PAXbaby is celebrating Valentine’s Day with 13 days of Peace & Love leading up to the big HEART day itself! It’s day number ten, can you believe it? I’m sad we are nearing the end of our Peace and Love days. Today we present an interview with Caren, the genius designer of the wildly popular Olives & Applesauce baby carriers and a sweet contribution from a mom who loves babywearing and wraps!
PAXbaby loves Olives & Applesauce!
Caren of Olives and Applesauce is sweet, nurturing, & passionate about babywearing! With 3 young boys, she knows that moms need to keep their hands free, and she has provided all of us with a stylish, comfortable, & easy way to do that! Caren, we you, and love our O & A too! Just for kicks & giggles, we asked Caren a few questions to show you how creative & cool she is!
PAXbaby: When did you begin babywearing?
I started BW’ing when Trey was about 5 months old, he’s now 4 1/2 already! I had a really hard pregnancy and an emergency section and just had a really hard time bonding with him. He screamed all the time, literally, all. the. time. After a few months a friend offered me her old Bjorn and my life just did a total 180. I could go out again, I took him for walks, I made myself lunch, I picked up the house, I could use the phone again. It was amazing. I found a natural parenting group through craigslist and before I knew it I was totally into the natural parenting lifestyle and I found that we were all a lot happier… I had a life back that included my son but didn’t leave me tied to my couch anymore and that was what I really wanted.
PAXbaby: When did you start designing the Olives & Applesauce baby carrier?
I started on the first test run of the O&A when our second son, Nathan was born. Nothing was working for me and as the saying goes, necessity if the mother of all invention. Well, I’m apparently the mother of really heavy kids, by 6 months old they were already in the 15-20 pound range and with a childhood shoulder injury I couldn’t use one shoulder carriers anymore. I worked and worked on it and finally signed up for a natural parenting festival about an hour from my house. I took 15 half buckle carriers and sat there all day long. I sold one carrier and it was so exciting for me, it was totally worth that hour each way in driving and sitting there all day. I came home though with 14 carriers and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I realized that the awesome women of TBW would be able to help me really hone my product and so I asked for testers and got an amazing response to the carrier. Over time people requested that I put side buckles on them and gradually we moved away from the half buckle to the carrier that everyone knows and loves now. It’s been an amazing journey and at times a real Godsend. My husband was unemployed for all of my pregnancy with our third son and for a few months after his birth and this little business of mine that started as a hobby allowed us to continue to take care of our boys, I’ll be forever grateful for that.
PAXbaby: How did you come up with O&A’s infamous & creative name?
The name, I get asked about that more than anything else and every time I swear I’m going to make up some really cool answer. I never do though and I’m afraid the real answer it’s really to exciting. I have an odd sense of humor, frequently I am the only one that finds me funny and this was one of those times. My husband got me a balloon for Valentine’s day that had a martini glass and olives on it, it said “Olive You”. The balloon combined with a lack of sleep and a rambling thought train lead me to be thinking about gross food combinations and olives and applesauce was pretty gross to me. At that time I never really had a goal for my business, it was just to pass the time because I can’t stand to be idle so I thought why not? It makes me laugh and it makes me happy so there’s a good name for it. I still have that balloon in my file folder with all of my business paperwork.
PAXbaby: What has been the best part about spreading the BWing LOVE???
The best part about spreading the love has come through our local group. It’s been two fold, first is the actual babywearing. It’s so wonderful to help a new mom who is going through that same frustrating experience that I had years ago. I can see it on her face, she loves her baby so much but she’s tired and she needs her hands back. She feels almost helpless to try and meet the constant demands of a newborn while still caring for herself or other family members. You get her in a good carrier and you just see the look of relief on her face, she totally gets it. She might go on to become a die hard babywearer or she might wear just out of necessity but you know that you’ve helped her get a semblance of order back into her life. She has another tool now to help calm her baby, to help her get her never ending list of things done, to give her a little break but still be near her baby. It’s so rewarding. The second has been an inadvertent benefit, I have found that in the last few years I’ve been able to be a sounding board for mother’s that have had less than wonderful births. You help with a carrier and then your answering breastfeeding questions or something about cloth diapers or baby food and you develop a bond. Birth stories are a universal thing, we all have them and good or bad we wind up sharing them. The good one’s triumphantly and the not so good in an effort to have someone hear us and understand, to help us with the healing. I had two c-sections myself and then a home birth with our third son and I’ve found that women will just want me to hear them. I’m helping them with wrapping their newborn and a half hour later I’m hearing about their birth. I can totally relate because after the first section I just wanted someone to hear me. Everyone wanted to tell me that I was healthy and so was the baby, what else mattered? But it mattered to me and it matters to them to. Our babywearing group has been amazing for so many things and it’s all started with helping a mom and a baby. I wouldn’t trade my experiences with our group for anything.
Becca of Close At Hand Baby Shares Her Wrap Love
Sweet peaceful long sleep
So, my friends at PAXbaby have me thinking; Why am I so in love with babywearing? I am totally over the moon obsessed with babywearing, and I teach it, live it, and breath it.
hugs that last for hours
baby droolie kisses
sweet exhaling sighs of a sleeping baby close to my heart
Breastfeeding in front of many with secrecy
long stares into deep baby eyes
never chasing my 2 year old into the street!
Crumbs down my shirt (front or back, I love both!)
Being able to have my babies nap on the go and not being stuck at home
warmth and closeness
But most of all, I LOVE HAPPY BABIES!
Nursing Judah in Goldfish
Nati Savannah and a willing wrappee! 40 lbs 2 1/2 yrs.
newborn back nap
snapshot of ann arbor babywearers!