Meet: Yoli & Otis forthculture Family + Kids, Q + A, Sustainable fashion YOLI & OTIS IS A BRAND that completely steals your heart away. A small family of four, Lena, Carlo, Yoli and Otis take you through their daily wanderings set amidst the tropical savannah of Australia, the salty spindrift of its expansive shorelines and gold coasts. A beacon for natural parenting, their baby carriers are made from breathable organic cotton, perfect for temperate conditions, and are made with all-natural dyes from botanical sources such as turmeric, henna, aloe vera and indigo. The colors are in tune with mother nature and take on tones such as moss, clay, sage, peat, blue Lechenaultia and white rose. Organic, pesticide-free cotton plants are able to produce longer-stable cotton fibers that yield stronger yarn and more durable fabrics. This also helps to keep the environment and workers healthy. According to the Soil Association, the non-organic cotton industry uses approximately 25 per cent of all the world’s insecticides and 10 per cent of pesticides. Toxic pesticides used in non-organic systems poison wildlife and rivers too. Moreover, an estimated 30 per cent of the world’s non-organic cotton is genetically modified, contributing to social problems, as the big companies developing the seeds have a monopoly in the industry and thus control many of the farmers. Babywearing has been recorded in history as far back as the Ancient Egyptians and scientific research demonstrates that frequent skin contact is one of the most important stimuli for a baby to ensure healthy physical, intellectual and social development. A study performed at the University of Miami revealed that premature babies who were regularly stroked gained 49 per cent more weight per day, as stroking the baby caused the secretion of growth hormones, or anabolic hormones. Other studies have shown that the sense of touch through a simple hug or caressing can increase oxytocin levels and in turn lower blood pressure and heart rate. As Lena explains about the experience with her daughter Yoli, “I’m a firm believer in the carrier being the biggest stepping stone towards walking. Her independence comes from her sense of security, and nothing makes them feel more secure than having that constant skin to skin contact. Also, movement is what stimulates their minds, simple things like hanging the washing, cooking, crafting, or simply pottering around the house and garden. Feeling safe ultimately heightens their ability to learn. All of these things are made manageable (and enjoyable) simply by wearing your bundle.” The wrap can be worn in three ways from newborn to 15 kg. It is especially important to carry your little one in cradle position for at least 3 months to allow for their neck and spine muscles to strengthen and provide the support they need. In true lifecycle mode, the Yoli & Otis carry bags also double as beach pouches and all gift wrapping is made from eco-friendly materials. Yoli & Otis clearly have a case of the green thumb that is reflected in their story and brand philosophy. Wherever you find yourself amongst nature’s rhythms, the wraps are the perfect accompaniment. Today we explored. Her confidence shines, as she walks alongside me, eyes in front, taking it all in. Her imagination, wild. […] Collecting sticks, chasing shadows, piling leaves and wandering paths of shaded light. Her eyes really are made up of crystals. She sees anything, in everything. Read on below for our Q&A with Lena: THE BEST PART OF BEING A PARENT They teach you a lot about yourself. THE TOUGHEST Your heart expands, but so too does your scale of emotion. When they cry you really feel it. WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU How much you will love your child, because it simply cannot be explained. MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT UNTIL NOW Yesterday actually. She accidentally poked Otis in the eye, then knelt down to kiss it better. I applaud her emotional milestones more than I do her physical ones. It teaches her the power of affection and how to heal the mind with emotional strength. MY RELATIONSHIP TO HEALTH, WELLNESS AND HAPPINESS Good health is very important to me, nurturing the outside from within. My energy levels control my mind and my mind controls my perspective on everything. I don’t do a lot of fitness, however, keeping active doesn’t always mean a 10k run or yoga 3 times a day. So long as I’m eating right, then my wellness comes from at least 2 hours of fresh air, a swim in the ocean most mornings and a walk in the evenings with Otis. I STAY NOURISHED WITH W A T E R. ALWAYS IN MY KITCHEN Honey, garlic, fruit. GO-TO MEALS FOR THE FAMILY Sushi!! DAILY RITUALS THAT KEEP ME ON TRACK AND GROUNDED Creating meals together as a family. MY FITNESS ROUTINE PRE- AND POST BABY Before Yoli, it was working on sail boats which is physically demanding. Now, it’s baby wearing. She loves it, so I’m encouraged to get out more. PREGNANCY TIP / BEST KEPT SECRET Nutritional yeast flakes. They contain a high source of folic acid and vitamin B12 and can be mixed with smoothies or used as an alternative when creating dips or sauces. ESSENTIALS FOR A NEW BABY A Yoli & Otis carrier! You must, must, MUST wear your baby. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver! FAVORITE PRODUCTS/ SHOPS FOR YOUR LITTLE ONE WWW.NATUREBABY.COM.AU FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AS A FAMILY Every morning we walk to our local beach, let Otis off his lead and watch Yoli spread her wings. Watching the tides shape the shoreline, gazing at mesmerising layers of blue palette and sharing sweet salty kisses with my true love. ADVENTURE TO TAKE We find solace in the countryside, long Sunday drives, with a picnic and road-side fruit bags. We find somewhere to eat, lay our heads and inhale the landscape before making the short journey home. HOW I CREATE A WORK / LIFE BALANCE Work consumes most of my day, but long meal times and regular walks balance it out quite nicely. I CULTIVATE PERSONAL TIME BY Nurturing the garden. FAVORITE WAY TO RELAX Collecting wild flowers. MAKES ME LAUGH Carlo does a great impression of David Attenborough, both Yoli and I are breathless with laughter. FAVORITE PLACE IN NATURE Mountain tops. My childhood was spent exploring every snow-capped mountain trail of the South Island, New Zealand. CHILDREN’S BOOKS I LOVE Sippy & Sunny, A Byron Bay Adventure. BEST READS FOR PARENTS-TO-BE The Continuum Concept. GREATEST WISDOM/ADVICE FOR MY CHILD/REN To seek comfort in broadening their horizons beyond current circumstances. MY ADVICE FOR NEW PARENTS Wear your baby and keep them close. Create a sense of security to enhance the bond between parent and child. Allow them to gain confidence in their surroundings so they are less likely to become upset or disheartened. HAPPINESS IS It all starts with your mind. Some people’s minds are pre-conditioned to create happiness from the outside, and others, from within. This will determine the degree of their success in terms of happiness and how they achieve it. Since becoming a parent, I’ve carefully analysed the last 20 or so years of my mind in every motion. Gaining wisdom and becoming aware, you get closer and closer to understanding what it really means to be happy because for the first time, it’s something I strive to understand in an attempt to create free-spirited, grounded contentment within my children. With that said, I haven’t yet lived a full life, so I suspect I still have a lot more to learn. Right now, for me happiness is being present, appreciating nature and family, acknowledging your place in the world and being thankful for it. WORDS TO LIVE BY SORRY, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. We all inevitably make mistakes; rather than defend your actions, say sorry and learn from them. Secondly, never be afraid to ask for help. Thirdly, be thankful and express your gratitude – this is something you can never do too much of. WHAT HAS MOVED ME FORTH THE MOST IN LIFE Being taught independance from an early age. You give children the gift of life, they are not gifted to you and they’re not possessions. Let them create their own journey. Follow it with them, but don’t always catch their fall; by doing so you are creating dependence. All images from the beautiful Yoli & Otis Instagram.