Category Archives: Soft Structured Carriers

Meeting Recap: Emergency Babywearing

by VBE Sarah

(note: a lot of the carries we demonstrated were inspired by this blog post)

For our special topic this month, we talked about the ways in which babywearing and baby carriers can be very useful in emergency situations.

 

1) First we talked about uses (other than wearing a baby) for wraps or carriers in an emergency

-you can use a wrap to cross a waterway or pull someone up, as a splint, or as a tourniquet

-you can use any carrier to carry supplies

-you can carry an injured pet (although as a side note, a pillowcase is a MUCH better impromptu cat carrier than a woven wrap (eek!)). In an emergency situation, you may not have free hands for your little bitty dogs, or what if you have a really large dog that you have to move? A carrier may be the easiest way to get to the vet.

 

2) Next we discussed some carriers that are useful to keep in an emergency supply kit, in your car, or even under your pillow or bed

-Has your child outgrown a carrier? Instead of selling it online (the market is super slow right now), what about keeping it as an emergency carrier?

-Maybe you want to buy a specific carrier just for emergency situations. A pouch sling is an excellent choice. Pouch slings are very inexpensive and compact. Remember, though, that they are not one size fits all – you have to size a pouch sling to the wearer (different brands have different sizing schemes, but the main rule is that the sling should fit from one shoulder to the top of your opposite hip). There are also some great sscs that fold up nice and tiny, like our lending library’s Bitybean or Connecta.

 

3) Finally, our VBEs demonstrated how to fashion carriers out of everyday materials.

(As a general disclaimer, none of these are tested for safety. You should always use your best judgment for whether something feels safe to you. Some of the front carries we demonstrated are not entirely hands free, so always be aware of your child)

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Jill showed how you can use a scarf to do a rebozo carry (or even just pretied it to fit from one shoulder to the opposite hip)

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Kirsteen demonstrated a strap carry. You can use anything strap-like (a bunched up long scarf, the belt from your robe, or even some nylon rope) to carry your child on your back. This carry is exactly like a ruck tied under bum, just make sure that your child cannot get their arms under the straps, or they could fall out

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Kirsteen also demonstrated how to use a bed sheet, folded lengthwise, for a rebozo carry

This isn’t pictured, but Kirsteen also threaded the scarf through a shirt for a makeshift podaegi. Sarah showed how you can also thread a scarf through the sleeves of your shirt that you are wearing to make a pocket for a newborn. Tie the tails under bum and you’re good to go!

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Sarah showed how you can put a belt over your shirt for a newborn carry (not hands free, by any means!)

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Sarah also demonstrated a torso towel carry

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Finally, Sarah wore Jill on her back in a strap carry, to show how you can even wear an injured or infirm adult in an emergency situation

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Hopefully none of us will ever need to test these skills in an emergency situation. But in the meantime, it’s not a bad idea to think about how babywearing could help you in a disaster. Do you have an emergency plan?

 

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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What Can You Do While Babywearing? Be on the News!

By B

Last week, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a local news show, Living Well, about our group and International Babywearing Week. I wore my daughter during the interview. Despite being in a strange new environment, with bright lights, strange machines and plenty of strangers, she was content, thanks to babywearing.

Here’s a clip of the interview.

 

Ergo Reviews and Comparison

By HD

Interested in an Ergo but confused about which one you want to buy?  I had the opportunity to try out 3 different Ergo styles to find out just what the differences are.

Ergo carriers are soft structured buckle carriers that are great long haul carriers (infant through toddler).  All three have sleeping hoods and the Performance and Organic both have a zipper closed pocket for carrying small items on the body of the carrier.  They come in a variety of colors (depending on the model) and are easily adjustable between multiple wearers.

Ergo carriers are easy to find, you can buy them online and through local retailers like Target and Babies R Us.  These carriers are a popular choice among both moms and dads!


Performance

The Performance is the sturdiest carrier of the three.  The shoulder straps, waist strap and body are more contoured and fit a little differently that the Sport or the Organic.  The inside of the carrier has a mesh water resistant liner that is breathable and helps pull moisture away from baby in hot weather or on long walks or hikes where the parent may become hot.

I used this carrier a few times during my older son’s soccer practice (when the temperature was in the 90’s) and did not feel as hot as I would in other soft structured carriers.

Sport

The Sport is surprising light weight and takes up less space than the other two types.  The hood on this carrier is also easily removable with buttons snaps.  It folds up a little smaller and would be great for throwing in a diaper bag.  My son also felt much lighter in this carrier than in the other two.  This carrier was great for doing things like housework and yard work because of the weight.  There is also a vent in the body of the carrier that is supposed to keep baby cooler.


Organic

The Organic is the most comfy of the three.  The fabric is a little softer and it has a bit more fabric in the body than the others.

This is just a great for anytime carrier, although not as cool as the Performance or as compact as the Sport, this was my favorite (and my son’s favorite) of the three.  This carrier just works for everything from snuggling to hiking.  I also love the vibrant prints.

If you would like to try the different Ergo styles for yourself, join us at a monthly meeting or open help hours!

*Credits on the babywearing pictures to my four-year old son.

Kinderpack Review

By B

The Kinderpack was generously donated to the library by Kindercarry. Thanks!

I tried this out with my 11-13 month old.This is a super duper comfy carrier. It is very well thought out, with some nice little touches. Our carrier is the “standard” size and it fits baby girl just right.

Kinderpacks come in a variety of sizes, from infant to preschool. You can also get custom sized straps from petite to plus sized. Info on the standard size from the KP site:

standard: 16″ h x 17″ w- ages 8mo-3 yrs : starting at 20lbs/28″ and up to 38″

standard is the choice for most people.  Please realize that the standard will fit up to 3 years old/4T.  This is the size to buy if you want to buy one carrier without having to size up later.”

Kinderpacks are made by  WAHM right here in Illinois. This is another carrier you can tell is made by a babywearing mama. It has some great features that only a babywearer would think of.

The shoulder straps adjust at both ends of the buckles. This makes it easier to get the exact fit that you want.

I love the hood. It tucks into the body. The cavity then snaps closed, creating kind of a headrest, a great idea.

Hood out:

And in:

The website has a lot of excellent info on the carriers, the ordering process, even videos on how to wear it.

I found the whole carrier somewhat thicker than other SSCs in the body area and the shoulder straps to be wider. The fabric is soft, but sturdy.

Like all SSCs, the Kinderpack is great at distributing weight to your hips. It is quick and easy to get on and off. It can be used for front, hip or back carries. It is easy to fold up compactly to carry with you. I think soft structured carriers are also easy to wear empty if baby wants to hop out and crawl around for a bit. They offer good coverage for nursing as well.

I tried my 4.5  year old in it

For a large kid in a carrier not really designed for a giant child, this was pretty comfy. Even though this is sized for a much smaller person, he still has a nice seat in this, with good positioning.

Bottom line: Kinderpacks are a very comfortable, very customizable carrier with a lot of special touches.

 

Babywearing in CO: Onya Goes Traveling with a Toddler

BY KK

We took the Onya on our vacation to Boulder, Colorado, this summer with our almost two year old who is about 25 pounds.

Since I was recovering from a slow-to-heal stress fracture that was acting up while we were there, I wasn’t able to do as much hiking as I hoped.  I had planned to for my husband to use the carriers. So we didn’t do as much babywearing as planned.

That said, these carriers still made our trip so much easier.
One huge benefit was getting around the Denver airport. My husband was even allowed to wear our son through security! He had our son in the Onya while we rode a shuttle bus from the car rental drop off to the airport, on the escalators, on a train between concourses and on several moving sidewalks.  It went so much more smoothly with the carrier than if we’d tried to manage a stroller and our luggage.
We never had the right carrier and table set up and toddler temperament coincide to try the high chair feature out. But I was excited about the potential and think this be a great feature to use.

Oddly I’ve never nursed in a carrier before—I get overwhelmed trying new things and the situation never arose where I decided I had to figure it out previously—but I managed to figure it out when we got to Boulder Falls as my son had been wanting milk for most of the drive there and was not going to let my husband wear him. I was impressed how well the carrier worked for discrete nursing as this was a popular spot.

We do have a ring sling and an Ergo that we use sparingly and left at home. I can say I’m very glad we listened to our friends and borrowed a toddler friendly carrier for our trip.