One way to keep cool while you keep wrapping all Summer long, is to use less fabric. By learning one or two great carries that don’t use much fabric, you can get away with a short wrap that layers across yourself and your baby fewer times. Fewer layers, means less hot!
Dana and Jocelyn in a Reinforced Rear Rucksack (RRR)
If you’re thinking about using a short wrap for Summer, experiment with these carries with your long wrap. See which ones you like best, then measure how much extra wrap you have to see how small you can go! I like a wrap around 3.5 meters for most of these carries. A size 2 wrap (under 3 meters) is perfect for a Traditional Sling Carry (TSC), which can be worn front, hip, or back! Size 2 is also long enough for the Reinforced Rear Rucksack (RRR)–a real sturdy short carry!
The biggest complaint I’d hear about wrapping was getting too hot in Summer. So I got a gauze wrap and started using it almost exclusively. I found that it really did make a difference! The lightweight gauze is so thin, the airflow is much improved and my baby and I both stay cooler.
Use gauze wraps with multi-layer carries–the thin fabric will leave you feeling much cooler even in layers, and the thin fabric can be uncomfortable in single-layer carries. I stayed comfortable hiking in 90 degree weather with my BBB wrap in a Double Hammock Carry last weekend.
Wrap carefully to avoid uncomfortable pressure points–the thin wrap can dig in if not spread and tightened well, but it makes a dream of a wrap job when you take the time to tighten all across the width of the wrap evenly. A thin wrap can provide a very close, comfy wrap job that doesn’t budge as you and your baby wiggle through your day.
Lighten your load by leaving your big diaper bag in the car and carry only a few essentials in the pocket sewn into the tail of your Bali Baby Breeze. No straps or bags will mean a cooler walk for you. That pocket could also carry your water bottle.
Enjoy how small your Bali Baby Breeze wrap folds (or wads) up when not in use. Stuff it into the built in pocket in the tail or the matching bag it came in and watch it fit easily into your diaperbag.
Pretend not to notice the looks of appreciation as you sport your stunning batik wrap out in public, striding confidently past onlookers like a cool, casual movie star!
“I just had a question about using a wrap here in Florida. My daughter is 12 weeks old and loves being in the wrap, except she sweats so much! When I take her out she’s soaked in sweat, and I was just wondering if that was ok? Is there a better blend of fabric recommended for the intense heat we have here in Florida?”
Timely question, and I wanted to address it for everyone. I’m in Florida too, and this is what I do with my five month old:
often she is naked or in diaper only inside the wrap. Honestly, I don’t dress her for shopping, the park, or anywhere, when we go out in the Summer. She’s a baby, and she can get away with it! The exception is if I think she’ll get too much sun and I want to cover her skin. When in the wrap, I often put a hat or scarf on her with no clothes since the wrap is covering her.
I keep her hydrated with plenty of nursing. Water isn’t necessary for the exclusively breastfed baby.
Sometimes I use a shorter wrap so there’s less fabric around both of us. A shorter wrap can be used for a rucksack, abbreviated FWCC, hip cross carry, and some other great Summer wrap jobs. It’s nice to have the option of different sized wraps.
She and I get soaked with sweat all the time in or out of the wrap. When I nurse on the couch I have to peel her off me afterward! And any mom who uses a carseat or stroller can attest to how hot their babies get in those. Just make sure she is peeing normally, her soft spot isn’t unusually depressed, etc. All the usual precautions for Florida!
Front Wrap Cross Carry with straps bunched for fewer layers.
Abbreviated Front Wrap Cross Carry--short wrap tied under the baby's bottom instead of in the back.
Belle is old enough now for me to start playing with hip carries.
I don’t know if I would even bother if I didn’t have a blog to keep up…I have never found hip carries to be as easy, comfy, or convenient as front and back carries. I’ll try to make myself do hip carries until I love them!
When Ada was little, the hip cross carry was about the only one in the running. Since then, some new inventions have become popular. This one is a variation of the Poppins Hip Carry. The Poppins Carry can be tied under the bottom with a shorter wrap, or have a second rebozo layer over the baby with a longer wrap. With an even longer wrap, you might do what I did: I have one rebozo layer, then took my long wrap ends and reinforced it with a cross over the back and between the legs, and tied behind.
Reinforced Poppins Hip Carry with blue Didymos Wrap
It worked well enough, but I didn’t care for the way the straps seem to frame one boob. It doesn’t seem to be a good look (and the drunken look on my face doesn’t help).
Later I tried it in a tummy to tummy position. Same carry, but she’s in front of me now instead of on my hip. This seems to resolve the lopsided look.
Reinforced Poppins Carry (tummy2tummy) with my 4 month old
Side view of the Reinforced Poppins Carry
The twist side view of the Reinforced Poppins Carry
Sometimes a parent puts a little baby into a wrap carry and the baby disappears down into the fabric. This can be upsetting to the baby and, most importantly, is dangerous. You should always be able to see your baby’s face. Your baby’s head should be high on your chest (in a front carry). And your baby needs fresh air to breathe.
Next, realize that your wrap is probably wide enough for a toddler, and that width may be swallowing up a little baby. I personally like a wide wrap with a little baby. The width is nice to have when you know how to use it. You can choose where to spread it, and where to bunch it. In the pictures below, the wide, alternating stripes of orange, green, yellow, and red, make it easy to see where I’ve bunched and spread the wrap.
The middle two stripes are spread, and the outer edges are bunched.
The upper half of the wrap is spread, the two lower stripes are bunched.
The lower half of the wrap is spread, with the top half bunched.
The wrap can also be evenly bunched over baby. The trick is to make sure that the tightness along the length (from your shoulder to opposite hip) is uniform no matter how it is bunched. And if you find that the edges (orange and red stripes in above wrap) are tight enough, check to see if the middle of the wrap is also pulled tightly, otherwise you may have too deep a pouch that your baby can sink down into.
Another thing that you can do to keep your baby above water, is just to poke out one of your baby’s arms. My tiny infant often slept against me with the wrap supporting her head while one arm and shoulder hung out. When awake, both arms can be out if the baby is supporting his or her own head.
First, put your arm around your baby in the wrap and hold your baby at the position that you want him or her to be held. While holding your baby right there with one hand, use the other hand to pull the fabric of the wrap tight so that it will hold your baby right there. After tightening and tying the wrap, when you take your arm away from baby, your baby should not sink lower or change position. If the baby’s position changed, you did not take all of the slack out of the wrap. Try again.
This holding and tightening is demonstrated here in a front cross carry:
Holding baby with one hand to find the slack in the wrap.
Pull on the slack for a snug fit.
I pull the slack all the way around to the knot and retie.
And I have a very serviceable video showing the same technique here:
One detail to note is that the width of the wrap can be tightened all together, as above, but one can also tighten just certain strands. The wrap pictured above has four colored stripes: orange, green, yellow and red. You could tighten just along the orange stripe, or any one of those colors, or more than one together. For example, the green and yellow stripes (the center) might need to be tightened if baby is sinking too far down, while the edges–the orange and red–might be sufficiently tight already.
You will know where to tighten because you are taking up all the slack until the wrap is nice and evenly snug all around your baby.
This post is just for Dannette, who wants to know how to wrap up her two year old. First, I recommend a back carry. By this age it gets unwieldy to wear them on the front and a back carry is more comfortable than a hip carry.
If your son is going to want to go up and down a lot, I recommend the Rucksack Carry, as it is the fastest to get up and down. It is also great for the Summer with only one layer of wrap over your toddler. This is the one I used when we were at the zoo when Ada was two and three years old. Her legs would get tired so up she’d go. A few minutes later she’d see something interesting and down she’d come. A few minutes later she wanted to be carried again…
Or the Rucksack can be done with a short wrap (rebozo), and simply tied under your child’s bottom, instead of brought back around to the front to tie. This way there is nothing going around your waist and you have less wrap to carry while your toddler is not up. Here we are with a Rucksack tied under the bottom at the zoo when Ada was two:
For longer wearing, say if you expect him to stay wrapped up for a hike, a grocery trip, or if you expect him to fall asleep, a multi-layered carry might prove more comfortable in the long run. Whereas the rucksack Carry supports your child with one layer of fabric, other carries that wrap around your child more than once often feel more supportive for a heavier child. Try one of these:
The Double Hammock Carry is my favorite with a little baby, but it is extremely supportive with a bigger child as well. The weight of your child is spread across your entire torso, waist, and both shoulders. In this video I demonstrate the DHC with a sleeping toddler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h-QqZms9Qw
Babywearing becomes more valuable when carrying your children becomes more of a challenge. Pregnancy is such a time. You may become tired more easily, but that fact does not keep your toddler or preschooler from needing and wanting to be carried. If you are going to be carrying your child, let the wrap help you out!
When my good friend Rachel was pregnant with her second baby, baby number one was two years old. They let me take some photos of them to demonstrate wearing a toddler in a back wrap cross carry while pregnant:
Two year old in a BWCC tied under pregnant bump.
Babywearing and hanging laundry while pregnant!
BWCC supports two-year old comfortably on her mamma's back.
That was two years before my pregnancy, and the only babywearing while pregnant pictures I can find of myself are me wearing Rachel’s second daughter. Aurora is in the tummy in the photos above, and on my back in the photos below. You can just see my belly starting to bulge with Annabelle-to-be, and this is the very same wrap two years later:
Wearing a two year old while pregnant.
Rebozo one-shouldered back carry.
There are two important things to know about wrapping while pregnant:
Don’t do anything that strains your body.
Experiment with carries to find one that is comfortable for your pregnant body.
The Back Wrap Cross Carry is often a good one, as the crosses can be spread wide over the chest for comfort, the multiple passes over your child provides sturdy support for a bigger kid, and the wrap can be tied above or below the bulge.
Back carries allow your child to be carried and cuddled against you, without giving you too much of a workout, and without jeopardy of squishing the baby growing around front. Additionally, the weight on your back can actually balance out a hugely pregnant tummy and feel very comfortable for some pregnant ladies!
Recently the Infantino bag sling was recalled after some babies died in the carrier. It is terrible that deaths had to occur before this dangerous product was recalled, and it is a reminder to all parents to treasure our children and to make sure we know how to carry them safely.
Whenever you carry a newborn you must make sure that the baby’s chin is not tucked against his chest as this closes the airway so that the baby cannot breathe. A person of any age will find it easier to breathe when the neck is not folded over, and the littler the baby, the more vulnerable to this problem.
When choosing a baby carrier, avoid ones that curl babies up so that this chin-to-chest position is possible. The bag sling–unlike traditional slings–has baby sunk down in a deep pouch in a curved shape and there is nothing to protect a newborn from this unsafe positioning, or from rolling to the side so that mouth and nose can be pressed against the side of the carrier.
A good pouch, sling, or wrap should always be worn so that your baby is held tight against you–not dangling off your shoulder like a purse. Even aside from the issue of safety, all the benefits of babywearing are gained by having baby’s body pressed against yours!
Newborns can be worn in an upright position from birth to avoid being pushed into the unsafe position. As most babies prefer the upright position, it is the way I usually teach new parents to wear their wraps anyway.
However, a cradle position can be used safely if desired. If your baby seems to sink into a deep pouch of the carrier, you are probably placing your baby straight down the center, or deepest part, of the fabric. Instead of placing your baby parallel to the sides of the pouch, you should put your baby in diagonally: baby’s head should be towards the outside of the carrier and baby’s bottom should be towards your stomach. By resting baby’s head on the outer side of the pouch, it is held up (your baby’s head will be higher than his bottom and legs) where it is unlikely to be pressed against the chest and where you can clearly see to ensure that it is not!
In other words, in the striped wrap below, if I had placed my baby parallel to the stripes she would be sunk down somewhere along the purple stripe with her head on my right on the purple stripe and her bottom and legs toward my left side, still along the purple stripe. This positioning would curl her body up. Instead she is diagonal to the fabric with her head on the outer gray stripe which is much higher and this keeps her body much straighter along her spine.
Note that this was an upright carry which got lowered and tilted for purposes of nursing, but because of the stripes I felt it was perfect for the purposes of this discussion!
Cradle carry with baby's head toward the outer rail of the wrap fabric.
You should always follow these rules while babywearing:
Wear baby tight against you so that there is no possibility of rolling or turning in the carrier.
Do not cover your baby’s face with fabric–you want your baby to get plenty of oxygen and you also want to be able to see him!
Keep baby’s head from slumping forward–you should be able to fit two fingers between your baby’s chin and chest at all times.
Do not use any positioning that causes your baby’s breathing to sound labored.
Any carrier that does not allow you to follow these rules is a dangerous place to put your baby. There are several other brands of bag slings that were not involved in the recall but have the same basic design and inherent risk. Here is a good video that can help you identify dangerous carriers: Proper Infant Positioning in a Baby Sling
Babies sink down into bag slings so that their heads can curl forward onto their chests--dangerous for a little baby!
Cradle carry with a Storchenwiege Wrap holding baby's upper body (head to butt) in more of a straight line so the chin isn't tucked.
Belle is three months now, and fourteen lbs! I find that I am not wrapping her legs in anymore. They are so long and strong that they no longer seem to be part of the bundle I used to wrap. Instead of a newborn ball, Belle is unfolding into a more humanoid shape!
Front Cross Carry with Mary EllaRoo
Current favorite carries are:
still the Front Cross Carry (FCC) most often and anytime we go out because she is still nursing a lot and it is still the easiest to adjust into nursing position, and simplest for popping in and out of as we drive from errand to errand.
still Double Hammock Carry (DHC) for a back carry because it is just so easy, solid, and comfy, and I can do it with the same size wrap that I want with me for the FCC
DHC’s shorter cousin the Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack (RRRR) because it’s even faster and simpler than DHC with the same sturdiness and a great high back carry for hot weather since it can be done with 3 meters
And I think maybe I’ll play with some hip carries today and keep you posted!
The Double Hammock Carry is a back carry done with two rebozo passes over baby. They are like hammocks because they do not cross between baby’s legs, but support baby’s body with legs sticking out from underneath. Well, a stray comment on TheBabyWearer inspired me to try doing the Double Hammock Carry with the crosses between baby’s legs.
Verdict? It was fine. Spreading the wrap across the torso is kind of silly, though, because the wrap is bunched up from under baby’s legs as it comes around your torso, and the spreading isn’t going to be tight and supportive as it is with the standard double hammock where the wrap comes around your torso above baby’s legs and is already spread wide and flat.
I didn’t find it uncomfortable or saggy with my little baby, but I doubt it would hold up for long with a bigger child.
The front of the modified Double Hammock Carry tied with a half knot.
You can see that the wrap crosses between her legs like a Back Wrap Cross Carry.
The wrap comes from under her leg to spread out over my chest.
Sometimes as I wrap Belle she stretches her legs out to push against the bottom of the wrap. Usually she’ll eventually bend her knees and sink down some and my wrap job may not be as snug around us as I’d like, anymore. It’s easy to reach through and just bend her knees so that she is in position and I can snug the wrap job. Here it is with a Front Cross Carry:
You can see that she is standing up in this Front Cross Carry.
Reaching in under the crosses to bend her knees.
Side view of reaching under the crosses to position her legs.
I’ve recently hit upon my new favorite nursing position. I guess I’ve been wrapping Belle with legs out more often. Now I’ve found that if I start in an upright Front Cross Carry, I can get a really comfortable and rock-solid nursing position (meaning truly hands-free) every time by lifting one of the crosses out from between her legs so that she leans sideways.
Let me explain, then I’ll post some pics to clarify. I loosen the wrap a little, then lift Belle’s body so her weight’s not on the wrap, then I pull one of the crosses down from between her legs and around her body so that both legs are sticking out one side. If I’m going to nurse her on my left side, then the cross coming over my right shoulder is the one that I’ll remove from between her legs. Now that cross will be coming from my right shoulder, around her body, and around my left hip. Her cute little legs will be sticking out on my right side, with the other cross still between them, and her head will be positioned at my left breast.
And I suspect that this is one of those cases where a picture is worth a thousand words so without further explanation…
Legs sticking out of one FCC cross.
At the nursing end of the Front Cross Carry.
Something about this particular position is very easy for me to get adjusted just so and does not require adjustments thereafter so I’m what you call a fan!
Sometimes when I’m showing someone how to adjust the wrap behind them, I run into this problem that they simply cannot reach as well as I can. So I had to learn a new way to wrap up a little baby in a high back carry. A way to do it without reaching high up my back.
Today I experimented with a rucksack. I found that I could do the entire carry, bringing the straps over and under the legs, while my 7 week old baby was very low on my back. Then a few bouncing tugs on the tails hiked her up to my neck. Voila!
I’m so good, I even had it together to make a video!
Wondering whether to wrap your newborn legs in or legs out?
The real question of legs in/legs out is how best to support YOUR newborn in a comfortable and ergonomic way.
Optimum newborn positioning includes:
pelvis tilted forward
knees higher than bottom
knees spread about as wide as baby’s pelvis
So Should I Wrap My Newborn Legs In or Legs Out?
You should wrap around baby in a position that your newborn’s legs are naturally inclined to rest in. You will find that baby will tuck knees up, not spread too far apart.
Usually you can wrap around your newborn baby with legs out while maintaining this natural position.
Baby does not need to be able to spread legs wide or straddle your torso. In fact, newborn legs are so tiny that the length of thigh from bottom to knee fits in front of a mama’s tummy with only a slight spread.
Wrapping a newborn with legs out is often more comfortable for baby.
And with newborn legs out, you can view baby’s feet to monitor circulation.
In the photos below you can see that Annabelle’s legs do not have to stretch around my waist or spread wide across my torso–she’s 6 weeks old in these pictures, and I’m wearing her low in the second picture because she’s been nursing in the front wrap cross carry.
Newborn legs don’t have to straddle your waist!
When is it Good to Wrap Newborn with Legs In?
Before 2010, it was most common (among US and European babywearers) to wrap a newborn baby with legs in – inside the wrap – in what was referred to as “froggy leg” position.
Because of this, there are a lot of older photos, videos, and resources that show this style of legs-in newborn babywearing.
There’s nothing wrong with wrapping a newborn with legs in the wrap – as long as you are doing safe positioning.
So make sure baby’s knees are not spread too wide.
Make sure baby’s weight is not on baby’s feet.
Make sure baby’s feet are comfortably flexed.
Sometimes newborns are very accustomed to being curled up. And if that is what your baby’s body seems to want to do, go with it!
Here’s an example of a newborn who was not uncurled enough to wrap with legs out, but whose little feet did stick out:
I just used my 3.5 Neobulle Simon to put my five week old baby up in a high rucksack carry. I love it! The extra width of the Neobulle wrap made it real easy to get a good pocket under Annabelle, with plenty of width left to make a nice support behind her head. I’m thinking this is a really easy wrap to do a newborn rucksack with, especially for less-experienced parents!
The fact that the wide wrap is excellent for big kids to is a bonus–talk about one wrap for an entire childhood!
My photographer (Ada, aged five years) took these photos showing Annabelle after we wrapped up, and after she fell asleep (8 minutes later).
Neobulle Rucksack 9:25am
Neobulle Rucksack 9:33am
Since her head fell sideways instead of forward against my neck, I reached up with both hands to pull the top edge of the wrap higher behind her head and I did not have to retie anything:
Soon I tried nursing upright in the wrap because I prefer wearing babies in the upright position, and because this position allows the baby to change breasts without the wrap having to be retied, and it is also the perfect position for burping.
I wrapped Annabelle upright, then lowered her down enough to put her mouth slightly higher than the level of my nipple. Then I just needed to make sure the parts of the wrap coming around her head were the perfect tension to hold her head right there. Then tie. I like the front wrap cross carry best for this, and the front cross carry works great too.
Nursing in the FCC, 1 week old
When nursing upright, Annabelle usually ends up slanted in a cradle/upright hybrid position. If she is nursing on the right side, then the wrap coming over my right shoulder is more bunched up, coming from behind her head to over my shoulder where it’s bunched away from my neck and right at the ball of my shoulder. The wrap going over the left shoulder is spread wide, covering Annabelle’s whole body and crossing the entire width of my shoulder to my neck.
In fact, I’ve found that my upright nursing carries sometimes end up looking like a cradle carry, though that wasn’t how I put her in! She won’t end up horizontal, but she does end up at various angles and rarely straight up and down. This is how it has worked out for us and it highlights for me the versatility of wrapping and the fact that you don’t need to worry about duplicating a precise position, but finding something that works well, even if it looks unlike anyone else’s version of a wrap job. So chill out, get your baby nursing and talk that wrap into holding baby in that position so you don’t have to!
The trickiest part of nursing in a wrap, with both cradle and upright positions, is getting the wrap to hold the baby’s head just right so you don’t have to. You have to realize that the wrap needs to do exactly the same job your hand or arm is doing when you hold the baby there, and the fabric certainly can be made to do that. Just persist in tightening or loosening or adjusting until you get it. A lot of adjusting can be done without taking your baby off the breast, and with your baby nursing, you may find you have uninterrupted time to get finicky with your wrap job!
I began by nursing Annabelle in the cradle position. With a newborn, I found that intuitively I used the wrap to hold her against me in the same position that my arms held her when we nursed on the couch: cradle.
This was easier than I expected. I recommend doing it sitting down and using a front cross carry, front wrap cross carry, or hip cross carry–whichever method you are most comfortable and familiar with.
I’d begin wrapping around my baby, whom I held in the crook of my arm, then would latch her on before tightening and tying. I did find that I almost always had to adjust it again once, sometimes right away, sometimes a few minutes later.
1 week old, nursing FWCC
It usually worked best if the cross that goes over the shoulder on the same side she’s nursing on is bunched up behind her head. It can be spread across the baby’s body, but where it comes around baby’s head, bunching it behind provides a real sturdy support to hold the baby’s head at just the right angle.
And my baby, anyway, doesn’t like having anything covering her head, she prefers the behind-the-head method! You can see in the photo above that the wrap on my left side is going around and behind her head, rather than over it.
I’d find that while nursing was essentially hands free in that I could remove my hands from the baby and still be nursing, it felt more comfortable if I kept one arm around her holding her on. Luckily, it did not take long to observe that when I held her up with my arm, that made some slack in the wrap that, when tightened, replaced the function of my arm. I just took the slack out while holding her, retied, and then my arm was redundant and I could put it to use on other projects–like actually getting myself a peanut butter sandwich!