Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sally Weans from Night Nursing: Book review and giveaway

I've been contemplating night weaning Emi (and half-heartedly trying) for several months now.  It's not easy, and I haven't been 100% committed, so it's been dragging on.

A couple weeks ago I learned about a new children's book called Sally Weans from Night Nursing, and I was so thrilled when the author, Lesli Mitchell, graciously agreed to send me a copy to review.

From the first page, this book really resonated with me.  In the introduction the author tells her personal story of how she decided she needed to night wean her daughter.  I'm sure many of us can relate to her experience of "doing what seemed to be the easiest thing for a somewhat restful night." (And that "thing" being, MOM = 24 HR MILK BAR!)

I'm sure most moms experience a wide range of conflicting emotions when choosing to wean.  I really enjoyed reading about the author's experience, because it helped me to know I'm not alone in what I'm feeling and experiencing.  I especially appreciated the gentle, non-judgmental tone the author used when sharing her story, and her emphasis on the fact that choosing to wean is such a personal decision.

My girls both loved the story of Sally and the big, colorful illustrations in the book.

One of my favorite things about the book is that it describes Sally's feelings through the weaning process.  The story tells how Sally feels sad that mommy said "no" when she woke up and wanted to nurse, and how she felt angry too.

That really seemed to resonate with Emi.  The day after I had first read her the story, I found her sitting with the book, looking at the pages and talking about how Sally felt sad and angry that, "mommy said 'no boo boo!'"

The story also illustrates how Sally and her mommy are able to do lots of fun things together because they get lots of sleep and don't feel tired anymore (which is the main goal of night weaning, right?!)  Emi was really excited about the thought of fingerpainting... and I think I suddenly realized why she's been waking up every morning and asking to paint!

The author ends the book by sharing her personal experience (the nuts and bolts, if you will) of how she and her husband weaned their daughter.  I found that especially helpful, and I think I'm going to try implementing some of her ideas... like no more nursing in bed!

Maybe someday, when Emi has successfully night weaned, I'll share my story of how we made it work.  But until then, if you'd like to win a copy of Sally Weans from Night Nursing please enter the giveaway!


Sign into Rafflecopter using your email address or facebook. (I promise they won't spam you :)  I always use my email address with Rafflecopter giveaways and I've never been spamed.)  The follow the prompts for five easy ways to enter:
  1. Leave a comment below with a helpful tip for weaning or a particular struggle you're having with weaning.
  2. Like The Happy Hippie Homemaker on facebook.
  3. Like "Sally Weans from Night Nursing" on facebook.
  4. Share this post with your friends on facebook.
  5. Follow @mama_lesli on twitter.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ergo vs. Boba vs. Tula carrier comparison

I used to think I knew a thing or two about baby wearing... that was, until I moved to the Bay Area!

About a month after I moved to town, I decided to go to a PAXbaby Playdate, in hopes of meeting some other like-minded moms.  It was tons of fun and I met lots of sweet babywearing mamas... and realized that I really know nothing about baby wearing!

Natibaby, KoKaDi, or Oscha wrap?

I was clueless!  (I bet there are a couple of ladies in that photo who could not only tell you the maker of each of the wraps above, they could tell you the name of the design too!!)

I had heard of Girasol woven wraps and learned a fun fact about them from someone at the playdate... Girasol makes a XELA wrap! (For any readers who don't know, Xela is my name!)

I also knew that woven wraps typically cost over $100, which seemed like a lot to me (considering I had made several wraps for as little as $5), but I learned that some hard core babywearers often pay up to $1000 for really rare wraps!

But I digress... one of the most important things I discovered at the PAXbaby Playdate was the wonderful world of Tula carriers!

Tula carriers come in some of the coolest, funkiest, and most beautiful prints I've ever seen.

They also specialize in Wrap Conversion Carriers (something I had never heard of before the PAXbaby playdate) which are made partially or entirely from a woven wrap.  Apparently the woven ones are super soft and comfy, but I don't know that I could ever bring myself to pay over $200 for ANY baby carrier!

I think the best thing about Tulas though is that they come in standard or toddler size!

A year ago, I'm not sure I would have been excited about a carrier that came in two sizes... it's kind of like the cloth diapering conundrum of whether "one-size" diapers really fit ANY size very well.  But now I'm definitely a fan of sized diapers and baby carriers!

Here's a quick comparison of the dimensions of the Ergo Original, Boba 3G, the standard and the toddler Tula carriers:

Standard Ergo
Boba 3G
Standard Tula
Toddler Tula
Back panel height
Seat width
13" (17.5" at widest point)
Shoulder strap length/ length of padding
41"/ 21"
40" /17"
44"/ 17" - 20"
Waist belt length/ length of padding
25" - 43" (51" w/extender)/ 23.5"
25" - 58"/ 25" padded
29" - 56"/ 30"

(Please note that these are estimations.  The manufactures don't disclose most of this information, so most of the measurements were taken by me with a soft measuring tape.  Special thanks to my friend Whit for getting the measurements on the Boba, since I don't have one anymore!  And I don't have a standard Tula, so if anyone does and could send me the info I'm missing, I'd really appreciate it! :o)

The first thing you'll notice is the height difference between the three carriers.

The Tula carriers fit about 3 to 5 inches higher than the Ergo (depending on the model), and that makes a huge difference in the comfort and security of the carrier!  Emi has always been a wiggly little worm and it really put a lot of strain on my back and shoulders when she would lean away from my body.  The Tula keeps her close and comfy.

Next, you'll notice the difference in the seat width.  A nice, wide seat is important for helping to prevent "dead-leg" for the baby/toddler and also for proper weight distribution for the wearer.  Ideally, the seat of the carrier should touch from knee to knee on the baby and the baby's bottom should sit lower than the knees (making a nice "M" shape).

The seat of the Boba is the narrowest, followed closely by the Ergo.  The standard Tula is only a half inch wider than the Ergo, but the toddler Tula is 5 inches wider than the Ergo and 6 inches wider than the Boba!

A cool feature of Tula standard carriers is that they sell a "Room to Grow" extension which widens the seat base and converts the standard carrier to a toddler size.  (Don't ask me how it works though... I haven't seen one in person and there aren't a lot of details on the website.)

Another difference in the carriers is the length of the shoulder strap and the amount of padding.

Tula straps have the thickest padding, but the padding is longest on the Ergo (an inch longer than the Tula, and 4 inches longer than the Boba!).  One of the most uncomfortable things I found with the Boba was how little padding there was on the straps, and a common complaint I've heard/read is that it rubs against the back of your arms when front-carrying a child.

Notice how the padding stops mid-back on the Boba, but comes all the way down
and around with the Tula and the Ergo

Another cool feature of the Tula is that it has an adjustment where the panel meets the straps that allows you to bring your baby closer or let the baby sit back from you (which is why the "length of padding" measurement is 17" - 20".)  It's really handy when nursing in the carrier!!

I would say the only drawback to the Tula is that it might not fit well around the waist if you're super petite (smaller than probably a size 24/25.)  The smallest the waist belt goes on the Tula is 29 inches, compared to 25 inches with the Ergo or Boba, but I think the measurements are a little misleading.  I have a friend who felt the Ergo was too big for her petite frame and she loves the Tula.  Also, just to give a little perspective, I typically wear a size 26/27 jean and as you can see in the photo below, I don't wear it cinched down to its smallest size.

Personally, I like the fact that the padded area is longer on the waist belt, because I find it more supportive... and it helps to hide my love handles :o)

So right now the Tula is about the only carrier I ever use.  Occasionally I use my Maya sling carrier, if I just need to make it from the car to a store without Emi running away, and once in a blue moon I'll pull out a wrap.  But there was a time that I thought I didn't need anything other than a baby wrap!

Tula has a great philosophy that I whole-heartedly agree with:
We love babywearing and all it has to offer. It's practical for the parent, it has amazing benefits for the baby and it feels so good to have your baby snuggled in close!   
We do not support criticism and looking down at parents for the type of a wrap or carrier they chose to use. We believe that every parent tries to make the best decision for his baby. 
Over the past four and half years of wearing my girls, I've discovered there really is no "best" carrier. Certain carriers are better for certain body shapes.  Each type of carrier has it's pros and cons, and work best at different ages and stages.  I highly recommend trying out different carriers before making a purchase.

If you're lucky enough to have a chapter of Baby Wearing International in your area, the leaders are a great resource for showing you how to properly use different types of carrier and they typically have a large "library" of carriers to loan/rent out.

If not, contact  One of their babywearing experts can give you a "personalized carrier prescription!"  Then you can rent a carrier for as little as $30, and as an added bonus, they'll give you a coupon for $10 off your next carrier purchase!

And if you happen to be in the market for an Ergo, I have a very gently used, super cute Galaxy Grey for sale.  I used it for just a few months before buying my Tula.  (I even have the original box and owner's manual!)  Update:  The Ergo has found a new home :)

Ergo Galaxy Grey Carrier - $70 plus shipping

 I'd love to hear from some readers... what's your favorite carrier and why?

Friday, January 4, 2013

My thoughts on nurse-ins

I've never considered myself to have much of an imagination, but a conversation I had the other day regarding nurse-ins got me thinking...

Imagine a time, a hundred-and-something years from now, when the majority of our population doesn't eat with their mouths.  The mouth, they reason, can be used for sexual purposes and therefore should only be used in private.  In order not to offend people by using their mouths (even though it's for a purpose that's not sexual) people start covering themselves with blankets when they eat or hiding in bathrooms/dressing rooms/cars to eat. 

Over time, many people decide it's not worth the hassle to eat with their mouths, so they have tubes inserted into their stomachs and inject liquid nutrients straight to the source.  Sure, they miss out on the bonding that can happen as a family at the dinner table... not to mention the delicious flavors of a home cooked meal!  But at least no one is offended by seeing a mouth (which could be used for a sexual purpose) used for something not sexual!

Ok, I'll admit it... that scenario probably seems a little bizzarre and far-fetched, but that's kind of like what's happened with breasts.  Even though their primary biological function is to nourish our young, our society has sexualized breasts to the extent that women are made to feel ashamed and embarrassed to nurse their children in public.

But it wasn't always so.  In the late 1800's, no one batted an eye at a woman nursing her baby, uncovered in a church service.  And have you seen all the paintings of Mary breastfeeding Jesus?! (My friend Paala posted several of the paintings on her blog.)  Or how about the paintings of Mary squirting breastmilk into Saint Bernard's mouth?

Why is it that nowadays many people are so offended to see a mother nursing?  Why is it that we are told we are inconsiderate exhibitionists for using our breasts for their primary biological purpose?

Although it's never happened to me, I've heard numerous accounts of women being harrassed in restaurants for nursing their babies at the table.  (I'm sure many of you heard about the incident with Dawn Holland at the Applebee's in Georgia.) These mothers are told that they need to be respectful and considerate of the other patrons in the restaurant, but it makes me wonder... how many meat eaters are asked to take their babyback ribs to the bathroom in order to avoid offending any vegetarians who might be in the restaurant?  I can imagine it's just as offensive for a vegetarian to see a meat eater scarf down animal flesh as it is for some people to see a child nurse from an exposed breast.

So what is going to change public perception?  How can we get back to the days when women felt free to nurse openly, whenever and where ever their little ones need it?  To see women nursing! 

Photo Credit: Passion For Birth

If you, as a nursing mother, feel most comfortable covered or in a private place (I did when I was first learning to nurse) then go for it!  But for those of us who's babies rip the blankets and hooter hiders off, or who don't want our babies to have to nurse in a dirty bathroom, or who just want to enjoy our food at the table with the rest of our family, the harrassment and humiliation has to stop!

And that's why I feel the need to join nurse-ins whenever I can... as a show of support for the mothers who are being harrassed, and as an effort to help normalize nursing.  If you feel the same passion for the cause, a nationwide nurse-in is being organized this weekend at Hollister in support of Brittany Warfield, a mother who was nursing her 7 month old baby, covered with a coat, on a bench outside Hollister in Houston.  (A list of Hollister stores where nurse-ins are being organized can be found on the 2013 Hollister Nurse-In facebook page.)

And one last thing... I think I've shared this before, but I love it so much that I have to share it again.  In case you still don't think women should nurse in public, here's Every NIP (nursing in public) Argument Debunked, originally written by Elsinora on but with awesome photos added by my friend Paala. Enjoy!


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