Families

Snuggle up with your babies

Participants at a Bellingham Babywearers event in 2014 at Bellingham Public Library try wraps and help other mothers secure their babies.
Participants at a Bellingham Babywearers event in 2014 at Bellingham Public Library try wraps and help other mothers secure their babies. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

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Keep your baby close

New parents sometimes struggle with the problem of carrying their newborns from place to place.

But the Bellingham Babywearers group helps new moms and dads by showing them the different options — from car seat carriers and soft structure harnesses to fabric wraps such as bobas and k’tans — at its regular monthly meetings. Wraps are definitely popular these days, said Ingrid Patrick of the Cain Lake area, mother of girls age 7, 4, and nearly 2.

“I started ‘baby wearing’ before it was trendy,” said Patrick, whose Mexican mother swaddled her in a long, flat garment called a rebozo. “When she was a baby, her mother carried her that way, too.”

Patrick used rebozos and similar wraps to hold her daughters close; now she has five wraps in different colors and fabrics. She loved the ergonomic ease of snuggling her babies around the waist and shoulder, and enjoyed the knowledge that she was continuing a cultural tradition.

She likes the ease of carrying her baby in a wrap while she’s out and about. “You’re not lugging around that big old car seat.” At home, the girls mostly run around (or sat in bouncy seats when they were little).

For people who are uncertain about babywearing, the Babywearers maintain a “lending library” of devices and wraps that can be borrowed and tested for a nominal fee. Patrick said she learned a great deal of information from other parents in the group, especially about issues regarding ergonomics for the babies while they’re being carried.

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Kickin’ it old school

Classic wooden building blocks are the perfect toy for stimulating creative play among babies, said Colin Bigelow, a clerk at Fairhaven Toy Garden.

“Going back to basics is important because it allows them to lie there and look at an inanimate object and make up play,” Bigelow said. “It takes the parents back to their childhood. There’s not a lot of small parts, so they’re safe as well.”

For $22.95, the Toy Garden carries a simple set of 50 wooden blocks in a mix of natural wood finish and bright red, yellow green and blue.

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Did you know learning and loving to read begins at birth? Reading aloud to your infant is a wonderful way for baby to hear vocabulary and rhythm, and reading together forms attachment bonds between parent and child. While babies may not yet understand the words or concepts, babies do associate reading together with love, which helps builds a foundation for a lifetime of loving books and stories.

Bethany Hoglund

Bellingham Public Library

head of youth services

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