Category Archives: Tips and tweaks

Breaking in a Wrap (Pavo Gotham)

by VBE Sarah

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So, Jill has already talked about breaking in a brand new hemp wrap here, but I thought I’d talk about some of the ways I have been breaking in my new Pavo. Pavos are known for being VERY beastly wraps. People with heavy toddlers and/or sensitive shoulders tend to gravitate towards Pavos because they are known for being very supportive wraps that nevertheless are also stretchy (a lot of wraps offer rock-solid support, but they usually compromise on stretch in order to do so. So, for example, linen is a great fiber for offering support, but it does. not. stretch).

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My amazing husband (proudly modeling our new pavo bag ^^^) was able to score a Pavo Gotham Onyx for me (that’s the other thing – Pavos are very difficult to buy new, since they sell out in a matter of seconds. Used is a great option, however, since you can often skip the difficult breaking in period!). When the wrap arrived to us we were able to stand the fabric straight up, it was THAT stiff!

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Since the wrap came to us in loom state (never washed), we first set about washing it. It’s never a good idea to wrap with a brand new unwashed wrap, since this can cause thread shifting to occur (There’s my husband again ^^^ breaking this rule for a quick test run before washing). Thread shifting compromises the safety of the wrap and decreases its resale value. Anyway, after washing the wrap, I put it in the dryer on delicate with some wool dryer balls. This is a fantastic way to break in a wrap, and is the least labor intensive!

After drying, I busted out my iron. With the iron set to “cotton” and, on the highest steam level, I got to work steam ironing both sides of the wrap. I could already feel it softening up. Steam ironing is also important because it can help prevent premature wearing at the rails of the wrap and can also prevent permanent creases (“permacreases”) from forming. Which direction do you iron your wraps? I prefer to iron the short side, moving it incrementally towards me and folding it, accordion style, on a small stool or chair in front of me.

Now the hard work began. Oh, and by the way, you can always just USE your wrap and continue to wash, dry, and iron it, to break it in (NOTE: the kind of fiber your wrap is made with will determine whether or not it is safe to machine dry and/or steam iron). If, however, you’re wanting to speed up that process or have a super beastly wrap (seriously, this Pavo will not break itself in in a million years …)

you can try … super coiling:

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Start at one end of the wrap and just start twisting the crap out of it. I would do this at night (hence the dark lighting of that photo) while watching TV. Once it’s coiled you can also gently pull and tug on the different sections to help move things along. Just like with braiding a wrap, the breaking in happens by the action of supercoiling, not by the wrap just sitting there super coiled. In other words, you don’t just do this once and let the wrap sit, you do it, uncoil the wrap, and start coiling again.

Another thing I did was run the wrap through two medium sling rings. (Sling rings are best purchased online from http://www.slingrings.com/ – do not use welded rings, for breaking in a wrap or (especially) for wearing a baby)

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Finally, I wove the wrap through our baby gate and pulled sections of it back and forth. Be careful that there’s nothing that can snag the wrap (so, we were careful to avoid the hinges on our baby gate). After awhile my arms got really tired, so my husband (and son) started helping me. People also use the slats of baby cribs to achieve a similar effect.

Gotham is breaking in nicely. She’s gotten very soft to the touch and is not NEARLY as stiff as when she came to me. She’s still not “floppy”, though, but for now I think I’ll just enjoy wrapping with her and give my arms a break (Let’s fact it, if I was after some guns, I would carry my son, not wear him!)

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TBT – Beginning Babywearing

For Throwback Thursday, we’ve compiled some great posts for those just beginning their baby wearing journey!

Looking to purchase a carrier? Here are some tips for you.

New to wrapping? Here are some good carries to try: Front Cross CarryFront Wrap Cross Carry, Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (best carry to start with if you have a stretchy wrap, aka a “moby-style” wrap)

Trying a back carry for the first time? Here’s an easy and safe way to get baby on your back.

Having trouble getting a “good seat”? Check out these tips!

Wanting to come to the next meeting for some help? Here is a link to our upcoming events.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Feel free to poke around on our blog – there’s some good stuff there!

Breaking in a wrap (Didymos THI (Turqoise Hemp Indio))

by VBE Jill

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I recently had the opportunity to purchase a new Didymos that was released in October. As some of you saw on our Facebook page, I bought turquoise hemp indio (THI). It took some convincing of the husband and some site stalking to find one in a size I wanted that wasn’t sold out but I found a size 4 from Baby Adorables. I must say, quick shipping and everything was great! Anyway, I immediately opened it, dying to see my new wrap. It was gorgeous… and then I picked it up. It felt like burlap. I knew about stiff wraps – you always hear about them – but this was my first NEW wrap purchase. I started questioning if this wrap was really going to be as awesome as I had hoped.

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I wrapped with it and it was loose because it wasn’t moldable. I tried wrapping my 7 year old. I brought it to the meeting and the color was a hit. So I was determined to soften it up as quickly as possible! I washed it on hot (please check the care of your wrap before washing as not all material can be treated the same; hemp loves heat) and hung it to dry. Felt a little better but still rough. I steam ironed the heck out of it, which helped a lot. Then when I had company over, I mindlessly started braiding it. I have twisted it with my husband over and over. Basically, anything to get the fibers to loosen up. It is so much softer but I know it still has a way to go. But the key is, don’t be afraid to wear a wrap that isn’t broken it. It will only help the process along. To make sure I don’t give up on it, I have tried to make it my sole carrier.

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If you’re wondering what else you can do to break in a wrap, there are plenty of things to try. You can tie it around your table and create a hammock for your child(ren). Putting it under your fitted sheet and sleeping on it will also help loosen it up. Have a crib or banister? Try feeding the wrap through the slats. The more you move the carrier, the softer it will become.

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Buying new can be daunting due to the amount of work that goes into breaking in a wrap and buying used from a b/s/t group is a wonderful option. But hopefully my experience will help those of you who choose to buy new.

Meeting Recap: Saturday October 19th 2013 : Winter Wearing

This past Saturday’s meeting was on the subject of Winter Wearing! With the cool weather already starting to approach this meeting could not have come at a better time. The topic was lead by  VBE Beth with some insight from our other VBE’s Courtney, Sarah and Jill.

Beth first let everyone know that it is perfectly fine to wear a coat, sweater, fleece whatever you keep warm with under your carrier, and for your baby to do the same in the carrier. This is probably the easier, cheapest option for winter wearing but can easily become very bulky.  So Beth went on to explore the other winter wearing options available for both front and back carrying. Another easy option is to buy an over-sized coat or sweater and just zip baby right up into a front carry with you. For back carrying Beth suggesting buying a slightly over-sized fleece and cutting a head hole for baby.

Obviously company’s saw there was a need for such products so the first Coat  made for babywearing is Suse’s Kinder (http://www.suseskinder.com). Our library recently got a very nice winter wear vest made by Peekaru which is now part of the Boba family of products (http://store.bobafamily.com/outerwear). Beth next demonstrated a product she owns called a Monkey Pocket which just covers the carrier and baby.  She demonstrated a toddler sized Monkey Pocket but it does come in other sizes (http://monkeypockets.blogspot.com). CatBird also makes a winter carrier cover which our almost local to us store Once Upon a Sling carries (http://www.onceuponasling.com).

Another issue with winter babywearing is baby’s exposed legs. Typically you may have your baby in pants but with most carriers, wraps, slings whatever your using, the babies pants end up hiked up and ankles are then exposed. Beth suggested babylegs, or similar products to keep those ankles warm (http://www.babylegs.com)

Many people are interested in other DIY options. One of the easiest DIY options is a No-Sew Fleece Poncho. The Materials needed for this are 1.75 yards of fleece and a pair of scissors! More information on how to make this no-sew fleece poncho can be found here: http://www.fineandfairblog.com/2013/09/diy-no-sew-babywearing-poncho-coat.html . As discussed earlier another option is to turn a regular coat into a babywearing coat. DIY information for this project, which does involve sewing can be found here: http://thepurebaby.blogspot.com/2010/09/homemade-babywearing-coat-for-pure-baby.html .

Other winter babywearing Tips that Beth suggested is to pre-tie your stretchy or woven wrap to help keel the tails from dragging in the wet and snow. Also with a wrap you can  use the pocket method and attempt to keep your tails tucked in your pockets while wrapping. Beth said her favorite method was to just to tuck baby in her coat and then wrap once inside the store. Also using a SSC or a ring sling might be a better option for particular wet winter days as there is not much risk of dragging the carrier on the wet ground!

 

Welsh Nursing Shawl Tutotrial

by VBE Kirsteen

For International Babywearing Week I will show the traditional Welsh Nursing Shawl Carry that my Scottish mother used to carry  my sister and I when we were wee.  I am  on location at Castlerigg Stone Circle in Keswick, England.

First you take your shawl and fold it in half to form a triangle.

 

Put across your back with both ends coming over your shoulders.

Pick up your baby onto your hip you wish to carry on.

Take the opposite side under your arm and tuck between your legs to hold tension.  This is similar to a rebozo carry.

Take the side the baby is on over their shoulder and around their legs.  Tuck the shawl  under babies bum.

Take the piece between your legs, pull out all slack and bring that piece over babies leg and tuck up and under the opposite side.

The babies weight will keep tension on the shawl keeping them in place.

 

Wrapping with Rings! A Hip Carry & Front Carry

So per your request here are a few tutorials on wrapping with sling rings. I wanted to start out with a front carry and a hip carry before I move onto back wrapping with rings. So stay tuned for future blog posts and video tutorials about back wrapping with rings! Please remember when using rings for babywearing that you only use rings from slingrings.com as they are tested for babywearing and weight. Never use welded rings as they are not tested!

This first video tutorial is for a common hip carry called Robin’s Hip Carry. This variation is done with one sling ring. You could use a large or medium sling ring for this carry! I used a large in this video. I learned this carry thanks to our VBE Courtney. This is a great carry for nursing and also not a bad carrier for a beginner. This carry should be used for a baby with relatively good head control I think. In the video I use our lending library’s Didymos Indio Size 3. You could accomplish this carry with any size really you just may have a good bit of tail remaining if you use your base size. So here is Robin’s Hip Carry with a Ring

Robin’s Hip Carry with a Ring Video Tutorial

The next carry is a Short Cross Carry (SCC) with a Ring. I used a large sling ring in this video as well but you should be able to use a medium for this carry too! This is also a great carry to nurse in. And since this is a poppable carry its also a great beginner carry. What’s a poppable carry? Basically its a carry you can pre tie without baby in there, you can then after its tied place baby in. Later when you take baby out you could leave it tied and pop baby in again later. This can be very nice for running errands! Again I used our lending library’s Didymos Indio Size 3! A wrap of a size 3 or 4 would probably be appropriate for this carry. So here is Short Cross Carry with a Ring!

Short Cross Carry with a Ring Video Tutorial

I absolutely love using sling rings when wrapping! So look out for future tutorials on back wrapping with rings! I plan to do one on the Mermaid carry! Hopefully these video tutorials help you with learning to wrap with the use of sling rings!

Lydia

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Sarah’s Front Cross Carry FCC

Here we have another tutorial this time from the awesome Sarah!!

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I first started wearing my 11 month old son in a stretchy wrap when he was two weeks old … and he’s been worn daily since then! Around four months we made the switch to woven wraps and around 7 months we added in a ring sling (= life changing, since it’s pretty much the only way he will nurse in public). My husband also wears him in “daddy’s carriers” (our mei tais). At the beginning, my son loved to take naps on both of us in his carriers, but now that he’s older he mostly enjoys experiencing the world from the comfort of his parents’ (fabric) arms.

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Well, what started out as a tiny post on how to tuck the tails of a fcc into the cross passes for ease of tightening has accidentally turned into a step-by-step photo tutorial. Which is probably a good thing, since fcc is a GREAT carry for beginners: (1) it’s a front carry (obvy), (2) it’s (mostly) a pre-tie, so there is very little messing about with trying to hold baby AND tie a long piece of cloth onto your body, (3) it’s poppable (i.e., once you’ve got the carry tied on you, you can pop baby in and out all day), and (4) there are two ways (of which I am aware) to nurse in a fcc.

If you’re a pro, skip down to photo 20 to see the tail trick (h/t to uppymama). If, on the other hand, you’re looking for an obsessively chronicled explanation of every step of tying on a fcc, settle in for a 47 photo (omg) tute!

Video slide show

Sarah’s Front Cross Carry Video Tutorial
(You may need to pause at points during the video)

Access to the 47 picture tutorial
Sarah’s Front Cross Carry Tutorial Photos

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Babywearing on the Cheap: Saturday August 17th 2013 Meeting Topic

Our group meets the first Monday and the third Saturday of every month. The Monday meetings are open help times to try on carriers and get help with carriers you may already own. The Saturday meetings usually have a topic presented by one of our VBE’s or a guest speaker for the first 30 minutes of the meeting. Our latest topic was “Babywearing on the Cheap”. Once the topic is presented the meeting opens up to open help. There is a VBE at each “carrier station” to help you try on carriers.

Our VBE Courtney started us off this past Saturday’s meeting talking about how you can babywear within a budget you are comfortable with. The comparison of cars was presented as in some people drive porches and others drive a more affordable car. Baby carriers are the same way, there are offerings at just about any price point. At the bottom is the handout that was given out at the meeting. Carriers with an asterisk are available in our lending library.

If you are in the market for a soft structure carrier (SSC) on a budget The Boba Air which is one of lending library’s most recent carriers is of the most affordable SSC on the market, available new for under $75. For under $100 the Action Baby Carrier, Pognae, Moby Go and Connecta are available. Most of these are available in our lending library. Our lending library also offers the Boba 3G, Ergo, Onya, Scootababy, and Tula all for under $150. Other carriers available for that under $150 are the Beco, Catbird Baby Pikkolo, Angelpack and BabyHawk.

Mei Tais are another option you can find at affordable prices. For under $100 Kozy and Catbird Baby are avaiable to try in our library and the BabyHawk is another option. For under $150 our lending library hosts a Chimparoo Mei Tai.

Ring Slings are available for under $75 such as a Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) or the Maya Wrap Ring Sling. Our library has an SBP carrier. For under $100 there are ring slings offered by Sakura Bloom, Snuggly Baby, Comfy Joey, BBSling all available in our library. Chimparoo also offers a ring sling fo under $100.

Woven Wraps are avaiable at many different price points, there are many that are available on a budget. For under $75 there is Walter’s Organic and The Wrap Nap Fairy. Our Library has a Wrapsody Bali Breeze, Colimacon et Cie (C & C) and a Chimparoo woven wrap all available new for under $100. Also available under $100 are Amazonas. Under $150 offers many more options. Our library has a Doncino, Hoppediz, Girasol, BBSleen and Didymos that could all be found for $150. Also available for $150 would be Storchenwiege, Easy Care and Little Frog.

All of the above are available for new at the prices mentioned but you might be able to find many of them at a similar or even lower price second hand. Although you should keep in mind that babycarriers do hold their market value. For buying used carriers some great resources include the “Babywearing Swap” group on Facebook as well as the “Babywearing on a Budget” another Facebook Group. Thebabywearer.com has forums for buying, selling and trading as well.

Many people often wonder if they could just make something or Do-it-Yourself (DIY). There are many DIY options that our VBE Kirsteen discussed at the meeting. A stretchy wrap is an easy DIY project as no sewing skills are required, as they can be made from Stretchy Jersey fabric that does not fray. A DIY wrap can also be made but does require sewing as it would need to be made from medium or bottom weight Linen, Cotton or Osenburg are the most commonly used. These fabric would need to be hemmed. Another DIY project that requires just a big more skill is the DIY Ring Sling. The same fabrics that can used for a woven wrap could also be used to make a ringsling. The key to making a DIY ringsling is quality materials like the use of gutermann thread. The rings for a DIY ring sling should be purchased from slingrings.com, which are tested for babywearing the rings should NOT be welded rings. Mei Tais and SSC could also be a DIY project but would need to only be attempted by someone with a relatively good experience with sewing. DIY Mei Tai’s can even be constructed from a table cloth as long as their is only a diagonal stretch not a horizontal or vertical stretch tot he fabric. http://www.sleepingbaby.net/ is a great resource for more in-depth DIY infomation and patterns.

Our VBE’s are avaiable at the meetings to answer or offer suggestions for any questions you may have. Attending a meeting is really best way to find out what carrier works for you. As our VBE Beth likes to say, Carriers are like jeans, what might fit me will probably not fit you. Babywearing can be an expensive hobby but there are many ways in which you can keep your baby close and still stay within your personal budget.

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Poppin’s Hip Carry Video Tutorial

The first carry that I was able to successfully nurse in, using a woven wrap was the Poppin’s Hip Carry. I also think it’s a very pretty carry and has therefore become a favorite of mine. The classic Poppin’s Hip Carry is tied under the baby’s bum but for aesthetic reasons and because I feel I can get it just a bit more secure, I prefer to tie it in the back, as in behind my back. A Poppin’s Hip Carry can really be done with any size woven wrap depending on the size of mom and the size of baby. I learned this carry using my base size of a 5 and I found it easier to learn to do with a larger wrap. Once I got the hang of it, I have done it in a longer size 2 and in a size 3 comfortably. The baby still needs seat support from knee to knee in this carry as with any carry so when making your seat please keep the gentle M position in mind. Also keep in mind for nursing you may want to keep baby just a bit lower than “close enough to kiss” once baby has finished nursing you can undo the 2nd knot in your double knot and tighten up a bit to raise baby back up. I tend to just wear baby a tad low just enough to nurse in this carry. Nursing in any carry, especially a woven wrap takes a lot of practice, I still do not feel as tho I have completely mastered it. Below is my video tutorial for Poppin’s Hip Carry tied in back.

http://youtu.be/UIqX1toMdD0

Poppin’s Hip Carry Video Tutorial

Lydia

Wearing Two in One Wrap

By B

Those of you who follow our Facebook page may have noticed my pic the other day of myself wearing 2 toddlers, my own and one I babysit. Several people posted to ask how I did it, so I banged out a quick tutorial at our recent park playdate. I am wearing an 18 month old and a 15 month old in my size 6 Hopp (I’d call it a long 6). We do have a Hoppediz in our lending library as well.

I start off with child 2 on my back. He is in a rucksack carry that is not yet tied off.

Basicallly, I’m going to tie the straps Tibetan and put Baby 1 in the crosses, much like a Front Cross Carry. I criss cross the straps across my chest and bring them through the ruck straps.

I use my arm to make space in the straps where I will put baby

Holding baby in a high burp position, I reach underneath and bring her leg through. She ends up with the X on her bottom. I spread the crosses so that baby is supported. (See the Front Cross Carry tutorial if you need more detailed instructions on that carry.)

Then, I tie a knot behind her back. I’ve also tied under her bottom and I’ve seen it tied in between baby and wearer.

The view from the front

side

and back

I like this carry because I feel like each baby is well supported, but they aren’t pulling on each other as much as some other ways to wear two in one  wrap.

The only drawback is that if the baby on the back wants off, you have to take down the front baby, too.