Friday, January 31, 2014

Stretchy wraps.

Hugabub, moby, ergo stretch, toto stretch, woogiwoo, wrapsody...

Stretchy wraps are lovely for the early newborn days. You tie them nice and firm, pop baby in and out as needed, no issues, no dramas. 

They become less appealing as your baby becomes bigger and heavier and you both start feeling less supported- stretchy fabric will roll and bunch more easily and you'll really feel the weight of baby on your shoulders.

Stretch wraps are often quite "warm" to wear because of the elastic properties of the fabric and the need to have three layers over baby to support them well. 

You can achieve a good ergonomically correct position quite easily and because they can be pretied they're good for the school run and quick trips.

Not great for a hot climate or a "hot" baby, limited lifespan. Only safe for front carries. 

If you're happy to move on to a more suitable carrier when your child outgrows the stretchy, go for it. If you want one carrier to toddlerhood, this isn't it. 

This is a quick tutorial demonstrating how to carry your newborn or small baby in a stretchy wrap. In this video I am using a stretchy wrap from Toto Wraps and my 4 kg/9 pound demo doll. 

What's what? A glossary of abbreviations and vocabulary :)

OK. If you find something I haven't listed please comment and TELL ME so I can fix! 

Carrier types:
  • SSC – Soft Structured Carrier (examples include ergo, manduca, tula, rose & rebellion, twingo, action baby carrier, kinderpack, beco Gemini, beco soleil, lillebaby) 
  • FB – Full Buckle carrier (something with buckle straps and a buckle waist)
  • FBWC – Full Buckle Wrap Conversion (as above, but made by a converter from a woven wrap)
  • HB – Half Buckle (uses buckles in straps OR waist but not both)
  • HBWC – Half Buckle Wrap Conversion (as above, but made by a converter from a woven wrap)
  • MT – Mei Tai (a panel with four straps - two for waist and two for shoulders) (fidella flytai, Mimi mei tai, hopptai, sica MT, topatop MT, ByKay MT)
  • WC – Wrap Conversion (a carrier sewn from a woven wrap)
  • WCMT – Wrap Conversion Mei Tai (a mei tai sewn from a woven wrap)
  • Pod – Podaegi (a panel with two straps which usually pass over the shoulders and then under the child's bottom)
  • RS - Ring sling (a length of fabric with two rings sewn into one end)
  • WCRS - (wrap conversion ring sling... so a length of woven wrap with two rings sewn into one end)
  • Stretchy - a stretchy wrap (Moby, hugabub, woogiwoo, ergo stretch, toto stretch, etc.)
  • SPOC – Simple Piece Of Cloth (a woven wrap, or DIY wrap made from a suitable weight-bearing fabric)

Got all that? OK. Who are these things suitable for? 

Any soft structured carrier or buckle carrier is really best after 4-5 months, when baby is showing good head control. 
Several big brands come with an "infant/newborn insert". This is good, but not great. Instead of buying the insert, buy a stretchy or a ring sling that you can use for snuggly front carries. 
To be really safe, wait until baby can sit independently before back carrying in a soft structured carrier, and check the manufacturer instructions for their recommendations too. This is to ensure that airways remain clear and that baby is safe. 

Back carries in a soft structured carrier are often a little low for you to check baby easily and therefore we want them to hold their own heads up easily and have great torso control too. Your carrier lasts until your child grows out of it or you're uncomfortable carrying them. Most are great at front and back carries, but a bit awkward for hip carries. 

Mei tais and pods are easy to adjust for small babies (you can roll or apron the waist of most mei tais to shorten the body) but again, the inert panel of fabric won't mould REALLY well to a tiny infant or give them extra snug fit around their upper body/neck. Better to save until your baby has good head support. These carriers are secured by straps and you simply knot securely. Suitable for back, front and hip carries. 

Ring sling - you'll notice I didn't include buckle slings or padded-rail slings or pouch slings in the list of carriers. That's because they're not especially comfortable or even safe, especially for new wearers and little babies. RING slings, however (literally 2 rings and suitable weight-bearing fabric) are incredibly adjustable and can be used from birth through to the toddler years. They're best used for front (tummy-to-tummy) and hip carries. 

Stretchy wraps are lovely for the early days but often get saggy and uncomfortable past about 6-8kgs, or 13-20lbs. Yes, the manufacturers say they can be used up to 30lbs, and that's true. However, you're probably not going to be happy about it. Front carries only please. 

Woven wraps: by far the most flexible wearing option, this is also the most intimidating category. 
There are SO many brands, blends, styles and designs/colorways. 
They come in different sizes (lengths), and depending on your size, your baby's size/weight, and the type of carries you want to do, you'll find some lengths just work better for you than others. Front, back and hip carries are all options. Most wearers start with a size 5(petite) or size 6, which will do a comfortable front wrap cross carry (popular with newborns and young babies) and have enough length for a back wrap cross carry (baby 6mo plus and sitting, please). Shorter wraps work more easily for hip carries and simple back carries like rucks.

Little frog "Rubin" woven wrap giveaway!

The best thing about having keep calm and carry them on facebook is being able to run giveaways and get baby carriers out there - into lending libraries and local groups, into the hands of mamas without an appropriate carrier, or adding a spare wrap to a personal stash so it can be loaned and loaned again.
A week or so ago Christine Crispe contacted me and asked if I would like to enable her to give away a gently used Little Frog wrap (pictured above). We discussed how it would work and decided that we'd like Rubin to go to someone who is wrapless OR to a lending library.  So there you go! 

Hop over to facebook ( and please tag the person you're nominating (or yourself), or the library you think should receive it. I will use on Monday night to determine a winner and I will pay postage worldwide. 

This wrap is very soft and suitable for babies-toddler. Rubin is an all-cotton and is in perfect condition. Good luck :)

You can check out FWCC with a rainbow Little Frog here. I have loaned this wrap out to so many new families now - the all-cottons break in quite quickly but don't have a lot of diagonal give. They are a great starter wrap that is sturdy enough to carry a toddler but may require a bit of careful spreading over shoulders. I haven't found them to have a lot of bounce or give, but they are a perfectly serviceable wrap at a great budget price. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Babywearing 101: start here.

I get lots of messages via Keep Calm and Carry Them saying "Hi! I want to wear my baby.  What should I get?" Great question.
Before I can be helpful, here's what I need to ask you:

How old is your baby?

How much does your baby weigh?

How long do you want to carry them for (up to 6mos, 16mos, 6 years?)

Do you have any physical or health issues? Does your child have any physical or health issues?

Are you open to buying different carriers along the way or are you trying to buy one?

What type of use will this carrier get? (mostly school runs, cooking, walking...?)

Will you be the only user or will other caregivers also be using this carrier?

What's your climate like?

Is there a particular carrier you feel drawn to?

How do you see yourself using this carrier? On your front/back/hip/mix?

Whereabouts are you located?

Not all carriers do all things well.
Not all soft structured carriers suit every body type, or every child's build.
Not all carriers are budget-friendly!

I realise there's a lot of options out there and I really do love helping people find optimal solutions for their needs. If you'd like more help, copy and paste these questions and complete- then send it to me at :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Want a free Erizo linen wrap?

If you read my review of Erizo linen, you might be asking "But how do I get my hands on one?"
Click here
to enter the draw for a size 3 linen in stunning purple-jade.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Erizo baby slings linen - review

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post inasmuch as the wrap reviewed was a gift from the artist. However, all thoughts are my own; my opinions are not for sale. 
In December I received a message from Janelle, owner and artist at Erizo Baby slings, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As a maker and dyer of 100% Irish linen wraps, she asked to send me 
a custom-dyed wrap to test out and show off.
 I poked around and was impressed by her grad dyes and the high quality of her linen, so I requested a cobalt/orange double grad and TA-DAH! As if a fairy godmother had waved her wand, a gorgeous Canadian package arrived only a few weeks later. 

The dye job is impeccable and the colors are exactly as I expected- a stormy cobalt fading to a mandarin orange hat glows beautifully. The linen is still a little stiff from the dye process, but the weave is surprisingly cushy and I haven't found the usual quantity of slubs and nubs I would expect in a linen wrap. This is really gorgeous stuff and it will get a great workout in our Australian summer. 
Straight out of the bag it's surprisingly manageable and forgiving to wrap with- a  supportive and firm grain in the fabric makes it easy to tighten and tweak so a comfortable and long-wearing wrap job can be achieved. 

This is a ruck with knotless finish and an 11kg (24lb) 20mo. I love this carry for its torso support, but a lot of Audrey's weight still sits in the ruck straps. We rocked this carry for about two hours (well, she fell asleep, I wasn't about to risk waking her by taking her down!). 

It's no secret I LOVE linen. I think it's fantastic for toddler carries and warm climate-friendly. It requires precise wrapping and I think that's a good thing- learning to wrap with really good technique ensures you can keep carrying your child as long as they want to be carried, safely and comfortably. 
 We're thinking about a trip to canada next year... I might just have to put in another order!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Talking Toto

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  However, all thoughts are my own. My opinions are not for sale. 

Toto Wraps Kenya sent me a couple of their stretchy wraps to try out, and one to give away (Hooray!)
Now, I don't recommend stretchies for summer babies or particularly like them in hot weather, but these are different. Super thin, with a limited stretch that makes them easy to wrap firm, and much wider than western stretchy wraps I've encountered. There's more fabric to spread and I found that I could easily wrap my "thriving" 9kg demo doll in a FWCC that didn't sag or stretch away from me, but felt breathable and didn't threaten to smother anyone.
I have a very funky leopard-print stretchy in my lending collection now and it's getting a lot of love from new mamas looking for something a little bit special.