January 17, 2011

Lane’s Baby-Wearing Basics

011   At the end of my pregnancy, when I was barely squeezing into one pair of pants and rotating between two shirts, I had these fantasies of being able to dive back into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe soon after the baby was born. I was clearly delusional, not taking into account lactating breasts, my new and stubborn paunch, hopefully-not-permanently widened hips and most of all, babywearing.

I knew I wanted to babywear before V arrived, and prepared myself accordingly. I spent hours researching different wraps and carriers (check here for some handmade favorites), and was all kitted out by the time the third trimester rolled around. Once she arrived, she cooperated with my plans (for once!) and took to wrap or sling like a champ. We call our Ergo carrier 'baby Ambien.' It's powerful stuff.

What I forgot to consider was what to wear while wearing my baby. As S told you in her New Year's post, the topic of babywearing-friendly fashion will come up more than once on ANMJ this year. I'm here to tell you the basics of how I get by day to day. My criteria for getting dressed for babywearing include comfort, ease of breastfeeding, and looking moderately put-together.

Here are some basic tips I've compiled:

  1. Babywearing will shorten the shirt/dress/tunic you are wearing. So if your outfit relies on your bum being covered, wear something a few inches longer than what you normally would since it will ride up when your carrier is on.
  2. I LOVE a statement necklace. I literally have a drawer full of them. But they don't work when babywearing. Necklaces in general get in the way if baby is resting his/her head against your chest, and you might want to avoid things with buttons/snaps/embellishments that might get in the way of baby's comfort.
  3. Layers are key. I don't know about yours, but my baby is like a little space heater and when I'm wearing her I tend to break out in a sweat. If it's sweater weather I wear short-sleeves, and plan to put my sweater/coat over my shoulders after baby is on, making it easy to remove once I begin soaking through my tee.
  4. Patterns stand out. What you're wearing tends to take the backseat when you are wearing your baby, so I like to wear something bright or patterned underneath.
  5. Accessorize! Even though I miss my necklaces, I have had fun adding chunky bracelets, headbands with rosettes, cocktail rings, earrings, cute boots and hats (bonus: I don't have time to do my hair anyway) when wearing little V.

What are your babywearing tips? Share your essential outfits and accessory ideas!

Babywearing

–Lane

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Contributing author Lane is an intentionally unemployed social worker who is currently a new mom, following her husband's dream, trying to stay relevant, and practicing her mothering skills on two rescued dogs, Enid and Falcor (in addition to her new addition, baby Vesper).  Check out her fabulous blog, the Overseas Trapeze.

5 Comments
  • S
    January 18, 2011

    Lane – I love the tip about earrings! Once the babe gets a bit more grabby, I had to put my big ones away…so wear ‘em now!!
    And layers are key. I’m finding that a lightweight jacket over top of my Ergo seems to be working…
    And you know how I feel about headbands. LOVE. :)
    It’s funny…I haven’t been able to wear my hair down when P is in the Ergo. It gets everywhere and bugs me. I did find a very cool ponytail holder I’ll have to share… :)

  • nell
    January 19, 2011

    You look so cute, Lane! I agree with S, wear those earrings now. Also like the idea of the headband-adds a little flair but still outta reach for little fingers.

  • vegeater
    January 19, 2011

    Lane! We really should be friends. I have been rocking my Moby almost daily since Blue was a few weeks old. The sling she likes less (at 14.5 lbs, she is kindof big for a floppy 2-month-old). And I can’t wait for her to be stable enough for the Ergo (I didn’t spring for the insert. Should I have?).
    And I’m soooo glad you’re writing a post addressing the babywearing attire issue. It’s one that’s been on my mind a LOT lately. Unfortunately, since I only have 1 pair of pants that fit (Gap Jeggings, which I bought a size up from normal to accommodate my postpartum self), my bottom options are, ahem, limited for now. But your suggestion for patterned tops is brilliant. More than once I’ve found myself in a dark grey top, wearing my black Moby wrap with baby, and looking pregnant all over again except for baby’s head sticking out.
    oh, and earrings, yes. I keep thinking: Gotta Wear These Now, whilst lamenting all the cute necklaces I can’t wear for now.
    Now, to be rid of the muffin top….I keep telling myself that babywearing burns calories…

  • Lane
    January 19, 2011

    We really have so much in common vegeater!
    I truly feel that sprining for the newborn insert for my Ergo was a really good purchase. I love the my wrap, but when I take more athletic walks I feel like she is more secure and I am more comfortable in the lower back department with the Ergo.
    I plan to rock all the earring until she realizes her hand is attached to her arm! :)
    And babywearing TOTALLY burns cals…because if you’re sweating, you’re working out, right? RIGHT!?

  • Brandis
    January 25, 2011

    Wait wait wait… is that an Ergo MEI TAI??? I used to be a carrier addict and have never seen one of those… of course, I have had no reason to need a baby carrier for about a year. I still use my Ergo on occasion for my 2.5 year old, but his patience for it is quickly shrinking.
    So glad to see you addressing this as well- when I started having kids I was determined to stay relatively trendy and I have vowed to never don 1) mom jeans, or 2) a mom haircut (which is a much more objective thing- there is no official “mom haircut” but for me it’s my Mom’s haircut, which is like a slightly shorter version of Sally Field’s “brown football helmet” in Steel Magnolias. In fact, being a mom has made me totally rebel in the hair area- whereas I’ve had short hair pretty much my whole life, I’ve had long hair since my first pregnancy. Anyway, staying cute when 50% of your body is covered by baby carrier is a challenge, and I’m glad you’re talking about it.

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