Two Methods to get Toddler on Your Back in an SSC

If you can get your toddler to stand still long enough to get them into an SSC, give one of these methods a try to get them on your back!

First is Superman Toss. Simply picking toddler up and flying them over your shoulder, onto your back.

Second is having them jump onto your back with you kneeling down or them standing on something stable.

 

 

Newbornwearing: Best Seat

Let me fill you in on a little secret for newbornwearing—the key is a supportive seat. Well, actually that’s the key for babywearing in general. A good seat can look different depending on the type of carrier and the carry. But in general, baby should be in a position similar to how you would hold them in your arms long term.

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Newborn natural position, legs tucked up higher than bottom.

You would probably cradle their legs up, making baby smaller and easier to carry. You would place your hands or arms on their bottom or torso, keeping their body fully supported. What I just described follows the standard rules of babywearing safety: high, tight, knees higher than bum. . These rules weren’t made up at random, they follow you and your baby’s natural tenancies. Let’s take a look at the seat on a few different newborn wrap carries and see how the mimic being held.

14536817_732795796877810_1536960892_oFront Wrap Cross Carry Legs In. [Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Brishen O/S] Recently, there has  been a push baby’s legs being out right from birth. People stating legs in could put pressure on baby’s hips, causing hip issues. There is no evidence to support at this time. Think about how you hold baby, do you spread out baby’s legs every time pick them up? Or do you naturally let them fall where they may and just cradle them up for support? Maybe they are tucked up beside them or maybe they in a spread-squat position. I can say from personal experience my oldest’s legs were stuck tucked up until he was 3-months-old. I couldn’t get him to do legs out without him screaming. And my youngest can do either right now, just depends on the day really. So I don’t see the need to shun all legs-in carries. If that’s baby’s natural position in arms, why go against it in a carrier?

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Carry supports the natural C shape of baby’s spine.
There are a few things to watch out for when placing baby legs-in a torso pass like that in a Front Wrap Cross Carry. The wrap should support the natural C shape of baby’s spine, with hips rotated towards your body.

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Weight resting on baby’s bottom, no pressure on feet.
Legs in the a frog-leg position, knees higher than bottom with feet parallel to ground. The cross passes should close off the bottom of the torso pass, preventing baby from slipping out the bottom. These steps will ensure baby is in a natural position without any unnecessary pressure on little hips or feet.

14550544_732795813544475_28503068_oFront Wrap Cross Carry with a Twist. [Wrapsody Breeze Dinah] Some babies are born with legs uncurled, so legs-out from the start is a wonderful choice. However, for some babies bringing the cross passes under baby’s legs in a basic Front Wrap Cross Carry can puts too much pressure on their little legs. If you were holding baby, you probably wouldn’t place your arm under baby’s legs, awkwardly pushing them away from your body. This is not an natural position, so not the best carry for some babies. A lexi twist under baby’s bottom secures the bottom of the torso pass while bringing the cross passes away from baby’s little legs.

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A Lexi Twist under baby’s bottom to secure the torso pass.
This a simple variation that even a beginner can easily achieve. Once baby is in and the wrap tightened, instead of a just once, cross several times—I usually do 3 to 4 times—under baby’s bottom into a twist. Then take the tails behind you like normal and tie. The key is to keep the tension while twisting so baby stays high and tight.

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From the side, you can see that the seat is not terribly deep, but secured nonetheless. No need to add stress to tiny newborn legs.
Also note that even though baby’s legs are spread out, the area between them is still small. Not much room to get a lot of fabric between you and baby. For this reason logistical reason, don’t stress about making a deep seat with a newborn. You should have some fabric between going between baby’s knees so baby is bottom is supported (like how you might place baby’s bottom on your forearm).But no need to stress about mastering a deep seat yet, this a crucial skill you can work on later.

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Pocket Wrap Cross Carry Facing Forward Outward.
[Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Kailani]  Oh, the controversial facing forward. In a nutshell, there are several arguments for not facing baby forward. It can be overstimulating, uncomfortable for wearer and wearee, no head or neck support, you cannot see baby’s need cues, and not ideal position for sleeping. I agree with most of these claims. It can be overstimulating if you kept baby in that position all the time. You might naturally hold your baby facing out for a short while, but you probably wouldn’t hold like that for a long time—and probably not while moving around. It would be hard to keep baby secure. You would probably turn them to face you eventually. But, you would do this holding baby, so it is reasonable to do this in a carrier. It is a bit harder to see if baby is giving you any signs or cues, but it’s not impossible. Just pause and take the best look you can—just like you need to do with baby facing towards you as well.

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Left: legs dangling and spine stretched out, not a natural position. Right: Hips rotated, knees higher than bottom, and spine in a natural C shape. Baby is also high, tight, and close enough to kiss.
If the wrap is supporting baby in the optimal high and tight position with knees higher than bottom, then it can be comfortable for both baby and you. If you were holding baby facing out, you would probably hold baby up high with their bottom on your forearm lifting knees higher than bottom. This would boost up baby high enough to fairly easily see baby’s cues. Even with baby up high and tight, this may not be enough head or neck support for babies who have little or no head control. Your natural instinct is to totally support a newborn’s body, so you probably wouldn’t hold a baby who couldn’t support there head facing outward. But, you might once baby got a bit more control, so it’s reasonable to try in a carrier.

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Baby wake, holding up head his own.
The biggest reason lack of head support is an issue is it could compromise baby’s airway. Baby’s head rest against your body when facing inward, making it easier to keep chin off their chest. Facing forward with no head support could force baby to slump forward and close off their airway—especially when sleeping. This is why I agree to never keep baby facing forward when they fall asleep. I do not suggest this carry until baby can hold their head up independently. My son has good head control so I am comfortable placing him in this carry occasionally. Get baby high and tight in the wrap. Take time to make sure you can easily peep down at baby’s face. When you gently sway back and forth, you baby should move as one unit. Baby should swing around in the wrap. Just like your arms would move with your body holding baby, not swing baby away. Rotate baby’s hip’s forward so baby is in a seated position with knees higher than bottom. And I mean actually rotate them. Reach into the carry, gentle grab baby on both hips. Tip them backward and downward. Adjust the cross passes as needed, making sure baby is supported from back too belly button and knee to knee. Keep the torso pass off of baby’s face to keep their airway clear. And keep it off baby’s legs, this might add unnecessary pressure.

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I hope you have some insights into how to give your newborn the best seat possible. Remember to take your time getting yourself and baby comfortable in any carry. It’s not a race, it’s loving journey!

 

*Photo credit to Alacrity Photography

 

 

 

Free Babywearing Resources 

Carrying your child on your body in some form of a carrier is an ancient tradition found in cultures around the world. It may vary with carrying method or technique, but the general idea is the same—keep baby close and safe while you go about your day. It’s a parenting need to be able to function in life, not a trend to capitalize on. This knowledge needs to be accessible to every caregiver, because is it that vital tool. There are amazing certified educators and consultants (myself included) who can offer classes and consults at a price for those looking for more help and attention. But, for those who don’t want that or cannot afford it, there are amazing resources available at low or no cost as well. Please keep in mind even though some educators and advocates chose to share their knowledge freely, remember that not all do. Some paid for valuable training and acquired great knowledge over the years, they have every right to charge for their time and skills. Please respect this. Socioeconomic status should not deter anyone from wearing. I compiled a list of free resources to help on your babywearing journey.

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  • Babywearing International: A non-profit organization with trained volunteers with meetings and playdates frequently. This group helped me personally to start my babywearing journey and I am now volunteer with my local group to help teach others. Meetings and advice are always free. They offer a low-cost membership that allows you to borrow from their carrier library and other perks as well.
  • Local Groups: There may not be an official babywearing organization like BWI in your area, but there are many local and unofficial groups as well. Check out these two links to see if there is one close to you— Wrap Your Baby and Wrapsody.
  • Online Forums: There are several online forums that can offer community help and support from fellow wearers. Try The Baby Wearer and Babywearing 102 Tumblr.
  • Facebook Groups: There are TONS of babywearing groups on Facebook. Look to see if your local BWI or local group has a chat group. Also, most brands have their own fan pages and chatter groups. Here is just a short list of a few more–Babywearing 102Base LoveSpecial Needs BabywearingTandem Babywearing . Keep in mind that even though some trained and skilled educators will reply to you, most answers will probably be from other wearers. Most may give great answers and offer lots of support, but be aware some might not be so helpful. The fun of public online forums.
  • YouTube: A lot of educators and advocates post tutorial videos. This was so helpful to me in between meetings when I needed a little extra help or wanted to try something new. There are tons, but here are some of the most popular (and a few of my friends I want to share)—Wrapping RachelBabywearing Faith ,Wrap You In LoveBrittany Brown MarshAmy Wraps BabiesTandem Trouble Twinning Mommy 101Keep Calm and Carry ThemWrap Your Baby, Wrap in ASL, and of course me! Most also have blogs and websites like me as well.
  • Manufacturers: If you are having trouble with a particular carrier, try contacting the manufacturer for help. They usually are quick to respond to emails or messages. They also usually have a YouTube channel with videos and a Facebook page with tips as well.
  • WIC: More and more WIC offices are starting to offer babywearing education classes now. Check your local office. If they don’t, suggest they do!
  • Retailers: Some retailers—local and big— offer free classes (and some charge). Many Babies ‘R’ Us offer classes, too.

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I hope these resources help you on your own babywearing journey! If you have more suggestions, please comment!

Can You Hike In it? Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Kristen

You know your favorite cotton t-shirt, all soft and comfy? The one with just enough stretch, but still keeps it’s shape. That’s what a Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid is like. I have talked about how I became a Brand Ambassador before, but realized I have never actually reviewed a Stretch-Hybrid. I take them hiking all the time and somehow never actually wrote a post! Until now.

Manufacturer: Wrapsody Baby
Colorway: Kristen
Color: Purple, blue, light blue, green, light green and white
Pattern: block horizontal sections, dandelions 
Size: 8 (6 yrds)
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Plain, jersey 

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My friends son, pic posted with permission. Shows how the the different colors help you learn the parts of the wrap.

This colorway is meant for teaching. The center of the wrap is block of purple, so you have a better visual of the center of the wrap (where to place baby). There are two different color tails—blue and green—so you can see which one you are working with and not get confuse as you wrap them around you. And the dandelions make it easy to distinguish the rails from one another. The wrap is named after Kristen DeRocha, the owner of HotSlings and one of the pioneers for modern babywearing in America.

Before I delve into the review, I want to say more about these wraps in general. First of all, these are hybrids, not a standard stretchy wrap. This means they are suitable for front, hip and back carries as well as single layer carries. True stretchy wraps are only suitable for three-layer front and hip carries. Stretch-Hybrids stretch in one direction, as oppose to stretchy wraps that stretch both directions (hence why you need multiple layers to give enough support).  They are tested up to 35 lbs so they can go well into toddlerhood and beyond.

Also, other than colorway, most Stretch-Hybrids are the same. Same stretchiness, same support, and same look. Once you decide you like the way it wraps, there is no need to worry the next one will feel different. This also makes it very easy to fall down the rabbit hole and buy every one you can get yours hands on, fortunately or unfortunately.

I have taken hybrids on several hikes before. They are my go-to wraps when I just grab one off the shelf and go. This wrap actually went on two very awesome hikes. The first was a the Walk With Wrapsody hike I co-hosted with fellow brand ambassador Myste (check out her blog).

13490848_1548062708553310_94824937897031869_oLocation: Hyland Forest Park
Distance:  1.34 miles
Trail Type:  Dirt and tanbark 
Weather: Sunny and warm 
Trail Conditions: Clear trail,  a few mud patches, and slightly busy

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This lovely nature park is nestle in the south of Beaverton. It features a few miles of easy trails that most walking toddlers can easily handle. There is a nature play area in the middle that I have not yet explored yet, too.

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We started off letting the big kids hike ahead of us, so I used Kristen to to wrap my belly (Full Body Support Belly Wrap). I love hybrids for belly wrapping, just enough give to get it tight but not so much that it sags over time.

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Then towards the end of the hike, Myste’s daughter decided she wanted an uppy so I handed Myste Kristen. She did a basic Ruck over the Front Wrap Cross Carry she had her youngest daughter in on the front. Tandem wearing for the win! The wrap very easily supported her toddler and she had no issues getting her up.

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Next I took the wrap on a shorter hike of sorts. We went berry picking at West Union Gardens with my mom. We ended up walking over a mile through the berry fields.IMG_5750

I love this place, nice clear bushes and they only use organic spray when they really need it. Jack started off walking so he could eat all the berries he wanted. It was fun to explain to him how to pick a good berry and watch his face when he got a sour one.

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Then he realized he could eat berries faster if he got an uppy. I did a Wiggleproof Back Carry and added a Chest Belt.

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It took a bit to get it tight enough with a wiggly toddler begging for more berries though.

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I am pretty sure everyone else in the field thought I didn’t know what I was doing, but I want to see them wrap 8 months pregnant with a rambunctious toddler!

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Jack was happy on my back eating berries (he kept sticking his hand over my shoulder when he wanted another). He stayed up for 30 minutes and I was very comfortable. No pressure on my bump at all.

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And just the other day I put Jack up in a Ruck Tied Tibetan while I was cleaning around the house and then walked him over the park after. Very comfortable the whole time.

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The key feature of the wrap is texture—that soft and stretchy jersey feel. It molds very easy to any body shape and baby size. It glides easily while wrapping without any big bulky knots. However due to the slight stretch, it can take a bit more time to get all the slack out. When I hear people complain hybrids are diggy, the first thing I look for is the hidden slack. You need to make sure your carry is tight and there are no pressure points. Once tightened properly though, oh man they are a supportive dream. Another draw back in the length. In order for the wrap to be accessible to wearers of all sizes and skill levels, they come in one standard long length (about a size 8 in woven wraps).

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This is great for when you are learning and doing multiple layer carries like a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry. Or if you are plus size, no need to struggle with a wrap that is too small. But if you are short like me, you end up with A LOT of extra tail. This isn’t totally a bad thing though, I get to do some fun finishes.

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Can you hike in a Wrapsody Baby Stretch-Hybrid? Yes! This wrap is light-weight enough to work in all weather scenarios. It fits over winter layers easily and cool enough for summer heat. It’s supportive enough for most trails types, especially with reinforcing passes on harder trails. Suitable for newborn to preschool as well. And if Kristen is not your cup of tea, try one of the many other colorways. My husband loves Nammy, while I am partial to Brishen.

 

 

What Can You Do With A Wrapsody WrapDuo?

Last year I did a blog post on the Wrapsody WrapDuo, a sport wrap that can be used both wet and dry. Over past year, I’ve gotten to use it more, as well as other water carriers. These things are genius!

You can take a hands-free shower without a screaming baby in the other room stressing you out. And nurse them at the same time!  Then there is the joy for moms and children alike: summer water activities. Pools, splash pads, calm streams, and other fun water features.

General rules for babywearing water safety:

First, follow all the standard rules of babywearing.

  • Follow all instructions for the design of the carrier.
  • Make sure baby’s airway is clear and unobstructed at all times. Chin off chest and no fabric over their face.
  • Baby is secured in the carrier and it fits tightly against your body. You should both move as a cohesive unit.
  • Baby sits in a natural position on your body, close enough to kiss the top of their head easily.

Also, keep these safety rules in mind:

  • Be mindful of the water level. Baby’s head should never go under water. And watch for waves that can splash baby unexpectedly.
  • Make sure the spray/current it not too powerful. Don’t want baby to get knocked out of the carrier or be injured.
  • Watch the water temperature. Too cold can cause hypothermia and too hot can cause burns. Just use common sense and keep an eye on baby.

Keeping all that, wearing baby in the water can be really fun! You can stay cool, keep baby happy, and do some fun carries! The WrapDuo is suitable for most front and hip carries. That means you can try different carries as your baby grows.

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You can start with a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry. A great beginner carry, very supportive for smaller baby without head control.

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It’s also a poppable carry, meaning you can take baby in and out without needing to take the wrap off.

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Easy to take baby out for a diaper change, then right back in for fun.

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Makes chasing a toddler around a splash pad easier with a newborn.

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Another snuggly to try while baby is working on head and trunk control is the Kangaroo Carry.

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It is a bit more advanced, but very supportive once you get the hang of the shoulder flip.

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Perfect for snuggles when baby is tired.

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You can keep playing while they fall asleep, then set them down very easily in this carry since there are no cumbersome cross passes to take off.

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Next try a Front Wrap Cross Carry. Still very supportive and suitable for a smaller baby.

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However, it is great for a baby who has better body control but isn’t mobile yet. They can look around easily and pull their arms out to explore.

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And if they get sleepy, you can spread the cross passes and support their head while you rock them to sleep.

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This is a wet/dry wrap, so it is ideal for a day at the splash pad when you don’t really plan on getting wet but don’t want to risk ruining a beloved wrap.

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When your baby is close to no longer being a baby, hip carries are a great options. Baby can look forward more while still snug to your body.

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Try a Robin’s Hip Carry, easy to adjust as baby wiggles around and very supportive.

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If you are having a hard time tightening the WrapDuo with your bigger baby, try getting the wrap totally wet first. It denses up and becomes more supportive.

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The dry weight limit is 25 lbs, while the wet limit is 35 lbs.  And there is a notable difference once baby gets close to 25 lbs mark when dry.

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As your baby turns into a toddler, you can still get some use out of your WrapDuo.

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I suggest going back to a poppable carry, like a Front Cross Carry.

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Your toddler can work on their swimming skills until they get tired, then pop them in the wrap for some snuggles.

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Water babywearing has been around for a long time. How do you think women fished and got water for thousands of years? But I am sure they would have loved the quick drying material of modern day water carriers.  Get a water carrier like the WrapDuo and work on some new carries while you explore the water with your child!

 

Can You Wear It To a Wedding? Emmeline Textiles Eleanor Pearl

What do you do when one of your closest sorority sisters sends you an invitation to her wedding at a castle in Canada? You RSVP yes! Then you remember you have a toddler. Then you remember he pretty well behaved and you are a babywearing educator, so you can make it work.

So you book all the accommodations, get your passports, and pick an outfit. Then you go look at your carriers and realize one thing: you are a budget wrap person and everything you own is pretty wild patterns. Nothing really suitable for wedding in a castle. Luckily Emmeline Textiles reached out to me and offered to send me one of their wraps.

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Manufacturer: Emmeline Textiles 
Colorway: Eleanor Pearl
Color: Cream
Pattern: Horizontal lines
Size: 3
Materials: 100% undyed cotton
Weave: Plain 

Now, I am not an overly girly girl, but this wrap was so pretty out of the package I almost didn’t want to touch it. I planned on washing and ironing it first, per the instructions, but that didn’t happen. We went to local rock and mineral museum, and Jack decided he needed an uppy to see everything better.

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This was the only carrier in the car so I had to use it.  It did pretty well for being in loom state. Wrapped pretty easily on Michael and he liked the softness.

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We did a basic Ruck, he just had enough tail to tie at the waist. He does know to wrap, he just isn’t the best at making a seat so I just do it for him. I should really teach him considering that it’s my job, but eh. The best kind of babywearing is the kind that works safely for your family.

After this I washed, dried and ironed the wrap. It softened up even more and the weave smooshed together nicely. It was ready for some adventure! I had hoped Jack would let me wear him on the ferry ride to Victoria, but nope. He wanted to run around the deck with daddy. This was probably for the best since he prone to motion sickness.

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However, towards the end he got cold and jumped in my lap to warm up. He pulled the wrap over us and snuggled under my jacket. It’s nice when your big boy is your baby once and awhile. The wrap was so soft and warm, a lovely end to our sail.

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I didn’t get a chance to wear Jack again until the wedding two days later (kid was way too excited, he wanted to run around the city himself). I went early to help the bride, I used to wrap as shawl without Jack. No one had any idea it was baby carrier!

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I need to talk about the venue for second. Hatley Castle is amazing. It’s a Tudor Revival style Castle just outside Victoria. It was built as a private residence, but has since become a military college and currently a public university.

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The ceremony took place in the garden next to the castle. It was beautiful. I couldn’t imagine a better spot for my friend to get married.

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After the ceremony during the cocktail hour, Jack started to get restless. So up he went in another Ruck. I was so happy to be able to (barely) tie at the waist even 6.5 months pregnant.

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Jack was bouncing up and down while I getting his plate of food together. Not enough to pop the seat, but enough to squish my bump. However, my shoulders were very comfortable, despite the 26 lbs of toddler.

DSCN3387After the cocktail hour, we snuck upstairs and explored the third floor

DSCN3377…and found a way on to the roof, too.

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After dinner was dance time! Jack loves to dance was overwhelmed by the lights, people, and sounds at this point.

IMG_4853During the speeches I had snuck outside and wrapped him a Double Hammock Traditional Sling Carry with a Double Knot. IMG_4866He calmed down and was happy to join me on the dance floor. The seat held perfectly even with all his bouncing.

IMG_4914Then he wanted down and dance for a good hour by himself. But needed a break for some milk, so up he went in my favorite carry, Robin’s Hip Carry with a Ring. It threaded nice through the ring, but it’s so soft it needed a little bit of adjusting to get it lay flat. However, now that I’ve broken it in more, I don’t have this problem as much.

IMG_4918Then we got a tour of the billiards room…and someone wanted to touch everything, so he went back up. I tightened very well this time to keep him from getting free.

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After some more dancing and fun, we all ran out of steam. We said our goodbyes and I put him up in a Ruck Tied Tibetan. I needed one last pic before we left. Recognize this spot? Any X-men fans? It’s the spot where Wolverine jumped from when the school was raided! I was a happy little babywearing nerd.

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So, can you wear an Emmeline Textiles Eleanor Pearl to a wedding? Yes, it’s perfect. The color is neutral enough to match any color palette. It’s a simple elegance that can match almost any outfit. The key feature of this wrap is texture. It’s a soft marshmallow. Easy to spread and ever so cushy on the shoulders. I would really recommend this for smaller babies that aren’t known wiggly seat poppers. But it does great with reinforcing passes with a wiggle monster as well.

 

 

Can You Hike In It: Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper 

You know that feeling when you finally get your hands on something you pined away for? That glorious, satisfying feeling when you touch it and everything you imagined? This was my feeling when I opened the box and pulled out this wrap. Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper came out when I started really getting into babywearing and I wanted it the minute I saw it. Sadly, at the time I couldn’t afford it and then it sold out when I could. I thought it would always just be a dream. So, you can imagine my excitement when I got the chance to have it visit!

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Manufacturer: Tiny Tiger Baby

Colorway: Everlasting Gobstopper
Color: Purple, blue, green, yellow, and red
Pattern: Small stripes
Size: 6
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Plain 
Release date: February 2015

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This wrap showed up back in February when I was suffering from very bad first trimeter hyperemesis, so it took it me while to get enough use out of it to review. We first took it on a stroll through our cute little downtown. Jack loved having an uppy in the bookstore to grab everything possible off the shelves.

IMG_2113I did a basic Ruck. It was easy to make a seat with a wiggly toddler. And held nicely despite his bouncing around to grab books.

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I finally–two months later–got to take it out on a trail!  We went to a great local park, Rood Bridge Park. It has wide, paved trails great for strollers or curious toddlers.  Plus some dirt trail with a tiny bit of incline in the back.

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There is a lots of shade, plus several water features like creeks and ponds. Jack loves the big open fields and the playground. I am pretty sure he is well behaved on the trail so he gets plenty of time to play after. IMG_2999

Location: Rood Bridge Park
Distance:  1.21 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete, gravel, and dirt 
Weather: Sunny and warm 
Trail Conditions: Clear trail, slightly busyIMG_3038

Jack was getting impatient to get to the back part of the park where the frog pond is, so I gave him an uppy to get him there faster. I did a quick (and pretty sloppy now that I see the pictures), Ruck again. IMG_2997

The grip on this handwoven is so good that the carry held well even while not properly tightened.

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After some major bridge exploring, Jack said he wanted to go to the playground. So up he went in a Secure High Back Carry. Once again, it was a bit sloppy because he was impatient, but he still very secure due to the grippiness.

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I did a ring finish instead of a knot, mainly because I was starting to get a baby bump and didn’t want the added pressure on my waist. It threaded through the ring nicely and held great.

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The key feature of the wrap is the handwoven texture. It is very grippy, no issues locking down a seat on a wiggly toddler. That being said, I prefer a little more glide on my wraps, so it was tad (a very tiny tad) too grippy for me. But overall, I was not disappointed in this wrap. The stripe pattern is very fun and looks amazing in person. It’s got that classic bandage-feel wrapping quality.  I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to play it for a few months.

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Can you hike in a Tiny Tiger Everlasting Gobstopper? Yes, this is a wrap that will not fail you (even with a wiggling toddler) on the trail. The grippiness may be a bit intimidating for new wrappers, but once you get the hang of wrapping, it should not be an issue. The all cotton blend should not get too hot or cold, so I would recommend this for all seasons.  I wish I had a squish to try a Semi-Front Wrap Cross Carry when it was here, I bet it would have held up like a champ on a good hike.

Pregnancy Belly Wrapping 

You are tired, sore, and swollen. And sometimes, you feel anything but pretty. It’s all part of the pregnancy experience. The only real cure is to get through it and deliver your baby. One thing can give you some temporary relief: belly wrapping.

I’m not talking about those weight loss shrink wraps or coreset waist trainers. (Your supposed to get a big belly while pregnant, it’s unsafe to try to prevent it). I’m talking about supporting your belly gently while it grows with a babywearing wrap.

It is a safe way to give you little extra support. It’s similar to belly bands and belts commonly found it in maternity stores. They are so much prettier and easier to adjust to your body shape. It’s also a great way to break in a new wrap before baby comes!

There are several ways to wrap your belly during pregnancy. There is no best method, it will depend on your body’s needs and personal preference. Here are four basic methods, give them each a try and see what you like. However, there are two schools of thought when it comes to this subject: cover the belly or not. Some believe that it’s bad for mother and baby to have the entire belly covered. Stating it constricts fetal movement, possibly effecting growth and causing stress. Others believe that as long as you don’t over tighten and cause pain, there is nothing wrong with covering your entire belly. Most maternity pants cover all the belly, often with elastic to add tension support. There is little scientific evidence to proof/disproof either school of thought, so at this time it is not fair to say either one is correct. As for my personal opinion as an educator, I am comfortable recommending the entire belly covered as long as the wearer can still move easily and the wrap is truly giving her relief.  I will post some links at the end of this post for more information.

This first one uses a stretchy wrap to basically do a Front Wrap Cross Carry without a baby.This carry provides full upper body support. The cross in the back provides support to your back and shoulder, while the giving your belly an extra lift at the same time. Great for back pain and general muscle pain from carrying a heavy belly around. I really recommend a stretchy wrap over a woven wrap for this. I find a woven wrap just does not get as tight over your shoulder to give you that nice lift.This would work with a Moby, Boba, or other stretchy brands. I am using a Wrapsody Hybrid Stella One Size. This wrap is equal to a size 8 woven wrap or 5.7 meters. For this carry, your need a long wrap. As you can see in the video, I had a lot of tail left over.  I’m petite and only 19 weeks along in this video. On a non-short person who is further along, there would be less left over and tying in front would not be an issue.

Next is a long woven wrap. I guess this would be similar to a Torso Carry, just around your belly without a baby.This one provides support to your lower back, belly, and most importantly the pelvic area. It’s great for round ligament pain, too. Just a little lift, without all the passes limiting your range of motions on your shoulders.The key to this one is getting the bottom rail nice and tight. This carry should be done with your base size (keeping in mind that during pregnancy it may change, I went from a base 5 to a 6).  If you want a less bulky knot, use a thinner wrap. I used a Bijou Babywearing Wildthing Crush Size 6.

The last of the fully belly support is the ring sling. It’s pretty much like doing a front carry in a ring sling, but on your belly and not cover one shoulder. The ring sling provides all over, even belly support for those days it feels like your skin is about to burst into pieces. And there is the added bonus of no bulky knot getting in your way. Just make sure the rings a laying flat so they don’t dig into your side (threading properly will keep them from turning into you). There isn’t much lift, but a gently tug keeping everything supported. Any ring sling that fits around your belly will work for this carry. I recommend medium size rings if possible,  the smaller the rings the less likely they will be to dig into your side. I used a Wrapsody Cara Ring Sling 78″ (about a size Medium).

Lastly, a carry that does not cover the whole belly. There really is no babywearing carry like this, it’s more like a support belt. This is perfect for those days when your body starts loosen all the joints and your hips feel like they are going to rip apart. Just enough tension to gently push them back together so you can walk without pain. It also offers a dash of back support to keep you from wanting to cry stand-up to go to the bathroom for the millionth time. And your baby is free from constrictions, able to move and grow as they please. I am using a Little Frog Pyrope Size 3. I recommend a base minus 2 for this carry. Keep in mind what I said earlier though, your base size may have changed from your pre-pregnancy size. I had to tie on the tails because I guessed too small, a size 4 would have fit much better.

There you go! Four ways to wrap your belly during pregnancy. I hope of them gives you relief and you use a wrap that makes you feel beautiful.

Here are some links on belly wrapping:

Healthline, “5 Reasons You a Pregnancy Belly Bands”

Midwife At Your Doorstep, “Belly Binding for Optimal Fetal Positioning”

Beyond Birth Support, “A Few Thoughts on Prenatal Belly Wrapping”

LiveStrong, “Neagative Effects of Tight Clothes on Pregnant Women”

Babywearing International of Cleveland, “Belly Wrapping for Pregnancy Support”

And lastly a link on Woven Wrap Sizes.

Can You Hike In It: Oscha Kasumi Orabel

I was very excited to test out this Oscha prototype. It seemed like a great hiking carrier due to the wool/linen blend. I dreamt it would be soft, cushy but very supportive. I also have a love for Japanese culture, especially the art. This wrapped seemed right up my alley.

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Before I delve into the wrap or hike, I would like to address the issue of cultural appropriation. Oscha has been accused of cultural appropriation a few times, this pattern is one of them. The design is based on traditional Japanese woodblock carvings. There are several other wraps with the Kasumi pattern in other colors as well.  Some in the babywearing community felt Oscha, a Scottish-based company, had no grounds to use this pattern.

Although I have a deep love Japanese art, I am not Japanese or expert on Japanese culture. I am not going to pretend I really know much about preserving Japanese traditions. I do know that respect very important to the Japanese people, so I wanted to address this issues in my review. So I reached out to a fellow babywearer Maria Frank. She is of Japanese descent and happily embraces her heritage. I asked her how she felt about it personally. She did not feel this specific case was appropriation, and wondered if the people who were upset over this wrap were Japanese. In general, she said most Japanese feel flattered when they see Japanese influence in Western cultures.

“Traditional Japanese Art is dying. Especially wood block prints. There are not too many artists who really understand it. I honestly think that using Japanese influenced designs in good cause such as babywearing is super respectful!” -Maria

I understand that Maria does not speak for all Japanese, but I thought this was a very interesting perspective. It brings up the issues of when do we cross the line between appreciation and appropriation. In fact, this issue was a huge unit in my Media Ethics class in Journalism School. The general consensus is it usually alright take inspiration from other cultures—as long as you give credit where credit is due, consider the media you are using, and think about everyone you could offend (keeping in mind that there are some people you can never please). If you can’t do all these things, then maybe it’s best to not do it. For example, doing a secret photo essay of hidden tribe that believes cameras steal your soul and never give that tribe a dime is SO not okay. Oscha should have at least consulted a Japanese artist to design it (I have not heard this was the case) and some contribution back to Japanese Arts would have been the best course of action. Any time you borrow from another culture, you need to tread carefully. It’s wonderful to share ideas and create new customs, but it’s a whole other thing is steal something and claim it as your own. There have been far worse examples of cultural appropriation in babywearing recently though. As babywearing becomes more mainstream in North America, issues like this will continue to come up. I just hope in the future manufacturers will stay on the cultural appreciation side.

As for the actual wrap…..

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Manufacturer: Oscha Slings
Colorway: Kasumi Orabel
Color: Teal and cyan
Pattern: Waves
Size: Size 6
Materials: 45% extrafine wool,  20% organic linen, 35% organic cotton
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: N/A prototype

The colors are stunning in person. It was just as soft and buttery as I hoped when I pulled it out of the box. The day it arrived we had to pick-up my aunt from the airport, which can be overwhelming for a toddler. So, up Jack went into a Ruck. It made a nice deep seat, even with a bouncing toddler yelling “Auntie!” in my ear.

I had planned on taking the wrap for a walk through the Portland Japanese Garden (and possibly ask someone else for their opinion on the appropriation issue), but Oregon spring weather failed me. It wasn’t just a typical dreary day—it was POURING rain and only 38 degrees at 10 AM. Instead, it went on a trek to a park.

Location: 53rd Ave Community Park
Distance:  2.75 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete
Weather: Overcast and cold
Trail Conditions: Clear paths, busy park with lots of kids running around.

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We started out from the house in a Robin’s Hip Carry with a Ring Finish, one of my favorite carries. I really wanted to see how it wrap would thread and stay in a ring. A few other wool blends I tried took some work to a ring into place. But not this wrap, slid straight down like a dream.

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It stayed in place while I tightened the carry. It spread like butter across my shoulder and stayed comfy for a 25 minute walk around the park. Jack didn’t want to get down, even when he saw this favorite rocking pile (this kid loves to climb rocks).

IMG_2526On the way home, I did a Double Hammock with Freshwater Finish. The tails pulled through the torso pass easily and gripped nicely to keep the carry tight. Sadly no sleepy dust on the walk home, but I was so comfortable that I didn’t mind.

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Can you hike in a Oscha Kasumi Orabel? Yes, an enthusiastic yes! I was sad I needed to send this one on it’s way, I have no doubt it would be excellent on a big, long hike. The key feature this wrap is thread blend. The extrafine wool makes it supple, perfect for shoulder comfort without being itchy or thick. The linen keeps the wrap on the lighter/cooler side, perfect for a wide variety of conditions. The cotton give it the structure and support to last on long hikes. Oscha really picked the perfect blend ratio for a versatile hiking wrap for the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I am going to give this my first ever Favorite Hiking Carrier badge!

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Can You Hike In It? Kokadi Arielle Eclipse 

I’ve always been a big fan of Kokadi designs. Unique patterns, colors, and themes. My DISO was their Kurma and I cried when it arrived in the mail. That being said, they tend to be too soft for my taste. I like more grip to a wrap. I’ve also heard they are really prone to snags. So I tend to shy away from them.

However, the Arielle Eclipse is a totally different story. As soon as I pulled it out of the package, I was impressed with the thickness. Soft, but thicker than the average Kokadi. And the pattern did not disappoint. A modern scale/shell pattern. I was excited to test it out, but when it arrived I was still dealing with Hyperemesis, so it sadly sat around for awhile before I was well enough to try it.

Manufacturer: Kokadi
Colorway: Arielle Eclipse
Color: black and nude
Pattern: Shells
Size: Size 6
Materials: 68% Cotton, 32% Bamboo/Bamboo-viscose
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: November 2015

 


First I used it for a wrap nap at a Babywearing International of Portland playdate. Jack fell asleep as soon as I got the Ruck with a Ring Finish tied. Clearly someone loaded it with sleepy dust! It threaded nicely through the ring, and didn’t slid around.

 It also went to the park across the street from us one day. I can honestly say it was the easiest to tie and most supportive Robin’s Hip Carry ever. I didn’t even need to spread the shoulder out to make it more comfortable.

 Then one day I felt great and the weather was pretty nice, so we headed out for a family hike. We picked the Rock Creek Trail, easy but some interesting stuff to look at along the way.

Location: Rock Creek Trail
Distance:  4.5
Trail Type:  Paved, concrete, wood boardwalk
Weather: Overcast, light showers then sunshine
Trail Conditions: Some debris on trail from a recent storm, muddy, but overall well-kept. A bit crowded as it a popular trail.

 We started out trying to get Jack to ride his bike, but he thought the umbrella was more fun. The trails are so wide and even, it was easy for him to walk so distracted.

 There is a bird sanctuary in the middle, which Jack loved. We saw a hawk, stellar jay, and two woodpeckers.

 A quarter of the way in Jack decided he wanted an uppy. I started with Jordan’s Back Carry, but Jack some how popped one of the passes down. It wasn’t until I took a photo did I notice.

 It wasn’t uncomfortable at all, no digging or straining my back. But it bugged me to not have it right.

So I switched to a Ruck Tied Tibetan. And took a picture while we continued walking to make sure the seat was right!

 

Very comfortable still and wonderful grip. The seat held well while I was bouncing Jack to sleep on the way back.

Since he was asleep, we decided to walk to the shopping center down the road for lunch. It stayed very comfortable the whole 30 minute walk. Plus I felt so pretty, the pattern and colors are perfect for an suburban/urban setting. It was nice to feel pretty after several weeks of feeling like crap.

After lunch and a little shopping, Michael wore Jack back to the car. We started in a Ruck Tied Tibetan (Michael ties up his tails regardless of a knotless finish), but the top rail was a bit loose and I could foresee Jack popping the seat quickly.

 So we switched to a Wiggleproof Carry Tied Tibetan instead. Jack couldn’t pop it, even when he started to bounce saying daddy was a horsey.  This is when I fell in love with the grip of this wrap.

I asked Michael how he liked the wrap, he said “Fine. I like the colors a lot.” I asked if it felt comfortable, was it digging anywhere? He said nope. If he didn’t like it, he would have simply said “I don’t like it”. Seriously, man of few words.

 The key feature of this wrap is the texture. It’s soft like your standard Kokadi, but thick enough to support a giant sleeping toddler comfortably. I really credit this to the bamboo. In general bamboo is amazing in almost any wrap, but it really makes a difference with Kokadi’s design.

So, can you hike in a Kokadi Arielle Eclipse? Yes. I would really recommend this wrap for almost any hike and almost any age of child. It’s soft enough for a snuggly newborn nap, but supportive enough for a longer hike to a waterfall with a toddler.