A little help from my friends

I love the conversational aspect of blogging and consider my readers, even if I haven't met you in person, to be my friends. In that spirit, I'm asking for some advice today (I'm sure I've done this before).

First of all, I'm trying to decide if I should by an ERGO baby carrier. They're pricey, but I've heard from a lot of people that they are worth the money; I could probably find the money to buy one, but worry that it would be another baby item that just sits around without getting a lot of use. With each of my two babies I've been earnestly trying to give babywearing a try. I loathe carrying around the carseat (and really physically can't for the first two months or so), and babies are too little to sit up in a shopping cart or stroller for several months at least. I've tried two different slings and have pretty much relegated them to Mr. Fob. I'm pretty short and have a short torso, but with Little Dude we had a Snugli-type carrier that was reasonably comfortable. It looks like the ERGO would fit in a similar way, but be more comfortable and last longer. I guess I'm trying to talk myself into it; if anyone wants to help convince me and/or give me tips on how to snag a cheaper used one, please do.

Along those lines, are there any fabulous baby products that have come about in the last few years that I really should know about? I feel like such a novice right now; it's been almost four years since I had a baby and it feels like a lifetime ago. We have clothes, a pack-n-play, carseat, some bottles, burp rags, and a few other things. I'm still talking myself into buying a new crib. Am I missing something?

My third issue that I'm trying to figure out is how to let my kids do art without ruining my kitchen table. They are careful, but markers and crayons don't always make it fully onto the paper. Our last table acquired a few marks that I was unable to get off. Any ideas on how I can protect my table and still let them draw and color?


'sposita said…
I have a Butterfly Beco from tendercargo.com, which is very similar to the Ergo (I just liked the fabric selection better). It has an insert so you can use it for brand new babies (which I'm not sure you can do with the Ergo) I wish I had had it for both of my other children! I wish I had gotten it sooner for this one! I have a bad back and so most other baby carriers just don't work for me, but this one I can wear all day and feel great. My husband says it's the most comfortable one he's used. It takes a bit of practice to use, but once you've got it, it's great. AND you can switch 'em around to the back when they get bigger!
About the table - we just got a kid's IKEA table (the red rectangular one) and have them do their crafts/coloring on that so it doesn't matter so much if something gets on that table (and it's a bit easier to clean).
SeƱora H-B said…
My mom always had one of those cheap vinyl tablecloths on our table when we did art. She was able to wipe it off and wasn't worried if it got stained. I remember it being hideously ugly, so she probably got it on clearance somewhere.

I am absolutely no help on baby products, unfortunately!
Lindsay said…
I have the Ergo and LOVE it. Because of our lifestyle, I've gotten A LOT of use out of it. It's incredibly comfortable -- especially as the baby gets bigger and heavier because you carry the weight in your hips rather than in your back. I first used a basic Snugli, and where the weight was carried was the biggest difference. I bought the Ergo when Garrett was about 6 months old because my back was killing me carrying him around at that point in the Snugli. Other good points about the Ergo: it does have an infant insert to use with newborns; the sleeping hood is great to not only support their heads when asleep, but it also keeps the both the wind and people who want to get too close out; you can use it on your front, back, and hip (I think the hip use is a little uncomfortable, but once they're big enough, the back position is great); it's really easy to use.

That said, though, for it to be worth the money (at least in my opinion), you'd have to use it a lot. I've milked mine for ever penny it's worth -- and then some -- but I've noticed that when we're on vacation and using a car, I don't get nearly as much use out of it. If you're planning to make a concerted effort to carry your baby around, rather than use a stroller or carseat, it's probably worth the money. Because it really is a wonderful carrier.
Courtney said…
I've seen people with Ergo carriers and think they are really cool. I have a baby bjorn, and I love it. I have a short torso too, and it worked great for me.
Another baby item I had was a bouncer, and I couldn't have lived without it. Bria wouldn't sleep in her crib or bassinet for a long time-- she would only sleep in the bouncer, so it was a lifesaver. I had the one made by Boppy, and it was perfect because it was pretty big and it reclined, so she fit in it from just two days old all the way until she started sitting up and didn't need it anymore.
brinestone said…
I second the cheap vinyl tablecloth suggestion, and I also suggest the product Goo Gone for washing off crayon. It works like a charm! The only time it hasn't taken 100% of the crayon off it was on textured walls where the rag couldn't scrub adequately in all the nooks and crannies, and very little was left even then. You probably know about it, but I figured I'd mention it anyway.
Julie said…
If you decide to buy an Ergo check out Kid to Kid stores and ksl/craigslist. I'm sure you could find one used that way.

A vinyl table cloth would work or find a cheap little table at DI or something and make that be their art/craft table.
Earth Sign Mama said…
My friend made me a baby carrier that I wore when you were born. It saved me. You had colic and if I carried you snuggled up next to my warm body, you could sleep. It allowed me to cook and shop and do all the other things I needed to do. If you can find one that fits comfortably, I'd definitely buy it. You'll use it because you walk a lot of places.
Mindy said…
I loved the ergo- I am just sad that by the time I bought one Katie was nearing the end of the time she would allow herself to be put into it. You can use them up to 35 or 40 lbs- I carried Dylan in it once! They do have an insert for newborns but I think a Bjorn is the way to go for tiny babies.

And the vinyl table cloth is the way to go! Also colorwonder products.
Cricket said…
I loved my Maya Wrap, I used that thing until Tyra was 2 or 3! You know I am short and it was great to have the extra material to cover up while nursing in public. I got it on ebay.

Re: the Boppy Pillow. It was amazing for nursing and can be used for so many other things But the kicker is- Ty still uses it as her regular sleeping pillow at the age of 5!

Re: New stuff- I know a few people who are loving the Bumbo Seat...

I used a cheap vinyl table cloth, the kind with the fuzzy back, that was also crazy hideous for the longest time. It was great cuz the pattern was so wild and colorful that you couldn't tell if was ever stained. Now they have a hand me down little tykes plastic table and chairs.
Maraiya said…
I've tried the vinyl cloths but they never seem to stay. A friend of mine (but I've never implemented it) goes to to fabric store for a piece of clear vinyl. It seems to stick better to the table and you can still see your table through the top. The downside is there's no colorful pattern to hide all the craft marks.
Cat said…
Blog-surfed in...

I LOVE an Ergo for back carrying (which I feel comfortable with starting around 4 months or so), but I find it terribly uncomfortable in the front. Although I also hated the Baby Bjorn/Snugli, so maybe if you like a Bjorn or Snugli, an Ergo would be fine for you in a front carry. I think a Beco (very similar to the Ergo) is better for front carrying. For a very young infant, you can get an infant insert for either carrier, or you can swaddle your baby in a receiving blanket and use the carrier without an insert (I have heard).

For young babies, though, I love something like the Moby Wrap. It's stretchy so I don't like it for bigger babies (anything over about 15 pounds sags, I think), but for newborns it's great. It looks complicated but since it's stretchy you can tie it on and then put the baby in and it is really easy, once you learn how to do it.

I'm not sure where you are, but I know in Utah (where I am) it's really hard to find used Becos/Ergos second-hand. Check out www.thebabywearer.com. You will be suprised (and overwhelmed) by how many baby-carrying options there are, but that website has forums where you can buy used carriers for a lot cheaper than new.

Okay. End novel. :)
Marcia said…
Hi Jessie! I read your blog all the time, but this is my first time commenting.

We have an Ergo and love it. Because my baby was small, I wasn't able to use it until she was around 9 months. You can get an infant insert for the Ergo, but it's pricey and looks to me like it would be awkward to use. I second the Moby recommendation. It will be a custom fit for you and the baby every time you put it on, with the weight well distributed. You can get an Ergo, or something similar, later. I bought our Ergo used through the For Sale or Trade forum on thebabywearer.com. Even used it wasn't cheap, but we use it all the time, so it has been worth it.
I've had the same debate over the ergo. Just realize you can't use it without the infant insert until they can straddle you. Walt's 5 months and can barely straddle my front (sides easier), and I'd say I'm a pretty small person. The other drawback I see is that they can't ever face out. I can't use the bjorn any more since he's 22 lbs and it KILLS my back.

THere's a used ergo going for $61 on ebay right now, but it ends in like 35 min. from when I'm posting this comment. I honestly would rather pay the $35 more, though and get a new one.

For crafts I have an ikea kids' table that I cover and tape with freezer paper. I let him color directly on the freezer paper or on something on top of it. I think the vinyl table cloth is a fabulous idea, though, especially if you can get one with elastic that will stay in place.
FoxyJ said…
A tablecloth! Why didn't I think of that? :) I actually own a few vinyl tablecloths, and while I don't want them on my table full-time I will try and get one out when it is art time.

I am going to keep considering the baby carrier thing some more--I've heard good things about the Moby wrap and maybe will look into getting one of those instead. I've done some looking around and Utah really isn't the best place for buying used Ergos--but I'll keep looking online. Getting advice is great! Thanks
Kristeee said…
I have an ergo carrier and the infant inset was a lifesaver. I could actually vacuum and make dinner and get things done, all while Kate slept in it. Celia's right about them having to be able to straddle you for the front position - for Kate it took about 8 months for her to be okay with that. I like the side carry, though, so it was okay.

I found that, when running errands in the car, it was kind of a pain to try to use the carrier. It was often just easier to just haul the carseat around, since she could stay asleep in it and it snapped into my stroller.

I've been wondering what to do about not getting crayon everywhere myself. Thanks for asking!

One of my favorite baby items was a Bundle Me, which kept Kate nice and warm in her carseat as we schlepped her around. I also liked setting the Bumbo seat on the counter (which it specifically says NOT to do, by the way) while I made dinner so I could keep her company.
Just thought I'd let you know, I got my ergo carrier today! After watching ebay and craigslist I realized that used carriers were nearly as expensive as new, so I just bit the bullet and bought it new.

I have to say, the hour that I used it today, it was fabulous for my heavy 6 mo. old. Way better than anything else I tried.

The one thing I thought you might want to know is I'm not sure how soon after a c-section you'd be able to use it. The lower band that wraps around your waist/hips sits pretty close to the incision, so depending on how sore/where your incision is exactly, it might be uncomfortable for awhile. Not sure, though, since I got it 6 months after my c-section.

I did like my kangaroo korner pouch for a brand new baby to about 14 lbs. It's more fitted than a hotsling. In the very beginning my back got tired within about a half hour. After a few weeks when my abs and back started recovering from the surgery I could go for about an hour, but I liked it better than the bjorn for a new baby. Plus he fell asleep way quicker in it than the bjorn or moby wrap. Moby wrap is super hot since there's so much fabric.

Have you decided on a carrier?
FoxyJ said…
I went ahead and got a Moby wrap, since it was half the price of the Ergo and it seemed like it would be better for a smaller baby. With my other kids we pretty much stopped wearing them by 5 or 6 months, so I'm not too worried about the overheating issue with the Moby. I think once we get to the summer I'll see if getting an Ergo is worth it or if I just want to use the stroller. We'll likely be mostly walking to places like the pool or church so it might be even more convenient to have the stroller instead of a carrier. I still might go ahead and get an Ergo.

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