Baby Wearing Ninja

Originally posted in February, 2012I can hardly believe it took SIX kids for me to fully embrace and enjoy the art of wearing my baby! (They make great accessories, you know – LOL) Sadly, my first five missed the physical and emotional health benefits of being securely snuggled next me for a good portion of the day. But like I said in my last post, I’m experiencing a whole new education with this little guy.

If you’re interested in reading more about the benefits of baby wearing, check out this article.

I used a Baby Bjorn carrier with all the others, but it didn’t work well for newborns, and it put a lot of strain on my back. When the kids were older, I used a metal-frame hiking backpack, but you can imagine how comfy that was, and being so big and cumbersome, it was hardly like throwing a cloth sling in the diaper bag to use on the go.

After the birth of my fourth child in 2004, a dear friend sent me a Moby Wrap. She promised I was going to love it, but trying to put it on felt like advanced calculus to me. It seemed more complicated than I was willing to grasp.

Secretly, I felt like a bit of a failure. I admit that I didn’t try very hard, but just my unwillingness to learn made feel inferior to all the awesome moms I saw toting around their little ones, snuggled against them in beautiful cloth wraps or ring slings.

It turns out all I needed was a good teacher. Thanks to my buddy Tanya Taylor, I am now becoming a baby wearing ninja! Tanya makes her own wraps under the brand Baby the Baby, and she’s got a host of videos like the one below to help moms figure it all out. Although this video talks about nursing your baby in a carrier, it’s also a good demonstration of how to front wrap.

Here inSarasota, we have three different baby wearing groups that each meet once a month. I am so excited to try all different kinds of wraps and techniques and learn from the veteran wrappers.  If you don’t have a group in your area but would like one, contact a local homebirth midwife and see if she would let you host it in her office. That’s what Tanya did, and now it’s grown to three meetings in different locations and extends through the entire natural birthing community here.

If you love to wear your baby, tell us about your favorite wrap.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

More Posts

This Baby Did What?

Welcome Matthew James Junior! Our sixth child was born on January 27, 2012, and in so many ways, he has been surprising. For starters, our first five children were all born in the 38th week. Now, I admit, I encouraged a few of those births, but this little guy had us hanging in suspense, finally making his debut more than a half week late, which felt like nearly three weeks late to us.

We planned a water birth at home and rented an Aqua Doula from our midwife, but knowing that it takes a couple of hours to fill the Aqua Doula, and that my labors tend to be quick (for baby #5, my water broke at 10:00, and she was born at 10:10), we knew we would need to fill the tub before labor started. Subsequently, we filled (and emptied!) the tub four times in the month of January. My kids have become siphoning experts!

It was a fairly typical birth for me. Labor started at 1:35am, and he was born at  3:03, but my water didn’t break this time, and the pressure at the end was much more intense as a result. The kids gathered around the tub (except our oldest, who is autistic and would be bothered by the noises, people, smells and sights of birth), and when the pushing began, the midwife put a flashlight in the tub so they could watch their brother enter the world.

Seth (our third child) wrote a journal entry about the experience. I copied it below.

Once the placenta was delivered, the midwife found a few interesting things. For starters, he had a knot in his cord.

Cord Knot

He also had a battledore placenta, which occurs in only 7% of births.  Instead of the umbilical cord being attached in the center of the placenta like this:

Placenta

Baby Matt’s umbilical cord was inserted at the margin of the placenta. When the midwife held it up, it looked like a giant tea bag.

Supposedly this rare formation could lead to low birth weight. Maybe that’s why he was only 8lbs 10oz (bahahaha!). See, I told you this little guy is surprising.

The timing of his birth was bittersweet. Sweet, of course, because our precious boy was finally here, but bitter because Jody and her girls, who had been planning to attend the birth for months, were in the midst of a crisis and couldn’t come.

Jody’s husband had what seemed at first to be a heart attack. They later learned it was pericarditis, but it was a terrifying experience for their family, and we were distraught knowing they were going through it and we couldn’t be there to comfort them. They too were distraught, knowing that we were experiencing the birth of our last child, and they couldn’t be here to witness it. All around, it did not go down the way we had hoped. But thankfully, Jody’s husband is doing very well, and we’re all one big happy family again.

The birthing team left later that morning, and we all went to sleep. When we woke up, it was time to confront the first meconium poop, but as part of my new education with this baby, we had prepared his bottom with olive oil. It took six babies to learn that I shouldn’t put anything on a baby’s skin that I wouldn’t eat. Who knew? Then again, it turns out I’m not going to need any kind of diaper ointment after all.

So, in the next few blog posts, I’ll share our new experiences, including baby wearing, sign language, amber necklaces, and the biggest and most exciting change of all…infant potty training (or EC, as we call it)! I’ll include pictures and videos…we’re working on those now. Check back in the next few days. I promise you will be intrigued, and perhaps even entertained. Here’s a sneak peak. This was taken when Matthew was about 2 weeks old.

potty

Seth’s Journal Entry

Hi my name is Seth, and I am writing this because my mom is in labor. I am so excited. My mom is making really weird noises. The noises are getting louder and louder. My dad put a warm washcloth on her head. Priscilla,the midwife’s assistant, said the baby is getting closer. I am going to get one of my toy dolls named Jeero. My mom is pushing. I see his head. It is a little bit scary and hard to watch. I see him. He is beautiful  (and a little bit dirty). He popped out. He made it. I love him. He is small and cute. I adore him and love him. I can not believe I was him once. I shot out of mom, now I will shoot out of a tree or something. Right now it is baby and mommy attachment time. He is nursing right now. He was born at3:03am. The water is gross. Before he came out there was a strange fart noise. The baby is out, but mom asked us to sit down until the placenta comes out. I am happy crying. I cut his cord. The placenta is out. It looks like a giant tea bag. I will get to feel the placenta (with gloves). We did a placenta exam and found a knot in the cord and a super rare thing with the placenta called a battle door entry.

By Seth Stahlmann, age nine, born April 22, 2002

 

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

More Posts

Another Question…Really?

One thing Jenni and I have discovered throughout our research of the education process is the need for our children to be able to ask the right questions.  So, when you feel bombarded with 50 questions, don’t despair.  Instead, rejoice that your children want to become expert investigators.

Every time your child asks a question, write it down.  Tear the questions off into individual strips of paper, and place them in a box or jar.

Teach your children how to use Google.  Show them what words to type to research a particular topic.

Once a week, have your child pull one out, and research that question in depth.  You will be amazed at what they will learn and retain by answering their own questions.

After they’ve completed their research, have them put together a presentation to teach the family what they’ve learned.  This incorporates public speaking and organization — priceless skills.

Below are some questions to add to what your kids may ask, just to help them get started.

  • What happens to a potato’s chemical composition when it’s deep fried?
  • Why do certain shoes cause foot odor?
  • Why are flamingos pink?
  • Why do some chickens lay eggs that we can eat and some lay baby chicks?
  • How can you purify water in the wilderness?
  • Is global warming real?
  • What does the moon have to do with the ocean’s tide?
  • How does the rain get in the clouds?
  • How deep is the ocean?
  • Can I dig all the way toChina?
  • How does a microwave work?

Share your questions with us.  We’d love to hear what your kids are asking.

 

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 18 to 30 and one precious baby grandchild. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired
tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan
organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy.

As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.

She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

More Posts

The Insiders Guide to Amusement Park Fun

About 7 years ago, we moved to Florida – vacation central! We had always loved an amusement park, but now we were only an hour from one of our favorites, Busch Gardens.

My husband is the biggest kid when it comes to going there for the day. We race from one attraction to the next, as if it’s our only day to fit everything in.

Life-like topiaries of exotic creatures greet you as you move from one part of the park to another. A thrilling roar bursts through the atmosphere as you pass the twisting and plummeting roller coasters. And all the while, you are being tempted by the aroma of the most delectable park food you’ve ever laid your lips on – it’s heaven on earth (for the Hagamans that is)!

Going to an amusement park is like fitting a vacation into one day. And like any family vacation, there is definitely a smart way to load up and prepare for the most fun and least amount of stress and chaos for mom. Because, after all, moms want to enjoy the summer too, especially when we take the San Diego whale watching tour.

It starts with the amusement park backpack. Jenni and I chuckle to each other every time we go. We see moms all around us struggling with all their “stuff”, and we just stroll carefree all around the park. No more pack mule moms here!

To glide through the park with ease, a stroller is a must, and you can pick one up (cheap) at most yard sales. Just be sure it has a good-size basket on the bottom, and cup holders are a plus.

I know, you’re asking, “what if I don’t have a stroller-age child?” I hear you sister – my youngest is almost twelve! But it doesn’t matter. The backpack you’re about to put into it becomes your beautiful, bouncing, baby boy.

The real question you should be asking is, “Do I want to be a pack mule for the day?”

And that answer is, “No!”

When my friends first watched me strolling my backpack into the park, they laughed, “What is that for? Why would you bring a stroller?  That’s silly!”

Well, all I have to say is, they now all have their own baby strollers, too!

Here’s a tip on buyingBuschGardentickets (check for similar deals at your nearest amusement park). If you’re going to go more than twice, purchase one annual pass and  for the rest of the family, get Fun Cards (pay for one day, come all year). The annual pass is approximately $30 more (almost the same as parking for two days), but it includes free parking and gets you 10% off everything in the park including food and drinks.

The next best investment is the park cups and popcorn buckets (again, check your local park for similar deals). With your annual park pass, these refills cost you $1  – that’s a great deal! You can use these same cups and buckets at Sea World and Islands of Adventure – and they NEVER expire!  We’ve been using ours for nearly seven years.

Then comes the Backpack! I keep mine fully stocked and ready go at the drop of a hat. Have a peek at what’s inside.

Contents of the Backpack:

  • Chaffing stick (can be purchased at sports stores, helps skin from rubbing together and getting chafed)
  • Tissues
  • Mini Hairspray (for the roller coaster fly-aways)
  • Hair Pick & Pony Tail Holders
  • Hand Lotion
  • Sunblock
  • Bug Spray
  • Beach Towel (for water rides)
  • Small Notepad
  • Deck of Cards
  • Plastic Spoons (in a zip loc)
  • Map of Park
  • Band Aids
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Toothpicks & dental floss
  • Antibacterial Moist Wipes
  • Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer (to hang from stroller handle)
  • Hooded Rain Ponchos (one for each family member)
  • Mini Umbrella
  • 2 Large Empty Zip Locs
  • 2 ZipLoc snack bags (to protect your cell phones on water rides)
  • Mini Baby Powder
  • Straps to our Park Cups
  • Fingernail File/Clippers/Tweezers

I also bring a soft cooler full of ice and water bottles. Most parks will allow water even if they don’t allow you to bring in food.

Both the backpack and the cooler go in the stroller, and I wear a mini-purse with a long strap (Jenni has the fanny pack version of my mini-purse).

Inside the Mini-Purse:

  • Tissues
  • Ink Pen
  • SPF Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses & Small Sunglass holder (so they don’t get smashed)
  • Pony Tail Holder
  • Tampon & Panty Liner
  • Ibuprofen/Tylenol/Allergy medication
  • Very Small Individual Credit Card Holder to Hold Park Tickets with a Paper Clip
  • Small zipper coin purse (for money, ID, & annual pass for discounts)

Have the kids wear tennis shoes, but take flip flops and swim suits with water shorts to wear on the water rides.

Let us know if you have an amusement park backpack and what you have in it.  I wouldn’t want to be missing out on anything.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 18 to 30 and one precious baby grandchild. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired
tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan
organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy.

As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.

She and Jenni co-host a weekly radio show, write a syndicated weekly column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about living on purpose with excellence and raising kids with the end result in mind.

More Posts