It’s Like They Know Us

"The nurse will come in shortly to check baby’s vitals, and then our Personal Style Concierge will stop by to see if you’d like your hair, makeup, or nails freshened up."

“The nurse will come in shortly to check baby’s vitals, and then our Personal Style Concierge will stop by to see if you’d like your hair, makeup, or nails freshened up.”

Okay, this is probably old news to some of you, but I just discovered this Tumblr called It’s Like They Know Us. You know the lame stock photos used in online magazines, newspapers and blogs? The ones that depict glossy, perfect, and often kind of weird scenarios? Family-related stock photos are sometimes the most ridiculous, portraying deliriously happy, immaculately dressed mummies, daddies and babies. Everything is perfect! A mom who knows better decided to take the most ridiculous stock photos and match them up with hilarious captions.  And “It’s Like They Know Us” was born….

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Kenya celebrates International Babywearing Week 2014

ibw2014_horizAs many of you know, last week was International Babywearing Week – a week to celebrate, share and promote all things babywearing.  Our group, Babywearing Love Kenya, was an official celebrating organization, and we held plenty of events to celebrate.

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We had two babywearing walks planned to get us moving outdoors with our tots. Nairobi’s short rains, however, caused a change of plans for one of them.  Our scheduled walk at Oloolua Trail had to be cancelled, and instead we made a babywearing visit to the Nairobi National Museum! We had a really nice time roaming the exhibits.  I’ve been to the Nairobi National Museum numerous times, but I always really enjoy the impressive mammal exhibit, and I adore the bird room.  We also got a chance to view the Westgate Memorial, which was quite powerful, moving, and very well done.

IBW 06

Luckily, the rain did not interfere with another babywearing walk, this one in Karura Forest. It was a lovely day for a nice, leisurely stroll through the forest.  Karura is an excellent place for babywearing walks, because the terrain is quite easy and you can wear your baby on the front or back, as you prefer.  (Oloolua has plenty of steep, precarious steps and climbs, and I really prefer to have Sugarplum on my back when walking there.)

IBW 05

Finally, we held a Babywearing 101 class for wrapping and ring slings. This was the highlight of babywearing week for me. I have tried for the past 7 months to fall in love with wrapping.  I even bought a couple of beautiful woven wraps when I was in the US, convinced that with a little practice I would become a wrapping pro. But time and time again, I reach for my ring sling. I can’t help it – it’s so quick, easy and comfortable! But I digress – the wrapping class really reminded me how much I want to be a wrapper. The wraps are beautiful, and – when done correctly and properly tightened – baby and mum can be so comfortable and well-supported in a nice woven wrap.

IBW 04

Elisabeth was kind enough to show us the ropes on a couple of basic front carries. First, she demonstrated the Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC), with a willing Sugarplum as her model. FWCC is a great, relatively easy front carry for those new to wrapping. I especially love that the two reinforcing passes can be either bunched or spread out over baby’s back. When it’s hot outside, it’s so nice to have a carry that doesn’t have layers and layers of wrap over your hot little baby. Here’s a great video tutorial for FWCC, if you’d like to learn:

Elisabeth also showed us the Front Cross Carry (FCC), which is a great carry for running errands, because you can pre-tie the wrap on your body and pop baby in when you’re ready to go.This is also a pretty easy carry to learn for new wrap-enthusiasts. Here’s useful video tutorial for FCC:

All in all, I would say that our first International Babywearing Week was a big success! I am so pleased with the enthusiasm of our members, and the wonderful community we’re developing together. Thanks to everyone who came out to share the adventure and help us celebrate International Babywearing Week 2014!

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Raising world-travelers: coping with baby jet lag

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Jet lag with children is always difficult, but I learned that it’s even MORE challenging with two!  Upon our recent return from the US, both kids were up half the night during the adjustment phase – but not the same half! That meant that I was up ALL night, and that made it even harder to get adjusted. Since I certainly don’t have all the answers, I thought it would be great to collect advice from world-traveler mums – and I know lots of them! Read on for a collection of tried and tested advice from mums in the know.

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Testing, testing…

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Okay, I think the blog maintenance is about done! It has been a long, hard slog, but I think I might have squashed all the bugs – or at least the most disruptive ones, anyway.

I leave you with another sweet photo of Sugarplum (and her two new teeth!) to serve as a test… So, is this thing working?

Thanks for sticking with me, guys!

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Where we wore, September 2014

Our local babywearing group, Babywearing Love Kenya, has started a new tradition of sharing photos of some of the places we wore our babies each month. Check out all the places that babywearing took our members in September 2014!

Google!

Google

Karura Forest:

Karura 01

Karura 02

Karura 03

Oloolua Nature Trail:

Oloolua 02

Oloolua 03

Oloolua

Storymoja Hay Festival:

Storymoja

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Testing, 1 2 3…

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Sorry for the radio silence! I’ve spent the last week doing some site maintenance, and couldn’t post new content until it was complete… And this post will hopefully tell me if all went well!

Stay tuned for more posts! And happy International Babywearing Week!

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This month’s meets: September 2014

 

Watermarked Photo September 2014

We had a great time at our two babywearing meets this month, which started out cold and dreary and ended up hot and sunny! There were lots of new faces, and plenty of new carriers to check out.

Watermarked Photo Oloolua 23

A friend of mine gave me an amazing Storchenwiege mei tai half-buckle baby carrier that I love, and have been using lots for long walks and back carries. I love that the middle part that goes between baby’s legs can be adjusted for width, and the body can also be adjusted for length with handy draw strings. My ring sling is always my go-to carrier, but this one is a really wonderful alternative when I need to wear Sugarplum on my back, or for longer walks when I want to bear her weight on two shoulders.

 

Photo credit: @babybuddhagear via Twitter

Photo credit: @babybuddhagear via Twitter

Another new member, Jess, brought along a Baby Buddha baby carrier, which is similar to a Baby K’Tan or a Close Carrier.  It has two separate stretch tube slings which you wear over each shoulder, crossing in the back.  It also comes with a belly wrap that you can tie around the two tube slings for extra support. Jess also kindly donated a wrap she doesn’t use for our future carrier lending library – thank you, Jess!

Nike, a longtime babywearer, wanted to discuss different options for forward-facing front carries, since her daughter has begun to want to see the world while being worn. Nike got some ideas and advice from the other mums about hip carries and soft structured carriers (SSCs) like the new Ergo 360 and Stokke Carrier, both of which do ergonomically correct forward-facing carries.

 

Our regular babywearing meets are a great opportunity for parents interested in babywearing to get together, try out different carriers, and get information about how to wear your baby comfortably and safely. But our meets are also a great way to make friends and join a circle of fellow parents. At each meet, we spend time trying out different carriers, troubleshooting babywearing issues, and planning babywearing activities like walks (my new favorite spot is Oloolua Trail!) and babywearing yoga. And, inevitably, we also relax, hang out, have a cup of coffee, and talk about parenting, kids, and life in Nairobi. Our little babywearing family is always growing, and has become a wonderful, supportive network!

We hold our babywearing meets twice per month, on the FIRST Thursday and THIRD Saturday every month, from 10 – 12 at Amani Ya Juu. The next meets will be October 2nd and October 18th. For more information, join our Facebook group, Babywearing Love Kenya! And if you’d like to buy a Mama Mgeni ring sling, please contact me or check out my shop!

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Oloolua Nature Trail

Watermarked Photo Oloolua 05

Last week I went for a hike on the Oloolua Nature trail with my friend Leonie. What a beautiful spot! We put our babies on our backs (Leonie using a Deuter framed hiking pack, and me using my new Storchenwiege half-buckle mei tai carrier), and headed out for a nice, shady hike. Continue reading

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Mama Mgeni’s Guide to Babywearing Fitness

Before kids, we hardly found time to squeeze in an hour for working out. Now that we’ve got kids, it’s all but impossible to juggle life, family, work, and the needs of a tiny baby. With all these demands on our time, it’s especially difficult to find time to work out. The good news is that your baby can actually help you to get back in shape!

One of the best ways to get fit postpartum is to incorporate your baby into your workout. All you need is your baby and a baby carrier of your choice – a lesso, sling, wrap, or soft structured carrier. (The carrier should support your baby’s legs from knee to knee and you should wear your baby facing you for better support.) The earlier you start working out with baby, the better! Your baby will act as your weights, and as he grows, you will naturally be adding gradual weight to your workout.

Benefits to working out while babywearing:

  • Baby is not an excuse to miss your workout, she becomes an incentive! There is no need to squeeze workouts between feeding and naps, so you will have more time to work out.
  • Babies tend to fall asleep when being worn, especially with the swaying, bouncing movements that come with babywearing workouts.
  • Babywearing is a wonderful way to reconnect with your body while bonding with your baby.

Types of babywearing fitness:

  • Babywearing yoga is a gentle practice that incorporates poses modified to suit babywearing. In Nairobi, you can try babywearing yoga at Ayatana Yoga Lounge (The Greenhouse, Ngong Road, Tuesdays 10:30 – 11:30) or Acacia Studios (Viking House, Westlands Roundabout, Fridays 10:45 – 11:45).
  • Hiking or walking is a great babywearing activity that you can make as leisurely or challenging as you want, from strolls through parks and forests to walking safaris, to climbing local hills and mountains! With the right baby carrier, you should be able to tackle most any terrain, within reason. You can go for babywearing walks in Karura Forest, Arboretum, or the Safari Walk at Nairobi National Park. You can up the ante by babywearing during hikes in the Ngong Hills or even Mount Longonot!
  • Babywearing workouts often incorporate weight-bearing moves to strengthen both the upper and lower body. Exercises might include lunges, squats, side planks, tricep dips, wall push-ups, twists, and steps. If babywearing workouts interest you, you can find online resources and create your own babywearing circuit (try thebabywearingworkout.com, breakingmuscle.com or fitforexpecting.com).

If you’re a busy mum struggling to find time to work out, incorporating your new baby into your fitness routine can help! Not only will wearing your baby add weight to your workout, but it will also give you a chance to bond with your little one while doing something that’s good for you. Let your baby be your personal trainer and help you get back into shape!

(This article originally appeared in Nairobi’s UP Magazine, and was reprinted with permission.  Photos by Natasha Sweeney.)

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Storymoja Festival

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I took Sugarplum and Sweetpea to the Storymoja Festival at the National Museum this week, and we had such fun! Started in 2007, the Storymoja Festival is a celebration of storytelling, poetry, personal expression, writing, and performing, with a particular focus on African authors and artists. I am a huge fan of supporting and encouraging African authors and children’s stories about life in Africa, so I was really excited to bring the kids out for this event.

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