Carry of the Month for July: FCC & SCC/SCC Variations

COTM for July 2014 is Front Cross Carry (FCC) and Short Cross Carry (SCC)/SCC Variations

Front Cross Carry and Short Cross Carry are great go-to carries to learn! Both are considered “poppable” carries, meaning they can be pre-tied and your baby can be easily popped in and out of the wrap as many times as needed. These are great carries for babies or toddlers who like to go up and down often. They are also great for when you are out running errands as you can tie it on at home, get in your car, and when you get to where you are going, pop baby in and go! 

FCC and SCC are also really nice to be able to sit down comfortably while baby is still wrapped, not to mention awesome carries to nurse in if you are breastfeeding. And, although we don’t get many of them, FCC and SCC are great for cold or rainy days as you can tie them before leaving the house and still put a coat on over if it’s chilly out; or on those rare rainy days in Southern Arizona, you won’t have to worry about the tails of your wrap dragging all over wet parking lots.

Front Cross Carry typically requires at least your base size wrap (for most babywearers, this is your long wrap ranging in size between a 5-8, depending on your build). Short Cross Carry and SCC Variations, can be done with a mid-length woven wrap. The two variations we like – using a sling ring and tying at the shoulder with a slipknot – make it a bit more adjustable than the regular short cross carry.

The Front Cross Carry can be done with a variety of wrap types (wovens, stretchy wraps, gauze wraps, hybrid wraps, DIY wraps). Short Cross Carry and its variations are probably best completed using a woven wrap for overall comfort, tying, and adjustablity.

Both FCC and SCC are nice secure carries as baby sits in the “x” created by the cross passes (with legs straddling each pass). It can be used tied nice and high on your chest for a newborn, and is great for bigger babies and toddlers, too!

An important thing to remember (besides nice, snug passes and a good knot) is to get good positioning and a good seat – knees above bum and fabric spreading from knee-to-knee. For those teeny newborns, also make sure you have good head support – you can either tuck their head into one of the cross passes or roll up a blanket or burp rag and tuck it behind baby’s head/neck spread between the two cross passes to provide more support for their head (once you’re all wrapped up).

Safety: If this is your first time using a wrap, or even this particular carry, please be sure to practice wrapping your baby over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch. You can even practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable with making a “seat” and securing the passes and tying the wrap. Working near a mirror or reflective surface is also helpful so that you can better see how your baby is positioned in the carry and whether or not you have their knees above their bum and fabric spread from knee-to-knee.

“TASK” Rule for Safe Babywearing!
Two fingers can be placed under baby’s chin
Always able to view baby’s face – even while nursing
Snug and Supported
Kissable – able to kiss the top of baby’s head easily

Be sure to check back in August to see what our next COTM will be!

Videos and Tutorials can be found below as well as on our Pinterest page!

 Front Cross Carry – photo tutorial

http://somdbabywearers.weebly.com/blog/front-cross-carry-photo-tutorial

Front Cross Carry with tips for nursing discreetly

Front Cross Carry with wrap folded in half lengthwise

Front Cross Carry – nursing upright and in cradle position

Short Cross Carry

Short Cross Carry

Short Cross Carry – Tied at Shoulder (SCC TAS)

Short Cross Carry with Ring Variation 

I want a Mei Tai, but which one?

I want a Mei Tai, but which one?

By Sarah and Kelly, BWI of Tucson

Mei Tai carriers are a very popular option that combine the ease of an SSC with some of the same dynamics of wrapping. As with many other types of carriers, the Mei Tai is produced by several different companies and in many different sizes. When choosing a baby carrier of any kind it is always important to find something that is going to fit both the caregiver and the child well, but sometimes knowing which carrier that is can be difficult. There are comparisons of some of the different Soft Structured Carriers available, but so far none of the Mei Tai carriers that I could find. So, a fellow babywearer (Kelly, who is also a VBE) and I, along with help from some members of our local BWI chapter, set out to create a comparison of some of the popular brands of Mei Tais. We chose brands that are easily found, well-known, and fairly budget friendly. Those brands are: Infantino, Freehand, BabyHawk and ToddlerHawk, Bamberoo, and Kozy.

It’s important to remember that the fit of the Mei Tai includes the body panel reaching from knee to knee on the child being worn. This allows for proper positioning and comfort for both the wearer and the wearee. Our goal with this project is to show you how a toddler fits in these different Mei Tai brands and sizes. We hope that by using a toddler it will be easier to see what might fit both a younger baby and an older child so that you may be able choose the brand and size that will be best for your specific needs. We’ve also taken measurements of the body panel, waist length, and strap length for each of the individual carriers in order to give specific information about the size of each Mei Tai.

Allow me a moment to introduce our models, or rather, I’ll let Kelly introduce herself and her son:
“I’m Kelly, this is my child, K. I am 5’ 3.75” and about 130 lbs (I wear about a size 6), he is 18 months old and 24lbs 10 oz and 31 inches tall – round and on the shorter side for his age. I would classify myself as athletic/petite, and K is on the short and adorably chunky side.”

First let’s look at a front carry with the different Mei Tai carriers. As you can see, in some of these, the carrier is not quite reaching knee-to-knee for K (e.g. Freehand, BabyHawk, and ToddlerHawk), although he is still well positioned. There are differences in the height of each carrier too; some of these carriers are offering full back support up to K’s neck or further, and some, while offering good back support, are only reaching to K’s shoulder blades. It’s important to note that while it is safe for a carrier to support K’s back only up to his shoulder blades, most children will quickly outgrow the carrier as they increase in height. (Please note that you should be able to click on each photo in order to view a larger version.)

MT front lbl

We’ve also included photos of the same front carry, but with a view of how the ties look in the back. This is so you may be able to tell how much length is left over after tying as pictured above (straps are crossed in back, crossed in front across K’s bum, and then tied off in back).

MT front-back lbl

It might be difficult to see, but if you look at the knots tied in back, some of them have very little length left over. Those are the Infantino, the ToddlerHawk, and especially the Kozy. The ToddlerHawk and Kozy have the option of special-ordering extra long straps, but the Infantino does not. You can see that with the Kozy, Kelly had barely enough to tie off in back. For anyone of larger size than Kelly, like myself, it would be impossible and you’d need to tie under your child’s bum. Tying off under baby’s bum is acceptable and safe; I personally prefer to be able to cross straps and tie in back as pictured. Therefore, because the Kozy is made for larger babies, toddlers and up, it may be wise to pay a little extra for longer straps if you plan on wearing your child in front as well as on your back.

For the sake of being thorough, let’s also look at how each carrier looks when used in a back carry. It may be a little easier to tell how well the individual Mei Tai carriers fit K in these pictures.

MT back lbl

Kelly has K nicely positioned on her back, using ruck straps, and crossing each strap over one leg and under the other to tie off in front. Because she is able to use ruck straps for back carrying, there is extra strap length left over and those carriers that had little left over for tying off in the front carry, now have plenty left over to tie off in these back carries.

Now that we’ve seen how each carrier is fitting Kelly and K in two different carrying positions, let’s look at the specific measurements for each one.

MT info collage

Note on the BabyHawk and ToddlerHawk: Please be aware of the manufacture dates of both the BabyHawk and ToddlerHawk. The measurements differ between the two, with the width of the ToddlerHawk body panel being 1 inch less than the BabyHawk. We believe this to be due to a more recent rebranding of BabyHawk. It is our understanding that currently the BabyHawk and ToddlerHawk body panel will measure the same width wise, but the ToddlerHawk will measure taller, unless ordered with custom width and height. This is a great example of why you should always ask for specific measurements before buying a carrier, especially when buying used.

The feel of a carrier when being worn is also important. Some Mei Tais have thicker padding on the waist and/or shoulder, and would be better suited for larger framed caregivers. Kelly, since she was the caregiver modeling these carriers for me, has offered up some personal insight into this aspect of each Mei Tai.

kellysimpressions

We hope that this information will help in deciding which carrier will work best for you and your child. There are many other good brands of Mei Tai carriers that we were unable to cover in our project, but they are definitely worth checking in to; Ellaroo and Catbird Baby come to mind. Please bear in mind that all measurements and carriers used were done with what we had on hand, and what we were able to borrow from the lovely members of our local group, Babywearing International of Tucson.

P.S. We would like to thank all the lovely ladies and men who graciously entrusted a Mei Tai into our care for a time in order to complete this project. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you!

Help Me! I need a carrier for warm – ok, HOT – weather! What should I get?

Help Me! I need a carrier for warm – ok, HOT – weather! What should I get?

Around this time of year this question starts becoming pretty common. Wrappers (that’s my P-C term for all people who babywear, BTW) who have lovingly purchased carriers based on the ooh’s and aah’s of the colorway or design suddenly become much more interested in the TYPES of fabric they are using. Here are some guidelines of what I would tell someone when asking about what type of carrier to use in the desert heat.

PREFACE: Let’s be real. 110 degrees is HOT. So hot that you may get stuck in the asphalt when your flip-flop starts melting as you walk across the parking lot. Yes, the desert is a dry heat, but, being smothered in the face by a blow dryer on high is just as awful as walking around in a sauna. Add having a baby next to you, especially the ones that are real heat factories is not going to help. To top it off, wrapping fabric or canvas or mesh or any type of material is basically creating yet another layer of heat-capturing sweatiness. Yes, there are some options that may be less hot than others. I just want to be clear that you will probably be hot no matter what (especially if you are in the first 6 months postpartum), and that may not necessarily be the fault of a carrier.

Material: Some fibers naturally help regulate temperature better than others. In the same vein, some fibers are cooler and less insulating than other fabrics. Weave (the way fibers are put together to create a material) is also going to make a difference in how breathable something is. I’m going to try and not get all fabric-geeky here on you and stick with some generalizations. If I start going on about warp and weft, please feel free to skim ahead to the links at the bottom.

Cotton Gauze: Gauze is a thin, mostly see-through fabric. It is easily dyed so often comes in many different colors. Because of the loose weave of the fabric, it is very breathable, even when doing more than one pass when wearing a baby. It is also relatively inexpensive, and can be found at common fabric stores or as already made baby-wraps. If DIY, you don’t need to hem it (the right stuff shouldn’t fray if cut down the middle, though it won’t look as finished with a rough edge) though if you do hem a serger is a better option than a rolled hem. It can also be doubled for added comfort, which still allows breathability but gives some more support. Because it is so thin, it can get ‘diggy’, so it is important to spread passes carefully. When babe reaches about 15-18 pounds (depending on the wearer), the weight of the baby combined with this type of fabric may give you the feeling that wearing baby is too heavy to be comfortable.

Linen: Linen material is a good choice for warm weather wearing. Linen is stronger than cotton (it’s true!) has a high moisture absorbency, is more breathable, more hypo-allergenic, and generally more environmentally friendly. If you have never felt high quality, 100% linen, you’re missing out. Granted, it’s made from flax, so it feels like cardboard before it’s washed and broken in. It also can be very wrinkly, so it needs to be ironed or dryed with heat. Linen probably has a slightly higher maximum comfortable weight than cotton gauze for wearing. It can still get diggy, but careful wrapping should help. Linen lasts much longer usually than cotton, and provides some durability to wraps in general.

Wool: I know, I know. Who wants to wear a sheep when it’s 110? I mean, wool keeps you warm, right? However, wool has excellent wicking properties, which is an important part of making you feel cool in the heat. It is also quick-drying, so if it does get wet with sweat or water, it dries quickly not leaving you a soggy mess. Many people swear by ‘summer wool’ (often Merino wool) which is a lightweight weave with a light density providing the benefits of wool without all of the thick sweater-ness. Most wraps you will find with wool will be blends, usually cotton. Sometimes this helps cut down on the sensitivity and itchiness people experience when wearing wool (fabric itchiness is based on microns per diameter in fibers which is definitely fabric-geekery).

Cotton/other fabrics: Just because I’ve highlighted these few fibers/materials, doesn’t mean that is all there is for warm weather wearing. Definitely there are cotton weaves and other materials (natural Dupioni silk, for ex.) which will be cool (well, cool-ish, I mean, it’s still HOT) for summer. The density of the weave has a huge impact on how ‘breathable’ a material will be. The same goes for the quality of the fabric. Many times, cotton is marketed as ‘breathable’, but cheap cotton, processed with chemicals, in a tight weave will be anything but.

*Side note: Anything synthetic will not breathe as well as a natural fiber. Period. If you’ve never worn a polyester suit in the middle of hairdryer summer heat, take my word for it. Stay away from the synthetics. Also, please be careful when buying your own fabric for babywearing, muslin is never a safe option. Stick with cotton, all linen, blends, bottomweights, monkcloth, or osnaberg.

Will I be cooler in a SSC (buckled) carrier or Mei Tai?

Maybe. Maybe not. Yes, wrapping does present the idea of covering yourself in an extra (or maybe two) layers of material than you would normally be wearing. But many SSC’s are made with canvas, which is much denser than any type of wrap fabric will be. It is usually made of cotton as well (though traditionally hemp was used), so even less breathable. That being said, you are going to have less ‘stuff’ on you, and there may be some more room in between you and baby when wearing. I find if I have to wear on front, a wrap is less hot and sweaty than a SSC, but the SSC isn’t as bad on the back. It also depends on what your activity is. A Mei Tai, especially made out of the right material, can be a great in-between. I also definitely use Ring Slings more the hotter it gets, just because it seems to create a little more breathing room in between us. Regardless, you are going to be hot, no matter what. You will have to decide if wearing a backpack with a hot, sweaty, perhaps poopy mess in it makes you less hot than wrapping that mess up in a blanket on you.

Josie Fan

Isn’t there something….some product I can use to help not be so hot while wearing?

There has been chatter lately about using cooling towels (Frogg Toggs name brand) to keep baby and wrapper cool during summer wearing. The towels are wet with water and then provide a cooling effect, but do not feel wet, like a regular towel might. These towels are made from a chemical compound, Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) which is ‘baked’ into the shape…usually that of a small towel. I’ve linked the MSDS and FAQ sheets here for your perusal. As far as safety goes, there haven’t been any instances determining this material to be unsafe. However, it is also an untested material as far as the use for babywearing and using with a baby. There are some instances of rash occurring, which happens because the material can actually start to pull moisture from human skin if it is not kept moist enough. Educate yourself and use at your own discretion.
http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927396
http://www.froggtoggs.com/chillyfaq
http://www.froggtoggs.com/chillymsds

Here are a few other great links regarding hot weather and babywearing:
http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/babywearing-hot-weather/
http://www.carrymeaway.com/pages/BabywearingWeather.html
http://blog.ergobaby.com/2013/08/guide-to-wearing-your-baby-in-hot-weather/
http://babywearinginternational.blogspot.com/2012/05/tips-from-texas-babywearing-in-heat-and.html
http://www.fwbabywearing.com/beat-the-heat-hot-babywearing-tips/
http://babycalmblog.com/2013/07/05/carrying-babies-in-hot-weather-summer-babywearing/

Written by: Miriam C, BWI of Tucson

“Between me and the cloth” – a babywearing story from one of our members

We love sharing our members’ babywearing stories – each journey in babywearing is so unique and beautiful and it is always amazing to see how each family has embraced wearing their children. We hope you enjoy reading this heartfelt post from Nicole…we sure did!

http://thepersonhooddiaries.blogspot.com/2014/06/between-me-and-cloth.html

Carry of the Month for June: FWCC / PWCC / FWCC Variations

COTM #1: Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC), Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC), and FWCC Variations

We will be starting our Carry of the Month with the classic Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) and its sister, the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC). For those of you that have been using wraps for a while, you probably have both of these down pat, as they are (more than likely), the first techniques that most of us used to wrap our babies. So, for you, we have some FWCC Variations below (last 4 videos)…try them out and let us know what you think!

For those that are just venturing into wrapping, or want to learn more, this is a great, all-around carrier for a variety of wrap types (stretchy wraps, gauze wraps, hybrid wraps, wovens, DIY wraps, you name it!). FWCC and PWCC are also great for smaller babies and for beginner babywearers! However, even experienced babywearers often fall back on the FWCC as it is an amazingly comfy, easy to learn, and very secure carry – even with those “leg straightening babies”.

FWCC is great for all ages, from newborn to toddler, and it’s relatively easy to learn and tie. PWCC (or as some may know from their Moby Wrap experience, the “Hug Hold”) is great for stretchy wraps and smaller babies (although you can use the PWCC with wovens, too!). While there are several variations of FWCC/PWCC, for the “average” sized mama, a size 6 wrap works best (although more petite babywearers may be able to use a 5).

The most important thing to remember (as always) is to get a good seat – knees above bum and fabric spreading from knee-to-knee. For those teeny newborns, also make sure you have good head support – you can either tuck their head in or roll up a blanket or burp rag and fold it into the horizontal panel to provide more support for their head (once you’re all wrapped up).

Safety: If this is your first time using a wrap, or even this particular carry, please be sure to practice wrapping your baby over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch. You can even practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable with making a “seat” and securing the passes and tying the wrap. Working near a mirror or reflective surface is also helpful so that you can better see how your baby is positioned in the carry and whether or not you have their knees above their bum and fabric spread from knee-to-knee.

Be sure to check back in next month to see what our next COTM will be!

Front Wrap Cross Carry / FWCC

Front Wrap Cross Carry / FWCC – with wrap folded/shoulder variation

Front Wrap Cross Carry / FWCC – with a Newborn

FWCC and PWCC (Pocket Wrap Cross Carry)

FWCC

FWCC VARIATIONS

FWCC Tied at Shoulder / FWCC TAS (for longer wrap)

Half Front Wrap Cross Carry (for mid-length wrap)

Semi-Front Wrap Cross Carry (for short- to mid-length wrap)

FWCC Tied at Shoulder – with a Newborn