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Education Archive

Babywearing in the Cold

Babywearing in the Cold

Now that it’s starting to get cold out, we thought we’d share our good friend, Kerry from Rewild Your Child, advice on cold weather gear for baby!

Cold weather gear for baby

We booked a trip to Iceland when Esme was just a few weeks old – just getting out of the house before midday was quite the feat, and we had no idea how we were going to manage with her in the cold Icelandic wind. By the time we got there, she was just over 3 months old. It was early March, and they were having a lot of blizzards, along with the usual strong and very cold winds. We were pretty adept at using her Tula sling by then, but the question was, would she be warm enough in my usual coat, or did we both need to be in proper outdoor clothes?

First off, every day started with getting her into her double layer of thermals. Polarno Pyret do a great range of baby thermals, merino wool vests, and baby grows. That was a good start, so we knew she would be warm enough in the car, and for any quick sling changeovers outside of the car. 

She also has a habit of losing hats, so I thought I was being smart getting her a balaclava that she couldn’t so easily wriggle out of, but she had the last laugh by screaming so much every time the damn thing went anywhere near her, that pretty quickly I gave up on her wearing that, and kept up my original plan of sneaking a hat on when she fell asleep!

We had got her an insulated all-in-one snow suit, with a view to me wearing my goose down Rab jacket, with the sling over it. I’m not sure if it was the slidiness of the two jackets against each other, or the bulkiness that got in her way, or if she just settles quicker being right next to me, but it took a while to convince her that this set up was a good idea. The first time we tried it, it didn’t go down well at all – she screamed blue murder! Part of the problem was getting her used to the strong cold wind – at first, the shock of it seemed like a bit of an assault to her, but she got used to it quickly, and stopped panicking when a bit of wind caught her face. I knew full winter outers for us both would work much better for a day out walking in the snow, as I could take her out of the sling, and feed her without having her out in the elements, so I thought it was worth sticking at it, despite the protests. Over the course of a few days, we built up to it – initially putting her in the suit, and just carrying her around a bit, having a picnic close to the car. Once she got used to the kerfuffle of getting the suit on, and to the cold wind hitting her face, the only remaining hurdle was to try the sling. Again, it took a few goes… at times having to take her out of the sling and feed her while we walked (the joys of motherly multi-tasking!) but eventually we managed a few hikes that lasted a good few hours each, so it was definitely worth the effort of persevering with it.

She was much happier in my usual coat, where she could snuggle in to me, so this was good when we were just popping out of the car. Any longer than that, and we had to be more organised, making sure to feed her well before getting out of the car.

The only problem was that my heavy winter sling coat doesn’t cover me up too well, against the harsh Icelandic wind. There’s no head hole for Esme, so the zip only comes up to her head, leaving my neck and chest exposed.

I had been worried about this before we came away, and so I had bought a couple of extra feeding tops – a merino wool base layer from Milker, and a thick black hoody from VivaLaMama Berlin. It turned out these were invaluable regardless of which coat I was wearing – I wore both under the sling every day.

I wore my usual VivaLaMama Berlin sling hoody (which has a head hole for Esme, and her own wee hood (very handy for children who hate hats!)) over both of us, followed by my coat, along with a woolly hat and neck buff for myself.

This combination gave me enough warmth, but when the wind picked up, I had to hold onto my hood, as the sling coat from Mamaway isn’t really designed with Icelandic adventures in mind!

Having good warm clothes with easy accessibility for breast feeding was great, as I was warm enough for feeding in the car, or outside if I had my Rab jacket on (and open), and it gave me good privacy too. I had tried using my usual thermals, and an additional breastfeeding vest while out in the camper before we went away, but it’s just too chilly when you have to lift the thermal up at the front, and it pulls up around the back, so I would definitely recommend the Milker merino wool base layer.

All in all, we needn’t have worried, with the double thermal layers from Polarno Pyret, Esme stayed pretty snug despite the blizzards. Either outer solution worked fine to keep her safe and warm, with the Rab plus snowsuit having the advantage of being able to feed her outdoors – essential for a longer hike. She eventually settled into this system, it just took a bit of work to get there. 

Oh, and for those of you wondering, a back pack set into the snow, with a changing mat draped over it works just fine as a changing table when a nappy needs changing and you’re a two hour hike from the car! Get a bit of shelter from the wind behind a rock, and a bit of teamwork, and the baby’s changed before they know it!

Gear essentials 

  • Thermal baby vest
  • Thermal babygrow
  • Merino breastfeeding base layer
  • Breastfeeding hoody
  • Sling
  • Sling hoody (with baby head hole, and hood for baby)
  • Either heavy sling coat OR regular goose down jacket for you, and insulated all-in-one suit for baby

To learn more about Kerry and her family, follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

How to Tie Your Tula Torba Handbag

How to Tie Your Tula Torba Handbag

One of the best features of our Tula Torba handbags are the tie straps. We’ve seen a lot of great options for tying Tula Torba Handbags, whether just a basic knot or a fancy adjustable slip knot! Today, we wanted to share how to tie two adjustable knots in your Torba straps so you can wear it as a long crossbody or as a short shoulder purse.

Step 1


Start with your Torba straps laid out flat

Step 2


Fold each strap in half with the print on the outside

Step 3


Fold the left flap perpendicularly under the right flap with about 8-12 inches sticking out

Step 4


Take the bottom strap and fold it back over the top of the right strap

Step 5


Bring that folded over strap behind the right strap

Step 6


Tuck the remaining strap down into the wrapped part to create a knot

Step 7


Now take the right strap and fold it over the top of the other strap

Step 8


Fold that same strap under the other and out the top

Step 9


Bring that strap back over the top of where the straps intersect

Step 10


Bring the remaining part of the strap into the loop to create a knot

Step 11


You now have both adjustable knots in a short strap setting

Step 12


You can adjust the straps by pulling the knots towards the center to get a longer purse strap

Share photos of your Torba in action using #TulaTorba!

Black Breastfeeding Week Feature: Attached

Finding a support system is so important to any new parent. With a recent CDC study regarding breastfeeding statistics finding that interventions are needed to address barriers experienced disproportionately by black mothers in their feeding journeys, community organizations and their team are incredibly necessary. Today, we feature the New York based group Attached. Carolina and Anastasia, who run the group, share their personal feeding journeys and the special community their organization offers.

We are very excited to be showing support for black mothers, fathers, parents and infants during Black Breastfeeding WeekFor more information, Black Breastfeeding Week shared their top 5 reasons for needing Black Breastfeeding Week here.

Tell us about Attached, and who is behind Attached?

Attached is ran by two moms, Carolina and Anastasia,  but Attached is really a community. Our community was started to support Parents of Color living in low income neighborhoods like ourselves who were seeking a natural holistic intuitive approach to parenting. It started as light support in various parenting methods and quickly snowballed into outreach for caregivers in crisis situations. In all things we want equity and equality for all, sometimes that means bridging the gap with our own bodies and all of our Attached babies in tow. We are dedicated to helping other parents in need and in conjunction with World on MY Shoulders we are able to further our reach and continue to support caregivers in their unique journeys.

How would you describe your own feeding (nursing or otherwise) journeys?

Carolina: 

would describe my latest nursing journey with my 2 year old son as bumpy then semi smooth. The earlier weeks were a struggle.

Anastasia:

It hasn’t always been easy but I have a lot of patched up boo boos, naps, early bedtimes, and numerous redirection saves I’ll always be grateful for because of breastfeeding.

What resources or support helped you on your journey(s)?

Carolina:

My greatest support was my community. Who backed me up when I needed help. Unfortunately when I tried to get help from doctors and nurses I was met with misinformation.

Anastasia:

I grew up in Guyana where breastfeeding was normal and practiced widely. I myself was breastfed until 6 and always knew I wanted to with my own children. Even with my resolve I was not ready for the journey alone unsupported. In Carolina and our community I found the strength to persist through many ups and downs.

Did you have any complications or challenges on your feeding journey?

Carolina:

Yes, my son was born prematurely and spent a little while in the nicu. While there I was told I should pump and that nursing was probably not going to happen. This hospital also threw a curtain around me so that any of the fathers who might have come in would not feel uncomfortable even though I was the only parent in the room. Once I got home I had to work on weaning my baby off the bottle and onto the breast.

Anastasia:

My son was born via cesarean section and I was not shown a proper latch during recovery. I was left alone with him after the operation at which point I fell fast asleep with my newborn suckling away. By the end of my hospital stay my nipples were cracked and bleeding. I hand expressed and fed him with a spoon for almost two weeks before I finally figured out how to latch him on correctly.

What, if any, misconceptions of nursing did you encounter?

Carolina:

Breastmilk alone is not enough especially for a boy. My baby in the nicu needed formula to grow strong.

Anastasia:

After a year breastmilk no longer benefits the child’s nutritional needs – first dentist

Why do you think it’s important to have Black Breastfeeding Week?

Carolina:

Black breastfeeding week is important because of the misconceptions and myths that surround our communities when it comes to breastfeeding. There’s a stigma around breastfeeding and with proper information we can surpass the stigma.

Anastasia:

There is a long and painful history behind Black health and lack of equitable health care. Breastfeeding is optimal nutrition for babies but many Black people worldwide are not afforded the luxury of choice. The choice to stay home to establish a proper milk supply before maternity leave is up around 6 weeks if you’re lucky. The choice to question their doctor’s advice as being based on racial motivated stereotypes of Black people. The choice of finding a doctors who will accept Medicaid and give you the same care as the privately insured. Black breastfeeding numbers reflect the absence of choice, information and support for Black caregivers seeking breastfeeding as an option. Black breastfeeding week is the collective cry of outrage for our women and babies who continue to slip through the cracks of the health care system.

Do you have any specific advice to share with anyone looking to nurse?

Follow your gut if something doesn’t sound right to you research and then research some more. Surround yourself with a supportive community and learn to trust your intuition. Sometimes you just need to relax, take a well deserved nap and take it one day at a time.

Is there one particular story that stands out, of a family you were able to help support on their feeding journey, that you’d like to share with us?

Along our six year journey we have aided many families in their breastfeeding journeys. It is really difficult to pin down one or even a handful of interactions that haven’t imprinted on our hearts for life. What we can say is it is really something special to witness when a parent nurses  with the aid of a carrier for the first time. It’s like this moment of absolute timid wonder and amazement then realization that they can actually see this being kinda sorta practical and then months later to have those same parents say that they are still nursing because of their carrier.

Thank you to, both, Carolina and Anastasia of Attached! Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and their blog!

Babywearing Educator Spotlight: Ricki Franklin

Babywearing educators are a wonderful asset to the babywearing community. Their experience, knowledge and passion for babywearing can help caregivers overcome challenges and gain confidence in wearing their baby. We appreciate the role that babywearing educators play in our community and we are excited to celebrate their role through this series of babywearing educator spotlights.

Our next Babywearing Educator spotlight is on an active and long time educator, in both public and private consultations, from Washington. We asked Ricki Franklin, of  Babywearing Boss, to answer some questions about herself and her role as an educator.

Tell us about your business.

As a Center for Babywearing Studies trained consultant I work with families and organizations serving families to promote child carrying. I focus on principals of Kangaroo Care and the benefits of hands-free carrying provided by babywearing. I meet with families, in their space, to assess babywearing goals and we work together to reach those goals, often in about 90 minutes. My nanny services almost always include babywearing as well. Whether I’m carrying a baby to give a postpartum family a break or a busy toddler who needs to recenter, babywearing always comes to the rescue. I am excited to announce, I’ll be partnering with a local Baby Tula retailer to offer in-store carrier fit adjustments and consultations. 

How did you get involved with babywearing?

Researching online, I found out babywearing might help me reach my breastfeeding goals. I got a carrier, studied how to use it, but was very intimidated because of my plus size body: I was worried I wasn’t supposed to babywear as a fat person. One day, when my baby was fussy and couldn’t settle, my mom said, “Tie that baby on me!” I wrapped her in a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry with a stretchy wrap and my baby slept for hours on his grandma. At once I knew babywearing was for every BODY. Our little extended family immediately fell in love with babywearing. I found my local babywearing group which grew into an amazing support system bonded over new parent struggles. I now serve as President of BWI Olympia. 

What do you find most rewarding as a babywearing educator?

I love knowing I’m passing on parenting skills and making the world a safer place for children. One of my former clients just became a grandmother. She explained how thrilled she was to teach her daughter how to babywear her first grandchild. Babywearing is an age old tradition and I respect that tradition by sharing the knowledge whenever possible. 

What is one important tip you like to share with new or first-time babywearers?

Practice the steps to prepare your carrier, secure baby in the carrier, and take baby out of the carrier. Try using a doll, stuffed toy, or even a bag of your favorite snack to make this process effective. Getting a feel for the flow of each step will make you more comfortable. Your baby will sense that trying out the new carrier is OK because of the confidence you gained with those trials! 

THANK YOU RICKI! 

To connect with Ricki, visit her Facebook page and Blog.

If you would like to nominate a babywearing educator to be featured on the Tula blog and Facebook, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MXmdmoof68jhHn6n547gd-9iUJLNBj46kQhYlrtPzbQ/viewform

If you would like to nominate yourself to be featured in our Babywearing Educator Spotlight, visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IMF9cr6on1G64nBCArY2Vih1kI1cP9K7LVNWRUBtjAM/viewform

Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding Before Your Baby is Born

Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding Before Your Baby is Born

Written by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed, IBCLC, Owner of San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Before I had my first son, I took every class I could to learn about what was going on during my pregnancy and how to get this kiddo out of me. I took prenatal yoga to make sure I could relax and open up during labor. I took a 6-week childbirth series. I read all of the prenatal books to learn about what was going on inside my body. And, I took one measly 2-hour class on breastfeeding, which I told my husband he could skip because, I mean, it’s natural and normal, right? This breastfeeding thing should be easy!

Low and behold… I wish I had done a little bit more preparation for this natural and normal act because breastfeeding was definitely NOT as easy as I thought it was going to be!

Thank goodness I had a team of supportive friends, family members, and health practitioners to help us get over our breastfeeding hurdles. In fact, breastfeeding support has been shown to be the largest indicator of how moms get breastfeeding to work . So, let’s talk about constructing this ‘Dream Team’ of breastfeeding support.

Your Partner

If breastfeeding is important to you, then it has to be important to your partner, as well. Your partner is going to need to be your cheerleader, your confidante, and your #1 support person. He/she will make sure you are well fed and hydrated, while you feed and hydrate your baby. He/she can assist with latching, if you need help, as well as call in other support when needed. He/she can bond with both you and baby as you breastfeed, nap, eat, and learn to maneuver this new time in your lives. When your partner is on board, you are a united force, working together towards a shared goal, which can feel absolutely amazing!

Take a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class

While I make light of my short 2-hour breastfeeding class, it was definitely helpful to learn about what ‘normal’ breastfeeding looked like. For example, newborn babies feed at least 8-12 times in a 24 hour period because their tummies are so small. They can also be really sleepy, so there are great rousing techniques to use to keep them awake while feeding. Breastfeeding is NOT supposed to hurt, so getting latching assistance from a lactation consultant, nurse, or midwife can be incredibly helpful. The class instructor should also talk about comfortable breastfeeding positions, such as laid-back breastfeeding, as well as signs of a good latch and knowing when your baby is getting enough milk. Also, have your partner or support person attend the class with you so that he/she can assist with breastfeeding in those early postpartum weeks.

Attend a Breastfeeding Support Group Prenatally

Several years ago I interviewed Ina May Gaskin about getting breastfeeding off to a great start. One of her recommendations was to attend a breastfeeding support group while pregnant. That advice really struck me. Why would a pregnant mom want to go to a support group prenatally? Upon further thought, I realized how brilliant this idea was.

One – after having a baby, it can be incredibly anxiety-provoking to go an unfamiliar place. What if your baby starts to cry? What if your baby has a massive blow out? Where do you park your car? If you check out this group prenatally, after you have your baby this group will already be a familiar place….meaning, you are more likely to go get support and assistance early on.

Two – not all groups are the same. Location (hospital-based vs birth center vs yoga studio, etc) might make a difference to you. Some are led by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), while others are led by Lactation Educators or mothers trained by Breastfeeding USA or La Leche League, just to name a few. Stopping by prenatally can help you figure out which group has the best ‘feel for you.’

Three – many of us are not surrounded by breastfeeding, so we have no idea what it really looks like or what to expect. At a support group, you can meet other new moms, ask questions, and get a sense of the many ways that women latch on their babies. It is awesome!

Choose a Breastfeeding-Friendly Pediatrician

This might seem like a stupid recommendation… I mean, shouldn’t all pediatricians be ‘breastfeeding-friendly’? Yes, they should, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some pediatricians are very well-versed in breastfeeding knowledge. They know how much a baby needs per feeding, how much a baby should gain per week, how often they should be feeding, the difference between nipple tenderness and pain, and when to refer to a lactation consultant, if necessary. Other pediatricians might provide advice which doesn’t protect a mother’s milk supply or the breastfeeding relationship, not purposely sabotaging breastfeeding, but ultimately making things more challenging for mom and baby. Ask your friends and post on Facebook for recommendations. Ask a local IBCLC. You’ll be glad you did!

Find a Local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (just in case you need assistance after baby is born)

What is an IBCLC ? An IBCLC is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. We study, take classes and exams, and practice all things breastfeeding. We are the people you call when you feel like breastfeeding is a struggle. We help you figure out how to make breastfeeding easier and enjoyable!

Like I mentioned earlier, prenatally we have all the time in the world to do research. So, while you are looking for that breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician, add IBCLC to that list, as well. There is nothing worse that trying to find a practitioner to help when you are in panic-mode! Prenatally, you can check out the websites of local IBCLCs, ask your friends for recommendations, and look online for reviews. It is not like you have to contact her prenatally, although you could. Instead, write down the names and contact info of a few IBCLCs you can contact, if you should need them after the baby is born.

Create a Visitor Policy

After having a baby, you might find that everyone you know wants to come and meet him/her. While this might sound innocuous, getting the hang of taking care of a new baby takes more time and effort than one might think. You (and your partner) might feel elated, but exhausted. Your baby will be feeding around the clock, which you might not want an audience for. Entertaining guests should not be at the top of your priority list. So, consider creating a visitor policy, prenatally. Tell your favorite, most helpful friends and family that you’ll let them know a good time to come over and that it would be awesome if they would bring lunch or dinner treats with them. Maybe they can clean up the dirty dishes, afterwards, as well. Give your less-helpful friends a head’s up that you will be spending the first few weeks bonding with your baby (which means limited visitors) and that you will text them photos of your bundle of joy. Have a code word for you and your partner which, when spoken, indicates to the other that it is time to escort your guests to the door or go lie down to take a nap.

Hopefully, with this Dream Team of breastfeeding supporters you will be well on your way to getting the hang of this breastfeeding thing!

Here are a few more articles that talk about breastfeeding a newborn:
What Every Mom Should Know About Breastfeeding in the Early Weeks
I’ve Had My Baby – Now What? Breastfeeding During the Second Week
Understanding Infant Sleep – The First 6 Weeks


Robin Kaplan is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), frequent media commentator on the topic of breastfeeding, and founding host of The Boob Group, a podcast about breastfeeding hosted on New Mommy Media. She launched the San Diego Breastfeeding Center in 2009 and is an established voice in the parenting world known equally for her knowledge about lactation and her commitment to supporting moms without judging them, a keystone of the SDBFC philosophy.

To learn more about Robin and the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, visit www.sdbfc.com.