Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Halloween In The Life Of Some OBG Trick Or Treaters!!

A Zombie family.... a Breaking Bad and Beeker family and a family from Oz.
Plus three little cuties; an alien monster, an ewok and a green monster!

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Winter Babywearing

by Jennifer MacNeil

This blog piece was originally written for Jennifer's own awesome blog. We highly recommend stopping by there and checking out her other articles. Thanks for sharing this piece Jennifer!

Babywearing and seasonal change

As summer rolls into autumn, babywearers start to ask what to do in the cool weather.  Maybe it's a chilly early morning or evening dog walk that they need to cover up for, maybe it's frigid Canadian winters.  Rest assured, there are solutions that will allow you to babywear outdoors in cool and cold weather.

There are two branches of solutions: separate outerwear for you and your child, or one piece of clothing to cover you both.  There are pros and cons to both, and many options to consider.

Separate Outerwear:  Simply put, you wear your coat/sweater and baby wears his sweater, fleece suit or snowsuit.  Another option is to have an over-the-carrier cover for your baby.  These are often made by baby carrier companies as an accessory for their baby carriers, but they generally can be used interchangeably with other brands of carriers.  A simple DIY carrier cover can be made by tucking a warm blanket around the outside of the carrier.
Something to keep in mind when wearing separate outerwear: Your child is not physically exerting themselves, so will not be as warm as you may be if you are walking, snowshoeing, hiking, etc.  You may need to dress them for one level cooler than you dress yourself, i.e. in a fleece suit even if you are only in a long sleeved t-shirt.

My son is actually wearing two layered fleece suits here, as it was warmer than his snowsuit and covered his feet.  Since my husband was walking/hiking, he is dressed much less warmly than our son.

You probably already have outerwear for both of you, so this option often is free and doesn't require you to acquire anything new.
Baby will still be warm if you take them out of the carrier, making it easy to transfer between babywearers or for toddlers to go down and run around.
Depending on your coat, this may be a very bulky option and the extra bulk will take up more strap or wrap length.  If you are using wraps, you may find that you can't do the carries you normally do with the length i.e. with your size 6 you can no longer do a Double Hammock with Tibetan Tie, you only have the length to tie at the waist.  This may mean you have to learn new carries or use a longer wrap.
Snowsuit on snowsuit is very slippery and it's tough to get a good wrap job when your bodies refuse to stick together, not to mention the passes slide right off the baby and there goes your seat.
The soft structured carrier (SSC) that fits your child normally may only come partway up their back when they are wearing a snowsuit--may be an issue if you have a leaner.
You are not sharing body heat with your child, so they may not be warm enough in very cold weather.  You are also less aware of their temperature so it can be more difficult to assess whether they are warm enough.

Although not my usual winterwear, a wool peacoat is much less slippery than a polyester jacket, which makes it much easier to wrap a child onto you.  

One Piece of Clothing for both of you: This can really be any number of options, whatever suits your needs and your budget.

Arms in is the usual cold weather preference, unless using them to accentuate your face-making.  Note that here the v-neck is on backwards so that my son is in the V.  It actually works equally well the other way around.

Body heat is shared between the two of you. 
Less bulky than each wearing your own clothes
Your carrier will fit normally
If you intend on continuing to carry your child at your destination, you don't have to take them out of the carrier to remove either of your outerwear once you move indoors.
Can look more stylish because it doesn't look as piece-meal.
Some of the specialty babywearing outerwear can be quite costly.
You and your child may grow out of the coat before you stop carrying them i.e. you can no longer wear a size M and need to size up to an L.
Can be impractical if your child is going to be let down out of the carrier while you are outside.
Some options only allow you to use it while front-carrying.

At such a young age (4 months here) I was worried that a scarf may accidentally hinder his breathing, so you can see in this photo that I'm holding a safety pin to close up the space between our necks and create two separate neck holes out of the v-neck sweater.

The category of one piece of clothing can further be broken down into:
Designed/intended for babywearing (can be found both new and used) such as:
Ready-made babywearing coat or vest.  Brands include Suse's Kindercoat, Peekaru (now owned by Boba), M Coat, an amauti
Custom or ready-made zip-in extender for your own winter jacket
Babywearing poncho with extra head-hole for baby
Wrap-around poncho
Adapted for babywearing a.k.a. babywearing hacks (often something you already own or purchase at a thrift store) such as:
Stretchy knit sweater (V-neck is great)
Zippered hoodie
A jacket several sizes larger than your normal size
A DIY babywearing coat like this one.

My favourite cold weather babywearing combo; this ensemble cost a total of $4.

My personal preference for sub-zero temperatures is a babywearing hack, because I'm practical, but cheap.  A combination of an XL v-neck cashmere sweater (from Salvation Army) under an XL zippered hoodie (and roll up the sleeves). We dress normally, usually my son wears just socks. I find it is good to about -20C. If it is a warmer day, I use only one (especially for fall/spring), and on the very coldest days I've used my husband's parka--he wore his snowboarding jacket. With a large coat/hoodie or amauti, you have the option of putting the hood over both your heads for extra warmth, an option that I don't think is offered with babywearing coats.

When your babywearing gear is over-sized gifted clothes for your spouse,
you can both use it to babywear!

Whichever option you choose, make sure you are paying attention to footwear.  Most people worry about their child's winter footwear (MEC Toaster Booties, Stonz, Padraigs, booties/moccasins are all great choices) but what I'm referring to is adult footwear.  If you are in a location or season where you may encounter slippery ground or ice, please wear shoes or boots with appropriate treads/traction.  You can also look into traction aid slip-ons that fit over your shoes if you will be walking on slippery surfaces.  In our first winter together, I slipped and fell while carrying my son during a freezing rain storm.  For our second winter I purchased some slip-ons from Costco for $12 (there are tons of brands out there; Yaktrax is one I've frequently heard recommended).  They were sometimes a pain because I had to take them off to go into stores and usually to cross cleared streets (as mine have spikes), but definitely worth it.  They roll up small and I always kept them in my coat pocket so I didn't forget them when we went out.

Last of all, here are some extra tips for my cold weather babywearing comrades:
If you’re using separate gear, back wearing, and you have a hood, roll the hood up and in so it doesn’t bother your kiddo
Use a longer wrap to do a mid-length carry with a shoulder or chest tie (knotless, Tibetan, Candy Cane, etc.) and use the long tails as a scarf—one less thing to carry with you and potentially forget!
If you will be exerting yourself but aren’t warmed up yet, use arm/leg warmers to cover your arms.  They are quick and easy to take off and don’t require you to take your child out of the carrier to remove a layer.
Use a mirror to practice putting your kiddo’s hat on while back carrying (hat demo starting at 5:41).  The easiest hats to put on are ones with ear flaps because they give you two handles.  If your arms don’t bend that way (and they won’t at first!), keep practicing.  Do those behind the back arm stretches when you’re not babywearing.  Practice more.  Keep yourself motivated with the knowledge that you will be able to put your kid’s hat on by yourself, meaning you don’t have to approach strangers to ask for help, (if there is even anyone around).  You will also be able to adjust the hat after it has been on your child’s head and has inevitably twisted or fallen down, obscuring their eyes and causing them to fuss.  Once you’re a pro at putting on a hat, you can earn your golden potato by reaching back and putting your child’s hood back on (for the millionth time), and even pulling that shared hood up over both of your heads!

Left: Using a size 6 wrap to do a ruck with Tibetan Tie I have enough length to use the tails for a scarf.
Right: My hood is rolled up and nestled up around my neck so that it is out of my son’s face.

Do you have any tips to make winter babywearing easier?  Tell us what works for you!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

COTW #39- Double Hammock Double Rings

by Aline Kelly

Double Hammock Double Rings (DH-DR) is an short version of Double Hammock that is secured with two sling rings, one at either shoulder. You can generally tie this carry with a much shorter wrap than you would use to tie a regular Double Hammock, often a size 2, 3, or 4 woven wrap will suffice nicely. 

General instructions:
- These instructions assume you know how to tie a regular Double Hammock. The only difference will be that your chest pass should remain bunched instead of spread. 
- When you get to the stage of the cheerleader pull, bring both tails over your shoulders. 
- Securing one tail, feed a sling ring up the other tail until it is high on your chest. 
- Keeping the ring high and out of the way, tuck this tail underneath your chest pass.
- Lower the ring down so it is at the crossing point of the two passes, hanging over the horizontal pass. 
- Tuck the hanging pass up through the ring, from back to front, and tighten by pulling downward.
- You can tighten this cross to the chest level that you prefer by holding the hanging tail and moving your ring up or down.
- Repeat the ring instructions for the other side. 

Photo instructions:

Video instructions: (emwhist) - To skip to the ring tutorial, fast forward to 3:45

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Thursday Thought: Generational Wearing

by Tami Grosset

One of the most memorable experiences from my days working at Milkface (a local babywearing and natural parenting store) was when a grandmother came in to ask about our selection of soft structured carriers. She thought it would be a great way for her to care for her grandchild when her daughter needed a break.

Babywearing is not just for the parents, as wearers. Very often the next people to care for a baby, after the parents, are the grandparents and why should they not get in on the act? For grandparents with arthritic hands ring slings or tied mai teis, rather than buckle carriers, might be preferable but generally a carrier will be easier on an older body than carrying in arms, just as it is for parents.

Very often Granny and Gramps get a bad rep. We hear too often stories of grandparents bemoaning the practice of babywearing. 'You're spoiling him by holding him close all the time.' 'She'll never learn to walk.' 'It must be putting a lot of strain on your body.' A baby is not a piece of fruit and will not spoil by touching, of course she'll learn to walk and wearing my baby puts a lot less strain on my joints than carrying her in arms.


There are many grandparents out there who have embraced babywearing, and other forms of natural parenting. These wonderful grannies and grampies are not only supporting the parents in the way they are choosing to raise their children. They are also really enjoying the wonderful snuggliness that babywearing allows.

We applaud you Babywearing Granny and Babywearing Gramps! Thank you for sharing the babywearing love with us and thank you for your support!

Who else is wearing your baby?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Week In The Life Of Kim.... And An OBG Library Wrap!!

Kim borrowed a size 2 Didymos wrap from the sling library. She loved it so much she asked if she could borrow it for a bit longer, while her and her family traveled to the Azores for a holiday. Kim paid a small donation to the library to cover the extended loan. Here is her collage of the fun they had together!

'It travelled to the Azores with us. I was SO grateful for it! It was the perfect time to practice different carries with a size 2. And Xavier loved it. We bought our very own size 2 from Aline when we got back!'

 If you're interested in borrowing a carrier from our library please get in touch!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

What Size Wrap Do I Need? What Can I Do With My Wrap?

by Nancy Lentini-Brown

One of our most common questions re wrapping is 'what can I do with my Size **?
Here's a quick way to answer!!

Lengths of wraps by size:

2 – 2.7 m
3 – 3.2 m                       
4 – 3.7 m
5 – 4.2 m
6 – 4.6 m
7 – 5.2 m

*these are estimates and each wrap may vary by make and taper length
**all carries for sizes are estimates and larger or smaller wrappers and wrappees may require one size larger or smaller wrap in order to complete the carry. All carries are based on a general size 6 as base size.
***where applicable COTW links are included in the name of the position. YouTube clips are show where possible and where not a video clip can be found by following the link in the ()s.

Size 7 wrap

Back Carries:
Wiggleproof Back Carry


Size 6 wrap                                  

Front carries:
Front wrap cross carry (FWCC )

Front cross carry (FCC)

Back Carries:
Back wrap cross carry (BWCC)

Reinforced Ruck Tied Tibetan (RR-TT)

Double Hammock (DH)

Size 5 wrap

Back carries:
Secure High back carry (SHBC)

Christina's Ruckless

Jordan’s Back carry (JBC)

Wendy's Double Hammock (WDH

Reinforced Ruck Tied in front (RR-TIF)

Size 4 wrap

Back carries:
Ruck tied in front (RTIF)

Double Rebozo Shoulder to Shoulder (DRS2S)

Hip Carries:
Coolest Hip Cross Carry (CHCC)


Robbin's (RHC)

Front carries:

Front wrap cross carry tied under bum (FWCCTUB)

Short front cross carry (SCC)


Size 3 wrap

Back carries:
Short back cross carry (SBCC)

Reinforced Rear Rebozo Rucksack (RRRR)

Half Jordan’s Back Carry (Half-JBC)

Hip Carries:
Hip Cross Carry (HCC)

Size 2 Wrap

Back Carries:
Ruck tied under bum (RTUB)

Rebozo -Front and tying a slipknot

-back carry

**Chestbelt Variations for Ruck straps

Sunday, 20 October 2013

COTW #38 - Back Wrap Cross Carry

by Aline Kelly

The Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) is the exact reverse of the Front Wrap Cross Carry. It is a back carry that consists of a horizontal pass and two cross passes.

General instructions:
- Get baby on your back using your preferred method, create a deep seat from knee to knee, and bring both tails UNDER your arms.
- Securing one tail, spread the other tail diagonally across your chest and up over the opposite shoulder.
- Spread the wrap down across baby's back and bum and tuck it under the opposite knee. 
- Secure this tail and repeat these instructions on the other side. 
- Tie a double knot in front. 

- Instead of crossing the passes on your chest, you can tie a half knot or do a twist. 

Photo and video instructions:

Sweetheart BWCC 
This is a popular recent variation of the BWCC. It recreates the look of the sweetheart necklines you see on dresses and gowns. (emwhist)  -  despite wonky sound, this is considered THE instructional video for Sweetheart BWCC. 

Melissa's Sweetheart BWCC (sling ring required): 

Xena BWCC (ring at chest):

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thursday Thought: Rascism In Babywearing

by Tami Grosset

I just stumbled upon this blog and I wonder what our OBGers think of it, especially our black and asian members.

Are we appropriating someone else's culture when we wear our babies or are we just doing what we feel is right and natural for our child?

Do the black and asian cultures hold all the rights to babywearing? Or did 'pre-Victorian' mothers wear their babies in white working class Britain and Europe?

Or is this just another battle in the perennial mummy wars? Instead or 'stroller mums' against 'babywearing mums' or 'bottle feeding mums' against 'nursing mums' or 'SAHMs' against 'workplace mums'..... now we have 'mama's of colour' against 'white mamas'?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Spooky Babywearing!!

by Tami Grosset

Its the time of year when we all get to dress up in crazy, silly and sometimes spooky costumes and why should you and your worn baby miss out? Well, I can't think of a good reason so here is a collection of some great babywearing costumes that you and your little one can enjoy this Halloween.

This pic was found on the Risaroo FB page
By adding some felt cut out eyes and mouth to your green Ergo Performance (which I think is the perfect colour for this costume) your bub instantly becomes a little green monster (and you the Momster!!)

OBGer Kat with her little bag of popcorn!
This was a simple no sew costume that could attach to any kind of carrier, and a cheap baby hat with pom poms, or even real popcorn stuck on creating the illusion of yummy popcorn!!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!
 The 6 month old baby here is being worn in an Ergo Baby. She is wearing a baby hat on which was glued an AWFUL LOT of braided yellow yarn, tied with bows occasionally. Tied on to the carrier is 'the castle'. The braided hair is draped around and hanging down from the crenellations and ivy is growing up the side of the tower. The older child was meant to be the Knight In Shining Armour but he changed his mind at the last minute!!

Ingrid and her baby lobster!

This mama chef wore a chef's hat and a large mens dress shirt (to look like chef whites). The baby was worn in a SSC on which was tied a silver foil covered card that bent around the carrier. Baby is wearing the cutest lobster costume!! Never mind new baby smell.... I'm thinking garlic butter!!

Alyson Hannigan wearing her wee roo!
This pic from last years Halloween shows celeb Alyson Hannigan dressed as a Kanga while her bub is dressed as a Roo, safely worn in a carrier that allows a forward facing out position. I have to say that the thing that makes this image for me is the suit-wearing dad wearing the kangaroo hat and possibly the worlds biggest grin!!

This HAS to be my all time favourite babywearing Halloween costume!! Just perfect for the Ottawa Zombie Walk!

This costume kept both mama and bub warm on a cool Halloween night here in Ottawa. White chain stitch cobweb over a dark knitted babywearing poncho (would work just as well over a dark shawl) and a home made crocheted spider hat.

Is the babywearing force strong with you?!
And another back carry friendly costume would be the 'Luke Skywalker carries Yoda' look, which would be simple with a mai tei or SSC and a cute knitted or crocheted Yoda hat for the bub. This costume might be THE one to get daddy excited about babywearing this Halloween!

Photo by Jenna Sparks Bradbury
Of course if you want to keep things simple you could just use this awesome 'Calavaras' MT from Babyhawk.....

... or if you're super lucky, you might find this beautiful yet fitting Lenny Lamb woven wrap on your doorstep, from Wrap Your Baby.

Please share with us you Halloween Babywearing costumes and keep an eye out for any costume competitions. In the past both Pax Baby and Wrap Your Baby have run Halloween competitions... so much fun!

Whichever costume you and your little ones dress up in this Halloween, we at Ottawa Babywearing Group wish you all a very happy Halloween and a great deal of treats!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

COTW #37 - Hip Cross Carry

by Aline Kelly

Hip Cross Carry (HCC) is a supportive, poppable hip carry that is tied with a mid-length woven wrap, usually a size 4 or 5. If you're familiar with the Front Cross Carry, this is the same, except with modifications to situate it on the hip. The HCC is a good carry for nursing and for trips outside the house, since you can pop baby in and out as needed. 

General instructions: 
- Drape your wrap over one shoulder at the middle marker. 
- Bring both tails to your opposite hip and cross them over each other in an X shape.
- Circle the tails around your waist until both ends are back at the hip where you made the X. Tie a loose double knot. 
- Situate baby into the X, inner pass first, spreading the wrap from knee to knee as you go. 
- Tighten up the  wrap where needed and tighten your knot under baby's bum (if you have extra length you can tie elsewhere). 
- Spread the wrap across your back, cup your shoulder if you like, and make any other adjustments for your comfort. 

Photo instructions: 

Video instructions: (Leah Greer-Pinzaru)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thursday Thought: We All Get A High Five!

The below was found on a Facebook post..... if you are Lauren Sperber Bartlett, thank you so much for your words! Please let us know if you'd rather we didn't share here!

"Musings on Bjorns during a 1am nursing session..... I remember the delight I felt, as a new first time mom, when I first felt brave enough to step away from my Brest friend and wear my baby in my inherited bjorn Air. I rocked that thing. We were BOSS in it. I remember the delighted look on the old ladies faces at the grocery store when we went by, my cute babe and I. I was so proud of myself and my little one. And then when she got old enough, she faced out and we would dance down the aisles. I would hold her little hands and bob back and forth and soak up her little giggles....That bjorn air got me through a vacation with the in laws (oye) and helped solidify my path down attachment parenting. We graduated from our bjorn when my shoulders said "no more please" and found our way to MTs and RSs and wraps and SSCs.....(it's true I have too many, but I'll deny it if you ever tell my husband I said that!!)..,. It's true with my second child, I have made different baby wearing choices, but the saying goes as you know better, you do better...
I see new moms looking boss in their harness carriers and I know where they are at. They are doing the best they can with what they know. Who could ever fault a woman for that? They aren't to be ridiculed and pitied, they are ROCKING that thing. They have empowered themselves and have stepped away from the carseat. They are doing what feels natural even if it is scary (um, hello EVERYTHING parenting!) How horrified would I have been to know i was babywearing all "wrong", that I was being silently judged .... Hell no. High five those mamas.Welcome them to the babywearing community. Invite them to your groups meeting. We are strong and resourceful women. Rock your own carriers, be boss in them. And perhaps most of all be approachable and friendly. Be a resource. Don't pity their choices and surely don't feel sorry for their babe. That kids going to be just fine....."
--Lauren Sperber Bartlett

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Week In The Life Of Tami

I don't get to wear Rose much anymore so this might be my last opportunity to share a collage! Luckily Rose enjoys wearing her Didi!
The last time I wore Rory he was 3 years old. He's about to turn 6 but was super tired on a walk at MacKenzie King in the Gatineau this past weekend; Toddler Tula to the rescue!
Rose had a day when she'd  napped late into the afternoon so at bedtime struggled to sleep. Our Ergo held her close and snuggled while I got my chores finished, then we snuggled to sleep together.
Caught in the heavy rainstorm at Valley View Farm this weekend.... we escaped to the petting barn by racing along in the Tula.
Taking some friends home, two streets over, after getting ready for bed was made easy by wrapping up all cuddly in our toddler WCMT by TMD.

Monday, 7 October 2013

My (Minimalist) Stash Monday: Adrienne's Stash

My Stash: an Ergo Baby!

That's it.

We had one of everything to start. All the carriers were hand me downs from friends. Landing on the Ergo was a process of elimination. The pocket sling baby didn't dig, same for the ring sling. The stretchy wrap was good, but we never figured out how to get baby in (and more importantly out!) quickly. Hubby liked the Baby Bjorn, but carrying our little big guy soon began to give us headaches. By this time baby was 4 months and 14 lbs. I had an Ergo on loan from a friend, and even though he had good head support, I was afraid that he wasn't big enough to spread his legs the width of the seat – and he certainly didn't want his legs in anymore!! Then I found this "hack" to make the seat a little narrower for my guy.

We've not looked back since. At around 10 months, we started attempting back carries and are feeling more and more confident each day (12 mos now).

I love the Ergo because we can quickly pass from parent to parent to grandparent. It is fast to adjust and the learning curve is short. Looking back, I think we might have overcome the learning curve on the other carriers with a little more support. But keeping it simple has worked for us.

There is lots of support for babywearing with the full spectrum of carriers here in Ottawa. Local babywearers can attend any of our weekly babywearing meets, details of which can be found in the 'events' tab on the Ottawa Babywearing Group Facebook page. Families can also visit with Milkface (Bank St, Old Ottawa South and Churchill Ave N, Westboro) or Extraordinary Baby Shoppe (Hintonburg) for support. If you are struggling with a carrier that is new to you please let us know so we can help you enjoy the wonderful practice of babywearing!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

COTW #36 - Secure High Back Carry

by Aline Kelly

Secure High Back Carry (SHBC) is a carry of infinite variations. If you do an internet or video search for this carry, you will have a very hard time finding two that will match up completely. This COTW will focus on the classic original carry as posted by sling_dad on forums in 2007, and provide options for variations. 

This carry is usually done with a size 4, 5, or 6 woven wrap. It's a popular carry for new wrappers since you tie a half knot almost right away, giving you a chance to stop, breathe, and think. 

The original name of this carry is the Secured High Back Carry, although Secure High Back Carry has arguably become more popular. 

Comprehensive overview by the carry's inventor, including photo instructions (login required): 

General instructions:
- Get baby onto your back using your preferred method and create a deep seat from knee to knee. One tail comes over your shoulder, the other comes under your opposite arm.
- Tie a half knot at the center of your chest.
- Grab the tail nearest the over-shoulder pass. Keeping it bunched, bring it under that shoulder, over baby's first knee, under the second knee, and bring it to the front. Secure this tail between your knees. 
- Taking the other tail, bring it over your shoulder, spread it across baby's back and bum, and bring it under your opposite arm, OVER baby's knee.
- Tie a double knot in front.

Popular variations/options:
- Spread the first back pass instead of keeping it bunched.
- Keep the first pass over both of baby's knees instead of tucking under the second knee. 
- Tuck the second pass under baby's knee instead of doing the classic rebozo pass.
- The passes can be done in reverse order if preferred. 

Video Instructions: (BabywearingFaith) - Original carry (up4k4bu aka sling_dad) - Original SHBC video by the Dad who invented it. This video already has one variation in it. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Thursday Thought: How To Celebrate?

We're about to hit a milestone on the Ottawa Babywearing Group Facebook page. We will shortly be accepting our 1000th member! That's right... you read that correctly!

Crazy isn't it!!

But how do we mark this milestone OBG-ers?! Comment below and tell us your suggestions?!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

FFO & Narrow Seated Carriers: The Myths And The Facts

by Tami Grosset

This blog post has been doing the social media rounds recently and I'm saddened by the amount of airplay this scare mongering, unbalanced yet passionate post has been getting. Even Motherwise posted it as an 'evidence based' article to enable parents to make informed choices.

What has been further frustrating me is that this other blog post, which is very well written, balanced, researched and equally passionate has been getting far less airplay despite the fact that it is actually far more helpful for parents who wish to make informed decisions based on actual information, rather than fear.

The first post was written by a mother whose child has DDH. The second by a medic and experienced babywearer/babywearing educator.  I am an adult who was born with DDH, a mother of a child with DDH and an experienced babywearer/babywearing educator. I feel well placed to speak on this topic. I sort of combine the passion for and personal connection to the DDH condition and the experience and understanding of babywearing avdocacy.

There are many great blog posts about forward facing out (FFO) including this one from Boba, this piece that M'Liss (a babywearing veteran) wrote for Mothering and this item from the Babywearer's Circle. They all offer great advice based on information about what we know about the developing infant hip joint, developmental hip dysplasia and the modern treatments for children who suffer from the condition.

These images from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute show very nicely how hips can be supported by the use of a wide seated carrier and how a narrow seated carrier is deficient in this support;

Clearly narrow seated carriers are not ergonomic and are not designed to support healthy and natural infant hip development. I would always recommend a wide seated ergonomic carrier to parents who are looking to purchase their first carrier, or a replacement for their current carrier.

So what's bugging me? The claim that narrow seated carriers and FFO actually causes developmental hip dysplasia..... and that's all it is, a claim. There has been no research to say, without a doubt, that narrow seated carriers and FFO has actually caused DDH (developmental dysplasia of the hip).

I would certainly discourage anyone with a family history of hip dysplasia or loose joints, from using a narrow seated carrier or a carrying position that allows the legs to lie close together/straight, as in FFO or as in this image from the IHDI;

On the left the baby's legs are held together by the sling which is not an optimal position for hip development. On the right the baby is seated in a wide M position, a fabulous position for hip development.

If there is a potential familial disposition towards this condition it would be worthwhile to consider a few different ways to support healthy hip development. Using an ergonomic wide seated carrier is one way. Cloth diapering, or using two disposables, also supports good hip development as the bulk of the diaper forces the legs into a wider froggy position. If using a swaddle blanket, following safe swaddling techniques will also help to protect the flexibility of the hip joint and its natural development. This clip from IHDI shows how this can be done;

If you are using a narrow seated carrier and are concerned about your child's hip joints but really can't afford a new carrier then maybe consider using a scarf or shawl to create a knee to knee spread, as in this post by the Canadian Babywearing School. Or perhaps check out the Babywearing On A Budget Facebook group, where carriers can be found for no more than $100.

The main things to remember are;
  • babywearing will NOT cause your child to develop hip dysplasia
  • if there is a family history it might be best to consider more ergonomic options
  • FFO is a position that should be used only with babies who are able to sit unaided and who are awake
  • if using a FFO position be attentive to baby's cues and turn baby to face inwards when signs of overstimulation become apparent
  • FFO can be often be uncomfortable for the wearer since the weight of the baby and gravity will pull at the upper torso
  • ergonomic carriers generally have a higher weight limit than narrow seated carriers so whilst an Ergo Baby or Beco Gemini might be slightly more expensive than a Baby Bjorn or Snuggli the ergonomic carriers will almost certainly have a longer user life (and will also hold their value better when you come to sell as used)
You're probably wondering why I'm apparently arguing FOR the use of narrow seated carriers and FFO. To be honest with you I am not. I am arguing for babywearing. A worn baby is a happy baby, is a secure baby, is an attached baby. It is better that a baby is worn with care and attention, than not worn at all and we should, as the babywearing community, welcome, support and educate all babywearers however they wear their bubs.

Do you have a Baby Bjorn, Snugli or other type of narrow seated carrier? Does your infant like to be worn FFO?
Please don't stop wearing your child!

If your child has healthy hips and no genetic traits as described above then