1 Year of Babywearing: The Things I’ve Learnt and Experienced

Finn had his 1st birthday recently and around that time I got what I believe will be probably the last new carrier we are likely to get while carrying him. At least I feel very content with our current ‘stash’ and feel like we have something for every circumstance we are likely to have with our now toddler. So I thought this was a good time to look back on Finn’s different babywearing ‘stages’ we went though, the carriers we have often only temporarily owned (i’ve been a churner at times) and what worked best for us at these different stages. Also what it has been like as a babywearing mum navigating what is really a mummy subculture with it’˚s own language, economics and trends.

Note: I have always been very open that babywearing is one area of my life I am by no means minimalist. That being said i’m a churner so was always swapping carriers so only had at most 5 carriers at any one time. This may seem like a lot to some, and to others is hardly any especially in the world of woven wraps which almost function like clothing.  I like to have a variety of different types as different things work best in different circumstances. The babywearing market at least historically also is one where you can get your money back (usually) and I never lost money overall as i swapped things around. It is definitely possible to have only 1 carrier.

Pregnancy
2014-09-28 09.59.24Our babywearing journey actually started when I was about 3 months pregnant with Finn. I had had a friend who was very involved with the babywearing community and i’d seen her photos on facebook over the years, and this is what introduced me to the idea. Wearing Finn was actually one of the things that I was most looking forward to! So a 2nd hand sleeping baby productions linen ringsling and then a Ellevil Paisley wrap was the first baby things thing I bought in preparation for his arrival before anything else. By the time he was born my newborn stash consisted of:
– the very broken in linen ringsling
– An Ellevill Paisley Quatro Blue 100% Cotton Size 6 Wrap
– A Wrapsody Hybrid Wrap
– A Hana Baby Bamboo Stretchy Wrap

I even got to try out one of my wraps with a friend’s baby with the help of another friend who had worn previously. It was love at first try. I was so excited to be able to wear my own baby and practiced with my wraps quite a lot with what few soft toys we had, which was mainly a small stuffed seal so I had to put the fins though like legs!

The Newborn Phase

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The Hana Baby Stretchy.

I first wore Finn as soon as we got out of the hospital, I think he was 3 days old. It was instant love! I started with my Hana Baby stretchy wrap as I knew it would be the easiest at first, which it definitely was. After all the practice and watching youtube videos I got it right away. The Wrapsody Hybrid I was not a fan of. I always found it too difficult to get the top rail tight enough (I always tied it like a woven rather than a stretchy, maybe that was my problem) so churned it pretty quickly.  He was mostly in the stretchy in the beginning though which really would have been fine for all my needs for at least the first 6 weeks. Finn was born in an Australian summer and it was definitely cool enough. So glad i went for a bamboo one as I hear cotton stretchy wraps can be quite hot.

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My Wrapsody Hybrid.

The ringsling I initially really struggled with, especially once he started wriggling a bit. Eventually I got the hang of it though,  but it found it more difficult than a wrap, even a woven wrap. I shouldn’t have used 100% linen though, and while it didn’t cause me any issues but i have since learnt that it isn’t really suitable for a newborn even when it is as broken in as mine was as it doesn’t give enough give for their developing spines like cotton does.

Daddy babywearing was the best thing ever.

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My Sleeping Baby Productions 100% linen ringsling.

My husband wanted to be able help out when Finn was unsettled and without boobs for comfort babywearing was the perfect thing for him and really empowering. He wasn’t patient enough to learn to wrap or wear a ringsling (well I didn’t trust that he would be to do it safely) and they were probably a bit too feminine for his style anyway so an Ergo Extra was perfect for him. We started with the infant insert (which we called the Doona) by but 6 week Finn was actually tall enough to not need it. That is very early compared to other babies but Finn is extremely tall.

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Daddy with his Ergo Extra

I personally never like the Ergo, i could never adjust it well to fit me and my husband like to always have it set for his size so he could put Finn on quickly so it was just his personal carrier. I had a huge stash of my own anyway.

If I could have only had 2 carriers at this stage: Hana Baby Stretchy Wrap & a Ringsling (DIY from cotton would do)

6 weeks to 4 months

I’ve grouped this period together as it was from around about Finn started getting decent head control and it was a lovely time when he was also happy to be worn for quite a number of hours of the day and was easy to do so. I also tried a few different woven wraps during this time.

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Ellevill Paisley Quatro Blue Cotton

The Ellevill Paisley really came into it’s own at this time. I loved the extra long tapers and that i could tie it in front. It was a beautiful, airy cool wrap too which was perfect as I was living in the Australian desert. I wanted to keep this one forever as a loved the look. Alas once my baby got to around 10kg it is was no longer supportive enough and just felt way too thin so it was sold on. Around this time I also churned a few in my newborn stash. I tried:

Keppeke Cubes size 6 100% cotton.

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Keppeke Cubes

An awesome wrap. Probably would have been more awesome as Finn got bigger though as in many ways it now reminds me of a Pavo which are generally renoouned as toddler wraps as it was densely woven and had that characteristicly awesome stretch. I wasn’t used to having to tie a FWCC in the back though after my Ellevil and a thick knot at that. Not really the best summer wrap for the desert so i churned it. I would have regretted that later except i feel like my current stash is even better for my needs, but this was a pretty damn good wrap.

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Bykay mei tai hiking in Uluru

I thought i’d give mei tas a go for something quicker so i swapped something for a Bykay Denim Deluxe Mei Tai. This definitely earned its place in my stash at this time as a fantastic beater I didn’t mind getting dirty and on days where i just couldn’t manage to get a wrap job right for one reason or another. They are far more wriggle proof.

Around 5 months or so when Finn could sit independently I started back carrying in wraps and the mei tai. I probably only was doing a ruck at this stage.

I also started getting into diy options at this stage and made some ringslings, tried a diy wrap too. Ive done a post on this previously. Ringslings from this age onwards i’ve found useful but only for short trips out with a car as my son has always been a bit of a seat popper so they have been great to diy so i don’t have much money in them. I only ever have 1 at a time and have settled on my diy pavo zebra ringsling.

If I could only have 2 carriers at this stage: Bykay Mei Tai and Base Size Woven Wrap (size 6 for me) preferably my Ellevill Paisley

6 months to 1 year

Finn has always been extremely large and tall for his age around the 100th percentile so i felt from as early as 6 months that i wanted to ‘toddlerfy’ my stash swapping out less ideal carriers to make everything a bit more supportive and hopeful suitable for the rest of our babywearing days.

Oscha Starry Night Romeo Hemp/Cotton Size 4 After experiencing how

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Oscha Starry Night Romeo size 4 wrap

convenient a shorter wrap was for back carries from a not so good DIY I wanted one that would be more supportive. To get that support I chose a hemp blend. At first it felt like cardboard and actually hurt to wear. Now it is like a cloud and so beautiful and comfortable. This was the closest thing i’ve had to a ‘legacy wrap’ as i associate the starry night design with doing Astronomy with my father when he was still alive. And it is awesome for a quick ruck or many other carries. Size 4 is a lovely size if your base is a 6 like it is for me. It is particularly great for back carries but I can also use it for several front carries such as FWCCTAS or Kangaroo Carry. However I still definitely prefer a full length wrap for front carries as it has more support (and heavy babies feel heavier when you’re carrying them on your front!).

Yaro Slings Berry Violet size 4 100% cotton violet

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Yaro Slings Berry Violet size 4

I convinced myself I needed something purple and this wrap came up on sale for $60 so gave it a go. It was very very decent for the price but traded it on when I saw something which I thought would be more toddler worthy (not that this wasn’t really, it was a good all rounder). If you want a cheap wrap and don’t like the stripy look of most little frogs then this is a brand to look into.

Inda Jani Rayado 100% cotton 5m
This was an interesting one. It is a artisan handwoven from Mexico but priced like a cheap machine woven. It felt entirely different to everything else i’d tried. Pillowy, soft and like

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Inda Jani Rayado 5m

velcro when wrapping. And very very thick. It also looked very different in different light. In a FWCC it felt like I Finn was weightless even at 11kg. 5m is a heck of a lot of wrap to contend with though especially when it was as thick as it was (300gms). I found it too difficult to double hammock with tightly enough due to the thickness but the wrap was too long really to just ruck with. Overall i’d say though this would make an awesome shorter wrap or ringsling but I didn’t want to chop it and needed at least 1 base size wrap in my stash so I traded it on.

Pavo Spice 100% cotton Size 5
This was the wrap that I traded the Yaro Berry for and it was most definitely extremely

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Pavo Spice Size 5

toddler worthy. It is very highly textured so everything stays put forever. Perfect for knotless carries. It is also an amazing beater wrap – in the time i had it it never ever got any pulls. It also has the most amazing stretchiness to it that makes wrapping a dream and so supportive. Something about the wrapping qualities though made doing a double hammock very difficult for me though and when I did the texture would leave imprints on my chest. So definitely better for carries like a ruck and I could just manage to do a FWCC tied at the tippy tails which meant it was super useful to take travelling if i could only fit on carrier in. The only thing I didn’t really love was the colour which wasn’t really purple enough for my liking and the pattern. However as ‘vintage’ Pavo that is far less sought after than their other wraps it was an affordable way to try out the amazing wrapping of this higher end brand.

Oscha Saltbush Linen/Cotton Blend, Size 6

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Oscha Saltbush Size 6

This wrap was a limited edition special woven for the 2015 Australian Babywearing Conference and while I didn’t attend, there were some left over available for sale. Since the design of this wrap was first proposed I fell in love with it. It is designed by Aboriginal artist Elizabeth Close who lives in the APY lands in the NT in a desert environment. Finn spent most of his first year living in the Desert surrounded by saltbush and part of my work involved working with the local Aboriginal people where I lived in South Australia. So the meaning and story behind the wrap really resonated with me and thus joined my Oscha Romeo as a legacy wrap. I chose a size 6 as I worked out for my needs 1 size 4 and 1 size 6 is the perfect combination and everything that i need wraps wise. What I love about size 6s at this stage and well every stage in the last year is front carries. I will occasionally do double hammocks as well if i’m wearing Finn for a really long time but generally will do quick rucks. But if he is fussing or having difficult going to sleep using other methods what always works is wrapping him in a FWCC and pacing the darkened hallways patting his bottom. Nothing else except a size 6 wrap is comfortable enough for me to do that (not even a buckle carrier) for the length of time that might be involved. It is a very supportive wrap and very soft, not hard on the shoulders at all which i’d kind of been worried about due to the linen content. But that was an unnecessary worry and it is also a fantastic wrap in summer as it is quite cool although densely woven.

Toddler Tula- Sea Glass

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Tula Seaglass Toddler Size

This is the last carrier I purchased after selling a wrap. I realised that I only needed 2 wraps (a 4 and a 6) and thus the size 5 with a bit redundant. Also I moved to a wetter climate and I was finding I didn’t have anything ideal for rainy days as my wraps drag on the ground when i’m putting them on and they ended up soaked. Finn had outgrown my husband’s Ergo at around 9 months old as he was no longer getting knee to knee support yet could still not walk (which is when this support isn’t really necessary) so overall getting a toddler sized buckle carrier that my husband could also use was the right decision for us. Overall I have been extremely happy with this carrier and now use it quite a lot even when it isn’t wet. As a wriggly seat popper and leaner there are times that Finn is difficult to wear in a wrap unless I use some very elaborate wrapping methods that combine back and leg passes. If i’m going out for an entire day to the city for example without a pram i’d be much more comfortable taking the Tula as I know it will definitely contain him with very little effort. It is also great that my husband can also wear him in it as it is very adjustable and i find it more comfortable by far than his ergo which we were never able to share for that reason. We used to have to take 2 carriers with us if we were going out for the day together and sharing the wearing. Now we only need this one.

I find it just as comfortable as a wrap on my back which is how I usually wear it. On my front though after a fairly short time it does hurt my back a little where as woven wraps do not. And that is why I like to have both for different circumstances. My husband can wear him comfortably on his front though in this so it is obviously an individual thing.

So My Current and Final Toddler Stash:

1 Buckle toddler carrier (Toddler Tula)
1 Woven Wrap Size 6 Linen/Cotton Blend (Oscha Saltbush)
1 Woven Wrap Size 4 Hemp/Cotton Blend (Oscha Romeo)
1 Ring Sling (I very very rarely wear this as it is no longer comfortable with Finn’s weight, but as it is a DIY i’m keeping it mainly for any future babies. It lives in the car for extremely quick trips).
1 Mei Tai (Again a DIY made of Ikea fabric. It is extremely comfortable. If it weren’t for the fact that mei tais have long straps that also get wet on rainy days like wraps i would have never needed my Tula. Now I have the tula though it is a bit redundant but as a DIY doesn’t have any resale value. Thus it also lives in my car as an emergency carrier.

If i could only have 2 carriers at this babywearing stage it would be: 1 Size 6 woven wrap for front carries and my Toddler Tula buckle carrier.

Things I’ve Learnt Over the Year

1. Woven wraps are definitely the most comfortable option and I believe would be so for everyone. They do take time to learn though but it is actually kind of fun to learn too. If you don’t find that kind of learning interesting however they probably aren’t for you as it will end up too frustrating.

2. Babywearing means you do not have to hide at home with a baby. You can go everywhere and anywhere at all ages this is by far the biggest benefit. Carriers function both as a means of transport as well as a portable bed.  I have been able to go to many social events when others might have otherwise had to forgo due to clashes with their child’s bedtimes and it works because I can feed my child to sleep in the carrier (or even just wear him to sleep, my husband can do this too), wear him during the event while he sleep, transfer him to the car still sleeping then transfer him to his bed, still sleeping. When that works I feel so bad-ass!

3. There is no such thing as the perfect carrier, especially when it comes to woven wraps. This is far more a compelling reason to have multiple carriers in a stash than simply because they look different and come in different colours. Personally I wouldn’t bother having multiple tulas unless they came in different sizes as they do the same thing, but each to their own i guess. Woven wraps are different as they are hugely variable due to their different lengths, thread types and weaves. 

4. And on Babywearing Economics. I did get involved in the world of facebook babywearing Buy Swap Sell. About half of my carriers came from there 2nd hand and all the ones i sold were on there. It is very interesting world economically. There are constantly new trends that can send certain wraps sky high in value to be much much more than people would have paid for retail. Likewise the vast majority of wraps hold their value very very well as on average I’ve been able to get all my money back from what I paid selling on wraps.  However Babywearing is becoming more mainstream and there are more and more carrier makers and weavers out there now than ever before. This has made many carriers plumet in value, particularly those that are high-end, and in particular the handwoven wrap market. Handwoven wraps are magical things in terms of wrapping qualities. I’ve been lucky enough to try a few at babywearing meet, but with the exception of Inda Jani which is only artisan quality and cheaper than many machine wovens I have never bought one. The main reason is they are far far too expensive for what i’m prepared to pay. Looking at the current market conditions for carriers if it is important to you that you can get the majority of your money back when you sell on your stash then there are a few types of carriers that are more likely to guarantee this:

  • Cheap woven wraps are always sort after. If you can get a wrap for around $100 or less 2nd hand then chances are you’ll be able to on sell for this too.
  • Tulas hold their value much much better than Ergos or other buckle carriers. Non-ergonomic carriers are by far the worst deal – people won’t touch them with a barge pole. If you are stuck with one of these for some reason sell on ebay where people are less decerning. Buyers are now also concerned though that there are many unsafe fakes of the big name buckle carriers in the market so you will only get a good price selling on if you can prove you got it from an official seller, so keep your receipt. If you are buying 2nd hand only buy one from a seller who also has a receipt for the same reasons.
  • If you get an awesome deal of something where someone has priced it way below it’s value again you should be able to sell it on for at least this price in the future. It is considered bad form to ‘flip’ it though marking up the price.
  • Many people are currently loosing hundreds of dollars on handwovens. If you care about your money stay out of this market, although that being said there are lots of bargans right now as people just can’t sell them for anywhere near what they paid retail. Once they start getting down a similar price to machine wovens then that would then be a good deal and you should be able to onsell as that same price later.

All that being said if you don’t care about losing some money and just view it like many other baby purchases then go ahead and buy what you like regardless of resale value. However just bare these suggestions in mind if you are justifying to yourself spending more than you would otherwise on carriers thinking you’ll get all our money back when you resell.

 

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Mummy-economics and Why Facebook Buy Swap Sell Groups can be a Bad Thing

Since becoming a mum and getting into the world of babywearing using predominantly woven wraps I have discovered there is a big wide world out there of mum’s buying swapping and selling a variety of baby related products in facebook groups.

These facebook groups are very specific about what they cover. There are babywearing ones, cloth nappies/diaper ones and clothing ones. And some are even micro-cosms of these categories such as only for woven wraps of a specific brand or for necklaces to wear while babywearing etc.
Some of these groups are run by hard working mums who act as admins and moderators, and others are actually created by specific companies to encourage mum’s to share photos and talk as well as buy swap and sell and bid on actions of their specific products.

These groups can feel like a whole little world, like a community of people and the more and more specific it is the greater this feeling, especially if these groups involve more than just buying and selling but also discussion of the particular product.

There are definitely good and bad things about these groups though and it pays to be very conscious when using them particularly if you want to lead a more frugal or minimalist lifestyle and not get too caught up in subculture fads and spending too much money.

Firstly the good side of things. For some items such as woven wraps for babywearing these groups can be the cheapest place to buy a product and certainly a place with a widest selection to choose from. This is particularly as woven wraps aren’t really available in standard bricks and mortar baby stores. Mostly it all has to come from online anyway, so the facebook groups gives you a chance to buy things at least from your own country without international postage and with a small mark down for being 2nd hand (usually).

Secondly these groups are hands down the best place to sell baby items. You are always going to get a better price for something if you can sell it within a group of people specifically looking for that kind of product. Some of these items (such as woven wraps) are not really understood or sort after amongst the general mum population so you wouldn’t get all that great of a price say at a garage sale or even usually on ebay.
Also apart from usually paypal fees it is a cheaper place to sell items than ebay as facebook does not take a cut.

The other positive is that you can get some good advice from mums about specific types of baby items online. This is certainly the case for babywearing and short of going to a babywearing club meet (called a sling meet) facebook chatter on various groups is the next best thing to get advice and troublshoot.
It can also feel nice to be ‘part of something’ and part of a community.

Now the downside…
Probably until you become part of these groups you would never have felt you needed a huge stash of baby carriers or specific patterns of bonds onesies or cloth nappies. These groups can lead to consumption and collection on a mass scale and ever feeling a need to improve one’s ‘stash’ of whatever item it is. Many of these groups encourage ‘stash shots’ and large collections of these items are celebrated and admired. Negative comments from anyone pointing out how much money all that stuff would be worth or how unnecessary it is to own so many things are definitely unwelcome and can even get you banned from groups.
And particularly when it comes to brand created groups we are completely getting play by these companies. It doesn’t matter that many of them are stay at home mum entrepreneurs who are running these companies. They are still brands selling to us, and kudos for these brands for being so cleaver as to catch us in ever new forms of consumption and accumulation. But unnecessary consumption is still not a good thing.

The hard thing too is that you can be completely aware that this is all happening and still get caught up in the excitement of collecting new pretty baby things. I certainly feel it when it comes to woven wraps and what I try to do to contain it is the have the rule that if i ever get a new one it must be funded by the sale of an old one. I still think I have one wrap too more than i really need, but since i know i’ll be able to sell them all on when i’m done for virtually what i paid, i’m not planning on reducing my stash of 3 wraps any time soon. I can see how such logic is easily also applied to people who own stashes of 12 or 20 (not as uncommon as you think!).

So tread the word of facebook mummy groups with care. Unless you aren’t interested in being a minimalist, saving money or have a high paying job funding it all anyway. I know this isn’t the case though for plenty of people and the darkest side of things is that it can even lead to real conflict within relationships particularly if the mum spending all the money in these groups is stay at home while their husband is earning all the money. There are been far too many comments along these lines attesting to this for me to think this is not at all uncommon.

So enjoy pretty baby things, but not too much that it is an issue and if you find yourself too caught up in it all, unsubscribe from the group. At least until your baby is grown and you need to sell your items on to recoup some funds. Find facebook groups instead that don’t allow buy swap and selling for general mum chatter and advice.

How to get your own Pavo Woven Wrap at a Fraction of the Normal Price

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So if you’ve been in the babywearing world for a little while you may notice everyone is going nuts about Pavo. Pavo is an American made textile brand making high-end woven wraps for babywearing. their designs are georgous,  they have amazing wearing properties that have given them a reputation as ‘the toddler wrap’ brand including fantastic grip, cushiness and support for even the heaviest bubs. They also have extremely limited edition runs that sell out seconds after they are listed for sale. Parvotees (as fans are called) will literally sit at their computers counting down the seconds to a listing and even them will more often than not miss out.  So with the hype comes the price tag to match and due to their rarity they often gain in value when they are traded inthe 2nd markets!

However there is one way you can get your own little piece of Pavo at a fraction of the normal price. In most countries woven wraps and other babywearing paraphernalia is sold and traded in Facebook groups. Often owners may decide they would like a shorter length wrap and rather than purchase a wholenew wrap they ‘chop’ it smaller. The offcut is then often sold either as ‘wrap scrap’ for sewing projects or depending on the length as a ringsling piece. That is what to look for if you want to be able to actually wear your little piece of Pavo: a ringsling piece which should be around about 2m long.

While you could send it off to get commercial converted, if you have a sewing machine ringslings are very easy to make yourself. Jan from Sleeping Baby Productions is kind enough to share her sewing instructions here
Now it is important to use the real deal rings on your sling as only these are safe. Look for the brand ‘Sling Rings’. and it is also good to use high quality threas like Gutterman 100% polyester.
And then you have a beautiful, imsanely comfortable wrap converted ringsling!

The one I made above is from a piece of Pavo Zebra Spearmint. It is the loveliest ringsling I’ve ever owned and i picked the wrap piece to convert as it looks good with one of my dressy dresses I wear to weddings and special occasions. I’ll be wearing to a few events coming up but it is far too comfortable to save just for special events.

Minimalist Baby Bag – Cloth Nappies & Babywearing!

People often wonder how they can carry some essential baby stuff whilst babywearing. Here is the solution I have come up with using a very simple bag I got at an op shop/thrift store.

As someone who strives to become more minimalist I also take the challenge of having really only the essentials in my bag. I think far too many people, particularly first time mums drag around far too many unnecessary things in their baby bags. Personally I find riffling around an overstuffed bag quite stressful, and babywearing as I have to personally carry everything (as opposed to pushing along stuff in a pram) gives me a real incentive to pair things down.

So my tips are to minimise your baby bag are:

  • Repack your bag for each trip so that you can customise it to have just the essentials for where you are going and for the length of time you will be out.
  • Use wet bags to organise things into categories (ie changing stuff vs your personal belongings) if your bag doesn’t have separate compartments.
  • Take a single disposable nappy/diaper as a backup to your cloth ones. That way you wont be temped to pack more than you need just incase – a disposable one takes very little room.
  • Think about having 2 bags. A shoulder bag for smaller trips and a backpack for longer. That way you can take the smallest possible bag for any trip.  If you rarely babywear on your front though a backpack may not be suitable.
  • Have items with multiple functions where possible. A teething necklace may function both as a cute accessory for you and a toy for baby to play with. If you are wearing a wrap it may also work as a blanket or nursing cover etc.

Well I hope you take up the challenge to minimise your baby bag. Feel free to comment below what you think are the essentials!

I Made a Ring Sling!

Featured imageWell I take back a lot of what I previously said in my last blog post about DIY babywearing. At least the negative stuff, because I now have the most fantastic homemade ring sling!

Ring slings are simple carriers that allow you to carry your baby in a single layer of fabric and adjust it with some specially made metal rings.

After my less than positive experience with the Mexican Blanket fabric from Spotlight (a craft store in Australia), I though i’d try another fabric of their’s: Mexican Poncho. This fabric was a lot thicker and had a twill weave which gives it a lovely stretch, grip and cushiness that I expect from a commercially woven wrap. And it is fabulous! It got some sling rings in medium sized and whipped up this ring sling in probably only about an hour of work following the method outlined in Sleeping Baby Productions making a pleated shoulder and bam I had the most comfy ringsling i’d ever tried! In fact I like it better than the 100% linen commercial ringsling I own.

So there you go, comfy DIY babywearing is possible, it is just important to have decently fabric. Finding that fabric is probably the hardest thing especially at a price point that is worthwhile. When I made this I also made another with a different mexican poncho fabric from the same craft store. And while these were both from the same fabric collection they could not be more different in how they felt as a ring sling. The other was only a plain weave with some kind of embroidery on it and it felt quite stiff with less stretch. Not nearly as comfortable as the one in the picture although still wearable.

For reference purposes this ring sling cost me $20 in fabric and $8 for the rings. So that is probably at least a third of the price of the cheapest commercial woven ringsling and I have some offcuts I can latter use for some other kind of project as well.

I Made a Woven Wrap!

If you don’t already know this, woven wraps are a type to babycarrier. They are basically a long piece of sturdy woven fabric that you wrap around your body to tie your baby to you. Of all carrFeatured imageier types I find woven wraps the most comfortable, probably as the baby’s weight is distributed all around your torso. Babies usually love them too as they are a lot like being swaddled and they can probably hear your heartbeat.

Woven wraps are generally purpose made either handmade or on a machine loom and given particular physical characteristics of stretch and grippiness that make them ideal for babywearing. I had always heard that it was not recommended to make your own from fabric bought at a fabric store as there was very few fabrics that would be suitable and those that were would end up costing as much per meter as a purpose build babywearing wrap.

Anyway I recently discovered an Australian facebook group devoted to DIY babywearing. Turns out there is more fabric options that I realised that is suitable. In particular a fabric called Mexican Poncho and Mexican Blanket were experimented with alot by the group in making wraps, mei tais and ringslings. If you are in Australia these fabrics are from Spotlight fabric stores.

Anyway someone in the group was selling 5.5 meters of Mexican Blanket and passed it on to me at the sale price they had got it at ($20). From this I made both a ringsling which i’ll be giving away as a gift and a shortish wrap.

The process of doing this was very quick. I washed the fabric on a hot cycle in the washing machine to make sure it did all the shrinking it was ever going to do. Then I cut one side lengthways so that it was 75cm wide. Then I split it into 2 pieces, one a bit over 2m for the ringsling and whatever was left for the wrap. The ringsling I followed the instructions for a gathered shoulder ringsling from Sleepy Baby Productions here and hemmed up the edges with a simple rolled hem. I think both the wrap and the ringsling only took me about 1hr to make in total and most of that was spent ironing the fabric and the pleats of the ringsling.

So to review the wrap. I’d say Mexican Blanket is a lot thinner than im used to for a wrap. It is a lot more slippery and diggy on my shoulders than i’m used to. I have to be very careful unwrapping Finn when i’m wearing him as it doesn’t have the same grip of a commercial wrap that kind of holds him in even when it isn’t tied. That being said for such a cheap wrap (less than $20 as i also got a ringsling out of plus extra fabric from trimming the width) it is kind of great deal. Being so thin it very easily folds down tiny and fits even in my smallest baby bag as an emergency carrier. I probably wouldn’t choose to wear this for extended periods of time as it isn’t all that comfortable. So overall i’d say i’d much prefer a commercial wrap. However this has given me a chance to try out what a size 3 or 4 wrap is like and now I know it would probably be really useful to have one down the track, especially when I get into doing more back carries.

That being said if you have not experienced any woven wrap I would not recommend a DIY job as your first as it takes a little more experience to get it more comfortable and secure than a commercial wrap. And I certainly wouldn’t want you to be put off babywearing because of it. However as an emergency wrap option it is pretty great. I’ll be making another ringsling from some Mexican Poncho material soon which I hear is thicker so i’m hopeful that one might be a little better than this.