Doll Carrier custom Wrap Conversion Full Buckle WCFB SSC

A friend of mine sewed carriers for her kids, small enough to fit the child to carry their doll or stuffed animal.  I loved how they turned out, and asked her to sew one for Jax. I had her use the leftover scrap pieces of some wraps that made a custom carrier I own, that I carry Jax in. So we have matching carriers. Pretty cute.  It fits him really well.

I took photos of him wearing “Baby Noel” (a 10″ baby doll), and also wearing “Toby”, (a 20″ doll, so pretty much newborn size).  Toby is a bit too large for the carrier, but my friend has photos of her kids wearing 12″ and 16″ dolls in their carriers, and they fit fine. Toby fit, and didn’t fall out, but was oversized and a bit floppy.

I had to bribe Jax with chocolate to get him to stand still outside while I took these “action photos.”  However, at least a couple times a week he wants to carry one of his dolls or animals in the carrier, and requests me to put it on him.  I have a doll-sized wrap that he can use as well, but the buckles on this carrier make it quicker and easier to put on him, plus it stays put better, since he won’t hold still too well for me to put the wrap on him properly.

I’m hoping he will still enjoy carrying his dolls once his sibling arrives, and is being worn in carriers.  Although I’m confident he will be disappointed that he can’t wear Noel in his own carrier. He’s already told me he plans to carry baby Noel in his own carrier ūüėČ

From everything I’ve read, if a child is old enough and strong enough to carry their sibling in their arms, they are old and strong enough to wear them for the same amount of time.  Since I wouldn’t let Jax carry a newborn in his arms, I won’t be letting him wear a newborn either.

However, with the 20″ doll strapped onto him, it amazed me to see this photos, and remember that Jax was about that size when he was born… just an inch longer.  It’s going to be crazy and fun to see him with his new brother or sister in a few months!

And for anyone who is geeky about wraps, Jax’s carrier is made from Ellevill Organica Theo (the diamond weave pattern) and Didymos Natural Hemp India “NHIndia” which is originally a natural beige color, this one was dyed navy blue.

| Filed under baby wearing, jax reilly

Sleeping Baby Productions Mesh Water Ring Sling vs Zanytoes Splash Water Carrier Review

This post has moved to my new babywearing website, Carefree Cocoon.

Pictured first: water ring sling baby carrier made by SBP or Sleeping Baby Productions (teal color with black rings). ¬†I would link to her store, but it looks like she isn’t selling these anymore; you may be able to find them on the used market.

Pictured second: water ring sling baby carrier made by Zanytoes called the Zanytoes Splash (yellow color with silver rings).

When you have a baby, especially one who might be smaller than the toddler pictured in these photos, and that baby is little during the summer months, a nice thing to do is be in the water.  (In case there  is any question, I am wearing a swimsuit in the photo. Because a lot of our swim sessions involve folks from church, I tend to stay pretty conservative with my swim attire).

The safety of a child is paramount when baby wearing at any time, but especially around water. ¬†I can’t list a million tips or disclaimers here, but things like avoiding alcohol use, not leaving baby alone in the water, and not using the sling as a flotation device are common sense.

Babies should be worn in the water only on the front of a responsible adult (not on your back), and facing toward your body (not facing away from you). You want to be sure you can see their face in relation to the water at ALL times.

When wearing children in water, it is advisable to only do activities that you would otherwise do if you were holding baby in your arms (for example wading in shallow water).  Things like water skiing or surfing while baby wearing would be clearly unsafe.  Water parks are a place to use common sense and caution.  Wearing the baby can add to their safety by giving you a third arm, but it can also make you less aware of what is happening with baby, so use extreme caution.

Finally, if you use your water baby carrier in chlorinated water, be sure to rinse it well when you get home. ¬†I have previously heard that you should dispose of a water carrier after a season of heavy use in chlorinated water, however, I have since been informed by some manufacturers and babywearing educators, this is not necessary. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation for use and maintenance in different water types.

I have personally used a gauze fabric wrap (nothing like the two slings I’m discussing here), at Schlitterbahn, just once, and once I came home and washed it, the whole fabric was lightened from the bleaching effect of the chlorine, there were whitish patches of significant bleaching. ¬†Cotton gauze is not usually made for water use, but I’m not the only person I know who has wanted to use it that way. ¬†The carriers made just for water should stand up to chlorine use better, but as always, follow manufacturer instructions, and pay attention to your carrier and inspect it for signs of wear – which is true with any carrier.

That said, here are two carriers made just for wearing babies in water.  They could also be used for wearing babies in very hot weather, because the fabric is thin and breathable.  Most makers of water carriers will also recommend that you use your water carriers in the water, and a non-water carrier out of the water.

Besides water ring slings, there are water wraps made of similar material, or other materials. ¬†The wraps tend to be better for little babies who don’t sit up yet, as you can wrap multiple layers around them to support their neck and head better. ¬†Ring slings tend to work better for kids who can sit up or walk, but still need to be carried a lot, because it’s quicker to take them in and out of the carrier, than with a wrap.

The first is ring sling (teal color) is made by Sleeping Baby Productions from athletic polyester mesh fabric, with small size sling rings.

I have skin issues with polyester, and this was no different – it makes my skin feel itchy and the fabric seems scratchy to me. Many mesh water wraps are the same fabric. ¬†This ring sling has a pleated shoulder, which I normally don’t care for, but was fine as far as shoulder comfort goes, given the stretchiness of the mesh fabric.

However, the polyester mesh was slippery and quite stretchy. ¬†As a result, I could not get it to stay as snug as I would like in the rings, and it would gradually loosen the carry over time. ¬†It wasn’t enough where my son would fall out all of a sudden, but it got uncomfortable after a while. ¬†Slippage can happen if the rings are not properly threaded, which may have been somewhat the case with this carrier, since I was still early on in my babywearing journey at the time I used the SBP sling. ¬†Because of the stretchiness of the fabric, this sling might not be best for a child more than 20 lbs, or one who liked to arch and squirm a lot when being worn. The fabric is slippery and stretchy enough, that too much movement from the baby could cause the fabric to slip down their back, and they could lean out too far backward. ¬†That is one of the reasons why water carriers are not recommended for use out of the water as well. ¬†They just don’t have the grip and hold and safety of other types of fabric, for general use.

The second ring sling pictured (yellow color) is the Zanytoes Splash nylon water ring sling, with medium size sling rings. ¬†The nylon is cool and soft feeling, it almost feels slippery but it isn’t actually slippery as far as how it grips in the rings. ¬†It dries quickly, is opaque, and has an SPF factor.

When I describe it as nylon, some people think that means like nylon webbing, which is scratchy. ¬†But also think of nylon pantyhose, which is kind of soft and silky. ¬†It’s not that texture or thickness, but it’s a better comparison of the touch of the fabric. ¬† The fabric is not stretchy. ¬†It is sturdy and strong, and does not slip through the rings, even when I wore it with my 28 lb toddler. ¬†If the fabric is not threaded properly through the rings, it will become grippy and sort of lock up, and won’t be able to pass through the rings when you need to tighten it. ¬†If this happens, it is time to take the carrier off, and re-thread the rings. ¬†The fabric is lightweight and breathable, drying quickly, just like your swim suit would. ¬†The fabric was so breathable that this carrier was wonderful for a hot summer, in or out of the water. ¬†It didn’t add extra bulk or heat to my body, other than the baby snuggled up against me.

The fabric is a gathered shoulder, but it has an interesting double layer for about 10-12 inches, that makes it extra supportive across the shoulder. ¬†I had owned a few different ring slings prior to this one, and hadn’t liked any of them. This was actually the first one I found comfortable, and made me realize I could enjoy using ring slings. ¬†Since then, I’ve found several other (non-water carriers) I enjoy using.

Secondly, because the fabric isn’t stretchy, and because it is such a great summer weight fabric, this makes a wonderful summer carrier in or out of the water. ¬†I used it many times the summer I owned it, when my son was a little over a year old, several times at the river, and several times outside the water when I wanted a carrier that wasn’t hot.

With ring slings in general, the weight is obviously just on one shoulder. ¬†This limits the amount of time you can wear it, since the baby’s weight is concentrated. ¬†Changing shoulders periodically, such as after taking the baby out of the carrier for a while, can help greatly. ¬†But I couldn’t wear any ring sling for a long period of time like two hours. ¬†I would need the weight distributed more. ¬†That’s not usually a problem with water use, since unless you spend the day at a water park, you aren’t wearing the baby for hours at at time in the water.
For a water park, a water wrap might be a better choice, depending on the age of the child. If the child is old enough to just need to be carried between locations, and want to get down to play frequently, I would choose a water ring sling.  If the child is not even crawling yet, or little enough where you will carry them pretty much the entire day, I would use a water wrap that distributes weight more.

As far as sizing goes, the teal sling is size Small, and the yellow is a size Medium. ¬†I don’t particularly like fabric dangling down on my legs, so I would either wrap the excess around the rings, or twist it and tuck it into the fabric behind me, like I did in the yellow pictures. ¬†Sizing is not as much of an issue with ring slings, since the only difference is the length of the fabric. On my body, a small comes to mid-thigh, a medium to my knee, and a large almost to my ankles. ¬†I have put a size medium on my 6-foot, 270 pound husband, and it fit fine with some excess. I could probably get a small on him and still have enough tail to make it safe.

Overall, I preferred the Zanytoes because of the non-stretchy fabric.  With a smaller and lighter baby, stretchy fabrics are usually more comfortable for most people, and many people prefer stretchy fabrics for newborns and small babies.

Last but not least, some ring sling basic wearing and safety tips.

Here are the two videos that helped me learn how to comfortably wear a ring sling.

Threading the Ring Sling
Using the Ring Sling

A few little safety tips for ring slings:

1. High enough to kiss. Baby should be high up enough on your body that you can easily kiss their head without straining. If they are too low on your body, that you cannot kiss at least the top of their head, it is probably not the most comfortable carry for either of you, and for a newborn, it could be unsafe. ¬†If you lower the baby to allow them to nurse inside the ring sling, when they are done nursing, they should be raised back up to the “high-enough-to-kiss” position.

2. Knees higher than bum. You want the baby to be seated deeply in the fabric, so their knees are slightly higher up than their bum.

3. Two fingers between chin and chest. With a toddler, this is obviously not an issue.  But with a newborn or little baby who is still gaining head control, you want to be sure their head is resting in a way that you can easily fit two of your fingers between their chin and chest.  If their chin is down on their chest without any space, this can constrict their airway Рwhich would obviously be unsafe.

4. For a toddler like Jax, the back of the sling should come up to his armpits at a minimum if he is “arms out” like in these photos. ¬†If it were lower than his armpits, he could arch backward out of it. ¬†I like to get it just above his shoulders when he isn’t arms-out. For a newborn, the back of the fabric can come up to beneath their ears, so that it gives them some head support for their wobbly head.

5. Ring slings are not recommended for back carries. Although some very experienced wearers have done so, it is not advisable. ¬†Back carries need to be very secure, since you can’t see what is going on with the baby, and a ring sling does not adequately meet that need. ¬†It is best to use a carrier that is suitable for back carries, rather than attempting one with a ring sling that might put the baby in an unsafe position.

6. For a baby, you put them into the ring sling from the top (ie lay them over your shoulder and slide them down your body into the pocket of the sling).  With a toddler like my son, I have him stand still, I already have the sling on, then I slide it over his head like you would a shirt, and down his body, then pick him up and create a seat pocket within the fabric.  To get him down; I reverse that Рhold him with one arm and loosen the rings with the other, then let him slide down out of it until his feet touch the floor (I am bending over at that point, so that he is not too far off the ground).

Happy babywearing and toddler wearing!

| Filed under baby wearing

Olives and Applesauce WCFB Wrap Conversion Full Buckle Hoppediz Timbuktu and SSC Soft Structured Carrier Review

 

 

Pictured above: Olives and Applesauce (O&A) Wrap Conversion Full Buckle (WCFB) carrier made from a Hoppediz Timbuktu wrap.  It has an adjustable hood, but does not have the “infant insert” that O&A sometimes made.  I have tried somewhere around fifteen to twenty different kinds of SSCs (soft structured carries), and O&A is my very favorite.  Runners up are Nuzzle Me Creations or Dream Carrier.  I was also very comfortable in the Beco Gemini (baby facing my body, not facing out as advertised, but that’s for another review).

Almost every kind of SSC, if you wear the baby on your front, you have to clip a little buckle between your shoulder blades. While it is physically possible for me to do so, it isn’t easy, and gets annoying.  After spending hours and hours and hours wearing the Ergo Baby carrier when my son was little, I started hunting for an SSC that could cross behind my back.  The Beco Gemini was the first I found that could do so, and it fit him when he was between the size of the Ergo and this O&A.  This was the next one I found. I had my first O&A (pictured below), when he was nine months old.  This is my second O&A.  O&A still makes carriers, but they no longer make wrap conversion carriers.  This one is 16 wide by 18 tall.  My son is two years old in these photos, and as you can see, it comes up almost to his neck.  He can work his arms out, but sometimes does not find that comfortable if the fabric presses under his armpits.

Pictured below: Olives and Applesauce Ava style (has the center panel) SSC made from Avocado fabric with Wonderland fabric accent piece.

It does have the “infant insert.”  Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the insert, but it is a small piece of fabric attached with velcro that could hold a smaller baby in the correct height position in the carrier. If I were to use it that way, I would recommend also putting a small blanket rolled up under the baby’s bum, to support their body a bit more.  The insert would primarily hold the baby in place inside the carrier – I wouldn’t want it fully supporting the baby’s weight as it is just attached with about three inches of velcro. There were a few height adjustments for the velcro, so you could move it up/down for baby’s height.  I received this carrier as a Christmas gift from my family when my son was nine months old.  He did not need any of the inserts, and fit fully inside the carrier at that time, so I never tried the insert out.  The insert is adjustable, but not removeable.  I found that if I didn’t need it, it kind of got in the way, because the little buckles that hold the top part of it in place, had a tendency to come undone, making the insert get squished funny inside the body of the carrier. The fact that they came undone by themselves so easily, would also make me question the safety of using them for a tiny baby.  However, I used this when my son was older, and it is a fantastic carrier for his age/size and up to toddler.

To me, the number one selling feature of the Olives and Applesauce baby and toddler carrier, is the ability to cross the straps behind your back when worn with the baby on your chest. This is easier for most people than the strap and clip that goes between your shoulder blades – an awkward spot to reach. It can also be more comfortable because it distributes the weight across your back differently.

I have also worn it with the straps crossed over my chest with the baby on my back. This wouldn’t work for a large-chested mama, but for daddies or small-busted mamas like myself, it was comfortable, and a nice variation when my shoulders got achy from wearing the straps the traditional way (“ruck straps” over and under the shoulders).
The waistband on the O&A is wide, thickly padded, and contoured like a small moon shape. The shoulder straps are straight (not contoured), lightly padded, and wider than most other SSCs I’ve tried. When it goes under your arm, it is soft and folds so it doesn’t chafe.
The fabric O&As are made from soft cotton that isn’t too thick or thin. They come in solid colors and the Ava style shown here that has the coordinating print fabric center panel. My only gripe with this design is the inside of the body and hood is the solid fabric, so if the hood hangs down on the outside of the carrier, you would see the solid color and cove up almost all of the print fabric. In my photos, I have folded and tucked the hood inside the body so as not to cover the print.
The wrap conversion O&A is the same fabric for everything, so you don’t have the problem.
Overall, this is one of my three favorite SSC styles I have tried!
| Filed under baby wearing

Babyhawk Baby Hawk Oh Snap Soft Structured Carrier SSC Review

PSA: photos above and below do NOT show safe carries, in fact, I panicked when I looked at my camera screen after taking these images with my remote, and realized how unsafe my son was. He could have fallen out any second.

The following is slightly improved in the height of the carrier on his back, but I still wouldn’t consider this entirely safe. It should come up completely under baby’s armpits to hold them securely.

Above: dual waist buckles make a very comfy fit of the comfy waistband. Below, wide shoulder buckles.

This is a Baby Hawk Oh Snap, an entry-level carrier that is readily available to the general public.
Baby hawk is primarily known for their entry-level and affordably-priced Mei Tais. This is their SSC (soft structured carrier), also called sometimes called a buckle carrier. It is supposedly toddler-size.
I bought it to give as a gift to a retired military single dad friend of ours who had a run-away inclined foster kid. After testing it out, I decided to resell it and get him a camo Kinderpack toddler instead.
The small double buckles on the waistband made this the most comfortable waist of any SSC I have tried. Other than that winning feature, I didn’t like this carrier at all.
The camoflage fabric was sooo stiff and uncomfortable. I imagine their non-camo fabrics are softer, but this was awful.
The structure of the body of the carrier that holds the baby, is awkward to say the least. It is more narrow horizontally, the head rest is funky, and there are no seat darts.  Seat darts and a wider width help the baby sit deep and comfortable in the body of the carrier. They also help prevent what is shown in my first few photos. I pulled it up over him, thinking it was supporting him, but the body for bunched under his bum and only came up to his lower back. I want to stress this is extremely unsafe and I when I figured out what had happened, I was so relieved he was hanging onto my shoulders instead of arching backward.
At a bare minimum, the top back of a carrier should come up to baby’s armpits. If it is getting lower than that, it is time for a bigger carrier, since baby could arch backward out of it. This is scary enough when the baby is worn on your chest where you could grab them, but really scary if they are worn on your back.
I tried this on several times, and could not get it on high enough by myself adequately pulling it up behind my son’s shoulders. If my husband came along and pulled it up for me after I had it on, he could get it placed properly, but I was unable to do it myself. I felt this resulted from both the stiff thickness of the camo fabric, and the construction and shape of the carrier.
I have never had this problem with over fifteen SSC brands I have tried, so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m doing. I do sometimes have trouble getting the back of it high enough, but if I work on it or adjust my technique of getting baby in it, I have been able to get it on properly. Not so with this carrier.
While it is on the cheaper side for an SSC, there are plenty of other brands within the same price range that are much better choices in my opinion. Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend this one.
| Filed under baby wearing

Didymos Cotton Indio – Blue + White and Dark Blue + White wrap and ringsling Review

 

Pictured above is a Didymos Cotton Indio wrap – DARK blue and white, size 7.  I purchased it to have it made into a mei tai (or WCMT wrap conversion mei tai).  However, the person who was going to sew the conversion for me said that she prefers not to use indios for conversions. Their weave is very loose – if you hold it up to the light, you can easily see light spilling through the threads. She recommended a thicker/heavier weave wrap fabric, so I had it made from something different.

I really loved the fabric and colors though. It is a deep navy blue that borders on a charcoal hue, woven with a creamy white.  The pattern is classy and versatile – seeming to go with everything I might want to wear it with.  Due to the loose-ness of the weave, it is airy and breathable, while remaining supportive (sturdy and comfortable for a heavier child).  These two characteristics rarely go hand-in-hand with woven wraps (airy plus supportive), making Indios special.

Didymos (the brand) makes the Indio weave out of pretty much every imaginable natural fiber – cotton, silk, hemp, and wool, and varying blends of those fibers.  They make “natty” (un-dyed natural-colored fiber) indios, and indios of various colors.  They also come in different thicknesses – some very light and thin like this one, and some heavier, squishier, and warmer.

After this one wasn’t going to work for the conversion, I couldn’t bring myself to sell it because I loved the color and look of it, as well as its characteristics.  However, a size 7 wrap is way too long for me – I am wearing a double hammock with a saltwater finish in the above photos, which uses up a lot of fabric in the passes around our bodies, but the tails of the wrap still hang down almost to my ankles.

While it sat in a drawer, I contemplated selling it or having it cut into something shorter.  I tried to sell it but it didnt’ sell. Then someone offered to trade a blue and white ring sling for a different wrap I was selling.  Yes, that was what I really wanted.

Then it arrived.

And I discovered that there is such a thing as a DARK blue and white indio, and a Blue and White Indio.  Didymos apparently wasn’t super creative about what they decided to name those two wraps.  I had one of each, and didn’t even realize they both existed.

The Blue + White Indio (pictured below) is almost royal blue threads mixed with pure white threads.  Side-by-side comparison is also below.

Color Comparison: Left Didymos Blue and White Indio, Right Didymos Dark Blue and White Indio

Didymos Blue and White Cotton Indio ring sling with blue sling rings

The blue and white Indio ring sling was a size large, with fringe, and with blue sling rings.  The rings are also a royal blue color.  As pretty as the ring sling was, it was way too long for me (size Large, again, coming almost to my ankles), so I had to wrap it several times around the rings just to make the length manageable.  And of course the color wasn’t what I wanted either.  Then it had a gathered shoulder (how the fabric is sewn when attached to the rings), which isn’t my favorite shoulder style. So I sold it.

It was time to just have the wrap I liked cut into what I wanted it to be.

Since a size 7 wrap is so long, I was able to have it cut into a size 3 shorty wrap, which I sold, and a size extra small ring sling.  I mailed the wrap to Sleeping Baby Productions, a conversion artist who exclusively makes ring slings out of fabric or woven wraps.  She cut the wrap into the two pieces, (the size three shorty and the ring sling), and sewed my ring sling to my specifications.  I requested slate colored sling rings, which I think turned out to be a nice match with the fabric colors.

My current favorite shoulder style for a ring sling is called an Eesti shoulder.  It’s a hybrid of a semi-pleated, semi-gathered stitch.  I’ve tried a bunch of different ring slings, and to date, this is the most comfortable one for me to wear.  It’s usually recommended for women with broad shoulders, but I find it very comfortable on my narrow shoulders.

This is the perfect summer baby carrier, since a ring sling only puts one layer of fabric around you and around baby, and the cotton Indio is so thin and airy and breathable, that it doesn’t add extra warmth or bulk.  I’m super happy with this ring sling and hope it gets a lot of use around here.  The ring sling I’m wearing the most at the moment is also an Indio, but one made from hemp, since it’s warmer for winter.  This one will be my go-to once summer arrives.

The only downside to Indios is since the weave is so loose, it’s extremely easy for a thread to get caught on something – jewelry, or anything remotely “poky” that might be near it.  If a thread gets caught, it will “pull” its way out of the fabric slightly, leaving a dangling thread that isn’t too attractive.  They can be worked back into the fabric, but it takes a steady hand and great patience.  This wrap came to me with one large pull (over an inch long) that I’ve worked on some, but haven’t had the patience to finish working it back into the fabric completely.  It’s not noticeable when the sling is in-use, and doesn’t affect the safety or usability of the sling, so it’s just cosmetic.

Other than being pull-prone, there isn’t anything not to love about Didymos Indios.  They are one of my favorite carriers right now.

Just make sure if you like it, you know if you are getting DARK blue and white or the regular blue and white. Hehee. Lesson learned.

A friend recently told me that she had owned a Dark blue and white cotton Indio that was much thicker than mine.  Mine is extremely thin – the thinnest Indio I’ve touched (although I have not yet touched a silk Indio which I’ve heard are the thinnest of them all).

Also, random fashion tip: I am wearing a maxi dress, not a maxi skirt, with a sweater over the top.  I love maximizing my wardrobe by using dresses as skirts (or sometimes blouses if they are a short dress).

Didymos Dark Blue and White cotton Indio ring sling with Slate sling rings

Last but not least, some ring sling basic wearing and safety tips.

Here are the two videos that helped me learn how to comfortably wear a ring sling.

Threading the Ring Sling
Using the Ring Sling

A few little safety tips for ring slings:

1. High enough to kiss. Baby should be high up enough on your body that you can easily kiss their head without straining. If they are too low on your body, that you cannot kiss at least the top of their head, it is probably not the most comfortable carry for either of you, and for a newborn, it could be unsafe.  If you lower the baby to allow them to nurse inside the ring sling, when they are done nursing, they should be raised back up to the “high-enough-to-kiss” position.

2. Knees higher than bum. You want the baby to be seated deeply in the fabric, so their knees are slightly higher up than their bum.

3. Two fingers between chin and chest. With a toddler, this is obviously not an issue.  But with a newborn or little baby who is still gaining head control, you want to be sure their head is resting in a way that you can easily fit two of your fingers between their chin and chest.  If their chin is down on their chest without any space, this can constrict their airway – which would obviously be unsafe.

4. For a toddler like Jax, the back of the sling should come up to his armpits at a minimum if he is “arms out” like in these photos.  If it were lower than his armpits, he could arch backward out of it.  I like to get it just above his shoulders when He isn’t arms-out. For a newborn, the back of the fabric can come up to beneath their ears, so that it gives them some head support for their wobbly head.

5. Ring slings are not recommended for back carries. Although some very experienced wearers have done so, it is not advisable.  Back carries need to be very secure, since you can’t see what is going on with the baby, and a ring sling does not adequately meet that need.  It is best to use a carrier that is suitable for back carries, rather than attempting one with a ring sling that might put the baby in an unsafe position.

| Filed under baby wearing

Storchenweige Storch Leo Marine Review

 

Last photo for color comparison. Left to right: Didymos Indio Dark Blue and White cotton, Easycare, Ellevill Organica Thei, Storch Leo Marine.
When I bought this wrap, I thought it was a solid navy blue. Turns out it is black and royal blue in a diamond weave pattern.
Storchenweige is a brand of baby wraps that has been around for a long time. They primarily make sturdy cotton wraps that are on the thicker side. They are strong and supportive workhorse wraps that should last from little ones through toddlerhood.
The Leo pattern is a jacquard weave that is in a diamond shape. I am pretty sure that it is always black diamonds with another color. The Leo Marine is a royal blue with black. Apparently there have been several variations of this same wrap over the years. The oldest versions, like mine, are the same color throughout. A few years later, Storch started finishing the hem on one edge, also called a rail, with a bright reddish thread. This helps you tell the sides apart when you are wrapping and tightening the fabric, which makes it a bit easier. The newest ones have contrasting thread sewn along both edges/rails.
I found this wrap very supportive, but a both thick and heavy and hot for this weather. Mine was relatively soft, but I’ve felt much softer wraps. Considering how old and broken in mine was, I’m curious if they are quite the beast when new.
The diamond weave pattern of Leo is very classy and easily dresses up or down. The black and white Leo is especially pretty in my opinion!
The carry I am using here started as a Robins hip carry, but I laid Jax down sideways so I could nurse him in the carry. This particular day, offering to nurse him in the carrier was the only way I got him to cooperate with being wrapped!
| Filed under baby wearing

Bara Barn Mint Ring Sling Review

This post has moved to my new babywearing website, Carefree Cocoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first ring sling I owned. ¬†It was my least favorite that I’ve owned, so it has been sold. In fact, these photos are so old that Jax hasn’t fit in those aqua crocs for months. ¬†I have a few ring slings now that I love, and learning how to use them properly was a major factor in being able to enjoy using them.

Here are the two videos that helped me learn how to comfortably wear a ring sling.

Threading the Ring Sling
Using the Ring Sling

A few little safety tips for ring slings:

1. High enough to kiss. Baby should be high up enough on your body that you can easily kiss their head without straining. If they are too low on your body, that you cannot kiss at least the top of their head, it is probably not the most comfortable carry for either of you, and for a newborn, it could be unsafe. ¬†If you lower the baby to allow them to nurse inside the ring sling, when they are done nursing, they should be raised back up to the “high-enough-to-kiss” position.

2. Knees higher than bum. You want the baby to be seated deeply in the fabric, so their knees are slightly higher up than their bum. I actually don’t have Jax positioned quite right in these photos. He should have been seated a bit deeper. Bara Barns are much wider than other wraps, so it actually makes it easy to get a nice deep seat. I just hadn’t done the greatest job in these pics.

3. Two fingers between chin and chest. With a toddler, this is obviously not an issue.  But with a newborn or little baby who is still gaining head control, you want to be sure their head is resting in a way that you can easily fit two of your fingers between their chin and chest.  If their chin is down on their chest without any space, this can constrict their airway Рwhich would obviously be unsafe.

4. For a toddler like Jax, the back of the sling should come up to his armpits at a minimum if he is “arms out” like in these photos. ¬†If it were lower than his armpits, he could arm backward out of it. ¬†For a newborn, the back of the fabric can come up to beneath their ears, so that it gives them some head support for their wobbly head.

5. Ring slings are not recommended for back carries. Although some very experienced wearers have done so, it is not advisable really for anyone. ¬†Back carries need to be very secure, since you can’t see what is going on with the baby, and a ring sling does not adequately meet that need. ¬†It is best to use a carrier that is suitable for back carries, rather than attempting one with a ring sling that might put the baby in an unsafe position.

A ring sling is usually made from woven fabric, although I have seen some made by BabyEtte that are a soft stretchy knit only suitable for newborns.  Stretchy fabric is lovely and soft for newborns, but once children get a bit heavier, stretchy fabric will sag and not be as supportive (or safe).

Ring slings vary in length, and are usually called “small”, “medium”, “large”, etc. ¬†It is generally recommended that you purchase a ring sling that is the same size as your fitted tee-shirt size. ¬†However, different sizes can fit different wearers with a lot of ease. ¬†The size is measured from where the fabric begins at the rings, to the center of the “tail.” ¬†If the fabric is tapered at the end, it is measured to the center of the taper (rather than the short side or long side). ¬†Bara Barns are considered medium length. ¬†I have worn ring slings from extra small to large, and the large was really the only size that was a bit difficult for me, just because the length of it hung down to mid-calf. ¬†Since that was way too to long to be walking around with, I wrapped the tail several times around the rings (as shown in the above photos), and that made the length manageable. ¬†My favorite size just for wearing is an extra small, because the fabric hanging down past the rings is very minimal and doesn’t get in my way. But if I’m going to be nursing while wearing the ring sling, I like a size medium, so I have enough tail to bring it up over myself and the baby for use as a nursing cover.

Bara Barn ring slings, just like Bara Barn wraps (they call them “shawls”), have blunt ends instead of tapered ends. ¬†They come with a gathered shoulder (how the fabric is attached to the rings). ¬†Other ring slings might be made with several different types of pleats. ¬†Different brands sell pre-made ring slings, or you can send wrap fabric to a “conversion artist” who would sew the fabric into a custom ring sling with your choice of shoulder style and length.

The color of this one is “mint.” ¬†In the second-to-last photo, there is a darker denim blue fabric hanging next to the ring sling fabric. That denim blue fabric used to be the same color as this ring sling, and was a Bara Barn wrap / shawl (size 2, the only size they come in). ¬†It is my sad wrap story. ¬†I bought the Bara Barn mint shawl (used) shawl the same day as another wrap, a Didymos natural cotton indio dyed a pinkish hue by the previous owner. ¬†(Natural cotton means the wrap was originally un-dyed, un-bleached cotton, so it had an ivory beige type color. This is also called “natty” in the babywearing world). ¬†I didn’t know much about dyed wraps, and didn’t ask a lot of questions about how it had been dyed. ¬†Since the Bara Barn was a light blue, and the Indio was a light pink, I washed them together in the washing machine, on delicate in cold water.

Unfortunately, the dye job must not have been done very well by the prior owner, and the pink wrap bled dye all over the Bara Barn, turning it into this denim color with some deep red streaks all over it. ¬†I panicked and called a babywearing friend. ¬†She recommended washing the Bara Barn alone in hot water with blue Dawn soap. I did this several times, and it lightened it up slightly, and lightened the red streaks almost completely, but did not remove the overall change in hue. ¬†I was pretty devastated, as the Bara Barn Mint is discontinued, and was my favorite color to wear. ¬†It was a lesson learned, and now I don’t ever wash wraps together, dyed or not.

I purchased the Bara Barn ring sling to console myself, since the shawl was discontinued and not available anywhere except in Australia (and they wouldn’t ship to the U.S.). ¬†The ring sling was available in the U.S., so I purchased it hoping that I would get use out of it. ¬†I wore it a handful of times before selling it.

The Bara Barn fabric is extremely thin, thinner than any wrap I’ve tried except what’s called “cotton gauze” (not the gauze you would use as a bandage, but a lightweight fabric). ¬†Also, I’ve since tried several other shoulder styles, and found that a gathered shoulder is not my preference. ¬†The gathered shoulder combined with the thinness of the fabric, combined with the fact at the time I didn’t know how to use ring slings very well, made this experience not the greatest.

I was able to sell it to a local mama who has gotten a lot of use out of it, so that is always a good thing!

| Filed under baby wearing

Sweet Words


As children are accumulating vocabulary, they say all sorts of interesting, hysterical, embarrassing, and lovely things.

I was afraid to teach Jax words like “shirt” or “truck”, just in case they came out sounding wrong.  (“Shirt” mispronunciation has turned out to be inevitable. I just ignore it. He will learn the correct way to pronounce long before he learns the incorrect way has an alternate meaning. “Truck” has been okay. It is “twuck.”).

I’ve been thoughtful that he will translate words from one scenario to another. Unfortunately, others in my life haven’t had the same forethought.

For example, when he was suddenly afraid of the sound of the airplanes flying over our home (which happens countless times a day in this military city), my Tita taught him to say, “Go away! Go away airplane!” as a defense mechanism.  It worked temporarily, and since he had something forceful to tell the airplane, he seemed slightly less intimidated by them. Sometimes. Other times he still cried for me.  The downside is he naturally started telling people like me and his Daddy to “go away” when we were doing something he didn’t like.  I finally convinced my Tita to stop saying those words around him, because it is so hurtful and ugly for me to be told “go away”, even when I know he is little and can’t comprehend the fullness of meaning.

For a little while, he had started yelling loudly, exciting words he learned from other children, like “NO!” and “MINE!”.  I would respond by yelling loudly, “JESUS!”  Now I periodically hear him across the house or in the car randomly shouting “JESUS!” for no particular reason.

A few things that happened recently that were too sweet to forget….

In the car. He asks for music. I turn on the radio to the Christian station. (Which is the only thing I will listen to now that he started repeating lyrics like “Carry me, carry me” (a current over-played Christian song) or “Speak life, speak life” (another over-played Christian song).)

On this particular day, the song that came on, I recognized, and started singing along.

“Mommy?”
“Yes, Jax, Mommy’s here.”

“Singing?”
“Yes, Mommy’s singing.”

“Mommy singing?”
“Mommy is singing.”

“Jesus.”
(me: teary eyes)
“Yes, Mommy is singing to Jesus.”

(He proceeds to sweetly sing the name of Jesus over and over).
(I melt).

We are in the grocery store. I am wearing him in a wrap on my back. He wraps his arms around my shoulders and says, “Hug.”
“Aww, hug, thank you Jax, I love hugs!”

“I wuv ooh”, clear as a bell, the first time he has ever said it.
(Of all the many, many, many words and phrases he knows, I’ve been wondering why this one has not yet entered his vocabulary, when we say it to him so many times a day.)
“I love you too, Jax!”

“I wuv ooh!” again…
(Then we repeat back and forth several times while I try not to start bawling in the grocery store).

When I put him to bed that night, it is one of the times I always say it to him several times before and after putting him down in his crib. He repeated it again that same day, copying my gentle, sweet tone of voice.

Ah, words a mama loves to hear.

He hasn’t said “I love you” since that day though.

Kind of like our chickens who laid four eggs in October then haven’t laid a single one since.  Dear chickens: by January, your lives will be in danger. Consider my encouragement to begin laying eggs.

Hat Pocket Sage Hug

 

 

 

 I love when he wraps his arms around my legs and squeezes tight, burying his face into my knees.

He likes to play with the remote to my camera.  I have two now. One for me, and one for him, for when we take photos together.

He insisted on wearing the hat as we walked outdoors.  Then he refused to wear it during our outfit/baby carrier photos.  Then he insisted on wearing it shortly after.  I like that I was already outside with my camera, so I captured him doing what he does all the time.  Explore.  Discover.

The luscious purple flowers is Sage, as in the herb.  It grows so well here, and makes a beautiful plant.  We don’t use it as an herb much.

I love that he can say, “Hug,” now.  He says it when I put him up in a carrier.  He says it when we are nursing laying down in bed.  He says it when he is sad and needs one.  He says it when I put him in his crib at night and he doesn’t want to be left alone.

It makes so much sense to me now, seeing him as an eighteen-month old, with words and attitudes and facial expressions…. why he hated swings and strollers and bouncers and cribs.  Why he wanted to be carried and cuddled all the time.

He’s just that kind of a person, and it was already shining through even when he was weeks old.  I’m so grateful that I followed my instincts and kept him close, refusing to “teach him independence” as a tiny baby.

I’m so grateful that the cuddles Benjamin and I have always shared together, spilled over into this cuddly little boy.

| Filed under baby wearing, jax reilly

Didymos Iris Review

This post has moved to my babywearing website Carefree Cocoon.
Please click here to be redirected to this post at the new site.

These colors are my very favorite colors to wear. ¬†Turquoise blue, teal green, mint…. I have so much of this in my wardrobe, and Jax’s wardrobe too. ¬†I wanted this wrap from the moment I first saw it online, and I eventually found it for a great price. ¬†By that time, Jax doesn’t want to be carried as much, and when he does, he doesn’t want to wait around for me to wrap. ¬†Such is life with an eighteen-month old. ¬†I’m still finding my “place” in baby wearing, so this lovely went back up for sale. ¬†Didymos makes this wrap in a mei tai, which might tempt me one day when we have another baby…..

The brand is Didymos, one of the brands that has been around the longest, and stood the test of time and quality.

Iris is the name of this wrap – or the “colorway” as they say.

This is the only size 4 I’ve owned, and it was actually kind of a fun length for me. I wasn’t expecting to like it, since it’s too long to be a shorty, and too short to do a double hammock (which requires a size 5 for me).

This particular wrap was not an original size 4, but was a piece cut or “chopped” from a longer wrap. ¬†I think the original owner kept the other piece for a shorty or a ring sling, and sold this piece back out as a size 4 wrap.

It medium thickness, almost exactly the same thickness as the Didymos Anthracite I posted a while back. ¬†It was pretty new, so it was soft-ish, but not squishy soft like many other things I’ve touched.

It’s a pretty popular color, and I’ve seen a lot of it online or even locally with baby wearing mamas. ¬†People love these colors!

This is a very simple carry I’m doing here. ¬†It starts as just a “ruck” which means he is on my back and the straps come over the front of my shoulders. ¬†Then it goes back around behind his bum, over and under his legs. ¬†If the wrap was shorter, I could tie it under his bum at that point, or tie it in front of my waist. ¬†But I had more fabric than that, so I wrapped it around my waist then back behind me again.

I like how sometimes a wrap carry can almost become like part of the clothing you’re wearing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy | Filed under baby wearing