Temperatures are dropping here in Louisville, so let’s talk about staying warm while babywearing!
Many babywearers prefer buckle carriers and ring slings during the colder months because it’s easier to keep them out of the slush and muck. These styles also have fewer layers to fiddle with over winter clothing, which is a plus. However, there are also fewer layers to keep you warm.Wool blend wraps are popular this time of year.. If you’re allergic to wool, thick hemp or linen blends are great alternatives, and you may want to size up to accommodate thicker clothing. Some carries may work better for you than others. A simple Ruck is great for quick trips as it reduces the time you spend out in the cold. But if you’ll be out for a while, you’ll probably want a multilayer carry like a Front Wrap Cross Carry or Double Hammock. Chestbelts can help keep your shoulder straps from sliding down the sleeves of your winter coat.
You want to reduce bulk as much as possible before wrapping. Layering is key here. A tank, long-sleeved top, and fleece pullover makes much more sense than a t-shirt and huge padded parka. Also, think grip, not slip. A sweatshirt or fleece will be much easier to wrap over than a windbreaker. Beware of open cardigans that can get tangled in your passes! The same goes for your child. The less bulk, the better. (This is also the way to go when putting your child in their carseat. Carseats and winter coats don’t mix!) You may want to put legwarmers on your child beneath their pants to prevent their skin from being exposed to the elements if their pant legs ride up, which they probably will.
In a temperate climate, plenty of babywearers manage by wearing their child on the front and simply buttoning their regular jacket over the child or leaving it open (with the child dressed warmly, of course!) However, if you’re planning to be out for a long time or if you want to wear your child on the back, things get trickier. You can buy a fleece pullover in a couple sizes too large and cut a slit in the back for your baby’s head, make a no-sew fleece poncho, or if you’re handy with a sewing machine, make your own babywearing coat.
There are quite a few specialized vests and coats on the market for babywearers. Some are pricey, and if you live in Canada or Norway, they are well worth the money. But for a milder climate like ours, they really aren’t necessary. Here are a few affordable options for babywearing outerwear if you’re looking to buy ready-made. Don’t forget to check the FB Swap and The Babywearer’s FSOT forum!
- Suse’s Kinder Find the ever-popular Kindercoat here, as well as fleece jackets, ponchos, rain ponchos, and more.
- Babyette and Ananda Home Goods sell very nice maternity and babywearing ponchos
- Peekaru makes both fleece vests and hoodies
Say hello to Dana Williams, KBW’s fifth leader!
Dana has been a tremendous help to us over the past few months. You may have seen her answering questions and talking babywearing at The Big Latch On in August, or offering a friendly hand at our day meetings. We are so pleased to have her joining our crew! You can read more about our leaders here.
One of our biggest labors of love is our Wrap Intensive workshop. Nearly every month, we host a wrapping class at The Louisville Ballet School, where we have access to a large classroom with mirrors. Learning to wrap in front of a mirror can really speed the process, as you can see each and every thing you’re doing. We have had so much interest in our Wrap Intensives that we now have two: 101 (for complete beginners) and 200 (for those who have already put their babies on their backs).
Our September Wrap Intensive was a 101 class, and we had a great turnout! Unlike our 200 class, which is a full 2 hours of studio time, the first hour of our 101 class takes place in a smaller classroom where we discuss the basics of wrapping as well as the differences between various woven wraps.
We set up a table and piled the wraps by fiber blend so that everyone could get a feel for not only what certain fibers feel like, but how different two wraps in the same fiber blend can be. We also passed around examples of broken-in vs new wraps, thin vs thick wraps, etc. The swap can be so overwhelming, it’s great to get a (literal) feel for things before you start shopping.
After a few questions we moved on to the main event: instruction! In the studio, we started with a front carry. Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) is the most popular front carry and is very similar to the carry most frequently used with stretchy wraps. It’s great to learn with, because multiple passes (layers) mean that even an imperfect wrap job is pretty supportive, and it’s easy to see what you’re doing. You can even do the first few steps before “popping” baby into the wrap.
We then moved on to back carries. First up were the important basics of actually getting your baby on your back as well as achieving a good seat. This is where individualized instruction can be really helpful; everyone’s always afraid of dropping their baby, and in the studio you not only have large mirrors available for troubleshooting, but there’s always someone to spot you. The two carries we practiced at length were the Double Hammock (DH) and a basic Rucksack.
All in all, everyone learned a lot, had a great time, and we’re looking forward to hosting our next one!
Wearing your Newborn – Join us for a discussion on different ways to wear and nurse your newborn in different carriers.
As usual the second half of the meeting will be open to Q&A and trying on any of our carriers (wraps, SSCs, ring slings, and mei tais). Also, don’t forget to bring your stash to show it off. Hope you can make it!
Reminder: our next meeting has been pushed back a week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Join our Facebook group to get invitations to all of our events!
We will be meeting on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at Mama’s Hip at 6 pm
Mei – to carry on the shoulders/ tai – belt; band/bring.
Traditionally, the Chinese mei tai was a square or nearly square piece of cloth with parallel un-padded straps emerging from the sides of each corner. It was traditionally secured by bringing all the straps together in a twist with the ends tucked.
There are now hundreds of different brands of mei tai available with a variety of features, but the longer straps, taller body and wrap-style tying method are found in almost all of them. Mei tais are suitable for front or back carries with children ranging from birth to as heavy as a parent can support.
Mei tais can have padded shoulders or wrap style shoulders, padded waist bands or unpadded bands.
Wearing your mei tai -
Tie the waist straps on apron style with the “inside” of the MT facing out. I prefer to tie pretty high on my natural waist because that is what is most comfortable for me. You just want to ensure that your baby’s head is close enough to you to kiss. Then you hold your baby against you and with one hand toss the straps over each shoulder, cross them behind your back and make sure that your LO has a good seat with the MT spread from knee to knee. I cross the straps then pull them tight in front of me. Then tie on your LO’s back, or over her knees, under her bum, or under her knees. I do a final hop and tighten right before I knot.
Basically rinse repeat for a back carry. I tie the MT on (pretty high – like right under my boobs because I prefer a high back carry) and “hip scoot” the little one on to my back. At this point you stay leaned over in a hunched position with one arm holding your baby and the other bringing the straps over each shoulder.
Popular Mei Ties -
FreeHand Mei Tai
Kozy Mei Tai
Two Mommas Designs
At tonight’s meeting we discussed wraps. Here is some info in case you couldn’t make it. Also, some links to the different carries we tried out today.
A wrap, or wrap-around carrier, is a long piece of fabric that is either woven or a thick cotton knit(sometimes with spandex) called stretchy wraps. A wrap is used to essentially tie your baby onto your body by wrapping it around yourself and your little one in a variety of ways. Stretchy wraps are great for newborns, they are exceptionally forgiving and snuggly. Many find that once the baby reaches around 20 lbs or 6 months the stretch of the fabric gives too much. Stretchy wraps are also the warmest carrier.
Woven wraps are typically 27-30” wide and can range in size 2 to 7 (3-5.4 meters). There are many different ways to wear your baby in a woven including front, hip, and back. While wovens do have a learning curve, they can be the most comfortable way to wear your baby once you have it down and can truly be worn from infancy to toddlerhood. They come in a variety of colors patterns and fabric content with cotton being the most common. Brand new wraps can be a little stiff and do require some breaking-in in the form of use, washing and “braiding”.
The featured carry of the night – The Double Rebozo Shouder to Shoulder
Another back carry we worked on was the Reinforced Rucksack Note: in her demo where she folds her shoulder passes in half I just do a twist. Her way is probably much neater, but if you are going for fast a twist works fine. She also finishes with a tibetian tie, some find this way of tying uncomfortable so you can always just tie at your stomach.
Front carries we did -
Kangaroo Carry - Note: she doesn’t twist or flip the shoulders in this video, which I like to have my shoulders nice and capped. Try it with or without the twist and decide which you like best!
Reinforced Kangaroo Carry (for longer wraps)
Hip carries- Both of these carries involve what is basically a Lexi Twist in the front then it varies from there.
Poppin’s Hip Carry - I usually use a longer wrap so I am able to tie in front or under bum. But like she said move the middle marker and it will change where the knot ends up.
And yes I use pretty much the same ladies for all of the tutorials. They know what they are talking about!! Had so much fun wrapping everyone’s babies! A big thank you to Keeley for letting me borrow little Hugh. Hard to believe that was how old Kylee was when I started wearing her on my back!
This past Friday the group went to Huber’s to pick peaches and berries. It was hugely successful and we are so thankful for all of the mommies who came out and made the day great! Follow our Facebook to find out about all of our fun outings and meetings!
Kentuckiana Babywearers will have a booth at this year’s Birth in the Bluegrass. We hope to see you there!
Come and visit with us while we talk about wearing your baby on your back with different carriers! Bring your carrier or try out one of ours! This will be our first attempt at a daytime meeting, hopefully more of our stay at home mamas will be able to join us! This meeting will be held in Middletown at Trinity Presbyterian Church 10200 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40223. We will be downstairs in the nursery. I will have some signs up to help find the room. Park in front of the church (in between the church and Shelbyville Road) and go in the door to the center of the building (off to the right is the preschool). You will see a set of stairs, go down the stairs and the nursery will be in the hallway to the right. –I am pretty sure about these directions but the signs should help. Hope to see you there!!