Thursday, 24 October 2013

There is always space in my luggage

Not long ago, I joined an online contest which asked me to pick 3 things I would like to fit into my diaper bag. "That's a little crazy", I exclaimed. Who in their right sense would only take 3 items, especially when you are travelling with a baby! If possible, I would take the whole house because you never know what the baby might need.

I am awed at how some mummies can manage with a tiny handbag. They don't even need a diaper bag as all their "essentials", could fit into their handbag! I on the other hand, have a huge diaper bag in which things can go missing because it holds so many essential items, like diapers, wet wipes, water bottle, spare change, napkins, snacks, tot seat, and my most prized possession, baby carrier.
The one thing I could not leave behind is my carrier because life is much simpler with it.
Piggyback in Original Ergo at 8 months old
Before receiving a demo travel carrier, it was a challenge to fit the Original Ergobaby because it is very bulky due to its heavy padded shoulder straps and waist belt (but it gives maximum comfort). Even after folding it into a neat and tight pack, it still took a lot of space in my diaper bag.
Stowaway is almost half the size of the original Ergo

However, that's not the case with the Ergobaby Stowaway. This carrier offers an amazing combination of comfort and compactness. Its shoulder strap and waist belt are padded (but not as heavily as the original ones) enough to make it comfortable to carry your baby, yet it can easily fold into its own front pouch! I was most impressed by that.
Comparing the shoulder straps

I highlighted the word pouch because this is simply a fantastic feature. Imagine, you no longer need a separate bag to store your Ergo. It's almost like a kangaroo and its pouch. No more worrying about dirtying my Ergo or searching frantically for my carrier cover (which I always misplace).
Stowaway, Travel Carrier
The pouch which is about the size of a clutch bag, comes with a handy strap which allows you to clutch it onto your diaper bag, stroller and even wear it on your wrist. It is so much lighter than all the other Ergobaby carriers, even Ergobaby Performance.

Light, compact and useful.

We just returned from a wonderful beach retreat and I thank my lucky stars this test carrier came to me on time because when you travel with 3 prima donna, luggage space becomes a big issue.

Thanks to the handy strap, I clipped this carrier to my jeans because I didn't want to catch myself rummaging through my diaper bag each time I needed to don on this carrier.

I had it on me for the whole (1 1/2 hours) ferry ride to our destination. Although it's not as comfortable as my original carrier but it still helped a lot. I could easily move in the fast swaying ferry and getting off was not a problem at all.

I wore it everywhere I went, especially during my stroll along the beach. I loved how it felt like I was wearing a t-shirt and we didn't feel terribly uncomfortable in it despite being out in the sun. I even used it when I was splashing water at my older girls. Amazingly, it took a very short time for the carrier to dry up when it 'accidentally' got wet.

No 'sweat' affair strolling along the beach 

Who would have thought that such a compact carrier could still offer you so much -large stuff pocket, adjustable hood and you can use this from newborn (requires infant insert) to toddler (3.2 - 20kg).

Like other Ergobaby, you can carry your baby in 3 positions, front-inward facing, back-piggyback and hip-forward facing carry. It is also designed with breastfeeding in mind! You can easily breastfeed in the front carry position without unbuckling the straps. All you need to do is lower baby to the breast and even walk and continue doing whichever activity you were doing. I've managed to shop while breastfeeding her and it's so discrete that you can throw away your nursing cover (you could also use the adjustable hood as extra cover but trust me, you'd do fine without it). My own husband didn't notice I was breastfeeding her until he offered to carry her (it's manly enough for men). The benefits are endless.

When not in use, I would turn the Stowaway into a mat for her to lie on (during nap time) whilst at the beach. It can also be turned into a pillow when folded.
Stowaway turned into a mat for her to nap comfortably
If you decide to own this compact and comfortable carrier (or any other Ergobaby carrier), please purchase it from an authorised dealers because counterfeit carriers can be extremely harmful to your baby.

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any form for this review. I am doing this review on my own accord to highlight Bloom and Grow's excellent customer service.

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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Looking hip in Hippychick

My journey into babywearing (carrying your baby in a baby carrier)

I wished I had a wonderful anecdote to share on how I got into babywearing and that it was pleasant from the start but I can't, because, it was very tough in the beginning. See I didn't have the right tools (carrier) for it and I guess I am a little spoilt because I caved at the first signs of discomfort. Luckily for me, there was a little nagging voice that kept saying, "this could work".

My first attempt was when I sought assistance from my neighbour's Indonesian helper who carried her baby in a 'sarong'. She made it look so easy and I was certain I would experience the same. However, it didn't look or felt anything like how the seasoned wearer had shown me.
Instead, I experienced shoulder aches and was never comfortable carrying my precious baby in a carrier that was secured only with a slip knot.

Next I discovered a Sling. It works similar to sarong but the fabric was sewn and secured either with a buckle or rings. I had more confidence carrying my baby in this sling as apposed to the unsewn fabric (sarong).

These are just 2 example carriers available in the market. If you dig a little deeper, you would be surprised at the choices available for you. Each has it's own special feature to suit your need.

Today I am going to narrow down to the 2 most widely used and efficient carrier for my bub and me. She is almost 2 years old so you should expect a lot of running around and staying put in one place for more than a couple of minutes, is close to impossible.
To meet  this need I carry along with me (by that, I mean it's always available in my car) my Stowaway and Hippychick Hipseat.

Interacting with her is so much easier when your back is not hurting

The Hippychick seat gets more attention from us because my daily routine involves a lot of short trips where carrying her over a long period of time is not necessary.
  • when picking up my elder kids from school
  • when I am shopping in a wet market and she wants to be part of the shopping experience; helping me pick ripe tomatoes, egg plants and fresh vegetables (it encourages interaction without any sore back).
  • when taking my dog for a walk
  • when visiting the park
  • when she cannot make up her mind whether she wants to be carried or walk
Look at that frown! She's unhappy with my choice of vegetables

I like using Hippychick because putting it on and taking it off is very quick and easy. It comes with a very strong and large velcro strap which is secured by a safety buckle to ensure the hipseat belt never comes apart in the event the velcro gives way. It also has an anti slip cushion on top of the seat, so my baby wont slide off it easily.
It is machine washable and I would recommend you to use a pillow case cover or a laundry net, to ensure nothing gets stuck to the velcro. Be sure, to remove the polyurethane molding filler and wash only the lightweight hipseat cover.

This is a one size fits all carrier, almost all. If your waist size is smaller than 24 inches (and you are a mummy) this carrier may not suit you because your waist is too small for it (please, do share your secret of having such a tiny waist). The maximum waist, the belt/strap could handle would be about 48 inches. I am not sure if you could get any extensions.

It is recommended for babies from age 6 months old up to 3 years old but I think it can be used longer than that. As long as you are carrying your child, this seat is very helpful. It is priced below RM200 and comes in many colours. Be sure to purchase it from authorise dealers because counterfeit carriers can be extremely harmful to your baby.

Some pointers/tips

  • I usually strap it very tight to ensure it doesn't ride lower than my waist line once baby is propped on the seat (the weight may push the seat lower if not buckled tightly).
  • Although it says hipseat, I keep changing the carrying position from side (on my hips) and to the front (my stomach region). This also helps alleviate any discomfort you may experience when carried for too long.
  • When my baby is not riding on the hipseat, I like to push the cushion or the seat portion to my back so it looks like a big nice waist belt I have on instead of a big bulky coin pouch!
  • A mummy used it as a restraint belt to safeguard her her baby from bumping into the shopping cart bar.
Many parents that have seen me with the Hippychick, are very intrigued by it and are amazed at the comfort it provides after trying it on. There is no learning curve or special tricks which you will need to master unlike when using a Wrap, Structured Carrier or a Sling. Hipseat is fairly straight forward and is a wonderful tool to have once your child is able to walk. This is a brilliant product but there isn't much publicity and you don't even see it being displayed in stores.

The only thing you cannot do with Hippychick Hipseat is have both your hands free. You will need to hold your child at all times. This small drawback does not bother me much because I can always grab my other carrier if I ever need to do something which requires me to use both my hands and carry her at the same time.

Carrying her so effortlessly 

Disclosure: I was not paid for this review. I am doing this review on my own accord to highlight Bloom and Grow's excellent customer service. They bring only the best and genuine products for babies in Asia.

Stay tuned for my next review on Read my next review, how I turned Stowaway Ergo baby carrier into more than just a carrier.

Lets get connected:

Now you can follow me by email (fill email address here) to get new post notifications delivered directly into your mailbox or you could follow my Facebook page Life Simplified to get more recipes and tips in making life a little more laid back or we can connect via twitter.

Thank you for stopping by at A cuppa for my thoughts