Shoulder Flips for Back Carries
In this week's live tutorial on Facebook, we talked about shoulder flips in back carries. The word "flip" has a different meaning in back carries than it does in front carries. Front carry "flips" were our focus of last week's live tutorial; we're really just twisting the wrap at the shoulder to bring it away from the neck in front carries. In back carries, we're taking the wrap from under arm and wrapping it up over shoulder to make a ruck strap, or backpack-style shoulder strap. It can take a little getting used to, and certainly isn't a requirement, but hopefully these tips will help you make it a little easier!
Our tutorials are live on Facebook so you have a chance to ask questions and get feedback in real time! Make sure you're following the Amy Wraps Babies Facebook Page to get our live notifications every Tuesday at 9 AM Pacific time. Our events section is where you can find info on what we have coming up next!
Here's what we're talking about this week for back carry shoulder flips:
In the week's video we're using a Cassiope wrap - this is Number 4 Magpie in a base-2 for me, or size 4. Last week we talked a little about Cassiope and the overall contribution that they've given us the babywearing community to make babywearing just that much more beautiful. And I know that is super cheesy but it's true! It's true that Cassiope makes these lovely carriers for us, like wearing a baby in a piece of art. It's also true that wearing these lovely carriers makes me feel good about myself. Of course you could say that about any carrier, so long as it makes you feel safe and loved and connected to your baby, any baby carrier has the power to make you feel good. Yet I do still suggest, when shopping for a carrier, that you find one that you love the look of as much as the feel, if you can, because that aesthetic boost can really help give you the confidence and sometimes give you the motivation to keep building your skills. And for me, I've been sick for after almost a week so I haven't wrapped at all, but this Number 4 is definitely helping to motivate me! So let's start to flip, yes?
I'll let you know in the text below at what parts in the video I do the move I'm describing in the text. That way you can jump right to the best parts! Here's our original LIVE video, and sorry about it being sideways for the first couple minutes!:
1. Twist and Flip?
Up first is a question for you - do you want to twist the wrap at shoulder as you flip or no? Try it both ways and feel the difference. Some people dislike the twist because it can create a pressure point under the arm, but with a twist you can show off contrasting sides of a wrap. So there's pros and cons.
Let's demo the difference with a Double Sling Carry. It starts off center so the middle marker ends up around my shoulder. To twist, take the old top rail and keep it as the new top rail - I show this in the video at 10:00 in. This makes a subtle twist that shows off the wrap's contrasting side really well. It can be a nice detail to add to a simple carry like this. However, this top rail is right up under arm and if you have a baby leaning and pulling on this top rail, having it up in your arm can be somewhat uncomfortable.
Now contrasting this is to not twist - I demo this version at just after 12:00 in the video. This time we'll keep the wrap nice and flat around the shoulder. The old bottom rail becomes the new top rail in this case, so the same side of the wrap shows, but most people find this method a little more comfortable. Without the twist, it's also a little easier to do my next tip - place the new top rail right where you want it to be.
2. Place the top rail
Rather than trying to straight up flip the whole wrap dramatically over shoulder - while that can look really cool - save that move for a photo shoot. For everyday flips, just place that top rail where you want it - in this case I'll skip the flip and make the old bottom rail my new top rail. In the video this is done at 14:00 in. After I finish placing the bottom rail in position as the new top rail, I reach behind me to "towel" the new top rail up baby's back, make a second seat, and tie off. And that's a Double Sling Carry.
So our last tip for today - when in doubt of the flip, avoid it! For a carry like this Double Sling one, avoid the flip altogether with a flipless version. My demo of this version starts at 18:15 in the video. by starting in a ruck pass, off-center just like before, make a sling or cross pass, then just switch the tails at the end. Boom, no flip required and I get the same structure in the back. Woohoo! Like I said before, mastering shoulder flips is not a requirement.
Next week we will be working on two ways to start back carrying with a woven wrap. That's because then the following week we're going to be rerunning the "Wrapped in Love and Luck" challenge. If you've been following the page for awhile, or if you've been in the Babywearing Challenge group for awhile, you might remember this challenge that we did last year. I'll share more details on that next week. Happy Wrapping!
Our LIVE videos for late January and early February 2017 are sponsored by Cassiope Woven.
Shoulder Flips for Front Carries
In front carries, twisting or flipping the wrap at shoulder can help to keep the wrap from creeping into the wearer's neck, it helps pin the top rail (or top edge) down to prevent leaning, and it also looks really cool! Shoulder flips show off both sides of a wrap really well and they make amazing pleats at both the shoulder and the side.
In this week's live tutorial session we work on tips to help you make successful front shoulder flips. Our weekly sessions give you an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback in real time! Make sure you're following the Amy Wraps Babies Facebook Page to get our live notifications every Tuesday at 9 AM Pacific time. Check our events section to find out what we're up to next!
Today in our live video we tie a Kangaroo Carry and even though it's structurally fairly simple, I wouldn't call it a beginner carry because these flips can take a little getting used to. With practice, though, you'll gain what can be one of the most comfortable carries out there! So let's talk through some issues.
Here's the recording of our live video. I'll point out specific time stamps in the text below so you can skip straight to all the good parts.
1. Leaving too much space
First, when we pre-tie a Kangaroo carry, leave the same amount of space in the pocket that you would for a front wrap cross carry. For me and my baby, that is hardly any space at all - babies, even big ones, just don't really need that much space! So make your pocket small - just a couple inches of give is all you need. I'm sorry I didn't get to demonstrate this in the video this week! But just think that the more space you leave the more tightening you'll have to do, so just save yourself some time and effort by leaving a little less space when pre-tying.
2. Over tightening
It's also really common to over-tighten the bottom rail. At around 6:30 in the video I go over this tip: don't forget that the twist or flip at shoulder switches the top and bottom rail, so when we tighten over shoulder we need to remember not to pull out the seat with our new TOP rail (where usually we're thinking of not over-tightening the bottom rail). Remember knee-to-knee coverage is going to be the most comfortable for baby's seat and for you to feel like the load you're carrying is supported.
3. Tightening tips
When tightening through the flip, remember we're dealing with a couple opposites here because we flipped the wrap - I talk us through this at 8:00 in the video. When I tighten with the tail sticking out at my right side, the left shoulder will tighten. While I "strand by strand" tighten with my right hand I "shimy" my left shoulder to help the slack through. Don't forget to shimy!! There's a quick demo of this move at 11:20.
I'll start with the new top rail which corresponds to the old bottom rail, so make sure this doesn't pull out baby's seat. keep up that tightening in thirds that we've been talking about in each of our live tutorials so far this year. Give a healthy tug at the middle - remember this is where the bulk of baby's weight is sitting so if we have some sagging later on, the middle is where we'll need to focus our tightening efforts. Lift baby's weight and tighten, just like I do at 10:30 in the video. Then finish with the new bottom rail slash old top rail - here's where we really "seal up" the carry and prevent leaning so give some thorough attention here.
4. Pleats cheats
Now that we've pre-tied, made our seat, and tightened, let's make this pretty right?! Sometimes a wrap will pleat itself really nicely and you're already done, and sometimes you just don't care about pleats. But for those other times when you want these pretty finishing touch, I show you my cheat at 12:50 in the video. Start at the outside of the shoulder and finger walk your way in, gathering and pleating the wrap as you go. Every couple inches, pull the bulk down to spread it on your back. When you get to the neck, spread the bunching back out and you should have some nice pleats! It may take a little more manipulation depending on your wrap, but hopefully that gives you an idea of how to cheat on pleats a little!
--Bonus-- Carries to try
So now that you have some shoulder flip tips, you have a bunch of carries to try them out on! There's Kangaroo that has a short and a base-size version, there's also a Hip Kangaroo carry with one shoulder. Yesterday in the #newyearnewcarries challenge we did an Inside Out Front Pirate carry that has one flip. There's also Front Double Hammock... and I like to do a flip when I do carries like Front Wrap Cross Carry Poppins and Front Cross Carry. So lots of stuff to try!
Thank you Cassiope!
Now let's talk a little about the wrap we're using this week! This is a Cassiope, Castalia Hummingbird in my base size, a size 6. This is a great medium-weight wrap - it's 290 gsm. Very easy to use and the pink cactus flower color really pops on the black warp. It's 45% mercerized cotton so it has a lovely sheen too and it breaks in super fast and easy. The pattern is based on "the old english whimsy of brooches & bouquets in bloom adorned with pearl accents," and that's a quote from Heather, the owner and creative mind behind Cassiope. This brand is really cool because Heather hand-draws the patterns, which really gives all the wraps in the Cassiope line a unique aesthetic. Cassiope is starting to get into really fun fibers too - their Hadara pattern was just released in a lovely blue made from Eco2 cotton. Mat, my partner in the Art in Babywearing series, debuted the Hadara Eco2 in his last live video, so check that out for more info on the fiber and pattern.
A big thanks to Cassiope for sponsoring our videos this month, and we'll do some into February with Cassiope as well. We're doing shoulder flips on back carries next week which are totally different that front shoulder flips, so join us next Tuesday for that! Check our events section to find out what we're up to next!
Our LIVE videos for late January and early February 2017 are sponsored by Cassiope Woven.
Beginners, we are here for you! In our second LIVE troubleshooting session of 2017, we're working on some common issues facing beginning wrappers - any skill level might find a tip or two in this week's packed video.
Don't forget we're live on the Amy Wraps Babies Facebook Page every Tuesday at 9 AM Pacific time. Our weekly sessions allow us to have more in-depth tutorials and they give you a chance to ask questions and get some feedback in real time! Make sure you're following the Facebook page and check our events section to find out what we're up to next.
Here's what we'll cover in this session:
Beginner tips for overcoming:
Here's our full video for the week, and I'll call out time stamps in the below text to help you skip to useful bits!
1. So Much Fabric
The wrap I'm using in this video is a Cassiope Woven, it's called No. 4 Magpie and it's a size 4 or my base-2. To demo our tips today I'm using a Front Wrap Cross Carry. This is typically a base size carry for a long wrap but we're going to tie a short version today. That's one of the things that I think helps new wearers - base size wraps can be a lot of fabric but shorter ones can seem a little more manageable. So maybe try out a shorter wrap if you can find one from a friend or babywearing group!
Another way to deal with a lot of fabric is to bunch it up. A common problem I get is fabric getting caught on the wearer's sides when starting a Front Wrap Cross Carry - I demo this around 4:45 in the video. We start by crossing the two ends of the wrap on our back, and there are several methods for doing this. I like to place the middle marker on my chest, then bring out the sides, but sometimes the lower end of the wrap gets caught on my hip. To solve that, bunch the top of the wrap up first and hold that bunching at your chest while you bring the end of the wrap around your back. There's more than one way to get an X on your back! I show off a couple ways to tie it at around 5:45 in the video. Experiment with it and try other methods before you settle on one to start building muscle memory with.
One more thing before talking about seats. After getting the wrap on and before getting baby in, just check to make sure your wrap isn't twisted on your back. Take the top edge under your left arm and the top edge at your right shoulder - "towel wash" them back and forth like I do at 7:00 in. If they move together your wrap is not twisted! Repeat on the other side. If you find a twist, correct it, then move on.
2. Keeping a Seat
For making a solid seat from the get-go, bunching is your friend again! Bunch up the wrap on your chest and move it down, just like I do at around 9:00 in our video. This will also help us bring baby's legs in a little easier. Now sit baby on the bunching here so you can check - is baby in a seated squat position? Are knees higher than bum? Are the knees in a comfortable position on my body? Now that we've verified everything, we can bring this top edge of the wrap up baby's back so the back is nice and smooth and baby is sitting right in the middle of the width of our wrap.
I'm going to do a quick strand-by-strand tightening to get us to our next pain point. "Strand by strand" is a term used by many wrappers to mean that they're tightening through the whole width of the wrap. It makes me think of going through all the strands of the fabric and making sure each one is supporting baby's weight. We can really just tighten in thirds, though, and I'll show you how at 12:15 in the video. First, pull at the upper edge by your cheek, then second in the middle where baby's weight sits, then finally we tighten just a bit on the outside edge - this is the part of the wrap that is up between us making the seat so we don't want to pull that out. Always pulling out behind us like I do in the video so the fabric doesn't have to travel around as many curves.
Another common issue is feeling some pressure or pinching under arm, at the upper back, and in the neck. If you watch this part on the video, around the 13:15 mark, you may notice all these pain points are along the top rail of the wrap. The top rail can get bunched up which leads to these three pain points. To fix, let's spread this out like I do at 14:00 and bring the bunching down - it should all gather at the seat and stay low under arm. Spread the wrap over your back. "Towel wash" it again to bring it down out of the neck.
4. Tying Under Bum
Okay now back to the tie off. Tying under bum can be difficult because it's hard to keep tension on all the tightening you did while also lifting baby's weight AND make a knot. Working with a newborn adds to the difficulty since real estate is at a premium with those little bums! I show off my cheat at 16:00 in the video - I tie a single knot at baby's mid-back, then bring the knot down to tie the second knot under bum. Lift baby's weight, then place the knot.
5. Sagging Seats/Baby Too Low
Speaking of lifting baby's weight, that brings me to the last thing here - sagging seats. This is the same tip from last week if you were with us for that. Recall that our wrap has three main sections - the two edges plus a couple inches, then the 4-to-6-inch section that is the middle. Baby's weight is sitting in the middle of the wrap, so if their seat is sagging that's where we should focus our tightening attention. This starts in the video at just before 18:00. First, LIFT baby's weight with your right arm, then use your left hand to find the middle of the wrap over your left shoulder. Hold tension in the top rail while giving a tug to the middle, then follow the slack down to feed it through the knot.
My final seat tip is at a few seconds before 19:00 in the video. To get a deeper seat by encouraging baby's pelvis to tilt forward, reach up under the seat and between you to pull the wrap up just a bit until the pelvis tilts. You should notice the seat deepening as the tilt occurs, which will make a more comfortable seat for baby and hopefully prevent seat popping for at least a few extra seconds.
One final note about seats, though. The goal of a good seat isn't to have a lot of fabric between you and baby. The goal is really to support the natural ergonomic position of keeping baby's legs higher than bum with the weight evenly distributed between bum and thighs and supported from knee-to-knee. In other words, it should be like sitting on the edge of a hammock - nice and supported and comfy.
What other needs do you want addressed as a beginning wrapper? Let me know, I'd love to cover them!
Our LIVE videos for late January and early February 2017 are sponsored by Cassiope Woven.
DH has not always been my favorite carry. It took me a lot of practice, a lot of tutorial-watching, and several hours of online conversations to work through what I thought were my own personal hang-ups to getting this carry right. I mean, everyone loves a double hammock, why didn't I? Turns out, the issues I was having were very common AND they have solutions, yay! Here are some common issues we'll cover in this post:
There is a companion video for this post available on Facebook that goes over all the same points with movements. I'll call out specific time stamps in the text below so you can skip to a spot you need:
The wrap I'm using is a Tekhni Pragma Jade, size Large or 4.6 meters or about my base size. Pragma is Tekhni's teaching wrap, very soft all cotton, that has great learning stripes and is only a hundred bucks in any size!
1. Uneven legs
When baby's legs are uneven there's basically two causes - no, 3 if I'm being honest.
I'll show you all three in the video above at 7:00 minutes in. After I make the seat I check that the knees are even to start with. Make the chest pass but with just the top rail. Now I can turn my focus to the bottom rail and I'll start by checking that my first seat hasn't crept up baby's thigh. Then I follow that bottom rail around and place it where I want it to be the second seat. I'll be sure it doesn't extend past the knee to over extend that leg. Finish by double-checking for even legs and you're good!
2. Seat-popping while wrapping
My forearm trick is shown in the video at about 11:00 minutes in. I use my forearm as much as I can to "protect" my seat. Make a seat, then use your forearm to prevent leg-straightening. This works well until you start the second sling pass. Then the protection is lost and the seat can be popped BUT, all hope is not lost!
This quick trick is at about 12:30 minutes on the video - if a seat pops, place the top rail of the second sling pass and hold tension, then simply fix the first seat before starting to secure the second. Hold tension in top rails, pull wrap down taught again and remake the first seat. Place the bottom rail of the chest pass and get those bunched cross pass placed asap to pin the seats in place!
3. Loose chest pass and tightening
This is probably the most common issue I am asked about. At just before 14:30 in the video I show the wrap has three "zones" along its width: top, middle, and bottom. The chest pass will really focus on the top and bottom. Focus on just the top rail first and bring it all the way back to the sling pass and over the opposite shoulder. Then hold tension in both top rails and turn to the bottom rail, adjusting it around baby's knees and really placing it where you want it to go. Don't forget to be checking those knees like in tip #1! Place the bottom rail, don't let it find a spot on its own. Now that those two part are in place, the L-pull should pull out any extra slack. Stand up straight for this part so there's less slack in the bottom rail. Still have some untightened pieces? At about 17:30 in the video I L-pull strand by strand to get out every last bit of slack. Remember to pull behind you and in a true L shape. The fewer curves fabric has to travel over the better!
4. Saggy seats and low babies
A saggy seat is all about more tightening. This time, instead of focusing on the top and bottom edges we need to check the middle of our wrap. Baby's weight is resting on their bum and thighs and those precious bum and thighs rolls are resting on the middle of the wrap. So that's one thing to remember here, which I talk about in the video just before 19:00 minutes in. Before you start to adjust the middle of your wrap, though, release the weight on the wrap by lifting baby's weight with your forearm. Then follow the color block of the middle of the wrap up to your shoulder and use your free hand to tighten the middle of the wrap while pinning the top rail to hold tension. I demonstrate this move at 19:40 in the video.
Otherwise as far as baby feeling a bit low, keep in mind that the Double Hammock is not a high back carry like a ruck. This is because of the chest pass, and is a conversation for another post. But that being said, nice and snug tightening will result in a more comfortable carry even if baby is a little lower than ruck height.
Speaking of tightening, there are 3 key places for tightening the double hammock.
We haven't talked about tightening over shoulder at all yet. That's because I don't tighten my DH "strand by strand," that is to say, through the width of the wrap, until after I make the chest pass. I find this method helps prevent me from over-tightening that first seat, which often lead to popped seats and uneven baby legs for me. I start gather the wrap over my first shoulder but I don't actually thoroughly tighten until both sling passes are in place. I'll show thorough tightening when we put it all together at the end of the video - skip forward to 29:00 to see it.
5. Middle marker centered
So this one has little to nothing to do with the comfort of the carry, but it is a fun part of a DH when you nail that "middle marker on point." Here's my process, which I start just after 23:00 minutes in to the video:
Here's a run-down of how I put it all together:
And final, post-wrapping adjustments:
Did your issue get covered in this post? Are you having other problems with a Double Hammock that could use a solution? Let me know!
This post was not sponsored by a company or group.
Amy works to spread the joy of woven wraps by sharing inspiration and encouragement, educational resources, and always support and love in babywearing.