Just do it: Babywearing with confidence
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
Happy end of spring early summer to my fellow babywearers! I am so excited to be showcasing our newest topic for the month of June: Just do it! Babywearing with confidence.
So before we get started what exactly do we mean by Babywearing with confidence? We strive to keep a variety of carriers that are size inclusive within our lending libraries. For us educators it is our goal to see our meeting attendees leaving our meetings with the knowledge and the confidence to make the carrier of their choice something they can turn to. Whether it be for those amazing snuggles that we all know and love, or for practical purposes; simply getting around with your child to places that may not be stroller accessible or where wearing will aid in completing a task, or getting you and your child to your next destination or adventure. We love seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when they find that carrier that fits just right, or that your child melts into relaxation mode from the comfort and closeness that Babywearing has to offer. Our goal in accomplishing this is to provide a variety of carriers that are designed to fit different body types so that everyone that is willing and able to baby wear, can find the carrier that’s perfect for them and their child.
A commonly asked question that we as educators see a lot of within our chat page or various parenting pages is “what carrier would you recommend?” While the feedback is valuable in providing folks with a starting point to research specific brands, we really try and encourage folks to come to a meeting if they are able to. The reason being is that carriers will all fit each person and each child differently. What may be the best carrier option for my child and I, won’t necessarily be someone else’s favorite or a feasible option.
I want to start by taking everyone on a bit of a carrier journey starting first with Woven Wraps and Stretchy Wraps. Something particularly significant in discussing woven wraps is establishing your base size. This is something that is going to vary from wearer to wearer and can change over time as your child grows. A base size in a woven wrap is determined by what you are able to do a front wrap cross carry in. See our Intro to woven wrap blog post to learn more.
Various companies that sell woven wraps offer sizes that are in fact size inclusive. They offer varying lengths in order for individuals to find the sizing that will work for them. Soul Slings is a fantastic carrier company that we love and offers sizes in their woven wraps ranging from 3-9 in their selection. They also have longer sizes available upon request if need be. Bijou Wear is another amazing brand that we know and love who offers a variety of lengths and is willing to create a truly customized size if you are in between sizes or need something shorter or longer than what is readily available on the website for purchase.
Image left shows a Bijou Wear wrap in a Double Hammock Carry(Size 5), Image right shows a Soul Wrap in a Front Wrap Cross Carry(Size 8)
Stretchy wraps are often seen as an intro to the world of wrapping for many. They can be found, and are often created, in a one size sizing which can be confusing for some folks as they do not know how this single size is going to fit them. One size stretchy wraps are generally 5.5 meters long. There are options with this carrier if the wearer has extra length after tying off as well as ways to secure the carry if the full carrier length is used.
The next stop on our carrier tour is Ring Slings! Ring slings are a single piece of material found in cotton, silk, linen, bamboo or various blends to name a few and two stacked rings sewn on the end of it. You might be wondering how brands can and cannot be size inclusive when talking about ring slings. When wearing a ring sling the carrier is fastened in a sling similar to a sash. The end of one side of the ring sling is fed through the rings in order to secure the carrier. The amount of tail that is left over can be customized depending on that carrier company. Some companies will offer only one size so we always tell our wearers to check the sizing on it and if you’re uncertain if the sizing will work for you you can always drop by one of our monthly meetings and to chat with an educator about sizing. There are many wonderful companies such as Maya Wrap(S-XL), Wildbird(74" and 90"), Comfy Joey (XS-3XL), Soul (1-4), and Sleeping Baby Productions(XS-3XL) ,to name a few that come in different lengths. The tail length is entirely up to the wearer when choosing what length they prefer. Some prefer a longer tail to be able to use as a neck roll for example when wearing a newborn, or to loop around the rings to create a cushion for comfort if your baby prefers to lean the back of their head up against the rings, or even to use as something to drape over the top of your breast if you choose to do so for discrete feeding options. Some wearers however prefer the shorter tail length especially for petite wearers who might not want a longer tail potentially hitting the floor while they wear, or having to secure the extra tail somewhere so that it does not interfere with whatever you are doing while wearing. Sleeping baby productions has a neat ring sling length calculator on their website that will help you determine what length sling would work best for you personally.
The next amazing carrier type that we will be discussing is the Meh Dai. This is a wonderful carrier that offers a panel similar to the soft structured carrier and four straps. The bottom two straps are shorter and are intended to tie at the waist. The longer straps are the ones that go over the shoulders and sit at the top of the carrier. For a more in depth overview of the Meh Dai feel free to reference our May blog where we talked all about the functionality of a Meh Dai and why we love them so much. There are specific Meh Dai’s that we often turn to or steer people towards that are looking for longer straps and or wider straps both with and without padding. For a wrap strap Meh Dai Kol Kol is an amazing option. It has adjustability to allow for wearing an infant all the way through toddlerhood. It has wrap straps which allow the wearer to spread the straps out for additional support both across the baby’s back and at the shoulders to ensure you are staying comfortable throughout your wearing experience. The wrap straps also give you a few options of ways to tie off especially when back wearing there are even some fancy finish options as well.
Meh Dai image left features wrap straps, Meh Dai image right features padded straps
Another carrier that we turn to and love is an onbuhimo. All of its features and specifications you can find referenced within our May blog. An onbuhimo is a waistless carrier for anyone concerned over using a carrier and not finding the proper fit you need. It’s a high back carry and may take some getting used to in the beginning but it is a super quick and wonderful wearing option. The Kol Kol , Lenny Lamb and Soul Onbuhimos are three brands we love and have in our lending libraries.
And last but certainly not least, the final carrier we will be focusing on is the Soft Structured Carrier (SSC). There are an array of options designed for both petite and plus sized wearers and have a few amazing recommendations to explore. The Catbird Baby Pikkolo is excellent for petite wearers. It has a cinch-able panel to fit babies from newborn through toddlerhood. The straps have built in memory foam in them allowing for a super customized shoulder fit that is sure to keep you comfortably wearing your child. The straps can either be criss crossed across your back or worn under the arms for a front carry.
For plus sized SSC options we love the Tula Free to Grow not only for its adjustability for baby but also for its fit and comfort for the wearer as well. It’s equipped with comfortable shoulder straps that extend up to 50 inches as well as a comfortable waist that goes up to 57 inches. Its also equipped with Perfect Fit Adjusters (PFA’s) to create an even more customizable fit for the wearer. These will allow for either tightening or loosening and lengthening of the shoulder straps and are located at the top of the panel and the base of the shoulder straps. The Tula FTG has material that is soft and comfortable making it an excellent options for so many wearers. And in addition to that we love that there is a coastal mesh option for wearers and or baby’s that run a bit warmer or if you happen to be wearing in warmer climates which will allow for adequate coolness and airflow.
Another SSC that we love is the Soul Full Buckle Carrier. It’s an extremely soft and light weight carrier that comes in a variety of materials including linen, cotton and wrap material. Not to mention the beautiful prints that they come in as well! It is equipped with a waist band that extends up to 64 inches and has dual direction tightening for the shoulder straps. This will allow the wearer to achieve their desired tightness and comfort.
Another popular buckle carrier option is the Lillebaby complete. This carrier features 6 carrier positions and the ability to cross the straps and also has duel adjust straps. There are no PFA's on this particular carrier and the straps a bit longer, which some petite caregivers find harder to get a good fit because of, particularity for a back carry, however many plus sizes caregivers have raved about the comfort due to the extended straps.
Kinderpack is another popular company and they feature PFA's, ability to cross straps, dual adjust straps, aswell as offering both standard length straps( 19-20″ straps+ 13″ of webbing ) and plus length straps (24"straps + 13" webbing)
And last but certainly not least we want to talk about Babywearing for kiddos of all sizes. Carriers actually come in different sizes for the child as well. A carrier company that we know and love is the kinderpack with sizing ranging from infant, standard, toddler and preschool. This company really cares about the longevity in Babywearing and how that bond is just as special throughout all walks of development and growth for your little one. Below we will link a sizing guide to show you just how customizable of a fit you can get for your child. For a more in-depth look at big kid babywearing check out this blog post.
This concludes our tour of all of the wonderful carrier options out there and readily available to you in many of our lending libraries. If you’d like to try before buying, or are unsure of the way something may fit both you and your baby, pop in on one of our monthly meetings (facebook.com/nybabywearing/events) and chat with any one of our fantastic educators. Our goal as educators is to make sure that our meeting attendees leave happy and with the confidence to wear on their own. If you happen to get home from a meeting and are unsure of something or if something is not feeling right or as comfortable as it did at the meeting feel free to reach out to us for support via our Facebook chat page(Facebook.com/groups/nybabywearing) and or message us for some pointers. We are always happy to help and love hearing about how your wearing experience is going! Thank you for coming along on this journey with me and I can’t wait to see all of you wearing with confidence. To view our lending library of carriers visit newyorkbabywearing.myturn.com
Links to brands mentioned in blog post
Peace, Love and happy Babywearing to all.
Blog post written by NYBW Advanced Educator Anne Wetzel