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...