My babywearing story began where disappointingly my nursing story ended. I needed to find another way I could be close and bond with my little guy. I knew nothing about babywearing before Jude was born – just that my sister had worn her girls a couple times during family walks/hikes. When Jude was six weeks old, we went on a family hike in Montreal and I borrowed a Snugli-type carrier to carry him. Boy was that uncomfortable! So when our breastfeeding journey was over at 4 months, I knew it was time to look for more supportive options to wear Jude.
I am a die-hard thrifter (read: super cheap!) so I knew buying new was out of the question. Straight to Kijiji I went. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for exactly, but I knew I wanted something affordable (under $100), neutral and comfortable. I still didn’t know about the Ottawa Babywearing Group but I was on Instagram and had just started following many moms who were all about safe and ergonomic babywearing. I was clear in knowing an ergonomic carrier was where it was at. So I searched a little while and found a gray Beco Butterfly II with an owl design. It was a bit cutesy for my liking but it was to carry a baby after all, so I thought it would do. The price was right and it came with the box and instructional DVD so I was happy to have scored a deal. That carrier changed me as a mother. When I decided I could no longer nurse Jude, I felt like a failure. This carrier gave me redemption! It proved I could still be nurturing and close with him in a way I knew he needed. So began my adventures in babywearing!
Soon after, as I was scrolling through baby items on Kijiji, I happened upon a Boba 3G carrier tucked away in an ad for miscellaneous baby items. I couldn’t believe it when the seller was only asking 30 bucks! As someone who loves a steal I had to buy it, even though I didn’t really NEED it. After Jude outgrew the Beco in height, the Boba turned into my go-to carrier. It actually turned into a carrier my whole extended family would love too. When I broke my leg when Jude was 6 months old, I had to rely on family to care for Jude in a way in which I wasn’t able. Did they ever rise to the occasion! They were all very eager to wear Jude in my ‘carrier thingy’. My sister-in-law wore Jude everyday to nap while I was recuperating. Jude and I are forever grateful.
Okay, rewind a bit. When Jude was 5 months old, I joined to the Ottawa Babywearing Group on Facebook. They were (and still are!) all about the woven wrap. I found wrapping to be super intimidating but decided to give it a go when I saw a black KoaKoa, 100% linen wrap for sale. (Thanks Tami!) So I was off to my first babywearing meet up to buy my first woven wrap and learn how to use it! I loved it! So cozy compared to a soft structured carrier.
Next I bought a few Babyhawk Mei Tai carriers, because I loved their patterns and they were, you guessed it, cheap. They were great for comfort but as Jude got older (and heavier), I found I stopped reaching for them as much. I kept one for future babies but sold the other.
I also bought a few ring slings to see if they were comfortable. My first was an old-school Maya ring sling, which I actually ended up getting for free (ha! even better than cheap). I’ve just recently undone the shoulder on my Maya, in hopes of re-sewing it as a gathered shoulder. Next I got a black Sakura Bloom linen ring sling from a fb buy/sell page. A few bloggers that I followed owned SB ring slings and I always thought the linen looked so classic in style. I knew that if I were to ever see one at a good price I would snap it up. At the time, my SB ring sling turned into my favourite carrier hands down – quick and easy, comfortable and cozy, and looks stylish to boot. Not great for long hauls but perfect to snuggle together in and dance to his favourite records. I still keep my SB ring sling in the car and pop Jude in when needed.
Babywearing in the winter in Ottawa means you need some type of coat or cover to keep you and your little one warm when outside. I, however, was in no way financially able to buy a babywearing coat, cover or panel so in true cheapy fashion I improvised with a Joe Fresh winter coat in two sizes up. Voila, warm babywearing coat!
I then decided I needed another wrap – because, of course, who doesn’t? I was thinking I’d branch out from neutrals (gasp!) and buy a rainbow. When the right one came up around my birthday I bought myself an early birthday gift. It was a gorgeous Girasol Amitola Azarfan, size 6. It was beautiful and I learned many carries with it. I even learned to back carry with it. But, when Jude went on major wrapping strike, it just sat looking lovely but lonely at the front door. So off it went- sold to another local mama.
When a beautiful Girasol Ardent (creme weft) shorty came up for sale on the OBG Facebook page I thought it could make a great ring sling. So I snapped it up thinking I would have it converted straight away. That didn’t happen. I loved using a shorty! Super quick for my impatient wrappee and super comfy for me!
Now it’s no secret that OBG members are in love with the Manduca. I had always wanted one (because I wanted to cross straps while front wearing) but the price, even used, wasn’t doing it for me. So when one was being sold at a ‘reasonable to me’ price, I took the plunge. I use this carrier for most outings. We love, love, love our Manduca! Next on the to-do list is to get it customized!
At this point, Jude was still on semi wrapping strike so I decided to look into getting a wrap conversion mai tei (WCMT) -something comfortable for long periods of being up but cozy at the same time. Boy, are those pricey! I couldn’t do it. So I found an alternative. My little guy was now a toddler, so my main concern was getting a Mei Tai with wrap straps. I found a Hoptye Turquoise Pune being sold by another OBG member. As you can see, not neutral in the least, but lovely just the same. I thought, if Jillian from PaxBaby uses it with her toddler, it must be great! Lol. Although the waist is a bit diggy, I am determined to alter it somehow to make it work. I’m not a fan of it for back carries but that’s ok, it’s more of a cuddly carrier anyhow.
Just when I thought my stash was complete I bought a second hand Didymos Silver Waves, size 4 and -get this- a NEW Easycare Ocean, size 5. Jude is pretty much over his wrapping strike so we use these two new ones quite often. As someone who wasn’t a huge fan of back carries with a wrap, these two sizes really changed my mind!
My last carrier purchase is on its way. A neutral (gray) Natibaby Morris shorty, which I will have converted to a ring sling – for real this time!
Oops! Forgot one! I bought a beautiful Linuschka Anthracite Dahlia micro shorty a while back because it was (surprise, surprise) affordable and neutral. I will at some point convert this to a ring sling for a new teeny tiny babe.
So for now my stash is complete…. at least until a new baby joins the family!
Beco Butterfly II (sold to local mama)
KoaKoa woven wrap in black, 100% linen, size 7
Maya Ring Sling
Sakura Bloom Ring Sling
Royal Blue Patchwork Babyhawk Mei Tai
Tattoo Babyhawk (moved on)
Girasol Amitola Azarfan, size 6 (moved on)
Girasol Ardent creme weft, size 2
Didymos Silver Waves, size 4
Easycare Ocean, size 5
Linuschka Anthracite Dahlia, soon to be ring sling
WCRS, Natibaby Morris (on its way!)