“Begin at the beginning…”(Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland).
We can’t explore all the variations without first learning the basic Double Hammock. Why bother learning the “boring” version if there are so many other fun options? Because this version is actually anything but basic!
This carry has everything you need for maximum comfort for both you and baby. Two sling passes to support baby’s whole spine evenly. The torso pass holds baby’s weight off your shoulders, so minimum tugging or pressure points. The two bunches passes lock the seat in place so you don’t have to worry too much as you and baby move about. Plus, baby is lower on your back (as compared to a ruck pass), so baby’s weight is better distributed across your whole torso.
The torso pass is what brings this carry one-step up from other beginner back carries. You combine how to keep the tension while bring a wrap under your arms like in Back Wrap Cross Carry with the seat making skills from a Ruck. But now, you learn how to keep the tension as you guide slack around your body and out the tails. Let’s take a in-depth look at this basic carry.
Most basic carries can be done with your base size (learn more about base size here).Even those many wearers can do this carry with a true base size, others prefer to do this was a base +1. The extra length helps ensures you aren’t tying on the tippy tails as you perfect getting the slack out of the entire wrap.
I am using a Babylonia USA BB Slen 4.6 meters in Delicate Pink. This a pretty standard size 6. This is technically base +0.5 for Bear and I right now. Personally, I usually need to do this carry with a base+ length. My larger chest need more length for any torso pass carry. Individual body shape is good thing to keep in mind when picking a wrap size. One part of your body may be drastically different from another, so your “average” size might not fit over a specific area.
Double Hammocks are what are referred to as an “off center” carry”. This simply means the center of the wrap is not over the center of baby’s back.
The best way to do this is by having the middle of the wrap in the middle of your chest. Realistically, exact center of your chest doesn’t always happen. Some people do this by simply pulling an arm’s length off from center or measuring the exact spot on your back.
That spot then goes on baby’s back and up baby goes! Make a seat (check out Modern Babywearing’s post on making a deep seat).
While holding the tension on both tails, tighten the slack out of both shoulders.
Bring the longer tail under your arm, to your side. Bring the long tail across your chest, under the opposite tail. I do this with the pass bunched, then spread it out in later. Other spread it out from the start. It’s just personal preference. I like bunched because it’s one less time I have to let go of the wrap (potentially losing tension) before I get the pass tightened at all.
Bring the wrap under your opposite arm and across baby’s back. Make a second seat as well.
Take your time to get as much slack as you can. Work section by section.Bring then tail over your shoulder now and get out any more slack you can. This is when I spread out my pass and get all final adjustments.Then brunch up the tails and bring each one over the leg on the same side, across baby’s baby bottom and under the opposite leg. Now tie in a tight double knot at your waist.And there you go, the Double Hammock magic! Baby centered well on your torso.
No pressure on the shoulders. A reinforced and pinned down seat. What’s not to love?
Just as important as learning the carry is learning how to get baby down! Lean forward and keep a hand on baby’s bottom. Untie the knot and undo the bunched passes.
Bring the wrap around to your from and let the chest pass come undone. Slow and controlled, bring baby around to your hip with both hands.
Then set baby down and let them be free!
And there you have it, the basic Double Hammock. The vital foundation for all the amazing variations coming up in this series.
Here are few other things to keep in mind about this carry:
- This is usually not a high back carry.Nor is this a low back carry really. It’s a fairly centered back carry due to the two sling passes. See this graphic as to why.
- Even though the torso pass does take some pressure off the shoulders, this carry still has ruck straps so the potential to tug on your shoulders even when properly tightened is still there.
- This carry does put pressure on your chest. So if you have a chest or breast injury, including a clogged duct, this might not be the best choice for you.
- You will get better and faster at this carry over time, just like any other carry! Since this a multi layer carry, many do not find this to be a good choice for a quick up.
- Thicker wraps may be harder to get the slack out. The wrap I used is a thin/medium density all cotton. It was broken in and easy to tightened. While it’s not impossible at all the do with a thicker wrap, it might be frustrating while you are still learning. Try for a thinner, well broken in one to make your journey easier at first.
Don’t let any of this intimidate you! I promise with a tiny bit of practice and patience, you can master a Double Hammock and find the magic everyone talks about.
Once you master this basic foundation, you will be ready to start your journey into the fun variations!
*Photo Credit: Alacrity Photography
*Thank you to Babylonia USA for loaning me the wrap for these photos.