We are a music-loving family, and that’s why we wanted to make this wrap that looks like sheet music. There was nothing else like it at the time. But it couldn’t just be a nod towards music, it was for real musicians, so it had to be REAL music. Natibaby Notes is woven sheet music to Ode to Joy, the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, and a piece that most musicians have played. Read More
This is not so much an introduction to Mei Tais as it is a geeky comparison. When I first launched WrapYourBaby.com in 2005 I included instructions for both wraps and Mei Tais. My favorite carriers were woven wraps and Mei Tais and I wanted to teach others about them at a time when there weren’t local groups and spotting other babywearers “in the wild” was rare. Now that my site is dedicated to woven wrapping, I wanted to find a way to incorporate these images with my oldest daughter from all those years ago. I don’t have the originals anymore, so I can’t offer bigger versions, but I hope you will enjoy them anyway in the context of this comparison! Read More
Historical Note: This was one of the first pages on my original educational website, long before I added a store. WrapYourBaby.com was one of the earliest websites providing photo tutorials for wraps (and originally mei tais as well) before YouTube came along and provided video tutorials. I created this page to help explain the most popular kinds of carriers when they were less well known. Note that ABC was the popular descriptor for Asian-style carriers in 2005, and pouches were much more popular at the time – they are safe, ergonomic carriers and not another name for the dangerous bag carriers in which baby dangles by the parent’s hip. This page did not include descriptions of Soft Structured Carriers as the Ergo had not yet become so well known at the time that I wrote this (2005) and other brands of SSC were yet to follow.
This Mother’s Day help a refugee family by donating money or carriers to Carry the Future and comment on this Facebook post to tell me you did. I’ll choose one random winner to receive one of my exclusive woven wraps.
Carry the Future accepts donated soft structured carriers and mei tais which are personally brought to Greece by their volunteers. These volunteers are trained in the use of the carriers and meet refugees where they land in Greece or at other camps to pass out the carriers and teach the recipients how to use them. Because of the language barrier and the very short amount of time they have to teach the families safe use of the carrier, they only accept SSCs (soft structured carriers or buckle carriers) and Mei Tais: carriers that can be easily and quickly demonstrated visually.
Here’s where to donate: http://www.carrythefuture.org/donate/
Donate a carrier you’re not using, make a one-time monetary donation or set up $5 a month for the year – whatever amount and schedule works for you. This giveaway is open to those who make a donation to CTF this week only and I’ll announce the winner on Facebook on Monday 9 May 2016.
If you can’t donate yourself, please share this to reach more people who can, and you will have been just as valuable to these families!
The winner can choose from these three wraps for this #MakeMotherhoodMeaningful giveaway:
Natibaby Tattooed which displays classic sailor tattoos including a pinup style mom with a baby on her back, a connection between our local babywearing communities and families with babies crossing Europe in search of a home.
Natibaby Clementine is named for the sweet daughter we lost and reminds me of another connection between myself and mothers traveling now with their surviving children, or those babies being carried by other family members who have lost their mothers.
Natibaby Odyssey is an antique maps design populated by old-time monsters that perfectly symbolizes this odyssey so many families are undergoing in search of safety and community.
Babywearing families navigating the Christmas Holiday :
Babywearing families navigating the Christmas Holiday :
Top 3 winning costumes from this year’s babywearing costume contest!
#3 best babywearing costume of the year (1,244 votes):
Katie’s family is an impressive looking wrecking crew with baby driver/operator and candy bucket wrecking ball!
Do I spy Pumpkin spice . . . everything? Must be time for Wrap Your Baby’s annual Facebook Costume Contest!
One entry will win a free woven wrap!
Start planning your babywearing costume now. Share it on the Wrap Your Baby Facebook page anytime in October. I will share some of the photos on social media or on my blog and on 3 November I will collect all entries to a contest album and voting will occur the first week of November. The photo with the most likes will win a woven wrap!
How I became a mother, Wrap Your Baby became a business, and you got 25% off a Natibaby wrap this week – read on!
I became a mother on September 9th 2004. It was a girl! I had planned to name her Molly if she was a girl but once he met her, David insisted that she didn’t look like a Molly.
We spent our first day together in bed (all three of us) trying out names and the first one we all really liked was Ada. David’s father comes from a Jewish family and we loved that Ada is a form of the Hebrew name Adah, which is found in the bible and means “ornament” or “brightness.” I didn’t find out until later that Ada means First Born Daughter in the Nigerian language Igbo, and while we have no known ties to Nigeria, I love that it is appropriate in another language as well.
We gave her my maternal grandmother’s name for her middle name and she became Ada Maria, thus giving her another tie to her heritage, this time to her great grandmother who was half Puerto Rican and half Cuban. Of course, Maria is a name referring the mother of Jesus, giving her two biblical names.
And then, when she was three days old, we fled the home where she was born in the face of Hurricane Ivan, which meant a very unplanned roadtrip to Georgia with a 3 day old baby (we were fortunate that the hurricane did not hit our city and we would soon return to an intact home).
While pregnant, I remembered seeing a mother wrapped up with a little baby at a tiny grocery store in Washington DC when I was a teenager. That was how I wanted to carry my baby. But I didn’t know what she was using, what it was called, or how to find it, all these years later, and I didn’t know anybody who wrapped their baby in that way. But I did my best and before she was born I purchased a Second-hand Snugli carrier at a children’s consignment shop for about $10 and I ordered a Maya Wrap Sling from an ad in Mothering magazine – the only kind of cloth baby carrier I could find.
We tried the Snugli over the two days that we were out of town during her first week of life. We knew we liked having her close and could see how a baby carrier would ease our transition to becoming parents.
We soon learned that Ada was only happy when being held, and usually only wanted me to hold her. Since I couldn’t hold her in the car, she screamed during car rides, and that resulted in a lot more stay-at-home days. I broke out the olive green Maya Wrap and I did use it some but it wasn’t love. Without knowing any other ringslinger, I had no one to help me get the hang of making it really comfortable and useful to us.
I liked the idea of the ringsling – a piece of fabric binding us together – better than the Snugli, but working the rings wasn’t intuitive for me and it never clicked.
As for the Snugli, Ada was just about 3 months old when I stopped using that. We were diapering her with prefolds and wool covers – perfect way to combine the frugality dictated by our recent transition to a single income and the natural fibers we knew were the only thing we wanted around our baby’s sensitive parts – but this resulted in a very big diaper and (I’m not even exaggerating here) one day when I took the Snugli off I had to spend two minutes prying Ada out of it. I was afraid if I ever put her in it again, it would be for good!
Meanwhile, Ada still wanted to be in arms constantly. I didn’t want to try to “teach her” independence while she was still so dependent. I didn’t want her to get used to the idea that her clear communication and biologically normal instincts wouldn’t be answered. But I also didn’t want her under the care of a mother who was short on sleep, sanity, and the ability to feed herself and keep healthy for her family!
I took to the internet and discovered www.thebabywearer.com – what a treasure trove! Long before Facebook existed, that place was full of moms talking about baby carriers for keeping their babies close just like I was trying to do. And the baby carriers were all I wanted them to be – cloth carriers that put no barrier between baby and mother, derived from traditional and time-tested practices around the world and explained for the layman with help from the most generous moms who had already figured it out and wanted others to, as well ❤
Poring over the forums, it didn’t take me long to find the one that called to me. There was no doubt about it, I wanted to be a wrapper. I loved everything about woven wraps, the closeness, the two-shoulder support, the cocoon like environment for baby, the beautiful fabrics and the style of a beautifully wrapped carry. I ordered an EllaRoo wrap, famous for being Summer-weight and just what I wanted for constantly wearing a baby in the Florida heat.
While I waited for it to arrive, I studied photos and photo tutorials online (these were the days before YouTube) and advice for new wrappers. I knew I was ready to use it as soon as I had it in my hands.
Ada was 4 months old when our Mary Ellaroo arrived. She was nursing (she was always nursing) and my husband handed the wrap to me and I wrapped it sloppily around us while seated and we loved it immediately!
Ada continued nursing and fell asleep. I used my hands that were now free to tell my village – the folks on The Babywearer – all about it.
Having found wraps, I sold my ring sling and never looked back. For people like me, a piece of fabric without any rings or buckles is easier to figure out. Adjusting is in pulling, spreading and tying – no messing with straps or threading of rings.
Very soon we were travelling with our baby in our wrap. Wrapping made getting through the airport a breeze. We wrapped all through the Cincinnati Aquarium with several of my college friends, where Ada was too young to care about the scenery but happy to be wrapped on my chest and able to nurse as much as she wanted without slowing me down.
Attending Great Grandma Kate’s Birthday Dinner at a restaurant in Kentucky was a cinch since we didn’t need to lug in a an infant seat. I am NOT a fan of infant car seats being used to carry babies outside of the car so I was thrilled to have something that worked better, wasn’t heavy, allowed my little one to sleep on the go, and let me keep her close.
In December, we took a plane trip to Austin. Here we are at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar admiring the art for sale. An art show is not a good place for a toddler – unless they’re wrapped on your back where they can enjoy the atmosphere, fellow shoppers, and view of the visual cacophony of art without jeopardizing it!
A latina friend pronounced her name “ah-dah” and told me that it is the Spanish word for fairy (although I since learned that the word is spelled with a silent or very soft H – hada). By the time she was 3, Ada was in love with fairies and wore her wings everywhere we went, and once again I was amazed at how fitting her name seemed to be. Here she is, wings and all at Busch Gardens with her father.
From the Birth of Ada to the Birth of Wrap Your Baby:
Over the course of Ada’s first year, wrapping was such a huge part of my life that I wanted to share it with other moms in the area. I started teaching wrapping locally, and bought a small number of EllaRoo wraps at wholesale to sell to moms if they liked what I showed them. My mom helped me build a website with an email address to contact me for anyone who wanted to learn to wrap and I started meeting moms I didn’t know at libraries and parks to give them the opportunity to try wrapping. They almost always bought a wrap after one of our sessions.
I created several wrapping photo tutorial pages on my website, using Ada as my model and they started to get shared around the web. A few years later I added an online wrap store and a few years after that my husband stopped doing construction work in order to help me ship wraps and now this business Ada inspired supports our family of 5.
How did this happen? Becoming a mother was momentous and it took over my life at the time. The one piece of baby gear that made a huge difference to my quality of life every single day was my wrap. Without a comfortable and easy way to hold my baby, we both would have cried a lot more tears. I would not have been able to take care of myself well enough to take good care of my family, would not have been able to get out of the house so often, or met and helped so many families, and might well have gone crazy for a while.
Eleven Years Later
Ada Maria has bloomed into a sweet young lady who still loves fairies but seldom wears wings, who loves to read and draw and do origami. She loves playing with her younger siblings and is a great help to her parents. I don’t regret a moment of holding her close.
Thanks for attending my celebration of Ada. Since you stuck around to the end, I have a party favor for you:
25% off Natibaby wraps in my store
with coupon code ELEVEN
Coupon is good through Wednesday, the 9th of September on Natibaby wraps (the new silk Nursing Love wrap is not included in this sale) in my store. Can not be combined with other discounts, with the exception of 2nds Quality wraps that are already marked at a lower price (the code will take 25% off the price marked in the store).
Dark Olive Linen Colibri size 7 (unlisted – please email me if you want this wrap)
Ring Sling – Original Nati Notes (black background with white music), 100% Cotton, lightly used, size Medium
Black on White Hemp Blend Notes, size 7
Turquoise Winter Wool Blend, size 2, 4, 5, 7
Ring Sling – Greenman, size L
Connie graciously allowed me to share her Facebook post to friends from earlier this month:
Why do we babywear?
For my child with cerebral palsy, babywearing allows him to engage with the world when he was a non-walking toddler; now he walks with orthotics, but tires easily, the carrier allows me to offer him rest and respite.
For my child with ASD, the snug hold of a carrier helps him to organize and calm down when he feels overwhelmed and in need of refuge.
Babywearing allows our children to be fully engaged in the world. We take them places that strollers cannot go, we show them the world that we see. My child who cannot walk without his braces can still go up a mountain, or down to the edge of the sea. My child who gets over-stimulated can still participate in our family and friends’ celebrations and be a part of the community.
One of the fears I have as a mother to special needs children is that their world will be smaller and dimmer than I’d hoped for them. Babywearing helps me to combat that, to write a different future for them, in a world where they know, from the beginning, that they belong.
I know you love wrapping your baby: the closeness, the connection, and the convenience! AND it’s so pretty! And mastering the different wrap carries is fun and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment!
Naturally, you want to share this amazingness with EVERYBODY. But does everybody want to hear? Are you just turning everybody off of babywearing with your enthusiasm?
Some tips for SHARING YOUR LOVE OF BABYWEARING (without being obnoxious):
AVOID posting excessive studies, articles, or other “proofs” about how great babywearing or wrapping are.
INSTEAD talk about the things you’ve been able to do comfortably and easily thanks to a baby carrier:
AVOID looking like a looney when you suggest that a mom might want to wear her baby AND her 40 lb toddler at the same time. Leave tandem wearing discussions between expert babywearers and keep it tame for the general public.
INSTEAD mention how wrapping your newborn made it so much easier to care for your toddler:
AVOID telling your newly pregnant friend that she’s going to prefer a baby carrier to a bucket seat. Positioning yourself in opposition to what she’s always seen and expected just weakens your credibility.
INSTEAD mention that you personally preferred a wrap because the seat was heavy:
Share super cool wrapping related things when you come across them like this babywearing orchestra:
And mostly, just share about your family having fun like everyone else does on Facebook, and if wrapping is a part of your life, it will show up in your pictures and stories without having to force it.
Mandy is a pediatric nurse. She doesn’t work in NICU so hadn’t had experience before with a baby going through withdrawal, but as a babywearing mother, when she found herself responsible for a distraught baby, she knew what she could offer him for comfort! When she shared this in our local babywearing group, I felt fit to burst with emotion: compassion for the baby and mother and also a deep gratitude for the ability to comfort babies with the simplicity of human touch; for the good fortune to know how important this is for babies; and for Mandy to be working when this little one needed that. Mandy reported that the other nurses were continuing to wear the baby so that he was not left adrift when she went home.
In Mandy’s own words, “I’m a pediatric nurse and had a baby going through withdrawal. I made a makeshift sling out of some baby blankets and “wore” him as much as I could. It was the only thing that consistently calmed him down! Wear ALL the babies, even the ones who aren’t our own!”
Babywearing a baby in Florida means knowing how to keep everyone comfortable in hot weather. Here are my suggestions for lighter Summertime wraps, recommendations for cooler carries to use with your wraps, and tips for surviving hot weather wrapping so you don’t have to stay in-doors all Summer!
Tips for Choosing a Wrap
Thin wraps and wraps with open weaves: a thin, airy wrap will be more comfortable than a thick, densely woven wrap and because there is no padding or heavy canvas, has the potential for cooler carrying than many other carriers. I don’t recommend stretchy wraps because most are very warm, and they won’t provide the versatility and comfort throughout the first couple of years that you can get from these woven (non stretchy) wraps! Try Ellevill, Wrapsody Breeze, and EllaRoo woven wraps for the most comfort this Summer.
Short wraps and carries with fewer layers: another cooler option for hot days is a shortie in a single layer carry. If you already have a wrap and it’s not the coolest fabric, it’s good to know that a heavier wrap in a single layer carry can be as cool as a thin wrap with multiple layers. A size 3 or 4 will give most parents several front, back, and hip carry options that won’t warm you up as much as a longer wrap. Find more information about short wrap carries and which size wrap will work for a parent of ANY size, here.
If you want a stretchy wrap, choose a cooler stretchy wrap: the silky-soft Wrap DuO, is similar to other stretchy wraps on the market, but SO MUCH COOLER, and it does double duty as a wrap you can wear in the water. Think pool, beach, splash park, or shower – perfect for managing on hot summer days!
Tips for Choosing a Carry:
- A carry that does not tie around your waist can keep you cooler (click on photos below for tutorials).
- You can often bunch up instead of spreading a pass in a front carry that has more than one layer – just make sure that baby is secure, supported, and you are both comfy.
- For older babies, a back carry usually feels cooler than a chest to chest carry, but you want to be able to see and interact with them enough to know if they are doing well or getting too hot.
Cooler carry suggestions (click on the photo to go to instructions page):
There are also some very short carries (size 2 or 3 wrap for most parents) that are tied at shoulder with no waist belt and no pass over the caregiver’s torso and these are great for hot Summer weather:
Rucksack TAS (tied at shoulder)
Double Rebozo Back Carry
Half Jordan’s Back Carry
If you have a longer wrap and are doing Front Wrap Cross Carry, try bunching the crosses at baby’s side to keep some of the layers off baby in hot weather (click the photo to go the the tutorial page where you’ll find instructions for both spread and bunches passes):
6 Tips for Sun Protection:
Even the FDA recommends against using sun screen on babies under 6 months old so here are some old fashioned methods of protecting yourself from excessive sun exposure.
- find shade frequently or provide your own by using a wide brimmed hat or parasol
- cover baby’s legs and arms with light, loose clothing
- use your wrap or wrap tails to cover baby (but not baby’s face) while still allowing airflow
- the WrapDuO mentioned above provides UPF 45 Sun Protection
- Shea Butter and Coconut Oil are safe for babies and both provide some protection
- avoid being outside for prolonged periods between 10am and 2pm
6 Tips to Avoid Over-heating:
- keep yourself hydrated – drink plenty of water
- keep your baby hydrated – if breastfeeding, allow baby to nurse as often as they want, and switch sides as frequently as they like as they will instinctively switch more often when they need more of the watery foremilk; if using formula, baby may need extra when out on hot days or even supplement with water; babies who are eating solids should drink water frequently
- sticking to the shade makes a huge difference
- make a breeze – use a small clip on fan with foam fan blades, or carry a paper fan with you (or improvise with a magazine)
- if using a cooling towel, be attentive to your baby to ensure that he or she is not getting too cold, especially with young babies who are not yet able to regulate temperature well and do not use ice packs or cloths soaked with ice water directly on babies
- take breaks – remove baby from wrap and use the wrap as a blanket for you and baby to hang out on for a few minutes in a shady spot
Motherhood is an experience that is unique to each of us yet there are certain experiences that many of us have in common. That’s why other moms can be the best allies and friends and help to keep us sane and make us happy.
Jay (founder of the organization) understood that because she felt the absence of that “village” of moms when her baby was born and out of necessity Walking Mums was born.
Jay’s story is here and I love it because I strongly believe that many of the things that make wrapping such a great tool to combat post partum depression (or post natal depression) are present in this organization’s walks, whether the moms use strollers, wraps, or just carry their babies. Some of those powerful elements to mental mom health are: sunlight, fresh air, adult companionship and conversation, enjoyable time spent with baby and exercise.
It sounds ridiculously simple but the truth is that it makes a world of difference feeling cooped up indoors alone with a needy baby vrs strolling outside with other moms (who are also moms and don’t make you feel like an outsider), chatting and making friends.
For one thing, a baby on a walk – whether in a stroller (pronounced Pushcar or Pram if you have a British accent) or a wrap – is usually not crying. That alone can save a mom!
Additionally, exercise, outdoors, and companionship can all positively affect hormones which might leave you feeling like a different person.
Knowing you are not alone in your trials and worries and feelings can also be a game-changer and change tears to laughter before you know it.
Walking Mums of London has recently implemented Introduction to Babywearing Walks/Workshops to complement their existing program of walking with other moms and babies for companionship and enjoyment. During these walks, parents will be able to try 4 types of carriers, with assistance from a certified babywearing consultant.
“We aim to teach people about wraps as we believe they are the most ergonomic and natural types of carriers but unfortunately a bit of time is needed to learn and feel confident and that what we are trying to achieve.”
Their first Into to Babywearing walk/workshop was a great success and Jay was kind enough to share them with me, and let me know that there will be more walks to come!
Bomba is a traditional Puerto Rican dance derived from the island’s African, Spanish, and Taino cultural influences. The dance is named for the drums – bombas – which follow the improvisation of the dancers in an energetic dialogue as the drummer responds to the gestures, moves, and swirling skirts of the dancer:
Jessica drums to the rhythmic dancing of Asia and baby Esmé in a woven wrap. If you enjoyed these, you can see more about their art at Bomba Body Dance and Drumming Co.
Photos by Petal & Vine Photography.
The earthy rainbow wrap Asia and Esmé are wearing is called Barefoot Rainbow and is a Wrap Your Baby exclusive design handwoven in Guatemala by one of Girasol’s weavers.
Sometimes I hear that wrapping is too hard. It has a steep learning curve. There is even a popular meme circulating that begins with “Dear New Wrapper” and promises that as terrible and frustrating as it is to learn to wrap, it will all be so worth it.
I disagree. Wrapping doesn’t have to be hard.
I get emails all the time from parents who just received their wrap, tried it on and LOVED IT. And that’s what I want to happen every time I ship a wrap.
But it is not uncommon for a parent to try a wrap for the first time and end up with a big mess. Baby crying, wrap not supporting them, back hurting . . . what went wrong?
Just this: wrapping is not common in our culture, so we’re totally unfamiliar with it. And just like tying shoes, something you’ve never done and aren’t used to can seem impossible the first few times until it clicks and, with practice, becomes second nature.
So what do we do?
What I do: I provide step-by-step photo and video instructions on my website. I send an instructional DVD with every wrap I ship. I invite questions and am eager to help trouble shoot a problem. I know from experience that I can help you love your wrap!
What you can do to learn wrapping without tears:
- Start with Front Wrap Cross Carry. It is a great carry to learn with and will teach you how to tighten and adjust and spread and bunch.
- Watch the video a few times before you try it.
- Have the photo instructions open to refer to while you’re wrapping.
- Stay calm.
- Pause as needed, with your hand around your baby for safety, and find out what the next step is before continuing.
- Use the carry a few times a day until you have mastered it.
- Don’t try to learn a new carry until you have mastered the last one.
If you have any trouble, let’s solve this and get you happily wrapping:
- Practice on a doll or, even better, something with a little weight like a bag of apples.
- Learn the steps of the carry so that it is memorized, before you add in your real baby.
- Practice with your baby when he or she is not tired or hungry, is freshly changed and happy. Once you are both used to it you will find it most helpful for the more desperate moments but start easy!
- Don’t get frustrated. It is highly unlikely that you will finish successfully if you are trying to do it when you’re overwhelmed or upset. If your baby is crying and it’s worrying you too much, stop and take a break! Come back to it later.
- Consider every time you work on it to be one time closer to getting it right. There are no failed wrap jobs, just one practice closer to success.
- Be cognizant of whether your wrap job is safe and secure.
- If the wrap is too loose or uncomfortable, keep your arms around your baby for safety and comfort and leave the loose wrap job on for at least a few minutes while you walk around, helping your baby to get used to the idea of being wrapped up.
- Locate a babywearing group near you where you can get the hands-on help that might make the whole thing much, much easier for you.
- Email me if you need help!
Tatyana relates her experiences with wrapping her babies and toddlers as she and her husband Frank, always adventurous, embark on the adventure of farming:
With two babies 13 months apart, babywearing has saved my sanity way too many times! Me and my husband met hiking the Appalachian Trail, so backpacking is what we love the best. Only when babywearing your load is much more precious than a load of camping equipment.
I was lucky to meet a great local support group (South Florida Babywearing) and learn the right way to carry my first newborn when he was only few weeks old. It has been an amazing closeness ever since – either flying, hiking back in the woods, going around my daily chores, nursing.
We moved to our new farm in Ocala, FL when Nadia was just a month old, and Andrei just 14 months… I tandem-wore them A LOT at that time. It was an adjustment for all of us…new sibling, new bright world outside the womb, new house.
With Frank’s unpredictable travel and work schedule, my hands were, and still are, very full… Two kids, the house to clean, cook, feed the horses, clean the chicken coop, start a vegetable garden, plant a tree, water the flowers, check on my bee-hives (when kids are sleeping at the same time).
Wearing my baby feels safe! When you are working around horses you need to be very careful, and keeping my baby close and safe brings me a peace of mind. Plus, I am always paranoid about fire ants that can bite little feet. Also, we like to take long walks on the country roads around the farm, and me and my husband always carry a baby along.