Baby Carriers – for expecting parents

I have had a lot of friends recently ask me what carrier would be best for them, to use when their baby arrives. (I LOVE being asked this, as it means more babies being up close with their parents, where they want to be – it isn’t nicknamed the 4th trimester for no reason hehe) Sometimes, this can be a hard question to answer, as everyone is different, and everyone wants different things from their carriers.

Firstly, I recommend getting along to a baby wearing meet if you can. This will allow you to touch and feel different carriers and see what you like best. You can learn what other people found to be good and bad about each carrier, and sometimes even test one out.

For those of you who cannot make it to a meet, or want some more information before you go, I will talk about the three “main” talked about options (Hug-a-Bub, Ergo and BabyBjorn), and then talk about benefits of some other options. But the first thing to learn and become familiar with is the TICKS guidelines for baby wearing. This ensures baby is kept safe while being carried.
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Didymos Hemp Woven Wraps

I recently received a second hand PHI (Petrol Hemp Indio by Didymos), and before that a Didymos Berry Hemp Lilies WCRS (wrap converted ring sling). They are so soft and lush, and supportive! I’m almost ready to sell all the rest of my stash (which is a huge deal!), I’ve even stopped using my SSCs.

The PHI came recommended as a great wrap for toddlers and warm weather. It hasn’t been too hot, but it sure is comfy! (And filled with sleepy dust, apparently)

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The Berry Lilies was a purchase for Ballina Girl to have a legacy wrap (Or ring sling rather). So pretty and soft, and only ring sling she will go in to. Only thing I’m not sure about is that because I wear the rings on my left shoulder, and I can’t deal with light colours (the “wrong side”), the lilies end up being under and on the bum.

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How to use a Woven Wrap

So, you’ve got a woven wrap in your hot little hands, now what?

When you get a brand new wrap, you will need to wash it to remove some of the stiffness, but also to help set the fibres. Finely Woven has a great list of care instructions for the different woven materials, but ensure you read the care instructions that came with your wrap.

Some wraps require “breaking in”, which is a term used to describe the process of turning your stiff wrap in to a “floppy” one, easier and more comfortable to wrap with. Finely Woven has also listed commonly used processes for doing this. A lot of people prefer to buy second hand to skip this stage, or loan out their new wrap to friends who are “good” at breaking in wraps.

Now on to the more exciting stuff, actually wrapping with it!

There are many different carries you can do, and there is a basic list here, created by TheBabyWearer, including the length of wrap you will need.

Here are my lists of what I think works for different reasons. I have categorised them in to Front Carries, Back Carries (including how to get baby on to your back), Hip Carries and Torso carries (meaning no passes going over your shoulder, so only your torso is keeping it up).

Babywearing Meet at MacLeans Ridge

Had a meet at a local mum’s house yesterday, with some of the mum’s from her mother’s group and, the always delightful, Kate (and her two gorgeous girls).

I took all the carriers I had with me, and was feeling a bit nervous about being asked about back carries, as, even though I do do them, I don’t really feel as though how I do it is a good example. Luckily, being mums new to babywearing, they were only interested in the “easy” ones, so only tried on my Mei Tais and Ring Slings. The winner seemed to be the DidyTai, which I lent to one of the mums, as she was packing to move to Melbourne over the weekend. I lent another mum my Close Carrier, as her bub was still little, and the Close Carrier (now called Caboo by Close Parent) is, in my opinion, the hands down best newborn carrier you can get (for a person new to babywearing anyway)!

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After they left, Kate and Georgie raided the rest of my stash, trying different ring slings and feeling different wraps. We discussed shorties, and I whipped out the size 2 Double Rainbow I have temporarily traded (for my size 5 Easycare #01) to show them how you could squeeze out a double hammock tied rebozo with it (only thing I have “mastered” with it so far).

Kate had a long journey ahead of her, so head off with her precious cargo, hoping for a better road trip home than she had coming down. And Georgie and I looked at hip carries on YouTube to see if she could start using her wrap more, until I had to leave to collect BallinaGirl. (We tried Leigh’s Robyn’s Carry, and the “Coolest Hip Carry”, which I wore BallinaBoy in to pack up and get going)

I have been speaking to Mel from Beetlebums, who is an advocate for KangaCollective and all things babywearing, and am hopefully going to be able to take part in a course so I will be “certified” to instruct on certain carries. Very exciting for the Northern Rivers Babywearers community and the new mums looking for help.

The next meet for Northern Rivers Babywearers will be held at a house in North Ocean Shores. Contact me, or join our Facebook group for more details.

P.S. I also made some delicious raw chocolate for the get together.. But BallinaBoy slobbers on them, so I had to have most of them.. What a pity 😛

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Note: Kanga Collective seems to be down at this current time, but here is a little blurb about them taken from Nurture Magazine:
“Kanga Collective
Contact Email: mel@beetlebums.com.au
Website: http://www.kangacollective.com
Details:
Kanga Collective is an all inclusive community, many people with many beliefs, and one directive. Wearing our babies will change the world.
We embrace and wholeheartedly believe that baby-wearing is more than just a mode of transport. It's a parenting tool. 'Time in' rather than 'Time out'.
Our vision is to make baby wearing mainstream via community support and education. We're passionate, committed and excited about baby wearing and our flourishing collective."

MySol vs DidyTai

I bought a MySol Diamondweave Caribe a while ago, second hand from a lovely mamma in the Brisbane Baby Wearing Community. It was so pretty, and while I would’ve preferred a rainbow of some sort, I heard that a Diamondweave was very soft, so was keen to give it a try. It arrived, and it was lovely! Two different colours on either side (can be worn either side out), one being a light almost aqua colour, and the other a light brown/ran colour. It was my first Mei Tai, and it was so easy to use, I soon wrote off all my other soft structured carriers (full buckle, mainstream brands).

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First time in the MySol

It has a padded waist band that can be threaded through two different areas depending on the length of your baby, and has a drawstring between their legs that can be used to cinch it to create the perfect seat for your baby. It also has padded shoulder straps. It was very easy to use and understand, and came with an instruction booklet, a chest strap for back carrying, a little bag that can be threaded on to the waist strap to hold your keys/phone/wallet, and a little carry bag to store it all in.

This carrier was super soft and floppy, and easy to adjust. It is VERY newborn (squish) worthy. I lent it to a lot of my friends who had newborns to welcome them to the world of babywearing. My partner chose it as his preferred one (and he dislikes babywearing as it is “too hard” and “uncomfortable”), and said he would use it, so I guess that is saying something!

Negatives I found, I don’t really like padded straps, they seem to work towards my neck and/or seem to dig in to my shoulders when wearing bub for extended periods. I also found, by having some lovely petite friends, that the padded waist band did not allow for a tight fit around their waist, and therefore did not allow for bub to sit in the optimum position for mum and bub for all users. I was not able to check this, but it could possibly be an option to double it over and tie it under the babies bum instead, if you were too petite, which is what I could do with some other MTs I have now (I am not petite enough to be able to do this tie in the MySol, but could tie it normally).

I discovered that I prefer wrap straps on MTs, so when another friend was selling her DidyTai Geckos I jumped at it. It arrived while we were on holiday, unfortunately (the day we flew out!) so didn’t get to try it until we got home. I liked the colours, an was surprised how much I liked the geckos, with even DP saying he really liked the look and colours (& tuataras on it – bloody kiwi!).

The DidyTai has no padding what so ever, and a drawstring in the middle of one side of the carrier to cinch it. I don’t fin this ideal, as if the knot was to sit under babies bum, babies who don’t wear thick cloth nappies may feel uncomfortably by it. It also makes it harder to adjust while babies is in it, to be able to get the perfect fit. There is also only one setting for height, meaning you will need to fold it over I you need a shorter body (not required for my giant 6month old though).

I find the DidyTai a lot more comfortable for me than the MySol. I also find it cooler as it doesn’t feel as thick without the padding that is in the MySol. I feel the DidyTai hugs baby more than the MySol, although there is no way to cinch the neck area, like there is on the MySol. And although I prefer no padding for me, I think I would prefer to have some padding around the leg area for baby, as it can leave red marks and feel as though (to me) that it is digging in to baby, although, I have never had a complaint, or sign of problems other than the red marks when taking him out.

In summary, if you like padded straps, and aren’t “too” petite, I think the MySol would be the best choice, but if you prefer wrap straps, like me, than the DidyTai is a lot more comfortable, and is my choice, even without all the added features of the MySol.

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Wearababy’s Koala Ring Tai

Tinoki emailed me, while on holiday, to let me know a carrier I had been on the look out for came in. It was a Koala Ring Tai made by wearababy, in Girasol Northern Lights, with longer straps (so I could tie Tibetan in a back carry, use it as a Mei Tai still, and possibly tandem carry in it). So when I got back, I had to sell some of my stash to to be able to buy it. Luckily, a friend had already had an eye on one of my carriers that I didn’t use that much, but was my partner’s preferred one – a MySol made by Girasol (I will make a post about this carrier too).

I was pretty excited when it arrived, and, at first, I wasn’t in love with it. I wasn’t sure about the colours, and it was still stiff. I was a bit bummed but, I washed it and started breaking it in. It is now my favourite! It is still not as easy as I had hoped, as I think at times I somehow get the straps twisted and bunched while pulling it through the rings, but it is so comfy and easy to throw on, and I don’t have to have the tails on the ground while I am putting it on – bonus for rainy weather!! Although, I did run the tails through the mud while camping when walking around with it hanging off my hips – oops. Only thing I’d change now is having a hybrid ring waist too.

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Christmas Shopping

Babywearing helps with the crowds while trying to get your Christmas shopping done.

We are in Sydney at the moment, and with a toddler who likes to explore and crowds bigger than we are used to, baby wearing is incredibly handy (even with baby instead of trying to maneuver a pram through the crowds and tight places).

Ballina Daddy even pulled out the ring sling when we were out. Ring slings are really handy for short, quick trips. And are generally small enough to roll up and put in your bag when not in use.

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