The Gemini and the stretchy come with an expiration date, however - ultimately, they are for smaller babies. Even though Quinn is a small kid, around 10 months it started to be undeniable that he was too big for these carriers and we had to branch out. Near the end of his first year we made two investments - a black Manduca as a wider and taller replacement for the Gemini, and a carrier that would once again change many things for us - our first woven wrap, a Girasol Blue Ikat 6.
There was a specific purpose for getting a woven - I wanted to learn how to do a high back carry. I disliked back carries in general up until this point. When he was back there, not only could I not reach him or tend to him the way I needed to, but Quinn couldn't see with his face in my back, and he hated that. The high back carry, where he could see over my shoulder, would solve both of those problems. A zillion youtube videos, begging for advice and tips on the OBG, and many occasions of practice later, we had it. I'd wrap him up high and putter around the kitchen. He liked to watch me make meals, wanted to touch all the ingredients, and smell the delicious smells of many exotic dinners cooking.
I knew summer was coming and we'd be outside every day in the heat, and our Ikat could be on the warm side. We loved wrapping so much that, after weeks of research, we invested in our second wrap, a Didymos Aqua Waves 4, a shorter wrap than my first, and a style that is known for being light and airy for summer. The colour was selected to match a certain set of baby blues. At this point Q didn't even protest anymore when being wrapped, we had our process down and he knew he loved being up in his special second home.
By this time I was writing a weekly Carry of the Week post for our local babywearing group. Each week we learn a new babywearing-related carry or skill. One week we did a spotlight on shorty wraps (size 2 or 3) and all the things they could do. The impressive array of options inspired me to get wrap #3 - a Girasol Northern Lights 2. The versatility of this wrap has been so wonderful. I can throw him up in a quick ruck, or a quick rebozo, or a quick anything. I'm still working on learning shorty carries so I can have a thorough catalogue in my brain when I need it. This wrap also gets frequently used as a snuggly blanket.
Carry of the Week was also directly responsible for another carrier purchase. While penning a special week about ring slings, I recognized how convenient it would be to have one. Quinn was getting heavier at this point and holding him in one arm even for five minutes while getting things done was becoming a challenge. I got a Maya Wrap at first, but quickly sold it and upgraded to a wrap conversion, in the form of a Girasol Rainforest size M. This is now our car/travel/quick carrier and is so soft and comfy.
Even though I had what most non-babywearers would consider a ridiculous stash (ha!), I was using all my carriers constantly. The Manduca became my husband's, and I began using wraps exclusively. Quinn was the decider of this, really. He was used to back carries now, so anytime I wore him on my front he would crane around so he could see. My size 4 (my size for a knotless ruck, our go-to carry) was being used so often that I sought out a second size 4 for the sake of alternating a little bit, and purchased a Girasol Freshness 4 from another local mama.
I was stashified - something I have said after every carrier purchase! - until in a twist of fate, my dream wrap was miraculously rewoven and reissued in different colours. I'd given up hope of ever owning one, but for this special wrap, I made an exception to my no-more-carriers statement. One more! If I was lucky enough to win, that is - these wraps are so sought after and rare that you have to win a lottery draw just for the opportunity to buy. No one knows the numbers of how many wraps are woven vs how many entries there are, but I'd imagine we were dealing with a less than 1% chance of scoring an invoice. First draw I got nothing. Second draw, for my favourite colour, to boot - I won! I was lucky enough to score an Oscha Okinami Harris 4, and this beautiful work of art has completed my collection. I probably never would have tried silk if not for this wrap, but it is supportive and wonderful.
Babywearing has been such an essential part of our relationship, and I feel like Quinn is a calmer and happier baby because of it. We do all our errands on foot, so not needing a stroller has been amazing. He loves the mama snuggles, I love the baby snuggles, everyone is happy.
Rundown of carriers, blends, and where they were purchased:
Girasol Blue Ikat 6 - 100% cotton. Tadpoles & Butterflies
Didymos Aqua Waves 4. 100% cotton. Birdies Room.
Girasol Freshness 4. 100% cotton. Local Ottawa swap.
Oscha Okinami Harris 4. 60% cotton, 40% tussah silk. Oscha.
Girasol Northern Lights 2. 100% cotton. Woven Wraps.
Girasol Rainforest Ring Sling. 100% cotton. Canadian swap.
Manduca in black. Milkface.
Beco Gemini. Espresso. Belly Laughs.
Maman Kangourou stretchy wrap. Babies R Us.