Friday, May 6, 2011

Wearing the Baby and Staying Warm

The benefits of "baby wearing" may seem obvious: babies, especially newborns, prefer to be squished up close to their mommies. Not only do they desire to be as close as possible, they also need it for healthy development. Touch is probably our most powerful gift as parents of infants - we communicate most through touch during these early months.

But there are so many benefits for moms, too. Being close to your baby promotes bonding, of course, and it also calms him when he is fussy. An upright position can help baby manage reflux or colic, and allow her to sleep when lying down isn't an option because it makes her uncomfortable. A calm baby definitely benefits mom - reducing stress levels when things are hectic around the house. And when multiple children are around, wearing the youngest one gives both hands the freedom to keep someone else from running in the street, falling down stairs, or drawing on the walls with permanent marker. (Don't laugh, that is seriously what I need my hands for during the day! Forget folding laundry or doing dishes - though you can do that while wearing baby, too.) Wearing the Bruiser in the sling has prevented Miss Rosie from breaking bones or climbing on the counter in an attempt to reach the scissors, which are stored in a box on top of the fridge. I suppose slings could also be used to restrain daredevils like my daughter, at least until they are old enough to learn to use scissors properly.

Because I knew that I would be wearing the Bruiser quite a bit, because the weather in Chicago isn't exactly tropical, and because I am a knitter, I made a baby wearing poncho to don while using my sling. I was inspired by a poncho on a Danish website called MamaPoncho. Though the ponchos were absolutely gorgeous, they were also expensive! Over $200. So I started scouring knitting books in the library and searching through Ravelry to see what I could find. After a long, dedicated search I gave up trying to find a pattern that I really liked. So I let the "Eleanor" pattern in Viva Poncho: Twenty Ponchos and Caplets to Knit, by Christina Stork and Leslie Barbazette to inspire me. After a few modifications, voila! I've got myself a useful poncho to wear while wearing the Bruiser!  Or honestly, Miss Rosie, who still needs the sling every now and again. Not that I mind, she is pretty cute and cuddly when she's not running with scissors on the stairs or in oncoming traffic.

The poncho has a turtleneck that can be folded down or scrunched down. Cables run along the shoulders and arms. The opening for the baby's head can be seen in the top picture pretty well - it looks like a little cut out "c." The picture on the bottom shows the pouch in the middle of the poncho. The whole thing is so cool! People are constantly stopping me whenever I'm out wearing it - it's a riot. I sometimes feel foolish telling people that I knit it myself - I feel like very few people (at least my age) knit, and I sort of feel silly admitting to it. But at the same time, it is a pretty cool skill! I'm hoping to make at least one more, perhaps with a cotton blend yarn. I'm also hoping I can figure out a way to add sleeves.

And best of all, it keeps the Bruiser and I warm enough to brave the park on these chilly May afternoons here in the upper Midwest. Lucky us!


  1. Love this post! And what a beautiful cover! I am SUPER impressed! :)

  2. This is great I would love the pattern as I am in the same place right now... Trying to figure out how to make one for me and my little girl for the winter... My email is

    1. Nicole -- I am haven't checked my own blog in AGES! And of course we're in the throes of holiday madness right now. Would you still like the pattern? I can dig it up for you...let me know! ( --Eileen

  3. Hi!! I love your design, could I have the pattern too? My email is Thanks!!

  4. Do you still have this pattern kicking around? Ive been scrounging the Internet trying to find something and yours turned out just great!!

  5. Hi! Great idea, I have been looking for a pattern like this. Do you still have it? Would be forever greatful :)

  6. Hi there, I love this design. If you still have the pattern would you be so kind to e-mail it to me, please.