The act of wearing babies in carrier dates back for thousands of years. Parents have used a variety of cloths, scarves, and ,more recently, buckles and straps to secure their little ones in a safe and fun way. It wasn’t until the modern invention of things such as strollers, walkers, carriages, etc. that babywearing fell out of popularity.
On a recent visit to the in-laws house, we were pouring over old photos and I came across this one (pardon the grainy shot; it’s a picture of a picture). I was pleasantly surprised to see my Father-in-law wearing Baby Brother-in-law in 1976. (My hubby didn’t come along until 1981.) For giggles, we put our 14 month old babe in the exact same carrier for a sweet moment of sentiment.
We have come a long way in the types of carriers we use and the functional means in which we use baby carriers. Back in the ‘70s, for the most part, babywearing was used as a way to get babies out and about, where a stroller couldn’t go. However, nowadays, parents are babywearing because we know how important it is for a mother and father to bond and connect with their baby. We use carriers to keep our babies close so that we can do things we need to, like go on a hike, or clean the house, dry your hair, cook dinner, or chase after the older children. Babywearing may have its ups and downs in popular culture, but it will stay dear in our hearts forever.
Babywearing while travelling is not only a convenience but also a necessity sometimes.
I love being able to wear my son while traveling. Not only is it convenient, it is easy, quick and leaves me with free hands to do other things, such as pull my bags or grab a bite to eat. We have travelled quite a bit by plane in the last few years and it is always so nice to keep my son close to me while walking through busy airports, waiting to go through customs or just trying to get to the next gate in a large airport on time. While I love walking at a toddlers pace the majority of the time, sometimes you just need to get to the gate in a hurry. I don’t have to worry about bumping into anyone with my stroller or stopping at the end of the jetway to open or fold up my stroller and HOPE that the baggage handler will be gentle with my stuff. I walk right onto the plane with my son on my back and quickly find our seats. If I am using a wrap it also has been a great snuggle blanket, pillow and cover up for breastfeeding.
On train rides
it is so much easier for me to get on and off the transportation in a timely manner and not have to struggle with equipment so that I can hold my bags with ease. I have watched fellow passengers struggle with all their belongings and the stress it causes them. I have even been asked to hold a women’s newborn at the security check point when she was traveling on her own as she had to disassemble her stroller and car seat and load it onto the scanner. Of course you never mind holding a little newborn to help a mama out but I thought of how much easier it would have been for her to have the baby in a comfy sling and her hands free to do what she needed.
I have also worn my son while on day trips to museums or the airshow when the day is just a bit longer than little legs will hold out for. It is so nice to be able to hear his comments and have communication that isn’t possible for me to have with him when he sits in a stroller without me stopping to bend over and hear what he is trying to say.
On this last trip I took with my son I was so grateful to have my carrier with me. My son is 3 years old now and can walk the entire time at an airport especially with a direct flight so I thought I wouldn’t need a carrier. As it turns out he hurt his foot the night before our flight in the hotel pool and had to be carried through the large airport. Without my carrier I would have had no way to pull luggage and hold him in arms while travelling solo and being 6 months pregnant. So next time you plan to travel by plane, train or even just in the city for the day consider the convenience of a carrier.
We recently received this gorgeous Didymos Sequoia Waves as a donation from Birdie’s Room. (Thanks!) The pattern of this wrap is absolutely stunning in an outdoor setting. The sun really plays up the subtle beauty of this versatile and neutral wrap.
The color is great because it’s Dad-friendly, but the varying shades keep it from being remotely blah. It’s really flattering for a lot of skin tones and would work with many wardrobe choices.
The weave of this wrap is more airy than some. This makes it a cool choice for hot weather. I still find it to be supportive for my 20 lb baby.
It is softer out of the box than some, not needing much breaking in. The more open weave does make it more prone to pulls/snags, but that same openness makes pulls easier to fix.
We have this in a size 4 (3.6 m), which I find to be a very versatile size. You can do a lot of carries without a lot of extra bulk, very nice for warm weather. This length and the thin fabric help Waves fold up fairly small for on the go. Just be careful if your diaper bag has velcro closures!
All in all, this is a beautiful wrap, thin and airy, terrific for hot day, but supportive enough for use year round.
I have written before about wearing babies at concerts, but wanted to revisit this topic since I now have bigger babies. One child is 16 months
and the other is almost four.
We recently attended a show that did not allow strollers.The easiest thing was to load up both boys to carry them in. I typically use a SSC that can be used interchangeably. This time, I added the Kozy mei tai from our library to my concert gear. Daddy carried one
and I carried the other.
The venue had a very steep hill that was not at all safe for my little guy to walk on. Carrying my older boy made it easy to manuever crowds (and walk faster than a snail). Both had a great time and fell asleep during the second set.
Easy to lay down my sleeping toddler right in the carrier!
Bamberoo Mei Tai
Reviewed with child age: 16 months
The Bamberoo MT from the BWI Peoria library has the regular style body (which is a bit more structured than many other mei tai carriers) with extra long straps. For me, extra long straps are a big bonus since I prefer to be able to tie Tibetan (adding a chest strap).
Long straps give a few more tying options and a little more to your babywearing style! Long straps can also be helpful when parents have different body sizes.
I wore this carrier to the farmer’s market, grocery shopping and on walks. My 16 month old felt even lighter than he does in a soft structured carrier (my usual carrier) and I could easily carry him long distances.
Using a mei tai carrier is fairly easy to learn. With my 16 month old, I use a back carry and found that after a couple of uses I had the hip scooting and the tying down pat. The tying takes a bit more time than a buckle, so I would probably use something different for quick in and out trips, but for those mid length trips, the extra time is worth the comfort. Mei tais make it easy to get just the right amount closeness in your carry and are easily adjusted.
Bamberoo carriers come in a variety of colors and patterns. They also make soft structured carriers and wrap conversions. Custom work is available. They are in high demand, so start looking for yours soon!
Today we will talk about carrier storage. There are many ways people store their carriers. This is just a few ways you can try. I have a small shoe cubby that I keep my longer wraps in. A basket on top with my shorter wraps. A child’s coat rack to hang ring slings. I also keep a larger basket on the floor with a SSC and sometimes a MT in it. These are all kept near the door so that I can just grab something to bring with me on the go.
This week we will talk about some of the ways to break in a new wrap. Sometimes when we purchase a wrap new from a retailer the fabric is a bit stiff and more difficult to wrap with. These are some tips to help soften the wrap more quickly.
The first thing you can do is wash your wrap according to the directions on the label. For cotton wraps I usually wash on cold, for hemp or linen blends I will wash on warm or hot. Silk and wool I hand wash. I like to line dry my wraps to avoid any shrinkage but you can put your cotton in the dryer. If you do line dry you can put your wrap in the dryer for some air dry time with some tennis balls, wool balls or I have even heard of people putting in their Crocs with the wrap. I have never tried that last one.
After a wash the next best thing to do is to steam iron your wrap(do not steam iron your wool or silk wraps). You may want to do this a few times to soften it up.
You can also try the “butt method”. This is when you take the wrap with you and sit on it throughout the day, in the car, on the couch or even snuggle in bed with it. Use it as blanket on the couch and let your little ones snuggle with it too.
An other method to get the kids involved is to make a hammock out of the wrap.
You can use the braiding method, where you braid and unbraid the wrap many times.
Or the pull through ring slings method, if you have a pair of those around. You just place the fabric through the rings, hold onto one end of the fabric and pull it through the rings. You must hold the two rings in your other hand while pulling the fabric through from one end to the other.
And finally the best method for breaking in your new wrap is to actually wrap with it, then steam iron it again!