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All About Babywearing

Beth R.
BETH R.
Master Babywearing Educator
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Join Beth Rosa, Master Babywearing Educator, for a Q&A all about babywearing. Beth is here to answer questions about everything from slings and wraps for newborns to back carriers for toddlers.

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TINYHOOD, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

Thank you, Beth! Check out Babywearing International for more information about babywearing and to find a chapter near you: https://babywearinginternational.org/

Happy Babywearing!
BETH, PARENT OF 8 YEAR OLD, 5 YEAR OLD

It was great chatting with everyone today! If you have more questions, feel free to message me here on Tinyhood or for those local to Boston/New England, join the BWI of Greater Boston Social Group on Facebook. If you're located elsewhere, you can find your local BWI chapter here: https://babywearinginternational.org/chapters/

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Travel carrier for Toddler
PAULA, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD

I was wondering if you could recommend a carrier that will support a tall toddler (30lbs) but can be easily packed away in a purse or travel bag? We have the boba air but she seems uncomfortable in it lately.

Beth
BETH

There aren't any super slim buckle carriers designed for toddlers right now, that I'm aware of. BityBean may be a bit more comfortable than the Boba Air, but it's not significantly different in size.

You might consider a ring sling. Those pack down quite small, and a linen sling is both supportive for a toddler and a cool, airy fabric for summer. It is a one-shouldered carry which is not always great for long carries with heavy toddlers/preschoolers, but especially if she's up and down a lot, that may not be an issue for you at all. Sleeping Baby Productions and Sakura Bloom both offer really lovely linen slings.

PAULA

Thanks Beth! I'll check those out.

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Too late to start
MISHELL, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

Hi,
I have had the Ergo baby since before my 5 1/2 month old was born. I just never got the hang of it. Could I start now that he is 5 1/2 months. And any tips on how I could find information on how to actually use it! :) Thanks!

Beth
BETH

Absolutely; you can start babywearing at any time! Attending a local babywearing group meeting is a great way to get some hands-on help, but there are also great resources online.

If you have the original Ergo, you'll want to buckle the waist around your body and tighten. The waist should be pretty snug; that's what's going to hold most of your baby's weight, and it will distribute more evenly over your body if the waist is snug. Then pick up your baby and hold him against your chest/torso, so that he is comfortably supported by your body. With one hand, bring the panel of the carrier up and over his body, so that it's smooth with no lumps or excess fabric under his bum. Slip your arm through the strap, then hold baby and the carrier panel in place with that hand and slip your other arm through the other strap. You'll need to reach behind you to buckle the safety/chest strap. The first time you do so, it'll be easiest if you have a helper available, but you'll learn to do it yourself quickly. Next, adjust the shoulder straps and tighten as necessary so that the carrier is evenly snug across your baby's back - and through the entire length of the shoulder strap against your body. If the safety strap is high on your back, it may dig into your neck. Ask your helper to slide it down so that it's in the lower half of your shoulder blades (this is the number one comfort adjustment I help people with in person!).

At this point try to take a look in a mirror. Your baby should be comfortable and snug, seated in the carrier with their knees higher than their bum, in a relaxed "M" position.

Ergobaby has a nice short video available, also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK5TL3t2nI8

If you want to share your specific challenges, I am happy to offer tips for those situations.

MISHELL

Thank you so much! I had no idea they offer babywearing group meetings!

Beth
BETH

We definitely do! In the Boston area we have 5 per month. http://www.bwiboston.com/when-are-meetings.html

We'd love to see you there!

MISHELL

Thanks!

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Wrap for 3.5 and 1.5 yo
ELIZABETH

Hi I have a 24lb 16 month old, and 30lb 3.5yo, nd I am looking into getting a woven wrap. I've used a Moby (when my two were younger), a sling, and a bunch of structured carriers. I want something relatively cheap because I'm getting to it late in my baby wearing career. Any brand you recommend? Length?

Beth
BETH

There are lots of great brands! It very often comes down to aesthetics and price. Length also really depends on what kinds of carries you want to do. Most of the beginner carries use a "base" size wrap; if you're a Small/Medium T-shirt size, a size 6 wrap is a good base. Large/XL generally works well with a size 7, and larger sizes may want to consider looking for a size 8 or 9. Not all brands stock those sizes, but Bijou Wear usually does, Babylonia USA carries size 8, and Risaroo stocks some wraps in those sizes, I believe. You can also use shorter wraps, but it will change what carries you can do. I usually recommend starting with a longer wrap and either graduating to a shorter one, if that becomes your preference or learning techniques to manage leftover length if you prefer one of the carries that doesn't require quite as much wrap.

There are tons of wrap brands. Tons. I couldn't possibly list all of them that would be good options. However, if you're in the Greater Boston area, I'd recommend stopping by Diaper Lab in Davis Square - they carry a few really nice, budget-friendly lines and are knowledgeable about babywearing and able to help you in the store. If you need to shop online, here are a few to consider: Bijou Wear, Babylonia USA, Chimparoo, Nunamoochie, Soul Slings (they make carriers of all types, not just slings), and Lenny Lamb. Again - not a complete list in any way - but a good starting point. Ultimately, find something you love to look at - if it's pretty, you're much more likely to use it. You might also want to consider a gently used wrap. There are usually several offered for sale on the BWI of Greater Boston Social Group (on Facebook) at any given time. With wraps, gently used can really be better than new at times - the wraps are already "broken in" and extra soft.

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Best baby carrier for toddlers
MARIA, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Hi Beth, I have a 16 month old who weighs about 20lbs and I have a bad back. She mostly likes being worn facing out, which doesn't help matters. What type of baby carrier would you recommend?

MARIA

Addendum: It also needs to be easy enough for me to put her in myself. Those back carries seem so complicated!

Beth
BETH

Is your back pain high, mid or low back, or caused by a specific medical condition? I may be able to give you more specific suggestions.

For many wearers with back issues, a high back carry in a woven wrap is the best answer (although some back conditions may warrant slightly different recommendations). Front facing out carries will virtually always cause you to lean forward, which will cause additional back strain. High back carries help center her weight over your own center of gravity, making it easier to carry. Keeping her nice and tight will also help. Lower back carries in buckle carriers or meh dais may also work, but I would strongly recommend at least trying a wrap.

We have a wide variety of wraps in the BWI of Greater Boston lending library if you'd like to try before buying. Check out our meeting times and locations to find the meeting closest to you. http://www.bwiboston.com/when-are-meetings.html

Beth
BETH

Back carries really can seem intimidating at first, but with just a bit of practice, it gets much, much easier. There are several different techniques for getting her on your back - my recommendation will depend a bit on what type of carrier you're using and the nature of your back pain/injury. I have long arms with good flexibility, and I find Superman Toss to be the easiest way for me, regardless of carrier type. Hip scoot is also a good option for those with less flexibility. If you're using a Meh Dai or a buckle carrier, you can also put it on in a front carry position, remove your arms from the straps, and then rotate the carrier + baby as a unit to your back and put your arms back in the straps.

This is the sort of thing that's really great to practice at a group meeting; we can be your spotter, coach and assistant all in one.

MARIA

Thanks for your reply. What on earth is a Superman toss? Lol. I have had some mild form of chronic back pain/shoulder pain for years now. It's mostly upper back, but with my Beco after wearing her I have noticed lower back pain as well, which is why I stopped. I got a Lillebaby recently with the ergonomic support and I am hoping that will be better. I agree, I really do need to make it to a meeting. Back carrying is super intimidating. I have watched many videos, but when it comes to actually doing it with my daughter I get nervous and chicken out :(

Beth
BETH

In a Superman Toss, you lift the child at her torso, just under her arms, and twist her up and onto your back - her legs sort of float out the way Superman's cape would if you were to pick it up in front of you and spin it out and around to put it on. Most toddlers absolutely love it. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it quickly becomes second nature, and an easy way to get baby up high. We'd love to see you at a meeting - we've got great weighted dolls you can practice with before picking up your daughter, and lots of good spotters. You can also try practicing with a large doll or teddy bear at home.

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Best infant carrier for hot & humid climate
MONIQUE

Hello Beth,
I've been looking for a good carrier for Florida weather and that will be good for my lower back. I'm down to the Boba air and Tula. Am I missing any other good carriers. What are the best infant carrier for hot & humid climate that my baby can grow with?

Beth
BETH

Hi Monique,

Do you have a lower back injury or have you had lower back pain with carriers before? If the latter, which carriers have you found challenging?

There are a number of carrier brands and types that are worth considering. Depending on the nature of your back issues, you may find wrapping to be the most comfortable. In that case, a gauze wrap such as a Wrapsody Breeze or Calin Bleu gauze would be light and airy, and good for the humid Florida weather. Wrapping allows for high, tight back carries, which are popular among wearers with back issues.

For buckle carriers, there are several brands that have mesh options, which help vent heat from your little one. Tula, Kinderpack, Lillebaby, Ergo and Beco come to mind quickly. The Boba Air is a very lightweight carrier, but it is not very breathable, so I wouldn't recommend it for a daily carrier in a hot, humid climate. It's also entirely unpadded, which negates many of the benefits of a buckle carrier. It's a great travel or emergency carrier since it packs up super tiny. BityBean is another carrier brand that packs up very small - about the size of a soda can - but it has a small amount of padding, breathable lining fabric, and is officially rated safe for use in water, which the Boba Air is not.

Ultimately, babywearing is a bit hot, no matter what carrier you use. I always recommend that wearers select thin cool clothes - tank tops are great - and a single thin layer for baby, to avoid skin-to-skin contact while in the heat, which is sticky! A broad brimmed hat for you can also do a really good job of providing a bit of shade for you and baby, which can make a big difference as well. Ultimately, I would be sure to choose a carrier that is comfy on, regardless of temperature, because an uncomfortable carrier will be all the more so in the heat.

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Best way to carry 4 month old
ANGELICA

Hi! I was wondering what is the best way to carry my 4 month old (17 lbs) in the moby wrap? Also, how long can I use this method to carry him?

Beth
BETH

You can use the Moby Wrap safely for children up to 35 pounds. However, you're in the window now where some wearers start to find stretchy wraps get less comfortable. At this age, babies get more active and will start to wiggle and bounce, which will often result in the wrap starting to sag while you're wearing it. If that happens, you can untie, re-tighten, and re-tie. If that happens regularly, you might want to consider other carrier types.

In your Moby Wrap, your options are the Hug Hold and the Hip Hold. Moby (and other stretchy wraps) is not intended for back carries. https://mobywrap.com/pages/instructions-the-moby-wrap

If you enjoy wrapping your baby, check out your local BWI chapter meeting and try out a woven wrap. (They're cooler for the upcoming summer weather, too!)

ANGELICA

Thank you!

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Baby Ktan positions
ERIN

I have a baby ktan which my 3mo old used to love, but now fusses--I think bc in the "newborn kangaroo" position his feet are too squished. Can I switch to the next older baby position (loops cross bt legs) as long as I use one arm to support his neck? It's officially a 5mo position but he wants to be carried so much right now, even one free arm would be great! I also have an ergo but haven't used it much yet (haven't practiced putting it on solo).

Beth
BETH

If your baby has good head control, that's probably fine, but I wouldn't plan to support his head full time with your arm - you're losing a major benefit: being hands-free! I'd suggest the 'Hug' position instead. You can adjust the 'cumberbund'/sash to give neck support as necessary and tuck baby's head into the loop if he falls asleep. https://www.babyktan.com/hug

That's also essentially the same position your Ergo will hold your baby in, and the most common front carry position. This is a great age to try the Ergo - you most likely no longer need the infant insert, or possibly just the pillow. Give it a shot, or stop by one of our BWI of Greater Boston meetings if you'd like a little extra hands-on support. We'll be in Arlington on April 19th, Somerville on the 24th and Newton on the 25th.

BETH ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Breastfeeding
KEOSHA, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Hello I was wondering how do I make my 15 month old toddler stop nursing for comfort during the day?

Beth
BETH

That's a tricky one! Is that a general breastfeeding question, or specific to breastfeeding while babywearing?

In front carries, breastfed babies will often seek to comfort nurse. There are three basic options that most breastfeeding caregivers try:
1) back carries - lack of access will curb most comfort nursing requests
2) more clothing layers - another form of lack of access; more layers of clothing can both make access more challenging and limit baby smelling milk
3) take baby out of the carrier for a bit, at least until they are sufficiently distracted