Fastest Wrap Carry

I often hear (or see, on internet discussions), people say they like their wrap but need a carrier that is easier for fast carries.  With wraps, a carry is as fast as you’ve practiced it.  I’d say the rucksack  back carry is the quickest, and it doesn’t take long to get it down.  Do the same carry every day (or several times a day) and in a couple of weeks, it will be fast and easy.

NOTE: Learn it slow and easy.  Speed comes after the movements are already smooth and precise!

Here is a Rucksack Carry with my one year old, in front of a waterfall, in under 30 seconds.  How long does your carry of choice take you?

September Babywearing Group Giveaway

Again, I’m having trouble restraining myself to donate to just one babywearing group per month.  I asked how many woven wraps were to be found in groups’ lending libraries, and found there are far too many without wraps. I’ve chosen 3 groups to send a wrap to this month, and while I wish I could do more, I may have to really hold myself to just one group for October, so I don’t go out of business!

Or, you can tell all your friends to buy wraps from me so I’ve got plenty of cash for wrap donations 😉

I’d like to give October’s wrap to another group that has no woven wraps.  I may give a gauze Bali Breeze (which is generally categorized as a woven) or a truly woven wrap.  That is up to me!  I have started another thread for the October giveaway.  If your group has no woven wraps, please comment on this thread.

For September, I’d like to send one wrap to the new Big Island Babywearers Group to start their lending library.  I am sending Bali Breeze Ada, a perfect tropical weather wrap (also appropriate in Winter, since it is not bulky and is easy to layer winter gear over).

I’ll send a wrap to Victoria Babywearers, hopefully in time for their Woven Wrap Workshop on 12 October.  They are also just beginning a lending library.

And one to Kentuckiana Babywearers, who are planning a Wrap Intensive as a fundraiser for building their library and who currently have no woven wraps.

And here’s wishing Happy Wrapping to the members of those groups, and all of you!

Wrapping with Siblings

Playing in a Baby Wrap

We’ve talked about all the benefits of babywearing. Benefits to baby’s growth and happiness, benefits to parents’ taking care of themselves, their homes, their other commitments, and their own happiness.

What about other kids? If your baby is not baby #1, then you can add these benefits to the list:

  • You can dance with your son on the beach with your baby, so they can always hear the music.
  • Your baby’s needs are met AND you can open a popsicle wrapper at the same time.
  • You are able to check your daughter’s math homework without the distraction of a fussy baby.
  • Everyone has a hand to hold in the parking lot.
  • You can hold two of your “babies” at once without breaking your back.
  • Naptime doesn’t keep you from going to a playdate, out to eat, or to your 8 year old’s soccer game.
  • Your older kids get to go hiking with you in the woods to see waterfalls, or wade through a creek.
  • Your arms are free for hugging.
  • Make that transition to “big brother” a little easier on the little guy 🙂

Sibling Bonding with Woven Wrap

 

Toddler wrapped up at the Grand Canyon

We took our baby, toddler, and 7 year old to the Grand Canyon last Winter. Here's my husband wearing our toddler. Guess where the baby was!

Toddler Wrapping with Dad on the coast of Maine

We couldn't have made it out onto these beautiful rocks at the end of a forest trail on the coast of Maine if our baby and toddler were confined to strollers.

 

Holding Toddler's Hand

Ready for anything!

 

Christmas Layaway for Woven Baby Wraps

The layaway program is designed to hold a wrap for you while you make payments towards it. In this way, a big ticket item becomes more affordable.  It can also help prevent unreasonable credit card bills after an extravagant Christmas season!

I’ve put a lot of thought into these terms. I want to make it easy for you, but I want to protect myself from having to do a lot of extra work without compensation. This is what I’ve come up with:

  • A 25% down payment is required on any layaway purchase. This down payment is non refundable. When your down payment is received, the wrap will be taken out of inventory and reserved for you so that it is not available for other customers to purchase.
  • You must pay at least 25% of the full price each month for the next three months.  If a payment is not received, I reserve the right to refund any amount paid minus 25%.  If there is any problem with this, please contact me as I may be able to accommodate special needs.
  • You must pay for your layaway item in full within 3 months.  If not paid in full, any amount paid toward the item will be refunded you, minus the 25% which will be applied as a restocking fee, and the item will be returned to inventory and made available to other customers.
  • You will be responsible for all shipping costs on international orders (free in the United States).
  • You will be responsible for fully paying any sales tax payment.  Only orders from Florida will be charged sales tax (the sales tax amount will be 7% of the full price of the wrap, although the shopping cart will only reflect 25% of the full amount).
  • Your wrap will normally be shipped one business day after the item is paid in full.  I ship USPS Priority Mail (3-5 day delivery in the US) and Priority Mail International for international orders.
  • Layaway may be used for wraps or babywearing coats, or any item over $75.

To get started, select your wrap and add it to the shopping cart. Next enter LAYAWAY in the coupon code field at checkout. This will subtract 75% from your total.  Enter your correct shipping address and your shipping payment will be added to your total (free in the US).  You will then use the shopping cart to pay for the 25% down payment plus any shipping fees.

Please make sure to enter correct contact info, including an email address that you check frequently.  You will receive an email from me by the next business day confirming that your payment was received and letting you know the remaining balance on your item.

You will receive a courtesy email once a month for the next three months to let you know your balance, and the amount of the next payment.  When you receive the email (or anytime before that), you can select LAYAWAY PAYMENT from my shopping cart to make a payment.  You are expected to pay another 25% of the full price in each of the next three months, at which time your item will be paid in full and will be shipped to you.  You may pay a greater amount, or more frequently if you wish to receive the item sooner.

If you are using layaway for a Christmas present, be sure to pay for your wrap in full by the 14th of December at the very latest to ensure timely delivery.

If you have any questions about this, please email me at diana@wrapyourbaby.com for clarification.  I hope this makes your life easier!

Teething, Night Weaning, and Babywearing

Wrapped to Sleep (wearing a baby down in an Ellevill Zara woven wrap)

About 3 weeks ago I decided to night wean my 17 month old son. I decided in the middle of the night and I began immediately. I had been sitting up, nursing him for about two hours. I’m not even kidding. He wouldn’t stop. He didn’t fall asleep. It was 5am by this point and I suddenly knew I was done. It was a surprisingly easy decision to make. I said, “Sweetie, we are not going to nurse at night anymore because I need to sleep, but you can nurse all you want in the morning.”

This isn’t a how-to-night-wean post because he’s the only baby I’ve night weaned, I have no idea how your baby would do with my method, and I am in no position to recommend whether it’s the right move for you. And most moms are happily sleeping through those night nursings by nursing in bed, lying down.

The point is that I no longer nurse at night, but sometimes, teeth come in at night. How could I help my son without undoing the night-weaning I was enjoying so much (it has been a long time since I’ve been so rested)?

We had a couple of long nights after I first decided to night wean and I told my son that I would hold him, or sing to him, or bounce him, or lie down with him, or rub his back, or wrap him up. So, when he woke crying in pain, I offered him the same choices. He screamed for a few minutes, thrashing in my arms, and then he said, “Wrap!”

I wrapped him in a Front Wrap Cross Carry. He laid his head down against me and rested, and rested, and fell asleep. It made me reflect on the similarities between wrapping and nursing. Both constitute a safe, warm, and loving place in a world that is sometimes painful or scary. They supply a “happy place” and in this case, wrapping allowed my toddler to relax into sleep .

I don’t want to replace night nursing with night wrapping. That wouldn’t get me any more sleep. But it is absolutely lovely to know that I have this safe place to offer him that can make him feel better on the occasional difficult night without reverting to nursing again.

Comparing Woven Wraps to Other Carriers

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I recently asked the Facebook crowd what they liked best about wraps compared to other baby carriers. You can read the full thread here.

The popular points can be summed up in a bullet list:

  • Versatility: can be used with an infant or toddler, with mom or with dad, or the babysitter, without needing adjustment.  Can also be used in countless carries so you can find one that works for the ever changing baby.
  • Custom fit every time: in different situations, with different wearers or different children, using different carry styles, it is customized to fit you perfectly each time you put it on.  Also customizable to fit special needs (shoulder injury, medical condition, baby with a cast, etc).
  • Feels more snugly and cozy and keeps baby closest to mom.
  • Comfort: versatile, customizable, and cozy means greater comfort for mom and baby.
  • Gorgeous!
  • Budget: one wrap can fill all your babywearing needs from infant through preschool and for future babies, too!

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Woven Wraps vrs the front packs at Babies R Us

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I’ve been asked if I have any data comparing the wraps I sell to the carriers that are widely available in stores like Babies R Us, Walmart, and Target.  The ones everyone has heard of.

These are front packs like the Baby Bjorn and the Snuggli which are widely popular but within the babywearing community are considered inferior.  This is not mere snobbishness.  The fact is that if you wear your baby in one of those carriers, you will be experiencing many of the benefits of babywearing: you will stay closer to your baby, you will have your hands free, you can ditch the stroller, etc.  Doing so is fantastic!  You are babywearing.

But, you and your baby will be more comfortable in a carrier that is better designed with ergonomics in mind.  The giant corporations are great at marketing.  That’s why you’ve heard of the products.  But the mama pioneers in the babywearing industry have a vested interest–themselves and their babies.  They have poured over the studies, they have field tested the designs, they have consulted doctors, and they have studied the successful actions of babywearers throughout history and across the globe.

As a result, the carriers they have produced–including ring slings, pouches, mei tais, and wraps–are more comfortable for mother; are more ergonomically supportive, providing a better developmental position for baby that does not stress the base of his spine or other points on his body; and because these women continued to have a need to babywear as their babies grew into toddlers (and beyond) the carriers usually can be used comfortably even with a 35 lb 3 year old!

So if a friend recommends you check out one of these carriers, she is not being snobby.  She’s hooking you up!  You don’t have to get one to be a loving and attached parent.  But you might be glad you did 🙂

Further Research for your own understanding:

This site has some good pictures to explain optimum position for baby.

This site offers a more comprehensive examination of the physiological needs of a baby and how a good carrier will support those needs while a stroller or carseat cannot.  It will also explain how a wrap can hold baby in a better physiological position that will put less stress on an infants growing body than a front pack.

Some more graphics to illustrate a great explanation of why some people look down on the facing-out position, or carriers that do not support baby in a seated upright position.

August Babywearing Group Giveaway

I love local babywearing groups!  Want to know which lending library will be receiving a new woven wrap donation? Scroll down. Want to submit your group as a contender for the September giveaway? Post to this Facebook thread and one group will be chosen to receive a woven wrap donation.

Here are just a few of the pictures that were submitted to me from groups around the US, and UK. There were many more beautiful group shots, and individual shots, and action shots. There were adorable babies and there were children wearing their babies gazing into the camera with serious eyes. I loved them all. I will be adding some of them to the babywearing groups pages, and others you’ll see me posting on facebook or using to illustrate a blog post. Thank you to all. Here are 3 that I picked out which were unique or particularly aesthetic compositions, that demonstrate babywearing in action, babywearing teaching and learning, and a sense of fun:

Back Babywearing with friends and kids

Babywearing International of Fayetteville NC (gorgeous photo by Anglea Roper)

 

Getting Wrapped Up Together

San Diego Babywearing Group

 

Fun Babywearing Walk Pose

Sheffield UK Babywearing Group

 

I wish I could donate a wrap to all three groups. Oh wait, I can! Let’s do it. Contact me with addresses 🙂

Baby Wraps and Shoulder Pain or Scoliosis

A Mama on the Facebook Page asked for advice from moms who use woven wraps with back or shoulder pain.  The answers she got were not uniform.  Different things worked for different moms, which is one reason why woven wraps shine as a babycarrier for a parent with a physical condition to consider.  Your back, spine, bones and muscles are not the same as anyone else’s, so customize the carrier to make YOU comfortable!

One mama related that it was how high or low she carried her now-two-year-old that affected her back pain and shoulder issues.  Kangaroo and Front Cross Carry worked for front carries when he was little, and now she is using a Rucksack back carry but Double Hammock was out for her.

Another mama with 7 ruptured discs and a torn rotator cuff likes a Reinforced Rucksack because it doesn’t hurt her back, and she ties it Tibetan style to take pressure off her shoulders.  Her son is almost 2 years old now, and 25 lbs.

A mom with a bad back and a separated shoulder that healed badly in college claims long woven wraps as her favorite carriers by far.  Not for her are rucksack straps, so she modifies a carry when need be to use straps that are more comfortable and she is still wearing her 2 and 4 year old.  She likes two-shouldered back carries for even weight distribution.

One mom has multiple subluxations in her neck, was born with stage 1 spina bifida (which has since closed on its own) and lordosis.  For her it is the fabric of the wrap more than the choice of carry that makes a different to her comfort.  She gets the support she needs from linen, hemp, and dense cotton weaves which she says also offer better weight distribution than thinner or looser weaves.  Double Hammock and Reinforced Rucksack tied Tibetan style are her back carries of choice.  She says a Front Wrap Cross Carry is the only front carry that works for her for more than a few minutes.

Advice to avoid Rucksack straps or Tie Tibetan was common on the thread.  Remember that with a woven wrap, you can customize a carry to fit your needs by changing the how you position the straps in the carry of your choice.

Colimacon et Cie – Miel et Malice Review

A lass on the Facebook page asked for a comparison between the Colimacon et Cie and an Ellaroo.  This was Savannah’s response.  Since this relatively new-on-the-market wrap doesn’t have many reviews, I asked her permission to copy it here:

I LOVE my C&C M&M. It’s been my go-to wrap this past week or so.
It was pretty stiff right out of the box, but after a wash or two (and a machine dry!) it has softened up beautifully. I fee confident treating it as a workhorse because it’s practically pull-proof and can take machine washing and drying.
M&M is a very dense weave, but it’s not unbearably thick. I think the knot is a little smaller than Didymos Aqua Waves, but it feels a tad warmer because of the weave. M&M is the widest wrap I own, too; it has at least 3 inches on the Waves.
The closest thing I can compare it to is a pair of thin, really broken in blue jeans. I’ve heard it compared to a Storch Leo, too.  I have an Ellaroo, as well, and they are two completely different animals. The Ellaroo is incredibly thin (shirt weight), where the M&M is thicker (skirt/pants weight). Ellaroo has blunt ends with fringe and has selvedge rails instead of hemmed, while M&M has a 6 inch or so taper and is hemmed with contrasting thread. They are probably about the same in terms of grippyness.

These Miel et Malice wraps come in a rainbow of vivid colors from the bold Tangerine Orange, Leaf Green, and Ripe Raspberry hues to the earthier Chocolate, Natural, and White.  I love that they are available in so many sizes–every half meter between 2.5 meter and 6 meter lengths!

Bali Breeze Ada: the Fairy Wrap

Bali Breeze Ada exclusive fairy wrap in package

Inspired by Ada, my 8 year old daughter, who informed us–as soon as she was old enough to do so–that she is a fairy, and who sees fairies everywhere, and shares them with us by pointing them out, or the traces of them, their fairy homes, or other telltale signs, this newest Bali Breeze wrap is a deep forest green with bright fairies batiked across the greenery in a dance of light.

Fairy wrap - Double Hammock Carry with a toddler in a baby wrap

The yellow to goldenrod hue of the fairy design is perfectly mottled to suggest shimmer and movement. This wrap does have a bottom and a top. The fairies are all oriented in the same direction so that they will either be right side up or upside down when wrapped. The bottom edge of the wrap is bordered with thick flowering foliage in the same pale yellow to deep gold. Having the border on only one edge makes it easy to make sure you are orienting the wrap correctly, and also makes it easy to keep track of your rails (the edges of the wrap) so that you know you have not twisted the wrap as it comes around your baby or behind your back. One rail is deep green, the other is flamboyantly bright with branches and blooms.

Ada Bali Breeze gauze baby wrap carrier

A delightful effect of the single border design is that when wrapped with the border on the bottom, the wrap can have an overall green appearance and then when straps cross over it, those straps can be bunched to show the gorgeous golden design that contrasts beautifully over the dark green. Alternately, one can bunch the straps to hide the yellow if a more uniformly green look is preferred.

Front Wrap Cross Carry in beautiful fairy wrap

You might also choose to wrap with the print upside down if you are wanting to show off the striking contrast of yellow leaves on green, as having that border at the top makes it much more visually evident.

Ada and I are so happy with how the wrap turned out. Green is my faerie daughter’s favorite color, and the design of the wrap perfectly captures the lighthearted magic of fairies, and sunlight, and deep woods. We didn’t know it until after we named her, and we couldn’t have known at the time that she would grow up to be so thick with the elven folk, but her very name is a Spanish word for fairy. So there was no question what to name this light and magical wrap!

Ada babywearing in her new fairy wrap

You can buy a Bali Breeze Ada gauze wrap exclusively at Wrap Your Baby.

Back Wrap Cross Carry Video With a Twist for Comfort

Back Wrap Cross Carry in front of the moon over Mt Mitchell North Carolina

This Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) video demonstrates a twist on the original crossed-in-front version that makes it more comfortable and is a great alternative to the chest-knot version of BWCC that not everyone feels comfortable with.  Here’s the story that goes with this video:

On the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the Eastern United States, after a hike through gorgeous mossy woods and a 360 degree view of the famously blue mountains, we were back in the plateau parking lot, virtually empty in the evening.  As such, the kids were running and whirling across the pavement.  They were trying to catch sparrows and chasing pixies.  Clouds rolled over us.  We would say, “Look, there’s a cloud right over that part of the parking lot!”  and run to be inside the cloud, only to look back and find that we had already been in the cloud to begin with.  Then a breeze rose up and the cloud was gone.  The parking lot was clear, and the kids were back to the sparrows.  Annabelle insisted that one of them was, “My bird.”

Soon a magical scene transpired in the East as the full moon rose among the clouds.  We were so high up it almost seemed as though we were looking down at both the moon and the clouds.  The sky was evening blue and all of it was framed with dark green firs that looked like they would fit better, ecologically, with the landscape we remembered from Maine, rather than the lower portions of North Carolina.

So I said, “Baby, quick, make a wrap video of me in front of the moon!”

So you can see that I am always thinking of you (dear reader).

And on this occasion I was specifically thinking of Rosie Knowles and the Sheffield Slings babywearing group who inquired about how I tie a Back Wrap Cross Carry to keep the crosses from riding up into my neck uncomfortably.  A chest belt in one solution, but the knot is never quite comfortable to me, so I do it this way, twisting the straps as they come across my front to keep them in a manageable position.  I’d love to hear if anyone else has been doing it this way.  Let me know!

back wrap cross carry with twist

Monthly Babywearing Group Giveaway

Learning to use woven wraps at a babywearing group meeting.

edited to add: the details of August’s giveaway are below, but remember I’m giving one wrap away every month so be sure to subscribe to the blog, my newsletter, or like my Facebook page to get the news on how to enter each month’s giveaway.  Also, I love you guys, one and all!

Babywearing Groups are so important because they can spread the babywearing bug throughout their communities like the internet never will.  The local groups are the village that new parents are looking for.  Not just an article or a blog post, but people with smiles and babies and toddlers and busy lives, wrapping their children up right in front of you, showing you what’s easy–or hard–about it, talking about how it has affected their family.  They can show you how to do it, let you try it with your baby, show you if there is something you could change to make it safer or more comfortable, give you tips specific to you.

I will sheepishly admit that I think babywearing can change the world.  It may not be THE SOLUTION, but it does start new families out staying close, meeting baby’s AND parents’ biological needs, listening and communicating closely, and sharing lives together.  It is the beginning of raising human beings whose lives are imbued with love.  And that can change the world.

I love spreading babywearing love across the internet and I value the internet as a tool that can spread wonderful ideas in a way that couldn’t happen before.  But once someone finds out about it, or even buys a wrap from me, I want them to find their village.  So I am compiling a list of local groups.  It is far from complete.  I could probably have a fulltime job just maintaining and developing this list.  Since I am wealthy in love, health, and happiness, but not so much in money, I have to ask others to please email me any information you have about a local group so I can make this list as helpful as possible: LOCAL BABYWEARING GROUPS

And, in order to make the groups themselves as helpful as possible, as valuable as they can be to families in their communities, I would like to give away some wraps for lending libraries.  Again, referencing my financial limitations, I can’t give them to everyone.  But I can do one wrap a month.  So, beginning today, the middle of August, I will post a monthly giveaway.  This month I’m asking for pictures from your babywearing group. A group shot, or an action shot of one particular baby getting wrapped up, whatever you’d like.  I would love to get a shot for each state in the US to put on the page of groups for that state.  And one, I will pick to receive a wrap.

Email pictures to me at diana@wrapyourbaby.com.  Send them by the last day of August 2012. Include a short note that I am allowed to use the pictures on my website or in other promotion. I may use them in other ways than the babywearing lists, such as in my newsletters, or even on a product page if it happens to be a nice shot of a wrap I sell.  I plan to use several pictures, not just the one chosen to win.  The winning group is chosen by me and I get to pick however I want 🙂

If you are in an area that doesn’t have a group, and you want to form one, I am so excited and appreciative!  Contact me and I may be able to help get a lending library going.  I can’t say I’ll give a wrap to every new group because I don’t know how often I’ll be contacted.  Maybe I’ll keep a waiting list and give them out as often as I can.  Or I may be able to refer you to someone who can help, or ask for donations on my facebook page.  I’d like to help however I can!  And maybe you’ll find this post helpful for getting started.

 

Sensory Processing Disorder

Though I had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder, I found Steffany’s story about how wrapping helped her family deal with the difficulties of SPD to be very interesting and have applications beyond the scope of this specific diagnoses.

  • Wrapping her baby allowed her to provide a safe place when the world proved difficult for her daughter.
  • Wrapping her baby allowed her to engage in physically strenuous routines that helped sooth her child.
  • Wrapping her baby provided a creative way to meet her daughter’s needs.

While Steffany and her daughter may have had a more challenging time of it, the benefits they had from wrapping are the same that any of us have because babies and small children, to greater or lesser degrees do find the world to be difficult, frequently need soothing at inconvenient times for extensive periods, and have the inconvenient habit of having needs that conflict with our societal notions of what is appropriate.

I don’t mean to make less of the situation that Steffany had to deal with.  On the contrary, I hope that any other parents and children who are dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder or any other condition that makes things difficult will find her post and benefit from her experience.

But the rest of us can benefit, too.  Because even without a fancy condition, our children are sensitive and needy and thrive when we can appreciate and respect them in their fullness, including their quirks, finding admiration in what we might otherwise write of as silliness, childishness, or weakness.

Read Steffany’s post.

How to Start a Local Babywearing Group

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If there is not a local babywearing group close to you, there should be!  It’s a resource every community should have as babywearing has the power to strengthen families and nurture the children who are the future of the community!

You can absolutely begin your own group and reap all the benefits while providing those same benefits to others.

If you are not an expert, think about this: if you can carry your baby or toddler in a carrier enough that it is helpful to you, then you have skills that could change the lives of other moms.  Being an expert doesn’t mean certification or having mastered the entire field.

Being an expert means there is at least one thing, no matter how small, that you know how to do. Just one thing.

Also keep in mind that when you start seeking out other babywearers you may find others who have more experience than you and would love to be part of a group.  Being the one to start it does not mean you have to be the one who knows the most!

Lending Library or Demonstration Library

Most babywearing groups have a library – a collection of baby carriers that can be tried out by the local community to help parents understand the choices that exist and find out which will work best for them.

These are the two main models.

  • Lending Library: members can try out carriers at a meeting but can also rent carriers to try out for extended periods at home.
  • Demonstration Library: carriers are available for trying out during a group meet-up but cannot be checked out to take home.  Carriers are only used under supervision.

Which model you follow is up to you.  Some groups prefer not to take on the liability of loaning carriers that can be used without supervision, and these groups stick to a Demonstration Library.  Others find that the Lending Library model provides an invaluable service to the community and also provides more help to lower income families.

The BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance), which looks out for the interests of baby carrier manufacturers, retailers, groups, and educators, has provided suggestions for library policy that errs on the side of caution to protect against any accident and liability.

As the owner of Wrap Your Baby, I support both models.  I have seen first-hand how valuable a lending library is to families and to my knowledge there has never been a liability incident. Wrap Your Baby provides woven wraps to local babywearing group lending libraries through monthly giveaways and a Library Credit Program.

To manage the library, you will want to keep a log of all carriers, and all the members who have it checked out, as well as the date checked out and the date due. To ensure the carrier is returned, many groups will ask for a check to be written for the replacement value of the carrier.  The check will be returned uncashed when the carrier is returned intact.

Be sure to get the contact info from anyone borrowing a carrier.  Decide whether you will require the borrower to wash the carrier before returning it, or if you and other group leaders will launder the carriers in between loans. Make sure the borrower knows whether they are expect to wash it or if you prefer that they don’t and specify washing instructions and acceptable detergents if you do require them to wash it or in case of accident that requires washing while it is on loan.

Also specify the date that the baby carrier must be returned, whether carriers can only be returned at official meetings or if they can be dropped off in between, and to whom.

How to Build a Library for your Local Babywearing Group

Baby Carrier Donations for Your Library

If you have a local baby carrier store or a natural parenting store that sells baby carriers, definitely make a connection as you can benefit each other and your community together!

The store may have a space you could use for group meet-ups and those meetings will bring new potential customers into their store so everyone benefits.

For the same reason, a local store will sometimes offer a standing discount to the local babywearing group members and might even donate a baby carrier to your library as members who try out the carrier will often be interested in buying one.

If a babywearing or natural parenting trade show or convention comes to town, you may be able to visit several baby carrier vendors to tell them about your group and ask for donation.  Business cards can be very helpful in showing that you are a legitimate group who would be using the carrier for the benefit of the community.

Otherwise you can email baby carrier manufacturers or vendors asking for donations or discounts for local Babywearing Group Lending Libraries.  Expect to hear no more often than yes, but know that the more letters you send, the more you will hear yes.  To improve your chances of hearing yes, write a thoughtful letter that explains the role of your group, how big it is or how many members your library services, and how the donation will be used.  Mention what you like about their particular carrier and why you think your group could benefit from having one. If you have community outreach programs, mention those.

And be sure to let the vendor know how the donation will help them:

  • offer to promote their business on social media
  • offer to blog about the company and their generosity or
  • blog about the product and how it can help parents
  • promise to share pictures of members using the product
  • offer to include the vendor on a list of resources for group members

Group Library Fundraisers

These fundraiser ideas have been successful for existing babywearing groups.  Use them as a jumping off point and add your own ideas!

Babywearing Classes – find a qualified teacher who will donate their time to teach a babywearing dance or exercise class.  Charge each participant and use the funds to buy carriers for your library.  Be sure to let participants know it is a fundraiser and that their $5 or $10 fee doubles as a donation toward building a library for the group.

Photo Mini Shoots – see if there is a professional photographer who will donate time to doing a day of mini-shoots for local families, each family pays a small fee and gets one or two priceless family photos, while your group gets funds to buy some carriers.

T-shirt or Decal sales – use your group’s logo or run a design contest in the group for a design that can be printed on t-shirts or made into car decals which can then be sold to the members in your local babywearing group with the proceeds going toward lending library carriers!

Auction or Raffle off a donated baby carrier – if a group member has a nice carrier to donate, or really any other thing that is likely to be of interest to a large percentage of your group, you can auction or raffle it off to raise funds for carriers.

Membership or Rental Fees

Some groups charge a yearly membership fee which gives the member access to borrowing from the lending library all year long (or a certain number of times over the year).

Some lending libraries charge a small fee for each rental, such as $10 for a two week rental.

With any fee based system, I encourage you to consider having a policy in place for need-based scholarships or waiving fees to allow access to families across the economic spectrum.

Where to Hold Local Babywearing Group Meetings

Small groups can meet in someone’s living room, but if your group is open to the public you may want to choose a public place for safety reasons.  Try the park during nice weather.  Ask your library or church about using a room as a regular meeting place.  Ask local businesses, especially those that cater to babies, children, or families (your presence can bring them business, after all).

It is a good idea to have a regular meeting place that does not change so that it is easy to find and familiar and comfortable to the families attending.  Look for ample parking, a place where noisy children will be tolerated, someplace with toys or where you can bring a pile of toys to play with, and where there is not too much for kids to get into trouble with (you don’t want vases, shelves of books, electronics, etc because your mommies will be too distracted keeping kids out of that stuff to enjoy themselves or learn anything)!

When to Hold Babywearing Group Meetings

How often you meet will be determined by the interest of the group members and community.  When you meet depends on what works best for the most people.  If you find your group consists mostly of stay at home moms, weekday meetings will probably work best.  Working parents will do better with weekends. Evening meetings are certainly an option but keep in mind that babies will be more cooperative in learning to be carried if they are not tired!

I recommend regular meeting times, whether weekly or monthly, so that members always know when the next meeting is and don’t have to look it up or risk missing it because they didn’t know.  Go with something easy to remember like, every Tuesday at 11am.  Or the first and third Saturday each month.  Or the first Monday of each month.  You get the idea.

If your group grows to the point that it can support more meetings, you might have a weekday meeting and a weekend meeting to accommodate different schedules, or have a schedule of meetings over a wider geographic range to make it convenient to families in different parts of your county.

How to plan meetings

There are many ways to arrange your group format and it is really up to you and what works for the community you are putting together.  But you should examine the form you want your group to have.

Decide whether your group is open to all parents or if you want it to be open to only certain groups: attached parents, or gluten-free parents, or members of your church, etc.  Remember that you will reach the most people and help the most people, and potentially learn the most yourself if your group is open to all parents.

Then decide what sort of a meeting to hold. Are you having a social meeting to hang out with other babywearers, or are you offering instruction?  Do you have a space that will accommodate older siblings?

Some groups plan a topic for each meeting so that one week addresses newborn babywearing, another toddler wearing.  Or one week might focus on ring slings while the next week is all about woven wraps.  Or hip carries one week and back carries the next. I personally think that the best format allows for the people attending each meeting to have their questions addressed.  Maybe I need help with a woven wrap but don’t want to wait for the September meeting.  In order to help me now, your group might meet with no particular agenda, then find out what most interests that week’s attendees.

If you really want to foster community, you can add other activities to your group.  You can have regular meetings and/or other get-togethers such as a babywearing walk (babywearers meet together and go strolling or hiking together for fun), park dates (babywearers meet at the park for a fun playdate), weekend barbecues (great for getting dads to meet other babywearing dads and families), etc.

How to coordinate and communicate with your group

My favorite platform for this is Facebook. It is easy to post events, and it encourages group participation between meet ups with an easy place for any group member to put up photos (of the recent meet up or of their recent babywearing success in their livingroom), ask for advice, look for a ride to your meeting, plan side get-togethers with other members, share valuable or entertaining parenting or babywearing information, etc.  It is also very easy for members to share your group and for new members to join. Your group could use a website or blog instead of or in addition to facebook.

How to find participants for your Local Babywearing Group

I saved the biggie for last, but the truth is it probably isn’t as hard as you think.  If you have a few friends who babywear, you’re already on your way.  Get them excited about the group, and get them to spread word to others.  Post about it on online mom forums such as mothering.com and thebabywearer.com (many of these have forums for people in different geographical areas).

Get some cards to pass out and give them to any babywearer you see, inviting them to join.  And don’t forget to give them to parents who are not babywearing, because anyone with a baby or toddler is a prospective babywearer and you might change their lives!

Ask if you can leave cards or put up flyers at the pediatrician or holistic doctor’s office.  Check with birth centers and chiropractors, give some to homebirth midwives, invite the members of the local LLL group or ICAN.  Talk it up wherever you go.

You can also start with an online presence such as Facebook, and as you add members, discuss with them when you should hold your first meeting.

After starting a Local Babywearing Group

Add your group to my babywearing group directory here so more people can find you.  Join in my monthly group giveaways for adding a new wrap to your group’s library and check out my other babywearing group resources!  Congratulations and good luck!

Support Your Local Babywearers (and let them support you)

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Hands-on help is hands-down best for learning to wear your baby.  If you lived in a culture in which babywearing was the norm, you probably wouldn’t need to be taught.  You would have learned it while learning to speak the language.  You would have carried your baby siblings around since you were eight years old.  You would have the equipment to hand, and the skills would come naturally.

For those of us born outside of such a culture, experiences vary.  Some people take right to it.  Some people find it awkward and need coaching.  It is VERY common to wear your baby in semi-comfort, until you meet with a more experienced mom who shows you a few simple pulls and cinches, or a slight positioning adjustment, and Voila-babywearing is suddenly as comfortable and convenient as you were told it should be!  And Ta-da-your reluctant baby who cries in the carrier now sleeps soundly or rests contentedly in the carrier!

So that help is invaluable.  That’s why I am collecting the contact information for live, in-person, local babywearing groups around the world.  Not only are their services invaluable, but they are usually free, cooperative mom communities that can enhance your life by giving you a wonderful support network and a close-knit group of friends (just as if you lived in a village).

Most states in the US have a few groups, so that travel to one is conceivable.  But there are some empty spots in the US where it is quite a drive in any direction to find a group.  And the best scene is to have one in your own city so that you can be a regular part of the meetings, contributing, learning and having fun regularly.  That’s why my next blog post will be about how it’s really not so hard to Start Your Own Babywearing Group!

Why Spend Money on a Woven Wrap?

Curious about the cost of wraparound baby carriers? What makes a simple piece of cloth worth the expense?

Second baby in a woven wrap.

Consider this, while baby wraps may not be common in this culture, their function in caring for your baby is much greater than that of many modern conveniences that are considered necessary baby gear:

A baby will sleep anywhere, so how important is a crib, really? When a second-hand cradle or bassinet will do, or a cardboard box, for that matter! Slightly less ghetto is the dresser drawer option. And even if you want a traditional nursery, there are no shortage of second-hand cribs from friends, family, childrens consignment stores, and thrift stores. Of course, I’m left out the simplest option: co-sleeping, which we have done with two of our three children, and which has proved easiest to manage as a sleep deprived parent! Hey, sleeping with your babies is a time-honored tradition in the history of mankind, and babies are, in fact, biologically designed to stay close to a parent at night. Evolution has not caught up with this new-fangled crib nonsense!

Most of us cannot get by without a carseat. It would take a major shift in our lives or in society for that need to go away. However, I don’t know any reason why you need an infant carseat and later a forward-facing carseat. Get a convertible carseat and let the one device serve all of your baby’s needs for a safe driving environment. Indeed, let it serve for all of your kids, replacing it only in case of accident or expiration. Simplify your life with less carseats; simplify your shopping with less carseats. Save money. Live better (couldn’t resist). Also, for those of you who live in Boston or other cities with great public transportation and little need for cars, you may be able to forgo the nasty things altogether as I swore with each baby I would do before I had another!

Baby bouncers, swings, seats, exersaucers, walkers, play yards, etc: some parents find them very handy. We had a bouncer and swing with our first but they didn’t get used much and weren’t worth the space they took up in our tiny house, so we didn’t bother with them again. Our baby only wanted to be held, and always wanted to be held, rendering these devices useless and a wrap indispensable. If one of the above gives you a safe place to set your baby while you shower, that can be life changing for an exhausted and tapped out mom, and I am happy to see her have that opportunity! If one such device entertains baby so parents can get a break, that’s invaluable and not to be scoffed at. So it’s worth borrowing one or two and trying them out with your baby. But do not think they are necessary, nor beneficial. Your baby learns more from being held or worn on your body than from the buttons and textures and sounds on their baby gear. Babies grow and sleep better in contact with mom or dad. A baby’s motor skills develop optimally in contact with your human body. So don’t buy into marketing that tells you what the devices will do for your baby. And do realize that all of these “conveniences” designed to replace your arms are, while probably harmless, not optimum. A baby who spends more time in gear than in arms should be given sufficient “tummy time” to counteract the unnatural situation. Babies in arms get their tummy time against you. And speaking of tummy time, laying a baby on his or her back or tummy (as preferred) on a blanket on the floor is a very good place to let a non-mobile baby play and be occupied with measuring spoons in lieu of a playmat. So, use these things to the degree that they help your family be happy and comfortable and without fooling yourself into thinking they are the best place for your baby. They are, simply, a helpful break!

A high chair can be very helpful, but again not necessary. My youngest has been high-chair free (except when visiting grandparents) due to our circumstances. Did you know that a baby can eat very easily perched on your lap or sitting on a spot on the floor set up for dinner? May I just interject a recommendation for baby-led solids, here? Again, evolutionarily appropriateness meets convenience for a parenting choice made in heaven 🙂

Baby bathtubs have always seemed to me to be a waste of space. We had a few with our first and soon passed them on. It was much more convenient and comfortable to take her into the bath with us, and when I didn’t feel like that project, she could be wiped with a washcloth. Young babies rarely need to be bathed as long as you are cleaning their bottoms and faces sufficiently after they eat and poop!

That leaves the stroller, and it is probably obvious that a baby carrier can replace a stroller. We found a cheap umbrella stroller helpful when we took our four year old to Disney World in the heat. We bought it at a thrift store, and re-donated it the day we got back. We found a similar umbrella stroller helpful to have as an option for our toddler as we explored the United States, traveling in our motorhome with our baby wrapped up. Even then, we encountered many places where it was more convenient to just wear them both (between my husband and myself), such as those charming cobble-stoned streets of Boston, or through the beautiful forests in the National Parks where she would alternate wanting to walk and be carried. Now, with a 7 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old, we do not own a stroller. We haven’t needed one yet with the 1 year old, and other than that trip to Disney World, we didn’t need one when the 7 year old was little. We did find it helpful with the middle child for a time, and I used it with her during my exhausting pregnancy with number three. I’m very glad I had it. So, see what fits your life. But realize that…

…of all the baby gear mentioned here, a baby wrap is the one that can be the most helpful, has the most benefits for baby, for mother, for those who breastfeed, and for generally simplifying the complex world of parenting. I’d say it’s worth the price!

Is my baby too big for a wrap?

Hiking with a big kid wrapped on my back.

I hear this question a lot, and my answer is that, if you use a stroller and you want to ditch it, a wrap is your answer!  Or if you wind up carrying your child and want a more comfortable solution, a wrap is your answer!  Some people don’t think of their pre-schoolers as being in-arms, but when you think about it you may realize that you end up carrying them on hikes, at the end of a long zoo day, when they can’t be counted on to stay out of the street, oe when you’re in a hurry to pick up the pace.  It may be daily or weekly.  And since they’re pre-schoolers, that might be an achy proposition!  Your wrap can be there for all those times.  It’s a piggy back ride, but your child doesn’t have to hold on, and you don’t either!

If your child takes care of all his or her own mobility, then you probably don’t need one, unless you have a special circumstance wherein more time spent wrapped together would be advantageous, perhaps in the case of an adoptive child or one with sensory issues.

What Babywearing Does for Feminism

Babywearing Gets Moms out of the House

I guess “feminism” means different things to different people. If it means freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without regard to sex or gender, then none of us should feel like the needs of the feminism movement should dictate our choices. It means that condemning a woman for going to work or staying at home are equally preposterous, and equally harmful to the cause of feminism. It means that bottlefeeding and breastfeeding are both banners of equality and freedom and a woman can know that the less of a hard time she’s given for her parenting choices, the greater the progress of feminism.

The arrival of gender equality should mean that criticizing mothering practices is as rude as arguing with someone about how they decorate their homes.

It is true that how we raise our children is of more interest to society than how we decorate our homes. The results of the former affect us all. But those who feel strongly about how children should be treated can take solace when considering that just as children learn values from their parents’ actions and choices, so can our friends, relatives, and even strangers learn values from observing us. How happy our children are, how fulfilled we seem. If our family interactions inspire others to strive for a similar level of love, compassion, communication and understanding, then we are affecting the families around us more than we ever could by warnings or advice.

This was supposed to be about babywearing, so now I’ll come to it. Babywearing has many benefits for mothers and babies. A mother need not babywear because she thinks she ought to. I hope that mothers will give it a try because it can help make mothering easier. A happy baby makes mothering easier. A baby who cries less, makes mothering easier. Having hands free to feed herself or brush her teeth makes mothering easier. And if it doesn’t make your life easier, or if you don’t want to give it a try, that doesn’t reflect on the quality of your mothering. It just means that you’re not exactly the same as me. It would be kind of creepy if you were.

And for those who think that nursing and babywearing are bad for women, keeps them home when they want to be out, keeps them out of the workforce when they wish they were pursuing careers, to those people I say:

1. Stop assuming that your values and interests are mine! There are as many different ideas of the perfect life as there are human beings. Some are glad to get out of the workforce. Some feel privileged and excited at the chance to raise children full time. Some wish they could stay home but work out of necessity, and some are very happily nursing, babywearing and working a fulltime job.

2. Nursing and babywearing both make it easier to get out of the house, whether it’s every day as a stay at home mom, or action-packed weekends as a working mum. With no bottles to prepare and to keep cold or warm up, and no overstuffed bags to carry them around in, going out is a breeze. No need to be home when baby gets hungry, the perfect food is always ready at the perfect temperature and anywhere is a good place to feed baby.

Babywearing means you don’t have to pack, unload, or set up a stroller, and you don’t need space in your car. You don’t have to change your plans to accommodate the giant wheeled beast—babywearing can go anywhere that it’s safe for babies to go. You don’t have to schedule around naptime, since baby can nap contentedly in the middle of a festival when wrapped up. There is less stress from keeping your toddler in sight or out of the street, and you have less to fear from tantrums or accidents when you keep your baby or child wrapped against you.

As far as the pursuit of happiness goes, I assert that babywearing makes mothering easier in that it helps fulfill babies’ needs more easily, making for an environment in which a mother has more freedom to fulfill her own needs, and partake in the activities that make her happy. Feminist babywearers Unite!

Why A Woven Wrap?

Wearing a Toddler With a Woven Wrap

There are two main categories of wraparound carrier: those that are stretchy, generally made of knit jersey material; and those that are woven which are sturdier and safer for bigger children.

I only sell wraps. And I only sell woven wraps. Because wovens are the most versatile and comfortable carrier I have found. They are the one carrier I know that can do it all so that one purchase will last a family through many children, or even generations. To my mind, stretchy wraps are an altogether different kind of carrier, and fits into my “other” category:

Ring slings, pouches, mei tais and Asian Baby Carriers, soft structured carriers like the Beco and Ergo, and stretchy wraps like Moby and the Sleepywrap are all great babywearing options with which I have no beef. They provide ergonomic positions for your baby and allow parents to keep their babies close to their hearts while accomplishing daily tasks or hiking off the beaten path. For those who want to save money or space by forgoing many other baby devices, a good baby carrier can eliminate the need for other bulky or costly pieces of baby gear. They are all super stars, in my mind!

But which of them cocoons a newborn—no matter how small—in a womb-like cradle against your chest; is equally suited to keeping your growing, inquisitive baby safe and close while you go about your daily activities together; and provides a strong, comfortable place on your back for your toddler while you hike, or shop, or dance, and while they nap, or relax, or laugh and point, and engage in the world with you.

Which of them allows an infinite ability to customize on the go, providing head support as needed, allowing babies arms to be tucked in or out, offering carries that give your baby a view or those that tuck them against you for cuddling, supporting a nursing position, allowing for wearing multiple children or those with special needs, supporting little ones from preemie to preschool, fitting caregivers of different sizes without adjustment, promoting the comfort of the babywearer by accommodating different physical needs, and offering many options for front, back, and hip carries that are not awkward, all with one simple carrier?

So, why woven wraps? Because, in their simplicity, a simple piece of cloth really can accomplish the most for families.

Woven Wrap - Babywearing in Lake Eerie