Carried to Connect: Ashley & Tyson’s Story

Ashley & Tyson – Parents of Quadruplets

Gardner Quad Squad

At Baby Tula, we have seen, first hand, how babywearing can benefit families in countless ways; from basic tasks getting completed to helping a baby and caretaker create a lifelong bond. You share your stories and we learn of so many poignant journeys that embody our motto: Keep Doing What You Love. It’s these moments, simple and grand, that we celebrate with our community. Here, we share the encouraging story of Ashley and Tyson, of Gardner Quad Squad, who faced IVF challenges to welcome their FOUR little girls.

Give us a fun fact or tidbit about each of your daughters.
Indie – Very Independent! Always breaks away from the crowd to do her own thing. Our oldest by seconds. She was the one at the bottom of the womb holding everybody in. We called her the plug!
Esme – Our most outgoing and social baby. She has her own hashtag #esmefaces because of her unique and funny faces. She’s probably our sweetest as well and best at sharing!
Scarlett – Scarlett is our mischievous one. She usually has her cheshire cat smile going. She’s sneaky and quiet. She loves to sing. She’s also a little OCD like her daddy; loves to collect all the same toys, puzzle pieces, etc.
Evie – Our emotional one, and our baby by seconds. She’s also always been our biggest, and currently holds the title of bully in the household. She can be a little rough, but at the same time can be so sweet. She’s all emotions either way!

What was it like when you found out you were having quadruplets?
So exciting and terrifying all at the same time! There were moments when it was surreal. Luckily we had a strong grasp on our faith, and that led us through a very high risk pregnancy and NICU stay!

When did you first discover babywearing and/or baby carriers?
One of our high school friends did a little fundraiser for us up in Oregon and raised enough to buy 4 Tula’s for us. We were so grateful and blessed as they literally saved our lives on so many occasions, and made it easy when taking the girls out into public for the first time!

Were you already planning on babywearing before finding out you were having quadruplets?
Ashley knew about these for a long time, but we didn’t know if we could afford them. They were always something we knew would be beneficial and make life so much easier!

How does babywearing help you with quadruplets?
Being parents of quadruplets, and working from home, you never stop moving! If dinner needs to be made or laundry done, and the kids are up, it makes our lives so much easier to strap them to our chest and back as we get our chores done! Also when going out into public places, having quads can be a little overwhelming and scary at times because you want to keep them close. Being able to babywear has made doing normal things for a not normal situation possible!

What has been the biggest surprise raising quadruplets?
Their personalities. They are so different, even the sets of twins. It has been amazing watching their little personalities grow and develop!

What are you most looking forward to watching your daughters grow up?
Each day you get to explore the world for the first time with your kids who have never explored it before. It gives you a different perspective on life. A real perspective.

What advice would you give to other new parents of multiples?
Keep your faith in each other. Ashley and I do this together. Everything together. We are a team. We rely on each others strengths, and know our limits. When you have someone in you life you can trust completely, it makes anything you’re dealing with feasible!

Thank you to Ashley, Tyson, Indie, Esme, Scarlett and Evie for sharing their story with us! To learn more about their family, you can follow their blog: http://gardnerquadsquad.com/ or Instagram.

Tula Trends: Dye Your Tula Baby Blanket at Home

How To Dye Your Tula Baby Blanket at Home

Have you been dreaming of  a Tula Baby Blanket in your own favorite color? Well we asked a pro, Valene Hoover of Starry Skies Tie Dyes, to share some of her dyeing secrets on getting a truly one-of-a-kind baby blanket!

Hey everyone! My name is Valene Hoover and I helped create the little mom and pop shop, Starry Skies Tie Dyes (named after my daughter, Starlette and son, Skylo.) My husband, Justin Hoover, is the other half of the operation, but he understands that I have better people skills! We have been in business since 2014 dyeing baby wraps, ring slings, clothes, fabrics, and of course all the Baby Tula blankets and carriers! I feel Baby Tula made Cloudy Baby Carriers for dyeing addicts like myself! And those luxurious white bamboo viscose blankets…a dyer’s dream! With great pleasure, I have been given the opportunity to share a how-to step by step tutorial on our signature galaxy dye jobs and a basic vat dyeing tutorial for the novice dyer that wants to get their hands wet! Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, I am always happy to help!

Galaxy Dyeing – Ice Dyeing

Galaxy (also known as ice dye) is when you layer dye and ice directly on the fabric to make a unique tie dye effect.

You will need:

  • Tula Baby Blanket (white or gray works the best) – I used Stars Leo
  • Blue Dawn dish soap or Synthrapol textile detergent
  • Soda Ash (Washing Soda or Ph Up can also be used)
  • Dye
  • Gloves
  • Small spoon
  • Grate
  • Tote
  • Ventilator mask
  • Plastic covering or garbage bag

How-to:

1. Prep your fabric by washing on hot with a 1/8 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap or Synthrapol.
2. In a separate bucket, mix 1 cup of soda ash per 1 gallon of hot water. Stir to dissolve soda ash. Once soda ash is dissolved, soak fabric for no less than one hour making sure fabric is completely submerged.
3. Take your fabric out of the bucket and squeeze as much access water out as possible. I personally just use my spin cycle on my washer to get the access water out.
4. Set up a grate with a tote underneath to catch your dye drippings. Put your fabric on top of grate, scrunching it together in a 2-D gathered pattern.

5. Sprinkle dye onto fabric using a spoon, salt shaker, tea strainer, etc. I decided to use 12 colors. I used Dharma Trading Co. Hot Hibiscus, Coral Pink, Daffodil, Lime Squeeze, Bright Green, Caribbean Blue, Lapis, Glacier Blue, Raspberry, Red Violet, Deep Purple, and Custom Colours Inc. Dark Black.
NOTE: I place my dye in different patterns each time I make a galaxy so they are all truly one of a kind. I allow complimentary colors to touch each other. The color wheel is a great tool to use when deciding where to place your colors. I usually start with my lightest colors first, then bright colors, then whatever blank space is left will get filled in with dark colors.

6. Add a thin layer of ice.
7. Let ice melt. Check the bottom to see if it has fully penetrated the fabric. If it hasn’t, add more dye and another thin layer of ice. 8. Once your fabric is completely saturated with dye and all ice has melted, cover with a piece of plastic or a trash bag and let the dye adhere to the fabric (batching) in a warm room (70-90 degrees is ideal) for a full 24-48 hours. Batching is crucial for vibrant colors.

9. Rinse your fabric with cold water for at least 5 minutes to get all of the soda ash out so the colors don’t transfer to other areas of the blanket. Switch to warm for another 10-20 minutes.
10. When your rinse is starting to look clear, soak your fabric in a tub, tote or bucket in hot water for a few hours. It is completely normal for your blanket to bleed for hours, sometimes even a day or two! Change water every few hours. I usually do at least 5 soaks.
11. Wash fabric 2-3 times in washer on a hot, gentle cycle with a 1/8 teaspoon of Dawn or Synthrapol.
12. Let fabric air dry.
NOTE: After you’re finished, I like to put the fabric in the dryer on fluff with 2 -4 tennis balls to soften it up again.

Want to add the ‘stars’ to finish it?
Add stars with your favorite non-dimensional fabric paint and a simple pointed paint brush. I personally use Jacquard Lumiere Pearlescent white, but Tulip works well also. Let fabric paint dry for 24 hours and then heat set stars with an iron.

FINALLY! Admire your hard work. You have successfully created a beautiful, one of a kind, handmade galaxy.

Vat Dyeing – Single Color Dye

You will need:

  • Tula Baby Blanket – I used Stars Leo
  • (2) 5 gallon buckets, trash cans, small totes or a sink
  • 2 cups of non-iodized salt
  • 1 1/3 cup of soda ash (Super Washing Soda or PH UP)
  • Dawn blue dish soap or Synthrapol
  • Mason jar or cup
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Gloves
  • Large stirring utensil
  • 1-2 packets of Dylon Dye, Tulip Dye or 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite procion dye (Dharma Trading Co., Custom Colours Inc., Jacquard, etc.)
  1. Wash your blanket regardless if it is new, used, or only used once. This is an important step that should not be skipped. This helps eliminate any barriers created in the factory or at your home that will cause the dye to not properly adhere to the blanket. One hot wash with a drop (1/8 teaspoon) of Dawn original blue dish soap or Synthrapol.
  2. Mix up 1 cup of soda ash or PH UP (PH PLUS, PH INCREASER, Super Washing Soda) per 1 gallon of warm or hot water. Let the soda ash fully dissolve. Add your blanket, making sure it is fully submerged. Let it soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Get your vat ready. Add 2 gallons of warm water. I use a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket, but a tote, small trash can or your sink works too. Add 2 cups of non-iodized salt. Let it fully dissolve.
  4. In a mason jar or any other small container, paste up your dye with 8 ounces of warm or hot water. Stir it as much as possible making sure it is fully dissolved. If it is not fully dissolved, it can create speckles of dye on your blanket.
  5. Pour your dye into your vat (sink, bucket, tote, etc.) Use your stirring utensil to stir your dye. Make sure the dye is fully dissolved.
  6. Put your damp blanket into the vat. Make sure your blanket is fully submerged and able to move freely.
  7. Stir, stir, stir! For best results, stir the entire time.
  8. Keep stirring! If you prefer a lighter shade, 30 minutes of constant stirring. If you prefer a deep or vibrant shade, stir for 45 minutes to one hour.
  9. The last 15 minutes of your stir time, slowly add your soda ash into the vat (1/3 cup.)
  10. Pull your blanket out of the vat and rinse all of the soda ash out for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Switch to warm water, rinsing for 5-10 minutes.
  12. Soak your blanket in the tub with hot water. Colors such as yellow or green will only need a short hot soak. Any color with turquoise in it will need a long hot soak to remove the loose dye that did not properly adhere to your fabric during the dyeing process. (Hot water is a mandatory step!)
  13. Wash your blanket in the washer on a hot, gentle cycle  with 1/8 teaspoon of Dawn or Synthrapol 1-2 times or until water is clear.
  14. Air dry your blanket.
  15. After dyeing, your blanket will feel stiff. Don’t worry, it just needs to be broken in again. I like to put the blanket on fluff in the dryer with 4 tennis balls.
  16. Admire your hard work and allow your baby to cuddle with your soft baby safe dyed blanket!

NOTE: For black, use three times the amount of dye, salt and soda ash. Make sure to use boiling water (120-150 degrees.)

 

Thank you Valene for sharing this awesome information! We hope that these helpful step by step instructions will give you the courage to try something fun and personalized! Please note: Baby Tula is not liable for any post-purchase modifications of any Tula product.

Don’t Cry Over Breastmilk: Babywearing and Breastfeeding On Demand

In the last post, we discussed the biological and social mechanisms that may help us understand one of the most sought-out benefits of babywearing: calmer, happier babies who cry less. Though physiological processes involved in close physical contact help calm the infant and regulate their sleep cycles – thereby leading to a reduction in crying – there may be an important social process involved as well: caregiver responsiveness. How caregivers respond to their babies shows variation across cultures. In Western industrialized cultures for example, infant-caregiver communication is characterized by high levels of vocal and visual interaction and prompt responses to infants’ cues. However, one of the potentially most important forms of responsiveness is breastfeeding on-demand in response to early hunger cues. Higher rates of on-demand breastfeeding are seen in the proximal care cultures that are also known for their low levels of infant crying.[i]

Does breastfeeding decrease crying?

If so, this would be great news for babywearers, as one of the widely cited benefits of wearing your baby is that babywearing facilitates breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact is proven to facilitate lactation and longer duration of breastfeeding,[ii] thus leading to protection against childhood infection, decreased risk of childhood obesity and diabetes, and decreased risk of ovarian and breast cancer.[iii] The health benefits of breastfeeding are undisputed, but what is the connection between babywearing, breastfeeding, and crying?

Actually, current evidence on the relationship between breastfeeding and crying is inconclusive, given that breastfed infants have been found to show greater distress, less smiling, laughing, vocalization, and lower sooth-ability than formula-fed infants.[iv] However, the specific mechanism for crying reduction may not be in breastfeeding itself, but rather in the specific type of breastfeeding responsiveness that is practiced in proximal care cultures: breastfeeding on-demand. Breastfeeding on-demand refers to feeding infants in response to early hunger cues (e.g., rooting, squirming) as opposed to late cues (i.e., crying).[v] Breastfeeding on-demand – in some cultures – can occur up to four times per hour.[vi] 

What is the role of physical contact in breastfeeding on-demand?

As mentioned previously, proximal care cultures that are known for being in physical contact with their infants for the majority of the day – and are also known for their decreased levels of infant crying in comparison with most Western, industrialized societies – also practice breastfeeding on demand. Is this culturally-mediated combination of factors enough evidence to suggest that breastfeeding on-demand may actually cause decreased crying? One study found that feeding on-demand – rather than to a schedule – effectively increased infants’ display of early hunger cues, suggesting that breastfeeding in response to cues motivates infants to use other forms of communication rather than crying.[vii] However, studies on this topic are few and far between…We still have much to learn!

Current research

In hopes of elucidating the connection between physical contact, responsive breastfeeding, and crying, the UCSD Developmental Lab is conducting research to look at maternal feeding behaviors here in Western culture. Preliminary research shows that breastfeeding in response to early hunger cues – rather than in response to crying or feeding according to a schedule – is predicted by mother-infant physical contact. Specifically, mothers documented each feeding session with their child over three consecutive days, noting whether they were in physical contact with the baby before the onset of feeding and the reason for each feeding (crying, hunger cues, or schedule). The prediction was that mothers would be more likely to initiate feedings in response to early hunger cues (e.g., rooting, squirming) if they were in close physical contact with the baby before deciding to feed. Whereas if they were farther away from their child (e.g., baby sleeping in a crib or playing on the floor), mothers would be more likely to realize their child was hungry from crying, as the lack of close contact would potentially make mothers less aware of the more subtle hunger cues. Analyses are still in process, but preliminary results show that there is a strong association between mother-infant physical contact and responsiveness to hunger cues.

Though this study is not testing the effect on crying yet, there are still exciting implications for babywearing-related public health interventions. Specifically, feeding on-demand promotes the development of healthy, self-regulated eating behaviors[viii] and is associated with decreased risk for childhood obesity.[ix] In our adult-run society, we often forget the extraordinary competencies that infants have and attempt to manage their biological functions through scheduled feeding times and naptimes. However, at as young as eight weeks, infants can regulate their breastmilk intake[x] and adjust the volume that they drink in response to the energy content.[xi]  Breastfeeding in response to infants’ cues of hunger and satiation – rather than according to an adult-determined schedule – recognizes this impressive ability of young infants to self-regulate food intake according to their needs.

 

Stay tuned for more details on this research and click here to get involved!

 

This Guest Blog was written by Emily E. Little, M.A.

Emily is a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at University of California, San Diego. Her dissertation research examines the social mechanisms underlying the benefits of babywearing, including how increased mother-infant physical contact facilitates higher maternal responsiveness. Her research program more broadly investigates culturally-mediated mother-infant communication, and she has collected data on early teaching in Vanuatu, infant emotional displays in Bolivia, and breastfeeding patterns in Guatemala. She is also specializing in anthropogeny, or the study of human origins, through UCSD’s Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), which has added an evolutionary perspective to her interests in culture, mother-infant interaction, and babywearing. She is passionate about making a positive contribution in the communities where she works, not just in San Diego – where she volunteers as a Volunteer Babywearing Educator in training with Babywearing International – but also at her international fieldsites, where she volunteers at community health centers and raises money for maternal and infant health services.

 

[i] Richman, A. L., Miller, P. M., & LeVine, R. A. (1992). Cultural and educational variations in maternal responsiveness. Developmental Psychology28(4), 614.

[ii] Anderson, G. C., Chiu, S. H., Dombrowski, M. A., Swinth, J. Y., Albert, J. M., & Wada, N. (2003). Mother‐Newborn Contact in a Randomized Trial of Kangaroo (Skin‐to‐Skin) Care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing32(5), 604-611.

[iii] Victora, C. G., Bahl, R., Barros, A. J., França, G. V., Horton, S., Krasevec, J., … & Group, T. L. B. S. (2016). Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. The Lancet387(10017), 475-490.

[iv] de Lauzon-Guillain, B., Wijndaele, K., Clark, M., Acerini, C. L., Hughes, I. A., Dunger, D. B., … & Ong, K. K. (2012). Breastfeeding and infant temperament at age three months. PLoS One7(1), e29326.

[v] Hodges, E. A., Hughes, S. O., Hopkinson, J., & Fisher, J. O. (2008). Maternal decisions about the initiation and termination of infant feeding.Appetite50(2), 333-339.

[vi] Barr, R. G., Konner, M., Bakeman, R., & Adamson, L. (1991). Crying in! Kung San infants: a test of the cultural specificity hypothesis.Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology33(7), 601-610.

[vii] Saunders, R. B., Friedman, C. B., & Stramoski, P. R. (1991). Feeding preterm infants. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing,20(3), 212-220.

[viii] Wright, P., Fawcett, J., & Crow, R. (1980). The development of differences in the feeding behaviour of bottle and breast fed human infants from birth to two months. Behavioural Processes5(1), 1-20.

[ix] Birch, L. L., & Fisher, J. O. (1998). Development of eating behaviors among children and adolescents. Pediatrics101(Supplement 2), 539-549.

[x] Li, R., Fein, S. B., & Grummer-Strawn, L. M. (2010). Do infants fed from bottles lack self-regulation of milk intake compared with directly breastfed infants?. Pediatrics125(6), e1386-e1393.

[xi] Fox, M. K., Devaney, B., Reidy, K., Razafindrakoto, C., & Ziegler, P. (2006). Relationship between portion size and energy intake among infants and toddlers: evidence of self-regulation. Journal of the American Dietetic Association106(1), 77-83.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom and Baby

 

Ready to shower love on someone near and dear to you for Valentine’s Day? We asked our friend Larissa, from Living in Color, to help us gather a collection of her favorite heart themed items that are perfect gifting on Valentine’s Day! Check out her top picks and read why she is all heart eyes for these goodies! Share your favorite Valentine’s Day items in the comments below 🙂

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:
Tula ‘Love Sucre’ wrap conversion carrier
Madd Sailor Sweetheart Headband from Little Lilla Boutique
Golden Heart White Coffee Mug
Tula ‘Rainbow Hearts’ blanket set
Tula ‘Love Ardoise’ Torba
BP Heart-shaped sunglasses
Tula ‘Rainbow Hearts’ single blanket
Wild Hearts Tula baby carrier

It’s no secret – I’m a fan of all things hearts. Therefore, Valentine’s Day is extra special, in my book! I’ve put together a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom and Baby. These items are sure to wow you with their practicality, colorful vibes, and chic monochrome tones. I personally own several and plan to utilize them to spread the Valentine’s Day cheer!

I started with sharing two of my favorite carriers from Baby Tula. One of them is ‘Love Sucre’, a wrap conversion carrier, and the other is ‘Wild Hearts’ a fully printed canvas! These make great, and long-lasting gifts and come with baby snuggles and sleepy dust! Along with the adorable carriers I included a darling sweetheart headband from Little Lilla Boutique, and an adorable white and gold heart mug for all of that mom fuel that’s needed!

All mamas need a stylish and functional (and heart-printed) bag, right? A Tula Torba helps stylishly store all of the gear moms (and babies) need, and some chic heart-shaped sunglasses! Lastly, a gift guide isn’t complete without some snuggly blanket options. I mean who doesn’t love a soft and cozy Tula blanket? Speaking of feeling snuggly…wouldn’t it be nice if the Tula blankets came in adult sizes? A little birdie may have told me about a special surprise coming soon! Be sure follow Baby Tula on Facebook for updates on that special surprise. 😉

Just in case you still aren’t sure what to buy your loved ones for Valentine’s Day, don’t forget that a Tula gift card is always the right answer! I hope you enjoyed this list of items, and hope you have a blast shopping for those special loved ones in your life.

Tula Style: Monochrome and Distressed Looks

When we are exploring what styles we want to include in our various collections of Tula products, we often look to current fashion for mom and baby. The distressed monochromatic look is one of our favorite for all seasons and we see it popping in different variations including clothing, accessories, nursery items and more. We put together some tips for perfecting a simple distressed look with your baby carriers, that will have you and baby looking super chic!

1. Choose One Distressed Item…

and work your outfit around it. For instance, if you have some amazing distressed jeans you’re looking to wear, pick a sophisticated monochrome Tula like Twiggy, Arbol or Love Noir Ring Sling to finish out the look.

2. Choose a Distressed Carrier…

… and do the opposite! A carrier like Wild Hearts or Jet with some distressing and texture will look great with a solid, dark denim chambray and a pair of black skinnies!

3. Add a pop of color!

All distressed monochromes will look great with a bright pop of color! Match your Jet carrier with a bright red lipstick, your Wild Hearts with a royal blue top, wear your Asteria with a bold red, or your blanket with a bright yellow jumpsuit for baby. Anything goes!

4. Or don’t, and keep it a cool monochrome.

The all black, white and gray look is the easiest way to look cool. Keep your shirt a neutral solid, throw on Jet, and let the print do all the talking.

5. Accessorize!

 

Pull the look together with accessories! Add in a matte black diaper bag, a little sparkle with a simple earring , and a solid black shoe. Don’t forget your coordinating Splatter Jet Blanket, and you’ve mastered your distressed look.

Show us your photos of how you wear your distressed monochrome by tagging us on Instagram, for a chance to be featured on our Instagram and our style boards on Pinterest!