Double Hammock Series: Introduction

The infamous Double Hammock. That ever so versatile woven wrap back carry. Mastering it is a sure fire signal that you are truly wrapper.

I spent most of 2016 getting through a difficult pregnancy and did not get to wear as much as I wanted.During this time, I did notice an interesting tread in the wrapping community though. Every week there seemed to be a new “finish” or Double Hammock Variation. So many in fact I was struggling to keep up. And honestly, this variation experimentation is continuing to this day. At first was I overwhelmed and mad I couldn’t try them all right away. But I slowly began to realize this was growth in our community. Wrappers of all skill levels are taking charge of their knowledge. Expressing themselves as a wearer. And trying new things to grow their confidence. Now I embrace every new variation I see as a piece of the World’s babywearing journey.

What the heck is the magical carry that is uniting us all? In a nut shell, it is a multiple pass carry that offers great support for most people and babies. Two opposing sling passes and bunched passes to support’s baby whole torso equally and lock the seat in place.

Soul Slings

But it’s that magical torso pass that distributes baby’s weight across your WHOLE upper body evening that brings the wrapping magic. It brings the weight off your shoulders while also sitting baby lower on your back so baby’s weight stays centralized on your torso.

Bijou Wear

As long it is tightened properly, that is. If that torso pass is too loose, be prepared for major tugging on your shoulders and killer back pain. This is common issue for beginners, and sadly turns them away from this amazing back carry.

Firespiral

This torso pass is the key to all the amazing variation for the Double  Hammock. And there are numerous. Plus, new ones are being made-up all the time!

The series is a journey into the Double Hammock. My attempt to catalog all the known variations and continue to add as new ones appear.

Double Hammock Series: The Basics 

DH

Double Hammock Series: Tied Under Bum

tubheader

Double Hammock Series: Tied At Shoulder

dsadsf

Double Hammock Series: Tied at Shoulder Slip Knot

sk

Candy Cane Chest Belt

 

 

 

 

 

Buleria Finish

Buleria

 

Photo Credit: Alacrity Photography

Tandem Two Wraps: Front Cross Carry and Ruck with a Waist Belt

A fun tandem carry to try with two longer wraps.

Start with a front wrap cross carry in the front for the child that will want to go up and down as needed. In my case, this was my 3-year-old.

On the back, a Ruck with the tails brought back over baby’s legs and tied under bum for an added waist belt. This uses up the extra tail and gives a little more support for your back.

Now go off on your adventure and pop your walker in and out as needed!

 

 

Short Front Wrap Torso Carry

Want the support of front wrap cross carry but the comfort of a torso carry? Well, you can totally have both!

Try a Front Wrap Torso Carry, and with a short wrap tied under bum! Starts like a nice supportive Front Wrap Cross Carry, but you take the wrap under your arms for no shoulder straps.

Best of both worlds!

I am a using a base -1 for this carry.

 

Indestructible Back Carry 

The very first day I put Jack in a carrier at 3-days-old, he screamed while I got him secured. Seat popping, leaning, and wiggling—all the things that make wearing frustrating. But once I finished, he was happy and never wanted to be taken out.

And this trend continues as a toddler. Screams to be picked up, cries as I wrap him, but has a meltdown if I even suggestion taking him down. He’s very opinionated and strong. He’s a challenge to wrap (and parent). But I love his spirit, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

My husband is half Fijian-Indian, Avinash is his Indian name and was beaming with pride to share the name with his son. Avinash means “Indestructible”, which is the perfect name for Jack. My indestructible boundless ball of energy. I needed a carry that was just as indestructible as him. So I thought out what I wanted/like in other carries.

Major seat popper.
Major seat popper.

 

I usually gravitate towards rucks because they are quick and you can do a variety of fun finishes. But he such a seat popper, I end up redoing them—which is a pain on on hiking trails. But I like how easy it is to get knee-to-knee support. This makes it harder for to break free.

1524792_1325595480800035_596261109188890733_n
The day I fell in love with Wiggleproof passes. He didn’t pop his seat.

Legs passes solve the seat popping problem, which is why I fell in love with the Wiggleproof Back Carry. But doesn’t stop the leaning problem.

img_6101
The lean is unreal. Even a buckle carrier.

So a Half Jordan’s Back with a tight horizontal pass is another carry that I love. But it’s not comfy long term for me (I have a permanent back injury).

 

Love how a good Shepard's puts no pressure on my back.
Love how a good Shepard’s puts no pressure on my back.

I need more torso support to take the pressure off my back, which is I have a new found love for all chest passes and belts. But he can still wiggle out of them….so we are back up the top of the list.

To summarize, I need: knee-to-knee support, leg passes, a horizontal pass, a chest pass, and a fancy finish.

So after much trial and error, I came up with this. The Indestructible Back Carry for my Jack-Avinash. And it really works! He has to try VERY hard to get out of this carry. The day I finally got this, I started dancing around the room while he was trying to bust out, and it barely budged.

img_2641It starts with making a good ol’ deep ruck seat knee-to-knee seat. I am not normally a stickler for a deep seat, but this child needs one.

img_2601Next is chest pass like a Double Hammock, but do a Reinforced Pass instead of a Sling Pass.

 

img_2631Than Wiggleproof Pass with opposite tail.

img_2621Then pin that wiggleproof in place with a Poppin’s Pass and a Horizontal pass. Tie it off in front/chest.

img_2611An indestructible carry for my indestructible kid.

 

I am using a Soul Slings Flyaway Base +2.

Give it a try!

Forward Facing Outward In A Wrap

I already talked about Forward Facing Outward in a Wrap in my Newbornwearing: Best Seat post, :

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.

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.

Check out my tutorial on how to achieve a FFO carry with deep seat in the optimal position:

Can You Hike In It: Smitten Gertie Mesozoic

Before I review this wrap, I need to provide full disclosure. I met the owners of Smitten. They lived in the Bay Area the same time I did and I ran into at various local babywearing/mutual friend things. I am also currently a Brand Ambassador for this company. That being said, I would not be working with a company if I didn’t think the owners were good people with good business practices.

img_8782

I let Jack pick a new wrap this time, he’s been jealous that little brother has been doing all the babywearig lately. I showed him Smitten’s website and he instantly yelled, “DINOSAURS!”. I asked what color, he yelled, “BLUE!!”. Little did he know he picked the new color!

Manufacturer: Smitten With Wovens
Colorway: Gertie Mesozoic 
Color: Blue, Sky blue, ecru, and white.
Pattern Dinosaur Sketches  
Size: 7 (base +2 for me)
Materials: 100% cotton
Weave: Jacquard
Release date: October 2016

This wrap was design after Gertie the Dino, one of the first animated cartoons ever made. There a few other colors in the Gertie line, but this is the first multiple color wrap—going from blue to ecru gradient lengthwise. It’s very busy visually, but the dinosaurs are not lost in the pattern. I was really blown away by the shades of blue when I opened the package, very rich and calming. It got chucked into the wash right away so it could go on a fun adventure the next day.

14875827_10102787980132376_1989917445_o
Entrance Arch

Location: Evergreen Aviation Nature Trail  
Distance:  1.1 miles
Trail Type:  Paved concrete
Weather: Raining  
Trail Conditions: Wet and muddy

img_8895
Very well maintained trail

A few weeks ago we went to Evergreen Aviation and I noticed a little trail at the rear of the parking lot. First thought was, “I should bring Jack here on a day when he’s driving me crazy.” And that what I did! He was driving me crazy all week, so I called up my friend who lived near by and set-up a playdate for all our munchkins to run around.

img_8896
The woods have nice picnic benches spread throughout

The trail is paved and well-maintained. It’s sponsored and dedicated to the Boy Scouts. It’s essentially a short figure eight loop through a small woods. Nothing fancy, but a lovely little stroll for families. Great for walking toddlers (if you don’t mind them getting a bit muddy if they step off the trail).

img_8913
It was POURING when we arrived

We did 3 laps total in a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a Twist. Smittens are wider wraps, so it was a bit harder to make a a seat and tighten with so much fabric on a smaller baby. I did the twist so I didn’t put too much pressure on Bear’s little legs by going under them.

img_8889
See how the wrap is bunched/folded under his bottom?

I ended up having to fold the wrap at the bottom a bit before I made a seat to make it fit right. As for tightening, I really had to do small strand by small strand. Half inch sections instead of inch sections to get it tightened properly. Not a big deal overall though.

img_8888
Stayed tight the whole time

During the walk, I never had to adjust the wrap once I got it tightening properly. Bear was in it for 3 straight hours and it stayed very comfortable. Smittens tend to be smushy soft and cushiony, but this one has a tiny bit of grip to hold it in place as well. Even held up when we had to chase big brother around the playground.

img_8963
Kept him happy while I taught some babywearing

The next day we took Mesozoic out again in the same carry for babywearing playdate, and it was much easier to tighten after being broken in some. I bet this wrap will be very easy to tighten despite the smushy factor once broken in fully. And, considering there was notably better after one use, I bet it will be broken-in in no time.

img_9010
He was so happy to be in “his” new wrap. Look at the wide knee-to-knee support

That night I let Jack stay up later to watch a movie when Bear went to bed. As soon as I came back into the living room to start the movie, he walked to me holding Mesozoic with one tear coming down his cheek (kid you not, he has a flare for the dramatic). He said, “This was for me. Can I have an uppy now? Please?” I felt horrible and put him immediately up on my back in a Double Hammock. Pulled his arms in and snuggled up, and fell asleep 5 minutes into the movie. I decided to keep him up while I watched more of the movie, to keep him my baby for a little bit longer.

img_9009
Secure chest pass. And who doesn’t love dino boobs?

I was very comfortable, I had him sleeping on me for an hour with no pain or pressure points. The chest pass stayed tight and the whole time.

img_9030
Smushy soft support with a giant toddler

This was wrap was amazing for a toddler! Jack is a tall kid, the width was perfect to make a deep, knee-to-knee seat with his long legs. And it was even easier to tighten than in the morning. This wrap is seriously easy to break in.

img_9323
So much wrap for a little guy

I decided to give it a try one more time with Bear before I did this review since it was more broken in. I did a new carry that required a lot of tightening, a Front Double Hammock with a Twist.

img_9327
So happy all snuggled and secure

As I started to do the carry, I ran into the problem of it being so wide that I couldn’t get a good seat on Bear again. I had to fold the wrap down under his bottom again. It definitely tightened easier, but it was just still a lot of fabric for such a little guy. I decided to tie off with a twist again, because I worried it would put too much pressure on his legs again. He was asleep in minutes and I was super comfortable. It also pleats very nicely, making the shoulder flips easy to achieve and tighten.

img_9370 img_9371
The key features of this wrap are the width and subtle grip. The width makes it harder to work with on a smaller baby, but is AMAZING for toddlers. But regardless of child size, once you get the carry tightened, the wrap will stay in place. I credit this grip to the dinosaur patterns itself. Those little stitched dinos grip to each other like magic.
Can you hike in a Smitten Gertie Mesozoic? This a great carrier for a infant to toddler, especially on a cold rainy day in the Northwest! It is very soft for great overall comfort. It will stay very supportive even with a wiggly toddler. However, it is a bit wide for a newborn. You can get a good wrap job with a smaller baby if you take your time. Plus, your toddler might love being wrapped in dinosaurs!

 

Toddlerwearing: Best Seat

You finally made it to toddlerhood! They are (hopefully) sleeping through the night, feeding themselves, and saying good-bye to diapers. But this newfound independence may make wearing a challenge. Having to chase them into the carrier. Hair pulling or being smacked with random toys. Or seat popping in protest of leaving the park. A whole new set of challenges in wearing now.

img_4033
Toddler in arms, supported knee-to-knee under his bottom.
The basic safety rules of babywearing still apply. The carrier should mimic how you would hold your toddler in your arms. Still high and tight—low and loose would start killing your back after a short while. High and tight on your body helps distribute their weight more evenly across your whole torso. Low and loose puts all the strain on your lower back. You would never (willingly) hold your toddler like that, it just wouldn’t be comfortable for you. Your toddler’s should also be supported knee to knee, with the carrier coming at least up to their shoulder blades. This mimics the way you would probably hold them, forearm under the bottom and the other arm over their upper back to keep them tight to your body (to keep them from escaping).

14551098_733111410179582_283375935_o
Knee-to-Knee support, carrier supporting up to shoulders.
I’ve heard some wearers say that ring slings are not good for toddlers. The one shoulder carry can start to hurt your back as your child gets heavier, their weight isn’t evenly distributed. I argue that a one shoulder carry could hurt your back at any weight when wearing for long periods. Especially if you do not have the carrier adjusted properly. Personally, I don’t like ring slings for wearing for more than an hour continuously.I wore my newborn for a short hike the other day and my shoulder was hurting towards the end. It’s the design of the carrier, not the weight of the child.

14536828_733111440179579_1982084914_o
One shoulders can be very comfortable short-term when done properly.
I think ring slings (I am using a Wrapsody Jareth) are great carriers for toddlers actually. Prep the carry on your body so you all ready to put them up when needed. If you can catch them, simply open the bottom rail and slide the carrier over their head to get them in the carrier quickly (I call this the trap and secure). You can let them out similarly, loosen the bottom rail and let them gently slide out (useful for random crying fits that magically stops when they see a cookie).  On your hip, they can see forward to appease their curiosity, without totally limiting your range of movement. But they can still tuck their head in for that elusive nap. Ring slings are a simple choice for toddlers. Pull the sling up over their back, then tighten and go! No buckles to reach for or passes to spread.

14571999_733111423512914_1032024640_oThe key to a successful ring sling with a toddler is good seat. Get a decent amount of fabric between your bodies, this makes it harder for them to pop the seat when they wiggle. Getting the fabric knee to knee will keep your toddler in a spread-squat position, keeping both your and them comfortable.

14572103_733111506846239_1652879603_o
High, tight and secure. Rucks are simply and supportive for toddlers.
I’ve also heard wearers say that a Ruck is a terrible back carry for toddler (I am using a Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid Nammy O/S). The single layer pass isn’t supportive enough for all the toddler wiggles and the seat can easily be popped as they bounce around. I argue that any carry, multilayered or not, can be popped if your kiddo tries hard enough.

14585723_733111540179569_1336841352_o
Even though he is a major seat popper, this properly secured seat stayed in place.
A ruck is very supportive at any weight if you get a nice deep seat.  It mimics the way you might hold your toddler on your back, both arms under their bottom. Most toddlers have great torso control and don’t need an arm to hold them upright, just a place to sit their bottoms and secure their legs.

1427429433111433512913_103788445_o
Knee-to-knee with the bunch passes pinning it in place. Close to unpoppable.
The key to a good Ruck is a supportive seat. There has been some discussion about whether a seat needs to be deep or just knee-to-knee. My personal experience is that both matter. A good amount of fabric between you and the wigglemonster will make it harder to keep the seat from popping. And knee-to-knee support will more evenly distribute your toddler weight across your body, making it more comfortable for you.

14550929_733111436846246_192839500_oEnjoy those toddler wrap snuggles while you can! They may act all big, but they are till your babies who need you once and awhile!

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.

img_7028
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?

14551048_732795793544477_1097768858_o
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.

14585701_732795783544478_172243819_o
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.

wrap83
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.

wrap79
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.

14571873_732795853544471_1738927907_o
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.

compare
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.

14536769_732795820211141_1789233063_o
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.

wrap77

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