Different people have different experiences. Some find the EllaRoo not as comfy with a heavier kid as thicker German-Style Woven Wraps. Others happily use their EllaRoos exclusively through toddlerhood.
Anyone up for a rebozo challenge? I love wraps, but I’ve hardly used rebozo carries at all. The rebozo back carry works for me pretty intuitively…but the front carries need some work. They remind me of the very beginning of my babywearing career when I was struggling to make a Maya Wrap ring sling work. I never did get that right, and I switched to wraps, which were easier for me from the start.
Well a rebozo front carry is a lot like a ring sling carry and there’s a hump I’ve got to get over. It’s just so hard to bother with, when there are so many carries with a longer wrap that are easy, fast, and comfortable! And yet, the challenge of it!
And what an impressive skill! Tying your baby on with a long piece of cloth is awesome, but the ability to do it with a short piece of cloth, that would make you unstoppable, wouldn’t it?
So…are you up for it? Shall we become mistresses of the mighty rebozo? Report back to each other so we can’t get lazy? Or if you are a rebozo expert, will you give me your tips?
In the babywearing world there is a category of carrier disdainfully referred to, by those in the know, as “crotch-danglers.” It’s not that these disdainful mamas are elitist. No, it is that they know what an unsupportive position this is for a baby, and how much stress it puts on the base of the baby’s spine and they wish all the other mamas in the world knew it, too, before they gave or received one of these Bjorn-style carriers for a baby shower present!
A wraparound carrier should be used to hold baby with the optimum leg positioning as shown in the link. This is best achieved when baby is facing your body, with a wide seat underneath the baby’s bottom and thighs. If you have a carrier that does not allow for this, chuck it! There are lots of better options.
Start with a front carry and move on to back carries once you have a good feel for using your baby wrap.
To keep the fabric from getting twisted when you pull it across your back, grasp only the upper edge of it so that you know gravity will keep it straight for you.
When pulling to tighten the wrap, look to see if a particular strand of the wrap is loose–say the top, around baby’s shoulders– and pull on the corresponding section of the end you are tightening, in this case, the upper portion of the wrap. If you kept it untwisted, you can in this way tighten precisely where needed and you’ll find that this helps keep baby from sinking down in the wrap, helps provide sturdy head support, and keeps baby solidly in an optimum–and comfortable–position.
Wrap your baby high up on your chest. Baby’s bottom should be no lower than your belly button and baby’s head should be close enough to kiss.
Keep baby’s knees raised higher than his bottom whether his legs are tucked into the wrap in a newborn-froggy position, or whether legs are wrapped outside the fabric. This will ensure a good seat in the wrap and proper support of baby’s spine. This means that the bottom edge–or rail–of the wrap will get pulled a little tighter, pulling baby’s knees up and holding them against your torso, while the wrap spread across baby’s bottom will obviously have farther to go, though the wrap should be uniformly taut across all of baby’s body, fitting like a bandage around a wrist.
Each layer of wrap around your baby should be pulled snug before the next layer goes across. Any slack in the wrap means that in a few minutes baby will have sunk down or changed position.
Finally, don’t fret! Practice makes perfect and stressing over it will NOT make it easier. Each time you wrap, you’ll learn more about it, so no attempt is wasted. Try again, later!
Mothers who experience SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, also called Pelvic Girdle Pain) after giving birth may find that some baby carriers that put weight on the hips–such as soft structured carriers like the Ergo–are painful. This does not have to put a damper on your babywearing:
A short wrap (rebozo) can be used like a ring sling or pouch, simply knotted and looped over your head and one arm like a messenger bag. Your baby rides on your front or hip in this manner, and none of the weight is distributed to your hips.
However, you may be even more comfortable with a two-shouldered carry, and one that distributes your baby’s weight evenly across your torso, instead of concentrating it on one shoulder. For such a supportive and comfortable carry without a hip band my first recommendation is a Double Hammock Back Carry because it wraps tightly around your upper torso in its entirety. Try tying it high under your breasts instead of at the waist, or finish it off with a Tibetan tie instead of tying at the waist.
If you want to wear your baby on your front, try a modified Front Cross Carry. By bringing the crosses over both of your baby’s legs, instead of between, you allow the band across your back to stay spread wide and this should result in a very comfy, high, tight front carry good for plenty of cuddles. Here’s a video:
If you have SPD, did this, or something different work for you?
The Hip Cross Carry is easy, fast, and poppable. Great for little babies or toddlers, especially for shorter periods and when there will be a lot of getting in and out, such as when running several errands and switching from wrap to carseat. Or, as in this video, at the playground with a baby:
The hottest thing about baby wearing is your baby. Just as your pregnant belly warmed you up throughout your pregnancy, your little heater–now outside your body–will raise the temperature several degrees anytime his or her body is pressed against you.
Baby carriers that are open on the sides will, naturally enough, allow more air flow and many people think they feel a little cooler. However, those people may not be using the wrap’s versatility to its best advantage here: not many carriers allow you to customize your carry to the weather, but a wraparound baby carrier can!
Use carries with fewer layers like a Rucksack or Kangaroo Carry, which has only one layer across baby, and only rusksack straps or a cross on the wearer’s back. A Front Wrap Cross Carry can be modified to have essentially one layer, by pulling the crosses so that they are bunched up along baby’s sides instead of spread across baby’s back as shown here:
When using a back carry that crosses in the front, try rucksack straps instead for a cooler variation. When your back carry ties around the waist, try tying Tibetan style for a cooler feel.
With other kinds of baby carriers, the fabric is as thick as it is, and you cannot make it thinner by using fewer layers. Padded straps are comfy, but cannot be spread thinly hot weather. And waist straps on other carriers cannot be removed when Summer comes…
“Before I met Toby 3 years ago I was in terrible pain suffering with fibromyalgia infact that bad at times I could barely move if I wanted to go shopping it was a challenge to say the least I even brought an electric scooter to help me get about
“I then got pregnant with William and I was dreading the prospect of having a baby and being in so much pain luckily some of the pain went with being pregnant and I started to enjoy a semi normal life again William was born and he has been very challenging waking every hour in the night would not sleep during the day and would never allow me to put him down
“William is now 17 months and is not your average size baby he is 30lb and wearing some 2/3 year clothes he has always been big for his age and I was having trouble holding him as he was so heavy and he was making the pain in my arms worse
“I then found slings and wow what a difference I could hold my baby and carry on with daily tasks even going to the loo was no longer a challenge it was hard at first though William just did not like being in the sling very much and used to fight with me arch his back tried to get out you name it he did it so I would take him out again
“I persevered and now he loves being up I my back looking at people as we go along the street and in shops he has a better view with what’s about and the best part he holds his arms up when he wants to go in the sling
“I still get asked from some family and friends why do I still carry William on my back and also gosh he is to heavy to be there he will damage your back my answer is he is 17 months old you see other babies his age in a buggy so why not on my back he is to young to walk everywhere also we get some lovely cuddles when we couldn’t if he was in a buggy and no he doesn’t hurt my back his weight is distributed evenly unlike being held in your arms
“What I’m trying to say is that if you have a medical problem yes you can still carry your baby listen to what your body is telling you and never over do things and if you don’t find your perfect carrier in your first purchase don’t be put off there is something out there that will be perfect for you but most of all enjoy”
I love this ending, but here’s an update from this month:
“william is now 19 months and is 33lb oh boy i wish he would stop growing for a bit i was told by my gp a few days ago that i have a bladder prolapse and i should not carry anymore due to williams weight will possibly make things worse i cant just stop carrying my baby we love being close so i have adopted my carry now and can no longer carry on my front but for a few minutes or even half an hour i will wear my baby and listen to what my body is telling me and the first hint of a pain he will be going down
Who out there is babywearing with a disability? I know that babywearing has the potential to make parenting easier, and parents with physical disabilities–as well as parents of children with special needs–can use all the “easier” they can get. But there can be extra challenges to babywearing depending on the disability.
There is such a vast community of babywearers online now, that I am sure we can collect up some stories and create documentation that has the potential to help many others. The “each one teach one” model of spreading help is, in my opinion, still superior to dusty tomes sporting long chains of alphabet credentials…
I have heard mention of several ways that babywearing was used to help with special needs, but was never before now collecting the stories to archive as a reference. I know that parents on crutches and in wheelchairs have found babywearing easier than handling a stroller. I know that parents with only one arm or only partial use of the second arm have found success with a carrier that doesn’t need wrapping or buckling–a pouch or pre-adjusted ringsling can be put on over your head with one arm, and then baby can be lifted into it. I know that wraps have the versatility to be wrapped creatively around babies or children with various kinds of braces or casts. I know that wearing your baby can improve muscle tone in healthy babies as well as those with special conditions. And I know that autistic and otherwise sensitive children of all ages have benefited from the closeness and security of being worn snugly against their parents’ chests, while the benefit of babywearing and kangaroo care to babies born prematurely is well documented.
So please tell us if you have any experience with special needs and babywearing. Tell us what worked, what was difficult, what you wish you could have found a solution for. What was the hardest part, and what was easy? What do you recommend or what help do you need that another member of our community might be able to provide.
We would be her legs. We take her up slot canyons, through coniferous forests and bring her almost face to face with moose. I have pointed out wildflowers and taught her their names as we‘ve hiked to lakes in Glacier National Park. She’s seen the mud pots and geysers of Yellowstone, and yes, she has seen the waterfalls too. In winter, when she was invited up the canyon for a snow day, I wore Lucy on my back as we tromped through snowdrifts that were thigh high!
I don’t like spreading nasty news. I try to avoid it. But when there such heinous crime going unmentioned in our very midst, and when most of us are supporting these companies and using their products without anyone’s bothering to mention the horror that we are contributing to, it is time to spread the word.
Do not think that your Valentines or Easter, or your child’s enjoyment of a holiday are more important than the fact that someone else’s child has been kidnapped and made a slave. Don’t think of the broader issue. Think of that child and how that child’s mother must feel. Think of your own child–full of fascinating and irreplaceable ideas, thoughts, feelings, and purposes–robbed of freedom, and of family.
But you know, there are plenty of sources of chocolate that are not criminal. Please remember them when you purchase your casual or holiday treats. Think of the difference it makes to someone out there.
This week I am indulging in a rich, decadent, Western luxury and sending delicious chocolate to my customers in celebration of a holiday most of us can recognize as a pretty commercial construct. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about chocolate. Just don’t buy chocolate you need to feel guilty about. Please.
I was going to make a video of a back carry, but Cassidy wanted to nurse and would not be put off. So there I was standing on the beach nursing with him in my arms, holding a wrap. What could I do? I wrapped him up while he nursed! I thought I was improvising, but watching the video, I realize now that I ended up tying a hip cross carry with my (almost) ten month old in a cradle position.
Tying a wrap around a baby who is already nursing is often the easiest way to learn to nurse in a wrap, because instead of having a hungry baby becoming frantic and making you frantic while trying to learn a new skill, your baby is happily nursing from the beginning, buying you contented time to figure it out!
I would, however, start in a seated position, and not standing in the middle of a beach! I made a video of this with Annabelle when she was very young, in our living room–on the very couch that she was born on, in fact! In this video I had already pretied a front cross carry. I sit down and insert her into it, latch her on, and then get everything tightened up so that it becomes truly hands-free.
Usually while wrapping up my nursing baby, he gets jostled off the breast at some point, and I just stop to help him get latched on gain, then continue.
Patience is important as staying calm will get you a lot farther faster than anything else! If you work at it for a few minutes and it almost works, then baby wants to get down, or needs to burp, or even just because you’ve had enough and don’t want to get frustrated, go ahead and stop. Work on it more the next time. You’ve made progress–take a win!
A note on nursing in the cradle position: Make sure you can see your baby’s face, and that your baby’s nostrils are clear and have access to plenty of fresh air.
You also need to be aware of your baby’s airway which is especially delicate in very young infants. In order to keep the airway clear, be sure that your baby’s neck is not bent forward bringing your baby’s chin to his or her chest as that can fold the tube closed that your baby needs for air. You should be able to fit two adult fingers between chin and chest at any time.
Babywearing at the Grand Canyon is the way to go! A stroller might be able to get to the railing overlooking the Grand Canyon, but from there all you get is a view like a postcard. While we would love to hike through the canyon, my husband and I are saving that for when the kids are older . . . possibly moved out 😛 Today we settled for plunging down into the canyon only a short way. Enough to get a sense of the immensity and a taste of the craggy winding way. Here’s a picture of the trail, complete with icy patches:
So David wrapped 2 year old Annabelle in a front wrap cross carry (our 4.6 meter EllaRoo just makes it around them for this carry) and took our seven year old by the hand to help her navigate the icy trail. I popped Cassidy (9 months) on my back in a Short Double Hammock Carry with my 3.1 meter Inka Storchenwiege (video below) and threw a warm babywearing kindercoat over us, leaving my arms and hands free for balance, and photography (whichever seems most urgent at any given time).
Wrapping allowed us to get the experience we wanted, and it allowed all three of our little ones to get an experience they wouldn’t have otherwise (like sleeping through the Grand Canyon). Because, life is for living, no matter your age, and there are endless possibilities waiting to be experienced in every juicy detail!
Nicole posted pictures on our Facebook page of her custom Double Hammock Carry. She doesn‘t like how those rucksack straps feel (they dig into her shoulders). So she does the DHC tied Tibetan style. Problem solved!
Any carry that has rucksack straps can be done Tibetan instead. Crossing the straps over your chest like in a Back Wrap Cross Carry can also be done instead of rucksack straps.
These variations can help solve the problems some mamas have with straps cutting off circulation to their arms, or with the straps slipping off their shoulders. Many people love rucksack straps, but every body’s different so try ‘em all and see which style makes you most comfortable.
If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mom, you want to make sure you are not pinching any milk ducts because a clogged duct will NOT make your life easier. So when wrapping over any part of your chest, spread well, tighten evenly to avoid pressure points, and pay attention to any discomfort!
Hip Carries have never been my favorite, but there have been phases when I found it very handy and this was one of those times:
my son was 8 months old
we were traveling somewhere different every day
it was cold
Hip Cross Carry was my go-to hip carry. I like how simple and versatile it is!
Here we are at the playground appreciating the ability pop baby in and out of the wrap easily:
The Deluxe KinderCoat is made to use with front, back, and hip carries, but the regular KinderCoat is only designed for front and back carries. Nonetheless, I find it pretty easy to use with a child in a hip carry, and you could do the same with a self-made babywearing coat.
In this video I’m using the insert of the regular Kindercoat. It works exactly the same with the full coat:
And here’s where I demonstrate the versatility I was talking about that comes with Hip Cross Carry:
Have you dreamed of owning the totally stylish and flattering European MamaJacket or MamaPoncho, but can’t justify the price tag? You’ve shown remarkable restraint in the face of really beautiful, and practical, wares, and now you are being rewarded with a significant savings: Don’t miss this price!
20% off all MamaJackets and MamaPonchos through 15 December 2011!
These are easy to get on and off yourself and your baby in a front carry or back carry with a wrap or most other popular baby carriers. They are beautiful and sophisticated wool garments, in gorgeous colors, made in Europe. Both are suitable as maternity wear as well, and the MamaJacket is a beautiful jacket for when you go out without your baby as well, so it is really three-in-one!
Don’t get caught out in the cold this Winter! A babywearing coat makes it easy to keep you and your baby warm while babywearing without being frumpy. Going out won’t be such a chore!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to roll out a few new, beautiful gifts I’ve been working on for YOU! Talking with the Wrap Your Baby community on Facebook helped me pinpoint what sort of things would be appreciated and I was fortunate enough to get tons of feedback from the wonderful ladies (and occasional gentlemen) there so I am confident these will be just what is needed and wanted . . .
A magnetic picture frame for your moment of baby wrap triumph!
My gifts to you:
A cool magnet: pop out the inner magnet and the outer portion becomes a magnetic picture frame on your fridge. Print a photo of you (or your husband, or your mom) wrapping your baby and voila–instant WrapStar!
Some babywearing info cards to help you out when you get the inevitable questions about what your wrap is, where you got it, and how you use it. Also nice for informing people who are worried about the safety of your wrap. If you are part of a babywearing group or any other group that is a good resource for babywearing, write the contact info or meeting place and time on the back of the card. If not, and you are willing to help out newbies yourself, put your own phone number or email address so that people you hand the card to can find local babywearing help!
Your own babywearing bumper sticker! Tell the world that you are keeping your baby close to your heart!
A pair of beautiful koala earrings…and, of course, the koala is babywearing!
An instructional wrapping DVD.
All the gifts will be included with any wrap or baby wearing coat/outerwear order between now and Christmas.
If you want to have a magnet, bumper sticker, or info cards for yourself or a loved one (stocking stuffer?) without placing an order this month, send me an email requesting them and I’ll try to get it out. I say “try” because I can’t predict the volume of response, and I don’t want to make any promises I can’t keep (busy mom with three little kids over here, you know)!