Thursday, January 1, 2015

Baby wearing on a budget - torso carrying and the humble towel.

If you have a towel that you can wrap your body in with a decent overlap at the front (20-40cms is ideal) then you have a baby carrier. Do I sound insane?

Baby wearing doesn't have to be expensive. Baby wearing doesn't require webbed harnesses and 18 metres of purpose-woven unicorn hair and hours of your time stalking etsy and refreshing your computer obsessively. If you want to invest in any/all of those things, knock yourself out. I do and have done and it's fun. If you want to wear your baby right now without leaving the house, go find a towel.

A simple torso carry is easy to execute over your bed and fairly hard to get wrong. I spent a couple weeks just putting my (4mo) baby up on my back before I tried to wrap her, so by the time I felt ready to have her back there I was confident I could position her well and have her down in ten seconds if anything went awry.

So: ideally your baby has good head control. If you're not hugely experienced, you may even want to wait until they can sit independently. I won't recommend you do this with your two-week-old unless babywearing is a cultural practice you've seen, experienced and been taught over a lengthy period of time. If, like me, you're a city girl who's "natural" style of child care is a pram, take it slow.

A torso carry with a young baby has their arms in the carrier and the child supported to the nape of their neck. There is no space between wearer's spine and baby's tummy, and baby is sitting in the curve of wearer's lower back. Friction holds the carry secure and you can always lean over and retighten the top or bottom as you feel necessary.

An older child (who can sit independently) may want their arms out and this is fine - position the top rail high under their armpits to limit them leaning back and support them as much as possible. A sleeping child can always be rewrapped with their arms in and more support.

But what about TICKS? Well, baby is upright, tight, face visible, airways clear... and NOT kissable - I get around this by using my my phone to take selfies to check baby's happy (if they're quiet) or using a hand mirror/window/car window/random reflective surface to check in on position.

Carrier: a towel. (You can also use a selendang, khanga/kitenge, half a woven tablecloth...)
Cost: nil. (Selendangs about $12 on ebay, khanga/kitenge $10-$40, tablecloth about the same)
Baby needs: good head control, sitting independently or close to if you're not a confident wrapper.

There are a couple tutorials I put on youtube here and here if you're feeling inspired and want to give torso carrying a shot :)

1 comment:

  1. Can you share some buying resources for these towel and baby clothing. I want to learn more and want to buy these products for my own baby.