Carry Of The Month #1

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

Back to Basics

Guest Post by: Miriam Christensen

What do you think of when you hear talk of “the basics” of babywearing? Do you think of proper positioning? Or maybe you think of safety? Perhaps that one, multi-purpose carrier comes to mind? Depending on whom you ask, “the basics” could refer to any number of aspects of babywearing: the history of babywearing in its most basic and simple form, the basic fundamentals of babywearing, basic safety precautions, the basics of proper positioning, the basic fabric content and construction of a carrier, and even the best, basic all-around carrier type for babywearing. For many wearers, “the basics” might be a first introduction of babywearing through the use of widely accessible, commercial products such as the Moby, Bjorn, or other popular product which often open the door into the wide world (obsession) of babywearing!

When discussing “the basics” it’s important to highlight the most basic reason for the whole thing – to simply wear our babies. While some may see the idea as a passing fad, babywearing has been in style for as long as mothers have been having babies and needing to do something – anything – while caring for their infant or toddler. Imagine a Neolithic mama with a helpless newborn baby, in some prehistoric time, fraught with danger. What are the chances that those ancient mothers left their babies in a cave somewhere, while they went about their day? Unlikely. If the invention of tools is what begins to delineate us from other primates, definitely a way to carry the incredibly vulnerable human offspring would be at the top of that list. Evolutionary archaeologist Timothy Taylor claims that not only did early man (mama) find a way to carry babies, but that the idea of carrying human offspring actually changed the course of evolution (read the article here). This idea leads into the discovery that many mamas over the course of history have made – not only is babywearing practical, it is good for the baby, and the mother.

Babywearing makes for happier, healthier babies (Benefits of Babywearing). When babies are closest to their caregiver, cues and signals are more easily read. A parent or caregiver learns to speak the ‘language’ of a baby earlier with close contact. Also, it is important to address the practicality of the practice. In some cultures, women with new babies are cared for by family and other women while they learn to be mothers. However in many modern societies, women must do more on their own. Many mothers find themselves singlehandedly caring for a new baby and themselves, if not other children and family members, for a good portion of each day. Multi-tasking is an essential part to what it means to be a mother, and is why babywearing can be found across time and culture.
While several forms of traditional babywearing may be more easily recognized by North Americans, many different versions of the same principle exist is varying cultures.

Examples of babywearing from various cultural backgrounds:
http://wrapyourbaby.com/blog/2013/02/cultural-babywearing/
http://www.slingbabies.co.nz/Site/History_2.ashx
http://9davids.blogspot.com/2011/02/babywearing-through-ages.html
http://www.pinterest.com/limeshot/wrapt/ (a big thank you to Katie Hanner for finding this collection)

As you can see, regardless of what comes to mind when you think of “the basics” of babywearing, there is a commonality amongst those that wear their babies…the basic principle of keeping baby close, and keeping baby safe!

References:

Click to access melkonner.pdf


http://rationalist.org.uk/2330/slings-arrows
http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbnovdec04p204.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2245751

Click to access Blois_research_summary.pdf

All About Woven Wraps

Have you heard other babywearing moms speaking what sounds like a secret, foreign language with words like “Ruck” and “Gira” and “Kokadi” and “Double Hammock” and “Rebozo” and the like and wondered what in the world they were talking about? Or what about all those abbreviations – DH, TIF, FWCC, TAS, RuckTUB, CCCB – do they make your head spin? Babywearing is already a world of its own, but just the vocabulary associated with woven wraps can be a bit intimidating, for sure!

But Tucson Babywearers has some good news for you!! In this post, we are going to try and help eliminate some of the mystery of the woven wrap world so that you no longer feel like you are in over your head, and hope that in the process, you discover the beauty of woven wraps!

What is a woven wrap?
A woven wrap is called WOVEN because it is made on a weaving loom (some by hand by skilled weavers, and some by a machine managed by a skilled worker). In the most basic sense, it is a long piece of cloth used to secure your baby to your body. The continuous length of fabric offers moldability and support unlike any other baby carrier out there, and is non- (or very slightly) stretchy so that a single layer is able to carry as much weight as you can hold! The techniques used to wrap are what give the baby stability and security, so we advise that utmost caution be used when practicing and wearing a woven wrap (or any baby carrier, for that matter!).

What are woven wraps made of?
The fabric that a woven wrap is made from is not the kind of fabric you can buy at a fabric store, nor is it something that you can DIY (unless you happen to own a loom…and if you do, can we come over and check it out?!). It is a “woven” fabric, and depending on the manufacturer, can range from a loose to tight weave, a weave with diagonal give to no stretch at all, a “grippy” to “slick” weave; most of the differences stem from the content of the fibers being used.

Many woven wraps are 100% cotton (Girasol, Dolcino, and BB Slen brands are pretty much exclusively all-cotton weaves). Many other woven wrap brands (Didymos, Kokadi, Oscha, Natibaby, etc) include “blends” in addition to the all-cotton weaves: cotton/linen, cotton/hemp, cotton/bamboo, cotton/wool, cotton/silk, cotton/cashmere…and even some triple blends (ie. cotton/wool/silk)!

What are the “parts” of a woven wrap?
A woven wrap has a center (usually shown with a marker or tag) so that you can line your wrap up to your baby and/or your body as needed for each carry that you will be tying. Wraps also have two long hemmed sides, or edges, called “rails.” These rails are referred to as the TOP rail or the BOTTOM rail (depending on how you are holding your wrap, and they are interchangeable!). Beginners often like wraps that have two different colored rails – as are commonly found in striped or “rainbow” wraps, although some more solid-color wraps will have a unique way to distinguish between the two rails by color, as well. Differently colored top and bottom rails helps new wrappers easily identify what needs to go where!

Another important part of woven wraps are the “tails” – the short hemmed ends of the wrap. These will be the parts that hang down once you have tied everything off. Each brand of woven wrap has its own unique taper on the tail – some feature a deep, severe taper (18”), some are a simple diagonal cut of 6-8”, and some even have a blunt, straight edge. Some wraps even finish with fringe in the “tails”.

Note: when measuring your own woven wrap, or buying a woven wrap from someone else, be sure that identify (or ask) whether the measurement includes the taper or fringe. Wraps are typically measured straight down the middle, lengthwise.

Speaking of Measurements….
Sizing is oftentimes one of the most confusing aspects of woven wraps for those entering the “wrapping” world. It certainly doesn’t help that woven wraps have two ways of sizing (a number and a corresponding measurement in meters). Yes, meters! If you are anything like me, you will constantly be switching back and forth between tabs to check the conversion from meters to feet and inches!

To help you make sense of the sizing, below is a list of the standard woven wrap lengths in regular sizes, metric sizing, as well as US measurements.

size 2 = 2.7 meters = 8.86 feet = 102.36 inches
size 3 = 3.1 meters = 10.17 feet = 122.05 inches
size 4 = 3.6 meters = 11.81 feet = 141.73 inches
size 5 = 4.2 meters = 13.78 feet = 165 inches
size 6 = 4.6 meters = 15.09 feet = 181.10 inches
size 7 = 5.2 meters = 17.06 feet = 204.72 inches
size 8 = 5.60 meters = 18.37 feet = 220.47 inches

Ok…now what size do I need??
You will want to choose your wrap size based on what you want to do with it! The beauty of woven wraps is that there are so very many choices of how to wear your baby: front carrier, hip carries, back carries, newborn carries, even tandem carries…and all the variations each of those options offer!

Your size (height, frame) will make a difference, too. On average, most average size women can do most all carries with a size 6 (4.6 meter) woven wrap – this is referred to as your “base” size. If you are plus sized, pregnant, or have an unusually large bustline, you may consider going up a size. If you are more petite or have a narrower frame, a size 5 may be your ideal base size.

As babywearers become more proficient in wrapping with a woven, many find that they can accomplish variations of their “go-to” carries with the next size (or two!) down from their base size. “Shorty” wraps (size 2 or 3) become popular for those that become more and more comfortable in their wrapping – due to less fabric, they are more portable, don’t drag on the ground when tying in a parking lot, can be quick and easy, and can be used with several different carries (especially back carries).

How to “wrap” with a woven wrap…
Woven wraps have the highest learning curve of all babywearing carriers. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it does require patience, some dexterity, and the ability to follow a series of directions from start to finish. Remember, you are wrapping your baby in that beautiful fabric, so you want it to be just right!

With practice, being able to wrap proficiently becomes a fun (and addicting!) process. But don’t be surprised if your first three or four or ten tries are miserable failures – keep at it, you will get there! Feeling like your arms won’t cooperate and go where you want them to go, or struggling to keep your sweet little infant from wobbling from side to side while you tie this lovely piece of fabric around the two of you are both 100% normal for this learning process. Rails will get twisted, passes will go where you did not intend for them to go, you will get halfway through and then forget what comes next, just take a deep breath, unwrap and start over…or even wait a few hours and try again! I don’t think I have ever met anyone who learned to use a woven wrap perfectly and precisely on the very first try.

Whether you learn better visually (from pictures or videos) or tend to be more hands-on, learn by working side-by-side with someone in person – there are resources for you! Our Pinterest page is full of videos and tutorials for front, hip, and back carries, and our local Facebook Group page is a great place to post pictures to get feedback or troubleshoot any problems you are having. We also hold regular meetups and babywearing demonstration classes so that you can get more hands-on assistance. Just know that babywearers love to help other babywearers figure it all out!

Just a few SAFETY items to keep in mind:
-Back carries MUST NOT be done with a stretchy wrap…woven wraps are the only wrap-style carrier that is safe for use in back carries (due to the stretchy nature of the knit-type wraps, children can arch back and fall out of the carry).

-Be sure to give attention to making a deep and secure “seat” when using a woven wrap in all carry positions. The seat is a critical component of a good, secure carry in a woven wrap.

-When attempting to learn a back carry, be sure to do so over a soft surface (such as a couch or bed), or even sitting or kneeling on the floor until you become proficient at the carry. Having someone to “spot” you and/or having a large mirror nearby to help you see what is going on back there is also helpful.

How do I take care of my woven wrap?
First, don’t be afraid to actually wear your woven wrap! Some wovens may seem too pretty (or expensive) to use everyday, but, in reality, they are quite durable and can stand up to the test of living amongst babies and toddlers and getting twisted and pulled and tied and drug around. The baby may spit up on it, your 3-year-old may decide it makes a VERY pretty napkin, or your husband may decide it makes an excellent changing pad. Don’t worry…the great news is that for most woven wraps, a simple delicate cycle in the washing machine with cold water and a line dry will get your wrap clean and keep it in great condition! Some wraps made of silk, wool, and cashmere will require special care, including handwashing, but are still just as durable as the other woven wrap blends.

With its first wash, due to the woven nature, your wrap may shrink slightly, but the manufacturer sizing should take that into account. It is always recommended that whether you buy a new or used woven wrap, to measure it when it arrives (but keep in mind it may still shrink upon washing!).

How to “break in” a new, woven wrap.
Sometimes, you will buy a woven that looks stunningly beautiful, but when it arrives it truly feels like a horse blanket or window drapery! No worries…these wraps simply need to be “broken in“! Some easy ways to help soften your woven include: braiding, washing, ironing, sleeping on it, sitting on it, or even letting your toddler or older children use it as a hammock or for a gentle game of tug-o-war! Some will let a friend borrow and use it, cuddle with it as a blanket, use it as a picnic table, even a sunshade in the car! Basically, anything that gets it moving to help loosen the fiber. And, before you know it, your wrap will be in the nice, soft, floppy condition you were hoping for! Don’t fret about “injuring” your woven…they were made to endure pulling and load-bearing and scrunching and braiding and twisting and tying and loving. Definitely be sure to avoid sharp things like nails, pet claws, rough/splintery wood, and the like that can snag the fabric, though.

Some important words/phrases relating to woven wraps
Rails: The edge of the wrap that run lengthwise. These are hemmed in a variety of ways including double rolled, flat, or simply using the selvedge edge.
Tails: The ends of the wrap which can be tapered, diagonal, straight, or fringed.
Weave: The way in which the wrap was woven. There are a multitude of weaves such as flat, twill, broken twill, jacquard, and diamond.
Weft: The threads running widthwise on a woven wrap. When the color of the weft is changed, the entire look of the wrap is changed – this is especially noticeable on “rainbow” wraps such as Girasols.
Warp: The threads running lengthwise on a woven wrap. These are the main colors used in the wrap and can be a solid, stripes, or a pattern.
Seat: The part of the wrap where baby’s bottom sits! The bottom rail on the seat should be tucked up through baby’s legs coming up to about waist level, creating an actual pocket, or seat; the fabric of the seat should then extend from “knee-to-knee” to promote proper, ergonomic positioning, keeping baby’s knees higher than his bottom.
“Poppage”: When baby’s bottom loses its “seat” or comes out of the wrap, thus exposing baby’s body without any support and risking safety…giving utmost attention to creating a good seat helps prevent this safety hazard.
Pass: Each time you wrap across baby’s body, it is a pass. Be sure to give attention to keeping your passes taut and tucked smoothly to create the tidiest, most supportive carry possible!
Reinforced: The rails of the wrap cross over baby more than once creating more support.

Some Favorite Beginning Carries to Try
Front Carries:
FWCC = Front Wrap Cross Carry
PWCC = Pocket Wrap Cross Carry
FCC = Front Cross Carry (a pre-tied carry great for quick in/out)
SCC = Short Cross Carry
Kangaroo Carry

Hip Carries:
HCC = Hip Cross Carry
CHCC = Coolest Hip Cross Carry

Back Carries:
Ruck TIF = Rucksack Tied in Front (variation: Tied Tibetan)
BWCC = Back Wrap Cross Carry
SHBC = Secure High Back Carry
DH = Double Hammock

Please be sure to visit our Pinterest page for more information on buying, using, and caring for woven wraps http://www.Pinterest.com/babywearingtaz

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!!