Monday, October 10, 2011

Fleece No Sew Poncho

Happy International Babywearing Week 2011! 

Here is a great little tutorial for fall... a fleece, no sew babywearing poncho!  I really want to try this... my usual go-to for cold weather babywearing is an extra large fleece zip up jacket... but this looks much cuter and more suited to back carries (I have to wear my fleece jacket backwards and have somebody else zip it up, so...).

Also, have you "liked" the blog on Facebook? Well, if you haven't and you want to, here you go!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ring Sling Love

I love my ring slings! Right now I'm using them every day, with Levi, who is now almost four months (how?!) and eighteen pounds. :)

My ring slings are all DIY, but here are some available for purchase that I've heard great things about and feel comfortable recommending... feel free to share your favorites in the comments, too!

Maya Wrap

Original Maya Wrap Sling (Not Padded)-Medium -OLIVE GREEN

Sakura Bloom


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Guest Post: Newborn Back Wrapping

I'm so thrilled to have Shannon guest posting on newborn back wrapping! Thank you, Shannon! Newborn backwrapping is definitely "advanced" babywearing, but with care and practice it can be so wonderful!  I started back wrapping at 5 weeks or so with Levi, & we love it! :)

Wrapping a newborn baby on my back? Am I crazy?

While I love the snuggles I can get from wrapping my tiny baby on my front I also need the convenience of having my arms truly free to help my toddler and preschooler with basic tasks and not having to peer over and around the baby. For me, the safest place to put my baby in this situation is on my back.

Getting a newborn baby on your back is much easier than you think it is! One of the best things about wrapping such a small baby is their lack of mobility. Once you get them on your back they stay where you put them until you can get them securely wrapped up.

My favorite method for getting a tiny baby up onto your back in a wrap safely and easily is the Santa Toss method. A terrific video tutorial for this can be found here at the bottom of this page. (Disclaimer: Yes, this is a stretchy wrap. Its a hybrid and one of only 2 brands I know of that are appropriate for back carrying in for experienced babywearers. For safety's sake though, please never back carry any size baby in a stretchy wrap!!!)

Once baby is safely on your back I like to position baby so that his or her head lays against the nape of my neck. I carry my own babies legs out in all carries right from birth so after baby is safely positioned I double check to make sure there is a good amount of wrap over baby's bottom. My preferred carry is the Reinforced Ruck as shown in this YouTube video

As baby grows and I am able to start to spread the hips more I just reach up as I am making my reinforcing passes and spread the legs open by pushing up on the bottom of the feet. A snug wrap over them will help keep the legs positioned nice a spread. My own baby is now 4 months old and I still leave my passes open over her legs instead of crossing under them like I do with bigger babies.
Getting the newborn baby off your back is done just the same as with bigger kids. I just unwrap all but the first pass over the baby and then shimmy baby into the crook of my arm and bring her around front. Here is a video demonstrating this.

With a little bit of practice wearing small babies on your back should be just as easy (if not easier!) than wearing the big kids!


Shannon is the diaper sewing diva at Color Dynamic, mom to 3 gorgeous girls and a Certified Babywearing Educator.

Wonderful! Thanks again Shannon!

So have you ever wrapped (front or back!) a newborn? Or would you like to learn? Or if you're a wrapper already, what are your favorite wrapping resources?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Introducing... Levi!

Thrilled to introduce Levi! 8lbs 8oz, born peacefully at home with the help of our much loved midwife. Enjoying lots of wearing and baby snuggling!

{BabyEtte Sunayana Woven in Java}

... in the Moby Wrap

Monday, April 11, 2011

ring sling love

Kiddo enjoying having her hands free to "grocery shop" while still taking her beloved Baby along.  Do your little ones wear their dolls or toys?  What do they use?  (Scarves from the dress up bag are a very popular choice around here!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Babywearing Safety

First off, this is not safe babywearing:

funny facebook fails - Babysitter FAIL
see more Failbook
(Isn't that horribly disturbing?! Sorry...)

Second off, and much more cheerfully, I have a guest post up today at Cole's First Blog on babywearing safety! Hop on over there and check it out. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back carry, 31 weeks

Pardon my windblown hair and her odd face (I think she wanted us to just get on with our walk and stop taking pictures!), but here I am, 31 weeks with #3, with my almost 2 year old on my back in a podaegi.  I find it most comfortable to tie my mei tais and podaegis above the belly during pregnancy, and was able to continue wearing through most of my last pregnancy.  I did mostly back carries, and as one person pointed out "balanced myself out" with a baby on the front and a baby on the back. ;)

Have you done any babywearing during pregnancy?  What are your favorite carries/carriers/tips for that?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Babywearing on a Budget

Let's be honest.  Carriers can be expensive, and pretty much everyone has a wishlist, right?  Before you know it, you've moved on from eying a Maya Wrap doubtfully, wondering if it would really be worth the $50, to realizing that a good carrier is truly priceless and a good investment and thinking that it sounds like a bargain in exchange for hands free cuddle time and comfort as you go about your daily life.

But no matter how convinced you may be that a good carrier is worth the money, it doesn't really matter in the long run if you can't afford it.  And, even though I think that babywearing is fantastic for you and your baby, I'm not going to recommend you go into debt to babywear!

Fortunately, there are alternatives... of course, I've sewn most of my carriers, as you can see by looking at my DIY Carrier research page, but not everyone can sew, or has access to a sewing machine.

So here are some simple, frugal, no sew babywearing options.

First, a no sew wrap.  The page I link goes into how to select an appropriate fabric for a no sew wrap, and also talks about how if simple sewing is an option, you can select different fabrics and hem the wrap.

Here I am with my then 6 month old, using an unhemmed, uncut piece of cotton 5 1/2 yards long.  I've since narrowed it and hemmed it, making two wraps from the fabric.

My guess is that each wrap cost me about $8.25, but it could be done for less if you found appropriate fabric for less.

Occasionally, Walmart craft sections will have a $1/yd section, so you could make a wrap for as little as $5.50 (depending on the width of the fabric, possibly two, although I doubt much of that fabric is wide enough for that.)  Frequently that fabric is ugly or poor quality, however- make sure you read over the page on how to choose fabrics carefully before picking!

Alternatively, many fabric stores have frequent coupons good for one cut of fabric that can dramatically reduce your cost.  Watching the sales is also a good tactic... I just got an email about a sale at Hancock Fabric 2/17-2/20 that has a few fabrics 50% off.

If you use a sturdy, non stretchy fabric, you can also learn to back carry with your wrap!  Learning to back wrap isn't always easy, but once you get it figured out it is great.  Practice in front of a mirror with a doll or teddy bear to get the hang of it, then have a spotter or or maybe practice while sitting on a mattress the first few times.

For a comfortable longer wearing period, I love doing a back carry in a wrap!  The back wrap cross carry is my favorite~ I love this version with a chest belt.

Stretchy wraps, while great for newborns (Moby Wrap review here) are really NOT safe for back carries.

Whatever fabric you choose for your wrap,  it's important to check for signs of wear regularly, like with any carrier, and make sure it's still sturdy and safe.

While a wrap is the simplest carrier to make, I was surprised to find other choices for no sew carriers!  On The Babywearer's great page on sewing and improvising baby carriers, I found a link to Jan Andrea's No- Sew Ring Sling, as well as a no sew babywearing poncho that I would love to try out myself. 

For purchased carriers on a budget, you can check consignment events (I saw a Maya Wrap at the last one I was at for about $25), the FSOT forums on The Babywearer, or buy an Infantino Wrap and Tie (their version of the mei tai) for $30.  Generally Infantino has a bad reputation in the babywearing community but it seems that the Wrap and Tie is a good carrier since many people really like theirs, and that is considerably less expensive than most mei tais. 

I don't recommend getting a cheap structured carrier like this, or a Seven Sling (check out this review), however... short term savings aren't worth it for a carrier that won't be comfortable, durable, and versatile.  As your grandmother might have said, that's "bad economy." ;)

Have you made a no sew carrier? Or know of a great tutorial for one?  What are your tips for babywearing on a budget?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good Positioning Matters!

I think the number one problem people have with babywearing (besides not having a good carrier to start out with, in many cases!) is not having correct positioning.  That can make even a fantastic carrier uncomfortable for the wearer, and uncomfortable or even unsafe for your little passenger.

Slingbabies has a very comprehensive page on The Importance of Positioning in a Carrier that really covers not just how to position, but why certain positions (and carriers) are not ideal for babies spines.  Here are their top three essential aspects of positioning, but the whole thing is a great read:

  1.  Baby's legs should always be in a frog position, bottom down knees up, straddling you, with legs up at a 90° angle to the spine.  (except for in cradle carries) This is the best, most correct and most desirable position for baby. [later it is noted that "before they are approx  11-12 weeks old, babies' legs are better to be tucked inside the carrier, up underneath them as they would be when you hold them in-arms."]
  2.  Baby should be high and snug in any carrier.
  3.  A good baby carrier will mimic the way you hold baby naturally in your arms.

I know that having these three top tips summarized for me was really helpful, especially thinking through helping new mamas babywear at first!  Wish I'd read this before I started babywearing... it would have made it clear faster that my heavily padded, barely adjustable sling was not a good carrier, and maybe sped me on in getting a really good ring sling, which made a huge difference with my second baby!

Close enough to kiss...

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Is it just me, or is there always another carrier that looks really appealing?  Always one more to try? :)

Here are my "wish" carriers right now...

  • I have a green Moby Wrap, but I'd love to have a black one that would be slightly dressier and go with more of my dress clothes.  Of course, a 

  • Woven wrap is also on my wish list, so maybe a black woven would be a better investment.  Hmm.

  • ERGObaby carrier. A very few people have expressed that they don't like this carrier because they're short/have a short torso (and I'm 5' 3", so that does make me wonder if I'd like it), but the overwhelming consensus seems to be that most babywearers love their ERGO.  So I'd like to try one, especially as I've never tried a structured carrier.  

  • Wrap-tie or wrap-pod.  I have mei tais, and podaegis, but frequently after periods of extended wear the straps become uncomfortable on my shoulders.  I've thought about adding padding, but I think I would prefer one with wrap straps as I'm sure that would fix that issue, and combine the ease of a mei tai or podaegi back carry with the comfort and versatility of a wrap.  The Maya Tie looks good, but since I've sewn myself several mei tais I'd probably just make a wrap tie myself since it wouldn't be much different to sew.
What is your stash wish list?  Or is your stash complete?  :)

Edited to add... if the ERGO is on your wishlist, too, here are a couple of current giveaways going on...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nigerian Babies in 1931...

 I've been reading 'Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living' in preparation for our next baby (#3, expected April/May), and have been fascinated with the last section that looks at babies around the world.  Of course, their focus is on the pottying of the babies  but since many of the same cultures wear their babies there are lots of little glimpses into that. 

Here is a passage from field research conducted on the topic of native life among the Dahomey (in Nigeria) during a period of five months in 1931...

Beautiful photo from National Geographic, here

"Returning now to a consideration of the development of the normal child, it is to be observed that very young children are carried most of the time on the backs of their mothers or, in rare instances, of nurses.  Unless prevented by special circumstances, a mother takes her baby with her wherever she goes, and women may be seen selling in the market, carrying burdens on the road, working in the fields, or dancing in ceremonial dances with their infants straddling their backs." (page 410 of IPT)

found via image search here, can't figure out from where to give credit... 
if anyone knows where it is from please let me know!

I think that in both of these photos they're wearing their babies with a Kanga... what do you think, babywearers?