A recent discussion on the Babywearing International Facebook page prompted this post. Because this is something babywearers hear a lot.
By wearing your baby in public, we invite others to open up about their babywearing experiences.
middle-aged lady in the thrift store, “All they had when mine were babies was the Snugli!”
excited Asian man: “That’s how mothers carry their babies in my country!”
checkout clerk at the supermarket: “I had one of those when my daughter was a baby!”
mom with arms full of baby at the library: “I got one of those for my baby shower but I couldn’t figure out how to use it!”
African grandmother: “I haven’t seen that since I was a little girl!”
mother with a stroller, perhaps sadly or defensively: “I have one of those but my baby hates it.”
We all know that different things work for different families. The reason why this statement bears further looking into is because many babies who don’t like the sling, really do like it once the problem is found.
How can you respond to a parent who claims that their baby hates being wrapped up?
First, be willing to accept that it is true.
Second, be interested enough to discover if a change might be all that is needed to lead this parent and child to a happy babywearing relationship. You might end up with a friend for life!
Many babies “don’t like being worn” when it is new to them, and when they can tell it is new to their mommy, who is putting out uncertain vibes all over the place. Many babies “don’t like being wrapped up” when it takes too long to wrap them up, and the process is too fiddly, as is often the case when a mother is learning the art.
This mama may benefit from having your help to wrap her and her baby up more quickly, postponing the learning curve until baby is more familiar with the wrap. She may benefit from practicing on teddy bears for a while so that she can learn how do the motions smoothly, quickly and confidently so that it does not try her baby’s patience when she next puts him in the wrap.
Many babies “don’t like the sling” when they have not given it a chance on a good day, when they are dry, and clean, and rested, and fed, and cuddly.
Simply suggesting that the mamma try wrapping up only when baby is in a cheerful mood could change the course of their babywearing adventure. Assure her that once they are both accustomed to wrapping, it will be a life saver during the tired and cranky times, too!
And many, many babies “hate being worn” when the wrap or carrier is too loose, or not adjust quite comfortably enough by a new mom.
For any of these babies (and their parents), a little help goes a long way. Having a friend tweak the carrier (snug this up, pull this down and that up, tilt baby this way…) could result almost instantly in a cozy, snoozing baby and an amazed and happy mamma.
Many babies “hate to get wrapped up” because they dislike the process of getting into the carrier…but are happy once it is all done and they are comfortable.
Tell this mama to go for a walk immediately upon tying the knot. A walk is best because you have the benefit both of the motion of walking, and the distraction of scenery. Babies soon find that the wrap means they get to explore the world comfortably from a really good vantage. But if there’s nowhere to walk: sway, dance, start moving. Housework works really well, too. Baby will likely come to anticipate the fun part of babywearing, and become patient with the process (and, of course, mama will get faster and faster at it the more she does it).
Babies, like the rest of us, can be very particular about details that can be difficult for us to predict given the language barrier. One baby doesn’t like pressure on his tummy; another baby wants to be able to kick her feet; the next baby doesn’t like feeling constrained; and a fourth baby wants to face the world.
Ask the parent if they’d like your help to try out some different positions, or different carriers, to see if there is one that baby will be happy with.
One thing I love about woven wraps is that they offer the most versatility for working with an individual baby’s needs. A mother may need to baby her injured shoulder, or is uncomfortable with a knot digging into her chest, and wrapping gives her the options to accommodate her particular needs. So wrapping can also accommodate baby’s needs. But in this case you may need to try a few different things to find out what the objection is, and what position will find favor with the little one.
Many babies prefer being held upright rather than in a cradle position, and upright carries are recommended from birth as a better position for novice babywearers to keep an infant’s airway clear. If mama has been working a cradle carry, show her how to wear baby upright.
Some babies don’t like having their feet wrapped in the carrier, and there is no need to tuck a baby’s legs into the carry, no matter how young. Help the mama find a comfortable position for baby’s legs with knees froggied higher than baby’s bottom, but still free to hang down. Make sure baby’s legs are not spread uncomfortably to straddle mama, but rather bend up in front of baby between mother and baby.
Some babies will be much happier if you wrap with one or both shoulders and arms outside the wrap. They feel less constrained. These babies might be the one who do not appreciate being swaddled (and might well want their legs out, too, as mentioned above). If baby needs head support, one side of the wrap can be pulled over arm, shoulder and the back of the head (see photo below), while baby’s face is directed toward the more open side, where his or her other arm can be out. This also allows for more of a view.
Some babies want to be able to see the world–not be tucked in against a parent’s chest. You can try wrapping one or both of baby’s arms outside the wrap to give them a better view. You can position baby sideways in the wrap, or wear baby in a high back carry that allows a view over mama’s shoulder. You can try a burp hold with baby high up on mama’s shoulder looking over her shoulder behind her. You can use a hip carry once baby has sufficient head control.
A baby with reflux may do well in a tummy to tummy position, while another reflux baby may hate any pressure on his or her tummy and do better in a sideways position.
Wrapping with baby's arm out of the wrap.
Burp Hold for colicky babies or those who like a view.
If your baby hates babywearing, you may be able to solve it and change that. And even if you cannot solve it, know that everything changes with babies. Often. Try again every couple of weeks. It may suddenly click for you both, and become a valuable parenting tool from which you both derive a lot of enjoyment!
Babywearing groups are great resources for a parent who would like to wear a baby but has a baby that hates to be worn. Your local babywearing group will usually be full of people who have a lot of babywearing experience and different babywearing experiences that they can share with you. They are part of the group because they really want to help make it work for you. Many groups have a lending library so that you can borrow and try out a different carrier, and if they do not, you may find group members who will lend you one of their own carriers to try.
Seventeen years ago I saw a woman wearing her baby in a cloth tied around her torso in a grocery store on Connecticut Avenue in Washington DC. I was 15 years old, and I didn’t know what it was or how you do it, but I decided then and there to wrap up my babies. I didn’t say anything to her. She never saw me, or knew how much she had just effected the course of my life.
I like to think that every time a mama wears this lending library wrap out in public, some teenager, or parent, or grandparent, or person is going to admire it, and quietly go home and find wrapping for themselves.
And if just half of those people one day show one friend, or neighbor, a stranger at the park, or their pregnant sister-in-law how to wrap up their babies . . . well, watch out Democrats and Republicans, because babywearers are about to become a majority party in our nation! (I apologize in advance for this next sentence…) A party running on a platform of love.
No pressure, DC-MD-VA mommies. Please feel free to just wear Vicky around the house, too!
*read to the end of this post if you want to see videos of the two carries*
I have always loved the Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack Carry (also known as RRRR or the Pirate Carry because it looks like it sounds like AAARRRGGHHH!).
I think it is a fantastically supportive and comfortable back carry for all ages of baby/child, that can be done with a very short wrap. It’s really nice to learn some good short-wrap-carries so that you have some cooler wrapping options for Summer, and you only have to tote a short wrap with you (fits better in the diaper bag or tied around your waist).
The only problem with my beloved RRRR is that it wasn’t really an RRRR. I have been calling it that for years, but I finally noticed that the rest of the wrapping world called it the Double Rebozo. So I’ve got to rearrange my mind to wrap around this new truth: I have always loved the Double Rebozo.
So what is the RRRR? It’s a reinforced rucksack tied at shoulder. You bring both wrap ends over your shoulder as with the traditional rucksack carry, but one end is very short, and the other longer. You hold the short end under your chin, and you bring the long end under one arm, straight across baby’s back (that’s the reinforced part) and under your opposite arm where you now tie the two ends together.
And it’s just not as wonderful as the Double Rebozo. I regret all the times I talked up the RRRR and inadvertently recommended this carry that’s just not as sturdy and supportive as the Double Rebozo.
I actually avoided addressing the mislabeled RRRR issue for months because I didn’t want to admit that it was wrong. And I have a very popular Youtube video that is clearly labeled as RRRR. I’m not taking that down! I imagine that hoards of mamas have followed the mislabeled directions and happily believe that they love the RRRR. Well, more power to them, I say!
But I had to remedy this, because if our babywearing language is not consistent, how will we be able to communicate our beautiful folding, passing, bunching, smoothing, crossing and tucking activities to each other? How will I know that the mamas I send to do the RRRR will do the one that I really, in my heart, intend to recommend?
So I apologize for any confusion. Here is the video of the carry that I love, the one I think you should learn this Summer, newly tagged with its correct name–Double Rebozo:
And here, I’ve made a new video to demonstrate the real RRRR:
If you’ve done these carries, which is your favorite?
“I wish they had those when my babies were little!”
We modern babywearers often hear this sentiment ridiculously often. I would be surprised to meet a babywearer who hasn’t been told this at least once.
Yet our baby carriers are modeled after cultural babywearing carriers that have been used around the world for centuries!
The period of time in which European and American babies have not been worn, is really a very short gap and we are now returning to something more workable than strollers and bucket seats. We are going back to something simple and functional. Read More
My EllaRoo inventory is just about depleted. And, the Mary EllaRoos that many of you pre-ordered are almost done being woven and ready to ship from Europe. I’d like to ship everything at once, so I am going to have about a week of EllaRoo pre-orders to let you choose from all of the 20+ colors in the EllaRoo warehouse (not just the ones I usually carry) AND get a $20 discount.
EllaRoo is a fantastic Summer wrap, thinner and cooler than most woven wraps, but still strong and supportive (we use ours with our two toddlers). And such beautiful colors–more choices than ever available through this sale only!
I am clearing out the 2011 Deluxe Kindercoats. Some colors are available in several sizes, some in just a single size. Several are the only one in that particular color/size combo so if you see one you like, you’d better grab it.
How many more freezing days this Winter? How many next Winter? What about next baby? And did you know that you can wear this coat as a maternity coat and it also looks great worn by yourself when not pregnant. In other words, this one coat will fill your winter coat needs for many years. And it is a better deal than ever while I’m offering a $39 discount!
Use coupon code StayWarm to save $39. You should have your coat within the week!
There are so many wonderful wraps that need to be made, it’s really hard to just pick a design and go with it! I took a few of the most popular designs that customers asked for, and made quick, slipshod mock-ups and now you can help me choose which of them to pursue by taking this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JFGB3JM
Right now the contenders are Celtic Tree of Life design, Medieval Dragon, Fantasy Creatures, and Music Notes.
Your vote could make the difference…
The wrap will most likely be a NatiBaby. Cotton, linen, or hemp blends are being considered. Colors, I haven’t even begun to think about!
March will also bring a fun drawing for a gorgeous and highly coveted carrier from an amazing artisan. Keep your eye out as you will not want to miss this opportunity!
In Spring you will see a magical design remade in soft, shimmery colors in a fantastic Summer wrap just for Wrap Your Baby. No, that’s all for now 😉
And I am preparing to offer a new wrap brand with an astonishing array of amazing and unique designs, which I will notify you about as soon as they are ready for order!
In between the bigger changes, I have local classes and group sessions happening, I am looking forward to a super fun colorful photoshoot coming up, I hope to find some new products that customers will love (like doll wraps for the kiddos), and I have some sales planned on very specific products. Sometimes the sales only last a few hours, and the best way to make sure you don’t miss them is to “like” my page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/WrapYourBaby
Oh, there are videos to put up and new instructional pages for even more wrap carries, website edits to provide better help to new babywearers who stumble across the world of woven wraps, gift certificates and other helpful functionality to add the website, and new articles and posts full of information and help on wearing wraps, choosing wraps, sizing wraps, nursing, pregnant, newborn, tandem wearing…
I’d better stop while I’m still optimistic. Besides, I’ve got work to do… but I will check back to see if you have left a comment. Tell me, which of these things sound most exciting to you? What else would you like to see from me this year?
The week before Christmas I opened up a raffle to raise money for the Metropolitan Ministries which feeds, houses, and assists individuals and families in my community to find viable work and become independent. I really like everything that I hear about this organization, and I found myself wanting to give more than I had in my pocket.
Thus, the raffle. And it was so rewarding to offer this opportunity for giving to my babywearing community. Hundreds of mamas and papas jumped at the chance, despite the fact that Christmas is a tight time for many of us. We took the wider view that any family with a turkey and a Christmas Tree is a rich family, and we found some money to donate to buy turkeys and presents for those who hadn’t any.
We raised $800 in those few days. And I was especially thrilled when Metropolitan Ministries announced that all donations on New Years Eve would be doubled by a special grant. I quickly sent the donation, and as as result, Metropolitan Ministries received $1600!
I really, really want to bring Mary EllaRoo back. She was my first wrap, and my favorite. She’s cradled all three of my babies. And I get asked about her all the time. No, sorry, this wrap was discontinued.
So what would it take to get Mary made again?
* I need 20 pre-orders to help me finance having an entire design woven just for us.
* It will take about 8 weeks for the wraps to be handwoven and shipped to me from Guatemala.
* It will take 3 days for US customers to receive them once I receive them. I’ll just have a shipping party that day.
I’m doing it. But I need orders in by Friday if this is going to happen right now. A little added incentive: coupon code: MaryTime gets you $10 off this exclusive and rare colorway!
Mary is 100% cotton handwoven in Guatemala. It is a popular Summer wrap as it is thinner than most any woven wrap around. It is a great Winter wrap, too, as it doesn’t add bulk under Winter coats and gear. Because it is thin, it is an easy to work with supple wrap that is great for new wrappers. Like all EllaRoo wraps, Mary has fringe on both ends, and the ends are not tapered.
The colors are are a beautiful, yet subtle kaleidoscope of earthy colors composed of shades of dark earthy red, mustard yellow, olive green, and autumn orange.
I love a good meeting of the moms! Some of the best people are moms! And babies, too, of course!
Today we got together to play with wraps. Sam videotaped Tara and I getting her charming little 10 month old wrapped up while nursing. I rarely do a cradle carry, but when my baby (or toddler) is nursing to sleep on my lap and I’m going to need to get up, the Front Wrap Cross Carry tied around cradle-position baby is my go-to! So here I am helping Tara into it for the first time. Only her baby wasn’t quite asleep, as you can see.
A Babywearing Christmas just makes sense – how else are you going to be able to do all the fun things that make the holidays so great? How else is baby going to get to be involved in so many fun things? If you want to go all out of Christmas traditions or holiday traditions, a babywearing christmas is your answer!
Meeting Santa: If your baby or toddler is intimidated by Santa this year, maybe you’ll consider introducing Santa to your little one from the safety of the wrap. The wrap will assure your baby that the whiskered man can’t get him, and Santa, being a gentleman, will probably be quite willing to stand and speak with the two of you.
Christmas Shopping: Shopping is a breeze with baby in a wrap. Keeping baby close eliminates the frustration of keeping track of the little bugger (or keeping him from destroying the wares), and also keeps babies more content for longer–meaning fewer meltdowns from too much shopping. If you’re lucky, the sound of your heart and the rocking of your steps will lull him to sleep in time to sneak a few presents from him into your basket.
Christmas Cookies and other Christmas Crafts: If your baby has older siblings, you may find yourself making Christmas cookies. The easiest way to do this with a little baby is to keep them wrapped up and out of trouble! This also makes more of your attention available for big brother and sister. Get more tips for making Christmas cookies with kids here!
Picking out a Christmas Tree: I can’t tell you how much easier it is to pick out a Christmas tree with baby wrapped up!
Decorating the Christmas Tree: Perfect for decorating the tree, too–keep baby out of the breakables and away from the Christmas lights (why is it so hard to find lights that don’t contain lead?!) but still in the middle of all the action.
Play in the Snow: Wrapped up may be the only way you’re going to get out in the snow for a walk to enjoy the crystal encrusted beauty; to play with kids; or get around your neighborhood!
I have a limited number of last year’s Deluxe Kindercoats ON SALE to clear out the old inventory and make room for the new 2012 coats! $30 off for the next five days! Wednesday through Sunday, December 12 through 16th. Plus FREE domestic shipping in time for Christmas!
Just about any carrier, whether a wrap, Ergo, ring sling, etc.
You can even wear two babies at once!
Inner lining can be removed to become a lighter Autumn babywearing jacket.
Hoods for parent and baby in all positions.
Drawstrings to keep cold weather from sneaking into the coat from any of the opening.
Wear without baby (in case you ever get to leave the house solo) as a regular non-babywearing coat.
Can you think of how often this coat will be used this winter? How about next winter–it works with toddlers, too. And maybe another baby is in the future? Ask a loved one to buy this coat for you NOW so that you can wring every last ounce of use out of the wonderful thing!
Storchenwiege released three new Leo colors in October. Named after flowers, and representing soft and lovely colors like dusky petals in the garden, these wraps are just in time to keep us remembering those lovely blooms during the winter!
Leo Flieder (German for Lilac)
Storchenwiege continues to come out with new Leo colors. Here are some more that you may have missed:
Leo Black and White
There are now many color choices in a weave that has long been beloved to many a babywearer. Leos are known for being soft and flluffy, and the weave–when you get close enough to see it–is striking!
How will wearing your baby affect the little guy’s (or girl’s) relationship with older siblings?
Wearing your baby is likely to minimize sibling rivalry because it makes you, the mommy (or daddy), more available for your toddler or older child. You can still tie shoes, turn the pages of books. prepare snacks, and life kiddo onto the potty seat.
A wrap helps you to better see to everyone’s needs: baby’s needs to be close, older brother or sister’s needs for help and attention. And it will make your life easier, which means you will be less likely to snap, cry, or otherwise turn into an emotional mess in front of your kids.
It will also help you keep your kids safe: wrap up baby and hold brother’s hand in the parking lot, at the zoo, or while balancing at the playground.
What’s more, cozy in the baby wrap is a safe place for baby to stay while big brother or sister is getting to know how to interact. The less you warn your older child to “be careful” and the less you deny him access to his baby sibling, the more loving he will be towards “his baby.” By keeping baby in a wrap, you minimize the amount of danger he is in from an over-exuberant sibling, and you can take him out at times when you are prepared for close supervision and sibling hugs.
Is it a good idea to wrap up someone else’s baby when you are caring for them? What about when your baby or toddler is with grandma, the babysitter, or at daycare–should you encourage those people to wrap your baby?
A baby wrap is a safe, warm, known refuge for a small person from all the confusion and excitement of the wide world. Being able to provide that safe place for your baby when mommy is away is one of the great boons of babywearing and it is a lucky baby or toddler who has alternate caregivers that wear him or her until mommy’s return.
* Wrapping up a baby that is not yours will keep him more content.
* A wrap will make it easier for you to provide loving care.
* It will provide the baby with a familiar and trusted environment, like a favorite teddy or security blanket.
* It tells the baby that he or she is safe and loved.
* Wrapping up baby will most likely put the baby to sleep.
Teach your babysitters, daycare, and extended family about wrapping. Show them it’s not so hard. Let them find out for themselves how rewarding and wonderful it is, both in keeping baby content and in the way it will warm their own hearts to be wrapped up with such a cuddly bundle.
You should always talk to your care provider, but most women who are accustomed to wrapping their toddlers, can continue to do so safely throughout pregnancy.
Pregnancy is not a good time to start a new activity that may be strenuous on your body. But it is generally agreed that if your body is used to the sport, then it is safe to continue as long as there is no discomfort. So if you wear your toddler every day, there is no reason to stop just because you are pregnant!
In fact, for women who will otherwise be carrying their toddlers in-arms, babywearing provides a safer option, that is easier on the pregnant body.
If your body is protesting the wrapping, stop. Find help to care for your toddler if doing so yourself is causing stress on yourself or your growing baby.
Let’s do it again! My “baby” is 18 months, and as I’m not planning to have any more, this may be my last babywearing Halloween!
Last year he and I were a two-headed monster. It was an easy and fun costume. We were supposed to be wearing our kinderjacket to make us look like one creature and hide the wrap, but the weather didn’t cooperate. It was too hot! So the guitar t-shirt was not meant to be part of the picture!
What should we be this year? Kangaroos? King Kong and the Empire State Building? Frodo climbing Mount Doom? Butterfly perched on a flower? I haven’t decided. It’s going to have to be pretty simple to create though, because this mama be busy!
What will you and your little one be? Post your photo on the Facebook Page or email it to me by the 4th of November, and we’ll have a Facebook vote and choose a winner to receive a new wrap! diana @ wrapyourbaby. com
I donate a wrap every month to a babywearing group around the globe to add to their lending library so that their local members can try out new carriers and learn about wrapping.
Now I’ve had another idea. Everyone who buys a personal wrap from my woven wrap store, will get $10 credit towards a wrap for their group’s lending library. If you are not a member of a group, this will not apply.
If Susie buys a wrap from me, then her local group, The Rentburg Wrappers, can buy a wrap from me at a $10 discount. If Susie gets four other members from her group to buy wraps from me, then The Rentburg Wrappers can buy a wrap from me at a $50 discount. If eight members of their group purchase wraps from me, they could get an $80 wrap for free. The wrap must be for the lending library and available for community use.
I don’t have any kind of system in place to track these credits; only good intentions 🙂 So if you are a member of a group and order from me, send me a note to let me know what your local group is, and have someone from the group mention your name when they email me about getting a discount on a wrap.
No one is obligated to use these credits. I am going to put a one year limit on the discount–the group must use the credit within a year or it is no longer offered. This discount applies only to new purchases, not purchases made by group members prior to this blog post.
Thanks for working with me. I hope we can help each other out!