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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
It 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.
Next is chest pass like a Double Hammock, but do a Reinforced Pass instead of a Sling Pass.
Than Wiggleproof Pass with opposite tail.
Then pin that wiggleproof in place with a Poppin’s Pass and a Horizontal pass. Tie it off in front/chest.
An indestructible carry for my indestructible kid.
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.
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).
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy those toddler wrap snuggles while you can! They may act all big, but they are till your babies who need you once and awhile!
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
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).
Location: 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then he realized he could eat berries faster if he got an uppy. I did a Wiggleproof Back Carry and added a Chest Belt.
It took a bit to get it tight enough with a wiggly toddler begging for more berries though.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 The 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.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After we let him explore for a bit, I decided it was uppy time.
I 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.
Then 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.
However, the carrier was beyond comfortable. No pressure points and Jack felt weightless, even with him wiggling and kicking.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
This carrier is so fabulous for hiking, I am giving it my second ever Favorite Hiking Carrier Badge. Great job Soul Slings!