Welcome to our multi-part series on babywearing during the Holidays. Babywearing is a great way to keep your sanity, stay warm, and get things done during this busy time. The first installment will cover Cooking & Decorating, the second will be Babywearing Out & About, and the final installment will feature members pictures highlighting babywearing through the New Year (so make sure to bust out those cameras). These posts are a compilation of tips and tricks gleaned from our Tucson BWI members.
Part 1: Cooking and Decorating!
First things first – stay safe while babywearing. Make sure your carries are secure, and be careful not to engage in activities that could lead to injury. A few things not to do while babywearing:
- Frying latkes, taking things in an out of the oven
- Climbing on a ladder, step stool, or chair to hang that bundle of mistletoe, decorate your Festivus Pole, or when putting up your solstice lights
- Lighting candles (menorah, luminarias)
- Take extra care in inclement conditions such as snow, ice or rain
- Keep hot drinks in spillproof mugs so you don’t spill hot cocoa/cider/mulled wine all over your baby and your carrier
- Basically, use your common sense and put yours and kiddo’s safety above all else
Warning out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
Cooking and Food Preparation
Babywearing can be very helpful when decorating cookies, heading out for holiday parties, or just trying to get a meal on the table. Here are a few tips to combing food and babywearing, without turning your lovely carrier into a makeshift apron:
- Back carries shine when dealing with food prep. Make sure tails and straps are tucked out of the way to avoid food spills. This isn’t the time for a fancy finish, lest the fabric absorb cooking smells and spills.
- Soft structured carriers and mei tais are great because the tails/straps are thin and stay out of the way.
- When wrapping, Nicole recommends, ” I try to focus on carries that keep the wrap out of the way and off my belly, lest it become a dishtowel. This means carries that avoid chest passes, and that use ruckstraps. I prefer to tie Tibetan and tuck the ends under my arms, or tie a candy cane chestbelt. Like I said, I avoid tying in front.”
- Other alternatives are tying under bum or doing short versions of carries (double hammock double rings, double robozo shoulder to shoulder, ruck with a candy cane chest belt), and tucking long tails back behind your body.
- Hip carries in a ring sling or robozo will also free up your hands, but keep an eye on your tail – don’t want it dragging in your food – and keep an eye on bigger kiddos, don’t want them leaning out of the carry to “help”.
- If front wearing, be extra cautious about what you are doing. Even if your baby is small, it’s not the best idea to be doing fancy knife work while reaching around your child – it puts the baby closer to the blade and it can be hard to see and maneuver around them. Similarly, it’s not a good idea to be doing work on the stove, simply because your child is closer to the heated elements. However, much food prep can be done while front wearing – measuring, arranging, mixing, decorating, etc. If you have to do something potentially dangerous, ask for help and/or put the baby down.
- Nicole adds, “or decorating Christmas cookies, for the love of God, use a wrap or carrier that you could handle staining — or pass the baby off to someone else.”
Decking the Halls – Babywearing and Decorating
Babywearing can help you be hands-free while decorating, but there are a few things to be aware of:
- Get all decorations down from high places before you put your baby on.
- This is the time to assist (helpfully, from the ground) while some else handles ladder duty, hanging high decorations, or lights on the house.
- Related, if you are setting up a tree, let someone else set it up and adjust it on it’s base.
- Take extra caution when lighting candles. Consider having someone else do it or use led “candles” instead.
- Nicole again, “If you’re decorating and have a grabby toddler, keep their presence in mind so they don’t accidentally yank the whole tree over while you’re hanging ornaments.”
- On the other hand, babywearing is a great way to keep little ones out of boxes of tiny, shiny, ingestable holiday decorations. I know from experience, at 9 months I ate a small silver ornament thinking it was a Hershey’s kiss.
Some Final Thoughts
The holidays may also be a good time to introduce other friends and family members to babywearing so you can take a break (or queue in line for Black Friday…). If introducing another friend or family member to babywearing remember: Keep it simple, and take your time. Easier is better. Work within their comfort zone. Soft structured carriers are a great gateway, ring slings for the braver, and even a pre-tied poppable woven carry (front cross carry, short cross carry, pocket wrap cross carry) can help someone else get some baby snuggles. Also make sure to take your time explaining what you are doing and how to wear kiddo safely.
Spread some babywearing love this holiday season.
Peace, love, and babywearing,
Kelly, BWI Tucson VBE