International Babywearing Week is Right Around the Corner!

General-IBW-Logo-FCInternational Babywearing Week is fast approaching – the celebration is October 2nd-8th. We hope that you plan to join us for any or all of our 4th annual celebratory events. Join this event to ensure that you stay tuned for all of the event details! There will be family friendly fun, prizes, and so many memories to share!

We’re planning events for every day during the week, and the majority of the events are free to attend! We are also planning for our Main Celebration and Fundraiser on October 8th in the downtown Tucson area, where amazing prizes will be available to win (it’s a win-win – you support our non-profit chapter with your donation and you increase your odds of winning an awesome prize donated to our chapter by generous community and national sponsors!).

We are so excited to have Tucson Babywearers join us at the events. ALL are welcome to our events — if you are expecting your first, are a seasoned babywearer who has never met another babywearer in real life, or consider yourself lucky to be a second or third generation babywearer whose bestie is also into babywearing. Friends and family are more than welcome too!

By the way, if you are interested in being a sponsor, vendor, and/or donor for the week contact us at babywearingtucson@gmail.com. You can see previous sponsors here…

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Short Answers to a Few of the Most Commonly Asked DIY Questions

DIY: FAQ or “Short Answers to a Few of the Most Commonly Asked DIY Questions”

Q: What fabric is suitable for a woven wrap?
A: Osnaburg cotton (a type of muslin), midweight 100% linen or linen blends, some lighterweight upholstery fabrics. Look for mid- to heavier weight fabrics that do not stretch, but have a bit of give. Synthetic materials (such as polyester) really should be avoided. Cotton gauze may be used as well, just keep in mind it is a thin fabric, and may not be *as* supportive for longer periods of time or heavier kiddos, and many users complain of it “digging” on the shoulders (especially in back carries). http://crafts.sleepingbaby.net/fabric.html

Q: How do I go about making a DIY wrap?
A: http://wrapyourbaby.com/blog/2013/05/do-it-yourself-woven-wrap/ has some great tips and recommendations for making a DIY wrap.

Q: Where can I buy sling rings (rings used for making ring slings)?
A: Rings from http://www.slingrings.com are specifically manufactured for use in baby carriers. Medium or large aluminums are what is most recommended for making ring slings.

Q: How much fabric should I buy if I am making a DIY wrap?
A: Buy extra to account for shrinkage!! Standard wrap lengths:

size 2 – 2.7 meters = 8.86 feet = 102.36 inches = 2.84 yards

size 3 – 3.1 meters = 10.17 feet = 122.05 inches = 3.39 yards

size 4 – 3.6 meters = 11.81 feet = 141.73 inches = 3.94 yards

size 5 – 4.2 meters = 13.78 feet = 165 inches = 4.58 yards

size 6 – 4.6 meters = 15.09 feet = 181.10 inches = 5.03 yards

size 7 – 5.2 meters = 17.06 feet = 204.72 inches = 5.69 yards

size 8 – 5.60 meters = 18.37 feet = 220.47 inches = 6.12 yards

Q: I’m looking for a pattern for a WCMT with wrap straps / SSC / MT / Half Buckle
A: TheBabyWearer.com is a great resource…check out their DIY Forums. Also, be sure to take a look at the following tutorials:

-Let’s Make a Mei Tai, Part I: http://www.becomingmamas.com/lets-make-a-mei-tai-or-onbu-part-i-assembling-your-materials/
-Let’s Make a Mei Tai, Part II: http://pinterest.com/offsite/?token=222-829&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.becomingmamas.com%2Flets-make-a-mei-tai-or-onbu-part-ii-putting-it-all-together%2F&pin=406238828858497065

-Making a Tablecloth Mei Tai: http://youre-sew-crafty.blogspot.ca/2012/12/table-cloth-mei-tai-tcmt.html?m=1

Q: How do I sew a ring sling?
A: Check out these links from Jan of Sleeping Baby Productions:
Sewing a Ring Sling: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/sling.html
Ring Sling Shoulders: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/shoulders.html

Other ring sling tutorials can be found at: http://www.hipababy.com/diy.html and http://www.mayawrap.com/n_sewsling.php

Q: I’m interested in making and selling baby carriers, where do I start?
A: You need to be CPSIA compliant, aware of your state and local regulations for owning and operating a business out of your home, and up to date with current ASTM safety testing requirements. This article by the BCIA (it’s a wise decision to become a member) covers more: http://www.babycarrierindustryalliance.org/content.php?r=174-Baby-Carrier-Manufacturing-101
…and Jan of Sleeping Baby Productions (the ring sling guru!) has some very good recommendations as well: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/selling.html

Q: Where can I go for more DIY advice, tutorials, troubleshooting, community, etc?
A: The Facebook group, “Babywearing DIY Advice and Support” is a great resource: https://www.facebook.com/groups/334070496681248/. They have a file called “DIY Links” that is a ton of great information for everything DIY in babywearing: https://www.facebook.com/groups/334070496681248/doc/343440382410926/
And, of course, the gold standard in Babywearing forums and information, TheBabywearer.com, has a long-standing DIY Forum: http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?76-Do-It-Yourself

Please also check out our Tucson Babywearers’ Pinterest page for links to many, many great tutorials! http://pinterest.com/babywearingtaz/diy-babywearing/

“Happy Being Crafty & Babywearing!!”

Carry of the Week: Short Back Cross Carry

COTW for the week of August 12th is: Short Back Cross Carry (SBCC)

Our featured carry this week is Short Back Cross Carry (SBCC). As with Christina’s Ruckless last week, we are starting to work with some carries that will fall into the “advanced babywearing” category, so if a particular carry looks intimidating or you try it and quite get it right, don’t give up! It takes practice, and those of us who have successfully mastered this carry probably looked and felt just like you the first time we tried it!

SBCC is a back carry that can be done with a short wrap: size 2-4, depending on the size of the wearer and child, and what “finish” you choose (tied at shoulder or “candy cane” chest belt).

Safety: Stretchy/Knit Wraps (like the Moby) should not, under any circumstances, be used for back carries as their stretchy quality makes them unsafe for anything other than front and hip carries. Keep in mind that if this is your first time doing a back carry, or even this particular carry, you should have a spotter and/or practice over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch. You may even want to practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable.

Short Back Cross Carry, Tied at Shoulder (TAS)

Short Back Cross Carry with a Candy Cane Chest Belt (CCCB)

Carry Of The Week: Christina’s Ruckless Back Carry

COTW for the week of August 5th is: Christina’s Ruckless Back Carry

This week our carry of the week is Christina’s Ruckless Back Carry (CRBC). As we proceed with our Carry of the Week, we are starting to work with some carries that will fall into the “advanced babywearing” category, so if a particular carry looks intimidating or you try it and quite get it right, don’t give up! It takes practice, and those of us who have successfully mastered this carry probably looked and felt just like you the first time we tried it!

Christina’s Ruckless is a multi-layer back carry that can be an extremely comfortable carry for those who don’t like ruck straps. It is supportive and also a great solution for those leg-straightening babies and toddlers! It is fairly similar to Secure High Back Carry (SHBC), but doesn’t have a knot in the chest belt, so may be a little more comfortable for those bothered by that feature of SHBC.

Christina’s Ruckless can be completed using a size 4-6 wrap, depending on the size of the wearer and child. Please visit our Facebook Group Page for any questions or advice on this carry!

Safety: Stretchy/Knit Wraps (like the Moby) should not, under any circumstances, be used for back carries as their stretchy quality makes them unsafe for anything other than front and hip carries. Keep in mind that if this is your first time doing a back carry, or even this particular carry, you should have a spotter and/or practice over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch. You may even want to practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable.

Christina’s Ruckless Back Carry

Christina’s Ruckless Back Carry

Part II of our WCRS Series: How does one get a Wrap Conversion Ring Sling?

Ok, so I am interested in a Wrap Conversion Ring Sling (WCRS), now where do I get one?!
There are essentially THREE ways to get a WCRS…

1. Buy a “Ready-Made” WCRS from an Online Retailer
Some “slingifiers” (seamstresses/small businesses that convert a woven wrap into a ring sling) sell ready-made wrap conversion ring slings directly on their websites in addition to their standard ring slings. There are also some online companies that carry ready-made WCRSs. A few to check out include Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP), Zanytoes, PAXbaby, and Sweetbottoms Baby.

Sleeping Baby Productions ready-made Easycare and Ellaroo WCRS (starting at $75 per WCRS): http://www.sleepingbaby.net/slingified.php

Zanytoes ready-made WCRS include Girasol and Storchenweige (from $95 per WCRS): http://zanytoes.net/category_19/Ready-Made-WCRS.htm

Sweetbottoms Baby carries ready-made Dolcino WCRS by Sleeping Baby Productions starting at $99 per WCRS): http://www.sweetbottomsbaby.com/Dolcino-Wrap-Conversion-Ring-Sling_p_2399.html

PAXBaby also carries a wide-variety of ready-made WCRS (starting at $98 per WCRS): http://shop.paxbaby.com/wrap-conversion-ring-sling/

2. Have a Woven Wrap “Converted” into a Custom-Made WCRS
Some babywearers will already have a woven wrap in their collection that they have selected for having made into a custom-made WCRS. Others will buy a short woven (size 2 or smaller) or “split” a wrap with another babywearer specifically for this purpose. Once you have the woven, you can then send it into the “slingifier” of your choice to have converted into a WCRS. Some of the more popular companies for having a wrap converted into a ring sling, including:

Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP): http://www.sleepingbaby.net
Zanytoes Ring Slings: http://www.zanytoes.net
Kalea Baby: http://www.kaleababy.com
Comfy Joey: http://www.comfyjoey.com
*each of the companies listed above meet the standards set forth by the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) and have met the requirements necessary by the BCIA/ASTM to manufacture safe baby carriers.

What else do I need to know about having a custom WCRS made?
– It is important to know how long of a piece of woven wrap you need to have a WCRS made. SBP has a great calculator on their site for this purpose: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/wraps.php

– You will also want to consider what length of sling you are wanting…another great chart for sizing is available at SBP: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/size.php

– Another important consideration is what type of shoulder you will want your ring sling to have. Each conversion artist/slingifier has their own individual style or custom options. Some of the most popular shoulder styles are: pleated, gathered, and a hybrid pleated-gathered (which also includes SBP’s patented “Eesti” shoulder).

3. Buy a Used WCRS on an Online Buy/Sell/Trade Forum
A very popular way to obtain a WCRS is to buy a used one from another babywearer. Asking in your local babywearing group may turn up some options. Otherwise, there are a few online babywearing communities that have been created specifically for this purpose.

Facebook Groups
There are a few groups on Facebook for buying/selling and trading used baby carriers, including WCRSs (please be sure to closely review and abide by group rules upon joining!):
The Babywearing Swap: https://www.facebook.com/groups/177004382426666/#!/groups/thebabywearingswap/
Babywearing on a Budget: https://www.facebook.com/groups/177004382426666/#!/groups/156002947911287/

TheBabywearer.comA long-standing online babywearing community, TheBabywearer.com , also features a “For Sale or Trade” (FSOT) forum for individuals interested in buying and selling used baby carriers, including WCRSs. Upon registering/requesting membership at http://www.TheBabywearer.com, you will have access to these FSOT forums and can begin your search!

A WCRS is an excellent investment for your babywearing collection, however, please remember that if it does not fit into your budget (custom conversions average $30 to $75 (including shipping both ways) per sling), many of the “slingifiers” also offer affordable standard options that are a little more budget-friendly.

If a WCRS is simply outside your budget, please rest assured the standard fabrics available from most ring sling makers are more than adequate for babywearing; a slingified wrap is hardly a necessity for comfortable, safe babywearing!

Part I of our WCRS Series: What IS a WCRS / Wrap Conversion Ring Sling, anyhow??

RING SLING

A Wrap Conversion Ring Sling (WCRS) is a piece of woven wrap that has been cut and made into a ring sling. It combines the best of both worlds utilizing the amazing carrying qualities of a woven wrap with the ease and simplicity of a ring sling. They are appropriate for long-term wearing, from newborns through preschoolers, and many wearers find them more supportive than standard fabrics.

Woven wraps are popular for converting into ring slings because they are both beautiful and tend to be more supportive than cotton or linen typically would be. Because wraps are woven specifically for babywearing, with thick threads and a wide, open weave, they are very comfortable. Due to the way they’re woven, wraps also have a “give” to them that is harder to find in standard fabrics. Woven wraps vary greatly in thickness and support depending on the maker and colorway (the pattern or style of the wrap); there are a variety of fabric blends as well, including cotton, linen, hemp, silk, wool, and bamboo blends. These qualities make for a wonderfully comfortable (and beautiful!) ring sling.

Although a WCRS is an ideal staple for all babywearing collections, if woven wraps/WCRS are outside your budget, please rest assured the standard fabrics available from most ring sling makers are more than adequate for babywearing; a slingified wrap is hardly a necessity for comfortable, safe babywearing!

Please watch for our upcoming post in this series about how to buy a WCRS and/or have a wrap converted into a WCRS, including different shoulder options, conversion artists, etc!

All About Mei Tais and Other Asian-Inspired Baby Carriers

Mei Tais, Podaegis (“Pod”), and Onbuhimos (“Onbu”)…these are all types of Asian-inspired baby carriers and offer babywearers some really amazing options for carrying their children on their front or back! They are perfect for newborns and are ideal for toddlerhood for back carries. In their simplest form, each of these carriers are essentially a rectangular cloth body with three different strap options depending on whether you will be using a Mei Tai, a Pod, or an Onbu.

Mei Tais are the most popular (and widely available) of the Asian-inspired carriers, so we will mostly discuss those. Information on Pods and Onbus can be found at the bottom of this post!

What is a Mei Tai?
“Mei Tais are a traditional Chinese baby carrier. In its very simplest form, a Mei Tai is a rectangular cloth body with straps coming off of each corner. Modern manufacturers have each developed their own take on this traditional design, so there is a wide variety of designs available…from wider panels, to padded straps, to custom creations made using woven wraps…the possibilities are endless for these amazingly functional and versatile baby carriers.
Mei Tais are most easily used for front and back carries (although they can be used for hip carries as well). Back carries can be done at varying heights (younger babies need a high back carry). They are easily transferred between wearers and provide a “custom” fit as they are tied onto the wearer and just live a woven wrap, adjust without buckles based on the wearer’s size.

Mei Tais are a good middle ground for someone who likes the custom fit that using a wrap offers but wants the speed and ease of a soft structured carrier.

MT

Types of Mei Tais
Mei tais can be loosely categorized by strap style, waist style, and body type:

Strap Styles:
• Wrap Style Straps: These straps are un-padded and are worn on the shoulders much like a wrap would be.
• Padded Straps: These straps have some amount of padding on the part of the strap that goes over the shoulder. The rest of the strap is the same width but without padding.
• Padded to Wrap Straps: Found primarily on wrap conversions, padded to wrap straps start with padded shoulders but fan out to wrap width. Bamberoo’s “Hybrid” straps, Ocah’s “Duo” and “Harmony” straps, and ObiMama’s “Kombi” and “Zen” straps fall into this category.
Waist Styles:
• Un-padded: No padding on the waist.
• Padded: Some level of padding on the waist; padding may only be as wide as the body or may extend somewhat around the curve of the waist.
• Structured: Some mei tai makers offer a more structured waist like those found on soft structured carriers. These often have buckles; carriers with a buckle waist and tie straps are often referred to as half buckles.

Body Types and Other Features:
• Material: Most wraps are made from natural fiber materials; straps and inner bodies are generally heavy material like canvas. Most have coverings of print fabric. Some manufactures offer Solarveil carriers and others offer Wrap Conversions (either the body or the entire mei tai made from a woven wrap).
• Size: Some manufacturers offer different body sizes such as infant, standard, or toddler – check the measurements provided by the maker or ask if you are unsure about sizing. Other brands come in one size that is intended for all age babies/toddlers (although no Mei Tai offers a perfect fit from newborn to preschooler). Mei Tai width measurements are taken across the top of the waist band; height is measured from the top of the waistband to the top of the center of the carrier (usually it is specified if this measurement does or doesn’t include the headrest).
• Hoods and Headrests: Many Mei Tais offer hoods and/or headrests that can be used to support a baby’s head as she sleeps. Some hoods can be tucked into the Mei Tai or removed when not in use. Some are flat style and others designed like a sweatshirt hood.
• Body Styles: Some Mei Tais have a flat, rectangular body. Others offer seat darts and/or contoured bodies. Seat darts allow for a deeper seat and will accommodate a larger child than a non-darted body of the same width. Some wearers find that a non-darted body provides a more snug fit than one with darts.”
– Mei Tai information from “Becoming Mamas”, http://www.becomingmamas.com/babywearing/mei-tais/

What is an Onbuhimo?
An Onbuimo or “Onbu” is very similar to a Mai Tai, but instead of both shoulder and waist straps, it has shoulder straps and a pair of rings at the waist. The straps go over the wearer’s shoulders, then through the rings.
Onbuhimo

What is a Podaegi?
A Podeagi, or “Pod”is a traditional Korean-inspired Asian baby carrier that is also similar to a Mei Tai. Unlike a Mei Tai, a Podaegi only has two straps, located at the top of the carrier. It can have either a large, blanket like body, or a narrower body similar to a Mei Tai in size. As a back carrier, the Pod is ideal for use with pregnant moms or moms who are still recovering from a c-section as there is not a waist strap and can be safely secured using the shoulder straps.
Podaegi

Stop by our Pinterest Boards for information on some brands of Mei Tais that are widely available:

…and for videos on how to use Mei Tais and other Asian-inspired baby carriers!!