Friday, June 17, 2011

Handmade Baby

With a second baby, you don't need much. You already have all the gear, and if you're having the same gender (or if all of your newborn stuff is gender-neutral, as ours is), you don't even need clothes. So we were pretty much set in preparation for Jude's birth, but I had two main items on my wishlist. First, I wanted to try a different carrier. And second, I needed a new diaper bag. I ended up with some beautiful handmade items that I have been meaning to share here for several months!

As far as baby carriers go, you've probably heard me rave about the Ergo. We had one with Elijah and absolutely loved it. Steve loved it, I loved was our number one must-have baby item. Seriously indispensable. I tried a pouch sling and a Moby wrap, but we preferred the Ergo by far. But this time around, I was still curious. I know so many people who love ring slings, especially for newborns. So I ordered one from an online friend:

It is simple, beautiful, well-made. You can order them via this Facebook page. She also made a pouch sling for Elijah, so he could carry his stuffed animals just like Mama carries Baby Jude:

Meanwhile, I found out that one of my dearest friends from high school has a pattern for ring slings, and she offered to make me one! So I found some fabric I liked and sent it to her--and less than a week later, despite having a newborn herself as well as two other kids under the age of four, she mailed me this:

Yeah, just call her Supermom. Love it!

But as fast as Jude grew, ring slings quickly became impractical. I know women who swear by them, even carry toddlers in them--but I just could not get it to work for me long-term. I wanted to keep wearing them, but my neck/shoulders/back felt otherwise. It seems I am just a soft-structured carrier kind of gal. Which is what the Ergo is, but I had another carrier to try out here as well. Much as I loved my Ergo, I'd also heard great things about other similar carriers, so I had gotten rid of my Ergo and bought a Kangapack.

Custom-made by a girl I know online and sold on Etsy, the Kangapack is very similar to an Ergo, but with a few key differences. Most notably, it's a lot less bulky. The waistband and shoulder straps are narrower, the carrier part is narrower and all the fabric is thinner/softer than the canvas Ergo. Still padded, just a lot more streamlined. Then, it's just a lot cuter :) You can even pick your own fabric (I found this aqua/green/brown stripe at JoAnn). FYI - I definitely wear Jude on my back now, for the most part; this photo was taken several months ago.

The carrier itself is basic, and then there are optional add-ons--I paid extra for a sleeping hood (essential, in my opinion) and a zippered pocket (super helpful when I don't want to carry a diaper bag--I can stuff keys, money and phone in my pockets and a couple of diapers/wipes in the carrier pocket). I still love the Ergo--there are pros and cons to both--but I especially love that this one packs up a lot smaller and goes on/fits my shoulders better. And, I know function is more important than style, but I like the looks of it a whole lot more :) Unfortunately the seamstress is a busy mama of four littles who isn't making them at the moment--I'm glad I got mine before she stopped!

My other needed item was a new diaper bag. I loved the messenger bag I had for Elijah, except that it was way too small, and the snap had broken. So I was on the lookout for a new and improved bag--and since I'm picky about bags, I asked my sister-in-law to make one for me. And did Michelle ever rise to the challenge!

I fell in love with Danielle's Amy Butler bag way before I got pregnant--I loved the style and the fabric and thought it would make a great diaper bag. (Danielle's photo is way more beautiful--I had nowhere to hang my bag to display it well!) Then I found out that the pattern actually *was* for a diaper bag. Michelle got the pattern and went with me to JoAnn to pick fabric, and then we made a bunch of modifications. The original bag seemed really wide and awfully shallow, so I had her make it narrower and deeper.

She lined it with six pockets and a cell phone pocket on the strap, a feature of the original bag (BRILLIANT)...and then she did all kinds of other custom features: a loop on which to clip my keys, a small pocket-within-a-pocket so my lip balm doesn't get lost at the bottom of a pocket, and a button closure.
Then she made me a pouch for diapers and wipes...and to top it all off, my mother-in-law surprised me by making a quilted changing pad out of the scraps! It is SO cute.

I totally love this bag. Yay for talented family and friends!


Danielle said...

The Kangapack sounds a lot like my Boba.

And LOVE the diaper bag, especially all the custom features like button closure! I've not used mine for a while, I should get it back out for summer. I lost my cell phone with the cell phone pocket though. Mine doesn't have a closure over it. And I tried adding velcro but that didn't work so well.

Melissa Cline said...

Got rid of the Ergo? Blasphemy! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Glad you love the Kangapack :)

You should totally post this over on the Nashville Babywearers Facebook page!

LeAnna said...

I love the look of your Kangapack! I love my Ergo, but even for my 8 month old little sweet pea, it's still pretty bulky. My favorite is our mei tai carrier (Babyhawk is a name brand) which I bought from an Etsy seller. I LOVE it. So much easier on the back/neck/shoulders than the ring slings.

JOY said...

wow, all great things! but most of all i love the diaper bag! going to have to show that to my mother! (she loves it when i do this!, ha!) glad you found these few things to make life even better with baby #2!

Amy said...

@Danielle - I actually ended up buying a Boba a few weeks ago (a bad afternoon with my KP in the wash convinced me that having two was *not* an extravagance!!) ...the Boba is a lot more similar to the Ergo than to the Kangapack. The straps on the Boba are a lot wider/bulkier and it just feels more heavy-duty overall. I think the bigger waist belt probably distributes the weight to your hips more comfortably...but the padded part of the shoulder straps is shorter and so it hits me wrong under my arms. I like it--and Steve prefers it over the KP, probably because it's bigger and fits him better--but I still find myself reaching for the KP most of the time. The KP is for some reason easier to get on my back, too.

BUMMER about your cell phone! Definitely need a closure--I can't believe the original pattern didn't have one!