Tried and Tested: Carmien Tea Mamma Range

Carmién Tea recently sent us some of their fabulous teas to try out – and as we had one mom on our team nursing her baby, and one mom pregnant, (both with other children as well) this proved to be the best team to try their new Mamma Range, and kids tea.

Carmién Tea’s story started in 1998 in an old farm shop on the historic Brakfontein Estate near the small town of Citrusdal. This is a family-run business, and a lot of love and dedication goes into the day-to-day running of the farm. They’re committed to keeping their company safe and healthy to both the customer and the environment. They offer quality products, it is a customer and market driven company, they invest in their own people and support the local community to ensure production stability and a rewarding future for all involved…for future generations!

We were very excited to try this range as Carmién believes in using the best ingredients in every teabag. It is conveniently packaged in tagless teabags for easy steeping and drinking. Carmién Mamma Tea was designed and blended for mommies by mommies. (A cup of comfort from bump to breastfeeding and beyond.) Seeing that For Moms. By Moms. is MonaLisa Mamas’ own logo, we knew this would be an excellent fit.

Firstly, Marilize tried the Carmién Morning Mamma while pregnant with her second little baby boy. This tea has especially been formulated to assist mommy-to-be with nausea and heartburn associated with pregnancy. Marilize was still experiencing some nausea, but the heartburn was a real killer!

Our favourite thing about the Morning tea, was that the ginger was not an overwhelming taste or smell. In fact, none of the ingredients overwhelm the senses in any way, and with pregnancy hormones increasing our gag-reflexes, this tea was perfect. On certain days, the ginger helped tremendously with the pregnancy nausea, but it certainly helped a great deal more near the end of the pregnancy (3rd trimester) with the near-constant heartburn.

With a variety of beautiful flavours combined, the main ingredient here is still the rooibos, and we all know many of its benefits, but a quick refresh never hurt nobody!

Rooibos

Contains natural anti-oxidants which help prevent cancer and combating free radical damage in cells. Rooibos alleviates allergies – asthma, hay-fever, eczema. Rooibos has anti-spasmodic qualities and alleviates colic and stomach cramps in babies. Rooibos replaces essential minerals, iron, potassium, zinc and sodium. Rooibos is soothing on the nervous system – excellent for hyperactive children. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and safe to drink during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Ginger

Helps with morning sickness, circulation stimulant, anti-septic, relieve spasms

Marshmallow root

Eases digestion and nausea, helps heartburn

Lemongrass 

Has a calming effect, sooths digestion, rich in Vit A and Vit C, and anti-inflammatory

Cherry-Orange Flavour

For added freshness to ease and sooth nausea and heartburn

Mommy Simone tested the nursing tea with her baby girl only a few months old. Simone is also a great tea-lover with an extensive range of regular, green, and flavoured teas. The first reaction to this tea was “WOW”.  We did not expect such a sweet, smooth, flowery taste to this amazing tea. We’ve had many other nursing drinks in the past, and almost always the fenugreek taste and smell was too overwhelming to properly enjoy the cup.  So naturally, we had to tear open a teabag to see what it looked like inside.

Not being a huge fan of vanilla, I was a bit sceptic at first. But even with the torn open bag, the box’s description of a soft “creamy vanilla” was exactly what we experienced. Each flavour is exactly balanced to create a beautiful drink that can be consumed any time of the day. We tried this tea as a warm cup with a teabag seeping for a couple minutes, as well as an icetea (boiling a couple of teabags in a pot of water, cooling, and then adding apple/grape juice and Vitaforce Schlehen Blacktorn Berry Elixer.)

The Nursing tea’s main ingredient is also rooibos, but added the following ingredients with these benefits:

Fennel

Helps with digestion, anti-septic, treat colic and stimulate lactation (also used in Gripe Water to help relieve colic and other gastrointestinal ailments and discomforts of infants)

Aniseed

Anti-septic properties, relieves colic in babies and increases milk production in breastfeeding mothers (also used in Gripe Water to help relieve colic and other gastrointestinal ailments and discomforts of infants)

Fenugreek

Excellent for stimulating and increasing milk production in breastfeeding mothers

Vanilla Flavour

Adding a delicate taste to create an easy drinking cup of rooibos

 

Then we both used the Woman’s Support tea for 10 days, every day. This gorgeous-looking tea helps with hormonal health, relieving symptoms of PMS and irregular menstrual cycles. Ingredients include raspberry leaf to help improve sleep, being high in magnesium, potassium, iron and B-vitamins and is extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system.

Now, I have to be honest…I’m not sure what it did to my hormonal health – my (very observant) husband said I was pretty much the same emotionally during those two weeks. But it was wonderful tea. And with both of us nursing our babies through the night, we both didn’t necessarily sleep more or sleep better, but we did feel more calm and restful towards sleep-time, and could fall asleep quite easily. I am quite a fan of any berries, so this tea tickled my tastebuds with that slight raspberry and strawberry feel.

This tea is highly recommended by midwives to pregnant women in their third trimester in support and preparation of labour.

Please note: Carmien Woman’s Support tea should not be taken before your third trimester. Always consult with your practitioner/midwife before taking any supplements.  

The last little gift we received was the two babies and kids tea that seriously got our kids excited. We are quite big tea and coffee drinkers in our family, and our kids are strongly following our example. (Don’t worry, when they ask for coffee, we still give them tea and tell them it’s coffee.) #permittablewhitelie

We made a habit of drinking the Sleepy Time tea every evening (the youngest one drank it without milk), and because each tagged teabag comes in its own envelope, the children felt involved in making their own tea as they tore open their own packet to reveal the teabag. It has soothing tastes of camomile and strawberry soft enough to calm even my busy little boy, and bring him to a restful place before bedtime.

Carmién’s Kiddies Tea is naturally anti-spasmodic, it relieves colic, stomach cramps and diarrhea. It is soothing on the nervous system – excellent for hyperactive children.

 

Our kids loved having their very own tea party with Carmién’s Rooibos Tea for Kiddies and Babies. The flavour had just the right hint of sweetness to keep the attention of their tastebuds, and keep them coming back for more! With the additional benefit of loads of very good and healthy anti-oxidants makes for very happy kids AND mommies!

We are also very big on healthy foods/drinks with our children, and they are used to drinking keifer and water instead of juice. Rooibos is caffeine-free and sweet tasting with no added sugar, making it not only the perfect drink, but an ideal ingredient for other recipes.

This is why we decided to try this tea in more ways. Our favourite was Jelly Babies! You can find the recipe HERE from our fellow local SA Mila’s Meals. (We replaced the juice with Carmien’s Kiddies and Babies Tea) DELISH!

Carmién’s Tea Range is available from most of our local grocery stores, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can easily shop from their online store here, where you can also find a large variety of teas, accessories and gifts (and it gets delivered right to your door!) Also, did you know you can sign up for their newsletter and join the Carmien Tea Club for free? You get exclusive offers & discount, be the first to know about new tea products & accessories, receive invites to exclusive Carmien Tea Tastings and Tea, Food & Wine pairing events in your area, and lastly, every year, you get a TEA-riffic  Carmien Tea Surprise on your birthday!

If that’s not enough to get you running for your perfect flavour box of tea right now, I don’t know what will!

So whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding mom and beyond…if you’re a woman, Carmién has got the tea for you!

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You can find them on online here, or on Facebook here, or even Instagram here! Go ahead, go show them some love.

 

All our love,

MLM

The Real Cost – Mom of Four.

Recently I came upon an article about the high cost of raising children. I am a mom of four. I know a little about the costs of raising these tiny ones. If I knew how much children would cost us before we had them, I might have just gotten a dog. Scrap that. Dogs are expensive too. I’d get a plant. A cheap, replaceable plant.

Oh, please don’t get me wrong!! I love my children to bits and cherish all the good with the bad and I would not exchange them for anything in the whole wide world. Not even an expensive dog. Or plant. 🙂

Although I absolutely got where the author was coming from, she only has one child, and (I think) made the same mistake so many non-parents, or parents of one child, makes. I’ve heard dozens of parents (especially the Dads!) say that they won’t be having a second child as having one is already making them broke! 🙂 So I decided to write this blog to set the record straight.

I was a working mom until we had number three. Baby Nr3 was quite sick during her first year, and the day I was to return to work, baby was so sick and had to be admitted to hospital. This happened 5x in seven months. She could not be in daycare, so we made the decision to keep her at home instead. I became a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). We had to change her (and our family’s) diet, had doctors’ fees, medicine, physio, and many other new costs to fit into our tight little budget, but we made it happen. When Baby nr4 arrived, we had already settled into our beautiful and frugal lifestyle, so only had to make small adaptations.

>>Sidenote, Baby Nr4 was our little gift that we did not expect. We had, by then, already given away all maternity clothes, baby clothes, baby toys, baby EV.RY.THING.

Don’t judge me!

Now here’s the thing: With your first pregnancy, you really have no idea what life is going to be like with another member in the family. You prepare as hell. But even if you go to all the classes, read all the book, listen to every single story your mother, your friends, you mother’s friends tell you…you really still have no idea. So you buy everything. You prepare as much as you can. (Sometimes not so within your budget..) You save as much as you can afford, because Aunt Lisa reminded you about the high cost of nappies – and that you can’t just buy no-name nappies, it has to be the highest priced nappies on the market for your sweet newborn’s soft and precious little behind.

Thank goodness for babyshowers and “nappy-braais”!!!! (Did your baby-daddy have one? It’s a must. We feel like they’re more included, we also have more nappies and they can braai. It’s an absolute win for all!) #jealouseyes …because my hubby refused to have one.

Baby Nr 1 had a whole Facebook Album dedicated to the progress of Baby’s room, and every single thing you’re buying (or gifted!) to make it perfect. (Yes, I did that. Again, don’t judge me. You probably did the same.) We had “just in case” of everything.

My point is, for your first baby you buy everything. Hopefully you get to use it all. Most likely, you don’t. But that’s also OK. Because here is where it changes for baby number two: You have so many things left over from your first baby’s first few months…maybe even years. AND this time you’re a little smarter, and do not put 10 packs of size 1 nappies in your Baby Registry. You learn and adapt to what worked for you the first time around, what didn’t work at all, and which new thing you’d like to test out on Baby nr 2.

Yes, you get new things to make this one feel as loved as the firstborn. 😉 But you do not spend nearly as much on the non-essentials. And you know what? Same goes for Baby nr3.  And four.

We passed things down like it was going out of fashion. Yes, it certainly helps if you have the same gender babies. But you also realize that unless you’re doing a photoshoot everyday, or have people coming over to judge you and baby and your parental dressing skills, baby can pretty much wear anything that will keep him or her warm and safe. So go ahead, dress her in that cute blue onesie with the firetruck that says “Go get ’em, big guy!” Keep the cute hairbands and the 4 pink dresses for when you’re going out, if you must.

My little girl. In her brother’s clothes.

Boys don’t mind pink!

If you count up the cost of baby number 1 – and let’s say for argument’s sake, it was R10 000 – Baby number 2 will not double your cost to R20 000. In my own case, baby 3 and 4 did not multiply that first number by three and four. I promise you! Yes, for sure you will be spending more because you will forever have another mouth to feed, body to dress and schools to pay for. But even schools (most schools, even private ones) make special arrangements for parents with 3 or more children in the same school. (Sometimes they even offer discount on only two children!)

Our eldest is in Grade 1  this year. Number two will be in Grade R next year, and is currently at a pre-grade R preschool. Number 3 started going to playschool half day a few months after number 4 was born. All four children are on our medical aid (although, on Discovery, the cover all our children, but you only pay for up to three children – SCORE!). All four our children eat three meals a day. 🙂 All four need snacks for morning snack time and afternoon snack time. All four my children wear clothes. We love hand-me-downs, and sometimes, within our friend-circle, we do a Swop-Shop.* But we also also buy them what they need.

You’d think we need millions to do this, right?

We don’t. 

If your first child cost you R100, add child number two, and you might have to fork out R150. Add child number three, and you already have most things, but you want to get a few things extra, so now you’re at R200. Silly numbers, but I know you get the picture. And this also greatly depends on the lifestyle, family dynamics and preference of your family. But you honestly still do get smarter and wiser every time.

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Just to make sure it’s not just me and my opinions, I asked a bunch of people from a variety of backgrounds and economic situations with 1, 2, 3, or 4 children to count up the cost of what they spend on their children. A recent study in South Africa, estimated that we spend about R256 a day or R7785 a month. WHAT?! Um noooooo! Not this family.

We did not do a detailed, count-every-single-cent survey, but I asked them to look at what they spend on

  • nappies/wetwipes
  • milk/formula
  • school/creche fees
  • meals (monthly grocery budget and divide by family members)
  • snacks
  • medical aid
  • vitamins/medicine
  • clothes

If they had more than one child, I asked them to just add it up, and divide by children (As my 7 year old does not have the same needs/expenses as my 11month old baby). This what we found:

Family with 4 children average spend: R2133

Family with 3 children average: R3057

Family with 2 children average: R3275

Family with one child: R4825

It’s not an exact science, and again, it depends a lot on each family’s lifestyle, family dynamics and preference. This was just a quick study looking at the same basic expenses in about 20 families. And it clearly shows what I am trying to bring across. You will spend more money with each child, absolutely. But you also spend less per child when you have more than one child. The average amount drastically goes down with each added child.

In conclusion, we can not get away from the fact that we will be spending mucho money on our little ones. Everything gets more expensive with each passing year. We can prepare financially for them as much as humanly possible. (Look out for our next post on HOW to save for your child’s future!) But if your biggest worry is that you won’t be able to afford more children because of what you’re spending right now, rest assured…you’ll be able to make it work. It gets easier.

And having children is still easier to keep alive than plants 🙂

All our love,

MLM

 

 

 

*Swop Shop is a day spent with friends with similar aged children, where we all bring our too-small clothes, arrange it by age, and just swop your preloved ones for new (to us!) clothes. If you’re not too keen on clothes where you’re not sure where it came from, this will work brilliantly for you. You also get to save a TON of money, and you see your child’s favourite hoodie on your friend’s son two months down the line.

In The Press

MonaLisa Mamas Nursing Covers featured in Living & Loving Magazine!

We are VERY proud to have recently been featured in one of the top Mom & Baby magazines in the country! What an honour!

The articles features their pick of the top 5 breastfeeding covers in South Africa, and MonaLisa Mamas’ Nursing Cover is one of them!!

For more info, read the full article here.

 

Living&Loving Magazine Nov 2015

 

 

Checklist before Baby Arrives

I am 5 weeks away from having our little princess and although the excitement is high, the last few days the reality of having another baby has really hit. And I keep wondering if we are really prepared.

So perhaps it is the “nesting” talking, but I have put together a list of things we need to do in the next couple of weeks. Whether you are having your first or your fourth, the list does not change much.  I hope my obsessiveness during my nesting stage can assist you on your journey to motherhood.

Checklist

1. Freezer Meals – As it gets closer to your due date start preparing some good freezer friendly meals. I made sure to stock up the house on our grocery necessities and packed our freezer full of our favorite meals because the last thing you will want to be doing that first week is cooking. This gives you a break and more time to focus on your new little bundle of joy.

2. Order your MonaLisa Baby Wrap and Nursing Cover – Whether you are planning to breastfeed or bottle feed through expressing, a nursing cover is a must. I have had the awkward moment or two in the hospital while receiving visitors and baby is hungry..and did not have my cover with me at hospital. Also having our Baby Wrap at the hospital allowed Daddy to continue kangaroo-care while I was getting some much needed rest.

3. Schedule Newborn Photos – It’s a lot easier to photograph a newborn the first 4 – 12 days after they’re born. Waiting a few weeks makes a big difference because they’re more alert and usually when you change poses or try to use different props they’re fussier because they want to be swaddled. So try to book an appointment with your photographer ahead of time to ensure that you’re able to get in a newborn session, most photographers are booked so far in advanced anyways!

4. Finish Nursery – Make sure all of the last minute touches are finished and all of the baby furniture is built or bought. You want the room ready for the baby to use it as soon as you bring them home! Nothing like trying to build furniture or paint a room when you have a newborn!

5. Choose Your Baby’s Name – Some people know what they’re naming their child before they even find out their pregnant. We had a list of possible names for boy and girl, but after our gender reveal, our 3-year old started telling everyone the “name” of her new baby sister! Luckily it was my favourite anyway, so in essence, our daughter decided on her sister’s name.

6. Packing Your Hospital Bags – I started packing my hospital bags early and kept it in the car once it was packed with my previous pregnancies. It’s a good idea to have a list that you can check off once you pack the item so you know nothing is left out and what’s already packed. Rather than searching the Internet silly for what to pack (most of which was unnecessary anyway!) , ask some of your friends who had babies. Those are more helpful and useful.

7. Wash, Sort, Organize – After your baby shower I’m sure the baby room is filled with bags and bags of clothes. Start washing the clothes, blankets, and bedding with a gentle detergent. After everything is washed start sorting and organizing the clothes by size. Because your baby will be growing so fast it’s ideal to keep out a few sizes bigger so that you’re not constantly unpack and packing clothes away.

8. Schedule a Pedicure – Probably the most important tip is to take care of yourself. So take yourself out and get pampered. Because once that baby comes it’s going to be so hard to find time for yourself not only because your newborn is going to want you 24/7 but you’re not going to want to leave them! And your feet could use some attention considering you probably haven’t seen them for a few months! *Remember, if you are having a C-section, you should not have any nailpolish on your nails!

9. Date Night – With how busy your husband and you are with preparing for your new baby, you have to remember that besides becoming new parents or increasing your family size, you are husband and wife! And that date night isn’t going to come as often as it does before the baby arrives. So get in those last few dinner dates or try to get one weekend away and enjoy some alone time.

10. Sterilize Bottles and Breast Pump Supplies – Even if you don’t plan on pumping if you’re breastfeeding, it’s still a good idea to have a breast pump ready because labor is unpredictable. Some friends have had babies who were born premature or had some difficulties in the first few days, and were able to express and feed their babies even though they were incubated. So start sterilizing everything now so they’re ready to use.

11. Big Brother/ Big Sister – If this is your second (or third or fourth or fifth!) child don’t forget to show them how important their role of being a big sibling is going to be. Make them feel partof the process by letting them feel baby kick, and perhaps even make or buy the new baby a little gift. Also remember to get a little gift from new baby to her/his sibling(s) to help them celebrate the new member of your family, instead of feeling resentment towards this new little being everyone is giving gifts and attention to.

12. Finalize Plans for Other Children/ Pets – Contact your babysitter or petsitter and finalize everything to make sure you have someone to take and collect them from daycare/ school and watch your child or pets on the day of labor.

13. Finalize UIF – you can print out all the forms needed from the Department of Labour’s website and have the money paid right into your bank account (instead of waiting in long queues with a newborn). www.labour.gov.za

14. Install the Car Seat – A week or two before your due date read over the car seat manual and install it according to Safety Regulations.  (Same applies to the pram – make sure both you and Daddy know how to do it.)

15. Preregister with the Hospital – Unless you want to answer your families health history and search for insurance cards during labor make sure to preregister with your hospital. Most hospitals offer this and usually recommend it. It eliminates a lot of steps that you’ll have to do the day of labor.

Lastly, remember to just rest as much as you can and enjoy as the excitement grows just as your belly grows! This is such a precious time that passes in a wink of an eye!

 

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MonaLisa Mamas turns 1!

Birthday

 

Wow, we simply cannot believe it has been a whole year since we opened our MonaLisa Mamas (virtual) doors for the very first time! And what a year it has been!

 

We joined markets and exhibitions and became involved in the annual MediClinic Pregnancy Awareness Week. We joined hands with Maternity/Baby shops and became proud suppliers to 3 different shops – Lush Baby Boutique (Kuilsriver), Prémaman (Tygervalley) and Mommies&Babies Boutique (Windhoek, Namibia). We visited the Mommy Wellness Day Spa and Magical Mums Antenatal Classes. We saw our products cross the country from Wellington to Tzaneen, Umhlanga to Bela Bela! They also traveled the world to London, New York, Australia and Portugal!

 

We had the privilege of meeting our wonderful, supporting mommies (& sisters, mothers & colleagues!) and their gorgeous babies! What a fantastic group of people you all are!

 

We are extremely grateful and humbled by your continued support. Without you none of this would be possible.

 

We celebrated our first birthday in style with an Afternoon High Tea at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa in Camps Bay! What an absolute treat and indulgence! We felt so special!  And inspired to make you all feel just as special through the products we create 🙂

 

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Thank you so much for your encouragement, feedback, kind words and beautiful smiles. We look forward to many more successful, blessed and fun-filled years ahead!

 

With lots of love,

 

The MonaLisa Mamas xxx

 

MonaLisa Mamas birthday

Babywearing Strikes

 

“Oh, my baby didn’t like being worn.” It’s something I’ve heard lots of moms say. And while there certainly are babies who don’t like it and won’t like it ever, there are some tips and tricks you can use if you want or need to wear your baby and baby (or toddler!) is not cooperating. 

 

It takes some getting used to

First off, remember that this is a new thing and it takes some getting used to. The younger you start, the easier it will be to get them used to it – but expect some whines and cries at first, even from a newborn. It’s different, and you both are still learning and probably a bit awkward. Practice putting on the carrier on your own (even with dolls), and let baby “practice” being worn for shorter time periods. Try different carries or carriers to see which is the most comfortable for both of you. Some babies also prefer movement when being worn, so try taking some laps around the house. Don’t get discouraged!

 

Babies are whiny

One week, your child may love the carrier and fall asleep instantly when worn. The next week, he or she may be screaming like a crazy kid in it or refuse to get in (if they are older). (This change will inevitably happen when you are in public, causing other people to assume that you are torturing your poor child by carrying them in “that thing” instead of in a stroller) when really, your kid is just cranky and would probably be crying no matter what. It happens. Babies and toddlers cry. Don’t feel bad. Just do your best. Don’t think that tears one day are the end of babywearing forever or that they hate it and always will. My daughter has flipped out when I’ve tried to wrap her one moment, then I try again 5 minutes later and she is totally into it.

 

Do something fun

Especially as your baby gets older and learns that it’s possible to do awesome things like crawl and walk, they may lose interest in the carrier for a while and whine when you put them in it. Don’t stress – your babywearing days are not over. Let them have their independence! My daughter knows that if we were going to go out and take the dog for a walk, it will have to be in a carrier. So when I tell her we are going for a walk, she’ll often change her tune. In the evenings now in the winter, I will sometimes wear her out to go look at the moon. Even though she can certainly walk on her own now, she knows she isn’t walking in those places by herself, so she’s willing to give in to go out. Often, kids will be more open to wrapping in busy public places like a fair or farmer’s market, where they want to be close to you AND see all the action. If you are dealing with a wrap strike at home, try going somewhere fun where they will be distracted – it can help them get used to the feeling again. I’ve even had instances when out that my daughter clearly did not feel comfortable (was very apprehensive and not her normal, friendly self) even when I was holding her. Only when I wrapped her did she really seem to feel OK about the situation.

 

Make it part of the routine

This may not always work, but we always use a ring sling when we are going out shopping somewhere. So even if she wasn’t in the mood for a walk earlier, when we go to Target or Kohl’s or whatever, she knows she’s getting in the ring sling to go into the store and very rarely puts up a fight. If we are going someplace with a cart, she will usually go back and forth between the cart and the sling while we shop. If there’s no cart, she is generally happy in the sling the whole time, because it’s all she knows! I guess eventually, I will have to let her on to the fact that she CAN walk around in stores. Eventually 😉

 

Bring something fun. A bribe, even!

Many a time I have “tandem wrapped” my daughter and one of two of her dolls and stuffed toys. I am also not above bribes, such as a pacifier, string cheese, crackers, or a cold teether. They keep her happy and distracted until I can get her up and wrapped and out the door to look at the cool stuff outside. I also almost always turn on the TV for a sec so she can watch that while I am wrapping her up. I also talk to her a ton while she is wrapped, pointing things out on our walks for her to see. Some of our best conversations happen during babywearing!

 

Try a different carry or carrier.

Often when my daughter goes on mini-wrap strikes (“NO WRAP ME!”, she yells), she is not so into being wrapped on my back, but still may be up for some front snuggles in a good old Front Cross Carry. Her favorite carrier is the ring sling, and when she’s not into anything else, I can still often convince her to go up in that (which is great for me, too, since it’s so quick and easy). So try a different carry (even just a different or quicker back carry if you are wrapping) or a different carrier – even a specific different carrier of the same kind that is in your kid’s favorite colour or has a favourite print on it. I convinced my daughter to wear bow barrettes in her hair by calling them all “Minnie Mouse bows” and would not be above slapping a pair of mouse ears on an Ergo to convince her to go up ;). Make them feel like they have some ownership of the situation by letting them pick things. For smaller babies, they may prefer one carry or carrier over others for comfort reasons, so try a few options and see what works.

 

Try again later

Sometimes your kid just does. not. want. to be. worn. And that’s fine! But I encourage you to try again. And before long, your kid will want to go out for an adventure and ride on your back, or snuggle in close for some love. Your kid is really only too big to babywear when it becomes uncomfortable and unenjoyable for both of you. I only get a chance to wear my 2 year old a few times a week (especially now that it’s dark out almost as soon as I get home from work), but I cherish every moment and keep the skill in my pocket for when it’s needed to calm down a crazy toddler at a party, snuggle one up before bedtime, or wrangle her at an outdoor event. Until then, don’t force the issue, try again later and enjoy every second of the babywearing-snuggles you get.

 

In the end, we always do what we think is best for that time – For your child. And for yourself.

Trust that.

You are doing an amazing job. Well done!

 

babywearingdays

 

Reference: www.somdbabywearers.weebly.com/blog

10 Reasons Why Toddler-wearing is Awesome!

Castle

 

As my little boy came closer and closer to the 1 year milestone, I subconsciously started carrying him less and less in his wrap. He was weighing close to 11 kg and was wanting to see and touch more and more while we were out. I started thinking my babywearing days were over.

But fortunately I came across this blog on Babywearing International Southern Maryland and it gave me renewed inspiration and motivation to continue babywearing! Sometimes you just need another technique or carrier to keep enjoying the wonderful benefits for both of you. My son is now 15 months old, weighs 12.5kg and still loves being carried (and sleeping!) in his MonaLisa Mamas Baby Wrap!

Here are 10 reasons why it is so awesome to wear your toddler 🙂

 

1.  Toddler hugs and kisses!

toddler-babywearing

Having your toddler close makes it easy to kiss their sweet little head or for them to plant their slobbery little kisses on you or wrap their chubby little arms around your neck.

 

2.  Toddler-wearing conversations are the best.

Wearing a toddler makes it so easy to talk with them and hear them.   With a toddler on your back, their sweet little voice is right in your ear.  They can see over your shoulder at anything that you can see and will tell you all about everything they are thinking and seeing.  This is a wonderful way to see what they are thinking about the world. Spending a half an hour a day taking a babywearing walk with your toddler is a great way to help your toddler develop his or her speech.

 

3.  Traveling.

Sometimes it’s wonderful to travel at a toddler’s pace by sniffing every flower and turning over every rock.

 

But other times, you just have to get somewhere.  Wearing your toddler can help you move quicker and keep your hands free while also keeping your toddler happy and connected while so you can both get where you need to go.

toddler travel

 

4.  Toddlers need naps.

Sometimes you are out and about somewhere when you’re toddler needs a nap.  Baby carrier to the rescue!  Most toddlers will happily fall asleep in a carrier and get a restful nap, even out and about.

toddler beach

5.  Toddler-hood is rough.

Toddlers have many bumps and falls.  They have big emotions and they are still learning to express their feelings.  Wearing your toddler can help them recover from a tantrum or an injury by giving them the security of being close to you.

 

6.  Public Bathrooms.

Taking a toddler into a public bathroom is not for the faint of heart.  They want to touch EVERYTHING.   If you’re wearing them, they can’t crawl under the stalls and say hello to the other bathroom occupants, play with the tampon receptacle, or lick the toilet seat.    Because really, what could be more fun than playing in a toilet?

 

7.  Shopping with a toddler in a carrier is so much easier.

A worn toddler can’t take all of the items off of the shelves, run all around the shop like crazy, or hide under the clothing racks.  But be careful, because a toddler on your back can shop lift!  Check their little hands before you head through the sensors at the end of the store and make sure they didn’t grab something shiny or awesome that they wanted to take with them!

toddler shopping

8.  Wearing your toddler makes it easy to keep them safe while also keeping them happy.

For example, while teaching your big kid to ride her bike, a worn toddler isn’t able to run into the street and you have your hands free to help the big kid balance.  Or if you are lugging a bunch of items out to your car which is parked on a busy street, you can keep your toddler safely on your back and you don’t have worry about them darting into the street while you are placing a box in the trunk.

toddler safe

9.  Little legs get tired.

A lot of times toddlers want to walk for most of an outing.  Bringing a carrier along for the trip makes things so much easier because you can easily carry your toddler when they get tired, but you’re not stuck lugging around an empty stroller while also trying to chase your busy toddler.

toddler tired legs

10.  Sometimes toddlers just need to reconnect.

After a long day at work, there’s nothing nicer than wearing your toddler while cooking dinner or walking the dog.  You can still accomplish a few of the million things that need to be done each day, but you’ve got your sweet toddler close where you can talk and snuggle after time apart.

toddler connect

 

Happy Toddler-wearing!

 

Reference: www.somdbabywearers.weebly.com/blog

Preventing Hip Dislocation

HIP-DYSPLASIA-logo-large

 

Hip Dislocation or Dysplasia is much more prevalent in babies than we might think. One area of prevention is in choosing and using baby carriers that allow healthy hip positioning. The MonaLisa Mamas Baby Wrap proudly support this healthy hip positioning (please see diagrams below) by supporting your baby’s legs and hips in the “froggy position”.  (Kindly refer to the Wrap Instructions for more info : http://monalisamamas.co.za/instructions/)

 

This Educational Statement was published by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (http://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/#sthash.dSAmkX8a.dpuf) in order to provide information about healthy hip development to guide manufacturers in the development of safe designs of infant equipment, and to help parents make informed choices about the devices they use for their babies:

“Parents and caregivers are encouraged to choose a baby carrier that allows healthy hip positioning, in addition to other safety considerations. When babies are carried, the hips should be allowed to spread apart with the thighs supported and the hips bent. This position encourages normal hip development.”

 

We hope this provides you with a little more knowledge re the safety of your precious little one. Enjoy!

 

Hip Health in baby carriers, car seats, swings, walkers, and other equipment

 

Within the womb, a baby spends a long time tucked in the fetal position, in which both hips and knees are bent or flexed.Hips in the Womb

Baby in normal (fetal) womb position.

After birth, it takes several months for the joints to stretch out naturally. Babies that have been in the breech (bottom first) position may need even more time to stretch out naturally.

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. During the first few months of life the ball is more likely to be loose within the socket because babies are naturally flexible and because the edges of the socket are made of soft cartilage like the cartilage in the ear. If the hips are forced into a stretched-out position too early, the ball is at risk of permanently deforming the edges of the cup shaped socket (hip dysplasia) or gradually slipping out of the socket altogether (hip dislocation). Hip dysplasia or dislocation in babies is not painful so this may go undetected until walking age and may also result in painful arthritis during adulthood. The risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation is greatest in the first few months of life. By six months of age, most babies have nearly doubled in size, the hips are more developed and the ligaments are stronger, so are less susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.

The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension – with the hips and knees straight – and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time.

Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position has been called the jockey position, straddle position, frog position, spread-squat position or human position. Free movement of the hips without forcing them together promotes natural hip development.

Some types of baby carriers and other equipment may interfere with healthy hip positioning. Such devices include but are not limited to baby carriers, slings, wraps, pouches, car seats, exercisers, rockers, jumpers, swings, bouncers and walkers, and molded seating items. These devices could inadvertently place hips in an unhealthy position, especially when used for extended periods of time. Any device that restrains a baby’s legs in an unhealthy position should be considered a potential risk for abnormal hip development. It is also important to assess the size of the baby and match the device and carrier to the size of the child so that the hips can be in a healthy position during transport. Parents are advised to research the general safety and risks of any device they wish to use. When in doubt, we recommend involving your primary health-care provider in any further decision-making that may be medically relevant.

 

These series of drawings demonstrate typical devices that allow healthier hip positioning in comparison to those which do not:

 

Car Seat Positioning

Not Recommended: 
carseat-07

Tight car seats prevent legs from spreading apart.

Better:
carseat-08

Wider car seats provide room for legs to be apart, putting the hips in a better position.

 

Baby Harnesses 

Not Recommended

harness-03

harness-05

Thigh NOT supported to the knee joint. The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.

Better:

harness-04

harness-06

Thigh is supported to the knee joint. The forces on the hip joint are minimal because the legs are spread, supported, and the hip is in a more stable position.

Baby Slings/Wraps

Not Recommended: 

Baby carriers that force the baby’s legs to stay together may contribute to hip dysplasia.

Better:

Baby carriers should support the thigh and allow the legs to spread to keep the hip in a stable position.

 

MonaLisa Mamas Baby Wraps support this hip healthy position!

 

Juan christmas shopping

Mona

 

Reference: www.hipdysplasia.org

Choosing a Baby Carrier

choose carrier                     Modern baby carriers come in a wide variety of styles to suit every taste and budget. Choosing which carrier to purchase can be an overwhelming task because there are so many excellent options in a bewildering range of styles, colors, and sizes. But take a breath, have a cup of tea and have a look at our easy guidelines:

Some considerations when selecting a baby carrier:

  • How long do you plan to babywear? Will you use it primarily during the first few months or do you prefer a carrier that will last through the first year or even longer?
  • Who will use the carrier? Will it be exclusively used by one caregiver or do you want something that can be easily exchanged between caregivers with minimal adjustment? Some carriers are size specific and cannot be shared between caregivers of different sizes whereas others can fit a wide range of individuals.
  • Do you want to purchase only one carrier for your entire babywearing time? Are you open to more than one carrier for different situations, ages, and stages?
  • What is your budget? Most good quality, ergonomic carriers cost between $30 and $175 so there are options at every price point. Used carriers can be a budget-friendly option too.

 Most baby carriers fall into one of five types:

Wraps, Ring Slings, Pouch Slings, Mei Tais, or Buckle/Soft Structured Carriers.

WRAPS

wrapWraps are the most traditional and simple of all carriers. They come in a variety of lengths and fabrics such as knit jersey (ideal for newborns), gauze (good for warm weather), cotton, linen, wool, and other fabrics. Wraps can be used to carry an infant, toddler, or child in a variety of positions including front, hip, and (if made of woven fabric rather than knit jersey) back carries. Wraps are infinitely adjustable to meet the specific needs of the individual wearer. Weight distribution across both shoulders and back make it a very comfortable choice. Learning to wrap may seem intimidating at first but can be mastered with practice quite easily. The beautiful fabrics used in many wraps make them an aesthetically pleasing style of baby carrier. Their lack of hardware makes them ideal for snuggling newborns but wraps are wonderful for babies and toddlers of any age.

This is obviously our top choice 😉

 

RING SLINGS

ringslingA ring sling is a modern adaptation of traditional one shoulder carries found in Mexico, Indonesia, and other cultures. A pair of metal or nylon rings are securely attached to the end of a roughly two-meter-long piece of fabric. The tail end of the sling is threaded through the rings to adjust to the wearers body. The weight of the child in the carrier secures the rings against slipping. Ring slings are available in a variety of fabrics from basic cotton to luxurious silk. The long tail of the sling can be used for many things including a sun shade, nursing cover, light blanket, or hand hold for older children when your hands are full. Ring slings are excellent for newborns and for toddlers who want quick up and down carries.

POUCH SLINGS

pouchsling A pouch sling is a simple tube of fabric worn over one shoulder like a sash and used much like a ring sling but without the ability to adjust the size of the sling each time it is used. Pouch slings are sleek, easy to use, inexpensive, and convenient to stash in a diaper bag or glove compartment. However, because pouches are sized they are hard to share between caregivers and must be correctly fitted for safety and comfort.

MEI TAI

meitaiThe Chinese mei tai (pronounced “may tie” not “my tie”) is the most popular of a group of modernized traditional Asian-style baby carriers. It has a panel of fabric with two shorter straps that go around the waist and two longer straps to wrap over the shoulder. Modern mei tai straps are often padded or made very wide (known as “wrap straps”) to provide extra comfort for the wearer and they are often made of attractive fabrics. Because they lack buckles and are tied to create a custom fit each time, mei tais are easily shared between multiple caregivers. They are easy to learn how to wear and can be used for front, back, and hip carries. Mei Tais are ideal for older babies and toddlers but can also be safely used with newborns.

BUCKLE CARRIERS

buckleSSCSoft structured carriers (SSCs) offer a mix of comfort, convenience and accessibility that is appealing to many caregivers. Most feature a thickly padded waistband and shoulder straps for a comfortable, ergonomic fit and can be used for front, back, and sometimes hip carries. The straps typically are adjustable for a custom fit and often these carriers have additional features such as sleep hoods, front pockets, adjustable seats, etc. SSCs have a low learning curve because they go on and off like a backpack but offer the same skin-to-skin benefits of wraps, slings, and mei tais. Some soft structured carriers may require the use of a special infant insert below a certain weight and size but most quality, ergonomic carriers can be used well into toddlerhood. There is a soft structured carrier for every taste, budget, and body type making them the most popular style of baby carrier on the market today.

 So, don’t despair! Have a think about what you would prefer and choose the best option you can afford. In the end, what matters is that you are babywearing – in whatever size, form or colour. And your baby will love you for it! 

 

Happy babywearing!

References: www.babywearinginternational.org

Tips & Tricks on Safe Babywearing

ABCofsafebabywearingIt is very important to understand basic babywearing safety before ever putting on a carrier. As with any baby product, baby carriers can pose potential safety hazards if they are not used carefully and correctly.

  • Make sure your child’s airway remains open at all times while babywearing. The best way to do this is to keep him or her in an upright position, high enough on your body to monitor breathing and ensure that her chin is off her chest. You should be able to get two fingers under baby’s chin and hear baby breathing normally.  If you hear grunting or snoring sounds, that is a sign that baby is having trouble breathing.  If that happens, remove baby and rewrap being sure to wrap very snug and tight.  If you have any problems, feel free to contact us directly at info@monalisamamas.co.za. Babywearing International recommends that infants only be held in a horizontal or cradle position while actively nursing (if desired) and return to an upright or vertical position as soon as they have finished.
  • It is also important that your carrier provide adequate support for your infant’s developing neck and back. Ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee although with older babies and toddlers full knee to knee support is not always possible or necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for a baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well.
  • Always inspect your carrier for wear or damage before use it. Look for weak spots, loose stitching, worn fabrics, etc. 
  • Practice all carries – especially back carries – with a spotter, over a bed or couch, or low to the ground until you are completely confident.  In most cases it is best to be comfortable with front carries before attempting back carries.
  • Always exercise common sense while babywearing. Baby carriers are not an approved child restraint or floatation device and should not be used in moving vehicles or boats. Avoid babywearing in situations where it would not be safe to carry an infant in your arms either.
  • When wrapping, be sure to always remember TICKS:

Tight In View Close enough to kiss Keep chin off chest Supported back

  • Be sure to wrap tight enough. The wrap should be very snug, like a bandage ona sprained ankle.  If you press against your baby’s back and the baby is able to move closer to you, then it’s too loose.  If you feel like you need a hand on baby and baby doesn’t feel secure to you, then it’s too loose.  In either case you can just adjust strand by strand removing the slack from the width of the wrap.
  • Stretchy wraps should never be used for back carries.  They are stretchy and even if wrapped well, are not safe and secure used on the back because the baby could lean backwards and fall.

TOP TIP:

To secure a sleeping baby’s head while in the wrap, you can tuck their head into one side of the cross pass that comes over your shoulder and pull the fabric away from the other side of the cross so that their face is visible and not covered.  If your baby doesn’t want their head tucked in, but seems to need more head support, you can leave a little roll of wrap at your baby’s neck and tighten that well by snugging the top rail of the wrap.  If that is very snug, their head should stay put, even without a cross pass holding their head.

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Happy Wrapping!

References: www.babywearinginternational.org www.somdbabywearers.weebly.com/blog/stretchy-wrap-tutorials-and-tips