“A woman is pregnant for nine months, she is postpartum for the rest of her life.” The biochemical truth of this is good news for the healing of our planet. Postpartum women are a gentle and essential force of nature. They are full of love, and there can never be too much love.” ~Ibu Robin Lim
All babies benefit from being held against their mothers, and from staying close during sleep and feedings, too. But a premature infant has the most to gain from being close to mother’s heart, and the greatest benefits are had when mother and baby are skin to skin, with no clothing or fabric between their bodies. This is known as Kangaroo Care and the benefits are so great, that studies have found preemies kept against their mother’s chests to do better than their counterparts in incubators!
Before man made the technology you find in hospitals, Nature, God, or Evolution made man, and gave every man a mother to warm him and raise him. I think mothers are so cool, I could start a cult (if I had the time)! For example, did you know that a mother’s breasts change temperature warm or cool a baby held against her? Her body knows the optimum temperature for her baby before her baby’s body has learned to self-regulate temperature.
In fact, being held against mother’s body teaches a baby’s body a lot about how to behave. From us they learn to regulate temperature, but also the rhythm of regular heartbeats. One reason why sleeping with your baby can help prevent SIDS is that being beside our body remind a baby’s body to keep up regular breathing.
And when all of the baby’s systems are working optimally, he or she will sleep more, promoting healing and growth. So for all these reasons, premature infants that are worn and whose parents practice Kangaroo Care grow faster, and are generally allowed to go home from the hospital sooner. So if you are looking for a way to support your baby’s growth perfectly and give your family every edge for being together soon, look into Kangaroo Care. Here is an excellent article on the subject of Kangaroo Care and why it works.
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.
My friend Jessica, mother to 3 with another on the way, just shared this story about her 19 month old daughter and I couldn’t resist passing it on:
When it was time for Lailah’s nap, I picked up her wrap (Girasol night rainbow 2.5) and as soon as she saw it, a big smile came to her face. I didn’t even wrap her with it but laid it across her back like a blanket. She began to yawn and every muscle in her body began to relax. 2 minutes later she had eyes closed and I put her in her bed with the wrap draped across her torso.
That piece of cloth has got us through SO much in the past year. From the difficulties of nursing, tummy bug, fevers, teething, single parenting, keeping up with her brother and sister, long nature walks, wherever strollers couldn’t go…the list goes on. My arms could’ve never been able to accomplish all that a wrap or carrier could! Babywearing gave me the ability to comfort my baby, cook a meal and care for my other two kids at the same time! Never did I think that this simple, yet beautiful wrap could create such a wonderful loving bond between mother and child.
So, as I lay my 19 month old down in her bed, a tear came to my eye because of the tenderness that this fabric has created in our lives. Babywearing/toddlerwearing is such a brief moment in time and I am so glad it has been a part of nurturing my children. The physical and emotional attachment, security and gentleness will carry on for years to come! Wearing my children while they are young has become foundational to our family.
Do you have an opinion on what sort of mom is best? Live it. Be the change you want to see in the world. Ooze your ideals as you nurture your babies and raise your children. Unashamedly act on your convictions at home and in public. Let your confidence subdue imagined criticisms and allow you to smile compassionately at the real ones. No need to defend yourself or explain yourself, and no need for others to defend or explain themselves. Your quiet confidence, your peaceful demeanor and happy family will speak for themselves. And sometimes strangers will look in and see the madhouse that your family often is, but if you know that happiness and peace underlie the madness, then wave cheerfully at the strangers and stride forward with your family, unafraid or abashed. There is no one else fit to mother your children. No one else knows the intimacies of your family, no else cares as much about the daily happiness or long term success of your family. No one else is qualified. Happy Mothers Day, Mama!
With Summer peaking around the corner, a lot of us like to start using shorter wraps–less fabric wrapped around you is bound to be cooler for parent AND baby! So I thought this was timely. I made this video this winter, however, at the Grand Canyon. Because if you find yourself about to wrap up your baby at the Grand Canyon, you might as well have your husband pull out the video camera, right?
Give this Short Double Hammock Carry a try, and let me know how you like it!
For those of you who don’t know, we are a traveling family. We’ve been at our homebase, in Clearwater Florida for a few months where most of our friends and family are, and today we set out again. We move slowly, about 2 hours a day, because we’ve got the kiddos strapped down for the whole drive and kiddos only want to be strapped down for so long before they turn into terrible, miniature hulks, burst through their straps, and start tearing up the RV…
We got to Gainesville, Florida today. We’re headed for North Carolina where my wonderful and musical husband–David Rosenfield–is attending the SouthEast Folk Alliance Conference, and then for Texas to enjoy good company and good music at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Yee-haw! This is a short trip, and we’ll be back in the bosom of our family by the end of June.
The wrap business comes on the road with us. Precious cargo space that should be dedicated to our clothing, toys and possessions is instead taken up by stacks of wraps waiting to be sold. So please, keep ordering wraps! I will keep shipping. We’re somewhere new everyday, but every town has a post office and you can keep tabs on us by checking the postmark!
We have internet, too, so please, keep up with me on Facebook, feel free to email me, and keep sending your pictures, stories, and questions. It wouldn’t feel like home without them 🙂
Attached Parenting is a label but you don’t have to have heard of it, studied it, or carefully adhere to it. The heart of it is to listen to and respond to your baby. No one ever hurt, spoiled, or confused a baby by listening to and responding to them. In fact, the practice of listening to and responding appropriately to 4 year olds, 12 year olds, 30 year olds, and 80 year olds alike will be found to increase mutual affection and respect, to produce a greater amount of common ground and shared feeling, to result in more, better, happier, and clearer communication and exchange of ideas, valuable to both parties.
Listening to and responding with love has never taught an individual to expect the world to revolve around them, but it has led individual’s to expect a certain degree of caring and kindness from those they choose to share their lives with. It teaches them to expect more than shallow friends, seek out better than “fair” romantic partners, and to care for others with honesty and integrity, free from agenda.
I urge you not to let social politics dissuade you from answering the needs of the helpless infant entrusted to you. I promise you that the bawling babe has no thought to manipulate you. What depths must a society fall to that such base motives could be assigned to our babies? Our BABIES?
And I remind you that taking care of ourselves and our needs is a full time job, that those of us blessed with parenthood are given a most impossible task in caring in full for the needs of another while we are supposed to be keeping ourselves going as well. If you need to use the bathroom and close the door to get some peace for one minute before you pick up that crying baby, I will not say that you have acted wrongly. Get what help you can in this task from your partner, your siblings, your friends, your parents, your neighbors, church, or community. Don’t kick yourself when your baby has to wait. Take a deep breath and allow yourself a little peace as you do what you need to do. This way you are more likely to be able to embrace your baby with love rather than resentment and in so doing you are more likely to comfort him and still his crying and fulfill you both.
And for those who wonder if some people take Attached Parenting to the extreme, and for those who ask Are You Mom Enough?…I encourage you not to close your minds to the possibility of breastfeeding, cosleeping, or babywearing out of hand. You make your parenting choices that work for you and your family and you cannot know, cannot even imagine, until you are a parent. And those of us who are breastfeeding, cosleeping and babywearing are doing it because it works for our families.
Yes, there are tons of wonderful reasons for me to nurse my babies, but it is no small thing to a mother of three that it is easier, faster, and simpler than any other feeding method. Do I enjoy not having to mix or prepare formula, store it in and out of the house, clean or disinfect bottles, pay for the pleasure of the extra work week in and week out, or try to stall a screaming baby in the middle of the night with stories of a bottle that will be ready soon? I do. I wont judge you if you do it a different way, but I’m doing what works for my family.
Cosleeping may reduce the risk of SIDS but since I breastfeed, it also means I don’t have to get up in the night. It means everyone in my house gets more sleep. It means I don’t have to strategize against my baby or toddler, battle planning how to get him or her to sleep in their own bed, forcing them to get used to sleeping alone, tricking them into thinking that I’m still there. I don’t have to listen to my baby crying while I count out the appropriate number of seconds or minutes before my strategic plan allows me to respond… That said, my first baby only slept with us for about 4 months because we did NOT sleep better together at that point. I laid her in her own bed with as much compassion, time, and patience as I could each and every time. It was not particularly easy, but it was worth it. See how I’m just doing what works for my family? The answer for your family is probably, whatever arrangement allows everyone to get the most sleep. Parents who “don’t cosleep” may also find that they let their child into their bed, or climb into their child’s bed in the middle of the night anyway when they are too tired to enforce the house rules. Why not embrace it and look forward to waking up in a family bed, sun streaming through the windows on sleeping angels of various sizes, waking up to a cuddlefest or a tickle war, or a pillow fight, or a good book read together?
To say that extreme “APers” even let their baby into their bed is, in my opinion, disingenuous. It implies that this is new, radical, and a major sacrifice. The truth is that separate baby beds are the new fad, part of our culture of baby things that keep a baby out of a parents’ arms. I don’t condemn their use out of hand, but I cannot condone the suggestion that not using them often and regularly is some kind of a crazy, creepy, cult experience. Young babies are safest sleeping beside adult human beings (only given that you are not on drugs or pills of any kind, not under the influence of alcohol, and are otherwise healthy and capable). Our presence helps keep their new systems working, and if they do stop breathing in their sleep, we are likely to wake and find them and start them again. And can the fact that most of the families with several children are the cosleepers please put to rest the myth that cosleeping means no sex life? Becoming a parent means creative sex. No more same-time, same-place marital rut for you. Now you’re going to have to be spontaneous, seize the moment, and be willing not to “just finish up these dishes first.” I intend to get myself a bumper sticker: CoSleepers do it on the Couch.
Babywearing is one of my favorite things. That’s why I’m here (on this blog; not why I’m here on this planet—how extreme do you think I am?). I can—and do—go on about the benefits of babywearing, how it promotes babies’ development physically, mentally, and emotionally, but that doesn’t mean I think a baby that doesn’t get wrapped up is specifically at any disadvantage. Just as I think organic food is MUCH better for a child, or anyone, I cannot tell the organically fed children from the conventionally fed. We do the best we can with what we have and with what works for our families. Sometimes my family eats organic, sometimes it’s not in the budget. Babywearing, however, fits my life and budget very well. We don’t have the room or inclination for a stroller. We do a lot of hiking and climbing, and touring down cobblestone streets. We go to beaches, wade through creeks, crowd into little coffee houses, visit Rennaisance Festivals and engage in many other unpaved adventures. I have all these things to fit into my days that I cannot always schedule around naptimes—so babywearing means naps happen at the beach, or wherever we are and doesn’t keep us from pursuing the day’s activities. Besides that, I have three kids, myself and my husband to keep up with, I have all of us to feed and I need my hands free, I have my toddler’s hand to hold in parking lots, and I need to be able to chase her at a moment’s notice. No, mine is not a strolling life. Babywearing works for my family and makes my life easier.
I don’t do any of these things by way of sacrificing myself for my children. Oh, having children means a lot less me-time, and a lot of changes, and I look forward to getting a lot of personal freedom and autonomy back as they get older, but in the meantime nursing, cosleeping, and babywearing make these rough but wonderful years easier, more pleasant, more fun for all of us. Believe me, I am taking the easy road, as I need every break I can get at this point!
Responding to a crying baby is never extreme. Every time a baby cries, he or she is communicating something. They are hungry, or tired, or wet, or hot, or lonely, or even just want to be held by a parent, and is that really something bad, to be discouraged? Why? Even when you cannot figure out what a baby needs, your being there, holding, comforting, singing, whatever you do, helps that baby get through the discomfort or unhappiness with your support. If you are my friend, please don’t leave me alone to cry just to teach me a lesson.
If we are teaching lessons here, can it be that the world is full of loving people, that none of us need be alone? How about acting in the best way you know how, without judgement of others doing the best they can?
I’ve always used 100% cotton wraps. There is a lot of variety available in 100% cotton. But other textiles are popular, and I’m branching out now to find out why:
Bamboo is popular in wraps primarily because of how soft and airy it is. It has a light, silky feel and a lovely sheen but is very strong and durable enough to machine wash (a big perk for parents). What’s more, parents or children with sensitive skin–or those prone to allergies– may find that bamboo’s hypoallergenic and anti-fungal properties and natural UV protection make it the most comfortable carry around. To cap it off, its antibacterial properties make it naturally odor resistant.
Linen, as a fabric, feels fresh and smooth to the touch. In a wrap, the lightweight, breathable fabric is known for cooler wrapping and is often recommended as a Summer wrap for this reason. Because it wicks moisture away, it keeps you and your baby feeling cool and dry. Linen is not very elastic, and perhaps that is why it is popular with parents wrapping heavier babies or bigger kids: as they have less bounce, or give, linen wraps are very sturdy and hold a rock solid wrap job without having to worry about sagging. Linen is also very durable and can be machine washed.
Silk has a beautifully luxurious sheen, and a lovely drape, making for some very classy baby wraps. It is very flexible, molding around you and your baby like a glove, and provides a supportive carry that is also soft and comfortable.
I have a baby, a toddler, and a seven year old. This spectrum of ages gives me some perspective that I didn’t have when my eldest was younger, and it occurs to me that these concepts compliment and build off each other:
When your baby cries, realize he or she is communicating a need. He doesn’t have words, and crying is how he tells you something is wrong.
When your toddler cries, screams, or tantrums, realize that he or she is communicating a need. Her emotions are bigger than her vocabulary and sometimes she doesn’t even know what is wrong, just that something is. Even if you don’t know what’s wrong, you can help her by being patient, calm, and loving so that she knows she is somewhere safe while experiencing scary and overwhelming emotions, and that will allow her to come back into the present moment and calm down when ready.
When your young child “misbehaves” or acts out, realize that he or she is communicating a need. His emotions are bigger than his ability to handle them gracefully, maybe because he’s hungry or tired, or under some other physical stress, because too many things have gone wrong today, or even because something has keyed him into some scary incident in his past that he doesn’t realize is affecting him. The same thing happens to me when I’m not at my prime–I react to unruly kids in ways that I resolved not to, ways that are not graceful or appropriate or helpful. I misbehave, too. You can help me at these times, and you can help your child the same way, by staying patient and calm and loving so that we know we are with someone safe until we feel safe enough to snap out of it and join you in civilized behavior. Sometimes if my husband just silently pulls me in for a long, full hug, that does the trick. You can try the same with your son or daughter. Understand that this is not his usual face, that he is stressed. The better you get at being a good listener and the less advice you offer, the less of that behavior you will see because you will have provided a safe outlet for when things are rough.
Likewise, if your baby bites you, or won’t leave the outlets alone, or pulls your hair, you know that she is learning and experimenting and it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe from her, and her safe from everything else so that she can safely explore. When she continues to do these things despite repeated reminders, you know that it is developmentally appropriate 🙂
If your toddler draws on the wall, pulls the cat’s tail, and keeps getting sticks of butter out of the fridge, unwrapping them, carrying them around in his sweaty little hand, then leaving them around the house (What? No, it’s just a random, common example), you can remind yourself that he is learning how to cause effects in his world, practicing how to do things for himself, experimenting with self-determinism and feeling the waters of interpersonal relations. It is your responsibility to set a good example and part of that good example is how to handle unplanned messes and disappointments gracefully. When he fails to stop drawing on the wall when you come in and say, “No, stop that–STOP THAT!” then you remind yourself that this, too, is developmentally appropriate. It is your job to stop him if it’s unacceptable, and it’s also your job to attempt to do it without bruising his self esteem, pride in his work, trust in you, or peace of mind. Because that’s a parent’s impossible job, and the more often we manage it, the sooner our toddlers will grow into responsible and caring children that can be trusted with markers, cats, and the contents of the refrigerator.
If your young child leaves a mess, breaks her possessions, or disobeys direct instructions, remind yourself of how far she has come, how much she has learned, and how much easier she is to live with…than when she was a toddler. Learn to take deep breaths and think before you act. Think back to this blog post when I told you that the more independence you can grant her, the better you can listen to her, the more ways you can find to accept help from her the way she wants to offer it, the more ways you can find to appreciate her, and the more you can refrain from controlling her, the sooner she will improve on all fronts and blossom into the sweet, thoughtful, responsible and trustworthy person you know she is. Every time you put more attention on what she’s doing right, instead of wrong, that’s when you will see her doing more right. And as always, it is your job to set a good example. She will show you respect when she sees you respecting her needs, objections, crises, contributions, explanations, and bright ideas. She will become responsible for her messes, possessions, and obligations as you model responsibility be behaving consistently toward her and in your dealings with others (they are always watching). Your thoughtful and caring actions towards her, will inspire her to think of how you might feel about her actions. Be honest and frank in your communication and in your love. Listen to her, and you will find her listening to you.
And most of all, remember that mothers who blog about how to mother, are subject to all the pitfalls that you are. Lucky for me, this post was about some ideals to operate from, and not about the facts of my parenting wins and fails. These are my beliefs, and when I am calm and all my children are asleep, I think about these ideas and smile peacefully. In the morning I will do my best to operate from them. I think operating with loving intention is an awfully good start.
Do you see too many babies in bucket seats? Harried mothers carrying a baby in one tired arm and pushing an empty stroller in the other? Wish your sister, and cousin, and your BFF knew how much easier life can be with a baby wrap, and how many benefits there are to babies over “container parenting”?
Be the change you want to see in the world!
Babywearing groups are great and I wish there was one available to anyone. But sometimes there’s a mom that has skills and willingness to help, but does not have the time or energy to create a babywearing group. I want to tap that resource for brand new wrappers everywhere because nothing makes wrapping easier than one on one assistance!
Our Facebook community had created a database of individuals, listed by US state or by country, that would be happy to help a new wrapper learn the basics or troubleshoot wrap difficulties. The database was lost during one of Facebook’s many restructurings, but I saved the info before it disappeared. Now the information sits on my hard drive, not helping much of anyone…
So it’s time to put up a new database, not hosted by Facebook or another entity that gets to change the rules whenever they want.
I’m going to create the list on my website, and ask all of you to be brave enough and proactive enough to volunteer your name and contact info so that when a new mom springs up in Somewhere, West Dakota*, and learns about wraps, and starts to think, “that looks too complicated for me—I’ll just use a stroller…” we will be there to say,
“Wraps are easy with practice, and here’s a list of friendly and experienced mamas in your state who wish you would call them so they can help you get the hang of it!”
Because parenting is easier with a wrap, and the babies seem to like it too 🙂
All of the companies I work with are small enough to remain very much in tune with customers’ needs and wants, and so it should be no surprise that wraps are sometimes discontinued to make room for new colors and designs as they emerge. Here’s a look at some of the changes over the past year:
I was disappointed to learn recently that EllaRoo has discontinued their rebozo (2.7 meter) size wraps. I loved EllaRoo rebozos for quick carries, loved the thinness, and the fringe. I have only one remaining EllaRoo rebozo in stock: Seattle. The brand I have in my store that is still available in rebozo size is Storchenwiege, and luckily, they have many colors to choose from. They are thicker which is nice for a cushier feel on the shoulders, and should still not be too warm for a Summer wrapping solution as a one-layered rebozo carry admits plenty of air flow. Reports are that the organic Bio Louise Storchenwieges are thinner and cooler than the other weaves.
In the beautiful world of Bali Breeze, brought to us by the GypsyMama, we have seen several new colors this year, and said goodbye to several more (Gaia, Haumea, Whitman). The latest wrap to be added to the discontinued list is Alice, which has been a pretty good seller for me, but I am consoled by the fact that she is always coming up with new beauties to replace the old and I would hate to miss out on new artwork just because I couldn’t let go 🙂 I still have some Alice wraps in stock (if you don’t see your size, email me as I may be able to get one), but there will be no more manufactured so these are the last. Here’s Alice:
Alice Bali Breeze, with mother and baby Mynah birds
And in the world of Storchenwiege, we have two brand new Leos (the famously soft, supple, cuddly, and beloved weave exclusive to Storch wraps)–Bordeaux and Cafe. Which makes for seven gorgeous Leo colors now available in all sizes!
Leo Bordeaux Storch
And I’ve got my own plans for releasing an exclusive to Wrap Your Baby wrap. But that’s not news yet. You’ll just have to wait…
The wrap is so wonderful because it is so versatile. You get a custom carry every time, tailored to you and your baby.
There are countless ways to tie your wrap, but even one basic tying method, such as the Front Cross Carry, can be used to carry your baby in an upright tummy-to-tummy carry, a semi-reclined or sideways carry, a high and safe cradle carry, a low nursing carry, a high-shoulder/burp hold carry, or even a facing-forward carry for short periods (though I recommend against the forward-facing position).
Front Cross Carry - Newborn Burp Hold
To become an expert, pick one carry that works for you. Learn to tie it, to insert your baby, and then learn to snug and tighten every part of the wrap so that it holds your baby just where you want him or her. Each time you do it, you will become better and faster. The wrap will become like an extension of your own body, another set of arms to cradle the one you love.
But if you don’t pull the slack out of the wrap, it won’t do the job perfectly. Your baby will start to feel heavy and you won’t wear him or her for long. Or you won’t be able to nurse hands-free, because you need to use your arms to keep baby high enough to stay latched. Or you’ll use one hand to support baby’s head. Or baby will complain because the carry is too loose.
Don’t fret. You’re learning. Next time, pay more attention to snugging and tightening every part of the wrap and it will be better. And you do it every day, and in no time, you’ve got it down and can do it without pausing in conversation.
How to snug and tighten properly?
When you put the wrap on, make sure you are not twisting it anywhere. This is easiest accomplished by holding onto only the top edge as you bring the wrap around your back. Gravity will hold the bottom edge down for you, and you have no chance of getting it twisted where you can’t see.
Holding only the top edge of the wrap as I bring it around my back keeps it from twisting.
Because your wrap is not twisted, you can see where there is slack–perhaps at the top, near baby’s head–and you can tighten along that very strand of the wrap at the end of the wrap before you tie.
If your wrap is striped, or has a color gradation, you can use the colors to help know which part of the wrap to tighten.
Remember that the bottom edge of the wrap should be holding up your baby’s knees higher than baby’s bottom. Pull any slack through so that the wrap is smooth and tight under the knees and around baby’s bottom and back.
A woven wrap can catch on something sharp or rough and if some threads get pulled or torn, you’ve got a hole in your lovely wrap! Of course the important thing is to ensure that the wrap is still safe to carry a little one in.
Some of the ladies on the Facebook page knew what to do when one member of our community had this problem and I wanted to preserve the answer for others who need it in future:
“You just use a machine to straight stitch long zig zags (like 3 inches long back and forth), then repeat the same thing in a perpendicular pattern.”
After that, just keep an eye on it to make sure your fix has solved the problem and . . . Happy Babywearing!
I imagine all babywearers hear it, but wrappers more than most, I think: “I would never be able to do that–I’m not coordinated,” or “That looks so complicated,” or even, “I wish I could do that!”
If you are already wrapping your baby, you may have thought it looked hard at first, too. But now it’s easy. So what do you say to the lady in the store who thinks she could never do it?
Some moms in this community had great suggestions. Tegan says, “It’s easy once you get the hang of it!” Simple and believable 🙂 Then, she shows them! That is key!
Mandy offers to let people try her wrap. Because who is going to invest in a wrap if they don’t believe they can use it?
Siobhan explains that is much harder for her to listen to her baby cry. Ah, the emotional argument!
And Haddas tells them that her 6 year old niece taught her…that puts it in perspective!
So whatever you say, keep it light, and speak from the heart. Remember that saying something like, “It’s not that hard, and it helps me so much!” can be more persuasive than a well-thought out argument with bullet points and scientific references.
Half the wrappers around will tell you that a Rucksack Back Carry is the easiest and should be the first one you learn. It’s true that a Rucksack IS easy and very fast, IF you are good at it. But the other half of the wrapping mamas will tell you that it’s impossible, that they gave up, that it took tons of practice, or that baby never feels secure in a Rucksack.
Why such discrepancy? It’s because you have to know how to get a real good seat in a Rucksack, or it just won’t fly. So if that comes easily, or you figure it out early, Rucksack is easy. And if it took you two years to finally have it click, well after that it’s easy, too. I’m hoping this video showing my method for a deep seat will help be that moment that makes it click so that the Rucksack is easy for you.
Rucksack is such a wonderful tool to have in your toolbox! When you do know how to do it, it’s the fastest thing in the world. I invariably do a Rucksack when the cashier at the grocery store asks me how I got my kid back there by myself. “Wanna see?” I offer, and I take my child down from whatever back carry he had been in, and toss him up in a quick, easy, secure, and always impressive Rucksack. Makes babywearing look easy, which it should.
And while my video isn’t about this, I should note that it is also important in a rucksack to pull the top edge of the wrap good and tight so that your little one cannot lean back away from you. There should not be space between his tummy and your back.
A customer asked about babywearing and dancing. She had seen a video once of someone flamenco dancing with a baby on her back. Could she continue her traditional dances with baby wrapped up? So I asked around and I am in love with all the babywearing dancing I turned up.
Firstly, thanks to some help from the gals on the facebook page, we found the Flamenco Dancer. Love it!
Or their own Boston Babywearing version of Wheels on the Bus:
And what about expressing your love of babywearing with a music video:
When I asked the Facebook community, several people told me they dance in their livingrooms with their babies. Many prefer baby wrapped on the front so they are like a dance partner or can be cuddled while danced around. And their babies love it!
And then I googled “babywearing dance” and found out that lots of places and groups are offering babywearing dance classes. My heart swells at the thought of all the fun being had dancing and babywearing! Do you?
Most babies upwards of 6 or 7 months will enjoy having their arms out of the wrap when you wear them, but when they fall asleep, this makes it difficult to ensure that the wrap provides them with head support. Cassidy (10 months) fell asleep on my back in the woods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and I had my husband shoot a quick video of how I tuck his arms and shoulders into the wrap.
This shows a Double Hammock Carry but my technique is the same with any back carry: Get hold of baby’s hand and pull baby’s arm up over my shoulder; pull the inner/top edge of the wrap (nearest my neck) down and around baby’s arm and shoulder, then up and back onto my shoulder, letting his arm sink down into the wrap.
If your baby is laying his head against your neck or back as in this video, you don’t need the wrap to hold him or her against you. Sometimes just tucking in the arms pulls baby close enough against you to lean comfortably on you. If you do pull the edge of the wrap over the back of your baby’s head to support it, make sure that baby’s face is clear. Baby will usually lay one side of his face against you, and you pull up whichever side will go over the back of his head, leaving the face clear. Sometimes pulling the wrap up across the baby’s neck will provide support enough to keep his head from hanging.
It should be noted that he stayed asleep throughout (though he doesn’t always) and the squawking you can hear is from his two year old sister who was impatient with daddy for standing still while she was wrapped on him.
Once you pick a carry, there are still so many variations and ways to customize it for comfort or appearance! Here is a video that shows several different ways to do the straps in a rucksack carry:
standard rucksack straps
crossed in front
twist in front
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.