No, your baby – even your toddler – is NOT too big for a wrap! How do I know? Keep reading and you’ll see!
For a toddler wrap, you will want to get a good woven wrap. You will not get the support you want from a stretchy wrap. With a sturdy toddler wrap you will find out how comfortable wrapping a one year old, two year old, three year old, or four year old can be! Read More
Summer babywearing in Florida means knowing how to keep everyone comfortable in a baby carrier in hot weather. Here are my suggestions for lighter Summer baby 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!
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? Read More
This Yin/Yang sequence will nourish both the male (yang) and feminine (yin) energies in the body. The Yang portion will help to strengthen, tone and energize the body. The Yin portion will allow you to surrender, let go, pause and nourish the fascia and connective tissue in the body (including joints, ligaments, and bones).
Three core principles to Yin:
Hold each pose/shape for a longer duration of time. In the practice shared below holds are anywhere from 1-5 minutes. Lovingly listen to your body- each day, each practice is different- hold poses for the duration that feels right to you/baby.
Get in touch with your “Goldie Locks Spot” or edge. This is where the pose is not too easy, but not too challenging. At your edge you will still experience sensations in the body, but it should not feel painful. Since poses are held for a duration of time- slowly come to your edge in each pose.
Poses are held in a relaxed and meditative state. Turn your attention inward. Muscles are relaxed, really allowing us to access the deeper sites in the body (connective tissue and fascia). Focus on what you are experiencing in your body- emotionally and physically during each pose/asana. Gently bring yourself back to the present moment/your experience if the mind becomes active (thinking about past or future events, etc.).
Disclaimer: Consult your/a physician before starting any new exercise program. And ALWAYS listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, for you or your baby- it isn’t right for you today. <3
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Directions: Stand with both feet together, arms at both sides, legs active, spine long and engage your core. Breathe deep. Take 5 deep cleansing breaths here (in and out through the nose).
Benefits: It energetically helps to ground and become present as you begin your yoga practice. Physically it helps to create space within the body- allowing internal organs to work more efficiently. This can really improve respiration, digestion and circulation.
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), then step feet wide apart (the wider your feet the gentler the stretch) turn feet slightly outwards. Place hands in prayer at heart center.
Bend your knees and begin to squat down. If heels stay on the floor as you squat- awesome! If not, allow heels to lift off the floor as you lower. Keeping your back straight, lower your buttocks as close to the floor as you can. Observe what feels right to you- only lower as far as feels good for you and baby.
Pause at bottom of squat, hands remain in prayer at the heart center.
Slowly begin to rise back up into a standing position.
Repeat the squat an additional 1-10 times (depending on how you feel)
Modifications: Place a folded blanket under your heels if they do not touch the floor when you squat down.
Benefits: Opens the hips, improves balance, memory and concentration.
Virabhadrasana B (Warrior Pose B)
Stand in Mountain Pose. With an exhale step your feet about 3.5-4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides. Should blades wide and palms are down.
Turn your right foot slightly in and your left foot out 90 degrees to the left so the toes are pointing away from the body. Align your left heel with the right.
Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, causing the shin to be perpendicular to the floor. Bring your left thigh parallel to the floor, creating a 90 degree angle in your knee. Straighten your right leg and press your right heel out and down to the floor.
Stretch your arms out, keeping them parallel to the floor. Turn your head to the left as you look out over the fingers of your left hand. Keep your spine straight.
Hold this pose for 5 deep breaths. When you are ready inhale and come out of the pose (back to Mountain Pose). Then repeat with the ride side.
NOTE: In this pose we perform the left side first. Picture below models the right side.
Omit the 90 degree bend in the knee if needed or decrease the bend (as I have demonstrated).
Benefits: Stretches your hips, groins and shoulders. Opens chest and lungs. Stimulates your abdominal organs, develops balance and stability. Builds stamina and concentration.
Vriksasana (Tree Pose)
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Really ground and spread left foot and toes (creating strong foundation in left leg/foot).
Bend the right knee, bringing the right foot up and place the sole against the inner left thigh (avoid placing foot on the outside of the left knee).
Rest your hands on the top rim of your pelvis. Make sure the pelvis in in a neutral position.
Lengthen the tailbone towards the floor.
Bring hands to together in prayer at center of chest.
Take 5 deep cleansing breaths
Release the pose and do the other side (following the same steps, just alternate side).
Modifications: Stand with your back braced against a wall if you feel unsteady in this pose.
Benefits: Strengthens the thighs, calves, ankles and spine. Stretches the groins and inner thighs. Improves sense of balance, relieves sciatica.
Butterfly Pose (with or without forward fold)
A. Carefully lower to and sit on the floor, with equal weight in both sitting bones. Spine is upright and legs are extended.
B. Bending your knees bring the soles of the feet together to touch.
C. Move your feet forward away from the body, so as to create a diamond shape with your legs.
D. If you’d like, remain here- upright position OR place hands on baby for extra support and fold forward bringing your head in the direction of the soles of your feet (as shown in photo).
E. Remain in either version of the pose for 1-5 minutes.
Modifications: If you need additional support place rolled blankets underneath each knee or thigh as needed for additional support.
Benefits: This is a “power” Yin pose, in the sense that it nourishes all the meridians in our bodies. Meridians are rivers of energy (“qi”) that flow and feed different organs and systems in the body. Kidneys/Urinary Bladder, Liver/Gallbladder, Stomach/Spleen and Heart/Lungs/Intestines. It’s a great pose to open the hips and gently stretch the lower back (lower back is stretched if leaning forward).
Butterfly Pose with optional fold
Begin by sitting straight with your right leg drawn over your left so that your knees are stacked and your feet are sitting back near your hips with your hands at your sides in Gyan Mudra (tips of thumb and index finger touch, other fingers are straight but relaxed).
Lower chin slightly towards chest- closing eyes if you wish.
Remain in this posture (with hand mudra) for 1-5 minutes.
Release the pose and come into the other side (following the same steps, just opposite side).
Modifcations: If this external-hip-rotation range of motion is challenging, elevate the sits bones on a cushion or rolled blanket. If there is space between your knees, put a folded blanket there as well to fill the space.
Benefits: Another great hip opener- wonderful for liver/gallbladder. Poses that nourish the liver/gallbladder meridians help to transform emotions of anger into compassion for ourselves. Gyan Mudra helps to stimulate the root chakra and grounds. This mudra also calms and improves concentration.
Square Pose (with our without forward fold)
Sit cross-legged and bring your right foot on top of your left knee, your left foot under your right knee, your shins on top of the other. When you look down you should see that you’ve created a triangle shape between your legs.
Bring hands together in prayer in front of your chest/baby.
Remain here for 1-5 minutes.
Release the pose and come into the other side (following the same steps, just opposite side).
Modifications: If your right knee is not resting on top of your left foot, place a blanket under your right thigh.
Benefits: Nice preparation for lotus pose, also helps to open up the hips. Is great for the liver/gallbladder and kidney/urinary bladder meridians.
Dragonfly Pose (with our without forward fold)
Spread your legs as wide apart as they are willing to go
Relax feet- no need to flex feet- we want the muscles to be relaxed/at ease.
Add a forward fold if desired- using one hand to support baby and another to touch floor (if available)
Modifications: If you have any low back or hamstring tension, a rolled or folded blanket under each knee will feel really good and take some of the tension out of the pose. Also, sitting on a blanket will help with the forward fold if you choose.
Benefits: Opens the hips, groin and the back of thighs, provides a gentle opening to inner knees. Will help to ground and calm (great for Kidney meridian).
Dragonfly Pose with optional forward fold
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
Directions: This is a more “advanced” yoga pose. Please only perform if have been practicing and are familiar with the pose. Remain here (in either this pose or the modification) for 5 cleansing breaths in and out of the nose.
Modifications: A beautiful alternate pose is simply criss cross position while bringing hands to the heart.
It’s World Breastfeeding Week when we focus on normalizing breastfeeding so that eventually it won’t be upsetting or alarming to anyone, and so it will be more common and easier for new nursing moms to learn.
Woven wraps can be a wonderful breastfeeding tool. They make it easier to nurse on demand without being glued to your house, and all that contact between baby and mother physically encourage a perfect supply of milk for baby’s changing needs.
Here are about 15 carries that can be used for nursing. Different carries and positions work better for different moms and babies. Make sure that you have established a good breastfeeding relationship, and learn to use your wrap comfortably, before you try combining the two skills. Then see what works best for you: most any front or hip carry can be a great nursing carry. Scroll down for some more tips and lots of video tutorials on how to make breastfeeding work with wrapping.
You might have noticed that most of the carries show baby or toddler in an upright position. This is often the easiest way to nurse in a wrap as most babies are wrapped in upright carries. To nurse, untie the knot, bounce (while holding the two wrap ends) to let baby’s weight pull the wrap job lower, then re-tie once you have baby at about the right height to latch on. You can see the videos at the bottom of this post for how to do that.
Don’t let baby go too low, or you will end up using your arms to support him or her. After nursing you should tighten the wrap to return baby to a position high on your chest which will be better for your body and safer for baby.
After the first few months, most babies are able to face downward to reach the nipple from a slightly higher position, and will also use their hands to hold the breast.
While your baby is still young, or for moms with larger cup sizes, you may find it helpful to bring your breast up over the top of a scoop neck shirt or bra so that your clothes help to prop it up and keep your nursing position higher. Another option is to fold up a burp cloth or prefold and put it under your breast to prop it up.
Sometimes it works best to nurse your baby in a cradle position. Maybe your baby is already nursing contentedly on your lap and you are wrapping around them so that you can get up without disturbing them. Or maybe it’s the best configuration with your two body types and sizes to keep your knees from hitting baby when you walk!
A larger baby or toddler can be in a cradle position with legs sticking out of the wrap as in this picture:
When nursing newborns and infants, it is important to make sure their airway is clear. Don’t let their faces get mashed into your breast. Their little pug noses are designed by nature to leave nostrils clear while nursing, so pay attention and make sure they stay clear of fabric as well as your body.
Keep an eye on your nursing infant in a cradle baby to make sure their nostrils are clear and that they are repositioned when done nursing.
If you are going to wrap an infant in a cradle position, make sure you know how to do so safely without letting them curl into a C, with chin tucked to chest. Baby’s chin should always be well off his or her chest (at least two adult fingerwidths). Babies can be adjusted to an upright position after nursing so that they are high on your chest, with chin elevated, and face visible. That’s the easiest position for a new wrapper to learn safely.
TIP: think about nursing access before you get wrapped up. Do you prefer to pull your top up so it covers the top of your breast? Or if you have a hard time getting your shirt up from under the wrap job, you might prefer to pull your breast out of the top of your low cut neckline (this is also helpful for propping up the breast as mentioned above).
Whatever makes it easiest on you is the best way to go, and if you are self conscious nursing in public, the best trick is to go out with one or more friends that are 100% comfortable with it. They will be your buffer.
Here’s a wonderful brand of feminism that doesn’t require you to stay home all the time in order to own your innately feminine ability to nurture life. If you want to be a nursing mom out in the world: go for it, mama!
14 videos to show you a variety of options for nursing in a woven wrap:
A guide to the differences between different kinds of fibers that are used in weaving wraps by Marcia Stewart, the artist/weaver at Golden Thread Mistress:
*Disclaimer from Marcia: this is all from my experience and you may find things to be different. Hope you enjoy the read!*
Many wraps are woven with 100% cotton. All cotton is easy to care for (machine wash, tumble dry low), resilient, and pretty worry-free. Wraps that contain other fibers usually are primarily cotton, with a smaller percentage of the featured fiber.
Some people move to stiffer fibers when their babies get heavier, but I have found cotton to be just as supportive as a hemp or linen blend, if it is woven densely. Thicker all-cotton wraps are excellent for toddlers. Thinner or less densely woven cotton wraps can be saggy, and can require more precise wrapping to be comfortable with heavier babies. All of this can depend on wrapping preferences. [note from Diana at WYB: Storchenweige is an example of a very supportive all-cotton wrap with a dense weave that is great for toddlers and older kids.]
This is often recommended as a fiber choice for heavier babies. Linen is also popular in the summer because it is known to be more breathable. Wraps that are 100% linen in plainweave have very little cush because of the flatness of the weave. A linen wrap that has more texture to the weave may have a little more cushion on the shoulders. The fiber itself has very little stretch, so carries in 100% linen tend to be solid and don’t budge.
Sometimes linen blends can be known as “ropey” because they can have less cush than cotton does. So much of this ropey feeling is contributed to by the weave, and also how broken in the linen is. More wear makes the linen moldable and you may find that a linen wrap you didn’t like when it was brand new wraps beautifully with time and use.
Hemp is very similar to linen, but some people find it to be less breathable of a fiber. I personally haven’t found that; thick hemp wraps that are very dense may have contributed to the impression. Hemp combined with cotton can make a wonderful wrap. Hemp provides lots of support for heavier babies without the bulk that may be necessary for an all-cotton wrap. However, hemp is also less stretchy and yielding than cotton, so it may not have as much bounce. People who prefer their carries not to budge tend to like hemp.
Hemp can be washed in the washing machine, even on hot. It’s a tough fiber.
Delicate silk is sought after for small babies. Silk blends can be supportive enough for heavier babies, but silk wraps are often thinner and potentially less supportive. Silk itself is a very strong fiber, but again, the strength of silk in the fabric depends on the size of the silk yarn and the weave of the fabric. The softness and sheen of silk is so beautiful. Gorgeous silk wraps are luxurious.
Silk requires more delicate laundering and must be air-dried to maintain fiber integrity. Silk is also more expensive than other fibers.
Autumn and winter months call for wool wraps! Wool blends are snuggly and cozy in cold weather, but wool is a very breathable fiber. It can be worn comfortably even in summer because of the way air moves easily though it. Wool has an amazing bounce and usually makes wraps very cushy and comfortable.
Wool can require more delicate care to avoid felting the fibers. Handwashing (either actually by hand or in a machine on the handwash setting) is the best method to prevent felting, and it is important to avoid extreme agitation or temperature changes during the wash. Then, wool must be air-dried.
When purchasing a used wool wrap, it is wise to ask for the width measurement of the wrap because felted wraps measure narrower than their unfelted counterparts.
Alpaca, cashmere, and mohair are all similar to wool in wrapping qualities and care.
The bamboo I have wrapped with has been very soft and comfortable. Bamboo is known to shrink so a cold, hand wash is often recommended; followed by air drying. If you prefer to machine wash, you can purchase your wrap in a size longer than you intend and then shrinkage will not matter as much.
Last month I asked babywearing parents to share their knowledge by making a video of how they do various wrap carries, so that I could share their techniques with more moms and dads through my website. I think that parents and families can benefit the most from the freely shared knowledge from other parents, as embodied by the African proverb each one teach one. And I think this method of spreading knowledge is far more useful and empowers all of us more than parenting books, parenting experts, or other authoritarian organizations. Anything that helps you is great, and I am not asking you to adopt my opinion, but this is my preference for education of any kind.
I received so many wonderful videos. I want to thank everybody who made a video SO MUCH. I was unable to use all of them, as some were redundant, and I had to look at which ones had the clearest picture, best lighting, best sound, and clearest instructions so they would be the most help to the internet community. This was not intended as a competition, however there are certain logistical needs that I had to meet.
I also promised to send a woven wrap donation to four babywearing groups who were represented by the video submissions. Here are my four video categories, the group that will be receiving a wrap, and the video that won the wrap for each group (by random draw). If you let the video play to the end, I believe that the rest of the playlist in the same category will play so you can see several of the submissions, all of which are great.
Any stressful event is an opportunity to see if babywearing can be a tool to help you offer comfort to your little ones.
Some moms who choose to vaccinate their babies or toddlers have found that wrapping has made it go smoothly and without upset. Samantha has some experience with this and offered both this photo demonstrating ways to wrap for vaccination, and some description to go with it, which she kindly let me add to my blog:
Wrap Postitions for babywearing during vaccination.
Pictures of optimal wrapping techniques for parents who choose to vaccinate. On the left, a stretchy wrap without the support pass pulled up (see it wrapped around my waist?) Best for infants up to 3/4 months. Added bonus that this carry keeps pesky newborn arms from flailing on injection, eliciting the startle reflex and possibly compromising the nurse’s ability to inject the vaccine without causing harm.
On the right, a woven wrap with baby in a front cross carry, giving optimum access to the large muscle in the upper thigh where most vaccines are given until the child’s deltoid (arm) muscle has developed enough (age 5-9).
This is also a wonderful carry to use if you plan on nursing AND wearing during vaccines- I’ve found this is the “Golden Combination” to causing the least amount of trauma during the vaccination process. And no, this will not cause a negative association with either breastfeeding OR wearing– infants are programmed to find comfort in nursing and closeness to its mother, and the vaccine experience will not change that.
Baby wraps are not more expensive than four trips to a fast food restaurant for a family of 4; going to the movies with your spouse five times; a ticket to an amusement park; 2-5 months of cable TV (depending on your plan); 2 nights eating out with your spouse at Applebee’s, or the couch you’re thinking about buying from the thrift store.
Most woven wrap brands (all of the ones that I sell) are made under fair trade practices.
Most wrap companies (all of the companies that I do business with) make ecologically kind choices which include safe, non-toxic dyes (remember, babies mouth these wraps all the time) and in some cases 100% organic materials.
Most wrap manufacturers provide written and photo instructions and/or DVDs with their products to ensure that you, the end user, will be able to use and be happy with your wrap.
Commercial baby wraps are not made from any fabric that you will find in most fabric stores. Wraps are woven specifically for the purpose of carrying babies, and the fabric is made with exactly the right amount of diagonal stretch and give to be comfortable, secure, and easy to manipulate. This fabric costs more to manufacture than most fabric store cloth (especially when done under ethical standards as mentioned above).
The US has legally required standards that must be met and testing which must be done regularly on the production of the wraps to ensure that they are safe to carry babies, and this testing costs money. So while you could make your own for less money, it would not be possible for a mom to start a business making them for others without raising the price to cover these expenses.
I don’t have much experience of my own, but I collected some information on the subject to share for those who are looking into the possibility.
Chelsea's 50/50 cotton linen blend from fabricland in Ontario. 5m 28in long and 28 inches wide with a 20 lb baby.
The fabric I see recommended most often for a DIY woven wrap project is Osnaburg. I’m told that Osnaburg is almost always permanent press which is achieved through the use of formaldehyde. Many people do not consider this dangerous for babies, but in case you want to avoid that, here is a link to a site that sells Osnaburg that is not PP.
Genna helpfully suggests, “Get an extra yard because it will shrink when you wash it the first time.” That’s good to know up front, right?
Savannah says, “I found fabric.com osnaburg to be stiffer than stuff I got off of ebay.” Putting your fabric through the washing machine several times should soften it up, as well as shrinking it down to size so that you know how much to cut.
Leslee says, “I used osnaburg from walmart and cut it about 32″ wide to allow for shrinking from dyeing and washing. I used tulip dyes (contacted company for safety) then sew it all around and I ironed on a middle marker.”
Some other fabric options are monk’s cloth and a 100% cotton jacquard weave tablecloth (both suggested by Sarah). Prasti says, “I used cotton muslin for mine…and it has lasted through all 4 kids . I like it because the fabric is not too heavy or too light, and it’s usually priced at 4.99/yard so it’s pretty affordable.”
Sarah's DIY wrap with 100% cotton fabric
Sharon made her own DIY cotton gauze wrap. “I’d only recommend this for multilayer carries (FWCC and DH as examples) as the fabric is really thin. I also made this wrap much wider than a typical wrap (35 inches wide) to provide more support.” As a note, the gauze you find in a fabric store is likely to be thinner than the bottom-weight gauze used in making Wrapsody Breeze wraps, which means your gauze wrap may be a little diggier and flimsier, best used, as Sharon says, in multi layer carries. April adds, “I used 100% cotton gauze to make a wrap I didn’t mind using in the pool.”
If you do use your wrap for swimming, bear in mind that either chlorine or saltwater can begin to wear on the material after a while so keep an eye on the integrity of the fabric to make sure it is strong and safe each time you put it on.
And what about size?
The first rule to keep in mind is that it’s a lot easier to shorten it than lengthen it! Start out long, wear it a bit, and then see how much extra you can cut off and still be able to do your favorite carries.
Most commercially bought stretchy wraps (like a Moby) are 5.5 meters. This is one size fits all, and if you are making your own and are not plus sized, I would definitely suggest making it smaller. However, you can start out long, try some carries, and then figure out exactly how much you want to cut off of each tail.
I don’t think stretchy carries should take any more fabric than carries in a woven, so you could probably use the below sizing for either type. If your wrap is long, though, you’ll end up wrapping the excess around you and that gets warm in the Summer!
Woven wraps are generally sized. 4.6 meters fit most moms. If you are particularly petite (under 130 lbs, and not too tall) you might be able to do all of the carries with a 4.2 meter wrap. Some very small moms use 3.7 meters. Again, if you’re making your own you can start using it and then shorten it to the perfect length. If you are a larger mom, you might want to go with a large wrap which is 5.0 – 5.2 meters. 5.5 meters would be considered extra large.
I have a lot of sizing advice available on my website including different carries that you can do with different woven wrap lengths (note, these carries are only for woven wraps and may not be safe with stretchy wraps): https://wrapyourbaby.com/wovenwraplength.html
Choosing a size for your woven wrap can be very simple.
A wrap that is about 4.6 or 4.7 meters is perfect for most moms to do most carries. If you are new to woven wraps, you can just go with this size and feel confident you’ll be able to use it.
If you are smaller or larger than most moms, you might want to look at sizing down to 4.2 meters or up to 5.2 meters. There are also some brands that make extra large wraps anywhere from 5.5 meters (the same size as a Moby wrap) to 6 meters.
And, if you know you prefer shorter wrap carries, then choose a shorter wrap because you won’t be doing the full length carries. But if you’re new to this and just want to be told what size to get, go with a medium (4.6 meters).
That’s the simple advice. If you’re not so sure and want to delve into it a little more, I have lots of sizing help on my site and you can start with these links:
A recent discussion on the Babywearing International Facebook page prompted this post. Because this is something babywearers hear a lot.
By wearing your baby in public, we invite others to open up about their babywearing experiences.
middle-aged lady in the thrift store, “All they had when mine were babies was the Snugli!”
excited Asian man: “That’s how mothers carry their babies in my country!”
checkout clerk at the supermarket: “I had one of those when my daughter was a baby!”
mom with arms full of baby at the library: “I got one of those for my baby shower but I couldn’t figure out how to use it!”
African grandmother: “I haven’t seen that since I was a little girl!”
mother with a stroller, perhaps sadly or defensively: “I have one of those but my baby hates it.”
We all know that different things work for different families. The reason why this statement bears further looking into is because many babies who don’t like the sling, really do like it once the problem is found.
How can you respond to a parent who claims that their baby hates being wrapped up?
First, be willing to accept that it is true.
Second, be interested enough to discover if a change might be all that is needed to lead this parent and child to a happy babywearing relationship. You might end up with a friend for life!
Many babies “don’t like being worn” when it is new to them, and when they can tell it is new to their mommy, who is putting out uncertain vibes all over the place. Many babies “don’t like being wrapped up” when it takes too long to wrap them up, and the process is too fiddly, as is often the case when a mother is learning the art.
This mama may benefit from having your help to wrap her and her baby up more quickly, postponing the learning curve until baby is more familiar with the wrap. She may benefit from practicing on teddy bears for a while so that she can learn how do the motions smoothly, quickly and confidently so that it does not try her baby’s patience when she next puts him in the wrap.
Many babies “don’t like the sling” when they have not given it a chance on a good day, when they are dry, and clean, and rested, and fed, and cuddly.
Simply suggesting that the mamma try wrapping up only when baby is in a cheerful mood could change the course of their babywearing adventure. Assure her that once they are both accustomed to wrapping, it will be a life saver during the tired and cranky times, too!
And many, many babies “hate being worn” when the wrap or carrier is too loose, or not adjust quite comfortably enough by a new mom.
For any of these babies (and their parents), a little help goes a long way. Having a friend tweak the carrier (snug this up, pull this down and that up, tilt baby this way…) could result almost instantly in a cozy, snoozing baby and an amazed and happy mamma.
Many babies “hate to get wrapped up” because they dislike the process of getting into the carrier…but are happy once it is all done and they are comfortable.
Tell this mama to go for a walk immediately upon tying the knot. A walk is best because you have the benefit both of the motion of walking, and the distraction of scenery. Babies soon find that the wrap means they get to explore the world comfortably from a really good vantage. But if there’s nowhere to walk: sway, dance, start moving. Housework works really well, too. Baby will likely come to anticipate the fun part of babywearing, and become patient with the process (and, of course, mama will get faster and faster at it the more she does it).
Babies, like the rest of us, can be very particular about details that can be difficult for us to predict given the language barrier. One baby doesn’t like pressure on his tummy; another baby wants to be able to kick her feet; the next baby doesn’t like feeling constrained; and a fourth baby wants to face the world.
Ask the parent if they’d like your help to try out some different positions, or different carriers, to see if there is one that baby will be happy with.
One thing I love about woven wraps is that they offer the most versatility for working with an individual baby’s needs. A mother may need to baby her injured shoulder, or is uncomfortable with a knot digging into her chest, and wrapping gives her the options to accommodate her particular needs. So wrapping can also accommodate baby’s needs. But in this case you may need to try a few different things to find out what the objection is, and what position will find favor with the little one.
Many babies prefer being held upright rather than in a cradle position, and upright carries are recommended from birth as a better position for novice babywearers to keep an infant’s airway clear. If mama has been working a cradle carry, show her how to wear baby upright.
Some babies don’t like having their feet wrapped in the carrier, and there is no need to tuck a baby’s legs into the carry, no matter how young. Help the mama find a comfortable position for baby’s legs with knees froggied higher than baby’s bottom, but still free to hang down. Make sure baby’s legs are not spread uncomfortably to straddle mama, but rather bend up in front of baby between mother and baby.
Some babies will be much happier if you wrap with one or both shoulders and arms outside the wrap. They feel less constrained. These babies might be the one who do not appreciate being swaddled (and might well want their legs out, too, as mentioned above). If baby needs head support, one side of the wrap can be pulled over arm, shoulder and the back of the head (see photo below), while baby’s face is directed toward the more open side, where his or her other arm can be out. This also allows for more of a view.
Some babies want to be able to see the world–not be tucked in against a parent’s chest. You can try wrapping one or both of baby’s arms outside the wrap to give them a better view. You can position baby sideways in the wrap, or wear baby in a high back carry that allows a view over mama’s shoulder. You can try a burp hold with baby high up on mama’s shoulder looking over her shoulder behind her. You can use a hip carry once baby has sufficient head control.
A baby with reflux may do well in a tummy to tummy position, while another reflux baby may hate any pressure on his or her tummy and do better in a sideways position.
Wrapping with baby's arm out of the wrap.
Burp Hold for colicky babies or those who like a view.
If your baby hates babywearing, you may be able to solve it and change that. And even if you cannot solve it, know that everything changes with babies. Often. Try again every couple of weeks. It may suddenly click for you both, and become a valuable parenting tool from which you both derive a lot of enjoyment!
Babywearing groups are great resources for a parent who would like to wear a baby but has a baby that hates to be worn. Your local babywearing group will usually be full of people who have a lot of babywearing experience and different babywearing experiences that they can share with you. They are part of the group because they really want to help make it work for you. Many groups have a lending library so that you can borrow and try out a different carrier, and if they do not, you may find group members who will lend you one of their own carriers to try.
*read to the end of this post if you want to see videos of the two carries*
I have always loved the Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack Carry (also known as RRRR or the Pirate Carry because it looks like it sounds like AAARRRGGHHH!).
I think it is a fantastically supportive and comfortable back carry for all ages of baby/child, that can be done with a very short wrap. It’s really nice to learn some good short-wrap-carries so that you have some cooler wrapping options for Summer, and you only have to tote a short wrap with you (fits better in the diaper bag or tied around your waist).
The only problem with my beloved RRRR is that it wasn’t really an RRRR. I have been calling it that for years, but I finally noticed that the rest of the wrapping world called it the Double Rebozo. So I’ve got to rearrange my mind to wrap around this new truth: I have always loved the Double Rebozo.
So what is the RRRR? It’s a reinforced rucksack tied at shoulder. You bring both wrap ends over your shoulder as with the traditional rucksack carry, but one end is very short, and the other longer. You hold the short end under your chin, and you bring the long end under one arm, straight across baby’s back (that’s the reinforced part) and under your opposite arm where you now tie the two ends together.
And it’s just not as wonderful as the Double Rebozo. I regret all the times I talked up the RRRR and inadvertently recommended this carry that’s just not as sturdy and supportive as the Double Rebozo.
I actually avoided addressing the mislabeled RRRR issue for months because I didn’t want to admit that it was wrong. And I have a very popular Youtube video that is clearly labeled as RRRR. I’m not taking that down! I imagine that hoards of mamas have followed the mislabeled directions and happily believe that they love the RRRR. Well, more power to them, I say!
But I had to remedy this, because if our babywearing language is not consistent, how will we be able to communicate our beautiful folding, passing, bunching, smoothing, crossing and tucking activities to each other? How will I know that the mamas I send to do the RRRR will do the one that I really, in my heart, intend to recommend?
So I apologize for any confusion. Here is the video of the carry that I love, the one I think you should learn this Summer, newly tagged with its correct name–Double Rebozo:
And here, I’ve made a new video to demonstrate the real RRRR:
If you’ve done these carries, which is your favorite?
I love a good meeting of the moms! Some of the best people are moms! And babies, too, of course!
Today we got together to play with wraps. Sam videotaped Tara and I getting her charming little 10 month old wrapped up while nursing. I rarely do a cradle carry, but when my baby (or toddler) is nursing to sleep on my lap and I’m going to need to get up, the Front Wrap Cross Carry tied around cradle-position baby is my go-to! So here I am helping Tara into it for the first time. Only her baby wasn’t quite asleep, as you can see.
You should always talk to your care provider, but most women who are accustomed to wrapping their toddlers, can continue to do so safely throughout pregnancy.
Pregnancy is not a good time to start a new activity that may be strenuous on your body. But it is generally agreed that if your body is used to the sport, then it is safe to continue as long as there is no discomfort. So if you wear your toddler every day, there is no reason to stop just because you are pregnant!
In fact, for women who will otherwise be carrying their toddlers in-arms, babywearing provides a safer option, that is easier on the pregnant body.
If your body is protesting the wrapping, stop. Find help to care for your toddler if doing so yourself is causing stress on yourself or your growing baby.
I often hear (or see, on internet discussions), people say they like their wrap but need a carrier that is easier for fast carries. With wraps, a carry is as fast as you’ve practiced it. I’d say the rucksack back carry is the quickest, and it doesn’t take long to get it down. Do the same carry every day (or several times a day) and in a couple of weeks, it will be fast and easy.
NOTE: Learn it slow and easy. Speed comes after the movements are already smooth and precise!
Here is a Rucksack Carry with my one year old, in front of a waterfall, in under 30 seconds. How long does your carry of choice take you?