So far, the Secure High Back Carry (SHBC) has been the hardest carry in this challenge to learn.  I’ve wanted to learn a back carry for a long time:  the little one is getting big and it can be hard to get things done with her in a front or hip carry.  Plus, I want to get back into hiking and I think it would be easier to carry her on my back.

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Early attempts at SHBC – she’s way too low!

Learning a back carry was intimidating, though.  I was terrified I would drop her or would do something wrong when wrapping and she would fall out of the wrap.  It also takes more coordination to wrap on your back since you cannot see what you are doing with the wrap, and you need to be flexible to accomplish the carry!

I watched videos from Babywearing Faith and Wrapping Rachel several times before attempting the carry, and then I thought through each step of the carry.  Finally, I attempted the carry with my little one.

I practiced for weeks by standing with my back to my bed, that way if the little one fell off of me or out of the wrap, she would fall onto the bed and not get hurt.  All the experts recommend this, and it certainly eliminated one of my worries.

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Getting better at SHBC – she’s a little higher on my back, and she’s learn how to wiggle her arms free. She prefers to be able to grab things!

The first step in back wrapping it getting your baby onto your back.  I started out using the hip scoot method to get her on my back (Babywearing Faith shows this method in her video).  Using this method, I discovered that I had a hard time getting her high enough.  I also felt like she was much more tangled in the wrap that way.  Next, I tried the superman toss (shown in Wrapping Rachel’s video).  It was a lot easier for me to get her onto my back that way, the wrap didn’t get so tangled, and she  loved being tossed up on my back (she’s a little daredevil).

The next step is tightening the top rails of the wrap and pinning them down.  For me, I didn’t feel like I held them tightly enough by pinning them under my chin, so I held the top rails between my teeth while making a seat.

Making a seat was the toughest part of learning this carry for me.  Once getting the top rail tight and pinned, I reached behind myself and between the little one’s legs and pulled the wrap fabric down until it was smooth across her back.  When you tug the wrap down until the fabric is smooth across her back, you are getting all the slack out of the wrap.  If you don’t get the slack out of the wrap, your little one will slowly settle and drop down on  your back (I learned this from trial and error!).  After all the slack it out of the wrap, I then tug up to make a seat.

Still learning - wrap is low on my arm and sloppy. She looks happy, though!

Still learning – wrap is low on my arm and sloppy. She looks happy, though!

After that, you tighten wrap strand by strand on both sides.  It took me some time to learn how to tighten the bottom rail without pulling the seat out – I think that’s something that comes with practice.  You cannot just pull with all of your might – you tighten and check to make sure the seat is still secure, then tighten again.

You then tie a half knot on the chest and your baby is fairly secure while you make the wrap passes and tie off.  Since my baby is a leaner and a wiggler, I have to keep one hand on her to keep her in place even once the wrap is tight and the half knot is tied.

I struggled with learning this carry for months.  I would get frustrated and not try again for a week or more, and then I would try again.  She would be too low, or she would lose her seat (the wrap would not go knee to knee).  Sometimes I didn’t get the wrap tight enough.

I almost gave up on back wrapping. I posted about my problems on one of the wrap groups, and someone suggested I learn a ruck carry instead.  That carry is simple, and it gave me a chance to learn how to make a seat in a back carry. Once I got the hang of making a seat, the SHBC also came together for me.

Finally feel we're getting it: she's in a good place, the wrap is secure, and she's happy!

Finally feel we’re getting it: she’s in a good place, the wrap is secure, and she’s happy!

I love back carries.  I use them almost daily to take the little one out when I feed horses on our farm.  I’ve gotten brave enough to use back carries a few times when out shopping, and I will be using them more and more often.  With the SHBC, I like that the chest belt helps distribute the weight across both  my shoulders and chest, and the carry just looks nice.  I can also do this carry with some of my size 5 and 6 wraps – and I have some pretty size 5 and 6 wraps that I like to get to show off!  I’m glad I stuck with this one.

Tutorials:
Wrapping Rachel

Babywearing Faith