Be sure to read to the end to learn about our giveaway with True North Ring Slings.
When a new baby joins the family, the pace of life inevitably slows. The priorities shift to feedings, diapers, cuddles, and nap times. One thing that doesn’t go away is the daily routine of meals, errands, laundry, and tidying. Mom’s hands are full and her plate just got fuller.
I remember well how overwhelmed I felt as a first time mom four years ago! Simple tasks like folding laundry suddenly seemed impossible… they needed to be done, but not at the expense of sacrificing time with my baby.
Enter the time-honored, global tradition of babywearing. I loved that I could snuggle my baby and still stay on top of the daily happenings. With my second born, I discovered another plus: it made snuggles easier during those long, hard days of teething. Now, with my third baby, I’m loving that I can still keep up with my toddlers and keep my baby close by.
What carriers have I tried? What are the pros and cons?
Wrap Carriers. My wrap-style carrier (think Moby, Solly, etc.) was my initiation into babywearing. It gave me the courage I needed to go grocery shopping for the very first time alone with the baby.
Pros: Soft and stretchy. Readily available. (Even stores like Target and Walmart offer this style)
Cons: Hot. Difficult to use. (Unless you like feeling like a ninja all while juggling a baby)
Soft Structured Carriers. After becoming frustrated with the complicated wrap carrier, I purchased a soft structured carrier (such as a Boba, Ergo, Lillebaby, etc.). It was a great experience, but lacked a few conveniences I desired.
Pros: Supportive. Great for long carries and bigger babies.
Cons: Bulky (you can’t just toss it your diaper bag). Difficult to safely situate newer babies (who often want to be worn more frequently).
Ring Slings. My third baby has been much more picky about being worn. He’s had some pretty difficult tummy issues and needs a lot of Mommy snuggles, but my wrap and structured carriers were met with very low tolerance. At the suggestion of my midwife, I pulled the trigger and purchased a ring sling. He slept for two hours the very first time I wore him. I’ve tried a few different ring slings for fun since they’ve worked so well for us and can safely say, linen (from a company such as True North Ring Slings) is my favorite. The sling took babywearing from something I did for convenience to something I did because I truly loved wearing my baby.
Pros: Even picky babies seem happy in a sling. Easily adaptable from tiny newborns to toddlers. Quick to adjust (I love having an alternative to lugging around a heavy car seat). Strong supportive fabric that’s still soft enough for delicate babies. Compact (can easily fold and stash in your diaper bag for on-the-go days).
Cons: Slight learning curve (well worth it!). Needs a short breaking in period (there are lots of great short cuts and resources for this!)
I strongly believe that next to a quality car seat, my ring sling is the most worthwhile baby equipment purchase we have made. Hands down.
We are THRILLED to be partnering with Alberta-based True North Ring Slings to bring you a giveaway! I recently purchased a beautiful gray ring sling (with to-die-for rose gold rings) from this amazing company. I’ve been nothing short of impressed by their quality and their customer service. I’ve received almost instant responses from them when I’ve reached out with questions – and they’ve been so personable (even giving me the fun fact that I was their first Texas customer!).
Using high-quality linen sourced from Europe, they offer a wonderful range of colors from classic neutrals to vibrant hues. They are unique in that they offer several lengths to choose from (no worries if you’re tall or broad shouldered! They’ve got you covered!). Their slings meet all safety standards (both mandatory and voluntary), so you can rest easy knowing that your baby is safe. More than anything, I love that is company is mommy-owned!
True North is partnering with us to GIVEAWAY a $50 STORE CREDIT* to one lucky reader and a 10% OFF COUPON CODE to all the rest of you!
To enter the giveaway, head over to Instagram and follow us (@canvasandtable) and then (@truenorthringslings). Tag your friends on our Instagram about this baby wearing blog post (you’ll receive an entry for each tag). For a bonus entry, “regram” our post to your personal Instagram!**
To save 10% on your order, simple use this code when you check out: canvasandtable. Offer good through April 20th.
Do you “wear” your baby? Leave a comment below and tell us.
*$50 store credit is CAD (Canadian dollars) as True North is based in Canada.
**Find complete entry instructions on Instagram post
Today I (Laurel) am delighted to introduce you to my dear friend (and neighbor), Jennifer. We gave birth to our sons just two weeks apart from each other and have spent a lot of time in the past two years sharing the joys, challenges, and victories that come from motherhood. I appreciate Jen’s intentionality with her son Isaac. She loves him well and pours everything into his rearing. Enjoy this post from her on the topic of screen-free parenting!
It had been a rough day at our house. We had a string of them, leaving me feeling like a failure and often yelling at my son. He was barely two and the defiance was out of control. Nothing worked, nothing. That day he was finally asleep, and I lay beside him, tears pooling in my eyes. “I am the adult here,” I thought to myself. “I am the one in charge of setting the tone of our relationship.” We struggled over everything – even controlled choices were a problem. What had changed? I thought back over our previous couple of weeks…the weather had turned, cold but not freezing however, chilly enough to make me want to stay inside. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: screen time. As Isaac, my son, had gotten older, he showed greater interest in my iPad. I even bought some apps specifically for him and he played them – he played them a lot. Not only that, we had started watching a movie every morning instead of taking a walk, and it was truly a little kids movie, we watched “Despicable Me”. Then as the days inside got longer, we watched it more than once..twice…three times.
Let me explain: My husband and I are in this alone. Our families are spread out over several states and our parents are far away. I needed to get things done around the house, I needed to cook, and I needed some chill time. We have wonderful friends, yes, but they have lives too – with their children, jobs, and home. Enter the all powerful screen. Hello, babysitter.
Later that same evening, I was talking with my husband, who was also not enjoying the new struggle we had on our hands, and I gave him my theory. “It’s the screen time,” I said. “It needs to end.” He agreed. People, we went cold turkey. The next morning, Isaac asked for his movie. “Maybe later,” I responded brightly. “Let’s paint instead!” And that was the beginning. We painted, we played Play doh, we colored with markers, crayons, chalk. We built blocks, we built legos, we built a train track and ran the train. And every time he asked for the movie, I said “Maybe later!” and distracted him with the next activity. (He never thought to ask for the iPad, it was out of sight and therefore, out of mind.) We braved the cold and went on a nature walk.
My house was a wreck that day but it was worth it. However, since I wanted to have a cleaner, more tidy home AND cook fresh meals AND play with Isaac, I knew something would have to change. Thus began my search for quick, easy, mess free toddler activities.
After only two days of zero screen time we had a whole new child. Was he still defiant, yes, he’s two. But it was manageable. I was highly encouraged and I really believe my son was much happier. He still asked for his movie and I still said “Maybe later” and the iPad was still hidden and really, nothing suffered that terribly. I still cooked and tidied. Although, full disclaimer: I had declared that if anything was going get lost in the chaos it would be the “clean and tidy home” and my husband agreed fully. And, yes, some things get lost in the mix. I’m learning to be ok with that. More importantly, to me at least, was that I learned I didn’t need the screen to be a babysitter all the time and all the activities do not have to be high prep, messy fun. Here’s five low prep, mess free, toddler approved (and even older babies would enjoy some of these) activities that call for supplies you likely have on hand or are super cheap and easy to get. 1. Coffee tree mug and craft rings. This looks so cool, it’s hard to believe it is so simple. Take the rings off and put them on. That’s it. Isaac got bored with using his hands so he showed me how he uses his TOES to do it. 2. Thin spatula, muffin tin, and blocks. Dump out the blocks in a pile, set the muffin tin nearby and use the spatula (make sure it is thin enough to get under the blocks) to lift a block, carry it to the tin and put in one of the cup. Repeat. I thought this was so dumb, that Isaac would not be interested. I didn’t tell Isaac I was setting this one up, I just did it as he was playing with something else. He watched me and I could not believe how his eyes lit up with interest.3. Pipe cleaners and kitchen colander. Poke the pipe cleaners into the holes. Again, I figured he’d get bored. Nope.4. Drinking straw and craft puffs. Spread out some craft puffs (small to medium, so not for littles who still put everything in their mouths) and power the straw with your breath to move the puff. Feeling extra crafty? Make a very easy map or color wheel to have your toddler blow the puffs (put it on green! Now blue!).5. Dot stickers and construction (or any colored) paper. I keep this in my church bag. Get a couple packs of fun colored dot stickers, the kind you’d use for marking prices on garage sale items, and matching colors of paper. By matching, I mean color, not shade. Have your toddler sort stickers by putting the blue sticker on the blue paper, the yellow on the yellow and so forth. (Side note: I ran out of the dot kind, and evidently, so did the store. So, I got rectangles and I cut them to smaller sizes.)
And a bonus mess free activity? Get them outside. Take a walk and go at their pace. Little people are discovering the world and it’s a wonderful way to slow down and see the world from their perspective.
The reality is that we do not live in a screen free world. But if you choose to dramatically limit your children’s screen time, you are not alone. There’s quite a bit being written about the negative effects of screens on developing minds and very little about how good screen time is –including so called “educational apps”. However, there are still times when I don’t hesitate to hand over my iPad in the name of peace (long grocery store line, anyone?) however it’s a genuinely rare occasion these days. It’s been a wonderful change in our home. I highly encourage everyone to set their screens down and unplug for a bit. I very much doubt anyone would end up regretting time spent without a screen.
Going screen free in a screen heavy world can be daunting, but it’s like Robert Frost penned in his poem :
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
A daughter of the King, Jennifer Gonzales is a librarian turned stay at home mom. She spends her days playing with her young son, drinking chai, and trying complicated recipes from Pinterest. Occasionally, she writes blog posts for her family blog, Heart Prints. Psalm 113