How I learned to stop worrying and love my soft structured carrier

As VBE and self-proclaimed buckle-loving babywearer, I find there are three main complaint’s wearers have with their soft structured carriers (SSC):

  1. The carrier pulls at the back of the neck.
  2. The webbing (bottom of the shoulder straps, where the buckles are), digs into my armpits
  3. My baby is fussy and it seems like their head is smooshed against my body

What would you say if I told you that in most cases there is a simple solution to all three problems? (and available today for 3 easy payments of $29.99…. ) It’s the chest clip. One of the most important adjustments to make is to find the proper positioning of the chest clip – which is actually on the wearer’s back in a front carry. Most people let this hang out around by their neck. DSC00395They either don’t know it can be lowered, or are afraid they won’t be able to reach it if it’s not at neck height. This results in digging/weighing heavily on the neck, the shoulder straps winging out to the sides of the wearers body rather than resting on their back, pulls the shoulder webbing buckles into the armpits, and pulls the top seam of the body panel tight against the baby’s neck without providing any tightening across the body of the SSC. DSC00404 DSC00396 Easy Fix: To find the proper placement for your body: with the carrier on, have a partner lower the chest clip until it rests somewhere between the wearer’s shoulder blades. You may have to play around with tightening, loosening, raising and lowering, but you’ll know once you get it in the right place. TADA

Properly placed chest clip

Properly placed chest clip

DSC00406

When the clip is worn high on the neck, it tightens the carrier primarily around the top seam of the body panel. In wrapping terms, this is similar to having too tight a top rail in a ring sling carry. (Safety note: The baby in the photos below is not a real child but a demo doll sitting on an infant insert pillow. An infant the size of this doll is much to small for this carrier. They would need to be in a full infant insert with the face visible at all times to be worn safely.) DSC00806 DSC00807 This both puts added pressure on the wearer’s neck and pulls the child’s head firmly into the wearer’s body. Baby is squished, wearer is uncomfortable, and no one is happy. More importantly, because the pressure is on the top seam of the body panel, it is unable to apply even pressure around the body of the carrier and will not provide back support to the child as when properly placed. When the clip is lowered, it distributes the tension around the middle of the body panel. DSC00809 f

This provides better support for the child’s spin and takes the pressure off both the child’s and wearer’s neck. Comparing the two photos, you can also see how lowering the chest clip pulls the shoulder strap webbing lower on the body and out from under the armpits. Problem: How the heck do I reach the darn thing to clip it? I’m not a yogini! Solution: Loosen your shoulder straps. You should be loosening and readjusting your shoulder straps each time you take the carrier on and off. By loosening them, you put slack into the straps allowing you to reach the clip easily. When properly positioned, the shoulder straps should be somewhat perpendicular (up and down, not at an angle) and rest on the wearer’s back. Readjusting the shoulder straps each time will ensure that you get a precise, and comfortable, fit. In addition to making babywearing more comfortable for the wearer, the chest clip is an important adjustment for the baby as well.

Carry of the Month for April: Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder (DRS2S)

Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder is a good beginner-intermediate back carry. It starts off center which makes it a little more challenging for some people. You can do this carry with a shorty wrap and have a knotless finish, or with a longer wrap and have a little more support in the carry overall.

One of the tips I have found to be important with this carry is to spread the fabric in the shoulder to shoulder part.  In a shorty version this will be the knotless finish, in the longer wrap version it will be the chestbelt.

This carry of the month is super simple in concept. There are not a lot of real variations, and since you’re trying this carry after having done front carries, hip carries, and some great back carries to begin learning with, you may find it super easy to do now that you have a good skill set for wrapping.  However, as with any carry with a woven wrap it can take a while to learn the skills involved.  Don’t be discouraged if you find you’re struggling with it, or it’s not comfortable for you, not every carry is going to work well for every person.

Safety: Please keep in mind that if this is your first time using a woven wrap or trying this carry, you should practice over a soft surface such as a bed or couch. If you are attempting this back carry or it’s variations for the first time, you should have a spotter and/or practice over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch, or even kneeling on a carpeted floor. You can also practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable.  If this is your first time using a woven wrap please begin with a front carry such as FWCC or FWCC variations, which we have covered in a previous COTM: https://tucsonbabywearers.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/carry-of-the-month-for-june-fwcc-pwcc-fwcc-variations/

If you are a beginner with woven wraps, we recommend that your child be approximately 6 months old, with good neck control/head support, and able to sit before attempting ANY back carry.

Stretchy wraps (such as the Moby, Boba Wrap, DIY knit wraps, etc) are not designed for the carries described in this Carry of the Month and should NOT be used for back carries.
These video tutorials and more can also be found on our Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/BWITucson/cotm-8-drs2s/

I will always precede back carry COTMs with some videos and tips for getting baby on your back, off your back, and making a good seat.

Superman method

How to make a good deep seat + pre-seat with a superman toss

How to get baby off your back

Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder (with shorty variations)

Carry of the Month for March: Rucksack and Ruck variations

COTM #7: Ruck, Reinforced Ruck, Ruck TUB, RRRR, Ruck TAS

We are returning to back carries this month with a bang! Ruck and it’s variations are popular carries for those newer to back carries, but they are also well loved among those with more experience.  All around, these are great back carries, and some come with a little extra support if it’s needed.

Rucksack carry and variations

The Rucksack carry is a great carry for those new to back carries with a woven because it is simple and fast (the more you do it, the faster you become). It starts with a ruck pass, which is over both legs of the child and over both shoulders of the wearer.  Bunched passes are then pulled back over one leg of the child and under the other with both passes ending in front to tie off.  The Rucksack carry is typically done with a base size wrap, or base -1.

The Ruck Tied Under Bum (or Ruck TUB) and the Ruck Tied at Shoulder (or Ruck TAS) are variations of the Rucksack carry that can be done with shorter wraps, typically sizes 2, 3, and 4 woven wraps work great for these. The Ruck TUB is essentially the Rucksack but instead of the bunched passes crossing over the child’s legs and then under to tie off in front, the bunched passes pass over the child’s legs and then tie off in a secure double knot under the child’s bum.

In Ruck TAS the carry starts somewhat off center and allows the wearer to work with only one side of the wrap instead of both.  After making the seat and tightening strand by strand, the longer tail is again bunched and then passed over both legs coming up to the front under the wearer’s arm and tying at the shoulder in a secure double knot, slip knot, or if there is enough length in the tails a few other tie off variations can be used.

As children get older and heavier reinforcing passes can add to the comfort of both child and wearer. The Reinforced Ruck may be the version for you if you feel extra support is needed, or if you just like extra support no matter what.  This version of the Rucksack does require the wearer’s base size wrap or longer.  For this carry, instead of bunched passes, we have spread passes which is where you will get the extra support.

Lastly the Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack (RRRR) is another variation that can be done with a shorter wrap.  Depending on the wearer and the size of the child a size 2 woven wrap to a size 4 woven wrap can work wonderfully for this carry. Like Ruck TAS this carry starts off center and the wearer works primarily with one side of the woven wrap. RRRR (or the Pirate carry) uses a rebozo pass instead of a cross pass, the rebozo pass is spread over the beginning ruck pass and is brought under the opposite arm to tie at shoulder or in a chestbelt variation.

As with all wrap carries, importance is placed on creating a nice, deep seat for baby, with baby’s legs being in a good M position (knees above bum) and fabric supporting under the legs from knee to knee.

Younger babies should have fabric supporting them up to their necks, whereas older babies should be supported at least up to their armpits.

The hardest part about the Ruck carry and it’s variations is maintaining a good, deep seat for your child.  Sometimes the seat is popped due to over tightening the bottom rail, and other times t is popped by a quick, leg straightening child.  Either way you’ll want to make sure to keep that deep seat with knee to knee support as you finish the carry.

Some of the tie off variations you may see in the linked videos below are: Candy Cane Chest Belt (CCCB), Tibetan tie off, Knotless, and the slipknot.

Safety: Please keep in mind that if this is your first time using a woven wrap or trying this carry, you should practice over a soft surface such as a bed or couch. If you are attempting this back carry or it’s variations for the first time, you should have a spotter and/or practice over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch, or even kneeling on a carpeted floor. You can also practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable.  If this is your first time using a woven wrap please begin with a front carry such as FWCC or FWCC variations, which we have covered in a previous COTM: https://tucsonbabywearers.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/carry-of-the-month-for-june-fwcc-pwcc-fwcc-variations/

If you are a beginner with woven wraps, we recommend that your child be approximately 6 months old, with good neck control/head support, and able to sit before attempting ANY back carry.

Stretchy wraps (such as the Moby, Boba Wrap, DIY knit wraps, etc) are not designed for the carries described in this Carry of the Month and should NOT be used for back carries.
These video tutorials and more can also be found on our Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/BWITucson/cotm-7-rucksack-carry-variations/

Getting your child on your back (practice this over a soft surface before trying a back carry if this is your first time trying a back carry):

Rucksack with hip scoot method:

Rucksack (with Reinforced Ruck variation):

Rucksack (with tips):

Ruck TUB (RUB):

Rucksack Tied At Shoulder (Ruck TAS):

Reinforced Rucksack:

Reinforced Rear Robozo Rucksack: 


RRRR with leg pass: 

Rucksack with different finishes:

Baby on Board! Babywearing While Pregnant, part 1

Sabrina Bump

Baby on Board is a 3-part series about babywearing while pregnant. This first part will address babywearing in the first and early second trimester, up until about 15/16 weeks. It will feature yours truly, currently 17 weeks pregnant with #2, as well as several other currently and previously pregnant Tucson BWI members.

Before we begin, a caveat. I am not a medical professional and this is not to be taken as, or over, medical advice. If you have any questions regarding the safety of babywearing on your particular body while pregnant, I strongly encourage you to ask your doctor, midwife, or chiropractor. More to the point, if your care provider cautions you against babywearing (front, side, back, or all) please listen to them.

Bear in mind that babywearing while pregnant follows the same guidelines as babywearing while not pregnant: Listen to your body, respect the feedback (aches and pains), and don’t be afraid to modify for your specific needs (which may change daily).

There are a few physiological changes that pregnant women need to be aware of, as they will affect how you babywear.

  1. Relaxin – that wonderful hormone that prepares the body for labor and delivery loosens the joints and other soft tissues. May be great for getting into some yoga poses, but it also means that your soft tissue is much more prone to injury. Things that didn’t hurt before, may start to hurt now. If that is the case, it’s your body telling you “please don’t do that,” and time to take a break or try a modification. Pay extra attention to your back, hips, and knees. For moms who back wear, the motions of the hip scoot or superman toss may be too much. Consider alternative ways to getting a baby on your back.
  2. The added weight of the pregnancy – For those pregnant and wearing a toddler (or beyond), it’s important to remember that your body is carrying the 20+ lbs of the older child as well as any additional weight from the pregnancy. This can put a lot of stress on your body and you may find you need to modify carries, carriers, or duration of babywearing. Just be aware of what your body can do.

Now on to the fun stuff: Babywearing in the first and early second trimester.

This is the phase when you might be praying to the porcelain god, so exhausted you can barely peel yourself off the couch, and rocking the baby bloat instead of the bigger baby “bump”. Fellow Tucson BWI member Meg writes, “I hardly wore at all the first few weeks I was pregnant. Between feeling nauseous, exhausted and hot and clammy all the time, I could hardly stand it. I am 15 weeks now and i would say around 10 weeks-ish I was more up for wearing.”

photo

The limits of my babywearing from week 6 to about week 10.

But once you start feeling better, or if you are one of those lucky people who doesn’t get morning sickness,  it’s also the time when babywearing is least limited, at least by the baby bump. For the most part, babywears can continue to wear carriers front, side, and back as they would were they not pregnant. (Though, my nauseous self could not fathom the thought of standing, much less babywearing.)  At this point in a pregnancy, the uterus is under or just above the pubic bone, a spot generally not impeded by babywearing. If it feels good, do it!

That being said, there are some modifications that may make things more comfortable, especially if the famed first-trimester bloat makes your midsection uncomfortable.
Hip Carries!Meg RS 1

Hip carries in a ring sling, woven wrap or pouch sling eliminate any sort of waist band on the abdomen. You may need to position your kiddo so they are off your stomach, but this is generally pretty easy to do by shifting them further to the side. Hip carries that don’t wrap around the waist, such as robozo carries, HCC and Robin’s hip carry, may be more comfortable than hip carries that also tie around the waist. (I’ll note that in my case, hip carries were the first ones I had to drop. Between the 26# toddler and the loose ligaments, it puts too much pressure on my back and hips.)
Meg (about 16 weeks) writes, “I also still comfy in a RS for quick trips. Her leg just kind goes above my bump. We haven’t been wrapping much, mostly because neither of us have the patience right now. She tolerates being up if it’s quick and I can get her comfy without a lot of fuss.”

Meg RS2

Although hidden in part by the tail, you can see that the toddler is positioned just off the baby bump.

Back Carries! Because there are several options, I’ll break this down into carrier type:

Back carries in a SSC or MT – Consider playing around with the positioning of the waist band. I find I like a higher back carry with the waist band on my natural waist. Others prefer to wear low and snug. Try each out and see what works – but keep in mind you’ll have to readjust the shoulder straps and sternum/chest clip when you reposition the waist on your body.

photo 1

13.5 weeks, you can see the waist band fastened high at my natural waist.

Back carries in a woven wrap. Here, the possibilities are endless. Short back carries or back carries w/ no waist pass are great. Some examples are: Ruck tied at Side, RRRR, Jordan’s Half Back Carry, Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder. Candy cane chest belts and tying Tibetan will become your friend. (note, I found my breasts were too tender to handle some of the chest belts).

photo 2

Double Hammock with a Candy Cane chest belt: plenty of room for the bump at 16 weeks, and support for the toddler on back.

IMG_5211

Double Rebozo Shoulder-to-Shoulder, tied under bum (14 weeks).

Meg WCMT

Meg in a wrap conversion mei tai, tied Tibetan to keep the waist band off of the bump.

On the other hand, waist and chest passes often provide much needed support for heavier toddlers. In many cases, a carry can be modified to tie above the belly. For example, Double Hammock (tied above bump or under bum), Ruck tied above the bump, Shepherd’s Carry, Christina’s Ruckless.

Sabrina DHTUB

Double Hammock, tied under bum.

Sabrina Ruck

Ruck, tied in front.

Front carries! As long as they are comfortable, front carries are fine at this phase in pregnancy. At 13 weeks I could easily wear my 26# 2 year old on the front in a Tula, and in the FWCC. At 15 weeks, I prefer to have him on my back.

Sabrina shares, “Love this one can’t see bump but was comfy for a few minutes”.

Sabrina FWCC

Half Front Wrap Cross Carry.

What are your favorite babywearing tips for the first trimester? Share them in the comments below! And stay tuned for Part 2: The second trimester.

Peace, love and babywearing,

Kelly

Babywearing Foward Facing Out

Babywearing Forward Facing Out
By Sarah Whiting, VBE

(Note: Because narrow based carriers were predominantly the only way to wear forward facing out until recently, I will be addressing this type of carrier specifically throughout most of this post.)

To prepare for writing this blog post I googled, “why to wear baby forward facing out”, and I was bombarded with links for why NOT to do so.

“Hip Dysplasia: Why we should burn forward facing baby carriers”

“Nine Reasons Not to Carry Your Baby Facing Out”

“Babywearing: Why Forward Facing Isn’t For You”

“Better Babywearing: Why I Don’t Like Forward Facing Carriers”

Those are just a few examples. There is such a stigma surrounding wearing babes in a carrier forward facing out. Some of those carriers have been called “crotch danglers”, a negative and off putting term if I ever heard one. Narrow based carriers are predominantly associated with wearing baby forward facing out, but there are other carriers newer on the market that enable a more ergonomic way of babywearing in this position. There’s a perpetuated myth that wearing your baby in a narrow base carrier can cause Hip Dysplasia. So, there has been some negativity foisted upon the babywearing community, and that has resulted only in damaging the community as a whole. When we, the babywearing community, insist that forward facing out is dangerous or improper babywearing we exclude instead of welcome, and I know that we want to welcome all babywearers regardless of how they choose to wear their littles.

This issue of wearing forward facing out isn’t as black and white as it has been made out to be in the past. I’m so happy to see the babywearing community coming out of this exclusion and recognizing that FFO is indeed an acceptable form of babywearing and, when done safely, is not dangerous.  Let us continue this and begin to educate caregivers on how to wear forward facing out safely, just as we do with all other forms of babywearing.

Is Babywearing Forward Facing Out Okay?

The simple answer is, yes. However, as with all other babywearing, there are safety tips to take into consideration.  What are they? The biggest one is proper support of baby’s head and neck.  Because baby’s head and neck are not supported while forward facing out, it is safest to be sure that baby has good head control before using this position.  Typically that’s around 4-6 months old (which happily coincides with a baby’s natural desire to begin taking in the world around him/her).(1)

Next we want to be aware of baby’s spine.  Make sure the baby carrier is properly fitted with adjusters so that baby’s spin is not overly curved.

We must also note that when/if baby is beginning to fall asleep they should be readjusted into an inward facing position for best head support and keeping an open airway.

After that we need to be aware of baby’s emotional needs. One reasoning by those against forward facing out is that baby will get over stimulated and they cannot turn into their caregiver when that happens. This is true, babies can get overly stimulated by their surrounding world and naturally turn into their parents to seek comfort and escape. This is easily dealt with by paying attention to baby’s signals.  When it seems the world is beginning to overwhelm them, simply readjust so that baby is in the facing in position instead.  One way to be proactive in this regard is to limit the time baby spends in the forward facing out position. Really, it is all about listening and watching for baby’s cues that will tell you what he/she needs.

 

When Is Forward Facing Out Not a Good Option?

If your baby has hip dysplasia or low muscle tone, or is predisposed to developing hip dysplasia it is not a good idea to wear baby in the facing out position.

I am not a medical professional, so everything I know about hip dysplasia as it relates to babywearing is purely internet research based.  From my research, I know that hip dysplasia is developmental and can easily be missed, however most cases of hip dysplasia are caught during an infants newborn exam.(2)

“In babies and children with developmental dysplasia (dislocation) of the hip (DDH), the hip joint has not formed normally. The ball is loose in the socket and may be easy to dislocate.”(3) The treatment for hip dysplasia, or developmental dysplasia of the hip, is to position the legs in such a way that the thighbone is positioned in the hip socket properly.  Narrow based carriers do not offer the proper positioning which is why they should be avoided for children who may or have developed hip dysplasia, but other ergonomic carriers do offer correct support  when the seat or base of the carrier stretches from knee to knee.

As far as low muscle tone, or hypotonia, is concerned, the safety considerations are the same as a newborn. A child’s muscle’s need to be strong enough to fully support their head/neck when worn facing forward. Along with that, hypotonic babies do not have the muscle strength to combat gravity and thus narrow based carriers may not be ideal for their hip development.  Wearing babies with hypotonia in a more ergonomic carrier with full very specific support is still recommended, and you can read more about that in an anecdotal post (real life experience is often very helpful) written by a babywearing consultant at The Practical Possum.(4)

When Is Forward Facing Out Babywearing Helpful?

When I was first introduced to babywearing I learned that forward facing out was bad for babies after I had attempted it once or twice using a Snuggli carrier when my son was about 3 months old (don’t worry, I supported his head, but he did have incredible head control very young).  I was so new to babywearing, and there was no local community at the time.  My information and knowledge was solely gained from one friend and the internet.

My son never wanted to be carried facing inward, not even in arms (without a carrier).  He needed to face the world, to see everything and take it all in. I remember walking with him to the mailbox and carrying him cradled in my arms so that he was angled outwards. I remember, when he was older, carrying him facing outward on my hip.  For most outings he ended up in a stroller because carrying a baby facing out in arms without the help of a carrier is awkward and my arms would easily get tired. (I later discovered that carrying a baby in arms facing me put much less strain on my arms and was much easier.)

Years later he was diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder (SPD). (This is not to say that every baby who insists on being carried facing out has either ASD or SPD, but looking back I can see that this was the case for us.)  SPD is very complicated and is comorbid with many different diagnoses, and simply a diagnosis of SPD is not a reason to wear facing out.  Some children with SPD very much need to be able to hide from the overstimulation of the world and so wearing them facing out would be too overwhelming for them.  However, some children with SPD are more sensory seeking and need much more stimulation than the typical child, and this is when forward facing out babywearing could be very useful. (The evidence to support this is currently purely anecdotal.)

There are other special needs that might require forward facing out babywearing.  For example, FFO might be what works best with medical equipment that a child may need. The main point is that forward facing out has a time and place, and for some may be exactly what is needed.

Aside from special considerations, wearing an older infant forward facing out can be a perfectly acceptable way to allow baby to explore the world around them. The key is to simply be aware of baby’s signals so that you know when they may need to be readjusted into an inward facing position.  Hip carries are also wonderful for this purpose, and allow a baby to turn in towards their caregiver on their own.

Carriers That Allow the FFO Option

It used to be that the carrier people thought of for forward facing out babywearing was a narrow based carrier. However, not only are there more options these days, some more traditional carriers can also be used for forward facing out babywearing.  Ring slings and woven wraps can be used for FFO carries, particularly using the buddha (kangaroo) carry.  Along with those two options, other carriers available are the Ergo 360, the Bjorn One, the Lillebaby carriers, Catbird baby carriers, most narrow based carriers, and the Beco Gemini.

I want to conclude with a summary of some important points:

  1. Babywearing in the forward facing out position can be done safely.
  2. When using this position be aware of baby’s signals that they are getting overwhelmed or are unhappy with this position.
  3. FFO is sometimes THE best option.
  4. Though narrow based carriers are perfectly fine to use, there are now some more ergonomic carriers with FFO capabilities.  Soft Structured Carriers are not the only carrier available for babywearing forward facing out.

Happy babywearing however you babywear!

BWI of Tucson babywearers wearing their babes in the Forward Facing Out position.

This is a great post about the FFO controversy: http://shopzerberts.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-forward-facing-controversy.html

Information on Sensory Processing Disorder: http://spdstar.org/what-is-spd/

  1. ErgoBaby: http://blog.ergobaby.com/2011/02/facing-in-facing-out-a-science-based-view-on-baby-carrying-positions/
  1. International Hip Dysplasia Institute: http://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/infant-signs-and-symptoms/
  1. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Ortho Info: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00347
  1. The Practical Possum: http://www.thepracticalpossum.com.au/babywearing-low-muscle-tone/

 

Carry of the Month for December/January: Rebozo & Front Torso Carry

COTM #6: Rebozo & Front Torso Carry

This month, we are going down to some basic, more traditional front wrap carries: the Rebozo and Front Torso Carry. Although this post is kind of lengthy, these are both pretty simple carries once you get them down!

Rebozo

“Rebozo” is a term referring to a carry (or pass) where the wrap or sling has one end going over the wrapper’s shoulder while the other end goes under the wrapper’s arm. The basic Rebozo carry is typically done with a short woven wrap (size 1-3) and some babywearers even use a simple piece of cloth (SPOC), DIY “tablecloth” wraps, and other appropriate pieces of fabric (although not ideal for stretchy/jersey knit type fabrics). It is a carry that can be used from the newborn stage through toddlerhood.

The Rebozo is a great carry to have in your repertoire…it is appreciated for its simplicity, ease of in and out, and also for its lightness in warm weather (perfect for our hot climate!)!

A Rebozo can be worn on the front/tummy-to-tummy (ideal for newborns and small infants), on the hip (great from about 6 months through toddlerhood!), and for very experienced and skilled wrappers, on the back.

The Rebozo is a quick and easy carry, it can be left “pre-tied”, is great for lots of popping baby in and out (ie. shopping and errands…or an older infant/toddler), and many babywearers learn to prefer a Rebozo over a ring sling!  Learning to tie a slip knot is probably the most difficult part of the Rebozo, along with learning how to tighten it…but once you have it down, you’ll probably learn to love it as much as we do and be popping baby in and out all day long!

As with all wrap carries, importance is placed on creating a nice, deep seat for baby, with baby’s legs being in a good M position (knees above bum) and fabric supporting under the legs from knee to knee.

Younger babies should have fabric supporting them up to their necks, whereas older babies should be supported at least up to their armpits.

One important note: Much of the difficulty babywearers have when learning the Rebozo (besides the slipknot) relates to getting and maintaining a good seat, and with sufficiently tightening the carry along babies back and shoulders. When practicing the Rebozo, be sure to focus on these aspects to create a safe, comfortable, and supportive carry!

Front Torso Carry

Once babywearers have perfected some of the other front carries like Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) and Front Cross Carry, they are often ready for variations. Front Torso Carry is a variation of FWCC and a lot of babywearers really like this carry because both of their shoulders have free range of motion! It can also be a nice option for babywearers who have neck/shoulder problems.

Front Torso can be used with your base size (+/- 1) woven wrap for tying in back, or a shorter wrap (size 2-4 depending on your build) for tied under bum.

Front Torso is a safe and comfortable carry with a newborn, however, be sure to practice a few times with a stuffed animal or doll so that you are comfortable with making the “pouch” baby sits in and that it is secure while you use your hands to adjust and tighten, and tie off the carry. It can also be used up through toddlerhood…for babies and toddlers who don’t mind arms in and the wrap up over their shoulders – arms out creates too much leaning opportunity, which makes it very uncomfortable for the wearer. Front Torso is a great snuggle or naptime carry!

While this is a great carry, it might not work with all wraps (like ones that tend to sag a bit after some use). And because you do not have the support from shoulder passes, the key to this carry being comfortable is TIGHTNESS – it is incredibly important with this carry, so make sure you are familiar with properly tightening and removing slack from your wrap. Start with your top and bottom rails to tighten and remove slack and also make sure to always tighten in the middle, too (be sure not to overtighten the bottom rail, causing you to either lose the seat and/or have the wrap too tight on baby’s legs).

Important note about Front Torso: this carry is lower on your body, so make sure you are always aware of baby’s neck and face and be familiar with babywearing safety (make sure their chin is never on their chest, etc). We will be going over Back Torso in a future COTM, so keep your eye out!

**BONUS Carry**
From BWI Tucson VBE, Candace: Rebozo and Front Torso are two of my very favorite front carries…combine those two into one carry, and, well, :: swoon ::

Front Reinforced Torso Rebozo combines Rebozo and Front Torso in an amazingly comfy carry for newborn and bigger babies (just keep an eye on leg straightening with the bigger babes!).  I am currently using it for my 7 month, 20 pounder, and it is my go-to front carry and a favorite for naptime. I am a plus-size babywearer and use a size 4 or 5 woven for this carry.

 

Safety: Please keep in mind that if this is your first time using a woven wrap or trying this carry, you should practice over a soft surface such as a bed or couch. If you are attempting the back carry version for the first time, you should have a spotter and/or practice over a soft surface such as a bed or a couch, or even kneeling on a carpeted floor. You can also practice with a doll or stuffed animal first until you feel comfortable.

If you are a beginner with woven wraps, we recommend that your child be approximately 6 months old, with good neck control/head support, and able to sit before attempting ANY back carry.

Stretchy wraps (such as the Moby, Boba Wrap, DIY knit wraps, etc) are not designed for the carries described in this Carry of the Month and should NOT be used for back carries.
These video tutorials and more can also be found on our Pinterest page: http://www.pinterest.com/BWITucson/cotm-6-rebozo-front-torso/

 

HOW TO GET A GREAT SEAT:

 

REBOZO

Video Tutorials:

Rebozo Photo Tutorial:

http://www.babywearinghamptonroads.org/2014/01/carry-of-month-rebozo.html

 

HOW TO TIE A SLIPKNOT:

 

Tips for Adjusting a Slipknot:

 

FRONT TORSO CARRY (FWCC Torso)

 

Front Torso Photo Tutorial:

http://www.babywearinghamptonroads.org/2013/09/carry-of-month-front-wrap-cross-carry.html

 

*Bonus Carry* FRONT REINFORCED TORSO REBOZO 

 

 

 

Babywearing and the Holidays, Pt. 1

Welcome to our multi-part series on babywearing during the Holidays. Babywearing is a great way to keep your sanity, stay warm, and get things done during this busy time. The first installment will cover Cooking & Decorating, the second will be Babywearing Out & About, and the final installment will feature members pictures highlighting babywearing through the New Year (so make sure to bust out those cameras). These posts are a compilation of tips and tricks gleaned from our Tucson BWI members.

Part 1: Cooking and Decorating!

First things first – stay safe while babywearing. Make sure your carries are secure, and be careful not to engage in activities that could lead to injury. A few things not to do while babywearing:

  • Frying latkes, taking things in an out of the oven
  • Climbing on a ladder, step stool, or chair to hang that bundle of mistletoe, decorate your Festivus Pole, or when putting up your solstice lights
  • Lighting candles (menorah, luminarias)
  • Take extra care in inclement conditions such as snow, ice or rain
  • Keep hot drinks in spillproof mugs so you don’t spill hot cocoa/cider/mulled wine all over your baby and your carrier
  • Basically, use your common sense and put yours and kiddo’s safety above all else

Warning out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

Cooking and Food Preparation

Babywearing can be very helpful when decorating cookies, heading out for holiday parties, or just trying to get a meal on the table. Here are a few tips to combing food and babywearing, without turning your lovely carrier into a makeshift apron:

  • Back carries shine when dealing with food prep. Make sure tails and straps are tucked out of the way to avoid food spills. This isn’t the time for a fancy finish, lest the fabric absorb cooking smells and spills.
  • Soft structured carriers and mei tais are great because the tails/straps are thin and stay out of the way.
  • When wrapping, Nicole recommends, ” I try to focus on carries that keep the wrap out of the way and off my belly, lest it become a dishtowel. This means carries that avoid chest passes, and that use ruckstraps. I prefer to tie Tibetan and tuck the ends under my arms, or tie a candy cane chestbelt. Like I said, I avoid tying in front.”
    • Other alternatives are tying under bum or doing short versions of carries (double hammock double rings, double robozo shoulder to shoulder, ruck with a candy cane chest belt), and tucking long tails back behind your body.
  • Hip carries in a ring sling or robozo will also free up your hands, but keep an eye on your tail – don’t want it dragging in your food – and keep an eye on bigger kiddos, don’t want them leaning out of the carry to “help”.
  • If front wearing, be extra cautious about what you are doing. Even if your baby is small, it’s not the best idea to be doing fancy knife work while reaching around your child – it puts the baby closer to the blade and it can be hard to see and maneuver around them. Similarly, it’s not a good idea to be doing work on the stove, simply because your child is closer to the heated elements. However, much food prep can be done while front wearing – measuring, arranging, mixing, decorating, etc. If you have to do something potentially dangerous, ask for help and/or put the baby down.
  • Nicole adds, “or decorating Christmas cookies, for the love of God, use a wrap or carrier that you could handle staining — or pass the baby off to someone else.”

 

Decking the Halls – Babywearing and Decorating

Babywearing can help you be hands-free while decorating, but there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Get all decorations down from high places before you put your baby on.
  • This is the time to assist (helpfully, from the ground) while some else handles ladder duty, hanging high decorations, or lights on the house.
  • Related, if you are setting up a tree, let someone else set it up and adjust it on it’s base.
  • Take extra caution when lighting candles. Consider having someone else do it or use led “candles” instead.
  • Nicole again, “If you’re decorating and have a grabby toddler, keep their presence in mind so they don’t accidentally yank the whole tree over while you’re hanging ornaments.”
  • On the other hand, babywearing is a great way to keep little ones out of boxes of tiny, shiny, ingestable holiday decorations. I know from experience, at 9 months I ate a small silver ornament thinking it was a Hershey’s kiss.

Some Final Thoughts

The holidays may also be a good time to introduce other friends and family members to babywearing so you can take a break (or queue in line for Black Friday…). If introducing another friend or family member to babywearing remember: Keep it simple, and take your time. Easier is better. Work within their comfort zone. Soft structured carriers are a great gateway, ring slings for the braver, and even a pre-tied poppable woven carry (front cross carry, short cross carry, pocket wrap cross carry) can help someone else get some baby snuggles. Also make sure to take your time explaining what you are doing and how to wear kiddo safely.

Spread some babywearing love this holiday season.

Peace, love, and babywearing,
Kelly, BWI Tucson VBE