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
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. It is far easier to nurse on demand when nursing in a wrap because you are no longer glued to your house. Bonus: all that physical contact between baby and mother encourage a perfect supply of milk for baby’s changing needs.
Here are 15 carries, 15 different ways to wrap for breastfeeding with the same 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.
A distinctive quality about woven wraps in my store is that they are hand-loomed or made on small mechanical looms in small batches for the express purpose of babywearing. So the fabric is made with the perfect strength, give, and support for optimum comfort.
But you know that people have been wrapping babies since long before there were baby wrap manufacturers. So you, too, can use a ready-made piece of fabric as a woven baby wrap.
I collected some information on the subject to share so you can make your own DIY woven wrap. A Woven Wrap is much more versatile and supportive than a stretchy wrap and now you can learn to make your own woven wrap so you don’t have to settle!
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. Do be aware that this fabric may be 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, you can look for Osnaburg that is not permanent press.
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.
What about size for your DIY woven wrap?
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
Tami made a wrap out of silk fabric her husband brought from India. (make sure whatever fabric you choose is suitable and safe–some silk may be too slippery)
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?
A Mama on the Facebook Page asked for advice from moms who use woven wraps with back or shoulder pain. The answers she got were not uniform. Different things worked for different moms, which is one reason why woven wraps shine as a babycarrier for a parent with a physical condition to consider. Your back, spine, bones and muscles are not the same as anyone else’s, so customize the carrier to make YOU comfortable!
One mama related that it was how high or low she carried her now-two-year-old that affected her back pain and shoulder issues. Kangaroo and Front Cross Carry worked for front carries when he was little, and now she is using a Rucksack back carry but Double Hammock was out for her.
Another mama with 7 ruptured discs and a torn rotator cuff likes a Reinforced Rucksack because it doesn’t hurt her back, and she ties it Tibetan style to take pressure off her shoulders. Her son is almost 2 years old now, and 25 lbs.
A mom with a bad back and a separated shoulder that healed badly in college claims long woven wraps as her favorite carriers by far. Not for her are rucksack straps, so she modifies a carry when need be to use straps that are more comfortable and she is still wearing her 2 and 4 year old. She likes two-shouldered back carries for even weight distribution.
One mom has multiple subluxations in her neck, was born with stage 1 spina bifida (which has since closed on its own) and lordosis. For her it is the fabric of the wrap more than the choice of carry that makes a different to her comfort. She gets the support she needs from linen, hemp, and dense cotton weaves which she says also offer better weight distribution than thinner or looser weaves. Double Hammock and Reinforced Rucksack tied Tibetan style are her back carries of choice. She says a Front Wrap Cross Carry is the only front carry that works for her for more than a few minutes.
This Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) video demonstrates a twist on the original crossed-in-front version that makes it more comfortable and is a great alternative to the chest-knot version of BWCC that not everyone feels comfortable with. Here’s the story that goes with this video:
On the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the Eastern United States, after a hike through gorgeous mossy woods and a 360 degree view of the famously blue mountains, we were back in the plateau parking lot, virtually empty in the evening. As such, the kids were running and whirling across the pavement. They were trying to catch sparrows and chasing pixies. Clouds rolled over us. We would say, “Look, there’s a cloud right over that part of the parking lot!” and run to be inside the cloud, only to look back and find that we had already been in the cloud to begin with. Then a breeze rose up and the cloud was gone. The parking lot was clear, and the kids were back to the sparrows. Annabelle insisted that one of them was, “My bird.”
Soon a magical scene transpired in the East as the full moon rose among the clouds. We were so high up it almost seemed as though we were looking down at both the moon and the clouds. The sky was evening blue and all of it was framed with dark green firs that looked like they would fit better, ecologically, with the landscape we remembered from Maine, rather than the lower portions of North Carolina.
So I said, “Baby, quick, make a wrap video of me in front of the moon!”
So you can see that I am always thinking of you (dear reader).
And on this occasion I was specifically thinking of Rosie Knowles and the Sheffield Slings babywearing group who inquired about how I tie a Back Wrap Cross Carry to keep the crosses from riding up into my neck uncomfortably. A chest belt in one solution, but the knot is never quite comfortable to me, so I do it this way, twisting the straps as they come across my front to keep them in a manageable position. I’d love to hear if anyone else has been doing it this way. Let me know!
Hands-on help is hands-down best for learning to wear your baby. If you lived in a culture in which babywearing was the norm, you probably wouldn’t need to be taught. You would have learned it while learning to speak the language. You would have carried your baby siblings around since you were eight years old. You would have the equipment to hand, and the skills would come naturally.
For those of us born outside of such a culture, experiences vary. Some people take right to it. Some people find it awkward and need coaching. It is VERY common to wear your baby in semi-comfort, until you meet with a more experienced mom who shows you a few simple pulls and cinches, or a slight positioning adjustment, and Voila-babywearing is suddenly as comfortable and convenient as you were told it should be! And Ta-da-your reluctant baby who cries in the carrier now sleeps soundly or rests contentedly in the carrier!
Most states in the US have a few groups, so that travel to one is conceivable. But there are some empty spots in the US where it is quite a drive in any direction to find a group. And the best scene is to have one in your own city so that you can be a regular part of the meetings, contributing, learning and having fun regularly. That’s why my next blog post will be about how it’s really not so hard to Start Your Own Babywearing Group!
Does your baby have a physical condition that makes wrapping impractical? Because of the versatility of wraps, in many cases it will be possible to find a way to wrap up your baby that, rather than being impractical under the circumstances, will make it much easier for you to care for your baby. Before you reject babywearing out of hand, read this story:
Sarah had a friend whose baby was born prematurely with some special medical situations: clubbed feet, Spinal Bifiida, dislocated hips and a delicate immune system. Rather than giving up her plans for wrapping because of the special situation, her friend was able to use a baby wrap to help her handle the special needs. She was lucky to have in her friend a trained babywearing instructor. Since most moms don’t have Sarah to call on, I wanted to share this story for those mamas and papas who might have similar situations and could benefit from their story.
Wrapping up baby Alethea, was helpful to her mama because it allowed her to more easily hold her baby while supporting her heavy leg braces…while recovering from multiple surgeries herself. It supplied her with a way to hold her baby’s hips in the spread position that her doctors had recommended, which was difficult to achieve in arms. It gave her a safe way to carry her baby in public while protecting her delicate immune system from being exposed to a lot of germs. It also allowed her to give her premature baby the extraordinary benefits of being held tummy to tummy while she went about her day.
In wrapping Alethea, her mamma had several physical considerations to account for. The leg casts had to be supported so that they did not pull down on her baby. The casts held Alethea’s legs stiffly in position so that her legs could not be bent into a squat as is normally recommended. And Alethea was born early, making it particularly important to ensure that her airway was not compromised by letting her chin sink against her chest.