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:
- So much fabric...
- Keeping a seat
- Pinching at the wearer's underarm, back, neck
- Tying the wrap under baby's bum
- Sagging seats/baby too low
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!
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!