Sunday, September 29, 2013

CJ at 9 Months: Let There Be Rock!

Ahhh Month 9 - how I love thee! With S I found that this was the month when her little personality really began to develop, and CJ has certainly followed suit! In addition to his continued affinity for getting into s!*t (drawers, stacks of books, S' "contains small parts" toys and the like) he's been developing in lots of other awesome, adorable and occasionally hilarious ways. Love!

Official 9 Month Photo:

"C'mon, take the dern thing already - I've got cupboard doors to manipulate!"

Physical Development:  

Weight: We'll assume about 16 lb, since he clocked 16 lb 4 oz at his 9 month check-up 11 days later. So he continues to follow his own curve at around the 3rd-4th percentile, and no one's worrying nor throwing negative labels at him anymore. Amen to that.
Height: About 28" (50th percentile)

Quite a few notables this month!
  • Two more teeth popped - bottom and top left central incisors. The top one seemed like it wasn't too fun and bled a bit when it came in, poor guy. :(
  • Army crawl's been "upgraded" to the real thing! Thankfully my Norwex mop system will be arriving soon to replace the swiffering action we'd been taking advantage of - woot woot!
  • He's now pulling up on stuff like a pro! We first caught him standing in his crib at around 8 1/2 months, and shortly thereafter snapped this shot. Show off!! :)

  • His pincer grip has been coming along much better. Approximately 73.6% of food bits placed on his tray now end up where they're supposed to go. *nods*

  • He can basically climb stairs on his own now, however he occasionally still loses his footing and/or attempts to sit down so spotting diligence is still a necessity!
  • He's started seriously rocking out. I'm thinking Baby's First Metallica Concert is on deck - who's with me?!

Overall, due to his recent movement, agility and strength advancements, I'm amending my earlier assumption that he'd be a later walker (i.e. one year+) and now going with 11 mths, 1 week. Any other guesses???

Cognitive, Social & Emotional Development:

CJ's interactions with objects are becoming much more varied and meaningful. While he still enjoys mouthing and mauling stuff, he often stops to focus on an object more intently and he's loving sensory experiences like touch & feel books (that is, when he's not repeatedly opening and closing the cover), running water, flowers, etc. He's also exhibiting the same infatuation that S had with this Twinkle Twinkle Little Star YouTube vid. Baby crack, I'm tellin' ya.

His babbling seemed to tone down this month, presumably because he's been working hard at so many other things! Though he continues to bust out his patented battle cry (both happy and frustrated/grumpy variants) on a regular basis.

Lots of emotions this month! He goes from big smiles & giggles to instant indignation when you move him away from something he wants, put him on his back for a change, etc. Although he's still (mostly) OK being with other people, he's showing a distinct preference for his parents. Especially me, I have to say! When someone unfamiliar picks him up, he'll often look over at me for a sign of approval. And he's loving the little dances and lullabies we share before naps and bedtime, which brings me to...


Naps somehow got all out of whack early in the month, with CJ either refusing to go down in the first place, or waking after 15-20 minutes in a total tizzy. Mid-month, I broke down and ferber'd a bit (using a variation of the interval thing) and thankfully it didn't take long before he was back in a solid 2 nap schedule. And, indeed, the 2-3-4 approach has worked like a charm; he's napping (approximately) 10 to 11:30 and 2:30 to 4, and then going down between 8 and 8:30. I'll have to adjust things soon as I just signed him up for a library program taking place on Fridays at 10:30. The downside is I'll have to wake him at 7 which dips into my morning time, but the upside is that this should result in better afternoon nap overlap with his sister.

Overnight sleep continues to be blissful. Knock on wood.


CJ continues to eat with gusto, and we're now feeding him what we eat much more often (vs. his purees). He can handle quite chunky food, and as I mentioned earlier, his pincer grip is getting much more reliable. Each day we try to give him a combination of spoon-fed and finger-fed foods so his motor skills and sensory experiences with food continue to develop. He's had so many foods that I no longer think about whether something in particular is new; I simply confirm that a dish I'm about to feed him doesn't contain peanuts, strawberries or honey.

The above said, his nursing has held steady since the previous month - still at 5-6 sessions per day. I'm going to be back at work in less than 2 months, so I'll have to figure out how to gently ween him down to 2-3 sessions. I don't want to before he's ready, but at the same time a) I can't be running out to feed him during my work day, and pumping daily is less than ideal as well, and b) I've lost a ridiculous amount of weight since his birth. More than I did with S, and that was bad. :-/ Cutting out a few sessions per day'll hopefully help me put a few pounds back on!!


And finally, the 9 Month Cuteness Reel! I had to post the earlier head banging vid separately 'cause it was made of too much win to be "relegated" to a compilation, but I assure you these moments are well worth checking out too! 

More CJ updates: 8 months
View what big sis was up to at 9 months! (Note - pretty much the same thing. Getting into everything and being utterly adorable!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mini Apple & Pear "Pizzas": A Fun & Healthy Snack! {Recipe}

Our 34-month-old is not only an impressive eater, but she also loves helping out in the kitchen! As such, I recently stayed up way too late on Pinterest gathering healthy, kid-friendly food & cooking ideas to help cultivate her interest.

One of the neatest-looking "recipes" I came across was for apple sandwiches - colourful, all-natural, low-carb and definitely something a young kiddo could help make and would surely love to chow down on! A couple days later we set out to whip up a batch, but found our direction changing somewhat. First, we had both apples and pears lying around so we used one of each, and second, we found it quicker and easier to both make and eat the li'l guys when kept open-faced - i.e. "pizzas" instead of sandwiches! Finally, we got quite creative with the sauce and toppings. The result - total yumminess! My mom said they were reminiscent of healthy candy apples, and I think she hit the nail on the head with that one!

Mini Apple & Pear "Pizzas"

Prep Time: 10 minutes (even with a preschooler's help! ;)
Yield: About 12 mini pizzas - a good snack size for two kiddos, or one kiddo + mom!

  • One sweet apple (e.g. Royal Gala)
  • One semi-firm pear (we like Bartlett but any should work)
  • Natural nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)
  • Liquid honey (optional)
  • A selection of raw, unsalted nuts and seeds (we like cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, and sometimes we sprinkle on some hemp hearts and/or chia seeds for an added healthy boost!)
  1. Gather your ingredients. Building the pizzas is way easier (especially with a wee one) when you're not running around grabbing stuff midway through!

  2. Ready your pizza "crusts"! Cut approximately 1/4" slices off opposing sides of the apple until you reach the core, and repeat with the pear. Eat (or save) the outermost slices as these will be too small and won't sit flat, and do the same with the remainder of the fruit after you finish slicing the opposing sides (unless you don't mind a few narrower, rectangular pizzas, in which case you can slice down the remaining sides too!) (Note - make sure your helper is a safe distance away and/or is acutely aware of knife safety for this step!)

  3. Arrange crusts on plate(s) and spread a thin layer of nut butter on each one.

  4. Drizzle a small amount of honey across all crusts. My daughter loves to help with this part!
  5. Decorate your pizzas. Here's where your little sous chef can really shine! Have them press in, sprinkle and shake on the toppings to their heart's content - or until their hunger gets the better of them! ;)
  6. Enjoy!!

What are your favourite creative snack ideas to make and enjoy with your little ones?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: First Dental Visit!

Our 34-month-old had her first dental visit last week. She was a superstar, exercising considerable patience and cooperation while the hygienist counted and polished her 20 teeth. She also had a ball spitting into "Mr. Thirsty" (the saliva ejector) and filling/refilling her rinse cup with water. The best part? Certified cavity-free! Well that was the best part for Mom, at least. S would probably argue it was actually the plastic suction cup lizard thingy she selected from the toy chest on our way out!

Here are a few highlights from our visit. :)

Waiting to get called in

Whoa - cool chair! 

Playing around with "Mr. Thirsty"

Scrub-a-roo on those pearly whites!

At what age did you take your child(ren) to the dentist for the first time? How did it go?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Canada's Wonderland: A Fun-tastic Experience for Young Children!

Canada's Wonderland (near Vaughan, Ontario) is home to Canada's largest and most diverse collection of rollercoasters and other exciting rides, so it's a natural hotspot for thrillseekers. As a coaster lover myself, I made the trip countless times throughout my older childhood and teenaged years.  But how does it measure up for families with very young children? Well, I had the opportunity to find out, thanks to an invitation I received earlier this summer to bring my own family (including hubs, 31-month-old daughter, 7-month-old son and the kiddos' fun-lovin' nana and papa) down for a visit!

We set things up for a weekday in early August. As our scheduled day approached, the forecast looked ominous, and indeed it was pouring as we pulled into the parking lot. But thankfully things cleared by mid morning and we enjoyed beautiful weather for the remainder of the day. And, as a fringe benefit, the rain also thinned the crowds so lines were nice & short!

All in all, the day went very smoothly and our whole group had a blast! Over a month later, our daughter continues to talk excitedly about her favourite parts of the day, and the rides she still needs to grow taller to enjoy. While I can think of a few improvements which would have made our visit even better, overall I feel that Wonderland is, indeed, a worthy experience for familes with very young children. We'll definitely be back many times with our own kiddos!

The Fun Factor

While the whole park is peppered with attractions of interest to younger guests, there's a huge dedicated section called Planet Snoopy. It includes over 20 rides, a colourful maze, a large playground and the Playhouse Theatre featuring kid-oriented entertainment. Naturally, since our visit was centered around S' enjoyment, we spent the majority of the day in this area.

I was super-eager to see how our daughter would react to the rides, hoping she'd inherited my own genetic material - not my motion-sensitive husband's! Nevertheless we started slow, with a relaxing glide around Swan Lake. Next up, an easy spin on Sally's Love Buggies. While S enjoyed both of these, it wasn't until the decidedly more intense Peanuts 500 (a car rides which whips you around corners, wild mouse-style) that her eyes lit up and she broke out into the biggest grin. That's my girl!! Her subsequent excitement was contagious as we chased her from one ride to the next. Most of the rides were walk-ons so we were able to get on every one she was tall enough for (about 15 total), some multiple times.

Her favourites were definitely some of the more "interesting" rides - in addition to Peanuts 500, she also loved Lucy's Tugboat, a rocking boat ride with a fairly disorienting twisting motion, and Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, a ride-on haunted house in which the passengers shoot targets to activate ghoulish scenes and rack up a high score. Despite S' affinity for skeletons (or "Dem Bones" as she calls them), I questioned my parenting skills upon entering the latter, as it quickly proved itself to be quite creepy! But, happily, S didn't get frightened at all, and as we hopped off, she gave me mad props for my shooting skillz. :)

When we realized she wasn't quite tall enough to ride Taxi Jam (the kiddo coaster), I'm not sure who was more disappointed - me or her! On the bright side, it has since provided her with some strong incentive to eat her veggies. ;)

In addition to the rides, we watched Charlie Brown's Jungle Journey, a Peanuts-themed musical playing this summer at the Playhouse Theatre. The performance was fun and energetic, and the theatre is sheltered which gave us a nice break from the sun. When they're not on stage, the Peanuts gang can be found wandering around Planet Snoopy, meeting the kiddos and posing for pics! Upon running into Lucy, S was a little shy at first, but warmed up for a photo once Nana jumped in there with her!

Throughout the day, we did manage to sneak in a few adult rides including the spectacular Leviathan (on which my stepmother kept her eyes sealed shut and face contorted in a grimace the entire time, but then proclaimed afterwards that she enjoyed herself!), and White Water Canyon, which never fails to deliver an impressive soaker. (Though at least this time I wasn't so drenched that I felt inclined to wring out my underwear which, admittedly, I've done in the past! :O ) As a side note, having more than two adults along on a child-oriented visit is a Good Thing if you want to ride any non-kiddo rides. Otherwise mom and/or dad always have to ride solo.

We also checked out a couple other "all ages" performances, including the Kinet-X Dive Show...

and the British Invasion at the International Showplace. This one was particularly fun with its lively dancing and impressive arsenal of old and new hits from the UK. We opted for lawn seating as the lush, well manicured grass was comfy and allowed the boys to get in a quick power nap. :) S had already finished hers so she was right into the music!

Finally, a day at Wonderland isn't complete without playing some games - fun for big and little folks alike! S loves Angry Birds so when we caught site of the fiercely familiar fowl at one of the booths, we knew we had to take a shot! Dads tried first and came up empty-handed, but our preschooler turned out to be a sharp shooter, knocking down all six cups on her first try! She adored the Angry Birds mini-basketball she selected as her prize.

One area we didn't visit on this trip was Splash Works, a 20 acre water park included with general admission which (similar to the rest of the park) has many attractions for all ages - for example, a plethora of both thrilling and relaxing waterslides, a huge aquatic playground and Canada's largest outdoor wave pool. We could have easily spent half or more of the day there alone. Definitely something to check out on a future visit!

Yet another attraction we didn't hit up was Dinosaurs Alive!, an interactive animatronic dinosaur park which opened in 2012. It sounds pretty cool, but probably something best enjoyed by older children and adults. Since it's an extra-cost attraction ($5/person) we want to ensure that everyone in our family gets the most out of it if/when we do check it out!

Good (and Not So Good) Eats

Canada's Wonderland is rife with places to chow down, and traditional "kid friendly" options such as hot dogs, chicken fingers, ice cream, etc. are abundant, particularly within Planet Snoopy. Unfortunately, more nutritious options are not so easy to find.

One option does stand out, and that's the Marketplace International Buffet (located in the Medieval Faire section of the park). As part of our admission, we received lunch tickets to eat here, and while I wouldn't call the dining experience "upscale" (as per its description), the food options here were varied, quite tasty and decently healthy. The most nutritious choices included bean salads, steamed veggies, fresh fruit and roasted chicken. There was also pizza, pasta, a taco station and a dessert buffet (including soft serve ice cream), among other offerings.

I wasn't thrilled by the beverage choices, however, which appeared to be limited to soft drinks and water. The salad bar was also lacking in variety and flavour. But overall, the meal wasn't bad as buffets go. It's also worth mentioning that the staff members were very attentive and friendly, the items were regularly replenished and the establishment was clean. All in all, I'd definitely bring our family to eat there again - especially when considering the lack of alternative "real food" options available at the park which, as health-conscious eaters, we found disappointing.

I have to say I was particularly bummed by the lack of nutritious options within Planet Snoopy. This, to me, sends the message to young kids that junk food = "fun" food, but this doesn't have to be the case. How about a burrito station (with fresh toppings) or a real fruit smoothie hut? Or perhaps a place to get fruit, veggie and cheese snack packs? I realize the logistics of offering fresh, real food at an amusement park must be tough, but I feel it's gotta be doable and would certainly be appreciated by families like ourselves. Here's hoping we see some improvements in this area! In the meantime, packing a cooler is always an option (if you drive, that is), but this means making the trek out to your car and back, which can shave considerable time off an already jam-packed day.

Finally, Wonderland does deserve credit for maintaining a Special Dietary Needs webpage which would certainly be helpful to those individuals with allergies, intolerances or particular diets due to personal or religious reasons.

Getting Around, Amenities, etc.

Wonderland definitely makes it easy on young families in this department! Everywhere we went was stroller-accessible (for example, there were ramps leading into the International Marketplace), and all bathrooms we came across (mens and womens) were equipped with changing tables. We were able to bring CJ's purees into the park without hassle, and I found quiet places to nurse him pretty readily including a dedicated, private area within the KidZville section of Planet Snoopy.

(Speaking of CJ, here's proof that he actually came along on our trip. ;)

While we brought our own stroller, we noticed many other folks carting around single and double rentals which cost $15 and $20 for a single day, respectively (plus a $5 refundable deposit). A nice option for families who don't own a heavy-duty stroller, prefer not to lug it along or are visiting the park via an alternative method of transportation.

Want to plan a trip with your own family?

Hop over to the Plan a Visit section of Wonderland's website to view the operating calendar, purchase tickets, browse places to stay (for multi-day trips) and check out other helpful info. The park is still open this year on weekends until the end of October. Note that evenings from October 4th onward will feature the super-creepy Halloween Haunt which isn't for the youngest guests (as much as my daughter might insist she wouldn't be scared, given her affinity for the Boo Blasters!). The suggested age for this experience is 13 & older.

Or if you'd rather make the trip in 2014, the older members of your troupe will get to experience Wonder Mountain's Guardian, a super-cool sounding 4-D interactive attraction which will be unveiled at the beginning of the season!

How about you? Have you been to Canada's Wonderland with your own children? If not, which attractions do you think your kids would enjoy the most?

Disclosure:  My family received general admission to Canada's Wonderland and lunch tickets at no charge, however I received no financial compensation for this post and was under no obligation to write it. The opinions expressed are my own and may be different from yours.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Beans!!

Our garden beans have gone off this year! This was a single day harvest from the other week. Two meals enjoyed already and two more vacuum sealed in the freezer!

Do you grow vegetables? What do you have the most success with?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Maya Wrap Ring Sling from Baby on the Breast: Review and Giveaway! (Closed)

Before CJ was born, one of my followers (and fellow mama blogger) suggested I review a ring sling. I already owned a Moby Wrap and Ergobaby soft structured carrier which had both seen a lot of use with S, but I'd yet to try a sling. For those of you unfamiliar with this type of carrier, it's basically a scarf-like piece of fabric with two rings at one end. You weave the non-ring end (called the "tail") through the ring end, pop the resulting loop over a shoulder (it's designed to go on either side), place baby in the middle in one of various positions (depending on his/her age and size) and tighten the fabric in the rings to secure. Online opinions on these carriers are divided - lots of enthusiasm around their simplicity, flexibility and low cost, but also a number of comments that they're difficul to get the hang of, uncomfortable, etc. Ultimately, I was very curious to try one myself and form my own conclusion!

Enter Baby on the Breast, an online mom & baby boutique focusing on top-of-the-line breastfeeding and babywearing gear. The shop is owned by a mama of two who's a strong believer in both practices, and she offered to send me both a Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra (which I reviewed back in January - LOVE this bra!) and a Maya Wrap, one of the more favourably rated brands of ring sling. In order to allow me to try out the various carry positions with CJ as he grew (and to accommodate the owner's big move from Ontario to British Columbia!) we agreed to hold off on the Maya Wrap review for several months. So here we are - hope it's worth the wait for y'all! :)

Product Information:

Maya Wrap slings are uniquely versatile, comfortable, stylish, and all you need to simplify your life! The shoulder has a light cushion for comfort and ease, while the rails are unpadded for total adjustability. Fans say it is the perfect first sling for new baby wearers.

  • Wear newborns through toddlers. Recommended for children 8 to 35 pounds. See note below.
  • Change positions to accommodate your child's growth.
  • Built in pocket for keys, diaper, cell phone.
  • Unpadded, open tail that is convenient as a nursing coverup.
  • Instructional DVD included.
  • 100% cotton hand loomed fabrics.
  • Machine wash, cool water; line dry.
  • Fits easily into a diaper bag or tote.
Choose your size according to your preferred tail length but remember that the tail should go at least to your waist. If you would like to use the tail to cover yourself when breastfeeding the tail should extend at least to the top of your legs. Choose a Medium or Large!!

Note: Babies younger than 4 months, premature, or with respiratory problems have a higher risk of suffocation. Always ensure that baby's airways are unobstructed and baby is breathing properly. If your baby is premature, has low tone, developmental delays or weighs less than 8 pounds, Maya Wrap recommends you consult with a medical professional before using any baby sling.

My Review:

The Maya Wrap comes in a variety of lovely shades and striped colour combinations (including a few gender neutral options for Dad!) As such, choosing a style was tough but I ended up with the vivid (and decidedly girly - sorry hubs!) bright stripes pattern. The wrap is also available in a few sizes, however the medium fits well for most people so we went with this.

Construction of the wrap is flawless. The cotton material is soft yet sturdy, all seams are stitched perfectly and the two metal rings are super-solid. The shoulder padding is quite thick, as you can see here.

The tail's pocket (for holding items like keys, cell phone, etc.) is quite spacious. I can actually fit my husband's Android tablet in there.Yknow, for those times my 8-month-old wants to play Candy Crush Saga.

So far so good. Now let's get down to business!

First step - threading the sling. This part of the process is the same regardless of carry method, and it's quite easy to do. The instructional video is helpful, especially its advice on how to fold the tail prior to threading the rings, as the edges of the tail need to remain accessible in order tighten the fabric (something that's done a lot).

Here's a close-up of a properly threaded ring. As you can see, the material is distributed quite evenly in the space between the two rings, and if you look closely you can see the edges on both sides.

I'll get to my experiences (and photos) with the individual carry methods shortly. First, a few comments about overall functionality, comfort, etc.

There is definitely a learning curve to the whole ring system. Here are a couple challenges I've experienced and tips I've learned to help overcome them:
  • The fabric can be tough to tighten. As in, you pull on the tail and nothing happens. :-/ The most important thing to combat this is to ensure the tail's threaded correctly as I mentioned earlier. It's also good to periodically redistribute the fabric evenly across the rings so it's not clumped in one spot. Second, you need to ensure baby's weight is fully supported prior to tightening otherwise you'll be in a losing fight against gravity. (This requires both hands and some coordination!) Third, a helpful tip I learned from another mom is to pull back in the same direction as the fabric you're trying to adjust, as this creates a sort of "pulley" system and reduces friction between the fabric and the rings. Finally, laundering the sling helps soften the fabric so I recommend doing this prior to first usage.
  • The rings tend to sneak down too far. General advice is to keep it high up near the shoulder, however I find that it inevitably slides down and inward toward my little guy as I tighten it. I'm wondering if this may have something to do with my body shape, as I'm tall & thin with narrow shoulders. It does help somewhat to wrap the shoulder pad around my shoulder rather than on top, however this seems to just slow the sliding effect rather than prevent it entirely. So still battling this one. :-/
Thankfully, loosening the sling is a breeze - just pull up the top ring and the fabric slides right out. This makes it super easy to get baby outta there when you're done.

Once secured properly, the wrap is pretty comfortable to wear - at least for awhile. After about 40-60 minutes my back starts feeling a little "tweaky". This doesn't happen with my front and back carriers, so presumably this is due to the uneven weight distribution with the sling. Maya Wrap does recommend switching sides periodically to alleviate this issue, however I've always had a preferred side myself, depending on carry position. So based on all this, I consider the Maya (and presumably any sling) more of a "short distance" carrier.

In terms of baby's comfort and happiness, all three main carry positions are natural and ergonomically safe, which is obviously super-important. And all allow you to be nice & cuddly with baby, which is great for bonding as well.

Another key aspect of carriers is whether they allow you to be truly hands-free. From my experience, the Maya Wrap does for the kangaroo and hip carry positions, but less so for the newborn carry. (More on this shortly.)

A couple final general points:
  • Care & maintenance - super simple; just machine wash on cold and lay flat to dry. I was initially concerned that the fabric might bleed during the first few washes due to the bright colours, but this wasn't a problem.
  • Breastfeeding in the Maya Wrap? Nope, didn't end up going there. Not with my Maya Wrap nor with any of the other carriers I own. I know many mamas do it but the idea has always struck me as more complicated than simply taking baby out of whatever carrier was on at the time, nursing, and popping him/her back in afterwards (if applicable). So sorry - can't comment on this one!

Alright, let's look at the individual carry methods!

Tummy to Tummy Carry - newborn (8 lb min.) to approx. 3 mths:

In this position, baby is facing inward with legs curled up in the "frog" position. (Instructional video here.)

Admittedly, I didn't love this position as I didn't feel entirely hands-free and I found it somewhat challenging to place baby in the correct position for proper air flow (and still wear the sling comfortably). So ultimately I didn't use it much (and, instead, preferred my Moby Wrap) and was therefore happy I'd get to test out the other positions prior to writing my review!

Kangaroo / Outward Facing Carry - approx. 3 to 6 mths:

In this position, baby is facing outward, with legs still up in the "frog" position. (Instructional video here.)

This was my favourite carry position with CJ, so I was a little sad when he outgrew it! I found it easy to "insert" him properly, he felt nice & secure in there (and, thus, I was able to be hands free) and he loved checking things out as I went about my business. As such, I used this position a lot while doing housework, going on quick walks, etc. Unfortunately CJ was super refluxy during this period, so on his really rough days I didn't wear him as the bouncing around and curled up nature of the position tended to make things worse. (Not to mention I really wasn't keen on washing vomit out of the thing on on a daily basis - yuck.)

Hip Carry - 6 mths (or baby sitting) to toddler (max 35 lbs):

In this position, little one is straddling your hip with legs hanging out and bum resting within the pouch of the sling. (Instructional video here.)

I'm lukewarm on this position. Pros? It's ergonomic and natural (after all, we carry our littles like this sans carrier, right?), babe feels secure and it's a nice position for bonding. I've found the following challenges with it, however:
  • I'd preferred, and thus favoured, the ring on my right side for the kangaroo carry, but then realized gaaah - I had to switch sides for the hip carry (since I hold CJ on my right side). Two months in and I'm still not as adept at manipulating the ring on the left side. (Possibly a handedness thing?)
  • Inserting in this position is a little tougher for us. CJ is long and gangly so his legs tend to get bent up in the material.
  • I start to feel back strain sooner than I did using the kangaroo carry - after about 30-40 minutes. This is likely due to a combination of CJ getting heavier and being further off to the side, thus offsetting the weight distribution further. He also likes to reach out and move his neck and long torso in all different directions which may contribute to this too.
All in all, I do pop him into the hip carry periodically, usually when I'm doing quick things around the house, but I prefer my soft structured carrier for longer carries at his current age.

So there you have it! Overall, I can confidently say that the Maya Wrap ring sling is a well-made, high-quality product, but in terms of personal preference I straddle the two aforementioned camps (enthusiastic and not-so-keen). I was really happy to have my Maya Wrap during the 3-6 (ish) month range in particular as I loved the kangaroo carry method, however I've preferred other carriers for the newborn stage and 6 months onward. (That said, CJ and I still have plenty of carrying days ahead, so the latter may change!)

How about you? Have you tried a ring sling before? If not, would you like to? :)

Buy It:

You can purchase your own Maya Wrap and/or other great babywearing and nursing gear directly from Baby on the Breast! Shipping is free on Canadian orders over $50 and US orders over $100! Use special code M2MBOTB to receive 10% off your order!!

Win It:

One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win a Maya Wrap of their own, from Baby on the Breast! Winner chooses from among available patterns. Open to Canada.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please follow all instructions within each entry option to ensure your entries are valid.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Baby on the Breast.  I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample item free of charge.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.