommend using the cradle carry unless you are an experienced babywearer since it can be very difficult to get proper positioning using that carry.

2. Keep their airway open! Make sure baby is never curled up in a C shape. Instead, make sure that you can put two fingers between baby's chin and chest.

3. Make sure baby's face isn't covered by fabric. Older babies can and will move their head if they are having a problem re-breathing the same air, but a newborn can't do that. So make sure there is nothing covering their face.

Take a minute and watch this great video on proper newborn positioning. They are using a ring sling in the video, which is closest in design to a "bag sling", though completely different. For more information on positioning in other types of carriers, check out this detailed article with photos.

When done correctly, baby carriers are not only safe, but one of the safest places your baby can be!

Here are some great resources for more information:

Babywearing International: Is Babywearing Safe?
Lots of safety tips for babywearing.

Newborn safety in ring slings from SweetPea Ring Slings

Babywearing Safety
A Facebook group dedicated to education on safe babywearing practices.

Peas On Earth: What you need to know about your newborn's airway

Wrapsody Blog: How safe are baby slings? About as safe as it gets…
An interesting article on the statistics of babywearing safety.

Article: CORRECT POSITIONING For the Safety & Comfort of your Newborn
Same article linked to earlier. Provided by The Babywearer. TBW is an amazing resource for anyone interested in babywearing.

Babywearing Safety by Sleepy Wrap

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New woven wrap from Hoppediz!

As some of you may have already heard, Hoppediz has a new wrap out! The Jacquard Chicago is a beautiful woven wrap done using a jacquard weave. This weave has flexibility in both diagonal directions which allows the sling to adjust itself optimally to both the baby's and the carrier's body, offering both support and comfort.

The Jacquard Chicago is black with a gray design woven into it. The wrap can be reversed to the "wrong side" which is gray with black.

The Chicago is a thinner wrap than the standard Hoppediz wraps we are used to and is slightly thicker than the "Light" wraps. So this wrap really is something completely new from Hoppediz. This is a true woven and not a stretch wrap like some people have speculated, but how it compares to other Hoppediz wraps is yet to be seen as these are brand new and have yet to be tested in the babywearing community.

Although these are not yet available in the US, they can be pre-ordered by those that want to be the first to own and try one of these stunning wraps!