Monday, 23 June 2014

Back Wrapping Infants In Their Fourth Trimester: A Good Idea?

by Veronique Bergeron
Cross posted from her blog AndBabiesMakeTen

Photo by Jenna Sparks

I am a parenting author, mother of 9 and avid babywearer. In my role as one of the admins of the OBG, I host babywearing meet-ups where parents have a chance to try carriers, get troubleshooting help and meet like minded parents in their community. On any given occasion, a parent will ask for help back-wrapping their newborn.

The birth of my ninth child has given me a chance to explore my thoughts on back wrapping tiny infants. I discovered wrapping when my twins were 6 months old. As a lover of art and baby cuddles, the weird and crazy world of woven wraps was a match made in heaven. I quickly became proficient at wrapping and yet I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with back wrapping newborns.

When I host babywearing meet-ups, parents come eager to learn. Some have always known they would “wear” their infants; others are led to it by circumstances such as a fussy baby or a busy toddler. All parents are thrilled and relieved by the freedom that babywearing affords. Suddenly, their hands are free, their babies are content, and their toddlers are safe. We take that new found freedom and run with it. Eventually, our hands are not as free as we would like them to be; our toddlers are still running amok; that squishy bump on our chest is getting bulky. I tried amending my herb garden with a shovel and a bag of sheep manure with a baby strapped to my chest. I didn’t feel the freedom.

But while back wrapping is an age-old practice in many cultures, it doesn’t come to us naturally. Most of us born and raised in North America did not grow-up with the benefit of seeing worn babies, of watching our mothers, aunts and cousins wrap their infants, of helping in the running of the household by wearing our infant siblings and cousins. We do not have the muscle memory of feeling what a good seat is, of making sure that our babies are breathing properly. We were raised and cultivated in a society where objects do this for us: the stroller, the car seat, the monitor. We also walk in communities where babywearing, especially back wearing, is seen as an oddity. Well-meaning strangers would not be able to correct a falling seat or a constricting piece of wrap. Not only they wouldn’t know how, but we are more likely to be upset when strangers express concerns about babywearing than concerned about our baby. We talk a good talk about “it takes a village…” but every week in our Facebook group, someone is bound to vent about strangers wanting to see or touch our babies. We want the village without the villagers.

When I see parents who want to learn how to back wrap their infants, I often see babies sunk too low into a wrap, with fabric over their heads, I often see slouched positioning with the chin pressed against the chest, I often see a ton of loose wrap unintentionally built into the seat and shoulders, waiting to work itself downward as gravity acts on mom and baby. And I wonder what will happen when baby is wrapped at home, without a spotter and without the benefit of a dozen avid babywearers on the lookout for mistakes.

The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) recommends that babies be “visible and kissable” at all time. A baby carrier should assist parents in the job of holding their babies. The safest place for an infant is in her parents’ arms and that’s why the safest position in a baby carrier is one that replicates the position of a baby in his parents’ arms. How many times have I told my husband of our demanding infant son: “I wish I could just put him back there and forget about him!”? But that’s exactly the problem as I see it: vulnerable newborns require constant supervision in their early months of life. Visible and kissable is where they should be: In The Way. Carrying our newborns against our breast acknowledges their great vulnerability and our irreplaceable role as the safe keepers of that vulnerability. It’s only normal that this momentous task should cramp our style a little.

If you decide that back wrapping your newborn is for you, please make sure you do it safely. Ask for the help of a spotter. Do it while sitting on a bed or a couch. Use mirrors, windows and reflective surfaces liberally to make sure that your newborn is still positioned properly. If you are unsure about your ability to back wrap your newborn, continue developing your wrapping skills with front carries. Your baby will only be that small once; don’t rush him out of sight. As for me and my little dude, I will keep him visible and kissable at least for his first 4 months. In the way, where he should be. 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

COTW #20 - Babywearing And Fatherhood

by Aline Kelly

This week, in honour of Father's Day, we are celebrating babywearing Dads! 

We are asking for member contributions this week. Ideas include:

- Pictures of your husbands, brothers, grandfathers, and other loved ones wearing their kids
- Videos of babywearing dads
- If you're a male member, tell us how babywearing has impacted your fatherhood. 
- Since most of our membership is female, tell us about how your husbands and partners babywear and how it shapes their dad roles. 

Some fun Babywearing Dad-related links:

Babywearing Dad gets crying baby to sleep in two minutes:

Same Dad re-records a year later, precious in a new and different way:

Hunky dad demos a stretchy wrap:

Dad harassed by police for babywearing:

Babywearing: A Dad's Experience:

Badass Dad: Babywearing

Celebrity Babywearing Dads (judge them not by their carriers, nor by their unergonomic carries!)

Babywearing Dads Facebook Page:

Happy (Babywearing) Father's Day!

We asked our babywearing dad's to share with us what babywearing means to them. Here's what some of our OBG Daddies had to say, or in our first entry, what an OBG bub had to say about his awesome dad!


Dear Dad(Ian M. Hickman)

Thanks for being a super amazing awesome Daddy. I was only 6 days old when you snuggled me into a Moby wrap at the dog park for the first time. I saw my first Heffalump while riding in a Muslin wrap on your back at the Zoo. I saw my first Dinosaur while riding on your back in the Mandooka. We have even jaunted through air ports together, and was able to make a last minute boarding because I was able to hold onto the reins.

You take me on a lot of adventures, and just recently I fell asleep into you while watching the Brooklyn Skyline while (wait for it) 1.. 2.. 3.. Blast Off! from the Newark airport runway. When you are not giving me a piggy back ride you push me along in my trike, or I run along beside you asking 'What's That?!'. One day you will see me pedal on my own, but I know you will always be there to enjoy life with me. Thank you for being... my best Dad in the whole... entire... werld.

Happy Fathers Day!
Love you Dad!



by Ryan Hough

Before our first son Miles was born, we were lucky enough to take a "Bringing Baby Home" course with an exceptional instructor who introduced us to the idea of baby wearing. She even brought in a variety of carriers and wraps one evening. Of course she discussed the many benefits of baby wearing including the benefits of having your baby close to his or her parent.

Once Miles was born, we found many benefits of our own. I enjoy cooking, and baby wearing allowed me get some cooking done while keeping Miles as happy as a clam. They sure helped us manoeuvre around crowds more effectively than with a stroller. I believe the most important benefit to baby wearing is how it has helped to shape him into the wonderful little guy he is today.

People always comment on cute kids, but I thought Miles always seemed to get a little extra attention by people he met or people just passing by on the street. This is often because he has something pleasant to say to those he encounters. I believe that baby wearing had something to do with this. I will explain why.

We live in a old 1930s semi-detached house in the Glebe, which is an area in Ottawa which is pretty much walkable to everywhere you would want to be. I have always been a proud papa and loved going for walks, just Miles and I. Sometimes it would be in a stroller, sometimes in a carrier or a wrap. I quickly discovered that I preferred baby wearing, especially around a year old when a greater variety of sounds started coming out of his mouth. When he was in his stroller, I felt a little more disconnected from him. When I was wearing him and he was discovering all the sounds he could make with his mouth in preparation for talking; from as young as a year old he would be looking around wherever we were walking and seemed to be asking me questions. I would have on idea what he was saying, but I would always answer his questions anyways. There were times we would have "conversations" all the way to Bank St., with him babbling and me speaking back to him. As he got older, his vocabulary got more diverse and he started to ask me more and more questions about his world. Some of my fondest memories of Miles are waking through the Arboretum, along Dow's Lake or to Bank St. having conversations the whole time. These conversations continue to this day.
People often talk about what a large vocabulary Miles has, how happy and smiley he is, and how social he is. I truly believe this is in large part due to the walks I had with him while wearing him. He was close to me face to face and not in a stroller or a car seat. During our conversations he learned about his world, learned how to have a conversation and increased his vocabulary while feeling safe and secure with his daddy. To this day, I have some of my longest and most pleasant conversations with Miles.

Photo by Jenna Sparks Bradbury

I am very proud of the amazing little boy he has turned out to be. I believe that there are many reasons why he has turned out this way (his amazing mom being one of them). I am so grateful that I was turned on to baby wearing, as I believe wearing him factored into the development of his bright little personality, and hopefully his love of people, curiosity, creativity and sense of humour will continue to develop throughout his life.

Photo by Jenna Sparks Bradbury

I am continuing to wear our latest little guy Ewan, who is now six months old. Strangely, he is turning out to be smiley, happy. social and alert just like his big brother, with his own little twist of course. Coincidence?


D'Arc preferred to allow these pictures to say everything.


Kars shared these pics of him traveling with his twins; fathering on the go!


Jenna sent in these photos of her proud hubby wearing her boys.

by Kyle

For me the appeal is all about practicality. We can carry our twins anywhere, and it's a way for all of us to get out and about. It's also a great bonding experience. They get to see the world from our perspective and we can explore together. We started out with two fleece pouch slings that were given to us when the twins were born in January. Those were great for winter walks, and we wore the twins for all of their naps initially. They slept so well in the slings. Once the babies were big enough we got a couple of Ergos - we love those. Next we are hoping to look into woven wraps so that one of us can wear both kids at once. We're only four months into parenthood so we're still new at this!


Does your baby daddy babywear? What does it mean to him? If he would like to share his babywearing experiences he can send them to be added to the post.

Thank you to all the daddies in our children's lives. Enjoy your day!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

How Did You Vote Today?

It might be a secret ballot but there's no hiding the fact that Ottawa loves to wear their babies!!

Thanks for voting today OBG-ers!!