Pregnancy Babywearing: Pirate Carry with a Candy Cane Chest Belt

Another carry for my Pregnancy Babywearing Series. A Pirate Carry with a Candy Cane Chest Belt.  This is formerly called a RRRR (Reinforced Rear Rebozo Ruck). I encourage you to take the time to learn about the movement to take back the word Rebozo in the babywearing community. This wonderful graphic explains it all:

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I love this carry for hiking in general, especially while pregnant. It’s done with a shorter wrap (base -3), so less layers. You stay cooler and more comfortable.  No waist belt, so no bump pressure. And the Candy Cane Chest Belt looks fancy, and doesn’t put pressure on your sensitive breasts. The added leg pass also keeps seat-popping toddlers in place!

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.

 

 

Mei Tei Back Carry Knotless Sternum Strap

I love wrap conversion mei teis. I really need to do more posts about them. They are especially a great option for hiking while pregnant in your third trimester. They are great to contain a wiggly toddler quickly without much pressure on your bump.

A knotless finish is great way to keep pressure off your bump, and it can make you feel pretty! I like to spread the straps out wide over my toddler’s bottom for more support. Also, my breast are pretty sensitive right now, so I like chose a knotless finish that does not cover them.

Check out the video to see how it’s done!

Can You Hike In It? Soul Tai

I am a huge fan of wrap conversion mei teis. I really don’t know why I don’t use them more or talk about them more. Seat is already made and you get to do a lot of the fun wrap finishes. Easy to adapt from newborn to preschool as well. And they come is all the fun patterns that wraps do. What’s not to love? I was so excited to have the opportunity to Soul Sling’s linen Soul Tai. I have only touched a few Soul wraps but heard great things about them.

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Manufacturer: Soul Slings

Colorway: Cerulean on Black Chambray 
Color(s): Greyish black, dark blue 
Pattern: Solid color panel with different colored solid straps 
Size: Standard 
Materials: 100% linen chambray 
Weave: Plain 
Strap Style: Hybrid padded IMG_5409The day it arrived, I was babysitting a friend’s child so of course I had to try a tandem. I put my son on the back and my friend’s son on the front. I was worried that my back was going to kill me because I had to put the waistband higher than normal to go over my bump. But it was surprisingly very comfortable! Toddlers didn’t want to be both up for very long, but I had no issues for the 5 minutes they did. Jack felt weightless on my back.

IMG_5455A few days later I took it to the BWI of Portland monthly meeting—and I am so glad I did. Jack started his meltdown before the meeting even started. By the end of meeting Jack reached full meltdown status. And he refused to go on my back, so on the front he went. He was out within minutes. I spread the straps out over his bum for more support. I ran around teaching most of the meeting so the other VBEs let me sit down and rest while we cleaned up. I was very comfortable even sitting down. This was the moment I decided this carrier was amazing.

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The next weekend we took a one-night camping trip to my favorite State Park in Oregon, Fort Stevens. It is a form military fort used from the Civil War to World War II. It’s an amazing piece of American military history that many have no idea even exists. The park has everything you need to make a great vacation. It’s located on the beach (which has shipwreck on it too), a lake, hiking trails, bike trails, the former fort, and a cool little museum. I took my boys right to my favorite part of the park for a hike, Battery Russell.

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Location: Fort Stevens State Park, Battery Russell Trail to Ranger Station
Distance:  1.53
Trail Type:  Concrete at the Battery, sand to the Fire Control Hill, forest trail to campground, and paved to Ranger Station
Weather: Sunny and warm with a bit of a breeze
Trail Conditions: Some overgrowth at spots, a few muddy spots, and very few other hikers. 

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I want to stress that is is a former military base. It was not designed to be kid friendly. And it has been out of of commission for about 70 years. There are some pitfalls, jagged edges, and other hazards. The Park Service has done their best to close up any truly dangerous areas, but please keep a very close eye on your children. This place is amazing to explore as a family, but please keep your littles safe. Keep small babies and new walkers in a carrier. And hold hands with walking toddlers and preschoolers at all times.

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Jack had no interest in going up when we got to the battery. He was eagerly trying to break free from my hand to go explore. He kept asking what everything was and I happily told him everything I could remember. The canons, how they got the shells up from storage, the powder room…and yes the little grates on the floor for toilets (how do kids notice things like that). I loved this spot as a kid and I had to fight back tears of happiness that I got to share it with my son. Did you know this was the only place on the continental United States to be hit by enemy fire? During World War II, a Japanese sub actually shelled Battery Russell! Learn about it here.

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Then we headed up to favorite part of the Battery Russel area, Fire Control Hill.  The trail was pretty much all sand, which fascinated Jack. Took us 15 minutes to walk 500 yards, and of course he still refused an uppy.

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After we let him explore for a bit, I decided it was uppy time.

IMG_5559I did a back carry with the straps spread over his bum for support with a Knotless Sternum Strap Finish.

Check out my Tutorial video! Please turn on closed Captioning for detailed instructions.

IMG_5612Then we headed off down the trail for some adult-paced hiking. It was a lovely walk through a coastal forest…with a toddler trying to eat my hair and steal my sunglasses.

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However, the carrier was beyond comfortable. No pressure points and Jack felt weightless, even with him wiggling and kicking.

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Then I decided to try something I saw on the Soul Sling love group, Soul Family, a waistless finish. I would like to preface this was this is an advanced carry. As a babywearing educator, I really cannot recommend normally undoing any waistband while baby is the carrier. You run the risk of baby falling straight out the bottom. However, if you are an experienced wearer and know how to keep baby secure for sure, it’s a choice you can make. I decided to a Double Sternum Strap. It was sooooo comfortable on my bump. I liked the straps not spread over my breasts because they are already sore. This made the carry so cool, Jack and I hardly got sweaty even with some decent hills on the trail. Once we got to the paved path to the park, Jack wanted down. We were meeting my parents at the Ranger Station shortly and he was too excited to see them. I was sad to take him down, this carrier is so awesome.

IMG_5656The next day Michael gave the carrier a try at batteries at the Historical Area (the main part of the old fort). The batteries are spread out over a larger area and have more stairs and pitfalls, so Jack was worn most of the time.

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Michael really liked how light and airy the it was. No complaints it was hurting his back or digging into. He is a man few words, but if he doesn’t like a carrier he will tug and fussy with it. Once I tied it on him, he didn’t mess with it once. I’ll take that as an approval.

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Can you hike in a linen Soul Sling Soul Tai? Oh, yes! I really can’t recommend this carrier enough. Easy to use and does a variety of finishes to suit your needs. Lightweight but just enough shoulder padding to keep the pressure off your upper back. This is wonderful for warmer weather, but light enough to easily go over layers in the winter. The simple patterns available are very stylish and dad-friendly too.

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This carrier is so fabulous for hiking, I am giving it my second ever Favorite Hiking Carrier Badge. Great job Soul Slings!