Can You Hike In It: Baby-Doo Rouge

I was so excited when this carrier arrived in Januray, but shortly  after hyperemsis hit me like the plague and I was not well enough to take it on a hike. It sadly sat on a shelf for a month. We did take it OMSI one day, but it was only a quick uppy to get him to the parking lot.
Carrier Info:

Manufacturer: Baby-Doo USA
Colorway: Rouge
Color: Red, white, and orange
Pattern: Stripes
Size: Medium, 4.4 meters, short size 5
Materials: 100% Cotton
Weave: Diamond
Release date: 2014

But one day I was well enough to take it a joint Babywearing International of Portland and Hike It Baby joint event. I helped fit people in carriers and then we go on a walk to see how they like them. We met at one of my favorite local parks, Noble Woods Park. It’s a lovely little park with both nice paved and unpaved trails. When we arrived, Jack wanted to play around with the other toddlers so I didn’t put him up right away. Then once everyone was ready to hike, I realized that someone needed to stay behind to watch the carriers. Everyone else went on the South Loop while we stayed at the picnic area.

Hike Details:

Location:  Noble Woods Park, South Loop Picnic Area
Distance: ~1 mile
Trail Type:  Paved trails, grass
Weather: 50*, cloudy
Trail Conditions: Muddy, wet but well maintained

Jack decided it was time for some milk so up he went. We strolled around the grassy area while he nursed. Rouge did very nicely in a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a toddler. I especially liked how the little bit of grip. Very helpful to keep the seat while when Jack was leaning to the side trying to get my boob out while I was tying.

I cannot find the picture when I put Jack in a RRRR for some reason (Google likes to eat my photos), but once everyone returned from the first loop I switched him to my back (for a few minutes, then he wanted down to play with his friends again).  It was pretty easy to make a good seat, but due to the slight gripiness, it was a little hard to tighten the reinforcing pass at first. This might be a little intimidating for a novice wrapper.  But it held nicely, when Jack started bouncing up and down to be let down.

IMG_1754The key feature of the wrap is texture from the weave. It’s very soft, but has a nice subtle grip. The diamond weaver also gives it such rich colors. It would be a lovely addition to any wrap collection. And it’s a very budget friendly wrap, retailing for under $100.

Can you hike in a Baby-Doo Rouge? Yes, it’s a lovely light-weight but grippy wrap, perfect for hikes and walks in warm to cool weather. I wish I could have taken it out on steeper trail, really test how the grip holds up. Just didn’t work out right now. 

Wrapsody Weekly Wrap Challenge

11111911_10102021416262516_4242354883282891449_nFor the past 20 weeks, I’ve been hosting the Wrapsody Weekly Wrap Challenge along with fellow Brand Ambassador Nicolette. It’s a little idea I came up with to help promote the brand on social media. It is was inspired by a challenge I did from BWI of The Bay Area.  I learned so much from that challenge, it honestly made me a better wrapper. So I decided to spread idea and help others build up their skills.

So I designed a challenge that could be done over time, so no one left rushed or got frustrated. A week to work on a carry and ask for help. It started with basic carriers that a novice could handle. Then move on to a new, more advanced carry the next week. And the carriers would build off each other, the skill learned one week would be needed for the next week. That way the wrapper gets the fundamentals of how to build a good carry.  I also needed to do carriers that can be done with longer wraps, since most Wrapsodys are size 6+.

Thus, I came up with this list. Twenty weeks to help you go from a novice to a back wrapper.

After some consulting with fellow ambassadors, I came up with this list. Nicolette and I decided to alternate each week. Post a 360 degree photo collage and a tutorial video on Sunday. A reminder on Wednesday. And a Feature Friday to encourage participation. We also offered help and answers questions when we could. Other ambassadors helped too.

But let’s talk about the carries and how they help you learn.

Week 1: Pocket Wrap Cross Carry. A front carry with two cross passes, and torso pass over top. A very basic carry to help you learn the feel for wrapping. A pre-tied carry, meaning you tie the wrap on yourself before you place baby.

Week 2: Front Wrap Cross Carry. A front carry with a torso pass, and two cross passes over top. Another basic carry to help you get comfortable with your wrap. This is a step up from the PWCC as it is not pre-tied and the torso pass is underneath. This means you need to learn how to make a good seat for baby and his to tighten the whole carry properly.

Week 3: Front Cross Carry. A front carry a horizontal pass, and two rebozo passes. This is a pre-tied carry like the PWCC, but is a step up from the FWCC because there is no torso pass to provide extra support.  This means you need to place baby in a good, deep seat in the X of the rebozo passes.

Week 4: Kangaroo Carry. A front carry with ruck pass, two shoulder flips, and two bunched passes.  A wonderful carry for newborns or any sleeping baby, Just in untie and gently place them down without cross passes to get in the way. The shoulder flip can be a bit tricky, but makes this carry very comfortable long term.

Week 5: Front Double Hammock. Front carry with a ruck pass, a torso pass, two shoulder flips. A step up from a Kangaroo carry as it has two layers for support and starts off center. Several other carries going forward start off center, so it’s good to practice that now. This also wonderful prep for the ever so comfortable back Double Hammock later on. Helps you visual what will be going on behind you.

*Please do not attempt hip carries until your baby can sit up unassisted.*

Week 6: Hip Rebozo.  A hip carry with one rebozo pass tied with a slip knot.  Time for hip carries! This carry is normally done in a short wrap so there is not a lot of tail, so I almost left it off the list. But it is the base for several other carries up next so I left it on. Nicolette just reinforced it to get rid of the extra tail. Slip knots can be tricky to learn, so take your time and go slow. But they are a great tool for to tie a carry at the shoulder without a big bulky double knot.

Week 7: Robbin’s Hip Carry. A hip carry with a rebozo pass, shoulder loop, and two bunched passes. A step up from a rebozo with the very comfy shoulder loop and two bunched passes to reinforce the seat. The key to get it right is the placement of the shoulder loop. Too high will dig into your shoulder. Too low will put pressure on your back. Aim for the corsage position.

Week 8: Poppin’s Hip Carry. A hip carry with one rebozo pass, and poppin’s pass. Think of this as a Robin’s Hip Carry, but with the loop going the other way. The lovely poppin’s pass adds support and reinforces the rebozo. Plus it is a great way to showcase the opposite side of the wrap.

Week 9: Hip Cross Carry. A hip carry with two cross passes. This is essentially a Front Cross Carry, but on your hip. The key is to get baby knee-to-knee supported and make sure the X is hitting high on their back. This poppable hip carry is great for a day at the park. Baby wants to run around but needs a quick uppy for a breather once and awhile.

Week 10: Coolest Hip Cross Carry. A hip carry with a torso pass and a rebozo pass tied with a slip knot. This carry can be tricky to place baby in correctly, so go slow and make sure you get a good, deep seat. The slip knot makes it very easy to tighten and loosen for nursing.

*Please do not attempt back carries until your baby can sit up unassisted if you are new to wrapping. Practice against a wall, over a bed, or with a spotter until you are confident. 

Week 11: Secure High Back Carry. Back carry with a chest knot, rebozo pass, a spread pass, and a bunched pass. Time for back carries!  This carry is the main reason I left a rebozo on the list. Starting with a good pre-tied hip rebozo then scooting it on to you back helps you gain confidence with back carries. You baby is safe with the pre-tied chest belt pinning them in place. You already have a good seat, so no worries about their comfort. This way you can focus on how to spread the passes behind your back and get them in the correct position without fear of baby falling. You can feel how the rebozo pass provides the seat, the cross pass reinforces with support, and the bunched pass helps lock the seat in place. The foundation of a great back carry!

Week 12: Back Wrap Cross Carry. A back carry with a chest knot, horizontal, and two cross passes. Another great beginner back carry due to the chest belt to secure baby before you fiddle with the rest of the passes. To help you visual what’s going on, think of this carry as everything you do in a FWCC, but on your back (hence the name).

Week 13: Ruck. A back carry with one ruck pass. No more pre-ties, it’s time to learn how to get baby up on your own. This is the most basic back carry and often the hardest to get right. A ruck is the base for several of back carries, so it’s so important to get this one right before moving on.

Week 14: Double Hammock. Back carry with a rebozo pass, a torso pass, horizontal pass, two cross , and two bunched passes. The ultimate multiple pass carry, so supportive and comfortable. A torso pass in a back carry can be tricky to master, so take your time. Tighten tighten tighten, a loose torso pass will make this carry uncomfortable. Make sure the horizontal pass goes high over baby’s back as well, this will add support and keep them from leaning back.

We also had some fun with this week and showed off all the variations.

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Week 15: Christina’s Ruckless. A back carry with a rebozo pass, torso pass, ruckless chest belt, and two cross passes. A step up from a Double Hammock as the chest belt is a little more complicated. This a a great carry to take pressure of your back and shoulder, as the V holds all the tension. Make sure it it tighten properly if you are experiencing any discomfort.

Week 16: Giselle’s Back Carry. A back carry with a rebozo pass, a cross pass, shoulder flip, another cross pass. Another carry that starts off center and requires some skills to get the wrap spread high over baby’s back to ensure enough support. The shoulder flip in a back carrier is the same principal as in front carries, but can be tricker since you can’t see behind you. It’s essentially a way to make ruck straps in a rebozo.

Week 17: Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder. A back carry with two rebozo passes and a shoulder to shoulder chest belt. Similar to the Secure High Back Carry with the hip scoot rebozo as the base, but a little more tricky as there are no bunched passes to keep the seat secure. You really need a good seat in this carry, so I put it farther down on the list to give you time to work on it. A shallow seat will most likely pop, leaving baby unsecured. And even if it does stay in place, it might be uncomfortable in the long run. But once you get it right, this a great carry to do quickly or in a crowded place where you don’t have room to spread out your tails.

Week 18: Jordan’s Back Carry. A back carry with one rebozo pass, a shoulder flip, another rebozo pass, and a horizontal pass. A great carry for leg straightening babies, as the rebozo pass and the horozinral pass lock baby’s leg gently in place, making it hard for them to push up. They aren’t going anywhere!

Week 19: Wiggleproof Back Carry. A back carry with a ruck, two unpoppable passes. Some kids are just leaners, seat poppers, and leg straighteners no matter what you do. Before you give up on wrapping, give this carry a try. There are two unpoppable passes to lock both of baby’s legs down, making it almost impossible for them to mess-up your carry. It’s far down on the list because it takes skill to get these passes right.They can be very tricky to get high up on baby’s back. But keep it at it and you will be rewarded with a very comfy carry!

Week 20: Taiwanese Carry. A back carry with a rebozo pass, a poppin’s pass, a rebozo pass, another poppin’s pass, and a horizontal pass. We made it to the end! By now you should have a good foundation of wrapping skills, most of which you will need for this carry (hence why it’s the end!). A good seat, measuring correctly for an off center start, tightening and keeping the tension as you go, a poppin’s pass, a shoulder flip, and a supportive horizontal pass.  Once you get that all down, this carry is AMAZING! No pressure and so supportive.

We did it! You now understand how to wrap your baby. This does not make you an expert yet, but it’s a great start. Keep working on these carries, even the most advanced wearer still learns something new everyday.

Check out these other great resources as well:

Water Babywearing

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You know the one drawback to being an experienced mom? You get to facepalm yourself when you find a new product that could have made your life easier from the start. Babywearing allowed me to eat, go to the bathroom, and clean up around the house while keeping Jack happy. But I always had to wait until he was either asleep (and do the paranoid mom checking the monitor every 30 seconds) or wait until Michael got home. And sometimes things got so busy I forgot to shower (more like I fell asleep before I could even think of it), that it could be days before I got the chance.  Jack loved baths with me, but sometimes you need a good standing scrub to feel clean. Sometimes Michael would hold him in the shower, but it’s hard to shower and hold a baby (they get heavy after awhile!).

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Hard to thread, slid down easily, choked me, and only instructions were for front facing.

A few months later I bought a water ring sling to use at my sister-in-law’s house. It got the job done but was not comfy at all. I used in the shower when I needed to (like when I remembered it’s been 3 days since I had a good shower), but never really loved it. It made Jack happy, so I decided to hold on to it. But I knew I was not going to use it with another baby. It would be back to dreaming of showers.

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Fresh out of the box.

Then Lorene from Frogmama let me test out Wrapsody WrapDuo and everything changed. The night it arrived, Jack and I took tested it in the shower. It was a hit!

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The most fun shower ever!

We tried a Front Wrap Cross Carry, one of Jack’s favorite carries. He was so happy! All secure and tight—I could never get that stupid ring sling tight so he was never this secure before. It was easy to nurse in to (because toddler logic says a shower is a great time to nurse….).

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Happy husband to wear his son, grumpy baby ready for a nap.

A few days later I let Michael try it out at the local splash pad. Jack was grump and didn’t want to get wet. But Michael liked the wrap a lot.  He liked that I could pre-tie it on him, pop Jack in and out as needed. He said it would have been nice to have used when Jack was a newborn in the shower (that’s when I facepalmed myself).

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Jack is shocked at how supportive it is at the pool!

Then we tried it out at the pool and it was another big hit! Sadly, I forgot to check the open swim times and we only got to swim for a half an hour. But it was a savior in the showers afterward. Jack was furious we got out of the pool so early. I kept him in the wrap and rinsed us off quick and ran to the car with no fuss. It was very comfortable in a wet Robin’s Hip Carry while we got the chance though.

Pool time in FCC!
Pool time in FCC!

Lastly, we had a playdate with Myste, another Brand Ambassador, at a pool with a splash pad. It was a little chilly when we arrived but Jack wanted to check out the splash pad still. He stayed warm enough in the wrap close so my body that he was happy to play. Later we went into the pool, and Jack was still just as happy. This time we did a Front Cross Carry so I could pop him in and out as needed. And it was once again a life saver in the showers. Jack was upset playtime was over, but we got right into a warm shower and he calmed down.

Here are my final thoughts on the WrapDuo…

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Not toddler worthy when dry unfortunately.

Cons:

  • The wrap is only suitable for front and hip carries since it is a stretchy wrap. This is a good thing because it not safe to have your baby in water and not be able to see them their head level in the water. Since this is a wet/dry wrap, it kind sucks you can’t use dry on the back. It would have been a lot easier to carry my bag and the wet towels to the car after the pool with him on my back.
  • It’s not toddler worthy out the water. The dry weight limit is 20 pounds, which means Jack at 22 pounds was technically too heavy. So when I was wrapping him before the we got in the shower first time, it was really hard to get him tight enough without popping his heat. And Michael said he felt like Jack could have just leaned back and fell out when he was walking to splash pad. I am sure this would not been an issue at all with a baby under the weight limit.
  • They take a while to dry. You know how your swimsuit can still be wet after hanging in the shower hours later? The wrap is made of similar material, so it also can be awhile before it it totally dry. Not a big deal, but it is more wet thing you have to shove back into your bag.
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Even wet, it is small enough to fit in a small bag.

Pros:

  • It is easy to put on and take off. It’s light weight, glides nicely when tightening, but still makes a nice secure knot. No complicated rings to thread or buckles to snap. As long as you know the basics of wrapping, than you are set! And when Jack wanted out to play on the steps of the pool, I just pulled him right out with no fuss. Plus you can do all your favorite front and hip carries, so it is very versatile.
  • It is toddler worthy in the water. The wet weight limit is 30 pounds, which covers most kids well into toddlerhood. I never had issues tightening and securing Jack when the wrap was wet. It felt like any other good quality wrap. It did not dig or hurt in any way either.
  • Easy to store. It is very light weight and folds up small even when wet. It didn’t hog up space in the diaper bag or feel like I was carrying any extra weight.  Nothing is worse than your diaper bag weighing more than your baby.

Overall, the WrapDuo is a great wrap. Like I said, I am facepalming myself for not knowing about it when Jack was still a clingy baby who never me set him down. I could have at least been nursing him for 30 minutes straight while I took a warm shower!

Thanks Frogmama for letting us testing it out! I so need one when I have another baby.

Love In Motion: Confidence From Babywearing

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You probably have seen on Instagram and Facebook page that I am a Brand Ambassador for Wrapsody Baby. I wanted to share how this came about and how babywearing changed my life.

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This mom is tired, overwhelmed and exhausted. But thankful for her wrap!

When my son was born, I thought I knew what kind of mom I was going to be. Then reality set in. I was tired and very overwhelmed. Jack wanted to be held ALL THE TIME. I can remember vividly one night crying to my husband that I was a terrible mother because I couldn’t make my son happy. He reassured me that was not true, he’s just being a newborn. I found babywearing by chance (check it out my Babywearing Journey post) and everything changed.

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Compare this to the picture above. I look like a goddess and felt so strong. Photo credit: Mike Skelly (my dad!)

It also made me feel pretty. I lost my baby weight pretty easily, but my body was still different. Some of my old clothes didn’t fit the same. And my whole wardrobe had to be easy to nurse it. Some days this meant sweat pants and tank top—not the most attractive outfit. But once I started wearing all these gorgeous carriers with bright patterns and colors, I felt pretty good again. It was like a walking advertisement that said “Look at me! I am a mom, there is spit up on my shirt, but I am still beautiful.”

Babywearing also helped me find new social circles. I did not have too many friends in California. And the ones I did have, were not parents so it became hard to relate to them. I joined Babyweaing International to get help with wrapping and ended up meeting other awesome moms as well. Then I started talking about babywearing with my family and friends. I got so many questions that I started talking about it on this blog and on my personal Facebook. This also spread onto my Instagram and people all over the world began to comment.

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The first time we ever tried a Wrapsody at a BWI meeting. This is a Breeze Iris, I loved how light it was!

Then one day when I was just surfing Instagram I saw something interesting. Wrapsody was accepting applications for Brand Ambassadors. I figured why not? I had played with a Breeze at BWI meeting and liked it. It would be fun to work with a wrap company and learn new things.

I had to order Haumea. It reminds me of laying on the beach in Hawaii.
I had to order Haumea. It reminds me of laying on the beach in Hawaii. Photo credit: Mike Skelly (my dad!)

Then I realized I didn’t know too much about the company or the wraps. I ordered my own Breeze directly from Wrapsody and bought a Stretch-Hybrid off the Wrapsody Love Facebook group. Jack is a big boy so I was worried they might not be supportive enough. I was wrong! Both wraps are totally toddler-worthy. And they will be great for my next baby because both are soft and supportive enough for a newborn as well. They come in so many colorways, too. There is truly something for everyone (there is even a Doctor Who wrap!).

Chronos, for all my fellow Whovians!
Chronos, for all my fellow Whovians! Photo credit: Mike Skelly (my dad!)

Then I did some research on the company itself and fell madly in love. It was founded by Kristi, a mom who realized she needed a job where she could stay home with her kids and do something she loves (like me!). She loved babywearing, but could not afford carriers for $100+, so she started to make her own. Years later that morphed into a international company with multiple wraps collections. The wraps are inexpensive, quality, ethically made, and vegan! Wrapsody is still a small company today, it is just Kristi and her business partner Colleen. This is a match made in heaven for me. Their motto is “Babywearing is Love In Motion”, and that is exactly what babywearing is to me. I get to carry my son close while we explore, and I get to actively spread the love to other parents.

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I never imagined I would doing tutorials on how to babywear!

Then last week I had strange moment, the kind when your realize your dreams are coming true and can’t believe it. I came up with the idea of Wrapsody Weekly Wrap Challenge. A new carry each for 20 weeks, to help people work on their wrapping skills. I did one through BWI of the Bay Area and it helped me understand the fundamentals of wrapping. Last week Kristi posted my tutorial video for a Front Double Hammock on the Wrapsody Facebook page and I was speechless. I never imagined this is where my life would be 2 years ago. Back in July 2013, I was bawling my eyes out of fear when I found out I was pregnant. I had no idea where my life was going and how I was going to handle a baby. July 2014, I was still a confused new mom trying to figure out her place in life. And now, July 2015, I am confident mom who has plans and goals for the future. I am starting a local babywearing group in my hometown, applying to be a Volunteer Babywearing Educator with BWI of Portland, and even looking into becoming a Certified Babywearing Educator. Babywearing has opened so many doors for our family, and I am truly thankful. Thankful for the bond it created for my family. Thankful for the career options it’s providing. Thankful to Wrapsody for helping my dreams become a reality. And most of all, I am thankful for the confidence babywearing gave to me.

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Love and confidence in motion. How gorgeous is Chosen? Photo Credit: Mike Skelly (my dad!)

***This is not a sponsored blog post. These are my own, independent thoughts. Wrapsody or any other entity did not pay me to these make any statements.

Carrier Types

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There are countless way to carry your baby. I could dedicate an entire blog just to the subject of babywearing over the ages and in different cultures. But who has time for all that?  Since I get asked about babywearing and carriers a lot, I thought I would make a simple post on the most common types of carriers and provide some resources on them. Not every type of carrier is right for everyone. I LOVE wraps, but maybe you will hate how long they can to learn. So a ring sling may be your jam. Or maybe you want to skip all that fabric because it makes you hot, and go straight for a SSC. So check out the common options and think about what would work for you….

Soft Structured Carriers

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Standard Tula Prisms.

Soft Structure Carriers:  Think baby backpack. Most are pretty easy to use—just a few snaps and buckles. Most are pretty easy to put on alone and most an be shared between wearers easily. Most can do front, hip, and back carries.  Also, most are very economic and can be worn for a long time. Note I said most….not all SSC are created equal. If you buy a $35 off eBay or at Walmart, it probably won’t be that comfortable for you or the baby. Also watch on for cheap, poorly made ones from China, they can actually break and hurt your baby. But a good SSC is amazing and pay for itself overtime. And just because you hated one brand, don’t give up!

Loved this Action Baby we borrowed.
Loved this Action Baby we borrowed.

Everyone is different and there are so many brands nowadays that odds are you can find the perfect on for your needs. Common brands are Ergo, Tula, and Beco. I personally love Action Baby, but we own a Tula since that’s my husband’s favorite.

Woven Wraps

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Woven Wraps: A long piece of woven fabric that you use to secure your baby onto you. Can easily be shared between wearers, great for nursing, and can be tied in many different ways to suit your needs. Can be used for front, hip, and back carries. When tied properly, very ergonomic and comfy. However, there is a huge learning curve. It’s takes time and patience to learn how to wrap. But once you get it, it’s magic!  Once you get a carry down, it is very easy to do alone (even back carries!). Then there is the whole addiction issue….you might become a total wrap junkie and own more than you can count. There are so many brands, sizes, patterns, materials, weaves, and so on. You find one you love and suddenly want to try another. Then another. And another. Soon you’ve spent a small fortune!

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My dream wrap, Kokadi Kurma. It will be buried with me!
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My first and true love, Girasol Tahoe.

It doesn’t have to be this way though, I do know responsible people who only own one or two wraps. But it’s a fun world to get into if you can afford it. Common brands are Diddymos, Girasol, and Lenny Lamb (honestly this list could go on and on). I am a wrap girl, my two personal favorites wraps are my Girasol Tahoe and my Kokadi Kurma (both size 4).

Bei Dai/Meh Dai

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BabyHawk Copper Glow on Olive

Bei Dai/Meh Dai: An Asian-style carrier, sort of a mix between a SSC and wrap. Your baby sits in a like SSC, but you tie/wrap the straps like a wrap. Easy to use and much easier to learn than wrapping. Can be used for front, hip, and back carries. You can do some of fancier finishes like a wrap, but have the simplicity of SSC while putting your baby in. However, since the straps do not adjust like a SSC, it can be harder to share between wearers. And they can be harder to fit as your baby grows and might be too big for a newborn.  And they come in as much variety as a wraps.

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Fidella Fly Meh Dai Outer Space Blue, it’s heaven.

You can even convert a wrap into one. Common brands are Infantino Sash, and BabyHawk. I love Meh Dais for hiking, especially my Fidella Fly Meh Dai. The body panel adjusts so it can fit from newborn to toddler. And it’s sooooo cushy and soft.

Stretchy Wraps

Stretchy Wraps: A wrap made from stretchy jersey-knit fabric that you use to tie your baby onto you. Similar to a woven wrap, but with one big difference—they are NOT suitable for back carries. They should only be used for front and hip carries. Can be easily shared between wearers and very easy to put on alone. A much smaller learning curve than a woven wrap because you can pre-tie the wrap on then insert the baby. Perfect for newborns, so snuggly! And most can support a baby into toddlerhood, but it will probably be uncomfortable. The stretch makes it harder for heavier babies to stay high and the straps might dig into you.  But they are a great way to start babywearing and see if you like wrapping. And they tend to be cheaper than woven wraps. Common brands are Boba and Moby. My first baby carrier was a Boba and I loved it. So snuggly and saved my sanity with a newborn.

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Boba Wrap in Orange, the first time I ever wrapped Jack up at one week old!

*There is an exceptions to the back carry rule. A few brands make hybrid stretchy wraps ones that can be used for back carries, such as the Wrapsody Hybrid wrap .

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Back carry in our Hybrid Stretch!

With a Hybrid, you can pretty much do everything you can with a stretchy wrap (like the snuggly Pocket Wrap Cross Carry) and most of the stuff you can do with a woven (like the supportive Double Hammock). 

Ring Slings

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Lenny Lamb Heavenly Lace Large Ring Sling

Ring Slings: A piece of woven fabric with two rings attached to one end that you use to make a sling for your baby. Can be used for front, hip, and back carries. They are fairly easy to share between wearers, but since they are sized, they may not share well between two people with a big difference in size. For example, a petite wife will probably buy a small and her body-builder husband probably would want a large. They come in many colors, patterns, weaves and fabrics like woven wraps so the possibilities are endless. When picking one, watch for the quality and strength of the rings. Cheap rings run the risk of breaking and dropping your baby to the ground. Ring slings are easy to nurse in and are wonderful for newborns. Also very easy to put on alone and perfect for quick ups. There is a much smaller learning curve than woven wraps—pretty much learn how to thread the sling, place your baby correctly, and tighten. But it can get uncomfortable with a larger baby or toddler for long periods in a front or hip carry, since the weight is distributed over one side of your body. And back carries are a a bit tricky to learn, similar to woven wraps.

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Sigh, the oh so beautiful Natibaby Nebula Ring Sling. I miss it.

Common brands are Maya, Sakura Bloom, and most wrap brands make them as well. To be honest, I am not that big a ring sling fan. My favorite was my Natibaby Nebula, it was so beautiful. But like I said, not all carriers are for everyone. Ring slings and I just don’t get along well, so I sold it.

Here are some wonderful links and resources for some experts:

This is a wonderful chart Wrapsody made comparing different types of carriers. Yes, it’s a biased towards their product (and it honestly is a darn good wrap).  And it goes into more detail on carrier types than I do. But it shows you all the potential options in a carrier.

Wrap You In Love is a totally awesome babywearing Consultant in Germany. Her website is a wealth of knowledge. She explains different types of carriers here in great detail. And here she lists pretty much every brand of carrier I’ve ever heard.

Babywearing 102 is another wealth of knowledge. It started as a Tumblr and now is mainly a Facebook page. Both are a great resource. This babywearing glossary was SO helpful when I started started out.

And lastly, the ever wonderful Babywearing International. I recommend you find your local chapter and attend a meeting. You can borrow carriers until you find the right one for you and get advice on how to use them properly. The website is very helpful if you cannot attend a meeting.

TICKS_Sling_Safety

And regardless of the type of carrier you use, please remember to follow proper babywearing procedures at all times! This nifty poster can help you remember.

And just for fun, here is montage of all these carriers!

Our Babywearing Journey So Far

Hello, my name is Samantha and I am addicted to babywearing. I don’t even know how it ended up like this! Searching swap sites all night long looking for my dream wrap, youtubing videos for new carriers to try, and debating in my head all day about Tula vs. Ergo! All this started with not wanting to be one of those annoying moms with a giant stroller taking up half the sidewalk. I had no idea the world of babywearing would be so engulfing!

Before I got into babywearing, I had seen of Baby Bjorns and other narrow base carriers. I heard they are a pain to get on and can hurt your back after a while. So, I didn’t think too much of them. Then one day on Pinterest I saw a pin about how babywearing places your baby’s spine and legs in a good position. I did more research and decided to get a carrier for Jack.

3 days old.I hated the carrier, but loved wearing him.

I bought an Infantino Swift Carrier and tried it the first day Jack came home from the hospital. I had no idea what I was doing! We went for a walk around the block and Jack was out like a light. I didn’t know all the rules of babywearing yet, but I could tell it wasn’t right for us. He wasn’t high enough, I didn’t like his leg position, and it hurt my back. Plus it was INSANELY hard to put on and off by myself (Michael and my dad had to help me). The only plus was he liked being so close to me and he went to sleep easily.

So much fabric!

So, I looked up other carriers and stretchy wraps came up right away for newborns. I settled on a Boba Wrap (mainly because of the price). Thanks to Amazon Prime, it came the next day! I was so overwhelmed by the amount of fabric at first. I didn’t think I could get the wrap right.

It was love at first wrap.

However, once I just went for it and got more practice, I really liked it. Jack also didn’t like it at first, but, that was my fault. It took me a bit to get the “froggy” leg position right. Once I got it right, he loved it. We went for daily walks to help me recover from childbirth while he calmly slept on my chest.

He kept turning his head out of the sun every walk.

The Boba wrap gets pretty hot. It’s thick fabric that wraps around you and the baby three times. It gets pretty hot in San Jose in the summer. Just a few minutes in the sun, even in the shade, Jack and I get pretty sweaty. It was a great introduction to wrapping, but I needed something else.

So I did some research on babywearing in the summer and discovered that woven wraps are a lot lighter. I found BabyWearing International Bay Area website and saw my local meeting was the next day! One of the leaders let me try her woven wrap and I instantly fell in love! It was light and cool. Also less stretchy so Jack felt very secure against me. And it was so beautiful! My babywearing friend phrased it best, ” We show our children beautiful arts, why not wrap them in it?”

My first love. This will be my legacy wrap.

I ordered a wrap that night. I was amazed by all the beautiful colors and patterns they come in! I spent hours trying to decided what to get. I finally settled on a Girasol Tahoe Exclusive from Woven Wraps. I loved the idea of wrapping my son in the colors of a something so naturally beautiful.

Tahoe wrap at Lake Tahoe!

I didn’t know about sizing so I got a 4. Later I found out most people get a size 6 or bigger so they have extra fabric to work with as they learn. But I made it work.

Our first time wrapping on our own. FWCC.

It took me a few tries (Jack got fussy so I had to switch to a stuffed animal). But once I got it, it became pretty easy. We were so much cooler on our walks. And I loved that he was safe, secure—and I was hands free! I could pick a flower or open the front door without any struggles. I started to try other carries too. We began with a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC), the carry I learned at BWI. It is very easy to do, it just takes some patience.

Took me a bit to get the shoulder flip on a kangaroo carry.

Moved on to a Kangaroo Carry. It’s so snuggly, it’s my favorite for after doctor’s visits.

Rebozo hip carry to pick pumpkins.

Then came the hip carries: Rebozo, Poppin’s and a Robin’s. I love hip carries for when we go to museums or parks when Jack wants to look around, but still be snuggled.

Back Wrap Cross Carry is better with rainbows!

Then I bought another wrap, a longer wrap this time I could do more carries. A Storchwiege Inka. I loved the rainbow colors!  I have to admit, it was way easier to do a FWCC with a longer wrap.  But, I think I learned how to tighten carries better starting out with the shorter wrap.

“I don’t know why you keep throwing me
on your back, but it’s sure if fun!”

After a few months I attempted back carries and it did not go well. I could not get a good seat! I worked on it everyday for a month! Jack was a good sport, but I was getting so frustrated.

First time he was on my back, just scooted the hip rebozo back.

I saw a Youtube video on you can scoot a hip rebozo to your back if you need your baby out of the way for a bit, and that worked well. But, it wasn’t comfortable for long term wearing for me.

My first pre-tied Half Jordan’s Back Carry, I was SO happy.

So, I reached out for help on BWI of the Bay Area’s facebook group. They all told me to come to the meeting first of all, someone will gladly help me in person. But in the meantime, I could try a pre-tied back carry. It is essentially the same as scooting the rebozo carry to your back,  but adding more passes for support. I got it instantly and was so happy. I cleaned my kitchen with my baby on my back that day right away.

I was SO excited to have a good ruck, I took this picture
leaving the meeting right in the middle of Sport Basement!

I continued to do this carry for few more weeks until I got comfortable with doing the passes  and such over my back. But, I still couldn’t make a seat on my back so I still went to the meeting. A leader quickly saw that I just needed to reach inside his legs when I pulled the fabric, not on the outside. Once I did that I did my very first Ruck on my own instantly!

Took this about a week ago, he was two seconds
from a meltdown and I rucked him up quickly.

The next month or so I continued to mainly do the pre-tied carry, but practiced putting him on my back normally occasionally. And as of last week I can just toss him easily whenever!

There was no room to wrap him in the busy parking
lot at the Social Security Office, so we did a pre-tie.

I still do the pre-tied when we are in a parking lot or a place without much room for convenience. But I do Rucks and Double Hammocks when I’m going to be wearing him for a long time.

Michael wearing Jack in a Double Hammock with the lovely DOTD wrap.

I’ve bought more wraps too. I have a gorgeous size 6 Lenny Lamb Day of The Dead wrap that I bought off  The Babywearing Swap on Facebook.  It’s so supportive and soft, I love it so much.

Rebozo in the Little Frog to comfort my sick baby.

And I have a Little Frog Pyrobe in size 3. I love this wrap for quick ups and to make a No Sew Ring Sling. It gets used almost everyday. It’s not quite as supportive as the Lenny Lamb, but it’s still a great wrap.

Poppin’s Hip carries will hurt my shoulder after
a while if I don’t have them tied very tight.

If you follow my food blog, you may recall I was in a car accident 3 years ago and have a permanent back injury as a result. A few carries aggravate it if I wear for long term, but overall it does not hurt my back at all. When tightened and wrapped properly, baby’s weight is evenly distributed and doesn’t not hurt.

Wrapping up for another babywearing adventure!

I can clean my house, go for hikes, go to the store, or calm a sick baby while being wrapped with beauty. You can wear into toddlerhood and even early childhood if you are both comfortable. And you can do tandem wearing when you have another baby!What’s not to love about babywearing? I’m excited to continue this beautiful journey as Jack grows. I will do more babywearing posts in the future. Can’t wait to share our continuing journey!

Life Without A Travel System

While I was pregnant, I did a post about Why I Don’t Want A Big Stroller. In a nutshell, I think they are annoying, rude to take out in crowded places, and I wanted to hold my baby. So how did it work out now that I have my baby? Did I call my mom crying over how stupid I was for not getting a travel system?

No, we still do not have one big travel system. And have no plans on getting one. We did receive a jogging stroller from Michael’s friends as a shower gift. We do use it, but it is not our main choice to take Jack out in public. I still think it’s rude to the big stroller out in most public places. They get in the way and take up so much room. We use it mainly for walks around the neighborhood and to non-crowded parks. It reclines pretty far back so he went in it for the first time at two weeks old. But he doesn’t like it that much. He will stay in it for about an hour then screams to held.

Shortly after I took this he woke up screaming, he’s not a big fan.

We also have a detachable car seat carrier we received secondhand. We put it in Michael’s car (the car we use the least) so both cars have a seat just in case. We do carry him around in it sometimes. But I want to add he doesn’t stay in there that long. It’s not like we are staying out to midnight. We go out for a couple hours and are back before his bedtime. It does not connect into our stroller, so it’s not convenient to carry him around in it. But it’s nice because he will sleep in it and we can give him a bottle easily if he’s hungry. It honestly saves my sanity at the grocery store. My hands are free and the movement of the cart usually lulls him to sleep.

He wasn’t too sure about that basil…

I need to stress it is not recommend to use a secondhand car seat, a new one is always preferred. However, if you are going with a used one, there are a few rules. First of all, make sure it is not passed it’s expiration date (ours has a year left so after Jack out grows it we will throw it away). Make sure you know the person giving it to you (ours came from a nice family who our friend nannies for). Only accept it if you know for sure it has not been in an accident (ours has not). And lastly sanitize the fabric but do not wash it. Car seat fabric had a fire retardant on it that can be washed off.

The main form of transportation for Jack is babywearing. He loves being worn! It is a sure fire way to calm him and get him to sleep when he is fussy. We still have the Infantino Swift Carrier I mentioned in my other post. Michael uses that one on occasion. I used when he was first born. It’s nice but, I wanted something more snuggly so I ordered a Boba Wrap. I fell in love with babywearing the first time I put Jack in it. He’s all snuggled and secure, but my hands are free!

Sleeping while we went out to lunch

But the Boba gets hot, so after some research and a meeting with the local BabyWearing International group, I also ordered a woven wrap. Jack loves this wrap too. We stay cooler because it’s made of cotton. I use this wrap almost everyday for walks now. I think Jack likes this one a bit more because he can sit a bit more upright and look around more. Though he sleep in either one like a champ. Both were great investments, absolutely worth the money.

Checking out the neighborhood on our walk.

So how is life without a big travel system? Great! I am not that rude mother knocking people over with her oversize stroller in a crowd. Nor am that friend who shows up for a late dinner and plops the car seat on the table. Nor am I the parent who never holds their child and leaves them in the car seat all day. I will confess one thing though—it would be easier to have a travel system for when Jack falls asleep in the car and I don’t want to wake him when I pick him up to put in the wrap. But overall, it’s not that big if a deal since he loves sleeping in his wrap.

Why I Don’t Want a Big Stroller

source

My shower invitations went out recently (thanks Kamille!).  Right away some of my close friends and family who want to buy the more expensive items asked why I didn’t have a travel system or a car seat combo stroller. I politely told them we already have a umbrella stroller for when he can hold himself up, and until then we are just going to carry him. Then they tried to explain how much easier it will be to take him places and let him sleep. I politely tell them again we do not want one, but thank you for your concern. They have been nice and understood, but still think we should get one.

These gigantic things. source

I am not some masochist who wants her torture herself by carrying around a baby until my arms are totally dead. I have two logical reasons for not wanting a travel system stroller.

Yes they do. source

First of all, they are public  nuisance . Have you ever been in a public place, like a mall or just walking down the street, and suddenly been plowed over by some lady with a double-wide stroller? And of course you can’t say anything because you know she is struggling to keep it together under the stress of taking a screaming baby out in public. But you give her a little glare as she continues to plow down the crowd as she makes her way through. Oh look, she just took out an old lady with a walker, who then fell on a 5-year-old. Or even at a restaurant–you are trying to simply walk to the bathroom and back, but are blockaded by gigantic strollers. And if you accidentally bump one while trying to navigate through, the parents angrily yell at you for disturbing their baby. I know parenting is hard and it’s nice to have your arms free to do stuff, but pushing a giant stroller around in public is rude. In fact, I think it’s very rude. There is a difference between the world becoming more kid-friendly (which I love) and parents just being selfish. Your baby does not need the giant stroller packed full of stuff. You don’t need it either—you just want it. You want to have everything stowed away for your convenience. The world should not revolve around you just because you had a baby. Have some consideration for others. I refuse to be this rude of a person ever, so this is my number one reason for not wanting a travel system stroller. They are just too big and impractical. Also, I have more compassion for the women who has a screaming baby in public if she hasn’t run me over with her stupid stroller. In fact, I would probably let her cut in line or something when it looks like she is about to burst into tears with her baby.

My senitments exactly. source
And I know someone is going to say, “But I got invited out to a friend’s birthday dinner at this great restaurant. If I don’t take the big stroller where she can sleep, I don’t get to go!” I know it sucks, but you are a parent now. Either hire a sitter for the night or tell your friend sorry, but you can’t go because your baby needs to sleep in her own bed. You have a greater responsibility to your child’s healthy and safety than to having dinner with your friend.
*I would just like to note, if you have multiples, a bigger stroller may be necessary. I understand and got no problem with that. But it doesn’t need to be GIGANTIC and you don’t need to take into a crowded place.

Secondly, it’s not good for your baby it be laying down all the time. I was browsing on Pinterest one day and came across an article with a Youtube Video about why/how you should carry your baby. Sadly, I cannot find that original Pin :-/ So I will link some similar ones below.  But essentially, a newborn’s spine is C-shaped. It’s weak and not very flexible. Your baby has been squished up inside you for nine months. Laying your baby flat on it’s back in a carseat for an extended period of time is bad. Their muscles are not strong enough to be uncurled and stretched out yet. This places too much stress on their delicate spine. As the baby grows, their muscles eventually get stronger. Then they can support their own heads and their spines to begin to develop a slight curve. And only when they learn to walk do they have the full standard spinal curvature. Until then, laying your baby down with it’s legs and spine spread flat often puts too much stress on the muscles and spine. It will interfere with the natural unraveling and strengthening of the spine.
Carrying either in your arms or in a sling properly does not cause such spinal stress. Newborns and older infants should be carried facing towards you so they are not leaning backwards (stretching out the spine) for support. The carrier should support the entire length of the back—shoulders down the back of the knees. They should be snug but not pinned in place. Their legs should be allowed to curl naturally and freely, to prevent hip displacement. Check the height and weight limits of your sling, and make sure your baby isn’t too big for it, which can cause spine issues as well.

Why wouldn’t you want to snuggle your baby? source

See, there is logic to not wanting a travel system stroller, both a societal issue and development concerns. These reasons are not based purely on research though, I have some practical experience too. I babysat for different families that have used travel systems, slings, or both. I found the big stroller annoying to luge around. And it bothered me that the baby was isolated down and away from me. I liked most of the slings (one family had a weird homemade one that hurt my shoulder). I liked the baby being close against me so I could make sure they were okay. My hands were free and my movements were not impeded that much at all.

Our stroller. Simple, light weight, and folds easily. source

And when he does gets too big or it’s impractical to take him in the sling, we did get an umbrella stroller. He can’t go in it until he can support himself upright though. It’s small enough that if we do need to take it in a crowded place, we won’t take out any old ladies. It’s collapsible so if we need to eat in a crowded restaurant, we can fold it up and tuck it out of the way. And it’s probably not comfortable for him to sleep at night, but that’s not a problem. He will not be staying out late just because we want to. I firmly believe that babies need a set bedtime routine in their regular bed. So if want to go out out, we will hire a sitter. Or sadly we might not be able to go out. That is something you have to accept as a parent.

Also, I actually want to hold my baby. I spent all this time and effort making him, I want to see his cute little face and rock him in my arms! And who knows, maybe after a month I will be calling my mom crying and saying I was stupid for not wanting travel system.

More info on proper baby carrying:
Strollers, Baby Carriers, and Infant Stress, Boba
How to Practice Safe Babywearing, Imperfect Homemaker
Benefits of Babywearing, Babywearing International