Sunday, 28 April 2013

COTW #13- Back Carries For Squiggly Babies

by Aline Kelly

Squiggle (v): To squirm and wiggle (The Free Dictionary) 

Squirmy, leaning, back-arching, leg-straightening babies and toddlers are a common companion of the wrapping mama. This COTW will focus on multi-layer back carries that can help keep them safe and secure, as well as general tips  and strategies for making the process more manageable.

There is no silver-bullet solution to wrapping squigglers. Every baby is different and has different needs. Remember this and be happy that your child is so opinionated, passionate, and confident expressing themselves!

The term "baby" will be used throughout for simplicity, but all of this applies to toddlers and older children as well.

Common reasons for squiggly babies:
- They're uncomfortable with the process of being wrapped
- They want to see what is going on
- They don't understand what is happening
- They're tired/hungry/thirsty/scared
- They need to assert their independence
- They're just plain feisty

General Tips:
- Practice when baby is fed, rested, and happy.
- Distraction - give baby a toy, food, stickers on their hands, put the tv on in the background, clip a pacifier to the back of your shirt, whatever works.
- Make sure your seat is nice and deep - use 1/3 of your wrap if you can - this will help prevent seat popping even with a lot of fussing.
- Position baby as high as possible on your back so they can see the world around them. This will greatly reduce leaning (won't keep them from leaning for the knife block, though).
- Shortcuts for quicker wrapping include: Creating baby's seat before wrapping by tucking into the front of their pants, and using a toss method instead of the hip scoot method to minimize adjustments required.
- Make sure your wrapping is secure, ergonomical and comfortable - if baby feels wobbly on your back they won't  be happy about it. Make sure they're supported knee-to-knee, knees above bum, and with fabric supporting their torso at least up to their armpits (or neck with a newborn). Make sure your passes are nice and snug and well-spread to avoid pinching either of you.
- Practice and be patient. Many mamas can attest that babies become more cooperative with time as the littles become more familiar with the wrapping process, and as mama becomes more dexterous and efficient with the wrapping.
- Make sure to always have baby secured in some way during wrapping, either with your hand or the wrap. Some videos show babies hanging out on mama's back during the wrapping process without being held there, but your baby may not appreciate this and will rebel.
- Be confident. Babies will feel it if you're nervous, be confident and assuring (yes, easier said than done)
- Compromise with baby on what works for the both of you - if they want their arms out, wrap with their arms out. Try lots of different carries. If they seem more comfortable in certain carries, use those.
- If your baby is straightening his legs, it can help to hold his feet for a few seconds in the knee-bent position, often they will relax at least a bit and you can continue. 

- If you're getting frustrated, stop and give your baby a snuggle, or switch to another carrier. The wrap will be there to practice with tomorrow.

*** There must be dozens more tips like this, please add them in the comments!***

Demo of wrapping with a thrashing toddler (starts around 0:58, just her prep before that): -

Achieving a deep seat: (Faith)
- I find Faith's demos -by far- the best for good seats. Her method of reaching between baby and mama's bodies is very effective and gets a LOT of fabric tucked securely.

Achieving and maintaining a high seat: (Vero)

Unpoppable seat:

Here is a collection of multi-pass back carry options that are extra-supportive for wiggly babies and toddlers. Which one works best is up to you and your baby:

Double Hammock (DH) (Faith) (WearYourBaby)
- if you want to go crazy you can make the last over-under legs passes reinforced ones (spread over baby's back) - this goes for any of these carries.

Triple hammock (magic10628)

Jordan's Back Carry (JBC) (Faith) (WWT)

Giselle's Back Carry (GBC) (Giselle)

Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) (WearYourBaby) (WearYourBaby - 4 yr old)

Wiggleproof Back Carry (CBHM) - 3 tieoffs (Brianna)

Norwegian Wiggleproof Back Carry (different from regular wiggleproof) (Kateness23)

Reinforced Rucksack carry (RR) (Faith)

Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack (RRRR) (WearYourBaby) (WWT)

Secure High Back Carry (SHBC) (Faith) (tooralei)

Double Rebozo (DR) (Faith) - (Brianna)

Ellevil Jordan's Back Carry (different from JBC) (Faith)

Christina's Ruckless Back Carry (Faith)

Have fun! And share your pics, videos, links, tips, and personal stories, as those are the things that make COTW very special.

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