We now have an Instagram account for our group, check us out here: https://instagram.com/bwi_of_sewa/
In case you missed it, the fun begins in just a few days!
That's right, International Babywearing Week starts Sunday, October 4. That's just a few days away! So mark your calendars and be sure to keep up on the many fun events scheduled. We have lots of things going on, at different times and skill levels, so there is something for everyone. Wondering what in the world we are talking about? Keep reading!
What is IBW?
International Babywearing Week is basically 7 days of classes, special events, and outreach activities taking place in person and online, designed to celebrate and educate about the benefits of babywearing. There will be opportunities to enter raffles and drawings for amazing prizes along the way. Come to one event, or all of them!
Every year IBW dons a new theme. This year's theme is Embrace Your World.
Each day, a new event will represent another hashtag phrase following this theme of Embrace Your... Follow these hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see what other groups across the nation are doing to embrace their world! Here are some examples you might see on social media:
Schedule of Events
Now that you have the basic information, let's talk about what's happening near YOU! Here is a schedule of the local events taking place next week:
For more information on each event, be sure to watch for details in our Facebook group. Check under the "Events" tab to watch for upcoming activities.
And, as always, Happy Babywearing!
At the most recent monthly meeting, I asked our librarian which carriers just don't seem to get much love. There are plenty of wraps, ring slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers (SSCs), and pouches that always get checked out - and then there are a handful that usually get packed back into the bins at the end of the meeting. I wanted to try out a few of these less popular carriers and see what they were like. Sometimes carriers don't get love because they aren't super comfortable or practical for most. But sometimes they just aren't as flashy or well known. This week we did some investigating to find out the story on this half buckle.
What is a half buckle?
A half buckle refers to a carrier that has one set of buckles and one set of mei tai straps. Usually half buckle refers to the structured waistband that buckles like an SSC (though you can also find reverse half buckles, which keep the mei tai straps around the waist but adopt the padded buckle straps of an SSC). As you can see, this Babies Beyond Borders carrier buckles around the waist and has mei tai straps that tie.
This baby-sized carrier is budget-friendly (retailing for around $65-$75) and fits babies up to around 18 months old, due to the limited height of the panel (though the website boasts support up to an impressive 75 lbs!...I would be cautious about this number).
Pros and Cons
My toddler is getting pretty tall to wear on my front comfortably, so most of his time in the BBB was spent on my back. My first impression? Hmmm... Yep, that's it. I wasn't sure what to think. We walked around as I worked in the kitchen and attempted to land on a verdict. It took a little while, so I'll let you know soon. :) I began to wonder, Why a half buckle? So let's begin there.
PROS: SSC-style buckle waistband is quick & convenient, sturdy enough to support a toddler, and easily adjustable. Mei tai straps allow for a custom fit (which can be handy for petite wearers, or anyone who can't get a comfortable fit with most SSCs).
CONS: Buckle waistband does not allow for full customization, and may not cinch small enough for very petite wearers. Some find a buckle waist uncomfortable or unflattering. Mei tai straps are not long enough to tie Tibetan or cross at chest, both of which can increase comfort. Panel does not adjust for smaller babies.
When I finally landed on a conclusion, it was that this particular carrier is not my favorite. I actually really like the idea of a half buckle, but I always Tibetan tie my mei tai straps for comfort. If I can't do that, I have little interest in straps. I love the convenience of an SSC, but my least favorite part is the buckle waistband. For me, it's not super comfortable, so I'd probably be happier with a traditional mei tai or a ring waist.
Then again, my preferences are not everyone's! If you like the convenience of an SSC but can't get a good fit with padded straps, this may be a great option for you! Or if you enjoy mei tais but prefer not to have a knot in your belly, give this one a try.
This half buckle needs some more love!
For the past few weeks, my toddler and I have been playing with the Lending Library’s Inda Jani wrap. Handwoven in Oaxaca, Mexico, these 100% cotton wraps are known for being budget-friendly and a little bit beastly, especially to break in. The Inda Jani wraps I have used in the past have been thick and cushy – almost blanket-like, and therefore very “toddler worthy.” That’s why I was so surprised when I picked up this gem at a monthly meeting and found it to be thin and floppy.
Surprised…and a little disappointed. Yes, I have recently come to realize that I am becoming a wrap snob for thick, cushy, blanket-like wraps. Maybe it’s because I have a fairly heavy toddler and my shoulders need the support. Maybe I’ve too often cringed as thin wraps dug into my skin. Either way, I have come to compare everything to my Natibaby, and unless it’s cushier than that, I’m not interested.
But alas, it’s been a while since we had to sell our size 3, and I’ve been lamenting the absence. I decided that I could use a 4 similarly, and gave it a shot. True, it feels thin, but it’s also soft and floppy, and I know the strength of Inda Janis. Quickly I tied my fussing toddler in a Robin’s Hip Carry, and 30 minutes later was impressed with the support it provided in a one-shoulder carry…this might be worth playing with.
That’s how Turquesa came home with us. Not being a fan of ruck, I tried my hand at a few Double Hammock variations.
Oh my. That’s a lovely feeling.
This wrap is wide enough for a toddler, but without an overwhelming amount of material. It has a clear middle section without the need for an uncomfortably large marker. Pretty rainbow fringe, and best of all it’s easy to wrap with.
It has a surprising amount of grip considering how soft it is, which means your passes will stay nicely in place. But it’s not so grabby that I had any trouble keeping my chest pass tight as I spread the wrap across baby’s back. I wore him for long periods of time (up to 2 hours at one point) and my shoulders never complained. Although it weighs in at 260 grams per square meter (making it a medium-thick wrap), its light & airy weave kept us from overheating on walks.
And here’s the best part…my toddler likes it! When he asked to go up (a rarity), I had him choose between a wrap and a soft-structured carrier, to which he promptly exclaimed, “Wap!” and snatched Turquesa out of my hands.
This wrap is so user friendly that after some practice I became brave enough to take it grocery shopping. Usually I take an SSC or mei tai when we go out, mostly to avoid long tails dragging in the parking lot. But the manageable length and friendly wrapping qualities of Turquesa gave me courage. I was able to wrap my toddler quickly and comfortably, and those passes didn’t budge during our shopping adventure!
Bottom line: I love this wrap. It’s unlike my usual go-to, but it certainly was a pleasant surprise. The vibrant blue tones and lovely rainbow fringe go with everything. It’s floppy yet supportive; thin but not diggy. If you’re curious about Inda Jani but are intimidated by the stiffness, give this beauty a go. It bears the soft nubs of a well-loved Mexican wrap. Check it out at the next monthly meeting!
Turquesa, we miss you already!
*For more information on what to do with a size 4 wrap, see this helpful resource.*
Last week I took my toddler camping. It wasn’t the first time. We love camping, hiking, and all things summer-outdoorsy. We always take S with us, and he does very well. This time, it was a little more intense. We didn’t just go for an overnight jaunt in the backyard. Oh, no. We returned for three nights to my hubby’s favorite annual childhood camping destination: The St. Joe River in Idaho. I love this place. It’s a gorgeous, secluded corner of serenity in the mountains. Pictures cannot possibly do it justice. It’s a magical spot. The kind of place that makes you forget you even own a smart phone (except for that handy camera feature).
The only downside: It took 5 hours in the car. Did I mention we took our toddler with us? Yeah, the drive was a bit rough. But considering the circumstances, he did very well. We stopped once for lunch (during which he ate nothing, but ran nonstop for 20 minutes), and once for gas. All in all, S took about a 30-minute nap (Oh baby days, sometimes I sure miss you!). Why did I agree to this? By the time we arrived at our campsite, we were all a bit crabby.
Until we stepped out of the car.
Oh yeah, that’s why. We were at least 15 minutes from the nearest “town,” with direct river access that drowned out the few neighbors nearby, and mountains on both sides. Let the relaxing begin! Now, anyone who has ever taken small children on vacation knows that it’s not usually much of a vacation for the parents. It’s a lot of work. Camping can be especially difficult because of the inherent dangers that come with fire, water access, and wandering off. But I was surprised by how well this specific site helped contain the children. It had a large grassy area, a separate beach with direct water access, and an excellent swimming area (Plus, there was a statewide fire ban). We hung out with family all day, dipped in the river to cool down, and fished periodically.
I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way it was that easy. Well, okay, there was one little challenge. The challenge I expect every time we go camping: Naptime. You know, that sacred slice of coveted peace when a child can recharge and become (somewhat) human again. When a mother can actually take her eyes off of her toddler for a few minutes and do something for herself (or just do nothing). Kids never seem to nap normally when you are away from home (and routines), and when the surroundings are exciting and boiling hot, there is little hope for rest unless you have a backup plan.
For us, it's babywearing. We are diligent to take a carrier with us wherever we go. Sorry, did I say a carrier? Usually it’s a couple. For camping, we always take a soft-structured (buckle) carrier for hiking and quick ups. If we will have water access, the mesh ring sling gets thrown in. And since we are a wrapping family, we like to have a wrap for comfy snuggles and versatile carries, but as I only have a couple of them, I’m not exactly anxious to drag them through the dirt. So we invested in a “beater” wrap. In this case, we got ourselves a used Inda Jani. Budget-friendly, cushy on the shoulders, and strong enough to carry a horse (or so I was told by the friend that sold it to me), it was definitely worth a try.
You guys. This wrap is a workhorse. I wrapped my 27-lb. toddler on my front and walked around for 45 minutes in a feeble attempt to put him to sleep, and my back & shoulders had no complaints afterward. Sure, it was a bit hot, but considering that the thermometer read 103°F, any babywearing comes with a bit of sweat. It was surprisingly breathable despite its blankety texture. Best of all, I didn’t have to worry about pulls and stains. (And actually, it still doesn’t have any!)
Pro: Babywearing almost always makes S happy. He stopped fussing and instantly relaxed against my chest. Ahh, snuggles.
Con: He didn’t sleep. Not a wink. Alas, the nap strike continued.
That’s when I decided to introduce him to kayaking. Since I had a baby, I’ve only taken my kayak out once or twice, and I was eager to take advantage of our prime water access. Sure, Grandma and Grandpa would have been happy to watch S, but I was certain our little fish would love the boat. I was right. He was mesmerized by the quiet ripples emanating from the bow, the towering rocks cliffs, and duck parades quacking alongside us. He sat still between my legs and even “helped” paddle. And apparently, kayaking is even more relaxing for him than it is for me, because before long I realized he was fast asleep! *Fist pump*
In fact, I took him on 4 long kayak rides over the course of our stay: Once I forgot to bring his pacifier, and the other three times he slept. *Lightbulb* I think we discovered our miracle nap inducer! I get exercise and cuddles, and S gets a nap complete with natural white noise.
Once we found a way to get him a little bit of rest, we were really able to enjoy our surroundings even more. Of course we continued to babywear, but more for fun and walks than for sleep. The water sling was pulled out once or twice, but since our swimming area was very shallow, S was happier sitting in the water throwing rocks (and honestly, who wouldn’t be?). We hiked up the creek utilizing the Tula, which allowed for a few quick ups as we got in and out of the car at new fishing holes. When my hubby found a particularly promising hole, I buckled S on my back and hiked on the trails.
The rest of the days we relaxed, read books, and played. After S went to bed, we spent our evenings under the stars, spotting meteors accompanied by the deafening chorus of frogs. It was another fantastic reminder of just how simply we can live, and the need to cherish these moments as our family grows and changes so quickly.
Our vacation, like most, was quite a bit of work for this mama. The extremely long car ride there and back, sweltering heat, nap strikes, and wrangling a rambunctious toddler made for weary evenings. But sitting beside the babbling river watching blue heron glide through the trees, snuggling my rapidly growing boy, counting shooting stars like children, and drinking in the richness of our surroundings rejuvenated my soul. Yes, trips like this are tough and tiring, but they are also refreshingly joyful.
Just like motherhood. My hands are full, but so is my heart.
Unless I’m babywearing. Then my hands are free!
What adventures do you take your carriers on? Share below!
As with any new carry, practice with a doll, over a bed, or use a spotter until you feel comfortable. Always follow basic safety precautions.
A hip carry in a woven wrap is a great way to do quick ups with a mid-length or short wrap, but can also be done with a long wrap. With fabric on one shoulder and baby on the opposite hip, this can be another way to stay cooler while babywearing in hot weather. Many babies who want to “see the world” are happier on the hip than they are worn in front. When you begin naturally carrying baby on your hip (or when he/she has sufficient head and trunk control), it is a good time to try out a quick hip carry. Two popular ones are Poppins Carry and Robin's Hip Carry.
Like so many others, you probably get these two confused, and you may be wondering, What’s the difference? Actually, these carries are almost identical, with one major difference. Robin’s has two layers of fabric over your shoulder, while Poppins spreads two layers over baby. Both of these carries can be partially pre-tied, or wrapped around your baby; and both can be used for hip or tummy-to-tummy positioning. So let’s break them down. Ready?
Poppins Hip Carry
Begin by choosing which shoulder you would like your wrap to sit on (baby will sit on the opposite hip). Bring the wrap over your shoulder, leaving enough tail hanging in front of you to reach about mid-thigh. To keep this tail tight and out of the way, you can tuck it in between your legs from behind.
Spread the wrap across your back, bringing it to your opposite hip. Make sure there are no twists or bunches. Then spread the wrap across your belly and UNDER the tail coming down from your shoulder. Now you have a pouch to put your baby in.
Hold your baby in a high burp hold on your shoulder, and slide him feet first into the pouch. Reach between you and baby and pull the bottom rail up, scooping the fabric up to baby’s knees in a hammock-like seat. Spread the top rail up to baby’s shoulder blades or the base of the neck.
Keeping the shoulder pass tucked between your legs, take the tail that made baby’s pouch and pull out any slack on baby’s body. Spread the fabric back OVER the shoulder pass so that it folds back onto itself. You should now have two layers of fabric over your baby. This tail can go over or under baby’s leg (if you go over, be sure it sits at the knee, allowing baby full range of motion).
Lastly, pick up both tails and tie them in back with a secure double knot. Make any final adjustments and spread the wrap to cap your shoulder for comfort.
Watch on YouTube here.
Robin’s Hip Carry
Robin’s will begin the same way as Poppins. Start with the wrap over one shoulder, but this time allow more fabric to hang in front of you, with enough tail hanging down to the floor (or begin with the middle marker on top of your shoulder). Tuck the tail hanging in front of you between your legs to work with the rest of the fabric.
Spreading the wrap evenly across your back, bring it around to the opposite hip. Spread it across your belly. Here is the key difference between these two carries. Cross it OVER the shoulder pass. Place it high enough to sit at corsage level (about where your rings would sit in a ring sling).
Untuck the shoulder pass from between your legs and flip it back up over your shoulder, making sure it is spread evenly and not twisted. Tuck it in between your legs from behind. This should have pinned the other tail, creating a pouch for baby.
Slide your baby into the pouch, drawing up the bottom rail to create a knee-to-knee seat, and spreading the top rail up to the shoulder blades. Tighten any slack out of the fabric by pulling gently on the tail hanging down in front of you. Bring it straight down over baby’s knee.
Reach behind with your other hand and grab the tail behind you that doubled back over your shoulder. Spread it across your back to your hip and pass it (bunched) over baby’s knee. Tie both tails under baby’s bum with a secure double knot. Make any final adjustments and spread the wrap to cap your shoulder for comfort.
Watch on YouTube here.
Pick Your Favorite
Hip carries rock! Once you have it down, you’ll have a quick and easy carry you can use at a moment’s notice. So try them both, find which one is your favorite, and add it (or both) to your arsenal. Happy babywearing!
One of the most common babywearing-related questions people ask me is, “What carriers do you use that aren’t so stinking hot?!” (Or, something like that.) This time of year, the heat is definitely a concern, and rightly so. After all, it’s not just comfort we’re after, but safety for you and your baby. Overheating is certainly a danger to avoid any time of year. So let’s talk about hot-weather babywearing tips.
First, let’s begin with a disclaimer: A certain amount of sweating comes with the territory. Babywearing is, after all, two bodies more or less sandwiched together for a period of time. Even if the thermometer reads below 80°F, it is still likely to be a warm experience. That being said, however, there are certain carriers and carrier types that will allow for more airflow than others. I will do my best to overview these in this post.
Second disclaimer: I am by no means an expert. I am, like anyone, limited by my own experience and research. So please, be aware that the following summary is just that: a summary. Please comment with your own tips and experiences as well.
For the purposes of this post, I will refer to the five basic types of baby carriers: pouches, ring slings, soft-structured carriers, mei tais, and wraps (including stretchy and woven). Of course, within these categories are endless variations, but to be succinct, we’ll keep the categories broad.
*Click here for more detailed descriptions of different carrier types.
Certain carrier types tend to be a bit cooler than others. Although you will find different fabrics and features within each type that lend themselves better to heat, the basic shape and design of some carriers naturally allows for more airflow.
Let’s start with a simple guideline. Less fabric = less heat.
“That’s all great,” you may say, “but I really like my __________ carrier. What choices do I have for a cooler variation?” Let’s face it – many of us have a preferred type of baby carrier toward which we gravitate. In that case, you should know a little bit about fabrics and blends.
Hot Weather Precautions
When babywearing, just like any other activity, remember basic safety precautions. Appropriate clothing, shade, hydration, and limiting time in the heat will keep you and your little one healthy. Be safe and have fun in the sun (or…shade)! Happy Babywearing!
What is your favorite hot weather carrier? What other tips and tricks have you found helpful? Share below!
This is a brief reminder that all Lending Library checkouts are suspended for the month of July. Our carriers are well used and in need of some TLC! We appreciate your patience and understanding as we take the time to ensure that our carriers are clean, safe, and in good working condition for you and your little ones. The library will be available for use at our July monthly meeting, but will not be available to take home. Carriers will be available for annual members to check out as of August 1, and for non-members at our August monthly meeting. For more information about our baby carriers, please check out our Lending Library page.
Stay tuned for a new blog post about hot weather babywearing, coming later this week!
We now have a Wrapsody stretch hybrid wrap in our lending library, thank you to Zerberts (www.shopzerberts.com) for the donation! More new carriers are coming soon. Our lending library carriers will be available to try on and check out at our next monthly meeting at a new location: Natural Selections Crossfit Gym in Kennewick on Feb. 17 from 10 to noon. For more info see our Calendar (under the Events tab) and Lending Library sections on our website.
Thanks to everyone who came out to help BWI of Southeastern Washington set the Babywearing World Record for 2014! Our 26 babywearers will be added to the total count of groups that participated all over the country.