When I was pregnant, I was focused on learning as much as I can about giving birth, caring for newborns, and breastfeeding. I searched online for lists on what we’ll need for our baby – and almost all of the lists I saw included a stroller. I knew that it was the most convenient way of lugging your baby around, and was familiar with it ‘coz I saw relatives and friends using strollers for their little ones. My husband and I got a stroller from the U.S., but it was not recommended for newborns, so during Kobe’s first visits to the doctor, we either used the car seat/bassinet that came with the stroller or we just carried him. This was not a problem since he was still quite small and light back then.
I first heard about babywearing from my college friend and thesis mate, Myla. She gave birth to her cute little son six months before me, and was one of the people who I constantly bugged for tips and pointers about newborns. She let me borrow one of her baby slings, and I instantly fell in love with babywearing. I found myself researching online, and asking my other friends about which carrier to get. I joined the online Facebook group Babywearing Philippines (this is a closed group, but you may ask to join. Husbands are welcome too!).
I am not a babywearing expert, but I just want to share some basics. I learned that there are actually several types of carriers: wraps, ring slings, pouch slings, mei tais, hybrids, and soft structured carriers (SSC’s). You can choose which type is best for you and your baby, based on your preference and lifestyle. Here are some guidelines you have to follow to make sure your baby is safe if you choose to babywear:
- Make sure your baby’s airways are always open, and his chin off the chest, especially when your baby falls asleep in the carrier (which usually happens!)
- Your baby’s head and neck should be supported, especially if he is below 3 months and doesn’t have good neck control yet
- Your baby’s head should be high enough to kiss; this makes sure that he is pressed against your torso, and is in plain sight
- Make sure the carrier you’re using is safe – many carriers being sold in the market are not safety-tested, and when using a second hand carrier, please make sure that there are no loose buckles, rips or tears, or any damage that may cause any breaks! Remember, you are holding very precious cargo in your hands
Tula is one of the most-loved brands of SSC’s in the market. It is exclusively distributed in the Philippines, by CEO Emporium, owned by super mompreneur Ms. Candy Establecida-Oanes. She started out as a babywearing enthusiast, and like many moms, fell in love with the Tula. Now she is the licensed distributor of Tula and retailer of other SSC brands like Lillebaby, Lennylamb, and Emeibaby. I first met Ms. Candy at the Babywearing Philippines event last October. I went there with Kobe to look at all the baby carriers available in the market, and choose which one is best for us. The first one we tried was a Tula! And all I can say is, it was love at first ride! 🙂
I tried carrying Kobe in other SSC’s that day but it was only in the Tula that he didn’t cry, soooo… I’m so happy we got a Tula Star from Ms. Candy, a few days after the event!
Kobe was only around 4 months then, but since he was a big baby, Ms. Candy told me we didn’t need an infant insert. So I used a rolled up towel instead to make sure he was positioned well (the “M” leg position) in the Tula. Our baby loves riding the Tula! Even my husband enjoys babywearing, and I am very happy that I chose the “Star” design ‘coz it looks good on him, too! Here are some of our Tula action shots 🙂
When we went to Bohol last year, we didn’t even need to bring a stroller anymore. Bistek and I just wore Kobe all the time! We visited the Tarsiers and climbed up the viewing deck at Chocolate Hills while wearing him. When he would fuss, we wore him. When he got hungry while we were out walking, I nursed him in the Tula. Yes, you can breastfeed while babywearing! I even wore him while enjoying the sumptuous buffet at Henann Resort (I had to be careful not to drop food morsels on his head, hehe). On our flight back to Manila, he was super fussy ‘coz he was sleepy but couldn’t sleep – so Bistek wore him and stood up during the flight until he fell fast asleep. I swear, Tula is covered with “sleepy dust” – it is a sure fire way to make your baby sleep, and this is a real lifesaver when you are out of town! 🙂
I have mild scoliosis and chronic back pain, and when I was pregnant, I was scared that I won’t be able to carry and comfort my baby when he needed me. But thanks to the Tula, I am able to carry and wear him longer than if I merely carried him in my arms. The Tula actually distributes the weight evenly and provides good back support to the wearer if you find what they call the “sweet spot,” which can be done by adjusting the straps according to your body. Correct babywearing is supposed to be comfortable and pain-free to both the baby and the wearer! A word of caution, though. If you have scoliosis or any condition, please consult first with your doctor if you can babywear.
Another myth that I would like to dispel is that babywearing can make your baby “bow-legged” or “sakang.” Babywearing does not cause this, and it is actually normal for infants up to 18 months to be slightly bow-legged, whether they are worn or not. This usually straightens out when they start walking and up to toddlerhood.
I am really glad Kobe chose the Tula (well, ok, I chose the Tula!). Even now that he is ten months old and almost 11 kilos, I still wear him when we go out. Babywearing is gaining more popularity now more than ever, but I want to let you guys know that the key here is to be informed, so you can wear your baby safely. I see so many parents now who use narrow-based carriers (NBC’s) that are not only uncomfortable for babies, but may also cause hip dysplasia. Baby carriers that are not safety tested are also prevalent in the market, and I’ve heard of horror stories of babies getting hurt because of unsafe carriers that gave way. Again, if you are interested about babywearing, please ask to join Babywearing Philippines, or you may post comments here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I can help you or point you to the right person to ask.
Check out these links:
- Babywearing Philippines – Facebook group
- Babywearing International
- CEO Emporium – licensed distributor of Tula Baby Carriers in the Philippines
- Tula Baby Carriers U.S.