Monday, 26 August 2013

My Stash Monday: Faustina's Stash

I have a confession.  I advocate for babywearing, I teach baby wearing, I work at a baby wearing store, and I help parents find the right carrier for their needs, but I only have one baby carrier.  Just one.  I have had a total of 6 carriers in my 11 years of babywearing, but I've never used more than one at a time.  A few of the carriers were gifts, one was an emergency replacement for a sling that was lost, and one has been on loan for 2 years (I should just make it official and gift it to them).  But for the most part, I have used one carrier day in and day out for years at a time in all sorts of activities with babies ranging from infancy to preschool.

When we had our oldest, Rachel, 11 years ago, I knew that I wanted to baby wear but products were hard to find.  My mother-in-law bought us a Baby Bjorn at our request and we were very thankful.  It was way out of our price range. 

Rachel lived in the Bjorn for the first three months of her life, at which point I listened to my aching back and bought a ring sling for $20 that I found at a local farmers market.  It was made out of quilting cotton in a red and gold pattern with thick white plastic rings, and a box pleated shoulder.  I wore Rachel every single day in that thing until she was 2.5 years old and I was six months pregnant with her younger brother.  We took the bus, did groceries, went on an 8 hour plane trip with it, we went to play group and the library and for long walks.  It served as a sunshield, a play blanket, a changing pad, and a makeshift highchair seat.  It saw us through the excruciating depths of severe post-partum depression.  Even when I wasn't able to make eye contact with my baby, I was able to carry her in my arms and close to my heart every day, all day until I got help when she was 13 months old.  Some days, wearing her and nursing her was all I was able to do for her.

When Samuel was born, he went right into the same ring sling that had carried his older sister, after a lovely peaceful homebirth.  It took us to CHEO at 24 hours old, playgroup, shopping, he slept in the sling while I made crafts and cookies with Rachel.  A friend at playgroup once remarked that she had never actually seen him because even at 6 months old, he had always been asleep in the sling whenever we were there.  Carrying my baby in my trusty sling allowed me to focus on Rachel and keep our little home and family running smoothly.  Samuel was born in the depths of a very cold winter, so I bought a cheap men's down parka three sizes too big for me and it allowed me to keep Sam and I covered and warm while I took Rachel to the bus stop or outside to play.  This worked just as well the next two winters when Sam was 12 and 24 months.  It wasn't flattering, but I decided that warm was chic.  At some point, I forget when, I misplaced our red ring sling and quickly realized that I couldn't function without one.  By this time, baby carriers were easier to find and I knew that my local health food store carried a new local brand, Maman Kangarou, in their baby section.  I found a handsome sling in a grey and blue striped slightly gauzey fabric, for around $30.  Money was extremely tight, perhaps even more so than when our first was born, but I knew from experience that this was a very smart and worthwhile expense.  I think I skipped buying meat that month to compensate.  Of course, I found the red sling about a month later, but I preferred the fabric of the new one, so the red one became my backup and it stayed in the car.

I stopped carrying Sam in the sling sometime around his 3rd birthday.  Around that time we also discovered that I was suffering from secondary infertility and part of my coping mechanism was to get rid of a lot of baby things.  So, both slings went in the donation box at St. Vincent de Paul.  I could have sold them, but I wanted another mom to be able to access them at the lowest possible price.  I knew that they were both still in very good condition and would serve another family well, and I didn't need the $10 that they would have sold for.

When Samuel was about 4 years old, we were happy and surprised to be expecting another baby.  I had given away or sold my old slings, crib, stroller, change table, baby bath tub, carseat.  The only things I replaced were the sling and the carseat.  I bought a Maya Wrap Ring Sling. 

We welcomed Nicholas, all 5lbs of him, a wee bit early and at a time when Rachel was in school full days and Samuel was in half days, so I was at the bus stop in the winter with a low birth weight baby three times a day.  I just popped him in the sling, and put my rain or huge winter coat over top of him and off we went.  It was so easy.  A friend gave me a fleece pouch as a baby gift and it was very cozy, but didn't get used much as it was hard to adjust.  I gave it away recently. 

When Nicholas was a few months old, I realized that I wasn't in my early 20s anymore and that carrying him in a one-shouldered carry for more than an hour was starting to give me headaches.  Nothing else had changed.  I was using a ring sling just like I had with the other two, but it wasn't working as well this time.

So, I tried on all the soft structured carriers that were available in the city and decided on the Manduca because it was the most comfortable and fit my long, skinny four month old who couldn't yet open his hips enough to sit straddling me.  The infant insert in the Manduca was exactly what he needed, the zip out body accommodated his long infant torso, and the long waist and shoulder straps fit my 6 foot tall body the best. 

I bought the Manduca when Nicholas was about 4 months old and just 10lbs.  He is now a month away from his fourth birthday and 31lbs.  He hasn't asked to be carried in about two months and I think that our baby/toddler/preschooler wearing days are coming to an end.  In his first year, though, the Manduca was used probably 4-8 hours a day, and about 8-12 hours a week in the second and third years. He didn't nap anywhere else, ever.  We were a much busier family and I loved how quick and easy the Manduca was.  It was so easy to strap him on and do chores or the groceries, or pick up the big kids at the bus stop.  It took us on hikes at Mer Bleu, berry picking, apple picking, museums, camping, farmers markets, and Canada Day.  Nicholas always had the best seat in the house, and I always had two hands for the big kids or the activity.  The Manduca was always comfortable for me, and I never had to fiddle with it to get it just right.   Those first years with Nicholas were some of the most stressful in our marriage, for other reasons, and I needed to not have to think about unnecessary things too much.   When I had to leave my 12 month old with a caregiver for the first time, I was able to show her how to use it and she napped him in the carrier when I was gone.  It helped him feel secure and cared for regardless of who was carrying him.  

I am not someone who accessorizes very much.  I have a sort of 'uniform' that I wear most days (leggings, tunic, scarf, tall boots in winter, sandals in summer), I wear pretty much the same make-up everyday, and I am happiest when I have a schedule.  I like not having to think about too many things every day, and I like not having to make too many decisions.  I like when things run on their own, when they just work.  The Manduca, and the ring slings, filled a need in my parenting tool box and what worked best for our family was to not mess around with a good thing.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

After I bought the Manduca, I stopped using the ring sling very much.  I loaned it to a friend when her third baby was born and she needed her hands free.  It's been at her house for almost two years, I think.  

So, while I have had more than one carrier, you can see that I never really used more than one at a time.  That was partly because of our budget and partly because of my personality.  We all parent differently, use different tools and prioritize different things.  This is a good thing.  It's fantastic that we have the freedom to do so, and that we have access to great products to help us in our parenting.  I made the best use of both my financial resources and personal resources, and I saw it as a good thing that I didn't have more at my disposal.  I have learned to embrace simplicity through my parenting, and to focus on the relationship.  I have learned to listen to the whispering in my ear, and to love someone else's drool dripping down my back.  At 11 and 8 years old, I can calm and center my older children by holding them next to my left hip which is where they spent their first two years.  When Nicholas wants a hug or a cuddle or to play, he jumps on my back, which is where he spent his first three years. 

So, yes, I have one carrier.  I tell parents every day that its not complicated, to follow their gut and that there is no wrong way to babywear. 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

COTW #30 - Wiggleproof Back Carry

by Aline Kelly
This carry is aptly named - this is a very secure carry for wigglers, leaners, kickers, and leg straighteners. It has multiple passes and requires a long wrap, usually a 6 or 7. With lots of leg and back reinforcement, your thrashing baby or toddler isn't going anywhere in this carry. 

General instructions:
- Get baby onto your back and bring both tails over your shoulders. Create a good seat.
- Bring one side of the wrap under your arm, under baby's knee, spread the wrap across his back and bum, and up and over your opposite shoulder.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Tie under bum or do regular leg passes and tie in front. (the videos illustrate additional finishing options)

Video instructions: (CosyBabyHappyMommy) (TheAmanda0224) - with Candy Cane chest belt (Penny Bond) - knotless "kimono" finish (Briannaborntobeworn) - 3 tie-offs (Tied under bum, Tied in front, Tied Tibetan)

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Thursday Thought: The Babywearing Alphabet

The babywearing alphabet is an easy one to remember.

It consists of just two letters: C (for spine) and M (for seat).

Photo on the left from Kim Brooks of Breathe In Photography and on the right by Jenna Sparks Photography

When choosing a carrier for a baby under 12 months it is recommended that babywearers look for one that allows the baby to sit in the carrier with a C shaped spine (see left pic). (After 12 months babies start to straighten up and tend to sit more upright so generally you will not see the C shaped spine with a baby past the 12 month mark.)

Looking at how your bub is seated in a carrier is another way to check the carrier's ergonomic standard. Can they sit in an M seat, with their knees higher than their bum? They may be sitting with their legs out (as in right pic) or with their legs inside the carrier if younger than 3-4 months but both positions should offer babe an M seat.

Both the C shaped spine and the M seat are great positions to encourage natural physical development of the spine and hips. All ergonomic carriers should offer these two letters for your baby!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Chopping A Wrap?

by Rebecca Hickman

So you found the wrap you want but you want it in a shorter length, or as a ring sling. You have some basic sewing skills and a sewing machine, but aren't quite sure how to proceed. This post will walk you through chopping or splitting a wrap, and re-hemming it into a shorter length. If you plan on reselling, keep in mind that chopping and re-hemming, particularly yourself, can reduce the value.

What size do you need?
In order to get two usable pieces of wrap, you need a minimum of a size 5. A size 5 (~4.1m) or a size 6 (~4.6m) will give you enough to make two ring slings. A size 7 (~5.1m) will be enough to split into two ring slings, a ring sling and a size 2 (2.7m) or 3 (3.1m), or possibly two size 2 wraps if the original wrap is a bit longer than standard. You may or may not get some scrap fabric left over depending on how long of a ring sling you want, and how long the original wrap is. In this tutorial, I'm turning a size 7 Oscha Starry Night Nebula into a size 2. The remainder will be a ring sling, which will be a later tutorial.

  • Soft tape measure 
  • Pins 
  • Stitch ripper 
  • Removable marker or chalk (optional) 
  • Rotary cutter, mat & rulers (preferred) or scissors & large flat surface 
  • Iron 
  • Hem measuring tool (optional)
  • Sewing machine with new needle 
  • 100% cotton thread that matches thread used in existing hems (I used Mettler silk finish here, but Gutterman is also good and readily available) 
    Matching thread - can you see where it's laying across the wrap? 
To start, measure the whole length of your wrap. Even though wraps come in standard sizes ( has a good list), every wrap will differ slightly – some will be longer than expected. Occasionally they will be shorter. Wrap length may be shorter after it’s been washed, particularly if it’s been dried in the dryer, and they often lengthen after they've been wrapped with repeatedly. Measuring soft tape in hand is a common way to measure a wrap. Basically, you take a soft, flexible sewing measuring tape and run it along one rail to get the length. Measuring both rails isn't a bad idea. The length of the wrap I'm working with is 5.46m, slightly longer than the expected 5.2m. Once you know how long your wrap is, decide how long you want your shorter wrap to be. I decided to cut mine 2.8m from the hemmed edge to leave a little extra length for hemming. Place a pin the desired cutting length from the finished edge.

Cutting Tapers 
The most intimidating part of shortening a wrap for many people is the tapers. Since a wrap is a parallelogram rather than a rectangle, recreating the angled end is trickier than making a straight cut. You want your new hem to have the same angle and length as the one you’re cutting off to maintain the existing wrap shape. Drawing a straight line between the two pins you made in the last step should do this, but I like to check to make sure. One way to do this is to take the hem you’re keeping, twist so the bottom rail is at the top, and then compare how the top and bottom of that hem line up with your pins, and adjust the pins as necessary. The frustrating thing about fabric is that it tends to slip and slide and twist. Once you’re happy with how the taper looks, you can go ahead and cut. To cut the taper, lay your wrap out on your cutting mat. You’ll likely need more than one quilting ruler due to the width of the wrap. Line up the ruler with the pins at either rail, creating a straight line. If you need two rulers, line up the edges so they’re exactly aligned. You can check this by making sure the marks on the ruler also align. Once you’re ready, remove the pins and cut along the edge of the ruler with your rotary cutter. Do not try and cut over the pins! This is a bad, bad idea. I always need a minute and a deep breathe before being able to go ahead and cut. Don’t rush it – once it’s cut, you can’t go back.

If you don’t have a cutting mat and rotary cutter, you’ll need a long enough straight edge and removable marking pen or chalk to draw a straight line from pin to pin. Once you have the line draw, use scissors to cut along the line.

So you went ahead and cut your wrap. Yay! Now you've got a raw edge that needs finishing. You can finish it with a Serger or zigzag stitch if you like, but you’ll want that covered anyway, so it’s not necessary. But how big of a hem should you make? To blend in best with your existing hems, measure those. Looking at your cut edge will probably let you peer inside to see how it was originally done. My original wrap had a 3/8” hem, with ¼” turned under to hide the raw edge, so I'm going to do the same. This is where a hem measuring tool comes in handy.
Folding & pinning the hem
You've created a bias edge with your cut and they tend to get warped and stretched out of shape much more easily than a cut going with the grain of the fabric. Lots of pins and careful pressing (not ironing) will help you get the straight, flat, untwisted hem you want. Set your iron to the appropriate setting for your fabric. Many wraps are 100% cotton, which can withstand a higher heat than more delicate fabrics. Linen also does well with high heat, but silk and wool will need a lower temperature. My wrap is 25% wild silk, so I used the silk setting on my iron.

What do I mean by pressing rather than ironing? Lift the iron up when you want to move to a new area and then set it down on the next section, rather than pushing the iron along while still in contact with the fabric. Using my hem measuring tool, I turned over the
raw edge ¼” and pressed along the whole length. Then, I turned it over another 3/8” to hide the raw edge and pressed again, pinning as I went. Getting the corners nice so they don’t stick out past the edges of the wrap is a little tricky. I folded it over a bit more, and cut a tiny bit of the corner out to reduce bulk. If you do this, be careful not to cut too much or it can be hard to have all the raw edges tucked under. Once you've got it all pressed and pinned and you’re happy with your corners, it’s time to sew.

Set up your sewing machine with thread matching your wrap or the thread used on the other edges. Then, go ahead and sew a straight line close to the folded edge of your hem. Just about every sewer has experienced a tangle of threads when they start a seam. To avoid this, either hold onto the ends of your top and bottom threads with some tension as you start to sew, or start sewing on a scrap of fabric and then continue onto your wrap without cutting the threads. Sewing at the corners can be a bit tricky unless you have a heavy duty machine. I found it easier to start a bit past the bulky part and sew to the end, reinforcing at the end by backstitching, then turn the wrap around and sew the other corner from the middle out, reinforcing again.

Moving Middle Markers
When you cut your wrap shorter, the location of the middle also moves. If you want to keep the middle
Marking where markers were
markers in the middle they are fairly simple to move. Using a nice, sharp stitch ripper, very carefully unpick the stitches holding them in their existing place. Restitch along the existing stitches to reseal the hem where you remove the markers. I used a pin to mark where I’d removed the middle markers so I knew where to go back and fix the hem. Locate your new middle. Keep in mind that
Offset middle markers
because the wrap is a parallelogram, the middle of one rail does not line up in a straight line with the middle of the other rail. Fold the wrap in half along one rail and mark the centre with a pin. Repeat with the other rail. Carefully unpick a small amount of the stitching on either side of your pin to open up a space big enough to insert the middle marker tag. Pin the tag underneath the hem and stitch across where the old stitching was, making sure to overlap on either end with existing stitching.

And you’re done! Enjoy your new wrap!

Finished wrap!

Monday, 19 August 2013

My (Minimalist) Stash Monday:

For this weeks My Stash Monday we wanted to showcase some of our babywearing families who enjoy just one carrier.
 by Jessica Pettes

We just started babywearing when our daughter was 6 months old and it took us a while to decide on a carrier. We knew we wanted an SSC as we were way too intimidated by the wraps to start. It was a toss up between the Ergo and the Manduca. An old friend Erin Feiner added me to the OBG and we decided the Manduca was a better fit for our family. We picked it up from Belly Laughs in Kanata. We absolutely love our Manduca. We use it daily for getting in and out of the car, shopping, siteseeing, vacuuming, walking the dogs and pretty much any time I need both my hands.

by Angela Rowland

I chose the Beco Gemini. I went to Belly Laughs to talk to people with experience. The woman I worked with was amazing and explained to me that everyone's body is different and these structured carriers are designed for different body types. The reason I liked this one the most was because the weight was distributed so nicely on my body. The option is available to cross the back on this carrier which really helped me considering I have had some pretty bad back problems in the past (slipped disk). It just seems to distribute the weight better than the other carriers I tried. Also, she made sure I was wearing the waist strap at or above the hip so that some of the baby weight was distributed on my hips.

This carrier fits all of my needs because I can wear it on the front, on the back, or front facing forward. The hip carry is also available but I feel like that isn't very ergonomic.... The facing forward option is done by snapping the bum part into a smaller setting. I just love this carrier. You can also snap the head part up if he/she falls asleep so that his/her head doesn't flop around.

I use it whenever I am out, and my son becomes fussy. I almost want him to fuss so I have an excuse to snuggle him. I just love this carrier. I also use it in places where a stroller will be a pain. Also it's really important to our family that my husband wear our baby as often as possible to establish a bond. I think it's working because my 7 month son cries for daddy sometimes now, lifting his arms towards daddy.

This is why I love my carrier.


To be honest, the majority of babywearers will only have one or maybe two carriers. Those of us who have a larger stash could be referred to as hobbyists; it sure is a fun hobby to have! The hobbyists amongst us are possibly more vocal, because we're rather passionate about our past time and ew have more carriers to talk about! But we would love to hear from other 'single carrier babywearers'. 

Please tell us about your single carrier of choice! What carrier do you use? Where did you get it from? What do you like about it? In what circumstances do you wear? How does your carrier meet your (and your baby's) needs? (Please answer in comments below! TIA)

Sunday, 18 August 2013

COTW #29 - Salt Water Double Hammock

by Aline Kelly

This is a brand new Double Hammock variation that was invented by a mama who was inspired by a pair of salt water sandals. It not only looks beautiful but it can take pressure off the shoulders, since this variation turns the carry into a ruckless one. 

Where it all began - the original post by GoingUppy on Instagram:

General instructions:
- These instructions assume that you know how to tie a regular Double Hammock. [ ]
- When you complete your cheerleader pull, bring both tails over your shoulders. 
- Bring your tails to the center of your chest and cross them over each other once.
- Tuck the top tail underneath your chest pass. The other tail goes over the chest pass. 
- Cross your tails once more at the bottom of the chest pass. 
- Tie under bum or do regular leg passes and tie in front. 

Photo instructions (login required):
Video instructions:

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Week In The Life Of Lauren

This week we say farewell to one of our most active members as she and her family move across Canada to live closer to their extended family. We will miss you Lauren and wish you all lots of luck and blessings in your new home!!

Babywearing for the win on a week-long trip to the US, just me and Iris. Ring sling to grab a quick bite, double-hammock rainbow to unpack, Manduca to walk about town, ruck rainbow to pack, and a Manduca nap on the plane. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Wear? How? Part II

by Tami Grosset

Continuing my overview of the carrier types available for use; last week we looked at Ring Slings, Stretchy Wraps and Pouches. This week we look at the wonderful world of woven wraps and check out the soft structured carrier scene (which also includes mei tais).

Woven Wraps
Woven wraps are without doubt the most versatile of carriers but also undoubtedly the option with the steepest learning curve. Woven wraps can be purchased at a great variety of costs, both new and preloved, and the higher the cost does not necessarily translate to the most supportive or comfortable for your use. As with most carriers, its all subjective and what one parent enjoys does not necessarily mean another will.

Girasol Hanami Size 7

Some WWs are great for summer wearing (Wrapsody gauze, Calin Bleu) but can be diggy (dig into the shoulders and waist). Others can be super supportive (Natibaby linen/cotton blend) yet hard to break in. Some wraps, when they are pulled out of the box are stiff and hard to work with; they need to be 'broken in' to make them softer and more easily used. Some wraps are available brand new at a mid range price (Girasol, Storchenweige Leo) and others are expensive custom handwoven pieces of art (Uppymama) and you can always make your own using a length of appropriately strong fabric. It can be hard to work out which wrap to choose, which is why we posted this item earlier this year. This blog by Becoming Mamas is a great wrapping resource and pretty much covers all the bases and the last few columns in this database list wraps in budget groups of 'under $100' and 'under $150'.

Braiding wraps can help break them in and keeps them tidy when not in use.

Whichever you choose, they all do pretty much the same thing and what you can do with your wrap pretty much depends on the size of it. This post on the babycentre website has a useful list of what you can do with which size.

A reinforced ruck is a easy but supportive carry to start out with.

A good front carry to start with, using a WW is a front wrap cross carry, which is similar to the carry you would do with a stretchy wrap, but adapted for use with a woven. Wrap Your Baby demonstrates this carry so well!

A Wrapsody gauze in a front wrap cross carry, with legs in for this newborn.

Alternatively a good back carry to start with is a basic ruck, which we covered in one of our first Carry Of The Week posts.

A basic ruck with legs out. Baby is nice and high on mama's back.

But truly you can do pretty much any position with a woven, which is why they are so loved by so many. Many new babywearers find them intimidating.... and who can blame them. I used to refer to woven wrappers as 'hard core babywearers'. Its not for everyone but if you're not put off by the learning curve its worth the investment of time and energy. Plus there are a myriad of ways that you can use your wrap  other than for carrying your child!

Freshly ironed a woven wrap makes a great table cloth or table runner.

Mei Tais And Soft Structured Carriers
Mei tais are Asian style carriers which are basically a rectangle of fabric with straps coming off each corner. Ergonomic soft structured carriers are pretty much the same thing, just with buckles to snap instead of straps to tie off.

A mei tai carrier can offer a front facing in, front facing out, hip and back carry. The positions that a SSC will offer depends on the manufacturer but many offer the same options as a MT. Each SSC manufacturer will give detailed user instructions for their carriers. Its important that babywearers check in with their carrier's website where you are likely to find instructions in either picture, PDF or video clip form. If you are unable to find the instructions for the carrier that you own please let us know here at OBG; we may be able to track down the specifics required.

Dad is wearing a newborn with legs in and tie in center of baby's back while mum wears toddler on her back.

Mei tai carriers are more generic and whilst there may be some branded differences (cinchable seat on the Chimparoo, padded head rest on the Babyhawk, stretchy wrap straps on the Maman Kangarou Asiatik) they all work the same way.

Same MT and baby, but older! This time with legs out and tied under the bum.

When wearing a MT for any carry it is important to tie the carrier on in the apron style. This ensures that when you have the child in and the back is pulled up the baby sits in a pouch created by the waist strap and the base of the back of the carrier. This clip from TogetherBe (the makers of the Freehand MT) shows how to use a MT with a 2-6 month old;

When using a MT to carry a newborn you would do the same thing except the baby would probably have their legs froggied and inside the carrier and the shoulder straps would be tied off in the center of their back which helps to support baby and stops them from slumping into the pouch. It is possible to carry a newborn in a MT with their legs out but you would need to narrow the seat slightly, using a scarf or hair tie. This clip shows both newborn front carry options nicely;

This clip from TogetherBe/Freehand demonstrates a hip carry nicely;

MT carriers make great quick and easy back carries. This clip shows how you can do this using the hip scoot and super hero toss methods;

If you're not keen on scooting or tossing your baby you could try this method for getting your baby on your back;

A high end option for a super supportive and pretty MT is a wrap conversion mei tai (WCMT). These are high end options since you need to incorporate the cost of the woven wrap and the conversion into the final cost. The result is that a parent will end up with a beautiful, one of a kind carrier with many custom options. Babywearers can choose from a quilted waist, a ring sling waist or a tie waist, a pixie hood, a draw string hood or a simple flat hood and wrap straps, padded straps or hybrid straps. Some conversion companies offer embroidered decals as well..... the list is almost endless and can suit all tastes. Whilst this can be an expensive option you can also end up with a beautiful carrier that will be enjoyed greatly and usually can be sold to cover costs or more. You will find details of some conversion companies here.

This WCMT was converted by Two Momma's Designs from a size 7 Night Rainbow Girasol.

There are a great many ergonomic SSCs available and at a good variety of prices. This database again shows in its first few columns some carriers within the 'under $100' budget and the 'at or under $150' budget. To ensure an ergonomic carrier has been chosen parents are recommended to find a carrier with a wide seat. If a parent already as a Baby Bjorn it is possible to 'ergonomic' it using this clever idea from the Canadian Babywearing School!

Choosing a SSC can be overwhelming. This recent review of some, currently available might help but nothing works better than trying them on. You can try out carriers in store at Milkface, Belly Laughs and Extraordinary Baby Shoppe and at most of our meets. We also have a few SSCs in the library. Please contact us if you're interested in learning more!

Carriers To Avoid
There are occasionally fake carriers found either on eBay, in pre-used selling sites, or in consignment stores. The most faked carriers are the Ergobaby and Beco carriers. It is hard to give concise advice on how to spot a fake. The Fakers are pretty good at keeping up with the bona fide manufacturers attempts to brand the real ones, and there is more than one Faker company out there, each making their fakes a little differently that the next. This blog gives a good review on what to look for and this picture essay shows how a real Ergo compares to a fake. The best way to check if your Ergo is legitimate is to find the serial number on the inside of the open pocket, on which the Ergo label is sewn. Email Ergobaby at with the serial number and they will be able to support or deny its authenticity. 

Find the open pocket on the back of the carrier. Inside this pocket you should find a label like this, on which you should find the serial number for your carrier. Ask Ergobaby if this serial number corresponds to your carrier to prove authenticity.

Whilst a fake might look like the real deal it has not been safety tested, the buckles on fakes have been known to crack and break easily and quite apart from the potential danger you are putting your child in, buying fake carriers causes damage to the babywearing industry and community. Basically, if the price of the carrier you want to buy is 'too good to be true' it probably is!

Bag Slings
Bag slings are dangerous carriers and in many cases they have been pulled from the market following connected infant deaths. Unfortunately there are some still available, either brand new or used. Bag slings cause a danger to an infant since the sling closes over their face stopping the flow of fresh air into the space. Such slings also tend to be difficult or impossible to get baby nice and high so the infant will be poorly supported and low on the wearers body. This causes problems because when in a slouchy position like this the baby's chin can rest too close to their chest and cause positional asphyxiation. The recently launched campaign by Health Canada in collaboration with the BCIA encourages parents to wear their babies in a position where they are 'visible and kissable'. With all the other carriers, mentioned this week and last, 'visible and kissable' is possible. With a bag sling it is simply impossible.

If you have a bag sling please check to see if it has been recalled. If it has not been recalled please approach your local babywearing store. It is possible that they might be running a program to help get these dangerous slings out of circulation. They may offer you a discount on an ergonomic carrier if you allow them to destroy your bag sling.

Monday, 12 August 2013

My Stash Monday: Helen's Stash

Before my son was born, I was an Ergo girl. My best friend had one. I had tried it out and liked it. So I bought one and crossed 'carrier' off my list. But then my son was born one very hot August evening, and I quickly realized that the Ergo (with insert, of course) just would not do. (I wore him once on day three or four post birth, in the Ergo, with the insert, and then almost passed out due to overheating. Man that was a hot combo!!). So I cycled through till I found the Moby, which I loved, and never looked back.

Oh, until my son grew to be too big for the Moby.

But then he was perfect for the Ergo, sans insert. Fantastique!! The Ergo was lovely for many months. We traveled across Canada and over to Europe, sans stroller, with just the Ergo. My friend taught me to nurse in it. Oh what a lovely friend to share such wonderful knowledge. Oh the things I could do and places I could go! And then came the back carry. Yup, I loved that little carrier.

And then my son grew again. And our baby wearing days were just gaining momentum! Oh woe! Oh dilemma!
Then I found the Toddler Tula. Ahhh! I didn't get one of the super pretty ones... Just a plain ole canvas one. But it has a fancy pattern on it, and it makes me happy to wear it. Oh and the comfort!! Like a pillow on my back. Loved the support for me, the fit for my son and whole design. We continue to travel and adventure, baby wearing all the way. And the neat thing? My husband, who was never big into baby wearing (he found it too hot and uncomfortable), also loves wearing our son in the Tula, and has even developed his own unique way of getting our son into the back carry. While the Moby and Ergo will always be special, my Toddler Tula has been around the longest (DS just turned 2 yesterday, and still loves his 'Hula-Tula Time'!) with no end in sight yet.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

COTW #28 - Shepherd Carry

by Aline Kelly

Shepherd Carry is a ruckless back carry tied with a woven wrap, usually using sizes 2, 3, or 4. It is similar to the Double Hammock Rebozo but with some variations. 

General instructions:
- Situate your baby 1-2 feet from the end of the wrap. Make it so that when he/she is on your back, the wrap will drape over your shoulder and hang to around your waist. 
- Get baby on your back and create a good seat.
- The short tail comes over your shoulder, and the long tail goes under the opposite arm.
- Bring the long tail across your chest, making sure to pass it OVER the short tail (as opposed to a double hammock, where the chest pass goes underneath). The chest pass can either be spread across your chest or remain bunched. 
- Bring the working tail under your arm, spread it up across baby's back and bum, and up over the opposite shoulder. Work any remaining slack out of the fabric. 
- Your original hanging tail comes up to meet this tail at the center of your chest. Tie a double knot. 

Video instructions:

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Thursday Thought: Sack Cloth Or Cloth Of Gold...?

by Tami Grosset

You do not need many carriers.... one will do if that's what you choose.

You are still a babywearer if you use just one low budget carrier, a handful of mid priced carriers or a room full of Uppies and Obi's!

"Why do people spend that much money on a piece of fabric? Are they insane? 

We’re all mad here, Alice. Many view wraps as art pieces and collectors items. It’s kind of like cars. Some people buy a Porsche. Some people collect Corvettes. Others drive a Corolla, some take the bus or walk. You can babywear on any budget. One isn’t better than the other. It’s just a hobby for some people. My mom collects things with apples on it. I think that’s a little weird, just like I’m sure she thinks collecting wraps are weird. Maybe collecting things period is a bit weird, who knows."

Whether you wear your baby in sack cloth or cloth of gold, it doesn't matter! What matters is that your baby is being held close to you and your arms are free to do other things; make a sandwich, catch up with email, read your favourite blog :), push a grocery cart, potty your toddler, walk the dog, make the dinner............ you get the picture!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Week In The Life Of Jenn

We went to Tremblant this week, among hundreds of other baby wearing mamas. We were the only ones with a ring sling. This was the first time our almost 3 year old daughter had been carried in almost a year!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Wear? How? Part I

by Tami Grosset

In last Tuesdays blog I explained what babywearing is and outlined the benefits of the practice. Over the next two weeks I plan to give a brief overview of the 5 types of carrier and the basics of how they are used.

Ring Slings
Ring slings are a great poppable carrier and can be used for newborns all the way up to toddlers. There is a great variety of price points for ring slings going from the widely accessible Maya Wrap ring sling, to the fancier Sakura Bloom, with much in between and beyond. At the top end of the price spectrum there are woven conversion ring slings where a woven wrap (offering a supremely supportive carry) is converted into a ring sling by a conversion company. WCRSs are often a high price point as you have to factor in the cost of the woven wrap plus the conversion costs.

Ring slings all work on the same basic principle but vary greatly depending on the fabric used, what kind of shoulder it has and whether it has open or closed tails, like the Heart2Heart RS.

The Heart2Heart RS has a closed tail. You can see the two rails sewn into tail just above the heart and below the rings.

Threading your ring sling can be tricky if you've never done it before. First hold your sling with the wrong side up. Next take the end of the tail and gather the end up concertina style (it doesn't have to be neat.) Take the concertina-ed tail and thread it through both rings. Then split the rings and thread them back over the first ring and through the second ring. You're done! In case you're a visual learner this video clip might be useful.

Please excuse my messy hair!
When preparing to use your ring sling you need to first decide which shoulder to wear it on. You should have the sling so the rings sit on the front side of your shoulder; start with them quite high. Often when you tighten up the sling the rings slip down and you don't want them too low so starting high will be in your interest!

Ensure that the rails (the edges of the fabric) are situated at either side of the rings. This will help you find the rails easily to tighten the sling and will allow the fabric to move through the rings smoothly.

Tighten the bottom rail; the one that will go under baby's bum and knees (if sitting with legs out). If you plan to carry your baby with legs in you will want to get the bottom rail nice and snug. If bub will be seated with his legs out you will want to leave enough space to get their legs through.

Loosen the top rail; the one that will go behind baby's neck. There is no need to loosen lots; just enough to get your baby into the sling.

Holding your baby on the ringless shoulder in a burp position lower them into the pouch that you've created. If you're wearing them with legs out reach up from under the sling to help 'thread' their legs through.

A newborn can sit with their legs froggied up and in the carrier.

Pull the top rail up to the top of baby's back and neck and tighten the top rail. Be careful to tighten just the top rail. Pulling on the whole tail will have the effect of making the pouch more shallow but making just the top rail snug will create the support and comfort that your baby will need to sit securely in the sling.

The top rail need not be pulled up behind the head. In fact newbie bubs often find this uncomfortable. If the top rail sits at the top of the neck the head will be well enough supported.

If you find the shoulder is cutting into your neck lift baby's weight with one hand. This will allow some slack at the shoulder and you can adjust to comfort.

Finally reach behind you and tug the bottom rail down. This spreads the weight further across the back and increases the comfort for the wearer.

And you're done!

There are many other ways to use a ring sling, including a back carry which is demonstrated towards the end of this clip;

Stretchy Wraps
Stretchy wraps are a fabulous option for newborn babies. The elasticity of the fabric allows the wrap to hug the babies body nicely and creates the perfect womb outside the womb. There are several SWs available; Moby Wrap, Maman Kangarou and Hugabub are names that spring to mind. These are all wraps made from 100% jersey cotton and all wrapped on in the same way, as in this clip by Moby;

One of the best priced stretchy wraps on the market is the Boba wrap (previously known as the Sleepy Wrap).  The Boba is slightly different with its fiber content being 95% cotton and  5% spandex. The slight amount of spandex makes the wrap super stretchy and as a result, when worn correctly, it is a superbly supportive wrap and incredibly easy to use. Once the wrap is on there is no need to adjust or re-tie for the whole day! Due to the spandex content the way you wrap with it is slightly different, like this;

Once the wrap is on your body you can pop your baby in! Here are the Boba instructions on how to use it for a newborn;

and for an older child with their legs out;

You can use other stretchy wraps in much the same way simply accounting for the difference in tension due to the lack of spandex in other SWs. 

Stretchy wraps are awesome carriers for newborn baby's but there is a limit to what you can do with them. It is possible to use them for a hip carry but it is not safe to use a SW for a back carry. This clip demonstrates nicely why this is the case.

Pouch slings are lovely poppable slings which are great for babies who are able to sit up and hold their head up on their own. They are not ideal for newborns. A newborn has to lie in a cradle position in a pouch sling and this position carries a high risk for positional asphyxiation. This is where their chin may rest on their chest, causing a kink in the airway. Ideally newborns should ride in a carrier in a visible and kissable position; upright and high enough on the wearers front so that they can kiss them. This is not possible to do with a pouch sling and so we recommend parents save a pouch sling for when baby is old enough to be carried in a seated position.

Pouch slings, like Seven Slings or the original Hot Sling are sized to fit the primary wearer. This means that they may not be easily shared with another parent. If your partner and yourself are different sizes you will probably find a ring sling a better option. The Adjustable Hot Sling pouch (which is adjusted before putting the baby into the pouch) is designed to adjust in size for multiple, different sized users and this could be a good option also. It is important that the pouch is correctly sized for you as if it is too small it will be hard to get the infant into the carrier and if it is too big you will likely find it uncomfortable and lacking support. Generally, to check on the size, when wearing it like a beauty pageant sash, the bottom edge of the sling should hit your opposite hip.

Once the sling is on simply pop your child in the pouch ensuring their bum is deep in the seat and the bottom rail stretches from knee to knee. Pull the top rail up nice and high to support their back securely. If your child prefers to have their arms out that is fine but if they nod off you'll probably want to tuck them in again.

For added tension you might want to flip the shoulder.

And you're done again!!

The pouch sling can be used for front hip and back carries, in much the same way you would use a ring sling. They are light and pack down small which makes them awesome carriers for keeping in the car or in a purse for those babywearing emergencies!


Next week I will outline the soft structured and mei tai carriers as well as the wonderful world of the woven wrap! Plus offer some notes on carriers to avoid.