Is a baby wrap too hot?

Tina wrote:

“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.
  • I often use carries that put fewer layers of fabric over her.  For front carries, the kangaroo carry or the abbreviated FWCC put only one layer over the baby.  The front cross carry is very similar to the front wrap cross carry, but with only two layers instead of three.  The front wrap cross carry itself can be used with the crosses bunched on either side of her and only the one layer over her body.  A rucksack is the perfect cool back carry for mom and baby.
  • I tend to use an airier wrap–gauze is the thinnest, coolest wrap and the EllaRoo wraps are also much cooler than most of the popular German Style Woven wraps (such as Storchenwiege and Neobulle), and I find myself reaching for one of these during the hot months.
  • 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.

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.

Abbreviated Front Wrap Cross Carry--short wrap tied under the baby's bottom instead of in the back.

Rucksack Carry

Rucksack Carry

May 19 Moms Circle

As predicted, I had a great time recharging with the moms and babies at our weekly moms group.  It is so nice to get together like this and talk with other moms in a way that is more conducive to discussion than your average park date!

We talked nursing (and biting), wrapping, and midwife recommendations and the merits of unassisted childbirth.  The babies were busy talking too, but none of us know what they discussed because we weren’t paying attention.

May 19 Babies' Circle

May 19 Babies' Circle

Wendy nursing Olivia and holding Journey

Wendy nursing Olivia and holding Journey

Yadira in her new wrap.

Yadira in her new wrap.

Angela and Josiah

Angela and Josiah

Gauze Wraps, and Works of Art

Bali Baby Breeze wraps have come to Wrap Your Baby and are available for sale in limited quantities.   I look forward to carrying them in all sizes very soon, but for now I am very excited to have them at all.  Here are a couple of the newly available Bali Baby Breeze wraps:

Tropical Haumea Baby Wrap

Tropical Haumea Baby Wrap

Ocean-themed Morgaine Baby Wrap

Ocean-themed Morgaine Baby Wrap

These wraps are made of lightweight gauze–perfect for Summer babywearing.  The fabric is thin and airy, both cooler and easier to manipulate than the heavier woven fabrics.

Best of all, these wraps are strikingly different from most baby wraps for sale in that they are batiked in gorgeous colors and designs along varying but consistently aesthetic motifs.  There is bound be one that is irresistible to anyone!  The perfect opportunity to add variety to your babywearing wardrobe!

Parenting Choices…Mothers Day Post

I’ve been so busy increasing inventory, putting up new web pages for new products, and sending newsletters out to my mailing list that I haven’t posted much.  I really wanted to get one in on Mothers Day, and now that the kids are in bed, I have at least half an hour left to do it!

I have realized that my parenting choices all work really well together.  Some of them would be very difficult without the others.  The choices I’m talking about, some of the things which are really important to me, are these:

  1. Unmedicated birth, especially homebirth
  2. Nursing (for more than a year)
  3. Babywearing (bet you saw that one coming)
  4. Meeting baby’s needs (not letting them “cry it out”)
  5. Taking care of my babies and children myself every day (stay-at-home-momming)
  6. Homeschooling (child-led, not curiculum-led)
  7. Not vaccinating
  8. Cloth Diapering

As mothers, we all want the best for our babies AND our families.  We can’t have happy babies without happy mommies, so it’s important that we not martyr ourselves for our children.  So there is no place to judge.

Homebirth is so much easier than hospital birth because the pregnant woman is in a comfortable place, and if she is alone or with supportive people, birth is not interfered with.  Mandated positions, food/drink prohibitions, monitoring, time-limits, and examinations can all lead to disaster–and those are just a very few of the most mild interventions that have become routine.

Nursing has never been hard for me.  One reason is that my daughters were born at home and no one interfered with our nursing.  Babies born in hospitals may be sabotaged from developing their natural nursing relationship by these means, among others: medicated birth, separation from mother (brief or long), being bathed, being swaddled, being offered bottles, and being subjected to a schedule.  Therefore homebirth made nursing easy.  The fact that the people I surround myself with are loving supporters of breastfeeding is also a huge factor.

Extended nursing–nursing until my babies are done–has been facilitated by my stay-at-home position, my group of nursing-supporting friends and family, and my babywearing, which allows me to nurse while doing other things.

Babywearing works because it is such a huge boon to my mothering that it would have been silly not to find a way to babywear.  As a stay-at-home mom I am with my baby every day, all day.  I know that holding her is best for her and she knows that she doesn’t like being put down.  Babywearing makes it all go smoothly, and allows us to nurse easily anywhere too!

I feel strongly that babies, in all their dependence, are supposed to be cared for constantly.  They are not supposed to be left alone until they can manage themselves.  They cry when their needs have not been met.  Sometimes it is impossible to meet their needs, and then we can hold them and let them know they are not alone while they are unhappy.  Constant care is not so intimidating when you realize that babies don’t need much.  Human contact and company, mother’s milk, someone to take care of their elimination and otherwise keep them comfortable, sleep.  Babywearing allows me to give my baby those things easily.  Staying home with my kids means I’m the one caring for them and I know that they get what they need.

I don’t like to say that I am lucky to be a stay-at-home mom because it’s so much more than luck.  Yes, my husband can support us with his income.  But we also live within our one-income means.  Some husbands make more money and their families cannot afford to give up the mom’s income.  Some husbands make less, and the family makes do with less.  Some people have kids and no husbands to support them.  We’ve built what we have in life, and we shape our lives around it to best fit our priorities.   One thing that makes it possible for me to take care of our kids is that we don’t pay for daycare or school.  Seems obvious, but it means that our children, so far, do not cost us much money at all.  Being a stay at home mom allows me to nurse my children as much and as long as we want.  It also allows me to hold my babies as much as possible.

Homeschool is very important to me for more reasons than I can reasonably list here.  Some biggies are that I think my children can learn more if they aren’t kept in a school all day; I don’t want to miss being with them every day; I don’t want them socialized by schoolkids; I don’t want strangers or the government choosing what to teach them.  My five year old loves learning, and so do I.  We learn all the time, and we don’t use a list to do it.  We learn out of order, anything we like, anytime we like.   We can do this because I am a stay at home mom.  This also means that we don’t have to follow a certain schedule, which means we don’t have to train our babies and children to schedules.  Instead we can see to their needs as they come up.

We don’t vaccinate because we trust and support our immune systems and we know there are many dangers in vaccines.  We try to eat well and take care of ourselves.  We do not put chemicals or medicines in our bodies if we can help it.  We are aware of and in control of these things much more because our kids are home with us.  Our children also start out with all the right immunological protection from nursing, and extended nursing means they continue to reap the benefits.

And finally cloth diapering is so much healthier for our babies, without even bringing our checkbooks (remember we’re on one income) and the planet into it.  Just as we don’t put chemicals into our bodies, we don’t store chemicals beside our babies’ genitals.  We stick to 100% cotton–natural and breathable.  And we take our babies to pee and poop in appropriate places (toilet, potty, bush) when we are in good enough communication to know that they need to go.  Because healthiest of all is not having your urine and feces on your skin at all.  Also cheaper, and easier (imagine not having to change diapers).  As a stay at home mom I am our children’s primary caregiver, and I get to choose what to put them in, and I choose NO DISPOSABLES!  Because I babywear and am usually with my baby, I am able to facilitate her elimination needs with elimination communication.

Because we spend our days together, and because we do not have an academic schedule, we are able to cloth diaper, nurse, and learn all the time, and everywhere we go, and I know that my baby or child is not left with unfulfilled needs.  At the same time, my needs can be met because we are that flexible with schedules and plans.

It works so well.  I wouldn’t change a thing!

First Foray into the Poppins Hip Carry

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

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

Reinforced Poppins Carry (tummy2tummy) with my 4 month old

Side view of the Reinforced Poppins Carry

Side view of the Reinforced Poppins Carry

The twist side view of the Reinforced Poppins Carry

The twist side view of the Reinforced Poppins Carry

The wrap spread across my back in a Poppins Hip Carry.

The wrap spread across my back in a Poppins Carry

Wearing a Three Year Old

Hanna Vogel wrote me this very nice letter that I wanted to share:

“I am so happy I stumbled across your website the other day. I am so passionate about babywearing, and now that my youngest is three have not been doing it much…and I miss it! Almost enough reason to have another baby, but when I started looking at your site it reminded me that she is still small enough to go in her sling. I got it back out last night when she was having a rough time, and popped her on my hip while making dinner. She loved it and so did I. It is amazing how light 30 pounds feels in a sling. I can’t carry her too long anymore otherwise. I am training to be a doula, and am hoping to buy more wraps and carriers to lend to my clients and help them practice with. Thank you for your wonderful website!”

I love letters like that.  Thank YOU, Hanna!  I hope you can spread the babywearing love, and I’m so glad there are women like you helping women bring babies happily into the world!

I don’t have a picture of Hanna and her daughter (wanna send me one, Hanna?) so here I am wearing my beautiful god-daughter in a one-shouldered back carry (oh, and I’m pregnant in this photo!):

Aurora on my back in a LaRae EllaRoo.

Aurora on my back in a LaRae EllaRoo.

10 Places to Wrap Your Toddler

3 year old Back Wrap Cross Carry (LaRae EllaRoo)

3 year old Back Wrap Cross Carry (LaRae EllaRoo)

  1. In a crowd–so you don’t loose each other.
  2. On a nature hike, across a creek.
  3. At the zoo, after a long day.
  4. At the beach, when you think it’s time to leave and he doesn’t.
  5. In a parking lot, when your hands are full.
  6. Anywhere, when your little one is feeling sick or vulnerable.
  7. On an errand, when you’re in a hurry.
  8. Away from home, at naptime.
  9. Wherever you are when there’s a hurricane, fire, or earthquake and you need to get your family to safety.
  10. At an event where you have to be over three feet tall to see what’s going on.

4 year old has a snack at Busch Gardens: rucksack in Mary EllaRoo

4 year old has a snack at Busch Gardens: rucksack in Mary EllaRoo

Keeping A Little Baby From Getting Lost in the Wrap

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.

So here are some tips:

First, make sure you have your baby wrapped high and tight on your chest.  You should be able to kiss the top of your baby’s head easily.  My last post had some tips for tightening baby up to the right height.

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 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 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 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.

Baby's right arm is out of the wrap.

Baby's right arm is out of the wrap.

Both arms and shoulders are out of the wrap.

Both arms and shoulders are out of the wrap.

 

Getting a Snug Fit in a Front Carry

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:

As I lift my baby, I can see where slack appeared in the wrap.

Holding baby with one hand to find the slack in the wrap.

Pull on the slack for a snug fit.

Pull on the slack for a snug fit.

I pull the slack all the way around to the knot and retie.

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko2a_V3KmbY

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.

Two Year Old Back Wrap

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…

The Rucksack can be done tied around the waist, which is the fastest and easiest method for me and I demonstrate it with a toddler in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58nFvouWcfE&feature=player_embedded

The Rucksack can also be tied Tibetan style which you can see if you scroll down to the bottom of my rucksack page: http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/rucksack.htm

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:

rucksack-giraffe

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

The Back Wrap Cross Carry is also very supportive, but the child may ride lower on your back, and not be able to see over your shoulders.  It’s great for a sleeping big kid, and I demonstrate it with a four year old girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx_7rpzmDwY

Answering Questions About Babywearing

Take a deep breath and remember that some people are completely unfamiliar with babywearing.  The most important thing is not to let them upset you.  The best thing would be to let them see how wonderful babywearing is.  But the key is “let them.”  People are rarely persuaded by force!

Sometimes a casual, heartfelt comment hits a lot deeper than a list of resources or a defensive rebuttal.

Try out these simple, non-confrontational explanations of babywearing, and make them your own by talking up the biggest general benefit that you, personally, have enjoyed.

  • My baby’s happier this way, and that makes me happier!
  • Babywearing makes things easier for me.
  • I love showing off my baby and this way I can take her everywhere with me!
  • My baby enjoys this so much more than the stroller.
  • This way I don’t have to lug around that heavy carseat.
  • After going through labor, I think I deserve to keep my baby close!
  • Wearing her is so much easier on me, physically.

And, in response to any suggestion of a negative effect of babywearing (ie spoiling), you can always reply that babywearing is working great for you right now and you’ll make any changes if and when they become necessary!

The Ridiculous Infant Seat

Due to the seventeen thousand obscene spam comments posted in one day to this article in it’s original incarnation, I had to delete the original post and am reprinting the text here.  AND, all comments will now require approval prior to posting!  Here’s the blog post again for all the real readers:

It’s not that I don’t think moms everywhere can use all the help they can get.  As far as I’m concerned, mothering is the most valuable  job there is and I don’t know a single mother who thinks it’s easy.

So I apologize in advance to all the moms who carry around the infant car seat, but I don’t think we should make it easier to carry!

Flying Falcon Car Seat Harness
Flying Falcon Car Seat Harness

Holding your baby is one of the best things you can do for your baby.  Sure, this culture makes it difficult sometimes.  While driving, for example.  And that’s why the car seat was invented.  But putting a handle on it was going too far, and putting a strap on it is another step in the wrong direction.

Instead of making it easier to keep your baby at arms length, maybe we should brainstorm ways to make it easier to hold your baby.  Instead of making it more convenient to mistreat your body by carrying one of these heavy, unwieldy contraptions, perhaps we should rethink the lifestyle that requires it.

I do not condemn a parent for using the infant car seat to carry their baby.  But it’s an inconvenience that should remain inconvenient to encourage us to find a better way

Arguments for the car seat harness:

It won’t increase infant seat use, just make it easier for when it is used. I disagree–new moms are bombarded with gadgets to make their lives easier that really won’t.  And those gadgets get in the way of their finding out about the simple things that can make a difference…like a functional baby carrier.

It’s easier on mother and baby to let the baby continue sleeping peacefully when you get to your destination. Easier, maybe, but not better.  Most babies can be transferred easily from carseat to a wraparound baby carrier without waking up, or will settle right back to sleep with their heads against our hearts.  For those who insist that their baby will wake up and scream through the entire errand, may I recommend learning to nurse in the wrap?  It’s a rare baby who isn’t appeased by the boob.

With more than one young child, the infant car seat is a necessity. I applaud parents of multiple children.  I want a herd myself.  But the more kids you have to wrangle, the more you need your baby content and your hands free.  It is the wrap, not the carseat, that will provide that.  In the wrap you are not carrying significantly more weight than your baby.  You have two free hands.  You are able to run if need be.  You can pick up an older child.  You can hug other children.

You can’t wear a baby when you are pregnant. Yes you can!  Much more comfortably than you can carry an infant carseat, which I would not think would be advisable while pregnant!

It makes eating in a restaurant so much easier. First, I find it very easy to eat in a restaurant while wearing my baby.  If I’m eating with family, I usually don’t even get to wear her because everyone wants a turn and she is passed around.  Second, even if it made it easier, it is not worth it to me.  Being there for your baby, physically, is so much more valuable!

There’s no sense taking baby out of the warm carseat in frigid weather. This is the argument I am most sympathetic with.  But I still wouldn’t do it.  The wrap is a very warm place, and transferring baby into a pretied front carry takes less than a minute, so unless it was really cold, I would do this, and close my coat over both of us.  When it’s seriously cold, I suppose one could climb into the car to transfer the baby with the door closed, if possible.  Or carry the carseat inside and then remove baby, but if you’re at the mall, you still have to carry the carseat at this point!  So I would expect to limit mall trips on freezing days.

Using the infant seat allows me to put my baby down and get some chores done. Hey, the wrap allows you to hold your baby AND get some chores done!

I don’t actually hold my baby constantly.  I pass her off to friends and family.  I put her down on a blanket on the floor or on the grass.  She sleeps in our bed, not on my chest.  But when we’re running errands?  That’s not a time to put her down.  That’s a time to keep her close.

And for those parents who find the occasional use for the infant car seat, that’s fine.  But let the inconvenience of the thing give you pause to consider whether the situation really warrants it!

I’m famous!

It became official on Thursday when I was at Busch Gardens with my girls.  Annabelle was wrapped on my back in a rucksack, and I was chasing Ada from attraction to attraction when a babywearing mom ran to catch up with me and tell me that, “I told my husband it was the woman from the website!”

Mama, you made my day!  And the invite to our babywearing group is always open if you ever make it closer to Dunedin!  Wednesdays at 11am at the Labor of Love.

Pregnant Babywearing

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.

Two year old in a BWCC tied under pregnant bump.

Babywearing and hanging laundry while pregnant!

Babywearing and hanging laundry while pregnant!

BWCC supports two-year old comfortably on her mamma's back.

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.

Wearing a two year old while pregnant.

Rebozo one-shouldered back carry.

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.

Tying a rucksack tibetan style allows you to forgo any tie at the waist.

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!

Baby Carrier Recall and Wrap Safety

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.

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!

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.

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.

3 months old

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

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!

Wrapping and Camping

Last weekend we took our two kids–aged five years and just shy of three months–camping for three days!  It was the Harvest of Hope Festival.  It rained some serious rain the first day and night and was beautiful and muddy the next two days.

Our kids slept amazingly well in the sleeping bags as loud, drunk people shouted past and stumbled into our tent throughout the night.  It was so cozy having the four of us cuddled up so closely on out tiny, portable room.

At night we all listened to the sound of rain on the canvas ceiling and walls and in the morning Belle gazed up with joy and awe at the glowing tent walls billowing in noisy wind.  It was SO nice that my husband is seriously considering my crazy plan to live in a yurt in the mountains!

Belle gazing at the tent walls.

Belle gazing at the tent walls.

By day we weren’t much in the tent and Annabelle wasn’t much out of the wrap!  I kept the Front Cross Carry tied on and out of the mud.  The mud was so prevalent that there wasn’t anywhere to put a baby down when we weren’t in the campgrounds so she came out only for the occasional potty/diaper change, and to listen to Kimya Dawson’s childrens show while Ada went onstage to join the band!

Kids at Harvest of Hope 2010.

Kids at Harvest of Hope 2010.

Belle listening to the concert.

Belle listening to the concert.

Ada plays with Kimya Dawson at 2010 Harvest of Hope.

Ada plays with Kimya Dawson at 2010 Harvest of Hope.

Wrapping liberated me to go camping with my kids and I am so glad!

Double Hammock with Crosses instead of Rebozo Passes

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.

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.

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.

The wrap comes from under her leg to spread out over my chest.