Monthly Archives: July 2014

What about all that fabric? Aren’t you hot?! As the weather heats up, we’re all looking for comfortable ways to carry our babies without melting. I had 4 summer babies, including 2 in June, that needed to be worn all through the hot months. I live in San Diego where the summer extends into October most years! And yes, I still used a wrap.

 

Mei Tais and Soft Structured carriers can be excellent summer carriers. There isn’t much fabric on the adult’s body and the open sides allow airflow for your child. Some even have a mesh panel for more breathability.

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Ring Slings can also be very comfortable in the summer. Since only one layer of fabric goes over both you and your baby you should feel nice and cool. Choose cotton or a linen blend for the coolest option or even one of these amazing water mesh slings. These are quick to dry and easy to clean, and are made of a sport mesh fabric that breathes very well while still protecting from the sun. Bonus: the tail can be pulled up over baby’s head a bit to keep the sun off her sensitive skin.

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But I love wrapping! Especially with squishy little newborns, I love the way they feel all snuggled in on my chest. Yes, I do get a bit sweaty where their little cheeks rest on my bare skin, but hey it IS summer. And yes, there are several possibilities when you want the versatility and comfort of a wrap, even when it’s 100 degrees outside.

The first thing to consider is fabric. A thin breathable cotton wrap or a light linen blend like a Ellevell Zara or Deli, or a Didymos waves can be very breathable. Gauze wraps are wonderful in the summer as well. You can make your own with 5 yards of crinkle cotton gauze from any fabric store cut length-wise. You actually get 2 wraps out of it, so share with a friend!

The tying method also makes a difference. Three layer carries can be very warm. You can adjust some carries very slightly to make them more comfortable. Moving the top two layers to the sides of the baby in a standard front wrap cross carry can provide almost the same support with only one layer on the baby.

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For an older baby, the rucksack carry on the back is also wonderful for summer. At any age, its reverse, the kangaroo carry, is a wonderful choice.

 

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You can see detailed instructions for these carries here. 

 

Another fun trick is to place a cool towel between you and your child! This can add just a little bit of extra comfort on the warmest days. Relax, have some fun, and try out a few of these tips. With a little playing around I’m sure you’ll find a comfortable way to keep your baby close and connected even through the hot months.

 

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Drea and Josh already had a passion for babywearing. When they discovered that their second child, a son they called Copley, had Down Syndrome they realized it was indispensable. Children with special needs need special care and babywearing has allowed them to support his needs. Drea explains how amazing this has been for them:

One night we were out to dinner, when Copley, whose physical disability would not allow him to sit in a highchair, refused to sit in his carseat.  I wrapped him up and we enjoyed a peaceful dinner and started talking about all the ways babywearing made our lives easier, especially as Cop’s physical disability outpaced his physical development.  Thank to babywearing, we have the tools to help Cop keep up with us, and help us keep up with his big brother. Copley’s development be a little delayed, but he’ll never be left behind. By wearing him he is constantly hearing us talk, seeing what we see, working on strengthening his neck and core muscles, and when he needs to rest he can sleep close to mommy or daddy. 

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Children with Down Syndrome and other special needs often have low muscle tone and develop at a slower rate than typical children. They often need to be carried for longer and may become upset when in new situations. Having a parent close by can help these children explore their world while being safe with a caregiver. It’s a tremendous gift to any child, but especially those that have to fight a bit harder to find their place.

Drea and Josh came to realize that this was a skill that many families with special needs children needed to have access to! So 3.21 Carry was born.

Our purpose is to serve both parents who need special carriers to meet special needs, and parents of older children with special needs who need carriers for younger typical children.

3.21 Carry helps get carriers to families with special needs children, at no cost to the families. Whether they need to carry a typical child to have their hands free to help an older child, or need to carry a special needs child that needs extra help! We just love their passion and commitment to helping other families and are very excited to support them.

If you are a family that could benefit or know someone who is you can apply for a carrier through their website 321carry.com. You can also make monetary donations there to help them purchase carriers for these families. They also accept carrier donations, Woven Wraps will be donating a carrier and we hope you can as well!

Having trouble wading through all the choices? Here’s a quick overview of the basic types of carriers and what they do best and what they are not ideal for. Hope it helps! Keep an eye out for more detailed information on each type in future posts.

Wraps 

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A wrap or wraparound carrier is the simplest carrier design available. It is simply a long piece of fabric that is wrapped around the body to create a pocket for your child to sit in. There is tremendous variety in fabric options, sizes, colors and patterns to choose from. My advice if you are overwhelmed by the choices is simply to choose something you like the look of and go for it! I suggest choosing one carry and learning it well before branching out and learning more.

Pros: Versatility!! Wraps can be used in a variety of ways, or carries, to carry your child on your chest, back, or hip. They can be used from birth until you can no longer physically carry your child and if you want one carrier to last all through your babywearing days, this is it. They are supportive and comfortable and can be used by more than one caregiver. You don’t have to worry about adjusting anything if you change between mom and dad, grandparents or another adult.

Cons: Wraps have a bit of a learning curve and sometimes people get overwhelmed by all that fabric! When you’re first learning it can take a few minutes to get it on correctly. After you do it a few times it does become muscle memory and many people end up finding it one of the fastest and easiest carriers to use. It’s just like learning to tie a shoe.

 

Ring Slings: 

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Ring Slings are made of a length of fabric with a set of 2 aluminum rings that are specially made for baby carriers. One end of the fabric is sewn onto the rings and the other, the tail, is left open. You thread the fabric through the rings and it is worn over one shoulder with the rings in corsage position. This creates a pouch out of the fabric for your child to snuggle into.

Pros: Ease of use and portability. These carriers fold up very small to be carried in a diaper bag or left in the car so it will be available when you need it. They are easily adjusted so can be used by multiple caregivers. There is no complicated wrapping or buckles to be adjusted. Once you have the tail threaded through the rings it just slides right on over your shoulder and you tighten the fabric around your baby by pulling the tail through the rings. This is also the easiest carry to use for an older baby that likes to ride on your hip and see what you’re doing!

Cons: Ring Slings are only recommended to be used in the front or hip carry positions. If you want to be able to back carry, you’ll want a different carrier. This is also a single shoulder carrier, meaning all of the weight you’ll be carrying will be on one shoulder. If you have back or neck issues or wish to carry for long periods of time this may not be your best choice. They are however, amazing for quick trips and newborns.

 

Mei Tais (pronounced MAY-Tie):

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A Mei Tai at it’s simplest is a rectangle of fabric with four straps. Two come off of the top for shoulder straps and the other two tie around your waist. The variations between different brands are the padding, size, and of course patterns!

Pros: Super simple and easy to use! This is the carrier with the lowest learning curve in my opinion. It is able to be used on the front or back and is the easiest carrier to learn back carries with. No adjustments are needed to go back and forth between multiple wearers, which makes this an ideal choice if you can only purchase one carrier. They come in a variety of color and pattern options ranging from all black for those who desire to not draw attention to themselves to vibrant prints.

Cons: This carrier is sized to your baby, not the wearer. Because of this it is necessary to purchase more than one if you plan on wearing for many years. Mei Tais make excellent toddler and preschooler carriers, but you won’t be able to use the same one that you used as a newborn. For heavier babies, more structure or padding is wonderful which will distribute the weight better on your shoulders and waist.

 

Buckle Carriers or Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)

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A buckle carrier is similar to a mei tai, except instead of straps you tie they are attached to the body of the carrier with buckles. These are the most common and mainstream of the ergonomic carriers and you’ll likely see them in the wild more often. They are simple and easy to use, and feel familiar to many people.

Pros: Ease of use and padding. To use this carrier you simply buckle and adjust the waist, hold baby next to your body, flip the carrier up and put your arms in the straps. Adjustment is done with a webbing strap that is pulled until the carrier is secure. They can be worn on the back or front, but really shine in a back carry! The dense padding at the waist provides excellent support for your back and gives baby a little lift so the wearer is more comfortable.

Cons: Lack of versatility. It can be worn on the front or back, but many find it only truly comfortable for a back carry. Although, I’ll admit that is a matter of personal taste. If you want to share this one with another caregiver you will have to readjust the buckles to that person’s size. Like a Mei Tai one size doesn’t fit all babies, but it will still last you a good long time depending on how fast your baby grows. You might expect to need one for a small baby and a larger one for a toddler.

I’m sure you can see why so many babywearers end up with many types of carriers. Each one has it’s benefits and drawbacks. While wraps and ring slings are perfect for supporting a newborn, buckle carriers and mei tais provide the quick on/off that moms of older babies love. I’m sure you will adore whatever you choose and of course please reach out to your local babywearing group or educator to help you learn to wear it safely and comfortably!

 

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