Sunday, 26 May 2013

COTW #17- Poppins And Robin's Hip Carries

by Aline Kelly
Poppins and Robin's are hip carries that are tied with a woven wrap. They are very similar to each other and many people often remark that they don't know what the difference is, which is why we are combining them for this COTW. At the end of this week you will all be pros and will be ready to school the rest of the internet on these carries.
Once you're familiar with the carries, the difference can be summed up like this:
Poppins goes UNDER the arm. Robin's goes OVER the arm.
Poppins has an under-arm pass. Robin's does not. 

(There also seems to be some debate about the spelling of Robin. In terms of popular use and Google results, there should be just a single B. Robin's!)

These mamas have each done videos for both carries which may help with comparison. 

Bonus additional links:
Poppins: (Pax) (Megan)

Robin's: (Faith)

Poppable Robin's with a sling ring:

Have fun, gang!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Cool Like London Or Cool Like Ottawa?

by Tami Grosset

London is so cool! Isn’t it?

The BIG smoke. It is one of the largest cities in the world with the most impossible traffic. The congestion charge makes it prohibitive to drive anywhere, even if you could park without having to take out a second mortgage! The streets are often narrow and cobbled, quaint but not fun for a stroller! The pavements that are not cobbled are more often than not teaming with crowds of people. With buses, tubes, trains, escalators and stairs galore this city is the perfect city for babywearing.

Curiously, in the two weeks that we visited London, traveling almost daily into the city from Ealing at the western end of the district and central line we saw very few babywearers, and the few that we did see were predominantly Baby Bjorns and the like. Instead we saw many mums struggling up escalators and down stairs with heavy strollers (sometimes with tired cranky babes in their arms), waiting at bus stops in the rain because there were already 2 strollers on the bus that had just arrived and getting glares of contempt for a large stroller taking up so much space on a busy tube.

Why is it that babywearing is not more commonplace in London?

Well, as far as I could work out there are no shops, or few shops. specializing in good ergonomic baby carriers. You can purchase a Baby Bjorn and other similar narrow seated carriers in high street mum and baby stores like Mothercare but otherwise you pretty much need to know about babywearing to know that there is an alternative, which is a little chicken
and the egg-like.

Many parents the world over start out with a narrow seated carrier and once they start finding it uncomfortable they just stop wearing their baby. Many of us have heard other parents saying ‘Well I just couldn’t wear him after he turned 3 months he was just too heavy!‘ which seems a little ironic when we’re standing there listening to them, whilst wearing a 3 year old on our back! If there are apparently no other options of course you’re going to give up and use a stroller! I would, wouldn’t you?

WHAT does London need?

The answer to that question is clear to me!

London needs a Milkface!

London needs an Extraordinary Baby Shoppe!

London needs a Belly Laughs!

London needs a class like OCEAs Bringing Baby Home class, which includes a babywearing workshop for soon to be newbie parents!

Babywearing has become commonplace in our city because of our stores. OBG most likely would not exist if it wasn’t for these stores and for the work they’ve done spreading the babywearing love over the years.


We’re in danger of causing these fabulous stores to close their doors. All brick and mortar stores are struggling to swim against a tide of showrooming customers.

Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item.

This blog says so much about showrooming and how hurtful it can be to a brick and mortar store.

But maybe more importantly to us and the OBG community showrooming can be hurtful to us. It could leave Ottawa a little more London-like.... and not in a good cool way. There is nothing cool about carrying a crying baby in your arms whilst simultaneously dragging a stroller up a crowded flight of stairs.

Believe me it was MUCH cooler to just hop off the tube and skip up the stairs backpacking my 2 year old and holding my 5 year old's hand.

Maybe in time London will become cool like Ottawa.

Shop local, buy local and buy where you touch!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Safe Babywearing Week!

by Tami Grosset

This week is Safe Babywearing Week here in Canada and Health Canada have used this opportunity to launch their campaign, in collaboration with the BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance), to  encourage parents to keep baby 'Visible and Kissable'!

There is some excellent information out there about the benefits of babywearing for parent and child. This blog by Boba is one such example;

But its great to see clear information about safe babywearing from our very own government. Here are some links to the Health Canada site;

Advice about safe babywearing from the government, or anyone for that matter, doesn't get much better than this;

'It is also important to properly position the baby in the sling or soft carrier.  The baby should be “Visible and Kissable” – this means making sure that the baby's face is not pressed into the fabric of the carrier or sling, or into the caregiver’s body.  Check that the baby’s head is above the sling and that their face is always visible to ensure they can breathe properly.  If using a sling, babies should be positioned in such a way that their chin is not pressed into their chest.'

And how great to hear from our own local girl and OBG member, Britt Pegan, quoted on the HC page!

“This campaign will help to educate parents and caregivers about safe babywearing and allow everyone to continue to enjoy the benefits of this practice,” said Britt Pegan, Baby Carriers Industry Alliance.

This awesome image of great ergonomic carriers being used with the easy to remember 'Visible and Kissable' tag!

Picture used with permission from Sewfunky Baby Slings-
(I couldn't find this image, from HC and the BCIA online
but you will see posters like this one around and about!)

Well done Health Canada and well done BCIA!!

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Ottawa Tulip Festival and the OBG!

by Tami Grosset
Photos by Jenna Sparks Bradbury and Kim Brooks

What two things is Ottawa most famous for?

That's right!! You guessed it..... the Tulip Festival and now the Ottawa Babywearing Group!! lol

This last Friday the OBG celebrated the first sunny Friday of the season and enjoyed the first outdoor meet of the year, at the Tulip Festival in Commissioners Park by Dows Lake.

The sun was out and so were the wraps.

Babies and toddlers were worn in all sorts of beautiful carriers.

And we were lucky to have two of our fabulous photographer members available to record how stunning we all were!! Thanks Kim and Jenna!

There will be, hopefully/weather permitting, a whole summer of outdoor Friday meets to visit over the next few months. Check in with our 'events' tab on the Facebook page ( or, if you're not on FB you can send a message to me at to find out when and where the next meet will happen.

We look forward to seeing you some time!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

COTW #16- Sling Rings And Their Uses

by Aline Kelly

A few weeks ago a large group order was organised to buy some sling rings from Here's a few ideas of what you can do with your rings.
If you're still looking for rings they can be found inexpensively at or

Sling rings on their own (ie not as a built-in part of a sling) can be used for many fun things besides than the standard no-sew ring sling. Rings can be used to make up for a lack of fabric length, create support, redistribute weight, and make adjustments to standard carries. Front, back, and hip carries can all be amended to use rings in lieu of knots, crosses, or finishes. Ring finishes can add adjustability to a standard finish when a bit of variability may be required. Almost any carry can be modified in a way where rings can be used - this list is a nice jumping-off point!

Front Carries:
Kangaroo with rings at shoulder:

Kangaroo with a shorty wrap and ring on back:

Front wrap cross carry (FWCC) with sling rings at shoulder: 

Front Wrap Cross Carry with Rings at shoulder & Secure high back carry with rings at waist (photos of finished carries only, no instructions. Inspiration?): 

Back carries:
Regular ruck with ring at chest: 

Xena's Ruckless RAC (Ring Around Cleavage) Carry:

Video for regular DH rebozo:

Christina's ruckless back carry with a sling ring:

Mei Tai back carry with a ring at chest: 

Hip Carries:
Coolest Hip Cross Carry (CHCC) with sling rings:

Robins hip carry with sling rings:

Hip carry with two rings and a long wrap:

Jasmine's tandem hip carry for twins: 

Choosing rings: 

No-sew ring sling: 

How to soften a wrap using sling rings:

Hanging wraps on sling rings:

This COTW is perfect for experimenting, so try stuff out. Have fun and post more links, ideas, photos, and videos!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Wrap Your Baby Competition!

by Tami Grosset

Wrap Your Baby has been a favourite website of mine since before I first started wrapping so imagine my excitement when I heard on the Facebook grapevine, that Wrap Your Baby were running a competition to win a Natibaby Plum Trees woven wrap!!!

The competition started on Wednesday and since then I've been a cat on a hot tin roof!! Winning this wrap would mean the world to our group. We are about to launch our free sling library. All our carriers have so far been donated by members or local businesses (and we'd love to receive more if you have a carrier to donate!) but currently we have no funds to buy any carriers that are harder to find or from the higher end of the market. This wrap could be the jewel in our collection, quite literally!

If you are on Facebook we urge you to vote for us!

Please click on this link;

It should take you to the competition thread on Wrap Your Baby's page. Find my comment (Tami Grosset) about the Ottawa Babywearing Group accompanied by a link to this group, and 'like' what I've said. The group with the most 'likes' will be the group that wins this most beautiful wrap.

Who knows! One day you could be borrowing it from us to wrap your baby!


This evening the competition closed and we did not win the wrap. The Treasure Coast Babywearing Group (numbering 729 members) won with 647 votes. We came in second place with 595 votes.

This is NOT a loss though! When we started the competition the OBG numbered only approximately 565 members. Over the course of the competition we gained over 40 members which now puts the group at 605 members! This is an amazing upside of this competition that we never considered would happen!

We have also developed links with other babywearing groups across Canada and internationally too. This is great for our members who may travel to these places in the future. Its also great that we are connected now to a world of passionate babywearers!

The final win for the OBG, from this competition is a hint of a second place prize from Wrap Your Baby. It seems that they might be rather impressed with the number of votes we won for a relatively small group and might reward us with a small gift. We're still waiting to hear what that might be and will keep you posted!

Many thanks to any and all who voted for the Ottawa Babywearing Group in this competition. Many thanks to Wrap Your Baby ( for giving us the opportunity. But most importantly well done to the babywearers of Treasure Coast FL for their hard work and passion throughout this competition. The beauty wrap is well won!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

New To Babywearing? Overwhelmed By Your Choices? We Can Help!

by Tami Grosset
Some photos by Jenna Sparks Bradbury and others by Kim Brooks

You might be visiting this blog because you were given a card like this:
Or perhaps you’re new to baby wearing and are overwhelmed by the choices available to you.
Or maybe you have been using a Baby Bjorn or Snuggli type of carrier and are wondering what the fuss is all about since wearing your baby hurts like hell?

Whichever reason, you’re welcome and we hope that you’ll find some answers here.

Mainstream carriers, found in big box stores may seem like an obvious option for many parents. They’re easily found and are sometimes accompanied by a pretty good price point. These kind of carriers, however, are generally not ergonomic and can be hard on the wearer, especially once the baby hits a certain weight. Most Baby Bjorns and Snugglis (which seem to be the most common brands) do not have a waist belt and have shoulder straps crossed over the back. The ‘crossed in the back’ shoulder straps can be super comfy for many wearers but the lack of a waist belt can can create a lot of discomfort for the wearer since all the weight of the baby is carried on the shoulders and upper back. Also, if a parent is wearing their baby facing out, the baby will lean forward changing the centre of gravity and putting the weight on their lower back which again is uncomfortable for the wearer. Essentially any carrier that spreads the weight across the shoulders, back and hips will be more comfortable.

It is recommended that parents should also look for a carrier that will spread the seat from baby's knee, to baby’s other knee. This will support baby in an optimal position for healthy hip development. (This image from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute shows why this is important; As babies get bigger and older, around 6 months or so, parents may find it more comfortable to wear them on their back, since our backs are designed to carry weight better than our fronts. Choosing a carrier that offers a variety of positions (front, back and hip, for instance) from newborn to toddler sized can be a thrifty way to future proof your babywearing family.

Some people like SSCs (soft structured carriers) which include the Beco, Boba 3G, Ergo or Manduca. These all offer various carries (front, back and sometimes hip) and give great support with waist belts and adjustable shoulder straps. Some of these carriers allow for the straps to be crossed in the back which many people find very comfortable. They can generally be used from early infanthood into toddlerhood and sometimes up to 45lbs worth of kid! (To put that into perspective my 5 1/2 year old is only just 40lbs!)
A mei tai (MT) (Babyhawk, Freehand and Chimparoo Mei Tai) carrier is an asian style carrier which is basically a rectangle of cloth with straps at each corner. Most ergonomic SSCs are based on the MT design but with buckles instead of tied straps. MTs can be uncomfortable after baby hits a certain weight since the waist straps are generally unpadded and so don’t spread the weight as nicely as a padded waist belt will allow. There are some products on the market (like the Babywearing Support Belt by CatBirdBaby; that extend the user life of the MT by creating a padding for the waist straps.
Alternatively a parent could opt for a woven wrap converted into a MT (WCMT) which sometimes can include a padded waist and padded or half padded/half wrap straps. This kind of carrier can be expensive since the cost includes the cost of the woven wrap and the cost of the conversion. The result of the expense is, however, a supremely comfortable and often unique custom carrier that will usually sell preloved for as much, and sometimes more, as it cost to purchase. There is a list of conversion companies in an earlier blog post;
 Other people prefer woven wraps (WW)which are probably at the other end of the spectrum of babywearing (while SSCs are more common place and pretty easy to use WWs have a higher learning curve and can be rather intimidating to a newbie babywearer). WWs are basically a length of woven fabric which can be used to tie a baby to the wearer. There are many many ways to wrap a baby with a WW and this is great as the varieties of carries can offer different supports based on the wearers specific needs (ie I have hip issues so I can use my WW so that there is less pressure on my hips and when my hips feel good I can use it to protect my shoulders or any other part of my torso, if needed!) There are many websites and clips on YouTube that show how to use a WW in all its ways. Here’s a link to one of my favourite online resources for WWs; You will also find many useful links for WWs, and other carriers, in our COTW posts.

My favourite type of carrier for a newborn has to be a stretchy wrap (SW) like the Boba Wrap (formerly known as the Sleepy Wrap) or Moby Wrap. These are usually made from 100% jersey knitted cotton, although the Boba Wrap has a 5% spandex content which adds to its elasticity. SWs are lovely to use for newborns as they create the womb outside the womb which is so crucial especially for a newborns early days. With a SW there is a limit to the positions in which you can carry a baby and a SW should never be used for a back carry since the stretch can cause a baby to flip off your back! (This clip shows how this can happen;

Ring Slings (RS) can be great to just pop baby in and out when going to the grocery store or making multiple errands. RSs are adjustable and allow for a few different positions including front, hip and back although the front and hip positions are most common for this carrier. RSs are also great as you can easily slip it into a diaper bag; they can be a favourite carrier to use when traveling as they store easily in a carry on bag.

A pouch carrier is my last carrier option and not my personal favourite for a newborn, although they can be great for an older child. They are particularly tricky to use with a newborn as the baby has to lie in a cradle position (which many newborns dislike) and it can be hard to get them in a safe position where their chin is not too close to their chest, which would cause their breathing to be compromised. Once the baby is old enough to sit up and hold their head up, they can sit in the pouch on the hip and this is where the pouch can be a great, poppable carrier; easy to stash in a diaper bag or in the glove box in your car and quick to put on and use. One downside to the pouch carrier is that they are usually sized (there are adjustable pouches available from Hotslings) so if you and your partner are different sizes sharing the carrier is not an option. (In comparison RSs are generally one size fits all and the tail of the sling will fall long on a smaller person and be shorter on a larger person.)

Be careful to avoid bag carriers. These are carriers that look like a bag and where the baby lies at the base of the bag. These are not safe carriers and have been linked to some infant deaths. Most of these kind of carriers have been recalled and removed from the market but many remain available as hand me downs and through Kijiji and other ‘previously used’ sites. This blog goes into more detail about the dangers of bag slings;

To find out more about babywearing you could visit one of our wonderful local Ottawa stores. Milkface ( is in Old Ottawa South on Bank and in Westboro on Churchill, Extraordinary Baby Shoppe ( is on Wellington in Hintonburg and Belly Laughs ( is in Kanata. They all have awesome staff who know their stuff and should be able to spend some time with you on working out what your needs are. You are most welcome to come to one of our meets, where you can try out other members carriers. Watch out for events posted weekly on our Facebook group page here;

Happy shopping and even happier babywearing!!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

COTW #15- Celebrating Our Mothering Through Babywearing

by Tami Grosset and Aline Kelly
Photo by Jenna Sparks Bradbury

Happy Mothers Day!

This week you have an opportunity to share with the group a favourite picture of you wearing your child or children; a picture that says how babywearing has affected your mothering.

Please tell us how babywearing has impacted on your mothering role.

Here are some inspiring mothering/babywearing blogs to enjoy;

Nurshable - Keep You Close:

Nurshable - A Strip of Fabric:

Natural Mamas - I Have Carried You Always:

Unicef - Kangaroo Mother Care:

Enjoy your day ladies!

Babywearing and My Mothering, by Tami Grosset

When Rory was little we struggled with breastfeeding. Nursing him was frustrating and left me feeling maternally impotent. In the end I opted to pump exclusively for him so our strong bond grew mostly out of our babywearing. I had learnt about babywearing during my pregnancy at the OCEAs 'Bringing Baby Home' class. 
I loved wearing Rory straight away! I had adored the 'special' feeling during my pregnancy and wearing Rory in our navy blue Moby wrap gave me the same special feeling.
Our first winter was the snowiest on record for the last 30 years and towards the end of the season the city stopped clearing the sidewalks. Going out with a stroller was not an option and we HAD to get out! Wearing Rory that winter was such a fabulous thing. It made it possible for us to get out and see people, which I feel is an important part of my ability to mother, interaction with other mothers and their bubs. As time went by and Rory grew we found a basic black regular ergo our carrier of choice and it was in this carrier that I wore Rory whilst he wore his hip cast and braces as he received his hip dysplasia treatment. He would not comfortably fit in his stroller and needed the closeness and comfort that wearing him provided. Babywearing allowed us to not just get through this time but allowed me to give him the best mothering possible, and made a two week tour of Nova Scotia possible.
The last time I wore Rory was when I was 25 weeks pregnant with Rose. We were traveling to France for Christmas and there were massive delays. I hadn't worn Rory much over the previous months but brought the carrier with me just in case. He was 3 years old, about 30lbs and tired as heck! We'd been up since 4am and were still waiting for a flight by 10pm. He had been an awesomely calm and happy boy all day but he'd hit the wall and needed mummy, who was equally tired- we both needed a cuddle! 

When Rose arrived I had a pretty decent stash; a carrier for every occasion! This time round breastfeeding worked like a charm but I found I needed to wear her for different reasons. Rory was in the final stages of potty learning when Rose was born. Chasing after him, helping him to potty, making him snacks, getting him to nursery school, volunteering in his class were all made possible by wearing his baby sister. He experienced less change in my mothering of him because of my wearing Rose. And Rose, of course, gained so many benefits from our babywearing, and still does.
I remember one time when my husband was away on business. Rose was about 2 months old and Rory 3 1/2 years old. It was bath time for Rory and Rose wanted to nurse. I had her in my maya wrap ring sling and nursed her whilst blowing bubbles for Rory in the tub. I felt like Supermum! 

Rose is now two and I've worn her in such an array of carriers, each one having a special use and a great memory attached to it! We've just returned from a trip to London UK where we wore Rose all over town, traveling on just about every type of public transport and traipsing up and down some pretty ancient cobbled streets. We explored places where strollers will never go! It was an excellent trip and my children experienced many many things. I was able to provide these experiences because of our babywearing. 

So, babywearing has helped me bond with my children, allowed me to provide for my children when they are sick, made it possible for us to get out when the weather made it seem impossible, has helped me mother my older child whilst simultaneously mothering my youngest, has allowed me to nurse on the go and has allowed me to teach my children about their British roots. 

Babywearing has in many ways formed my mothering. Thank you to my moby wrap, my boba, my ergos (we have two- I know!!), my scootababy, my freehand and my babyhawk. Thank you to my wrapsody, my koakoa, my girasol and my TMD half buckle. Thank you to my maya wraps, my sakura bloom and my home made chimparoo ring sling. I have loved you all and you have helped to make me the mother I am!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

COTW #14- Carrier Storage

by Aline Kelly

This week is ultimately just an excuse to post stash shots and see each others collections. So share! And don't forget to tell us what everything is.


And while we're celebrating collections, here is information, options, and ideas for storing your carriers.

(Photos of all of these options are posted in this week's album)

Storing woven wraps

Braiding is an attractive and compact way to store your wraps, with the added benefit that it helps to break them in. Once they're braided you can hang them, shelve them, or do whatever else your heart desires. (The only note regarding braiding to be cautious braiding wool, as too much can cause felting).

How to braid a woven wrap:

How to fold a woven wrap:

Fold your wrap to its desired width and roll it up.

This can be done with braided or loose wraps. You can hang or tie your wraps from hooks, closet rods, bannisters, anywhere that works.

You can also employ a sling ring to loop your wrap around if your hooks are the type that might snag.

Fold your wrap in half, hold the loop with one hand, and twist the fabric with the other hand until the fabric twist in on itself. This is good for softening your wrap, too.

Storing Ring Slings- Folding, rolling, or hanging as previously described with woven wraps
- Use shower curtain hooks in the closet - fit the hooks onto the rod, then loop the rings onto the hooks.
- If your closet rod is easily detachable and re-attachable, string the rings directly onto the rod.

Storings Soft Structured Carriers and Mei Tais
A very compact way to store these carriers is to roll them up and clip the waist buckle around the roll.
- Roll + clip (photos):
- Roll and clip video - from 0:50-1:15:

Other options for SSCs and MTs:
- Hang the carrier on a regular coat hanger in the closet
- Assign them their own cubby or shelf - quick solution, just shove them in their designated space and they're out of the way.

Long-term storage and preservation of carriers - for legacy wraps, etc.