“Blessed Be the Inventor of the Baby Carriers” – Guest Post from Gill

Gill Andrews

Recently I was chatting with a friend about baby carriers. After seeing my video review of the new Ergobaby 360, she reached out for advice.  She has a new baby and was feeling overwhelmed with options. We talked all about wraps, slings and soft-structured carriers. Ultimately she decided to try out the Ergo 360. Gill is a great writer and shares her thoughts with us on why she chose it here in this guest post. You can follow more of her writing at True Stories with Gill and Google.com/+GillAndrews. Congratulations on your new baby boy, Gill!  (I hope he is over his cold soon.)                     –xo, Abby

***

Two months ago when our baby boy was born our lives changed forever. Eight pounds of happiness. As well as sleepless nights, dirty diapers and screaming. Like any first time parents with nobody around to ask for advice we’ve already managed to make some bad decisions. Not moving into bigger apartment.  (The baby is so small! How much space can he take?) Not reading about breastfeeding in advance. (People have been doing it for thousands of years. How complicated can it be?) Buying too many clothes for the first weeks that the baby grew out of without even wearing once. Getting a baby bouncer that turned out to be uncomfortable for the baby.

That’s why we quickly learned to appreciate every thing that made our life even a bit easier so much. Like the hermetic diaper bucket that keeps the air in the apartment breathable. Like his favorite mobile toy that buys mommy half an hour of peace every morning. And now the most recent item on my Blessings for New Parents list: the Ergobaby 360 carrier.

ergobaby 360 worn on hip

I’m typing these lines on my phone while pacing in the room with my baby sitting (hanging?) in it. He is a curious little guy who constantly needs attention when he is awake. Now he is looking on the emerging lines on the screen as if he could read.

When the eight pounds of happiness became fourteen, it was clear to me that I couldn’t bounce him in my arms any longer without ruining my back. We had to get a baby carrier. Couple of weeks ago I saw a woman on the street carrying her baby in one of the Ergobaby carriers. It looked so comfortable for both, the mother and the baby, so I immediately set my eye on it. But I was determined not to make this decision one of the way too many bad ones on my list. After some online research I decided to ask somebody who had more experience in it for advice. Abby was extremely helpful and wrote me a long answer listing all the categories of baby carriers along with their peculiarities. After this it was decided: Ergobaby 360 will be moving in with us.

Four things led me to this decision.

Comfort for the baby. This nowadays so popular word “ergonomic” did its trick on me again, the way the label “organic” does it in regards of food. And as far as I can judge, Ergobaby 360 keeps its promise. Although made of textile, it consists of multiple pieces sewn together. This way the shape of the carrier is flexible and will adjust to the “shape” of the baby.

Comfort for the parents. I could not believe that wearing 14 pounds of baby on me can feel so good. Before, while bouncing him on my arms, my back started to hurt after a couple of minutes, and soon I would stop feeling my arms. Now, because of the wide and robust supporting belt, my back doesn’t feel anything, and my hands are free. Of course, I can’t run a marathon or jump on a trampoline like this, but I assure you my body feels as comfortable as possible in this situation.

Easy handling. I don’t know about babies in general, but my baby has zero patience. If he wants something it has to be now, better 5 minutes ago. So the only way to get him into a baby carrier would be if the adjustment phase – back and leg fitting as well as fitting of the cords – is as short as possible. Otherwise he’ll have a melt down. I tried tying him with a baby sling I bought, fooled by videos of smiling relaxed mothers and calm cooperating babies. Unfortunately, it never worked out, no matter how hard and how often I tried. With Ergobaby, it’s a completely different story. First time the baby tried his screaming-kicking scheme again, but as the whole fitting procedure took half a minute, he calmed down quickly as soon as he was seated. Now it takes only couple of seconds for me to put him in and take him out, all by myself.

Why the 360 model? We are talking about a quick and curious child here who gets quickly bored. So I wanted to have as much flexibility as possible, as we are also planning a couple of trips this year. Today, while making lunch and having him in the carrier on my chest I realized how great the hip position would be when he gets old enough for it. If I carry him on the side I could stand closer to the stove and won’t have to feel like Shaquille O’Neal on the court throwing the veggies in the frying pan!

***

I’m typing these lines after I brought one agitated and cranky baby (he is currently dealing with his first ever cold, breaking my heart into pieces with every sneeze) to bed. We went through the changing-playing-feeding-bouncing circle multiple times, but nothing seemed to help. So I put him in the carrier, threw on a coat big enough to cover us both, and stepped out on the balcony. Cold air made him asleep in minutes, but I stayed there longer, slightly bouncing him from side to side, watching him sucking on his little hand growling like a cute baby bear. One of the precious moments that make it worth a hundred times all the trouble.

It’s still before midnight, and the house is already silent. It doesn’t happen too often, so I’m going to hit the hay now as well. Tomorrow everything will start over again. But now I know it will be easier. Blessed be the inventor of the baby carriers.

***

Disclaimer: Baby Birds Farm is now participating as an affiliate of Ergobaby Baby Carriers. This means that any sales (from the USA) that are made after clicking through a link on this site may result in a small advertising fee being paid to us. Your price is not increased in any way. I only register as an affiliate of brands I honestly use and recommend.

The Best Meals to Freeze Before Baby Arrives

The first few weeks after a baby is born are the most wonderful, most difficult, slowest, and fastest time ever in the life of a family. Many families feel as though they struggle just to keep breathing. Cooking should be the last thing to worry about. Take out can be great. But nothing is as nourishing as a home cooked meal. Freezing precooked meals can be the best of both worlds when preparing for baby’s birth. Drawing on my experiences before and after the birth of my girls, scouring the interwebs, and picking the brains of some of the best food bloggers and recipe developers, I have created a list (or round up) of the best meals to freeze before baby arrives.

best meals to freeze before baby arrives

SOUPS TO FREEZE BEFORE BABY COMES

Both Maggie of Mama Maggie’s Kitchen and Laura of Family Spice recommend soups as freezing well.

Purple Sweet Potato Soup

1. Purple Sweet Potato Soup

Laura has a delicious (and beautiful) recipe for purple sweet potato soup.

2. Clam Chowder 

Maggie’s Clam Chowder will freeze well.

3. Beet Borscht

Borscht can be made with beef (which, along with the greens, is good for replenishing iron) or vegetarian, is affordable, and can help with losing baby weight. Enjoy it chunky or pureed, as in this photo.

Beet Borscht

For more soup recipes, click here.

SAUCES FREEZE GREAT FOR EASY MEALS AFTER BABY

4. Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Defrost this, or a classic basil pesto sauce, frozen in convenient one-ounce ice cubes, and add some freshly boiled pasta. Step it up with a few shrimp.

red pepper pesto

5. Ragu

Lisa is a New Zealand-born food blogger, living in Italy. She shares authentic Italian recipes on the aptly named, Italian Kiwi, and this Ragu, a tomato sauce with ground meat, is no exception. She explains why you should never order Bolognese in Italy and why this recipe may not be her husband’s 95-year-old grandmother’s secret recipe, but how it holds it’s own.

CASSEROLES TO FREEZE BEFORE BABY ARRIVES

6. Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Bri shares a delicious recipe for Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas. This is very similar to how I make it, too.

salsa verde chicken enchilada

7. Pomegranate Lamb Moussaka

I made a double batch of this recipe before baby was born and was able to defrost and reheat the frozen one in time to bring along to the last session of our hypnobirthing class. (We also brought 7 day old Baby Bird.)

Pomegranate and Lamb Moussaka

8. Lasagna

Debbie Anderson from San Diego Momma shares, “I’m invoking The Pioneer Woman here…but this lasagna truly is the best ever and freezes well and is amazing and I love it and totally make it.”

OTHER GREAT FREEZER MEALS

9. Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken Thighs

A dear friend of mine brought us a fresh batch of this recipe after Baby Bird #2 was born. It was delicious. And according to comments from Brenda of the Sugar Free Mom, it will freeze well, too.

10. Curry

Azlin is a veritable encyclopedia of world cooking. I asked her about the best food to freeze and she recommended curries. She has several on her website, but handpicked this Massaman Curry, a mild Thai curry. She states that it is one of the milder ones, in case any new moms are worried about too much spice.

11. Beer Braised Pot Roast with Herb Dumplings

Laura reports it freezes well and it just looks delicious!

beer braised pot roast with herb dumplings

BREAKFASTS THAT ARE EASY TO DEFROST

Don’t forget the first meal of the day! A big dish, ready to go, can be a blessing, especially when extended family is in town and you don’t feel ready to face a busy, weekend restaurant. A frittata will freeze and defrost well, as well as one of these French Toast/Bread Pudding hybrids.

pumpkin french toast

12. Pumpkin French Toast Bread Pudding

13. Zucchini Bread French Toast Bread Pudding

14. Banana Brûléed Bread Pudding

(Add the Brûlée after reheating.)

15. Frittata

What else would you add to this list? Please share in the comments and feel free to share a link.

Kid-Approved Brussels Sprouts: Cooking with Kids Continued

How do you get kids to eat and like Brussels Sprouts? Let your kids help cook them! Little Bird has enjoyed cooking since she was a baby. Last night was no exception. Together we tried out a recipe from the Nom Nom Paleo book that was featured on the Good Food Blog, “Cavolini Al Forno,” a warm Brussels Sprouts salad with a mustard vinaigrette, topped with prosciutto crisps (we used bacon) and crumbled egg.

Kids cooking Brussels sprouts

You can find the full, delicious recipe here. The only substitution we made was bacon for the crispy prosciutto.

Little Bird is only 2 1/2 but there were many, many steps of this recipe that she was able to do:

  • Wash the Brussels Sprouts
  • Move the Brussels from the colander in the sink to the cutting board
  • Move the trimmed ends and loose leaves into the compost
  • Salt and pepper the Brussels
  • Massage the sprouts with oil
  • Pour olive oil from the measuring cup into a jar
  • Place the chopped shallots in the jar
  • Put mustard into the jar
  • Shakey, shakey, shake the jar of salad dressing
  • Carefully put raw eggs into a pan
  • Peel hardboiled eggs
  • Crumble bacon
  • Stir the salad together

Basically, she did everything but the knife skills and taking things in and out of the oven. To me it is just common sense: kids enjoy eating things they make! Her Papa loved the dish, too, and she just shone watching him enjoy it.

You can find more recipes to make with small children here:

Making Cheese with Kids  — Chèvre is fun to make, like a science project.

Making Cheese with Kids Part Two  — Kids love rolling and shaping logs and adding their favorite toppings, like cranberries.

Easy Homemade Kale Chips “Kale Crunchies”   — Another great way to get greens in their diet, Plus who doesn’t enjoy shaking the bag?

Baby Bird’s Applesauce  – Recipe for the youngest of babes, 6 months old and up.

Raw Energy Bites – Includes tactile fun and licking sticky hands.

What do your kids like to make?? Please share in the comments. Links are fine.

Video

Video Review of the Ergobaby 360 Carrier

Some big news here! We made our first Baby Birds Farm video! Mama Bird, Baby Bird, and Little Bird all decided we liked our new carrier from Ergobaby and decided to give the world a preview and do an Ergobaby 360 video review. The Ergo 360 won’t be for sale until next month (mid April 2014), but you can still peruse the specs by clicking here.

In the meantime, here is our video!

Many thanks to Papa Bird for making the video for us.

Disclaimer (and also an announcement): As I mentioned in my last post, I received the Ergobaby 360 and a wrap from Ergobaby free of charge. The review was my idea, however, and all opinions are my own. Since meeting with Christina from Ergo at the Baby Blogger Boot Camp, and trying out several of their products, I have decided to become an affiliate. This means if you click through an Ergobaby ad or link on my site and go on to purchase anything I will receive a small percentage. (Your price doesn’t go up, and you buy directly from the makers.) I am very picky about what I chose to promote and wouldn’t share anything I wouldn’t buy myself.

video review ergobaby 360

Baby Bloggy Boot Camp

What is “Baby Bloggy Boot Camp”? Or #BabyBBC? Besides being really fun to say, Baby Bloggy Boot Camp was a mini-conference I attended here in San Diego. It was a half day event, part of the larger Women Get Social blogging conference put on by Tiffany and Francesca of the SITS Girls. As you may have guessed from the “Baby” in the title, the mini conference was focused on babies (yay!) and attended by pregnant women and new moms with their babes. My first year of blogging for this site has been fun and meeting other bloggers was a great experience. I was also able to network and get ideas for my site AbigailBurdLCSW.com, which is connected to my private practice as a therapist and focuses on mental health and wellness during pregnancy and postpartum.

baby bloggy boot camp

Disclaimer: Although the larger conference was a paid event, other participants and I were able to attend the Baby Bloggy Boot Camp for free because of the sponsors, including Ergobaby and Liz Lange Maternity for Target. We also got the best gift bag ever (more on that below). Despite the booty, all opinions expressed are my own.

The baby bloggy bootcamp socializing

I sat next to Suzanne (@frugalorganic) from Frugal Organic Mama. We had a lot in common, from raising girls to making goat cheese. She even reached out to me afterwards to let me know she had linked to my post on setting up a cloth diapering station in one of her recent posts. How cool is that?

Other awesome people I met can be found on Twitter: @BriGeeski, @Ergobaby, @joyinthemidstof, @CrazyCasaK, @MommyCrunch, @TLaborn, @PalmsandPigs, @SoCalSavvyMom, @TNL634, @Newmommabeckers, @AbabyAtree, and @TheFunthusiast.

The baby bloggy bootcamp swag

It seems somehow impolite to brag about the giveaways, but the gift bag at the end of the conference was well worth the trip out in the torrential rain. The products were right up my alley! Christina from Ergobaby, who makes a very popular soft-structured baby carrier, was there demonstrating three of their new products and sent us home with one of each. 1. Ergo has started making a swaddler for wrapping up new babies for sleep. 2. They now make a semi-stretchy wrap, out of yoga pants material. I have quite a number of woven wraps, made from different fibers, and I actually prefer the Ergobaby Wrap. I can tie it on and take Baby Bird in and out all day without it losing shape. And 3. (This isn’t even on the market yet) The Ergobaby 360 is a soft structured carrier that is designed to carry baby traditionally (facing a parents’ chest), on a parent’s back, or facing forward. I’m very leery of the risk of hip dysplasia with forward facing carriers, but since it is designed by Ergo, I’m more confidant of the safety. I own a wrap-conversion soft structured carrier, but have been getting a lot of use out of the Ergobaby 360 as Baby Bird finds it very comfy. Yay for babywearing!

Our gift bags also included a dress from Liz Lange Maternity for Target. I was already a fan. I’m embarrassed to say how much I spent in an expensive maternity shop at the mall when I was first pregnant with my first baby before I discovered I liked the maternity clothes at Target (especially the dresses) much better! I personally love maternity clothes, so comfortable, flattering and feminine. (ps. I have a Pinterest board just for maternity fashion.)

Anyone else attend Baby Bloggy Bootcamp? What did you like best about it?

I would love to stay connected. You can find me here: