Sweetheart Blog

The Woven Wrap

by Jasmine Plante
 

So let’s talk about my baby carrier of choice – the woven wrap! I do own an Ergo, which I absolutely love, but there is something beautiful about wrapping and wearing your child in a gorgeous woven textile that appeals to the romantic in me!

What exactly is a woven wrap? It’s a long piece of fabric woven on a loom either by hand, or by machine. Unlike a Moby Wrap, a woven has little to no stretch, which means it provides rock solid support from newborn stage to toddler. It is also a wrap you can back-carry with as well. Some wraps are woven in 100% cotton, others have cotton blended with linen, hemp, bamboo or wool in varying ratios. Different materials provide different characteristics. I personally love a good thick 100% cotton, but in the summer I love 100% linen for its strength, thinness and breathability. Now that fall is here and winter is approaching, I am loving hemp! It’s solid (my almost 40lb 2.5 year old is quite comfortable to wear!), thick and very warm when blended with cotton.

Woven wraps come in different sizes. A standard length is 4.6m, or size 6. “Shorties” are size 2 and 3 (2.6m and 3.1m respectively) and a medium-shorty is a 4 (3.6m). For an average woman, size 6 is a good place to start.

There are a few different brands on the market (Didymos, Natibaby, Dolcino, Kokadi, Ellaroo, Ellevill, Girasol, Vanatai) that are reasonably priced. Some are higher-end boutique brands (Oscha, Heartiness) and then there are the very elusive handwoven brands (Uppymama, Warped and Wonderful, Linuschka, Artipoppe, Pavo Textiles, ETLA). Handwovens are released in limited numbers and the lucky few pay dearly for them (anywhere from $1000+!) Generally speaking, a good woven wrap will cost anywhere from $90 – $300, depending on what brand and length you need. Many, if not all of the big names use sustainably sourced materials, non-toxic dye and are woven by artisans local to the area they are manufactured in. The price is indicative of the workmanship. In addition to these retailers, we are also lucky enough to have locally made woven wraps available at Sweetheart Baby Boutique, certifiably made by Diane Pepin of Mother’s Helper – so go check those out too!

So why do I love wovens so much? Why go thru what can sometimes be a steep learning curve of having to master wrapping when I could snap a different carrier and go? Well…I absolutely love the versatility of a wrap. I love that with a bit of practice, I can take a piece of fabric, wrap my daughter on the front to nurse, switch it up and toss her onto my back and do some chores while she naps. I love that I can take that exact same wrap and comfortably carry my 2.5y/o son without having to adjust anything. I love that my kids will never outgrow that supportive knee-to-knee froggy sitting position that is so comfortable. I love that I can wear my shorty wraps as gorgeous scarves and then use them for simple hip and back carries when my daughter needs to feel close, or when I need to be hands-free. And honestly, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t in it for their beauty! The designs can be absolutely incredible, and I love wearing my daughter in these pieces of woven art. She is, after all, my best accessory and it’s fun to wear her in style!

And so to showcase the versatility, I’ve put together a few different carries you can do with a size 6 (4.6m) wrap – a great size for beginning wrappers. These are just a few of the many ways to wrap and wear. The wrap I am showcasing is an Oscha Okinami Skye. It’s 100% cotton and a medium weight. All of these carries can be typed into the YouTube search bar if you want to watch video tutorials.

FRONT WRAP CROSS CARRY (FWCC) – Variations include the Pocket Cross Carry and Front Cross Carry

This is a great carry for beginners and can be used for newborns and older babies alike.

KANGAROO CARRY

Once the FWCC is mastered, try this one! It is quite a pretty carry with the capped shoulders (I have often been mistaken for wearing my baby in a fancy shirt!) and because it’s a single layer pass, it’s nice and cool.

RUCKSACK CARRY – Variations include Reinforced Ruck, Ruck Tied Under Butt

The most simple back carry of all! This is definitely one all beginners should master first. This is my go-to carry with a short wrap when I am running errands. Once you get comfortable with it, it’s faster to wrap a ruck than it is to get a baby in a stroller!

If you have sensitive shoulders, try tying the tails of the wrap Tibetan style. Take one tail, slip it under the opposite shoulder strap and repeat on the other side. Cinch it tight, tie a knot, and you’ve created a chest belt where the weight will be re-distributed. Super comfortable!

DOUBLE HAMMOCK

Hands down the most comfortable back carry out there. The secret is ensuring the chest pass is nice and tight. Doing so ensures that the child’s weight is carried in the center of your chest vs. the shoulders. Not to mention, it’s an absolutely beautiful carry!


A few notes about wrapping in wovens:

1.       Take time to master tightening your passes. Wovens need to be tightened strand by strand (i.e. take a small bit of fabric, pull the slack out, grab a bit more fabric, pull…repeat until you have tightened the entire width). A good, tight carry means the difference between being able to wear a child for hours vs. having sore shoulders and back. It also ensures your child is nice and secure!

2.       Only seasoned, experienced babywearers should attempt back carrying a newborn. I always tell new moms to wait until their baby shows really good neck control (around 4-5 months).

Practice getting your baby onto your back by watching a lot of online video tutorials, and doing some hands-on practice kneeling on a carpeted floor, or on your bed. Have someone spot you if you’re especially nervous! Use a mirror and practice often. Repeat the process for learning how to get a baby DOWN off your back (don’t forget that too!)

Next post: The shorty wrap!

*Check Sweetheart Baby Boutique’s list of upcoming babywearing classes if you would like hands-on help from an expert on how to do all the carries that Jasmine demonstrated.*
 
 

Jasmine Plante is an exercise specialist by day, hooker (of the yarn variety) in her free time. Besides dabbling in photography, she is also a pianist and vocalist at her local church. She is usually found babywearing on the streets of Olde Riverside. Say hello! She doesn’t bite!

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The Benefits of Babywearing

by Jasmine Plante
 

International Babywearing Week (October 7-13th) is upon us, and since babywearing is so near and dear to my heart, I thought I would do a few posts about my experience.

I should preface this post by saying that the only expertise I have in this topic is that I live and breathe it every day. I learn from my mistakes, I read about the new research, but I would by no means consider myself an “expert”. Please take my opinions with a grain of salt and consult babywearing instructors in the community if you need assistance! (Sweetheart Baby Boutique offers babywearing classes in Windsor, Ontario, taught by a certified babywearing teacher. Follow this link for upcoming class information.)

I didn’t seriously delve into babywearing until having Odette in April 2013. My son, Edward was born two years ago and by the time I got brave enough to use my Moby, he was 4 months old, chunky and heavy! I used my Ergo often, but definitely not as often as I wear Odette.

Fast forward to earlier this year! I was in my third trimester when a friend in BC added me to a Facebook group called Babywearing Love and Support. It was there that I discovered the wonderful world of woven wraps. Oh me, oh my, be still my beating heart! So many gorgeous designs and so many beautiful ways to wear your little ones! I did my research and decided to purchase my first woven wrap – a Dolcino. It had all the characteristics perfect for a beginner: smooshy soft straight out of the box, 100% cotton, easy to care for and thin to medium weight – perfect for wrapping a newborn.

I watched countless Youtube tutorials in preparation for Odette’s arrival and I successfully wrapped her less than 12 hours after she was born. She has been worn every day since then.

So why exactly is babywearing such a passion for me? Well, to state the obvious, I already had a 2 year old to chase after so being hands-free was a bonus. Here are some other reasons why wearing your little people is such a benefit:

(the following information has been paraphrased from the following resources: http://onyababy.com/blog/2012/09/babywearing-baby-positioning/, http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/baby-wearing/benefits-babywearing)

The Benefits of Babywearing:

1. It helps with proper hip, spine and neck development. When babies are in utero, their bodies are completely flexed in fetal position. Their knees are bent, spread apart and drawn up to their chests, and their backs in a C-shape. Once they are born it takes a few months for their joints to loosen and their extensor postural muscles to gain strength. Wearing babies in ergonomically designed carriers helps keep them in this position until they are strong enough to stretch out. As babies grow, their spines lose the C-shape and develop the proper curvature necessary for movement, weight-bearing activities and proper neurological development. Abnormal or excess stress on certain areas of the spine can create negative changes to normal curvature development.

Regarding the hips…they are a shallow ball and socket joint at birth with little stability. As babies develop, the joint becomes deeper and more stable. Certain positions (i.e. sitting “froggy-style”) in a carrier will keep that ball and socket joint in proper alignment for better development.  If for some reason the ball part of the femur does not become deeply seated in the socket joint, there is risk of it sliding out. This condition is called hip dysplasia.

Now, I’m sure many of you have heard about the dangers of narrow-base carriers (i.e. Baby Bjorns) and that they promote hip dysplasia. While I believe that there are better carriers on the market, I don’t believe that they are entirely to blame for hip dysplasia. I think that certain children are predisposed to developing the condition and being in a carrier like this can exacerbate the issue, especially if they are worn in a narrow-base carrier for long periods of time.

When in doubt, look for a carrier that has good knee-to-knee support (you want the baby to sit back on the bum with the knees higher than the butt) and something that allows a baby to ball up nice and close to you in that flexed C-shape!

 

2. Being worn allows a mother to tune in and respond quickly to her child’s cues, newborns especially! Canadian babywearing guidelines state that you want those squishy babes Visible and Kissable at all times. You always want their chins off their chests to ensure an open airway (you should be able to place two fingers between their chin and chest) with their heads turned to the side so they are resting their cheek on your chest when worn in a tummy-to-tummy position. Being so close means you’ll be able to see and hear the lip-smacking and rooting reflex when they’re hungry…hear and smell them immediately when they poop…attend to them quickly when they start to fuss. A baby that has her needs met quickly learns to develop trust in their caregiver…and they also cry much less!

 

3. Being worn helps a newborn adjust to being in the outside world. Birth completely disrupts everything a baby has known for 9 months. When a child is worn, it allows it to learn about the outside world in the comfort of familiarity. Babies recognize and are soothed by their mother’s walking motion. They can fall asleep listening to their mother’s heartbeat and familiar voice. They feel the warmth and are comforted by their mother’s skin and smell. Some research even suggests that being worn helps regulate things like breathing and temperature; a parent’s body temperature will thermoregulate a child’s and ensure they aren’t too cold and will help dissipate heat if they are too hot. Babies also cue into breathing rhythms when worn tummy-to-tummy, which can help in the early days when the respiratory center of the brain is not fully mature.

 

4. Babies that are worn learn more in a safe environment. Because they don’t cry as much, they spend most of their waking hours in a state of quiet alertness. Mothers who wear their babies also have two free hands, which allow them to go about their daily routine quite easily – all while their little ones watch and learn. Should a child feel overwhelmed or frightened, they are able to turn their head and nuzzle into the security of their caregiver. Perfect!

 

5. Babies learn what it means to be a human. They are intimately involved in everything their caregiver does. Whether it be washing dishes, talking to neighbors, shopping – babies learn to tune into their parents vocal inflections, facial expressions, body language and scents more quickly than one in a stroller. Parents who wear their babies also spend much more time engaging their babies in conversation since they are literally face-to-face all the time!

 

And really…they’re only so little for such a short period of time. I want to be as close to Odette as I possibly can be all the time. Good thing it comes with such bonuses!

My next post will focus on my carrier of choice – the amazingly versatile woven wrap! Stay tuned!

 

Jasmine Plante is an exercise specialist by day, hooker (of the yarn variety) in her free time. Besides dabbling in photography, she is also a pianist and vocalist at her local church. She is usually found babywearing on the streets of Olde Riverside. Say hello! She doesn’t bite!

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Babywearing Essentials by Christine

I guess you could say that I had a bit of a baby carrier obsession when L, my first little person was born. (At one point, I owned a whopping 7 carriers at once!) I used them all the time, we even sold our stroller on kijiji after a couple of months because we never ever used it. When your little person is in a carrier, you can literally take them anywhere. You basically snuggle with them all day long and it’s so much easier to read their cues when their soft, chubby little face is right there. When D was born, using a carrier was the only way to get anything done. My absolute favourite bit about babywearing is when my kids would lean their head back to look up at me and smile their contented little smiles-I mean, come on, it doesn’t get any better than that…except maybe when we rubbed noses too. Also while we’re talking about the benefits of baby wearing, it’s important to note that daddy + baby in a carrier = irresistible!

I’ve tried nearly every type of carrier out there since theyre all great for different reasons. I’m going to share what I like about some of the most common styles and brands available:  Ergobaby, Koala pouch, Babyhawk, and Moby Wrap.

The Ergobaby carrier clips on like a backpack and can be used for front (my favourite!), back or hip carrying. It has padded, adjustable straps so it can be used easily by both parents and a zippered pocket that’s big enough to carry a few essentials (phone, keys, lip balm, etc). It also has an attached hood that you can clip to the shoulder straps for sun protection, a bit more coverage while nursing (if thats important to you) or to keep your little person’s head from flopping around when they fall asleep. I would highly recommend getting the teething pads, since the straps are in just the right spot for chewing on and its much easier to just throw them in the wash than the whole carrier. If you’re using this carrier with an infant, you’ll also need to get a separate infant insert so the baby is in the proper position. Because the base of the Ergobaby is very wide (it’s specially designed that way so baby’s hips are properly positioned) I found it worked best for babies approximately six months old and up. Overall, the Ergobaby is easy to use, super comfortable and great for longer periods of time. I used this one the most out of all of them. This is a picture of me wearing L who fell asleep after a long day of shopping in Florida.

The Koala pouch is worn over one shoulder and your little one sits in a pocket made by folding the fabric in half. It can be used for six different kinds of carries and its best for shorter periods of time. It’s a bit stretchy but does not adjust, so make sure you buy the right size (usually the same as your T-shirt size, but check the back of the package for measurements). It rolls/folds up really small and I usually kept mine in a purse or diaper bag. This is me wearing D just few hours after birth. I look so happy and so so tired!

The Babyhawk is a mei tai style of carrier. It has four straps that you wrap around you in all kings of different ways depending on how you are using it. The long straps might seem complicated or intimidating, but you’ll get the hang of it with some practice. Because of the way it ties up, it can be used by both parents and there are no adjustments to make. I love that it comes in so many different colours and patterns, some are even reversible. Before I knew better, I bought a super cheap mei tai (the straps were thin and not padded) it was so uncomfortable I only wore it once, then I bought a Babyhawk which I loved and used all the time.

 Moby Wraps are my favourite for infants. They’re a stretchy wrap, which is basically one big long piece of fabric that you wrap around your body and the baby sits snuggly in a little pocket that’s created when the pieces cross over each other. I liked to tie mine on at home before getting in the car so the ends wouldn’t drag on the ground (for example, if you’re putting it on in the parking lot before going into the grocery store). Because the material is stretchy you may find that you have to tighten it after you’ve been wearing it for a while (especially if it’s just come out of the wash) and you’ll likely need to stop using it at approximately six months old when baby gets to be too heavy. Here is a picture of me wearing D in a stretchy wrap carrier and picture of L wearing a stuffed bear in a carrier that I made out of an old pashmina.

 

**Please make sure you read the instruction manual before using any carrier and check your baby’s position regularly. There’s a bunch of instructional videos out there if you need some extra help. Sweetheart Baby Boutique also frequently hosts babywearing classes.**

**If you are a breastfeeding family, it’s possible to nurse using all of these carriers. It might take some practice, but keep at it, it’s so worth it!**

Christine Marion-Jolicoeur is a social worker, author, artist, entrepreneur, research geek and joyful mum of two amazing little people. She studied criminology, psychology and chemistry in university, but chose to work in social work for the past 10 years. Raising little people is the best and hardest job she’s ever had. And she’s grateful every day for the lessons she learns about how to live and parent with purpose and on purpose.

You can find out more about Christine and her work on the Joyful You web page, the JoyfulParenting blog and on facebook.

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Cloth Diaper Laundry: how to clean your washing machine

 
One of the biggest topics in cloth diapering is LAUNDRY. Customers always have lots of questions related to washing their cloth diapers, and as these questions arise, we’re turning the answers into a series of posts dedicated specifically to cloth diaper laundry.
 

This will be a very short post, specifically for those of you who have a washing machine that maybe has some gunk build-up inside. If you think your washing machine could use a nice deep clean, try one of these two methods:

  1. Do a hot wash cycle with a cup of vinegar OR
  2. Do a hot wash cycle with 2Tbsp of Rockin Green Detergent

That’s it! I told you it would be short! Stay tuned for more cloth diaper laundry tips coming soon.

 

Margaret is the owner of Sweetheart Baby Boutique and mother to Sienna, 5, and Cole, 21 months. She created a bring-your-baby-to-work store so that she didn’t have to choose between working and being with her baby. She is a cloth-diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding mama who tries to be a source of information and support for other like-minded parents, while maintaining respect and passing no judgement to families whose lifestyles differ from hers.

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Jasmine’s first Birth Story

You either dive in head-first or not at all when you and your spouse decide to start a family.

Nick and I had been married for just under a year when we found out we were expecting. The timing was anything but right; my mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 10 months prior and was quickly on the decline. We were thrilled to be able to share the news with her and she was genuinely happy for us. I still remember her sad eyes behind her smile; while she was exultant about her first grandchild, she was mourning the reality of never knowing him/her.  She died March 13th, 2010.  I ended up miscarrying two weeks later.

After four months of emotional recovery, we felt it was time to try again, and we conceived our first child, Edward.  I went thru the ups and downs of all-day sickness, fatigue and still mourning the loss of my mother, but the little life growing inside me helped me cope with everything else.  We had a vague idea of what we wanted in regards to prenatal care, labor and birth, but not a real sense of how to go about attaining our goals. I was referred to an OB just like any new mom, but after 5 months of long waits for scheduled seemingly 30-second visits, I knew this wasn’t going to work for me.

I had heard about doulas and it was at this time I started interviewing some.  I met with the lovely Rhea Eady at Taloolah Café, and while I didn’t feel her personality was the right fit for me, I credit her for getting my wheels turning in the right direction.  She suggested calling Midwives of Windsor to check for any availability. I came home and discussed the possibility of turning care over to a midwife with my husband, and while he wasn’t completely sold on the idea, he trusted my judgement.  I called the next day and was very excited to discover that Ginger Girard-Fram had just been hired and was accepting new referrals.

For me, the difference in care was night and day. I never wanted to feel like my pregnancy was something that was “happening to me”, but rather that I was an active participant in something incredible my husband and I had started. Ginger was incredibly accommodating, and thru the next 4 months, I developed and deep respect for her knowledge and genuine friendship. She always took the time to answer any questions, and thoroughly explained any and all procedures or tests. I always had the option of declining certain things, which I appreciated.

In this timeframe, I was also continuing a search for a doula. While some women may feel they can get along without the extra support, it was really important to me to have a trained female there. I interviewed Sara Kelley a few weeks after meeting with Rhea and it was clear right from the start she was the one for me. Her and I shared the same university background (both graduates of Human Kinetics) and her previous work experience as a personal trainer ensured me that she’d be able to motivate me thru what would be the most intense work of my life!

We did all the other things new parents do to prepare, including attending prenatal education. Despite working in the medical field, I consider myself somewhat medically-averse. It was important that I found a course that focused on pregnancy and labor as a naturally occurring thing, vs. a medicalized procedure. Enter Rhea Eady and her awesome Prenatal class! Her 13-week class helped get me prepared for a natural labor and gave Nick great advice on how to help properly support me.

So, fast forward to April 16th, one day before my due date. I had been feeling wonderful in the last few weeks, having gone off on maternity leave 2 weeks prior. It was a Saturday morning and my husband and I were enjoying the beautiful day, getting breakfast ready together. I was buttering up some toast when pop!  My water broke! I immediately called my doula and midwife and since labor hadn’t started, we decided it was imperative to try and get it started naturally.

So we walked. And walked. And walked some more. I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees, bouncing on a ball, using my breast pump. Ginger suggested taking castor oil to get the contractions started, but I didn’t want diarrhea or vomiting to exhaust me during what could be a very long labor. I decided against it. Everything we tried failed to bring on contractions so we were scheduled for a induction the next morning. I was somewhat discouraged since we had originally planned for a home birth, but I’m glad I took the prepared myself mentally for changes to that plan.

The induction went off smoothly: I was started on Pitocin at 7am and by 1pm I was really starting to feel contractions! The labor was fast and intense. At 6cms Ginger suggested I get into the shower to help cope with the intensity, since I had been laboring pretty much unmedicated.

I went from 6cms to 8cms in 1 hour, and then after 5 strong contractions, I got thru transition and was 10cms and ready to go!

Edward was born at 4:04pm, eyes wide open, 6lbs, 15oz and 21in long. Screamed like a banshee right from the start. He was a lazy nurser and had it not been for my doula, I doubt I would have been able to continue breastfeeding thru all the issues (cracked nipples, bad latch, engorgement…ugh). But we stuck with it.

My daughter, Odette, was born almost exactly 2 years later and her birth was completely different! I’ll revisit that experience at a later time…

Jasmine Plante is an exercise specialist by day, hooker (of the yarn variety) in her free time. Besides dabbling in photography, she is also a pianist and vocalist at her local church. She is usually found babywearing on the streets of Olde Riverside. Say hello! She doesn’t bite!

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Cloth Diaper Laundry: Does your clothes dryer have residue?

One of the biggest topics in cloth diapering is LAUNDRY. Customers always have lots of questions related to washing their cloth diapers, and as these questions arise, I’m going to try and address all your concerns in a series of posts dedicated specifically to cloth diaper laundry.
 

This post dedicated to cloth diaper laundry is a topic that has come up a lot lately  in conversation: residue in your dryer. This is also something that a lot of people don’t know about! (If you exclusively hang-to-dry your diapers, you can stop reading now and go play with your kiddies.) However if you ever put your cloth diapers in the dryer, I think you will find this information useful!

Most cloth diapering parents know that you need to use special additive-free detergents in order to avoid residue build-up on your cloth diapers. Built-up residues can cause your diapers to retain odours and to repel liquids – not good! But did you know that even if you’re washing your cloth diapers correctly, they could be getting a build-up from the way you’re DRYING your diapers? (not sure if you’re washing your cloth diapers properly? Click here to read our basic cloth diaper washing instructions.)

DOES YOUR CLOTHES DRYER HAVE RESIDUE:

If you ever use dryer sheets, then the simple answer is YES. If you put your cloth diapers in that dryer, there is residue left behind from the dryer sheets that will get onto your diapers. In order to avoid this from happening, the easiest thing to do is stop using dryer sheets. (Did you know that dryer sheets are also full of chemicals that we don’t necessarily want on our skin anyway?) OK great, you’ve decided to get rid of those dryer sheets. Next, before you put your cloth diapers in that dryer again, simply

wipe down the inside of your dryer with vinegar.

This will remove any residue. Now you’re good to go!

If you don’t want to wash out your dryer with vinegar all the time, get rid of those dryer sheets altogether. There are other natural ways of dealing with static cling, such as dryer balls. And of course you also have the option of not using a clothes dryer at all and just hang your laundry to dry!

If you already started cloth diapering and you’re like “oh no, I’ve been using a non-recommended detergent and using dryer sheets!”, don’t worry it’s not too late to save your diapers! Look out for my upcoming post on how to strip your diapers of residue.

 

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Hello Christine

by Christine Marion-Jolicoeur
 

Hello! So now it’s time to tell you a little bit more about me. Here’s a fun list of 10 things you may not know:

  1. My name is Christine. I’m the grateful and joyful mum of two amazing little people who have changed my life in all of the best possible ways. I also have a wonderful and supportive husband who is the best dad I’ve ever seen. L is my oldest little person, who is thoughtful, helpful and so much fun. My youngest is D, who is crazy smart, super sweet and adventurous. Sometimes I feel like I’m parenting two little mini-version of me and I love that I get to give to my kids exactly what I needed when I was a little person.
  2. I’m not really into labels because they tend to carry a lot of assumptions along with them and I try to be a very open-minded kind of person. However, to give you an idea of what my parenting choices are I’ll simplify things by saying that I’m a home-birthing, baby-wearing, cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, vegetarian (local when I can, sometimes raw, whole food as much as possible) kind of mum.
  3. We don’t have a strict parenting philosophy at our house. I’m open to trying just about anything as long as it feels like it might be a good fit (no judgey eyes here!) Over the years I’ve ended up hating some things that I thought I would love and loving some things I thought I would never even try. I use the term parenting on purpose a lot, to describe how I make the decisions that work for our family. For me, it means making conscious choices, focusing on kindness and setting healthy boundaries.
  4. I believe that keeping up with a regular yoga and meditation practice makes me a more patient, calm and confident mum and that makes everyone happy.
  5. I’ve recently returned to work full time. I’ve been in social work for 10 years now and I love that I get to help people for a living. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve done some counselling and some coaching for myself in the past, to help me sort though some particularly difficult things. Both were amazingly helpful and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back or to recommend it to a friend.
  6. In my free time (wait…what free time?!?) I like to cook, clean, nap and have dance parties in the kitchen with my kids.
  7. While I was off on maternity leave after having D, I took a big leap and became a mompreneur by starting a home-based business (writing and blogging about parenting in Windsor-Essex County) so that keeps me pretty busy too.
  8. I have some very specific rules about my writing that I use to keep me from over-sharing and from regretting something I’ve put online later on. I’m always trying to maintain a balance between keeping myself and my little people safe + sharing and connecting with my readers and followers.
  9. If I could choose one super power to have, I would want the ability to stop time so that I could catch up on some sleep, take a nice long epsom salt bath, stop being late for work and finish the growing pile of books on my bedside table.
  10. I’m a recovering perfectionist who is constantly learning and remembering the importance of self-care and being open to vulnerability

 

Christine Marion-Jolicoeur is a social worker, author, artist, entrepreneur, research geek and joyful mum of two amazing little people. She studied criminology, psychology and chemistry in university, but chose to work in social work for the past 10 years. Raising little people is the best and hardest job she’s ever had. And she’s grateful every day for the lessons she learns about how to live and parent with purpose and on purpose.
You can find out more about Christine and her work on the Joyful You web page, the JoyfulParenting blog and on facebook.
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Cloth Diaper Laundry: Basic Washing Instructions

One of the biggest topics in cloth diapering is LAUNDRY. Customers always have lots of questions related to washing their cloth diapers, and as these questions arise, I’m going to try and address all your concerns in a series of posts dedicated specifically to cloth diaper laundry.
 

I think it only makes sense that my first post related to cloth diaper laundry should be starting at the very beginning: how to wash your cloth diapers. It is actually quite simple, don’t let the haters convince you that washing cloth diapers is a lot of work! Honestly, it is way quicker than regular laundry – there’s no sorting or folding required!

BASIC CLOTH DIAPER WASHING INSTRUCTIONS

Simply push these 3 buttons on your washing machine:

1. Pre-wash (cold)

2. HOT regular wash

3. EXTRA RINSE (cold)

That’s it! OK, it’s ALMOST that simple. There are a few more things you should know: please make sure to use a cloth-diaper-friendly detergent. This is VERY important. And avoid using fabric softeners.

Does it really matter which detergent you use? Yes!The reason your detergent choice is important, is so that there is no residue left on the fibres of your diapers. A lot of common detergents on the market have brighteners, scents, and other fillers that might not rinse out completely. Sometimes you can even feel a film on the fibres, and this can compromise how the well material will absorb. Over time, if residue builds up in the diapers, it can cause them to repel liquids and to retain odours – exactly the opposite of what we want diapers to do! So choose your detergent wisely. No matter how frugal you are, please don’t cheap out on your detergent!

So your next question might be well then how do I know which detergent is safe to use?

One of the detergents we highly recommend is Rockin Green Soap. Why? Rockin Green was specifically invented for washing cloth diapers. And no matter how many people and customers I talk to, the feedback we get from people continually ranks Rockin Green at the top of everyone’s favourite detergent for getting cloth diapers clean. And of course (insert shameless plug here) it is available for purchase at this adorable little shop run by cloth-diapering mamas called Sweetheart Baby Boutique right here :)

There are of course other options on the market, and some crafty mamas even like to make their own homemade laundry soap. Check out the cloth diaper detergent list below compiled by Bummis (an awesome cloth diaper company who is highly respected and knows their stuff. Oh and by the way Sweetheart Baby Boutique also sells Bummis’ awesome cloth diapers here ;) ). This detergent list shows which detergents are OK and which are NOT OK, and explains why.

OK so now you know how to wash your cloth diapers and how to choose cloth-diaper-safe detergent.

But you might have other questions, like “it can’t really be that simple… how do you deal with all the poop and gross factor?” Well, stay tuned for upcoming posts where I’ll talk about cloth diapering accessories that I could never live without. 

Or what if you already started cloth diapering and have been using a non-recommended detergent – look out for my upcoming post on how to strip your diapers of residue.

 

Margaret is the owner of Sweetheart Baby Boutique and mother to Sienna, 5, and Cole, 21 months. She created a bring-your-baby-to-work store so that she didn’t have to choose between working and being with her baby. She is a cloth-diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding mama who tries to be a source of information and support for other like-minded parents, while maintaining respect and passing no judgement to families whose lifestyles differ from hers.
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Why I love Sweetheart Baby Boutique

This post is by guest blogger Christine Marion-Jolicoeur:
 

Hello Again Everyone,

I wanted to start by saying that I’m so honoured to be writing a series of guest blogs for Sweetheart Baby Boutique. I love supporting this locally owned, eco-friendly, mummy entrepreneur business any way I can-either through this blog, my own blog, telling other mums I know about it and of course by buying all their great stuff!

I first met Margaret in early 2010 way back before there even was a storefront (though I doubt she would remember this story!) I went to a babywearing + cloth diapering workshop in the back meeting room of some tiny financial office. I had my pregnant friend and a very new and uncooperative baby with me that day, but I still managed to learn so much from her. Since then, I’ve watched her grow, opening up the first store and now re-open the new and improved (and Business Excellence Award winning!) one right next door.

Owner Margaret Deneau (right) accepting the Business Excellence Award for "Start up of the Year 2013"

 

Unlike my super awkward experience at that first workshop (but that was mostly about me being uncomfortable nursing in public and not feeling very confident in my parenting abilities yet) I’ve always loved going to the store. It’s bright, clean and most importantly, it’s little people friendly! The staff sometimes even have their own little people with them for the day, which I just love to see (although, if I’m honest, it does make me more than a little jealous).

Margaret, owner, with newborn Cole at work, fall 2011

 

There’s a washroom, change table, nursing chair and toys for kids to play with while their grown-ups shop. It’s funny, I would never have even noticed those things before I had little people of my own, but they really do make such a big difference. I can actually take my time, read product labels, talk to the friendly and super helpful staff and not have to rush or worry about which one of my little people is doing something dangerous.

I also have to mention that over the years, I’ve gone to lots of the no-cost or low-cost playgroups, classes, workshops, social and community events that they regularly host. This is a picture of my kids colouring with Veggie Crayons at the store during the Pillette Village Beach Blanket Bingo Bash August 10, 2013:

Colouring with Veggie Crayons!

Toddler play area set up for "Beach Blanket Bingo Bash" Aug. 2013

Again, it was so important for me to have a comfortable place to go, where I could meet and talk with other like-minded mums. That really helped me stay connected when I was away from work and feeling pretty isolated and overwhelmed as a new mum. Since I chose to incorporate cloth diapering, babywearing and breastfeeding into the way I parent my little people, having a local store that supports  and normalizes these things through their products, information and events made it so much easier for me to start and to continue with them.

Everything they sell at the store and online has been chosen on purpose and I’ve never been disappointed with a purchase or their service. Margaret keeps the store full of fun, modern, with a focus on quality items from stable, responsible, North American companies. I didn’t even realize how much stuff I’ve bought from Sweetheart Baby Boutique until I started taking pictures of them for some of my future blog posts. There were over 30 different things and that’s not even including the things my kids have outgrown or what I’ve purchased as gifts!

 

Christine Marion-Jolicoeur is a social worker, author, artist, entrepreneur, research geek and joyful mum of two amazing little people. She studied criminology, psychology and chemistry in university, but chose to work in social work for the past 10 years. Raising little people is the best and hardest job she’s ever had. And she’s grateful every day for the lessons she learns about how to live and parent with purpose and on purpose.
You can find out more about Christine and her work on the Joyful You web page, the JoyfulParenting blog and on facebook.
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Hello Jasmine

Hello everyone! My name is Jasmine and I’m so excited to be contributing to the Sweetheart Baby Boutique blog.  To start, I am a mother of two: Edward is my 2 year-old headstrong, mischievous firstborn and Odette is my 4 month old sweetheart daughter.  I have been married to my university sweetheart, Nick, since 2009.

I am a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, natural-birthing, cloth diapering mom!  Completely crunchy, totally granola.  I’m not pushing an agenda, nor would I say I prescribe to attachment parenting tenants; these things just work for our family.  I always knew I wanted to breastfeed and have a natural birth even before I had my kids, but it wasn’t until Sweetheart Baby Boutique moved into my neighborhood that I started thinking about cloth diapering…and it’s been thru their network that I’ve been able to meet other like-minded parents.

Anyway, that’s just a bit about me.  I am super excited to be sharing my personal experiences with you all, writing reviews about products and hopefully meeting some of you around town!

NEXT POST: My two (very different!) birth experiences

Jasmine Plante is an exercise specialist by day, hooker (of the yarn variety) in her free time. Besides dabbling in photography, she is also a pianist and vocalist at her local church. She is usually found babywearing on the streets of Olde Riverside. Say hello! She doesn’t bite!

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