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The Battle of Underarm Armor

To stink or not to stink... that is the question I'm sure you've asked yourself every time you've considered making the switch. We've all been there. Having a more natural sense of living in many other areas of life, it is only a matter of time before we give deodorant a shot. After all, we call pit stick "deodorant" regardless of whether it is actually deodorant or antiperspirant. So our main goal is to destinkify the pits. Right?

So why was success with deodorant important to me? Well, I've always gravitated towards minimizing unnecessary chemicals in my house and on my body. I'm also sensitive to many chemicals. Plus, I've been super annoyed by the glittering underarms of my dark tops and the yellowing underarms of my lighter tops. Who wants to toss their favorite top because it's been ruined by antipersirant? Or who wants to avoid wearing their best for fear of unsightly underarm stains? Certainly not me. 

A little bit of science goes a long way. The quick explanation for the difference between the two is that deodorant tries to minimize underarm odor while antiperspirant does the same plus minimizes underarm wetness. Who wants stinky, wet armpits? Certainly not me. So instinct would tell you to grab the antiperspirant. Meanwhile, your crunchy composting gut is yearning to succeed at simply deodorant.

More fun with science... The normal bacteria in our underarm area are what causes that au naturale odor. Those who have been using antiperspirant have a different bacterial composition under their arms than those who use deodorant or, perhaps, nothing at all. So, unbeknownst to me, at first, there is a "detox period" that you must venture through before successfully transitioning to deodorant. It may take a month or more to notice, or not notice, that odor change. 

I have tossed so many deodorant sticks thinking they weren't going to work for me when I should have just stunk it out to see if I could win this battle. That being said, the Rule of Thirds still applies for underarm effectiveness. Think about pharmaceuticals, in general. We know that there are so many variations of drugs because they work on about a third of the population. So, apply that principle to deodorant, and you may or may not fall into the lucky third. 

How do you know if you'll be successful? Well, the only real way is to try it out and stick it out. I'd love to be able to give you a definitive Yes or No based on your sweat style, but sweaty doesn't necessarily mean stinky. You can give your standard retail store deodorants a shot, or you can venture out into the realm of homemade and boutique deodorants. There are so many options out there because each type helps a sliver of our diverse pool of people. 

At this point, I've tried so many different deodorants that I've compiled a list of tips for success. If you're willing to commit to deodorant for a trial detox, NOW is the time to do so! We're fast approaching winter and typically do not sweat the same as we do all summer long. Plus, we have that extra layer of clothing covering our underarms that can shield a little more than the airy tanks and tees. 

Tips for Winning the Battle of Underarm Armor:

1. Commit to detox. It will take a month or longer to change the body chemistry of your underarm area.

2. Dry before you apply. This is sooo important! Do not trap moisture under your deodorant (or even antiperspirant).

3. Be open to different sticks. You may have to try more than one before your find your formula.

4. Do not worry about workouts. Everyone sweats and stinks! A gym does not smell like roses. Embrace your hard-earned sweat and simply shower after your session.

5. Avoid talking about trying deodorant. People won't notice a soft odor unless you point it out. Just try it and share your success instead. Besides, there are very few people in your life that get up close and personal in your space. Surprisingly, they can swing either way in support.

This last time around, I did not tell my spouse that I was trying deodorant. I just did it... in the middle of summer... with breastfeeding hormones still at full rage. And I am now happily at an underarm odor minimum and rarely suffer from uncontrollable sweat. At the end of the day, we all smell a little more like us. And that's okay! You still won the battle! Stop fighting it! It's time to rest up for another day of adventure.

Heart-Hugs Product Review:

Heart-Hugs currently offers two types of deodorant. One is by Honey-Dew Naturals. This is my personal preference. It seems to work as an antiperspirant for my body chemistry! I love that! It goes on a little cakey, but the scents are amazing and the odor-fighting effectiveness is by far the best I have ever tried in a natural deodorant. The second is by Lil Pit Stick. It glides on very nicely and has a great scent, as well. The effectiveness is standard for wetness in a deodorant, which normally does not target wetness, and a little above average for my personal odor protection. Don't hesitate to try both to see which works best with for your body.

30 Wonderful Ways to Use Wet Bags

It all started with those cute wet bag-gift bag posts. Experienced mommas shared how they showered mommas-to-be with an adorable wet bag filled with baby booty. What a fantastic idea!

But most of my friends are not as excited about cloth diapering as I am. Thus, I began my search for alternative wet bag uses. There are probably plenty more ways, but here are my TOP THIRTY!

Makeup. Think of how nasty a makeup bag can get with all the powders and perhaps liquids that leak. Use a small wet bag to contain the mess. When ready for cleanup, it's super easy to rinse out and wipe dry.

Backup contact stuff. Keep a spare set of contacts, solutions, or even glasses in your car or office.

Travel toiletries. Going anywhere for a night or more requires bringing along toiletries. Toss a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, etc. into a small wet bag. Keep possible airplane pressure explosions contained!

Travel laundry bag. Stuff all the dirty, stinky stuff into a large wet bag. When you return home, it's easy to flip the bag inside out tossing the laundry directly into the washer. If you really want to make laundry easy, have a separate wet bag for each color. You'd likely need a few bags for a family weekend or vacation anyway.

Swimsuits. After a fun day at the beach or pool, stuff the swimsuits, towels, and toys into a large wet bag.

Beach and pool companion. Continuing on... bring your gear to the beach or pool in wet bags. You'll be bringing clean stuff there but wet stuff home. Pack up toys, sunscreen, water bottles, snacks, books, towels, etc. Protect your phones, cameras, music boxes, and other sand magnets, too.

towels, suits, snacks, and toys all ready for fun in the sun

Winter fun. Stuff gloves, hats, scarves, snow pants, etc. into a wet bag after a day of skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or other snow adventures. The same principle from above applies here, too. You have a nice sturdy bag for bringing things along and taking them home.

Diaper blowouts or potty training. Keep spare clothes, diapers, and/or undies in a wet bag in your car. Use one per kid. If your child goes to daycare, prepare a bag for the caregivers.

Trash bag. Say YES to cleaning up that litter your wide-eyed wild child picks up. Keep garbage from rolling about and from stinking up your car. Make sure you zip it shut!

Boo-boos. Use a fun mini wet bag filled with ice to cool those unfortunate boo-boos. Kids will love the fun ouchie pack.

Kitchen. Use that snap strap to hang a wet bag from a knob or handle. Stuff bibs, dish rags, towels, cloth napkins, tablecloths, etc. into the bag.

First aid emergency kit. Store bandages, creams, gauze, tweezers, safety pins, epi pens, spare diabetes pen needles, tissues, alcohol wipes, nail clippers, a comb, feminine hygiene products, and so on in a wet bag to keep a first aid kit handy in the car, diaper bag, purse, or at home.

mini wet bag first aid kit

Barf bag. When you need it, you'll be glad you have it even if you have to unzip and unload a stuffed wet bag to keep it contained.

Laptop slip. Protect your laptop from dings and dirt.

Food. Pack snacks and lunches in wet bags. With all the different wet bag sizes available, you could pack your packs in a pack.

Pump and pump parts. A wet-dry bag works best if you need to pump multiple times a day. You can keep the clean parts in the dry compartment while putting the used parts in the wet side. If you just need a bag for one pumping session, a wet bag will keep your pump stuff clean and then be ready to bring everything back home for cleaning.

Documents. Place paperwork in a wet bag to keep it dry.

Carrier storage. Store your baby wraps and/or carriers in a large wet bag. You can even get all matchy-matchy with your set as many exclusive carrier releases are paired with exclusive wet bags. And it's just one more excuse to buy all the wet bags!

matchy matchy carrier storage

Car emergency kit. Keep spare outfits, undies, towels, swimwear, tissues, water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, etc. in the car for those unexpected accidents or spontaneous adventures in the great outdoors.

Glove compartment storage. Store your lotion, hand sanitizer, tissues, pens, a note pad, a coin purse, lip balm and other items in a small or mini wet bag tucked neatly away into your car. It'll be easier to find them when you need them. And messes will be contained once summer rolls around and you forgot about your hidden chocolate stash.

Dry seat. Lay a wet bag on your car seat after a beach day to protect your seats from soaking up all of your fun.

Art supplies. Store paint, markers, crayons, glue, BINGO daubers, etc. in a wet bag to prevent accidental art.

Out to dinner duty. Small wet bags are the perfect size for packing a suction plate, bib, sippy, and washcloth for your hungry little tot. Pack a couple toys in there, too, to distract your little while everyone anxiously waits for the good grub to arrive. 

Activity sack. Bring your kiddos' favorite toys, coloring supplies, and blankie wherever you go.

activity kit for air travel

Hiking companion. Pack out what you pack in. Tuck one in your backpack to contain any garbage or dirty stuff from your adventures.

Workout clothes. After you get your sweat on, your hot mess needs to be contained. Enough said. Haha!

Pet grub bag. Bring kitty or puppy food along for your getaways.

Quick cooler. Add an ice pack and you've got chilled juice boxes, milk boxes, water bottles, or even adult beverages.

Itty bitty containment. Keep puzzle pieces, Legos, chess pieces, dolls, doll clothes, and other small toys together.

Gift bag. Design the perfect gift bag by stuffing a wet bag with a gift for a new baby, young tot, or a messy grown-up. With all the adorable designs out there, your gift will be wrapped with great green love!

the greatest teacher gift ever

Now go get your WET BAGS and adventure on!!! 

Your Big Baby is Still a Baby (Or When to Size Up in a Tula Carrier)

standard tula vs toddler tula - a guide from heart-hugs.com

If you have a kiddo who wants carried at least periodically (let's face it, that's at least a third of their 18 year under-your-roof expectancy) you either know of, or really need to know of, the Tula toddler and baby carriers. But Tula Baby Carriers come in three sizes: Free-to-Grow, Standard, and Toddler. You're not alone if you're wondering which one you'll need! We hear this all the time:

"My baby is (huge) and everyone says they grow so fast. Should I just buy a toddler Tula now?"

"My kiddo is 31'' and 22 lbs, do I need a standard or a toddler?"

"AH this is too complicated, help me figure out what size to buy! What will fit best and last the longest?"

No problem. We've got you covered. Here's the simple signs that your little one is ready to size up from a Standard or Free-to-Grow carrier to a Toddler Tula.

(And if you have an itty bitty or not-yet-earth-side one, try the Free To Grow Tula, no insert needed! We also love woven wraps, stretchy wraps, or ring slings. Prefer to start in that Standard Tula? You'll need one of these.)

For the purpose of this article, we'll discuss the Standard and Toddler Tula. Since the Free-to-Grow carrier expands to about the same size as a Standard Tula, the same recommendations will apply. 

Ready? First, the details:

  • Weight Limits: 15*-45lbs in the Standard vs 25-60lbs in the Toddler (*without infant insert)
  • Panel Size Across: 15'' wide vs 18.5'' wide in the Toddler
  • Panel Size Height: 15.5'' tall in the Standard vs 17.5'' tall in the Toddler

Most of the difference is in the height and width of the panel, meaning both how much it supports growing legs, and how high the panel reaches up their back. Both of these aspects not only help support your kiddo, but your back and shoulders as well.

Because most children - even "tall" and "short" ones - grow fairly proportionally, we're going to focus on seat width as the deciding factor between the two sizes of Tula carriers. The panel on the Standard Tula is nice and high - it will provide adequate support (and safety) for even a bigger preschooler, though of course a Toddler would be a better fit.

Note that panel height is of interest earlier if you are currently using an Ergo, which has a panel height of 13'' compared with approximately 15.5'' on the Standard Tula and 17.5'' on the Toddler.

Preschooler carried by woman in a Standard Tula Carrier.

Lily, age 4, carried in a Standard Tula. Despite the obvious leg overflow, Lily is happy and comfortable for shorter periods of time. Even though their noses touch, this is not uncomfortable on mom. It's obviously time for a Toddler Tula here - but look at that great back height! Her upper body is still very well supported. Here she is 40'' tall and wearing 5T.

A bit of background to understanding seat width:

When worn in soft structured carriers (like the Tula), babies should have their knees supported up above their bum, creating an "squatting straddle" position: foot down, knee up above and to the side of the hip.  



Grandma’s day at the park - here a fun loving grandmother wears a sleepy 9 month old in a Standard Tula
.

In this position the pelvis is tilted naturally, hip sockets are filled out, and the spine is in correct alignment. The more support on the legs, the less pressure on, and absorbed by, the spine.

As children grow and bodies get stronger, proper support is still important! An older child might not have the same intense squatting straddle, but their knees should not drop below their hips.

Dangling legs lead to pressure on hamstrings and the spine, and can restrict proper blood flow. This can also cause pinching of the nerves on the inner thigh. Sound uncomfortable?

There are two ways to achieve proper position with an older child in a baby carrier: provide a wide base of support or provide stirrups to hold feet and therefore knees up. (This is often phrased as "knee to knee" coverage, but as long as the thighs are supported you will get the proper support even if the fabric ends a few inches back - just look!) Tula takes the first option and provides a fantastic, wide seat base.

Small Toddler carried by a woman using a Standard Tula Carrier.

17m old Thea in a Standard Tula. This is a great fit for her at 17m, 32'' tall, 25.5 lbs, and wearing 24m pants. Excuse the dead plant. It was a long winter.

The Tula baby carriers that we have chosen to carry at Heart-Hugs use a sized carrier system: a standard (or "baby") carrier with a 15'' base and a toddler carrier with a 18.5'' base.

Still with me? Then you can already answer why a baby can't just "make it work" in a Toddler size carrier. The proper body support will not be there! There should not be lots of extra room in the carrier, baby should be snug and secure. Knees should be able bend outside of the legs holes - that means if you measure your child from one knee all the way up the inseam line and down the to the other knee, you're looking for a measurement of over 19'' to fit properly in the Toddler Tula.

A good way to guess is by checking pant size - children who comfortably wear a 2T length pant (regardless of waist fit) will just fit correctly in a Toddler Tula. Those same children can still fit comfortably in a Standard Tula! Many will still be more comfortable in a Standard as they fill up the space better. Their knees are not drooping and their backs should be well supported still. The Standard Tula does not magically "end" or "stop working" at this 2T pant size... this is simply where a good fit in a Toddler Tula typically begins.

Above, Thea on her Dad’s back in a Toddler Tula. Here she is 17m old, 32'' tall, 25.5 lbs, wearing 24m pants. This is a bit too big. There are big gaps on each side of her body, causing her to move against Dad’s motion as he walks.  Her legs are just a bit too short and she can't bend her knees fully.

Below, an updated shot of Thea, now 22m old, in a Standard (left) and Toddler (right). Though she comfortably fits in a Toddler, she is still a better fit in a Standard as she fills the carrier completely, leaving no room for "pull" against mom’s body. The back panel is plenty high and she has good support for her legs.

Back seems low but only in back carries? Make sure to pull the carrier up to cover your child's back and create a good seat - this can be difficult with back carries. Have someone help you (even a young child can do this!) by gently pulling up on the back panel. If you're solo, try this: Remove one arm but keep ahold of the strap, and lift it up and away from your body. With a heavier child a gentle bounce may help. Then put the strap back on and repeat with the other side. Feel under the bum (like the bottom of a backpack) to see if there is excess material. I always do this before standing up just as an extra safety measure.

Lily on her Dad’s back in the Toddler Tula. Here she is 4 years old, 36lbs, 40'' tall, and wearing 5T pants. She is plenty comfortable here and loves riding on Daddy's back!

At some point as your child grows, you may notice discomfort - especially with extended wear. Make sure you first check your fit. Tula's Perfect Fit Adjusters at the top of each strap can help. Take the time to let all the straps out and start fresh, you might find that you can make things comfortable again. If not, it's likely time to size up.

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Did that help? Do you have more Tula or babywearing questions? Leave a comment and let us know! Ready to purchase? Find something you love right here!