Our babywearing chronicles 

This week is International Baby-wearing Week.  I’ve been wearing Thandiwe since she was a few weeks old and it has been an amazing hands-free way to keep her near. Baby-wearing has also been an awesome way for my partner to bond with the baby when he’s with her. He loves how it easy it is to keep her close and it makes putting her down for a nap much easier.  Thandiwe enjoys being worn too, she often comes running when she sees me grab a woven wrap or stops fussing when she sees me buckle the soft structured carrier to my waist.

Finding a carrier that works for your body type can be a challenge which is why I am a fan of trying before you buy. Buying second-hand is also a good way to be eco-friendly and economical. Seeing everyone share their baby-wearing stories all over the internet this week has made me reflect on our baby-wearing journey as well. We have one soft structured carrier, one woven wrap, and one ring sling. I also enjoy trying different carriers from my local baby-wearing chapter’s lending library since I am training to be an educator and need to be familiar with all kinds.

Scroll down to see some photos of us baby-wearing and an inforgraphic from momlovesbest.com about the benefits of babywearing.

Anthony wearing Thandiwe

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Farai wearing Thandiwe

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Peace and baby snuggles,

Farai

Eco-friendly Baby Product Review

I am always on the lookout to support small businesses. When I came across The Eco Baby Co™ I was over the moon. A small business, run and owned by a woman of color with sustainable practices and products to boot. I was in love. I fangirled hard and slid into their DM’s where I was lucky enough to talk to meet with the owner and gush over our love of all things #crunchymom . Long story short. I am a proud ambassador for The Eco Baby Co™ where they share my love of all things zero waste and plastic free.

On the blog today I’ll be sharing some items I picked out on the site. I waited about a month since I have received my package so I could share fully incorporate the items into our lives and give an honest review. All thoughts, and views are my own and not that of The Eco Baby Co™

My package came neatly packed with no plastic waste. Everything was compostable or reusable and it made me smile. I detest ordering stuff online only to have the items covered in plastic packaging or wrap that takes up space until I can find  another use for it.

1. Best Bottoms Diaper Cover and Bamboo Insert– I have some best bottom diaper covers in my rotation but this one is the first new to me cover I own. Best bottom diapers are trim and have the cutest prints and this one was no different. The hemp inserts are so absorbent and soft and I love seeing my babe in this diaper and print.

 

2. PT Pure Organic Baby Stick – Made with coconut oil, Shea butter and beeswax in a compostable package. This cream was perfect as a moisturizer and diaper cream. I love how small it is so it fit in my diaper bag and I loved the packaging and pure ingredients.

3.  Fable Naturals Vanilla Orange Lip Balm–  Another plastic free product. I love that I can compost this lip balm when I done with it. I have a bunch of empty plastic lip balm containers sitting around that I need to reuse but this guy makes my heart happy because I use lip balm several times a day. The scent is light and favors citrus more than the vanilla  but the balm is nice and creamy and moisturizing and price point is great.

4. Rhoost brush and comb set – I was really excited about the wooden hair utensils because I’ve read that wooden combs are a lot gentler on fine hair. Thandiwe has a thick lush of curls that are somehow still very fine and tangle at the blink of an eye. I’ve been using my hair tools on her and was excited to get her her own set so when she starts practicing grooming she is ready to go. The comb was too small for her thicket of hair IMO but the brush is perfect for taming her hair down for ponytails. I love the look and feel of these products.

5. Brush with Bamboo Kids toothbrush – Plastic toothbrushes are a huge perpetrator of plastic waste in our landfills. These tooth brushes are compostable after their life span has been met. Thandie and her 8 teeth love the brush and I love them for her and plan on switching the whole family to this kind soon.

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If only I could get her to use the right end to brush with #teethingwoes

6. Butterbean Organics SPF 30 sunscreen – I loved the reusable container for starters. But I loved the product more. Conventional sunscreen has SO many toxins and I looked high and low for a non toxic cream based sunscreen I could rub onto her because a spray bottle was just not feasible with her royal squirminess. This one was perfect. Yes it leaves a white tint, but I’d rather her be safe and pale in the sun than burnt and exposed to harmful rays.

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7. Amethyst Amber Necklace – Thandiwe already had an amber necklace, but I was looking to add a second one as she got older and explored more. The Succinic acid secreted by raw amber helps boost immunity. They are also said to help with teething and drooling and I never had to deal with biting or drooling while she teethed since she’s had it on so I’m happy. The amethyst has calming properties and I just love how it looks on her skin. I kind of want one for myself now.

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If you are interested in trying out some items or switching  out some of your baby essentials for a more eco-friendly options. I have a coupon code HILLBILL10 for 10% off and free shipping. Happy Ethical Shopping!

Peace,

Farai

Soul Slings Meh Dai Review

If you don’t know this already, I am a huge fan of babywearing.  With baby wearing, I was able to bring my babe to work with me for 6 months and also maintain my sanity at home when I needed to get stuff done. I am on the path to get certified as a baby wearing educator and was looking to try out different carriers. I was really excited when I found out about the Soul Sling Meh Dai because even though its a soft structured carrier, it has these amazing hybrid wrap straps which allowed me to try out different finishes and practice before I started learning woven wraps. I reached out to Soul Slings and they were gracious enough to let me host a carrier for 2 weeks. We had blast using it and took the carrier on lots of walks, errands and just around the house to test it out.

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The carrier is made of linen and is super breathable and great feeling. I was able to carry my 21 lbs, 11 month old  with ease and wiggle around for a few nursing sessions and naps.I will say that the head rest ties are hard finagle when baby falls asleep on you but we figured it out and I loved the overall feel and look of the carrier.

I was excited to work with Soul Slings because it was started by a fellow cloth diapering, attachment parenting, baby wearing family of color in India. I love working with fellow POC all day everyday!

The hybrid wrap straps on the carrier were padded and super comfortable and stayed comfortable on my 3 mile lake walks.

 

 It’s also daddy dancing baby wearing approved . 🕺🏽🕺🏽🕺🏽

​  Thank you to Soul Slings for letting me try out this gorgeous carrier. 
Peace,

Farai

 

Simple Ways to Introduce Minimalism to your Kids

Following my awesome live chat this past Monday over at the BlackMinimalists facebook page, I wanted to share 4 simple things you can do to introduce minimalism to your kids. I have a lot to say about this topic and like many things, I could talk about it all day. Find me on facebook or instagram and we can continue the conversation there.

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Peace.

Farai

My Summer Diaper Bag Essentials

Summer is my SEASON. Growing up in Botswana where it is hot for the most of the year  makes me LOVE this season so much. I like to spend my time outside exploring or swimming and since I prefer babywearing over using a stroller, my diaper bag has to be functional for both my partner and I.

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I am a fan of multi-purpose items and the Kavu Rope Bag works great for us because its spacious, with multiple pockets and has one strap, which is perfect for me when I carry my daughter on my back. It fits all my essentials that and still has room for more items.

Diapering 

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Bag of wipes in reusable wipe bag. We cloth wipe at home, but use disposable wipes on the go.

A wet bag to store dirty diapers

2 pocket cloth diapers. I prefer pocket you because I can adjust the absorbency  and its still a simple snap and go diaper.

A changing mat, because we go places that don’t always have a safe changing table.

Body

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A change of clothes, homemade sunscreen, some diaper cream and hand sanitizer.

Miscellaneous 

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Daniel Tiger never fails to put a smile on my daughters face so we almost always have a DT book and one other toy to keep her amused.  A Kid Kanteen bottle for her water, burp rag and my wallet which has a pen,  cards and chapstick and thats it!

My diaper bag changes with the seasons. I add warmer clothes in the winter and I rotate out her toys weekly too. Not pictured is my water bottle and hat that I shove into the bag when it is sunny too.I don’t like to be weighed down by unnecessary items so I’ve streamlined the bag to the necessities and it works for us.

Peace.

Farai

 

My First Year Baby Essentials

I’ve been a mom for almost a YEAR now. Holy crap. It’s been amazingly fulfilling and challenging. My daughter is growing into a smart, beautiful, hilarious ham and I am so glad I get to be her mom.

I thought I’d share some products, services, themes and advice on what got me through this first year of motherhood.

 

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Thandiwe and her fur brother Duke (my middle baby)

Mind

Therapy – I started seeing a therapist a few weeks after she was born to get a handle of my PPA, and PPOCD. It was amazing to have a professional assure me that I was not alone and that other mom’s went through what I was going through.

Baby bookworms – A free book club for infants at my local library that introduces literacy. It was a perfect FREE excuse to get out of the house and be around other parents and babies.

Minimalism – I have written about this before here but minimalism freed my house and mind of clutter. I only allow items that are useful or bring me joy in to my house. That goes for Thandie’s clothes and toys too. I have a clear idea of what I want for her (the strict african mom in me dances with joy) so If she is gifted something that does not fit then it gets passed on to another kid who may enjoy it better.

Lactation Consultant – Thandiwe spent the first 9 days of her life in the NICU and I had to pump every  2-3 hours so she could be bottle fed. When she came home, we struggled to latch. Without the help of Gale, the amazing lactation consultant from the hospital and her continued support and encouragement I think our breastfeeding journey would look a lot different.

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Toy and Clothing Rotation – This has been an amazing money saver for my friends and I. Thandie gets hand me down toys and clothes from my friends kids that have outgrown their stuff and she passes them on to my friends with younger kids when she has outgrown them too. I rotate her toys around weekly so she has something different to play with often.

Buying used – Kids are gross. Thandiwe is almost always covered in cantaloupe stains (she’s obsessed with cantaloupe) . My parents encouraged lots of outside play and I was a filthy kid too, which makes me a big fan of letting her be outside and exploring. My head would explode if her brand new items got holes and stains on them too. Buying used toys and clothes when you can-is better for the environment and my wallet. Her summer wardrobe for this year was almost completely second hand and free except for a few new gifts.

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Me being a filthy kid. Check out my cool sagging cloth diaper lol

Baby wearing – Ive written about my love for babywearing and its benefits before here.  I had Thandiwe at work with me for 6 months before I became a SAHM. My lillebaby  carrier was a life saver. Now that she is older I am excited to try out different carriers.

Baby wed leaning – I had this beautiful vision of me feeding my baby pureed organic foods that I made myself. She quickly squashed that by refusing all pureed foods. She only wanted what was on my plate. I learned about baby led weaning and started giving her soft hand held vegetables and fruits that she could eat when she wanted at meal time and she has been happy as a clam ever since. She loves cucumber, potato, broccoli, melons, and apples.

Mango butter – The main component of my handmade diaper cream. I love a good multi-use product.  I buy mango butter in bulk and make diaper cream, body lotion and hair moisturizer for my family. I use different essential oils to tailor the butter for its different uses.

Chewelry – Chewable jewelry made of silicone or wood are great to have around if you baby wear or breastfeed. It is entertaining for little twiddling hands to explore and to soothe little teething gums. I have a coupon for 20% off some cute pieces from Okrosh etsy store if you are interested in investing in some pieces for your wardrobe. The code is HILBILL20

Cloth diapering and wipes – We’ve been cloth diapering since Thandie was 1 month old. I was cloth diapered and I knew it was something I wanted to do so save money and reduce my contribution to landfill waste. My favorite diapering system is pocket diapers followed my covers. Learn more about different types of cloth diapering options here.

Envelope System – I am a fan of the envelope system for keeping things organized. It allowed me to keep my diaper bag/purse in order. My diaper bag was very minimal. One pouch had her wipes, cream, diapers and wetbag, another -my wallet, keys and lip balm. Id use the pockets to keep a water bottle and some toys for her and that was it.

Honorable mentions

Daniel Tiger – Shout out  to PBS for producing sweet, educational content. Daniel Tiger has provided many a distraction while I attempt to manage Thandiwe’s thick curls and his catchy songs have brought many smiles to her face.

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Thandiwe loves Daniel Tiger

Lullaby renditions of Rihanna has brought on many naps for which I am ever so grateful.

Discovery Center and other free programs – It is so fun to watch my little one engage with toys and other kids. Free programs and places like splash parks and drum circles are a great way to socialize your kiddo.

BWI – My local chapter of Baby wearing international was a great help in teaching me how to safely use and try out different characters as well as meet parents with kiddos of similar ages.

Podcasts – For keeping me company and making me laugh and cry.

Online communties – For advice about cloth diapering, to breastfeeding and meeting kindred spirits.

I hope you find a simple system that works for you and your littles.

Peace,

Farai

 

Why I Babywear

Our ancestors have worn their offspring for thousands of years. Growing  up, I watched countless babies on the backs of their mothers and knew that I would carry my own children. But I live in the mid west. All I saw was babies in strollers. Luckily enough, after I went to a La Leche Leauge meeting, I met women in my local baby wearing international chapter and joined soon after.

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Here is what I love about baby wearing

  1. I get shit done. I would not have been able to work at my office with Thandie for 4 months if it was not for my ability to wear her. Thandiwe is content to hang out on my back while I do chores, blog (i’m wearing her right now), grocery shop, or walk my dogs.
  2. Unlimited snuggles and kisses
  3. Babies who are worn cry less, they feel safer, they learn faster. Learn more here
  4. Hands free breastfeeding! I’ve given presentations standing and moving around in front of groups of people while Thandie happily nursed.
  5. Its simplified my travel with an infant. I don’t have to worry about a stroller. She is going on 8 months and we still have never used one.
  6. Baby wearing builds a bond with her dad. Because I am her primary source of nutrition and comfort, Thandie spends most of her time with me. Baby-wearing brings my partner closer to her.
  7. Baby-wearing allowed me to meet a new community and make great friends.

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*full disclosure – I am a chapter support volunteer for my local baby wearing international  chapter so even though I am not getting paid for this I am completely biased*

If you are interested in baby-wearing, here are some tips:

Try out different carriers until you find the one that works for you. That is what is great about the baby wearing international organization. Its a non-profit that focuses on education surrounding baby wearing. Most local chapters have lending libraries that allow members to try out carriers for a period of time before they make their own purchases. I tried out several different carriers for 30 days before I settled on the best one for my family.

Look for a local baby wearing buy sell trade group so you can buy a pre-loved carrier second hand. It is cheaper and better for the environment.

Join a support group like babywearing while black  or a chat group so you can ask questions online.

Don’t give up, at first, Thandie hated being worn- but after I found the right fit for us, she loved it. I will write a post about my favorite carriers soon.

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Peace and baby snuggles

Farai