There's so much potential for fanciness in front carries! This article has lots of ideas for your experimentation. I have links listed to my tutorials page where I keep all the latest and greatest education tools for each carry. I also did a quick run-down of some ideas in a Facebook live video, so that is embedded right here in this article for your convenience. As we go through ideas in the article, I'll give you timestamps for demos in the Facebook video, and/or a link to more info about the carry on the tutorials page.
Everyone could use a little fancy! If you have some extra length in your wrap - for base size carries or short ones - then you just need a little motivation and this article to get fancy!
I love fancy finishes and playing with a wrap because it's something that can be a big motivator in wanting to try wrapping or continuing to persevere when learning gets rough. Most of the time there's no practical use for fancy finishes - sometimes they're quite practical and integrated into a carry - but really they make us feel good and give us confidence and inspire us to hold our babies close in a beautifully constructed series of passes... well clearly I'm a fan.
In our live tutorial for this week we're adding some fancy finishes to two different carries using two different sizes of wraps. The work of Emmeline Textiles joins us: fancy finishes in a base size are done with the Dots prototype, then we'll switch to Emmeline's Eleanor Pearl for some shortie fancy finishes in a base-2 size wrap (more info about sizes at amywrapsbabies.com/wrap-sizes). Here's a replay of our tutorial - don't forget to join us live on Tuesdays at 9 am Pacific time where you can ask your questions and get answers and feedback in real time! Make sure to check our events for what we're up to next.
I'll call out time stamps for important parts in the video as we go through the text below.
For a base size wrap one of the first back carries I recommend is a ruck, which is what we're wrapped in for the first half of the video. If you're interested in the other carry I recommend learning for beginners, or if you don't already know how to tie a ruck, check out the live tutorial from two weeks ago. A plain ruck tied in front doesn't need quite the length of a base size wrap, but having that extra length is great for finishes. The two bunched tails that are tied in front can instead transform into a fun finish!
In the video at 3:24 I start to bring the two tails across my chest to make a Tibetan Knotless finish. The ends of the wrap will come OVER the ruck straps, then behind so that the ruck strap pins the end of the wrap in place. Spread the wrap over the chest so the bulk of the bunching is low and distributing any pressure.
This one is nearly identical to the knotless version. At 4:05 in the video I take the ends of the wrap out from being pinned by the ruck strap. For a knotted finish, the end of the wrap can go UNDER the ruck strap first, then come around to meet the other tail in the center of your chest.
Another fun ruck ending is the goddess or date night finish - I start this one at 5:20 in the video. This time the two tails get twisted together at the waist, then bring the twist to the center of the chest so the ends are up by the ruck straps. Again the ends will come OVER the ruck straps for a knotless finish, then spread the wrap through the newly created waist belt. There are lots of opportunities here for different twists to show contrasting sides of the wrap.
Another thing we can do with these leftover tails is introduce a sling ring for fun finishes. To keep the ring flat, bring the tails through it in opposite directions like I do at 7:20 in the video - one tail through the front and one through the back. In the video I kind of make things up as I go along so I don't have to undo my bunched passes for a ring ruck right away. What other stuff could you do with a ring here?
I start by taking my bunched passes down and checking my seat at 8:40 in the video. Then I thread the ring with tails coming through in opposite directions so the ring will lie flat. I start finishing knotless around 9:40 in the video and that will also help with keeping the ring flat on my chest.
So again I used a ruck as a starting point but for any of these finishes you could use any carry that has ruck straps coming over shoulder like a Jordan's Back Carry. Now you have at least 3 fancy finish options to start experimenting - what fancy finishes will you come up with?
Base size wraps aren't the only ones that can go fancy. Short wraps can totally get pretty, and I like to start with them by tying at shoulder. There are 3 great carries for this that are good for beginners: Reinforced Rear Ruck we just did the other day in the Wrapped in Love and Luck challenge; Half Jordan's Back Carry and Double Sling are coming up in the challenge in March on day 17. Viewer's choice was to do a HJBC so that's what we tied starting at 13:05 in the video.
The three carries I mentioned all have one thing in common that is essential to the finishes listed here: they end with two tails on one side, also called tied at shoulder.
Candy Cane Chest Belt (CCCB)
Twist out two tails together across the chest to tie at shoulder - that's a candy cane chest belt, shown at 14:53. It can be finished knotless or with a knot. Finishing knotless also requires that the twisting starts at shoulder with the lower tail coming over the upper tail, pinning it in place as I show at 15:30 in the video.
A Kai Belt starts similar - I demo it at 15:45 in the video. Twisting the two ends of the wrap together but then stop around the mid point of your chest and bring the longer tail around to the opposite shoulder, bring it over and behind this ruck strap to make it knotless, then loop it back through the chest belt to finish the twisty look on both sides.
This one has your "upper tail," that is the one that's coming over your shoulder, coming across the chest. At 16:55 in the video I show that in order for the upper tail to come across the chest, it needs to first be anchored with a half knot, then bring it across and finish it knotless at the other shoulder: over and behind the ruck strap.
So really for fancy finishes all you need is some extra tail and a little imagination! Experiment with tucks and twists and show me what you come up with! You'll be super ready for the last day of Wrapped in Love and Luck when we do ruck fancy finishes on St. Patrick's Day. For today we're tying a Short Ruckless Bikini Carry which is not super beginner-beginner-friendly but does inspire us to keep working up to it! And next week on our live tutorial we'll keep up the fancy theme but switch it to front carries! Because why should back carries have all the fun? Also, I have a special surprise coming up this week so make sure you are following our Facebook page so you don't miss it!
Have a great week, all! Happy wrapping!
This post was not sponsored by any company or group.
Valentine's Day means it is time to start the Wrapped in Love and Luck challenge! This wrapping challenge is daily between now and St. Patrick's Day, it features a ton of only back carries, and we thought it'd be fun to kick off the second year of the challenge like last year with a Valentine’s and sweetheart-themed carry, the Sweetheart finish!
The Sweetheart finish is cool because you can choose to use it with a few different carries depending on the features you want and what passes make you comfortable. We have a fun chart here to tell us more about the differences and similarities between these carries.:
Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) is one that we posted yesterday on Instagram, the video below starts with us in a Reinforced Ruck (RR), and a DH (Double Hammock) is used in our title image for this article, above. DH has an asterisk in the chart because this could also be any carry with a spread chest pass like Charlie's Cross Carry, Wendy’s DH, etc.
If you go with Back Wrap Cross Carry, know that it will have two passes across the chest and it is not possible to show both sides of the wrap in the chest pass. This is because we start in a Torso pass, with both ends of the wrap coming under arm. From the Torso pass we go straight into the chest passes, so there's no opportunity to flip the wrap. Starting in a Torso pass will also make this carry lower on your back. Back Wrap Cross Carry does allow for some fun finish options like rings because it ends with two tails hanging over shoulder. I used two rings in that Instagram photo from yesterday that I mentioned before.
Reinforced Ruck, though, will be a higher carry because it starts in a Ruck pass with both tails over shoulder. There's still two passes on the chest but they are done closer to the end. Also if you do at least one pass under leg, you have the option to twist the wrap a half turn and show the contrasting side. In a RR the ruck strap comes from over shoulder, then it goes right down to under baby's knee where I could twist the wrap slightly and show the contrasting side. Both the twist and the under-the-leg passes (they're Wiggleproof reinforcing passes in this case) are optional - there are two tutorials in the babywearing challenge group showing the differences.
Finally in our chart we have Double Hammock, or really any carry that has a spread chest pass. With this one we only have one pass over chest, and it is just twisted at the center of the chest to make that Sweetheart pinch in the middle. You'll always show contrasting wrap sides with this one. In my opinion, this is the easiest way to do the Sweetheart -- as long as you are asked ready proficient at the carry done the usual way, of course.
Now that we know our options you can pick the carry that is right for you!
So... I thought I'd totally break with all these and try all do experiment in today's live tutorial. I got it in me to try a Rainbow's Back Carry, but I want to make the waist belt spread like a chest pass and twist it, then finish like a classic base size double sling carry. I don' talk through it in the video since it's an experiment I'm kind of working it out in my mind answer I go, but I show you what I'm doing starting at 9:00 in the video below...
What do we think? I'm not sure it's technically still a Rainbow's Back Carry because I eliminated the cross passes to do the chest pass... so maybe it's more of an Inside Out DH? But whatever - it's my carry I can do what I want! The classic Rainbow's, and I suppose any variations you'd like, is coming up in the Wrapped in Love and Luck challenge in March so you won't miss it if you tried something else for day one.
Next week in our live tutorial we will dial it back a bit and talk about fancy finishes for beginners! There's an lot of intermediate and advanced stuff in this challenge but there's beginner stuff too - something for everyone! We'll talk more about it next Tuesday. Happy wrapping all!
Wrapping a baby to your back might appear to be a mystery but with a little guidance, and an action plan, you can back carry successfully! This week in our live tutorial series on Facebook we're working on getting you started with back carrying. Make sure you're following the Amy Wraps Babies Facebook Page to get our live notifications every Tuesday at 9 AM Pacific time. And always find what's coming up next in the events section on my Facebook page!
Today we'll talk about:
For this week's companion video I'm wearing my little guy in this lovely pink and black wrap from Cassiope; this is called Castalia Hummingbird and it is my base size, which for me is a six. Again a big thanks to Cassiope for sponsoring our live tutorials in January and now early February. They are the first creative manufacturer I'm featuring with Mat York in our Art in Babywearing series this year. Thanks to Cassiope for helping us spread wrapping education!
I'll let you know where to jump to in the video in my text below. That way you can go straight to just what you need!
1. How do you know you're ready for back wrapping?
What's the magic formula for assessing readiness for back carries? Well unfortunately when it comes to woven wraps there really isn't one. You're ready for back carries in a woven when you want to focus and learn the skill. Back carrying with a woven wrap is typically not a skill that comes with one try. It takes several practice sessions and often a good amount of sweat before confidence begins to build. But you can do it, and once you do get past the learning curve you have this amazing and super convenient skill. So that's how you know when you're ready: you have the drive and desire to succeed. Of course, knowing the basics that you can pick up from front carries can help a ton too. Things like solid tightening and making a seat can be learned with back carries but most people find those fundamentals come faster when practiced in front carries first.
Now, how do you know a baby is ready for back carries? Well, because we're working specifically with woven wraps we have some leeway on that one too. With some more structured carriers, the recommendation is that baby either has some torso control or baby is physically large enough to minimize risk of slumping in the carrier. With a woven wrap, though, the carrier molds to the body of the passenger, and wrapper, so we don't have gaping sides or tall panels to worry about overcoming. Babies can go on the back in a woven wrap as soon as the caregiver feels comfortable in doing so.
But wait, how am I supposed to know if I'm comfortable if I've never back carried before? Ah now we're getting somewhere! For this reason, I recommend starting back carries in baby steps...
2. An action plan to build skills
Step one - practice getting baby on your back. Just a quick up then down, no carrier. This gets BOTH of you used to this new concept. You build muscle memory and confidence while baby gets used to a new view and new position. Don't underestimate baby's need to get used to this just as much, if not more, than you.
Step two - start practicing the full carry but without baby. Use a doll if you have one or a stuffed animal or sometimes in a pinch a pillow or rolled up blanket. No it's not the same as your baby and once you add baby you'll learn you need to make further adjustments. BUT you'll already have muscle memory built up for the bulk of the carry, which will free up your brain to focus on your baby and not all the things your muscles need to be doing in order to get the wrap on. Babies can totally sense when we're feeling nervous about things. The more confidence you can build before adding baby back into the equation, the less anxiety you'll both have.
Step three is to put steps one and two together and practice getting your real baby on your back with the wrap and to tie on the carry you practiced. I'm going to say bye to my real baby now because he's going to go play and we'll use my doll from here.
How do we physically get baby back there? For all babies other than newborns I use two ways to get baby up: the Superman toss or the hip scoot. I tend to Superman younger babies and hip scoot toddlers, but you use whichever technique works for you. I'm going to move us over to my soft surface here and we can practice together. When you're learning, always practice over a bed or soft surface, and if you have someone that can spot you that's great too.
Let's practice together now. In real life, practice this bit with a real baby, not a doll like I'm using for this part in the video (I start to Superman at about 9:50). To Superman, I start with my right hand. My baby is going to go over my right shoulder and I'm going to use my right forearm to lift him. I use my right hand to cup his right shoulder joint - not just his arm but the whole joint. When we add a wrap my thumb will hold it in place. My left hand is really just stabilizing the other side. Now I'll shift my baby's weight onto my right forearm, lift him straight up, then place my shoulder under him to give him a place to land. Once he's up, we'll both kind of acknowledge what we did, then he comes right back down. We're both just getting used to the idea here.
Okay now let's hip scoot. In the interest of time, I'm going to show a hip scoot with the first beginner back carry I want to show today...
3. Two carries to try
We'll start with a Secure High Back Carry (at 12:20 in the video). It's kind of an odd name because it isn't a super high back carry like a ruck, but it does have some cool bonuses so we'll forgive it. This carry can start without your baby - we'll make a pouch first. And again, try to practice carries with a doll first, then add your baby when you've got confidence.
To start, place the wrap over one shoulder and under the other so it runs across your back. The end under your arm should be slightly longer so the middle marker is in front of you. Tie a single knot up by your shoulder to make a pouch for baby. Definitely stop here and make sure nothing is twisted like I do at 13:10 in the video. Hopefully you recall this trick from our beginner tips live tutorial! No twisting between the top edge at the pocket and the same edge at my neck.
Load baby in like a ring sling - the seat should support from knee to knee with knees higher than bum. We'll bring the top edge of the wrap up baby's back nice and high so it cups baby's shoulders, securing them really well. To hip scoot, take the tails in one hand (the side with the wrap going over shoulder) while you lean forward, bringing your other arm around to support baby, and scoot, scoot, scoot baby around to your back. And they are up!
From here if you need baby higher, lift baby's weight with your forearm and pull the tails out away from your chest with the other hand to get baby higher on your back. I demo this at 14:45 in the video - when the segment starts a child screams in the background so do be sure to adjust your viewing experience accordingly. When you've found a comfortable height, tighten up the knot just enough to keep tension and pin these tails between your knees. We still need to check the seat to make sure it is still knee-to-knee and knees are higher than bum. While the tails are safely pinned, reach back under baby's knees and pull the wrap down baby's back and make sure the middle of the wrap is spread well between baby's bum and thighs. If the wrap is too tight, give yourself a little slack in the tail that is under arm. Remember to hold both tails in one hand or pin them between your knees to keep tension.
Now let's tighten. Figure out which tail is which as it comes through the knot - which tail is coming from under arm and which is coming from over shoulder? We' the lower tail that came from under arm to be pinned in place so we can tighten the tail that came from over shoulder. Watch out for twisting again - at 16:10 in the video I caught that my upper tail was twisting through the knot which would have made for some difficult tightening.
As we tighten, remember the "tightening in thirds" that we've been doing in all our live tutorials. I start at 16:45 in the video by pulling a bit at the inside edge to tighten the top rail around baby's shoulders. The middle is where baby's weight sits so give that a good tug. Then the outside edge under baby's knees is the seat so we don't want to pull that out. Just give it a gentle tug and then we'll move all the slack through this single knot here.
This tail that came from over shoulder is now going to get placed on the opposite shoulder - remember how we placed the wrap in shoulder flips for back carries? I show the move pretty quickly at 17:40 in the video. After you place the wrap on your shoulder, reach behind you with the opposite hand and pull the tail straight down, then bring it over baby's first knee and under the second knee. Pin it between your knees again and return to this other tail. This one goes under arm, then again - over baby's first knee and under the second*. Now we can tie our tails in a double knot and we're done!
So the pros of Secure High Back Carry is that the seat is made in front of us so I can verify it, we use the wrap as like a third arm to scoot baby around to our back, baby is already secure when they get back there, and we only have to tighten over one shoulder. The cons, though, is that it's harder to tighten this one really well and it's harder to get slack out of the carry when it inevitably starts to sag because feeding slack through the half knot isn't super easy. Once you get really great a tightening, sagging becomes less of an issue but while you're learning it can be frustrating not being able to get that slack out.
Enter the ruck: this carry has a little more of a learning curve. It's like learning to drive on a stick shift versus an automatic. You have to do more work learning this way but when you get it you'll know more about how back carries work and you'll have more experience with seat-making and proper tightening.
For this ruck I'll start with the Superman toss we did before, obviously this time with a wrap. In the video at 21:00 I remind you that when I place my right hand on baby, I'm cupping baby's whole right shoulder joint and using my right forearm to elevate baby to my back. Once they're up, I need to pin these top rails right away to prevent leaning. I use my teeth, so before I pin I'll also explain that the next move is to make the baby's seat while these rails are pinned. I'll reach under my baby's knees and pull all the excess fabric down, then use the bunching to lift baby's knees and I'll pin the excess fabric between us.
Did you see that at 22:05 when I lifted the fabric up between us, my baby's knees went up and his pelvis tilted forward? Well, his doll plastic uhh... non-existent pelvis I guess. Anyway, a good tilt to the pelvis and knees higher than bum is nice and ergonomic for baby and provides good knee-to-knee support. Once the seat is secured, I'll gather these tails up, keeping tension in the top edges to prevent leaning, and then we can tighten. Starting at 23:05 in the video: pull a bit at the inside edge closest to my cheek to tighten the part around baby's shoulders. The middle of the wrap is where baby's weight sits so give that a healthy tug. Then the outside edge is the seat under baby's knees and tucked between us so we don't want to pull that out. Just give it a gentle tug and then we'll tuck it up under the bunching we've created at shoulder to make a second layer of cush on the shoulder and keep that outer edge from running down my arm - I demo this move at 23:30. To finish with this tail, again bring it back and always over baby’s first knee, pinning the seat in place, then under baby's second knee. Now repeat on the other side - tighten the top, middle, and just a bit of bottom third, then pin that bottom rail under the top rail, bring the bunching under arm and over this knee, pinning the seat in place, then under the second knee. Once again, tie a knot here and we're done!
This carry is a little easier to adjust. If baby is sagging, I show my trick again at 25:00 in the video - use your forearm to lift baby's weight, then pull the ruck strap down at shoulder, feeding the slack behind you and through to the knot. Repeat on the other side if needed.
Okay all, those are my tips and steps to back carrying success! Of course there are way more than just two back carries, though, and next week we'll show off the versatility of wovens with the start of the second annual running of the Wrapped in Love and Luck challenge! This challenge is really.... a challenge! It's 32 straight days of only back carries, packed between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. There's a ton of variations and fancy finishes and new stuff to try so I hope you join us, even if you pop in and out of the challenge when it works best for you. So until next week, happy wrapping!
Our LIVE videos for late January and early February 2017 are sponsored by Cassiope Woven.
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.
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.
If your life is anything like mine, it's hard to workout with a baby around. At home I can barely bend over to pick up a toy without having a baby try to mount my back like I'm a horse... Babywearing fitness to the rescue! It's convenient and pretty fun to wear that baby while you move your body. Babies love movement and they love to be with you, so get in some "sling exercise" together!
Here are some babywearing exercise tips and tutorials I've collected for you!
Before we get to the tutorials, let me also take this space to say that exercise should make us feel good about ourselves being healthy and strong. If you are a postpartum woman reading this, know that I do not suppose pushing yourself too far because you feel like you have to "lose the baby weight." Please focus on being healthy and strong for yourself and your family over feeling like you need to conform to a misaligned societal ideal. With that said, let's get moving!
What kind of exercising do you want to do? There are several different modalities to practice with a baby in tow. Here's what I think are the best babywearing tutorials on YouTube for babywearing yoga, strength training, dance, and cardio.
Babywearing Strength Training
Babywearing Dance Videos
Babywearing Cardio Videos
Here's to health and happiness with our babies!
This post was not sponsored by a company or group.
What to consider when crafting your babywearing bundling strategy...
It's cold outside. Like, super duper cold. Yet life doesn't slow down and babywearing out of shear necessity continues. So how do you do it?
The first advice many smart babywearing educators will give is to dress yourself and your child in layers. Layers keep in the warmth and allow us to control the temperature by removing layers when we get too hot (it is possible to overheat so watch for that!). A woven wrap is a fantastic layer to add to your bundling repertoire, but where does it fall in the hierarchy of layers - toward the inside or the outside? The answer is found by considering several factors.
1. How likely are you to let baby down? A baby who is walking and curious about the snow and able to get down is going to need direct access to the outside of your layer sandwich, where a baby who does not have the option to get down could be lightly bundled and wrapped first, then be bundled fully.
2. How cold is it? Up where I am in the Pacific Northwest it usually stays above freezing so typically wrap over my layers because I don't need that extra protection. Sometimes it is particularly windy, though, so I will layer up, wrap, and then throw on a big sweatshirt or my husband's jacket as an added layer of cold protection. If you live in an area where it is consistently below freezing in the winter, it could be wise to invest in a babywearing coat or large coat to throw over you.
3. Are you wrapping indoors or outside? If you're wrapping outside and quickly running indoors, wrapping over your gear might be the fastest and most convinient plan for you. Think about your disembarking routine; for us it's get baby out, jacket on baby, wrap out, baby up, go! Maybe you'd rather wrap then bundle, or bundle and wait until you get inside to wrap. Check out my tips for wrapping on the go, including a fun video on saving long wraps from getting sludgy "parking lot tails."
4. What materials are you wearing? If your jacket, or your baby's jacket, is slick, wrapping over it might be a more slidey experience. The opposite would be true is you're wrapping against fleece. Also if you have a particularly puffy jacket or a cushy load of layers, you may need more length to wrap over all that extra padding.
5. If you wrap over all your layers, make sure baby is covered. Especially if the air temperature is below freezing, all of baby's exposed skin except for the face should be covered. Use leg warmers to cover any gaps between baby's pants and their socks. Keep booties or an extra layer of socks over those little toes. Hats are a must for warm ears, especially ones that tie under the chin so they can't take them off while in a back carry! And a scarf can go a long way - wear one on your neck and it fills in the gap between you and baby to help keep their face and neck warm. Just make sure that airway is clear!
No matter how you choose to winter wrap, be sure you always have baby's exposed skin covered in below freezing conditions while always keeping baby's airway open regardless of air temperature. Dress in layers with baby in one more layer than you and watch for overheating cues: overly fussy, red skin, covered skin is hot to the touch (especially back of arms or neck). Happy wrapping!
This post is not sponsored by any company or group.