Tips and Tricks in Adoption and Pediatrics

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Slings and Things

I've had a bit of a complicated relationship with babywearing, as with many other things that can get taken somewhat seriously in this town of ours. The "attachment as lifestyle" trend goes a bit far sometimes, for me. Luckily, now that I'm a dad and get to experience it myself, things are less complicated: I love it, probably more than my daughter does.

I do my best to not do the "I'm babywearing, how attached am I" look that sometimes goes with the wearing of the baby. And I try to maintain some sense of my own style (which does not generally include being draped with bolts of indigenous fabrics) while I do it. And thus, I bring you my own idiosyncratic list of fave slings and things:

Adjustable Pouches



Our favoritest, most versatile babywearing device has been an adjustable fleece pouch, from Kangaroo Korner. Works great for facing-in infant snuggles, facing-out kangaroo hold, sidelying, and my favorite, the hip carry. The sherpa fleece is snuggly, just warm enough, and stretches just right. Bonus for me: no rings, no big tails of fabric. But for those of you that can work that look, I hear ring slings are fabulously versatile, and great for breastfeeding. And for those who like being tied up, the Moby Wraps sure are popular.



Soft Structured Baby Carriers

These let you carry a baby, toddler, even preschooler facing-in, either on your frontside or back. You can adapt them for hip carry, but it's kludgey. They hurt my back a lot less than Baby Bjorns, and are more snuggly and nap-tastic. The Ergo carrier is the easiest-to-find version of this, and it works great for lots of people. We struggled with the fabric choices (they all looked a bit "I wear hemp" for me), and wound up with a Yamo baby carrier, in fabu red surf fabric, from Israel via German Ebay. Yes, people get that crazy about their baby carriers. But we sooo love it. To find people even more nutty about their babywearing than I, go to the TheBabyWearer reviews and forums. The reviews are excellent, and the "for sale or trade" section is hopping.

Hip Carriers



Our daughter ended up feeling that a hip carry was a nice compromise between snuggling in and facing out. And so along came the Ellaroo Mei Hip carrier, in a luscious array of organic fabrics. You can do this carry with a pouch or ring sling, or the Ergo-type carriers, but this one is both easy and comfortable. Ellaroo also carries more traditional Mei Tais, not to mention Guatemalan-fabric slings and wraps.

And that's what we're rocking so far ... I hear these really come into their own when you've got two kids. For toddler adoptees, the soft structured and hip carriers are a great choice, as they comfortably handle bigger kids. I hope you find one (or more) that suits you and your child. But remember - it's still OK to put them down from time to time. How else will they learn to sit/crawl/walk?

Please post your own favorites below. However, you may end up in trouble with my wife if you end up inspiring yet another carrier purchase.

Make That Lovie Funky

Lest you were concerned that I've gone 'round the bend on this James Brown business ... I'm referring to a different kind of funk. Smell. And a different kind of lovie: a Security Object, like a blanket or "taggie". Familiar caregiver smells are a potent releaser of oxytocin, the "bonding" and security hormone. You can use this to your family's advantage ...

Make your child's security object, lovie, or blankie smelly in a good way by using it during feedings. Having it close to your body can let it absorb both your own good funk and the smell of breastmilk or formula. If one parent tends to feed more often, another caregiver can use the lovie to evoke a happy-well-fed feeling when rocking and consoling the child later. That lovie can be a real help with bedtimes and daycare transitions too. Just make sure to invest in identical backup lovies if possible, and rotate them to keep them all equally funky. Wash infrequently, if at all.


Everyone knows the "over-the-shoulder" approach to burping, and that works just fine. If you want to take your infant burping technique to the next level, though, try this tip from my twin-in-law:

Sit your young infant on your knee, and support their upper chest and jaw with your hand, so that their head doesn't fall too far forward. Let their torso collapse forward a bit, bounce your knee, and pat their back with your other hand. Professional-grade burps, every time.

Weaning Nighttime Bottles

After 6 months or so, certainly past 1yo, kids who are otherwise growing well don't physically need those middle-of-the-night bottles - they're what the behaviorists call "trained night wakers". It's up to you how aggressively you want to wean this, but here's a good tip.

Take the bottle that hurts you the most (4am, anyone?), and water it down over several nights, until you're offering a bottle of just water. That often helps the child give up that particular habitual wakeup. Remember to be brief and boring about it, as well.