BabyWearing Journey

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Day 11: Crunchy Mama’s 30 Day Wrap Challenge – Hip Cross Carry

hip cross carry2I think at the rate I’m going, my 30 day wrap challenge is going to turn into a 180 day wrap challenge!  But hey, at least I keep on going…  when I one day finish this one, I’m going to try to do another wrap challenge and actually keep it to 30 days.  Maybe some of you will do it with me!

Day 11’s Challenge was the Hip Cross Carry. I actually did learn this one months ago, but I kept forgetting to get my husband to photograph it so I could post it.  I blame mommy-brain. I blame mommy brain for many things.

I think the Hip Cross Carry is a simple wrap, and I felt like I had a pretty good handle on it after just a couple of times of tying it.    Like most cross carries, I think you could easily pop your baby into and out of this wrap, so it makes it nice for running errands.  When we’re out, my LO loves to see what’s going on, so hip carries are nice.  She can snuggle up to me but still easily look around and watch people – that’s one of her favorite pass times.

My ONLY problem or struggle with this wrap is that I have trouble tying it off.  I can get it wrapped and get the single knot tied.  Then I put the LO in the wrap.. but then I feel like I’m trying to stretch my arms in some weird way to finish that second knot.  I guess I need to get more limber!

hip cross carryFor this carry, I’m using a size 4 Oscha Sonora Cassia.  For me and my LO, I don’t think we could go any shorter than a 4.  If you are slender (I am not!) you might be able to do this with a 3.  I’ve also done it with a 5 and just have a lot more tail.

Uppymama has a <A HREF = “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HGCNe5slD4”>nice tutorial on the hip cross carry.</A>

 

A Note about Babywearing Journey

I just realized I haven’t updated the blog in several weeks.  I’m frustrated about that because I have so much to say about baby wearing!   I’ve got several reviews I would like to write, and I need to get back to the wrap challenge (the 30 day wrap challenge has turned into a 120+ day wrap challenge for me!)

Time’s been flying lately, and that’s part of why I haven’t posted lately.  The other part is because of a somewhat snarky message I got about the blog. I am trying to advertise this page and gain more followers – because I truly love baby wearing and want to spread the joy.

I posted the blog on one website, and I got a message that they had removed the link, even though there were no rules against self promotion or posting links to other websites or blogs.  The reason they removed the link is because I wasn’t an experienced baby wearer and they believed I needed to prove myself before I had a right to have a voice.  The snark made me so sad that it made it hard to post for a while.

I’ve felt so much support and love from the mammas I’ve met while baby wearing that this message surprised me.   I’ve never claimed to be an expert, and I believe I’m pretty clear in stating that I created this blog to share my struggles while learning to baby wear and the lessons I learned.  I’m a professional writer, and this blog gives me a way to share my passion for baby wearing with other mammas.

We’ve also been so busy that I hadn’t had much of a chance to wear the lo.  It has been super hot, so we’ve been staying inside.  We’ve been really busy with some personal stuff, so I haven’t been going out much either.  She’s teething, though, and the other day she was super fussy and needy. Normally on those days I spend time on the floor playing with her.  This day, though, I had to clean (I was getting ready for her very first birthday party!).  So I put her up in a FCC.  That quieted the fussiness – it was a bit hard to get much done with her in front of me, but it allowed her to snuggle up to me while I picked up, dusted, and swept.  Happy baby and happy mommy!

That day reminded me that I love baby wearing, and I love (most of) the community of baby wearers.  I’m committed to the blog again.
josey wrappe din india holi
If you are curious about any baby wearing issues, let me know.  Since I’m a professional writer, I’m used to researching and compiling information, even when I’m not an expert.  I want to write the articles you all want to read.

Trying a ring sling: Maya’s Bright Stripes

josey ring sling april 2015 baylorAfter buying my first woven wrap, I decided I had to try a ring sling, too.   Before I had even learned about wraps, several friends had recommended ring slings as a great way to carry your baby, and I wanted to know what they were all about.

I began searching the Babywearing on a Budget Facebook  page.  There were so many options and I had no clue what I needed or wanted.  I saw slings with a pleated shoulder”, “gathered shoulder”, or “padded shoulder”, but I wasn’t sure which I should get.    I decided that since I wanted to carry my baby for as long as she would let me, a padded shoulder sounded like a good idea.  I figured she would eventually get heavy and the padding might help offset the padding.

So I found a Maya Wrap Ring Sling on the swap in the pattern Bright Stripes.  As their name says, the colors are bright and they’re cheerful, and I thought they would be fun to wear.  I bought a used sling and started watching YouTube videos, hoping to learn how to use it.

It was just as bright and cheerful in person as it was online, and several Youtube channels had videos on how to front and hip carry.  The little one was already too big for the infant carry, but I practiced front and hip carries and it didn’t take long to get them down well.  In fact, I think it took me longer to learn how to thread the rings than it did to learn how to get the little one into the sling.

Maya Ring Slings are a pretty economical ring sling.  You can get them new for about $80 plus shipping, and you can find them used for less.  There are a lot of used Maya Ring Slings available, and I think that’s a good sign that they last through some decent babywearing.

In addition to being economical, they’re pretty easy to use.  You can get overwhelmed with the options in a woven wrap – there are many carries and some of them are very difficult.  It can be hard to learn to hold your baby and wrap her.  With the ring sling, you put it on, adjust it a bit, put the baby in, and then adjust more.  I think they’re pretty easy to tighten up, too, and my little one always felt secure in hers.
20150415_191546I think the best thing about the ring sling is how quick they are.  My wonderful husband sometimes gets impatient when we get somewhere and it takes me several minutes to get wrapped and adjusted.  In April, we took a ten hour car trip.  That meant several stops for gas, food, nursing, etc.  He was going to be frustrated waiting for me to wrap each time.  So instead I took the ring sling.  I had the little one in it in less than a minute, and we were off walking around for a break from the car before my husband knew what happened!

Another nice perk of the Maya Ring Sling is that it includes a zippered pocket on the tail.  This gives you a place to store keys, diapers, your wallet!

The only downside to the ring slings, that I can see, if that there are fewer options for carries (I know, I had said that was a benefit!).  For me, I love the artistry and beauty of all the different carries I can do with my woven wrap.  The ring sling leaves me wanting there.  But not everyone has the patience for wrapping, and if you are running a bunch of errands where your baby will be in and out of the wrap several times through the day, a ring sling is really useful and quick.

I would love to get to try some of the more expensive ring slings to see how they compare to the Maya Ring Sling.  I would definitely recommend a Maya Ring Sling, especially if you are starting out and want to see if you like a ring sling or if you don’t have the patience for wrapping.

 

 

 

The Traveling Owls

20150327_164811I’m on several wrap and babywearing groups and pages on Facebook, and I had seen several mentions of traveling wraps.  I wasn’t sure what in the world a traveling wrap was – until I came across The Wandering Didys Facebook page and the Churny Mamas Traveling Wraps Facebook page.   The Wandering Didys page is for Didymos wraps only, and those mamas tend to do temporary trades.   The Churny Mamas group has moms who send out traveling wraps.

Temporary trades and traveling wraps are an awesome way for moms to get to try more wraps than they might be willing or able to buy.

I thought about whether or not to send out a traveling wrap.  For the traveling wrap, you post a description of the wrap to the page and mamas can sign up to host your wrap for a week each.  This is a little intimidating because no money is exchanged, and something could happen to your wrap.  I read over the page and no one was reporting problems, though, and anyone who hosts a wrap is required to have some kind of feedback.

babywearing in spainSo I thought some more about it, and then I decided to send out the Lenny Lamb Bubo Owls.  This was the first woven wrap I bought brand new, and I picked it because I love owls.  I wore it almost daily on our vacation to Spain, and the little one seemed to like it.  It isn’t super easy to find anymore, so that was a little worrisome.  I had also been thinking of selling it, so I thought I could try a trial separation to see if I could live without it.

I set up the traveling wrap notice on the Churny Mamas list and I had two people apply to be hosts almost immediately.  I gave the posting a little more time and got a third.  So I packaged up my wrap, said a prayer that it would come home, and I sent it out traveling!  It arrived last week at its first destination, and I’ll post updates as it travels.

When it returns home, I’ll formally review the wrap, too, and add comments from its host.

Now maybe I’ll get to host some fun wraps, too, and play with some new pretties!

Ellaroo Maija: My first woven wrap

20150302_110808When I’m not wearing the little one or chasing her around as she builds muscles crawling and climbing and pulling up and generally giving me a million mini-heart attacks a day AND when I’m not out helping save starving horses, I do some freelance writing.   Most of my freelancing is about horses, although I’ve also written for a Cat Fancy, Dog Fancy, and some general interest magazines (mostly about musicians or about local touristy things).  I would love, love, love to combine my love of babywearing and my skill at writing to write reviews for companies or articles for other blogs or websites.  Until I can find those gigs, though (do they even exist?!), I’m going to practice by reviewing the wraps that pass through here.  Maybe one of my reviews will help someone decide to buy one of the wraps I enjoy!

My first woven wrap was an Ellaroo Maija I got in January of this year (2015).  I  purchased it used off of the Babywearing on a Budget Facebook group.  I had been watching some wrapping videos, and it looked like something fun I could do with the little one.  It would give me a bit of a new hobby (since it is hard to get outside and train horses much when the baby needs to be held so often!) and it would satisfy her need to be held most of the time while still allowing me
to get a few things done.

When I first started looking at wraps, though, I had a bit of a shock.  Wrap prices range from $100-$300 (and even higher for hand woven wraps and rare or custom wraps).  I wasn’t sure about spending so much money when I didn’t know if I would like wrapping.  So I turned to the Budget Swap (where all carriers must be listed below $100) to see what I could find.

The Ellaroo Maija caught my eye because I loved the colors – blues and greens. I also admit it, I loved the fringed ends.  It just looks like something I would love to wear around the house and when out with the little one.  I think I jumped on this wrap and bought it within a few minutes of it being listed on-line.  (I was clueless about buying from the Facebook swaps then, too.  I didn’t check the seller’s feedback or ask many questions).

I got lucky, though, and when I got the wrap it was in great shape.  So here’s the info on the wrap:

Ellaroo Maija
100% cotton
Size:  Short 6
Length :  4.4 meters/174 inches
Width:  0.635 meters/25 inches
Fringe:  11.49 centimeters/4.5 inches
Weight: 1lb 0.4 oz / 464.9 grams
Weight: 166.9 g/m2

This is a very lightweight wrap which makes it fairly cool to use.  The striped pattern can make it easier to tell which rail to tighten when you are tightening your carry (look at the color of the stripe on the rail of the loose area and then tighten the same stripe color on the corresponding tail).  The stripes are pretty small on the rails, though, so sometimes I need to have a good look before I start tightening.    The wrap is the same on the front and back, so that does make it a bit hard for carries where you want to see both sides of a wrap (such as anything with a shoulder flip).

Since this wrap is lightweight, I think it was easier to start learning carries with.  The heavier wraps I’ve had can be harder to get tight, and they seem to take a little longer to break in.  Although I bought this wrap used, I doubt it takes a lot of work to get broken in.

20150210_140136Because it is light, though, I think it might not be supportive enough for a big kid.  The LO is about 16 pounds now, and this wrap is fine for her.  I think with a toddler or bigger kid, you  might need more passes to keep the wrap from getting saggy.

While I love fringed things, I don’t like how easily this fringe tangles.  It takes a little work to get it straight and pretty.  But it DOES look nice when you have it wrapped!

Although I was at least the third owner, this wrap was in great shape.  It doesn’t seem to be very prone to pulls or broken threads, so that makes it a nice wrap for everyday wear.

I think this was an awesome first wrap for us.  I’m not using it much now as I’ve gotten into nicer, heavier wraps.  So I’ll be selling it on to someone else who needs their first wrap.  Hopefully this wrap will keep on getting people into wrapping for years to come!

 

Infantino Mei Tai: My workhorse carrier

I started looking for a Mei Tai after several moms on a Facebook group for infants who had sleep problems suggested wearing my little one for nap time.  I joined the Babywearing on a Budget Facebook group, and started looking for a Mei Tai.  The Infantino Mei Tai was attractive because it was cheap – about $20 for a lightly used carrier.  I didn’t mind spending $20 to see if I liked the carrier and would use it.

Mei tais are based on an old Asian style of babywearing, and they’re fairly easy to use.  You can carry your baby on your front (facing in, towards your chest), on your hip or on your back.  They tie around you, so they’re a little more work than a SSC, but they’re easy to learn to use and you can easily adjust the position of the straps when you tie to get a tie that’s comfortable for you and your baby.

The Infantino Mei Tai is a budget mei tai – you can get far more expensive, higher quality mei tais from many other companies.   I think these versions offer a lot more options:  different patterns, accessories, and usefulness (some of them are reversible so you can have two different looks from one carrier).  For me, the Infantino Mei Tai served its purpose:  a good starter carrier.

Although I bought this carrier so I could wear the little one for naps, I haven’t done that. Not once.  Instead, I ended up buying woven wraps to wear her in when we’re out or when I need to get stuff done around the house.  I use the mei tai for outside chores:  gardening, feeding horses, cleaning stalls, yardwork.  Because the mei tai is pretty cheap, I don’t mind if it gets dirty, stained, or snagged.    It is also easy to clean:  throw it into the washer with wrap-safe detergent and I hang mine to dry.

When using a mei tai, I do recommend checking over it frequently to make sure the stitching is in good repair and there are no rips or loose seams.  Those could pose a huge safety hazard if they come lose.  So far, the little one seems to like watching the horses and watching me work in the garden.  Although I have to be careful because she’s been reaching over and grabbing weeds and parts of plants and yanking them off!

I think the Infantino Mei Tai is a fine budget carrier, as long as you keep an eye on the carrier to make sure it stays in good repair.  And practice putting the carrier on and getting your baby situated over a bed or sofa until you have the hang of it (that way, if your baby falls he doesn’t fall far and has a soft landing).

 

Day 10: Crunchy Mama’s 30 Day Wrap Challenge – Poppin’s Hip Carry

poppins hip carryI’ve gotten behind on posting these – mostly because I’ve really struggled with the back carries that start soon and got sidetracked!

Day 10 was Poppin’s Hip Carry.  This is another carry I had tried before the Challenge, but it isn’t one I use.  I think this carry looks pretty cool if you have a double sided wrap, but I am just not crazy about it.  Maybe I should try it again – I feel like a traitor to wrapping if I say I don’t like a particular carry!

I’m using a Lenny Lamb Size 4 Tangata Rainbow in this photo.  Maybe I’ll try it again with a double sided wrap.  If I do, I’ll update the post and tell you all if I like the carry more!  For now, Robin’s and Coolest Hip Cross Carry are my go to hip carries.

Babywearing article: 10 Things Babywearing Parents Get Tired Of Hearing (from BellyBelly)

babywearing in spainbellybelly.com.au published a great article entitled “10 Things Babywearing Parents Get Tired Of Hearing” here.   It is a great list of questions that some babywearing parents hear all too often.

 

I’ve heard from other babywearing parents that they hear snarky comments about babywearing, and I guess I’ve been lucky so far.  People smile and wave at my little one when I wear her and generally seem pretty nice.

I have been asked about whether wearing the little one in a wrap hurts my back (which was the first comment on the list).  I’ve just explained that it does bother my back when I carry her in my arms, but when I wrap her the wrap distributes her weight and I can carry her a lot longer.  I recently took her on a walking tour – we were out over three hours.  I was tired when I got back to our hotel, but no more tired than if I had been walking without her!  (The only time this question has bothered me is when the person kept asking about it hurting my back even once I explained it didn’t!)

I’ve had people comment that wrapping looks complicated (#3 on the list).  In fact, just today I was in the veterinarian’s office with my cat and wrapped my little one after we got signed in. A couple of people watched me and one woman asked how long it took me to learn to wrap.  I laughed and said it took me a while for the first few wraps and that I still can’t manage a good back wrap, but I do have several that I can do pretty well now.  Others have asked about it, too, and the questions don’t bother me because I think it IS complicated to learn to wrap at first (and like I said, I still can’t get a successful back wrap!).

I get questions about how the wrap works, what it is called, and where I learned to wrap.  None of the questions have been sarcastic or ugly, though – they’ve been from people who are genuinely interested.  When we were at the airport recently, a woman came up to me and asked how I did the wrap because her daughter wraps but she hadn’t seen one like I was wearing (it was a FCC).  I showed her and chatted for a minute.

Babywearing isn’t mainstream, so I think when I’m out with my little one in public I’m an ambassador for babywearing.  I love it so much and it has helped me with my little one so much. I get so much joy from this, and I love to share the joy!

I know one day I might get some snarky comments. I just hope I manage to handle them gracefully.

Fleurville Soft Stretch Carrier: My “gateway” carrier

We live on a small farm with six horses of our own. I also run Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society, a horse rescue that helps abused, abandoned, and starved horses through Texas.  We often have between 1-3, sometimes more, horses here for the rescue as well.  My wonderful husband took care of the horses for the last few weeks of my pregnancy and the first several weeks after the little one was born, but the horses are ‘my thing’ and I wanted to get out to the barn.  Normally I feed in the morning before he left for work and in the evenings once he got home, and he takes care of the little one – it is daddy-daughter time.  But sometimes his days run long and occasionally he has to travel.  At first, I would take her with me to the barn in her carseat carrier and set her in a wagon.  But I eventually realized it would be easier to carry her with me.  I didn’t want to use the Ergo carrier because I 20141203_164712didn’t like having to readjust it after DH wore it, and I also didn’t want to get it dirty with hay, horse hair, cat hair, and the other barn hazards.  So I went looking for a cheaper carrier that I wouldn’t mind getting dirty.

I had received a half off coupon for one item at Baby Depot (which is located at Burlington Coat Factory).  You can normally find these coupons online, and they give you 50% off of one item.  I went looking for a carrier there and found the Fleurville Soft Stretch Carrier.  It was listed for $40, which meant I only paid $20.  I figured that if I didn’t like it or if it got ruined in the barn, it was no big deal as it was pretty cheap.

20150206_162211The carrier is two parts.  The main part fits over your body kind of like a shirt with two pieces of fabric in front that makes a cross.  You slide your baby into it kind of like a front cross carry wrap.  The second piece of the carrier is a sash that helps secure the baby in place.

My little one was just a few months old when I started using this, and it fit her well.  While the carrier lists multiple positions that are possible, I only carried her facing towards me (again, like she was in a front cross carry wrap).  She loved being snuggled up close to me, and I liked having her where I could see her and keep her with me.

The carrier is comfortable, inexpensive, and easy to use.  It is also easy to wash (throw it into the washing machine with wrap-safe detergent).  The instructions say you can use it with a baby up to 35 pounds, but once she was 15-16 pounds, I felt like the carrier was sagging.  She’s a long but thin baby, so she was about six months when I started to feel uncomfortable with her in the carrier.

20150204_163413The carrier held up well to frequent visits to the barn and our nearly daily walks down the road, and I ended up selling it on the Budget Swap on Facebook. I thought it was a great buy for the money and worked perfect for what I needed at the time.  It might not stand up well to daily/hard use, though.

20150129_164746I would recommend this carrier as a starting carrier – but only if you use the farrier in the position that has the baby facing you.

 

Day 9: Crunchy Mama’s 30 Day Wrap Challenge – Robin’s Hip Carry

robin's hip carryRobin’s Hip Carry wasn’t a new one for me; it was one of the first hip carries I learned.  I like hip carries a lot.  I haven’t learned how to back carry yet, although that’s going to happen sometime during this challenge, and hip carries let my little one look out at the world better than a front carry.

I also think this carry just looks pretty cool, so I use it a lot.  I especially like this carry with a wrap that’s got a cool-looking ‘wrong’ or reverse side.

I’ve tied Robin’s with a size 4 Lenny Lamb Tangata Rainbow (which I’ll be selling soon – only so I can get a new wrap to play with).

BabyWearing Faith has a good tutorial on YouTube.

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