So, you’ve decided you want to babywear, but when you begin looking for a carrier, you are overwhelmed by the many type of baby carriers there are. What’s a wrap? What is a buckle carrier? What’s the difference between a pouch and a ring sling? All these questions and more become so much clearer once you know the basic carrier types. There are six basic types of carriers. They are woven wraps, stretchy wraps, ring slings, pouches, mei tais and buckle carriers.
A woven wrap is a long piece of fabric used to carry a child in various positions, including hip carry, back and front carry. It’s often chosen for its versatility, as well as support and weight distribution on the wearer. The lengths vary from short to long and choosing the length for you is determined by your body size and the carries you’d like to do with the wrap. A woven wrap is the most versatile baby carrier and it can be used fro newborn through toddler hood.
Stretchy wraps are a long piece of fabric (usually comes in one size fits most) that, unlike woven wraps, has stretch to it. It’s similar to t-shirt material and is often used with newborns and young babies. It is used mostly as a front carrier and while there may be instructions on using it as a back carrier, it is not recommended, as there’s not enough support in the stretchy fabric to do a back carry safely. Stretchy wraps are a favorite for newborn babies and can be used through toddlerhood if wrapped tightly.
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Babywearing saves my day once again! A couple of weeks ago we took the kids to visit a remote beach in Corona del Mar here in Southern California. To get to the beach, we had to walk down a steep and long set of stairs. I took with me a short woven wrap. It was a Girasol wrap that I’ve had for a while now. To get down to the beach, I put my little one in a rucksack back carry tied under his bum. Normally, with a long wrap I would be able to tie around my waist, but this was a short wrap, so I only had enough to tie a secure knot under his bum.
Once we got down to the beach, and it was quite a lovely beach, I took him down and we enjoyed the scenery as the kids played. It was a sunny day out, but the wind was giving me a little bit of a chill, so I used the wrap to cover both me and my baby. It felt so cuddly and soft against our skins and kept us warm.
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There was a time that I really thought I had kids that were bad sleepers. They needed me in order to fall asleep, they needed me in order to stay asleep, and they didn’t have regular nap routines. What else could they be but bad sleepers? Moms around me seemed to have kids that slept on their own, napped regularly and slept the amount of hours needed, per their parenting book’s guideline of baby sleep. It got to a point where I truly was stressing about how to get my kids to be “good sleepers.”
Then one day, a friend of mine gave me some advice that truly changed how I viewed the whole thing. She simply said, ” Stop expecting your kids to sleep how you or some parenting book thinks they should sleep.” She then pointed me an informative website on mother-baby sleep that really opened my eyes. I learned that what we often consider “bad sleep” is really quite normal sleep. Our society has fooled us to expect unrealistic sleep in our children and so in order to achieve that sleep, we find ourselves training our kids to sleep and when we don’t go that route, we still stress about their “bad sleep”. At least….I did.
Once I realized that my expectations for sleep were unrealistic and I changed my own patterns (i.e. went to bed early so that I could catch up on my own sleep and not be so tired myself, did some research and bought a quiet fan to run in the night to keep me from sweating all over the pillow), I was able to more than cope with how my kids slept. It’s amazing how just changing my expectations of sleep made it so much easier for me to parent my kids and even find ways to get rest myself.