Posts Tagged ‘ring sling’

Back Carry Basics

Monday, August 31st, 2015

IMAG0620So you’ve been wearing your baby for a while now, are very comfortable with front carries and feel that you’re ready to move baby onto your back. Where do you begin?

First, unless you are an experienced baby wearer and experienced wrapper, back carries are typically only recommended once your child is 6 months or older and is able to sit independently. Since you have less visual connection with a child on your back, you want him to have the muscle tone that allows him to sit up straight without slouching. You must also only use carriers that are safe for back carries, such as woven wraps, buckle carriers, and mei tais. Stretchy wraps and water wraps/slings are not safe for back carries and should not be used. Stretchy wraps, such as a Moby, do not offer the support necessary and could allow baby to lean or fall. Water products are typically designed for front carry, water use only.

If your child and carrier meet those criteria, you can now begin to practice back carries. Always start by practicing with a spotter, someone to help you should you need it, and practice over a soft surface, such as your bed. You want to first get comfortable moving baby to your back in a safe environment before attempting to do so out and about. Practicing with experienced help, such as at a BWI meeting local to you is a great start, if possible. Another good idea is to practice moving a doll onto your back and into your carrier before trying with your baby.

There are a number of ways to get baby onto your back, and how you do it will part be up to preference and part due to the type of carrier you are using. Below I’ll link to a few good instructional videos that may help you with your particular carrier, but of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive list.

  • SSC – Soft Structured Carrier – Many moms prefer the hip scoot method of transferring baby, as it has more of a secure feel to it. Personally, I was always a fan of the superman toss before my daughter was old enough to just climb on up. If neither of those feel quite secure enough for you, try this method that involves always having the chest clip buckled for additional security.
  • Mei Tai – The hip scoot works just as well for a mei tai, or you can start out with baby on your front.
  • Woven Wrap – There are many ways to get your baby onto your back when using a woven wrap. You may prefer the hip scoot (again!), or the santa toss, or another version of superman. This video shows a number of examples.

You may notice that I did not include ring slings. While there are ways to use a ring sling for a back carry, they are only recommended for advanced wearers. Back carries with a ring sling are not for beginners.

Back carries can take a lot of practice to get comfortable with. As I mentioned, if you can meet with a babywearing educator at a BWI meeting or other babywearing meeting near you, that’s your best first step toward learning to back carry. Soon you’ll be on your way to a whole new world of babywearing!

Hip Scoot 

Superman Toss

Full Buckle Back Transfer

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She is quite sure she doesn’t get it right all of the time.

Traveling with a Newborn

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Traveling with a NewbornWhen my daughter was 2.5 months old we took our very first flight. We flew down to California to visit family. Living in Washington State, this was a direct, 1-hour flight and just about the best flight scenario a new mom can ask for.

Nevertheless, I was nervous. I don’t know a new mom who wasn’t nervous the first time they flew with baby (or any time after that, either!). You fuss over what to pack and what to carry on, how you’ll manage the bags, baby, and car seat, and if everyone on the plane will hate you if/when baby starts crying. There is nothing more nerve wracking than being stuffed in a metal tube filled with people and feeling like every one of them is staring at you in irritation. (They’re not, but it sure can feel that way!)

My number one tip for flying with an infant is to use a good baby carrier. Wearing baby makes the entire process so much easier! First, you have both of your hands free to deal with luggage, tickets, and taking your shoes off for security. This is even more critical if you and baby are flying alone. Second, wearing baby reduces the load you need to move through the airport, as you don’t need a stroller. Third, wearing baby is calming both for you and for your child. Airports are busy, noisy, and new. For an infant, this can be overwhelming. Being snuggled up on mom is exactly where they want to be!

Wearing my daughter allowed me to get us quickly and securely to our gate on time. Boarding (and deplaning) was easier, since I could still get my bag stored above us without help. Once on the plane, it allowed me to nurse with a light cover (the sling tail), hold my daughter close as she slept, and made us new friends. We happened to be sitting amongst a number of women, many who complimented me on the sling and how multifunctional and smart it seemed. People even smiled at us as we moved through the airports. Finally, at our destination, we easily cruised down the escalator, no elevator needed.

The carrier you use is up to you. Soft structured carriers (SSC or backpack/buckle style), mei tais, and wraps are the choice of many due to the fact that they don’t have any metal parts that could set off the metal detector. Ring slings, though, are just as viable an option and are what I used for that first flight. Just know that policy on ring slings vary from airport to airport, but that generally you shouldn’t have to remove the sling. If you wear baby through security, be prepared to step aside for a hand swab. This is a quick, painless procedure that is standard practice at pretty much any airport. Once done, you’ll be on your way. Also know that regulations require that baby be outside of the carrier during takeoff and landing, so the flight attendants may come around to enforce that.

I’ve since flown with my daughter, both solo and with my husband, a number of times more. Each and every time, she’s been in a carrier and it has made the entire experience so much more manageable. Our last flight, we were late and I literally ran barefoot, shoes shoved in my purse, to make our gate on time. The bag wheels wobbled, the car seat threatened to tip us over completely, but my daughter was safe, secure, and happy on my back. One less thing to worry about!

Kate is a mostly stay-at-home mom and is a huge baby wearing advocate. She lives in the Pacific NW with her husband, daughter, and cranky cat.

Babywearing beyond infancy…

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Have you ever experienced a babywearing strike with your child; a period of time where he/she did not want to be worn? My second and third son both went through this right around the same time. At about 13 months of age they became resistant to being in the Ergo. Their new found independence definitely coinciding with becoming a more confident walker and wanting to explore their environment in a new way. It was however a somewhat difficult adjustment for us both. Up until that point they happily spent a great deal of time in the Ergo both at home and while out and about. Babywearing was an essential element to the rhythm of our day.

Because babywearing was a way of life for us, it was quite a transition for us to get through our day without babywearing. Particularly because they still wanted to be held frequently throughout the day, but they did not want to be confined in a carrier. They still desired lots of physical closeness with me but would get upset if I tried putting them in the Ergo. I desperately missed being hands-free as well as found holding an older baby in arms for extended periods to be hard on my body. My back, arms, and hips felt quite strained from carrying an older baby in arms as opposed to using a carrier where their weight would be more evenly distributed. Additionally they were not as peaceful in my arms as they were in a carrier. They were more far more restless and wiggly.

We eventually navigated through the babywearing strike to find a balance for us. Here are a few simple suggestions to successfully continue babywearing beyond infancy as it still holds many of the same benefits to both mom and baby:

1. Try a new carrier – Perhaps now that your baby is older, a new carrier would better meet their needs. A ring sling in particular is a nice option for an older baby who likes to get in and out/up and down. It is very easy and quick to get a baby in and out of a sling. You could wear a beautiful sling across your body almost as an accessory and have it all ready to go for baby if/when they want to be worn.

2. Experiment with new carries/positions – Now that baby is older he/she might be interested in more visual access to the environment while they are worn. A hip carry is a really great option for older babies who want to see what’s happening around them, but still want the comfort of mama nearby. Minor adjustments and tweaks to your favorite carries could help increase the comfort level for your older baby.

3. Breastfeed while babywearing– Combining babywearing with mama’s milk is usually a winning combination for babies. By breastfeeding while babywearing you are maintaining a positive association with the carrier for your baby plus allowing yourself the freedom to nurse on the move. This is also helpful if you nurse baby down for naps. Rather than laying in bed for 30 minutes trying to get baby to sleep and hoping you’ll be able to unlatch him/her so you can sneak away to get some stuff done, you can simply nurse baby down for a nap while simultaneously knocking off items on your to-do list.

4. Keep trying/offering – Even if your baby goes several days or even weeks without wanting to be worn, it doesn’t necessarily mean he/she is completely done with babywearing forever. Be sure to keep your carrier handy because with all the developmental milestones, teething, potential illnesses, etc, that occur beyond infancy, it’s likely your baby will go through a phase that requires some extra physical contact with mama. You may be surprised that after a long babywearing strike, your baby is suddenly very interested in being worn again.

Babies on the brink of toddlerhood are going through a significant transitional time where they still need a great deal of nurturing and physical closeness, yet at the same time they seek new adventures, experiences, and stimuli to assist their rapid development. Babywearing can help build a bridge between these two polarizing forces that exists within many one-year-olds by by providing a familiar love and comfort to them.

Happy babywearing all!