Saturday, March 1, 2014

Babywearing Safety

I can not stress enough how important safe babywearing is. It is by far the most important thing we teach as educators.

Here are the guidelines Babywearing International teaches. Its a nice and simple acronym and easy to remember ABC.

Making sure your baby can breathe is the #1 thing we teach. Make sure your baby does not fall chin to chest. If a baby's chin falls to their chest it can cut off their airway causing them to suffocate. Another way to make sure the airway is not restricted is by making sure that there is not any type of fabric covering their face. This is especially important when you're wrapping your baby in a stretchy wrap or woven wrap.

Body Support
You want to make sure that your baby is properly supported. You don't want them slouching down in the carrier (which can cause problems with airway) as this can cause the weight to be wrongly distributed. You want your baby to be supported knee to knee. This should make their bottom look like an M position. This will cause the weight to be placed on their bottom and not their feet. Your baby should always be high enough that you can kiss the top of their head.

Babywearing isn't fun or helpful if it isn't comfortable for wearer and baby. Making sure that your carrier is properly put on and adjusted can help correct that. If you're having a difficult time using your carrier or learning a new carry use a spotter or check out your local group for help.

Wrapping Tips
  • Babies should be arms in until they get proper head control 
  • Never never NEVER using a stretchy for a back carry.
  • The tighter you are able to get the wrap while you are wrapping, the comfier its going to be for every one. Take your time wrapping and get a nice and tight wrap job. 
  • If baby is on your back you should be able to lean your head back and touch the top of their head. (this has exceptions) 
  • To get wrap more comfy on the shoulders you can always spread the rails and make them wider. 
  • Back wrapping can be very intimidating. It is best to master front carries before you attempt a back carry. The first time you try a back carry have a spotter to help you and do it away from hard surfaces. 
  • Use a mirror

SSC Tips
  • Babies should be arms in until they get proper head control
  • Make sure you do not have a counterfeit carrier.
  • Always check carrier for signs of wear and tear.
  • Master front carriers before you attempt back carries.

Ringsling Tips
  • Make sure your sling has weight tested rings. Rings from a craft store are not safe. is a great place for rings.
  • Always check sling for signs of wear and tear.
  •  Make sure you're not using a recalled sling. Bag style slings should never be used for risk of suffocation.
  • Master from carries before you attempt back carries.


You should only wear your baby while doing activities you would do when holding your baby.
  1. Don't cook while wearing
  2. Don't jump around, go jogging, ride horses, etc.
  3. Watch to make sure baby wont grab anything dangerous
  4. Never wearing your baby in the car
Narrow based carriers (Bjorn, Snugglie, Infantino, etc.) are NOT considered dangerous. They are weight and safety tested to the same standards as carriers like Ergo, Boba, Beco, etc. There is information being spread that these carriers cause Hip dysplasia. This is not true, there are no studies out there to confirm this. There are a few studies out there showing that it can cause issues for babies who are already susceptible but they do not cause it. Narrow based carriers are not dangerous and they were a stepping stone for many of us.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spreading the Love

I've been tossing around ideas for this post in my head for a while. Not entirely sure how to get my point across but wanting to try anyways because I feel like it is an important message.

There is a pretty large stigma around babywearing. People assume its just for parents who choose to go the attachment parenting route. Parents even think that babywearing could be just another part of the ''mommy wars''. A way to one up other parents. I'm not going to deny that there are people out there like that. There are always going to be people like that no matter the topic but a majority of wearing parents do not wear for the benefit of other people. They do it for the benefit of their children.

Its true that a majority of attachment parents babywear. Its also true that most attachment parents don't spank, breastfeed, co-sleep, and aren't typically yellers. That doesn't mean you need to follow every single one to consider yourself an attachment parent. I spank my son on occasion if he is doing something dangerous. I also tend to be a yeller. I'm still an attachment parent. Dr.Sears says that attachment parenting is not a one shoe fits all. Its listening to the cues of each specific child.

You can also twist this the other way. If you don't want to be labeled as an attachment parent you can still babywear! Babywearing doesn't make you an attachment parent. There are so so many other practical reasons to wear your child.

The point Im trying to get across is that babywearing can benefit everyone, men included!! My sons father and step father both love to wear my son. His grandmother has worn him, aunts, cousins, etc. It really does work for everyone. My father who was NOT an attachment parent has mentioned how cool he thinks babywearing is.

I always always always gift a ringsling to my friends and family at baby showers I attend. And every single time that parent ends up happy they received it. It might take them a while to really see the value in a good supportive carrier but they eventually learn to depend and rely on the sling. They're a real life saver!! If you see a mom, dad, or care provider struggling ,and you see they could benefit from babywearing, go up to them and spread the love!! Educate! Show them all the great resources out there. There is most likely a local group in their area and if not there are a ton of amazing online forums and groups. Some even have premade business cards that you can print out at home.

Babywearing has given me the confidence i needed as a mother. Who wouldn't want to spread the love?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Intro to Ringslings

A ringsling is a carrier that has a piece of fabric with 2 rings attached to one end. The fabric is threaded through the rings (like a belt) to make a pocket for the baby to sit in. The tail (extra fabric) can be adjusted to fit the wearer.

Ringsling Shoulders

There isn't really a 'type' of ringsling. They're all pretty much the same thing- a piece of fabric sewn to rings. HOWEVER there are different ways to sew that fabric to the rings. We call these different shoulders. They all fit into three basic categories but there can be sling differences between each category.


Gathered shoulders are all very basic. The fabric is just pulled through the rings and sewn flat. There are no pleats (folded fabric) involved. This makes for a nice wide adjustable shoulder.

Photo thanks to


A pleated shoulder has a bunch of pleats (folds) of fabric going around the sling. Before the fabric is sewn it is folded in different ways, the rings are pulled through, and then it is sewn to itself. This shoulder type is the most narrow and most parents tend to think it stays in place a little better than the other styles.

Photo thanks to Whitney Scott from BWI of Wichita


This shoulder is a mix between the two. It normally has a few pleated areas and a few gathered areas. Its a little more adjustable than pleated and a little more contained than gathered. 

Why They're So Great

Great Daddy Carriers

The AMAZING thing about ringslings is they're very easy to learn how to use and simple. In my experience dads don't tend to be wrappers. They want something they can throw on real quick and not have to fumble around. This also makes them great for grandparents, moms who don't like wrapping, and toddlers. Toddlers want up one second and down the next. Thats frustrating when you spent 5 minutes getting them up in a wrap just for them to want down 2 minutes later. With a ringslings taking them in and out isn't as big of a burden. 

Step-Daddy Babywearing
Daddy Babywearing


You an nurse in any carrier but sense ringslings are so easily adjustable they tend to be a go-to for nursing. If your baby wants to nurse you simply pull on the bottom ring -with other hand on baby- just enough to lower them to your breast. (Quick tip- tails make a great nursing cover if you wish to cover up.) When your'e finished nursing you just pull on the tail to tighten back up

Extra Uses of the Tail

The tail of a ringsling is just the leftover fabric you're not using while wearing the sling. There are other things you can do with it though besides letting it hang down your legs. One is using the extra tail to tuck into the top rail of the ringsling. This creates extra padding to support a newborns head. Another is to wrap the extra tail around the rings if they start digging into your chest. I also love using my tail as a nursing cover.

Wearing my premie second cousin and using the tail for extra head support
Tail wrapped around rings
Using tail as a nursing cover

Extra Photos

Ringslings are my FAVORITE so I can't help myself and am going to show off some more photos of them. Everyone should have a ringsling in their 'stash' of carriers. They work from newborn-toddler and are easy enough for all the care providers to learn to use. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Breaking In A Wrap

A local mama friend of mine recently asked me to chop and hem a brand new size 7 wrap for her. She was nice enough to offer to let me ''break in'' the wrap before I chopped it into two smaller sizes.. There are many many MANY reasons people prefer broken in wraps. This can sometimes be pretty difficult, but there are a lot of different ways it can be done. What you're doing is breaking down the actual fibers of the wrap. This makes the wrap softer, more moldable, and makes the wrap easier to wrap with.

  1. This is going to be the most obvious one of all. The more you wear your wrap the more broken in it will get. Like your favorite old pair of jeans. They're more comfortable because they've been worn so many times.
  2. Wash and dry your wrap per manufacturer instructions. This helps for a few different reasons. There could be a few things (like dye) still on your wrap that make the fibers more stiff than they would normally be. Just keep in mind things like Wool felts extremely easily, bamboo and silk don't like heat but hemp loves it. 
  3. Iron your wrap. Again, keep in mind different fibers react differently to heat. Steam ironing your wrap is extremely effective in helping a wrap get softer. I find this very tedious but its honestly not that bad. 
  4. Sleep with your wrap. I love to lay wraps than need broken in down on my sheets and I just sleep on top of them. 
  5. Sit on your wraps when you drive. Just bunch them up and pop down on top of it. 
  6. Use your wraps as blankets. This is a big thing in our house. Jackson is super attached to a handful of our wraps. He carries them around with him, sleeps with them, covers up with them as blankies all the time. Its not surprise these are the most broken in ones. 
  7. Braid your wrap. For you crocheting moms this is simply the chain stitch. ( Photos further down)
  8. Twist your wrap up on top of itself. Place one tail (end) of your wrap on the ground, step on it, and keep twisting an twisting until it starts folding into itself. the other end will start folding the other way so its easier if you do this with two people. One twists while the other untwists the other end as you go (Photos further down)
  9. Use Slingrings!! Thread up your wrap in the rings like you would a belt and simply drag the rings down the length of the wrap. This one also works best with two people. One person holds the end of wrap while the other drags the rings. 
  10. Make your wrap into a hammock. Take your wrap under a table and tie a knot over the table and let your children play in it =) You can also use a crib or weight bearing hooks in your ceiling for this.

     Braiding a Wrap

Twisting a Wrap

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Babywearing: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I'm really excited to have our first guest writer for Beginner Babywearing!! I hope these personal experiences will reach out to you guys and show how babywearing has different roles in everyones lives.

Guest Writer: Amie Cheatham Austin 

I was introduced to babywearing when my daughter was born in 2010. She was a happy baby and babywearing was not something I came to out of necessity, but something I loved because of the convenience and the opportunities for snuggles. At the time I was working two jobs and the chance to come home after a long day and wear her to sleep was something I treasured. But babywearing also gave me some unexpected things- aside from the cuddles, I found comfort and community.

The Good
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I used to joke that half of the reason I got married and had kids was so that I could dress everyone up in coordinating costumes. This year, babywearing played a fun role in our costumes. We all dressed as characters from Sesame Street and I wore my son (dressed as Oscar the Grouch) in a carrier I decorated as a trashcan. It was so much fun and we got so many compliments! We even started a Babywearing Halloween Costume Contest in a group I help admin. It was wonderful to be able to keep my son close to me and happy while Trick or Treating with his big sister. It allowed me to be present with her while she went through the neighborhood instead of having my attention pulled away by carrying my son in arms or pushing a stroller.

The Bad
When my daughter was only a few weeks old, she got very sick and had to be hospitalized. We later learned that she had a birth defect affecting her kidneys. We tried to treat it, but had very little success and she spent a lot of time in the hospital during the first six months of her life. When she was just 8 months old she had a big, bilateral surgery to repair the problems with her kidneys. Watching her go back for surgery with the doctor was one of the scariest moments of my life, and the time I spent in the waiting room hoping for an update was torture. The surgery was successful but the week following it was hard on all of us. She had a drainage tube in her stomach and at only 8 months old, had no understanding of why she wasn’t allowed to pull on it. Wearing her during that time saved all of us. I would put her in an SSC with her tubes through the arm hole. My husband made a little portable pocket to put the bag in and clipped that to the side so I could be hands free and my daughter couldn’t reach the tubes to tug on them. It was wonderful and made what was such a tough time that much easier.

The Ugly
In June of this year I received a very scary call. My father was sick and in the hospital with an infection in his lungs. The week that followed was the worst of my life. He was hospitalized on a Friday and died on Wednesday. It was horrifying, but I was lucky to have that last week to spend with him and say goodbye and tell him I loved him. Following his unexpected death, I found myself “in charge” of everything. Despite being the youngest of four children, I somehow was responsible for coordinating with the hospital, the attorney who had written his will, and the funeral home- all while I had my two small children at home. It was very difficult. My dad was a lifelong sailor and always saw himself as a Jimmy Buffet-esque character. When planning his funeral service, we decided to have a very strict “shorts and flip flops” dress code, just like he would have wanted. I was to give the eulogy. When the day came, my clingy baby boy refused to be held by anyone but me. So with the start of the service approaching, I wrapped him on my back in Ahoi- a wrap that had always made me think of my sailor father, with its anchors and ships wheels. I swayed in the back while people got up and spoke about how my father had touched their lives, how he had helped them- some spoke of how he had saved their lives through his outreach work in the community. It was a beautiful thing. When it was my turn to go up, my son, the child who bore my father’s name, had fallen asleep on my back. I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes. I could feel my son’s breath on my neck and feel my dad’s presence in that moment. It centered me. I gave the eulogy with my son happily sleeping close to my heart. I don’t know that I would have made it through without it. I realized in that moment that babywearing is not just good for the babies. It’s for us too. Wearing him gave me a sense of peace and comfort in a room that was otherwise spinning. 
When it was time to leave, I was loading all of the flowers that had been sent into my car to head back to my home where we would receive friends and family. I found a beautiful arrangement in my favorite colors with a note. “Even though we cannot physically be here for you, please know our love and thoughts are with you today.” It was from my babywearing friends. People I had never met face to face, had only come to know through the community surrounding this thing we call babywearing. I am unable to express how touching the gesture of love and support was for me. I had spent that week being strong for everyone else, thinking of everyone else- and here the people in this community were taking the time to reach out to ME and let me know that I was cared for too.

Sure, babywearing is a wonderful tool for bonding with your child or dealing with a high needs baby. But anyone approaching this community should be warned- you will get so much more than you bargained for.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You Paid What?!

Woven Wraps are expensive. They are and although it might seem crazy for someone just entering the babywearing community there IS reason for it. 

  • Woven Wrap companies use very high quality material. These pieces of fabric are weight tested far beyond the weight limit of your child at home. Most use only organic fibers (like Didymos) and all use SAFE dyes. Would you want yucky toxic dyes next to your babies skin? Neither do the wrap companies. They truly care for the safety of your child. 
  • The price of fabric is expensive. ANY type of fabric. It isn't cheap, and when you think about how much fabric it takes to make a wrap the cost adds up. The most common size wrap is 4.6 meters long (Which is LONG!!)
  • Wraps are going to be set under extreme regulations and safety tests coming up in 2014. Most companies are already compliant. This testing isn't free. Its actually thousands of dollars. 
  • The wrap companies care about their employees. They pay them fairly. They pay the farmers fairly. They make sure that they are paying what the material is actually worth. Which is why most of them are apart of the fair trade act. 
Some wraps are more expensive than others. Sometimes it depends on brand. Sometimes it depends on the material blend of the wrap.
  • Cotton compared to other types of material is relatively cheap. If you wanted a wrap with different blends of material (like silk, hemp, and linen) then the price of the wrap is going to go up because those cost more. 
  • Size makes a difference as well. You're obviously going to be expected to pay more if you're getting a longer size wrap. 
  • Some wraps had limited quantities of them made. If this wrap is sought after that causes a problem. What happens when a bunch of people want the same wrap? The price goes up. 
  • Some wraps are handwoven and one of a kind. If I were a weaver putting in 20+ hours on a wrap I would want a decent amount of money for it.
Sometimes its personal.
  • One time there was a wrap that I HAD to have. I couldn't find it anywhere and I knew this would be the wrap I would carry my grandbabies in. Well I found it eventually and I knew it was over priced. Not by much but by about $40 making the wrap a total of $240. At the time that was a lot of money for me to blow (it still is) but I paid it anyways and I'm SO glad I did. Its our favorite wrap. 
  • Some woman do it because they know they can resell it for pretty close to what they paid (normally). I have done this many times. When an unexpected bill comes up I know I can quickly sell a wrap or two and not have to worry. 
  • I have many wraps. Not as many as I used to but still a good amount. I use them everyday and I use different ones for different things. I have one pair of tennis shoes and a pair of boots and get my hair cut about once a year. that's all I need. But some woman need 10 different pairs of shoes and get their hair dyed every 6 weeks. Its the same thing. I spend money on whats important to me.
At the end of the day a wrap is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Why would they want to pay more than they have to? For a lot of reasons, but they shouldn't have to justify why. Just like its not my business if you want a $500 bag or an expensive pair of shoes. You get to choose what you spend your money on and you don't have to justify it to anyone. 

Babywearing doesn't have to be expensive though! There are great DIY ways to make a wrap and I personally help admin a babywearing swap were ALL the carriers are $100 or less (here). Most of the time when we are talking about wraps that are hundreds of dollars they are for the collecters. You don't have to be a collector to enjoy wearing your baby =)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Intro to Soft Structured Carriers

Soft Structured Carriers (aka Buckle Carriers) Is a type of carrier that buckles onto you. The carrier consists of a body (the panel of fabric where baby goes), a waist strap, and two arm straps. These Carriers are normally pretty heavily padded in the waist and shoulders for added support.

SSCs tend to be thought of as a more 'mainstream' carrier. This makes them easier to find in chain stores such as Babies R Us, Walmart, and places like TJMax and Marshalls. The simplicity of them makes them a favorite among many parents. Buckle carriers aren't nearly as daunting as some other choices like wrapping. They are quick and easy. A lot of SSCs are capable of front, hip, and back carries such as the Ergo.

The difficult things about Buckle Carriers is that they have sized bodies, so usually its not a one stop shop. You'll need a regular standard sized one, some type on infant insert, a Toddler size, and a preschool size if you continue wearing an older or bigger baby. It can also be difficult to find a good fit for the wearer. They do have webbing that adjusts but sometimes they don't don't go small enough or big enough. Some brands have extra accessories to combat this like waist extenders or perfect fit adjusters (they make the arm straps smaller).  However once you find a good fit for baby and wearer they are amazing!