Monday, April 29, 2013

Adventures in Babywearing: Bowling Edition

My daughter loves to cuddle. There are days when it's all she wants to do, She will drift happily off to sleep at my chest or in my lap but no sooner than I lay her down in  her swing or bassinet, she is awake and crying once more. Other days she is perfectly content to nap on her own but on those cuddly days we are a solid pair.
Oh, this old thing? yeah, I made it! ;)
Some days this serves as a nice excuse/reminder to sit down and take it easy for awhile. Other days, I have things to do but I don't want to compromise precious moments while my little girl is still a baby who wants nothing more than to snuggle her mommy. That's when my baby carriers have come in handy. I wear Genevieve in my Balboa adjustable sling all the time. It took a little getting used to but it's been great for carrying her while doing things around the house, shopping, and walking the dog.
Yesterday I wanted to go bowling with a friend and her kids and Genevieve would of course be joining us. Much as I've loved my Balboa I wasn't sure about bowling in it. It's hard to lift the shoulder the sling sits on without moving the strap up into my neck and I usually use my opposite hand to support her head while moving around, especially when bending like I would be for bowling.
While I was pregnant I made a mei tai using this tutorial from Jan Andrea. It was super easy and I even made another as I gift for a friend. I thought I'd give this carrier a try for bowling. I'd never used it before but it looked like it would provide the security I wanted for her and the freedom of movement I needed. So off we went to the bowling alley armed with both carriers and her car seat/carrier available in the car if all else failed.

Bowling in style
 Well bowling was great.  I bowled a whole game and ate a pizza all while wearing Genevieve in my homemade mei tai. And, I happen to think we look pretty darn cute in it! I'm very proud of myself if you can't tell haha!
I intended to play part of the second game with her in the Balboa just to try it out but she woke up between games and we spent the rest of the afternoon taking turns holding, dancing and playing with her. 

Even though we didn't get around to bowling in the Balboa this time here are some of my thoughts on the two styles of carriers in general for other parents who want to try babywearing:

Balboa "Dr. Sears" Adjustable Sling
Pros: easy on/off, fairly easy baby in/out, multiple carry styles, adjustable size (my husband can wear it too), carries large range of baby sizes.
Cons: weight unevenly distributed mostly on upper back and the shoulder with the strap, limits range of motion on arm with strap or strap slips up uncomfortably into neck, need to support young baby's head with your hand when bending or moving in a way which jostles her, expensive, limited styles

Mei Tai/Asian style wrap
Pros: baby's head has more support when moving (still needs a little help when you bend over), freedom of movement for both arms, even distribution of weight across shoulders back and waist, easy to make and customize, cheap depending on the fabric you use, also available to purchase commercially or though Etsy
Cons: more involved process to put on/take off, may need different sizes depending on adult wearer, can get hot since baby and carrier cover your whole front or back, straps can dig uncomfortably if they get twisted.

Happy babywearing mama and snuggly baby!

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