Wearing a Newborn

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Newborn babies are so tiny and precious.  There are a few things we need to watch out for when wearing them.  It’s important to keep in mind that they start out so tiny but grow SO rapidly (doubling their lowest weight by 6 months and tripling by a year).  A carrier that would fit a newborn well will not fit a 6 month old unless it’s a less structured carrier that you have to form to fit the baby.  It’s of special importance to be sure that the carrier supports baby’s legs and hips well, spine, and neck to set baby up for the most optimal circumstances.  While carriers can’t be directly attributed to causing hip dysplasia we do know that baby’s hips are cartilage until they are toddlers and that the femur cartilage is harder and will win in a battle.  Any wear and tear can cause issues down the road-whether this is immediate or when your child is very old or somewhere in between.  I promote best practices so all of my posts reflect this.  Best practices include supporting the spread squat positioning mentioned on the Babywearing Institute’s page here.  And in Dr. Evelin Kirkilionis book A Baby Wants to Be Carried: Everything You Need to Know about Baby Carriers and the Advantages of Babywearing (available on Amazon and through other book suppliers and book stores-link is an affiliate link to Amazon and funds received through the affiliate link helps purchase homeschooling books for my children’s education).

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I have traced my newborn daughter’s legs and bottom in this picture.  This wrap is supporting the spread squat position.  You can see how her body makes a capital M shape.  In this position her femur is sitting in the ball and socket of the hip per the research done by hip dysplasia doctors in Germany.  She does not have hip dysplasia but if she did this would be the position they would keep her in because they have determined that this is the best possible position for baby’s hips to be in to heal if baby does have an issue.  I’m exhausted in the picture and it’s not my favorite of me by a long shot but my daughter is only 2 days old in this and she was enjoying an wonderful nap on me.  She is close enough to kiss and the back of her neck is supported by the carrier being tight and smooth on her neck.  The carrier is smooth across her back and if this shot was taken sideways you could see the c-shape curve that a newborn’s spine is in.  (She should be straight up right but had a tendency to lean-I could have further supported her head and body by pulling one of the sides around the back of her head to support her more).

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This is a stock image.  The mother and baby are beautiful but this wrap is MUCH too loose.  It’s natural to snuggle and cuddle your newborn however I think this mom doesn’t feel very secure and in all images that I saw of this mother and baby she’s pulling her baby closer.  This can easily be adjusted by tightening the carrier by pulling very snuggly when wrapping the carrier (I will demonstrate this in a video in a later post).  The shoulders and arms are also very loose and the wrap is likely to slip down mom’s arms.  This is why in person help with a carrier is very important because once you FEEL and SEE how it’s supposed to be on your body you will always get it right and you are able to apply the feeling to any carry that you do.

This same looseness can occur with other carriers such as a ring sling, mei tai (I don’t recommend most mei tais for newborns though because they have to be adjusted quite a bit and don’t support the spine as well because of this unless they’re specifically made to size down to a newborn), or a soft structure carrier at any age or stage.  This looseness is not recommended no matter how old your baby is.

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My daughter is a week old in this photo. She is in a ring sling.  This picture shows the c-shape curve better (I have traced it to point it out better).  Her chin is off of her chest so she can breathe but the carrier is flexible so that her spine is allowed to do what it needs to do.

Now that we know more about what position baby should be in let’s talk about newborn carriers specifically.  These are my favorite carriers for newborns (with links back to my previous posts about these classes of carriers):

  • Ring Slings (not pouches)
  • Wraps-especially the front wrap cross carry
  • Gauze or hybrid wraps
  • Possibly stretchy wraps if they are wrapped very tightly (I don’t recommend them after 12-15 lbs though because baby’s legs will start to pull down out of the spread squat position and baby will become too heavy to stay in the right position on your body-they should NEVER be worn in a back carry)
  • Mei Tais that are specifically designed to adjust down both vertically and horizontally so that it fits snuggly around a newborn (no fabric going below the knee and fabric emulating the tightness from my first picture above).
  • Some infant soft structure carriers.  There should be absolutely no gapping between the back of your baby’s neck and the carrier.  If there is baby needs to grow larger to fit in the carrier well.  Many manufacturers of soft structure carriers say that baby can fit in the carrier from birth however there’s often not enough support until baby is a couple of months old.

If you are in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on help to prepare for wearing your newborn during pregnancy or after your baby has arrived please feel free to contact me or check out my website.

What is/was your favorite carrier for a newborn?

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Where to Purchase a Baby Carrier

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This is a question that comes up a lot from my readers and people who visit my website.  Where can I purchase a baby carrier?  I am here today to share some local resources for purchasing a carrier in Oklahoma City and some sources on the web.  I’m also sharing some places that you can purchase a used carrier as well.  I will mention that it’s a good idea to protect yourself when purchasing used.  I will share some tips later on in this post.  I would love to keep this updated so please let me know if you find a broken link or want me to add another shop on here!

Where you can buy a baby carrier in Oklahoma City:

  • The Worn Baby: (Piper of Babywearing Support of OKC on Facebook and local meetings)  Offers local pick up, payment plans, and a trade in program.
    • Didymos, Diva Milano, Ellaroo, Emeibaby, Ethos, Fidella, Girasol, Lenny Lamb, Little Frog, Ovolo, Storchenweige, Yaro
  • Babies R Us: 1731 Bell Isle Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
    • Ergo, Boba Wrap, Several others site to store
  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative

Tulsa Area:

  • Bottoms and Beyond: 400 E. Broadway St., Sand Springs, OK 74063
    • Lenny Lamb, Lillebaby, MJ, Tula
  • Oui Oui: 1405 E Kenosha St, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
    • Bella Bonilla Onbus, Hero Slings, Tula

Where you can buy a baby carrier online (not an exhaustive list by any means!):

I just want to mention to ask your local babywearing group if they have an affiliate account with an retailers because often groups will have a special discount or receive a portion of sales.

Stores I have shopped with or know owners and can personally recommend:

Other Great Online Shops:

  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative
  • Risaroo
  • Mom’s Milk Boutique
  • Purple Elm Baby
  • Ergo (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Natibaby (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Lenny Lamb (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Little Frog (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Maya Wrap (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Storchenwiege (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Girasol (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)

Tips to keep in mind when purchasing a used carrier (especially online):

  • Be sure to use Paypal and pay through “goods” so that you’re protected.
  • Be sure that you get lots of pictures in good light.  If the seller isn’t providing enough pictures (especially of any flaws they mention) ask for more.  If they won’t provide them it may not be worth the risk purchasing the carrier.
  • Speaking of flaws-if the seller doesn’t mention any or doesn’t have a good description of the carrier, how it was used, if it was used in a smoking/non-smoking home, if it comes from a home with animals (or was ever used to hold an animal), etc ask them.  Don’t ever assume because something is left off or is vague.  Asking lots of questions is super important even if a carrier is your “unicorn” (something you’ve really wanted for a very long time or even a short time).
  • Get insurance.  If you can afford to be out the package don’t worry about this one but most of us really can’t be out the carrier and what we paid for it.  Paypal does protect you but making sure to pay extra for insurance is a really good idea because the post office does lose packages.
  • Watch tracking.  Make sure the seller is willing to get tracking on the package and watch it.  USPS doesn’t always update so don’t panic if it hasn’t moved in a few days.  Sometimes packages run late as well but it’s a good idea to get tracking and to check it every couple of days.

Where you can purchase a used carrier:

Facebook:

Others:

  • The Babywearer (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers)
  • Diaperswappers (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers-this site is mainly for cloth diapers but there’s a great section for carriers)

If you need help finding a carrier I offer sessions that I can sit down with you and help you shop for a carrier that you will love.  Feel free to contact me on via email with any questions or book a time with me.  You can also find out more about my breastfeeding and babywearing classes on my website.

Where have you purchased a carrier online?

Types of Carriers: Simple Pieces of Cloth (Wraps)

First Published: Sep 11, 2015 9:21 AM

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Welcome to the Types of Carriers series! Be sure to check out the Types of Carriers post from a couple of weeks ago to learn about all of the classes of carriers.

Simple Piece of Cloth (sometimes abbreviated to SPOC)

Included in this type of carrier are stretchy wraps, gauze wraps, hybrid wraps, and woven wraps. Each are a simple piece of cloth made out of natural fibers (including cotton, linen, sometimes wool) or in the case of stretchy wraps and hybrid cotton blended with Lycra to give it the stretch characteristic of the type of wrap.

  • Stretchy Wrap
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Organic Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap).

Sorry for the darker image but I really wanted to share this one. This is me wearing my second son when he was just a few weeks old in my Organic Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap). Stretchy wraps are blended with Lycra and are very stretchy. Stretch does vary a bit by brand. The most popular brands of stretchy wraps are Moby and Boba. They offer a lot of colors and even prints. They are cuddly for newborns but must be wrapped tightly without leaving room to put your baby in. You have to prewrap before putting your baby in so you have to put baby down in a safe place to wrap. You can prewrap before going out for the day though and pop baby in when you get to your destination. These wraps are limited to wearing on your front and possibly to your hip. They do not support the spread squat positioning well past about 10-15 lbs depending on the baby. They are a great way to try out babywearing though! You can DIY (make your own) with good quality fabric, though often these are VERY stretchy. These may be a little warmer in the summer (feel much like a blanket) but many parents still enjoy these carriers in the summer.

  • Gauze Wraps
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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze, double hammock carry

Gauze wraps are very lightweight and nice for summer. They are made of a lightweight cotton. Because they are lightweight though, many parents and caregivers find that even if they wrap very carefully they are quite pinchy on the shoulders once your baby/toddler hits about 20-25 lbs. These are great for front, back, or hip carries though. They wrap differently than wovens so you may have to order a slightly different size in a gauze wrap than you do with a woven. I am typically a 4.6 m (size 6) for my base size in a woven wrap but I need extra length in a gauze wrap to do carries that use most of the wrap like the double hammock wrap as shown above. You can DIY with the right materials but the materials are outside of the scope of this post.

  • Hybrid Wraps

Hybrid wraps feature one way stretch rather than two way stretch. There are a few different brands available of these. The picture below shows me wrapping my oldest when he was 5 for a quick minute. They are best for babies under 20-25 lbs because over that weight the wrap will start to sag even if you wrap very carefully so you may need to adjyst it often. These are excellent for newborns. One con though is that the material is similar to that of many stretchy t-shirts so when back wrapping it may be hard to feel the fabric.

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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Hybrid Wrap, double hammock carry

  • Woven Wraps (German Style Woven Wraps)

Woven wraps are the gold standard of SPOC. They are a bit more expensive at first but you can typically find a good used one for around $100 or less. They have a little bit of a learning curve so I recommend getting hand on help because once you know how they are supposed to feel you will always get it right. Woven wraps can be wrapped an infinite number of ways. They can be worn with baby on your front, back, or hip. They are the most supportive of the classes of wrap carriers and are excellent from birth to as long as you want to wear your child.

There are many lengths available because wrapping with just one layer over baby is fine (and supportive). I recommend starting with your “base” size which is what you can comfortably wrap a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) with. Shorter lengths (just doing one layer over baby) can be great in the summer depending on the fabric. There are many different blends of fabrics available. I recommend starting with a cotton one or a cotton/linen blend. Cotton is the easiest to care for and can be dried in the drier (though it may shrink a little so hang drying is better-try putting it between the backs of two chairs and often it will dry overnight).

Woven wraps can be found at all types of price points. There are many brands of good quality wraps available. There are many color options and many options for patterns, stripes, or just a plain color. Many can be dyed if you don’t like the color (you will want to use baby-safe dyes because baby WILL chew on the wrap). I recommend new wrappers to look in to getting a used wrap because new wraps in all fabrics usually feel stiff. Wraps need a breaking in period to be able to wrap well with them. If you buy used, many times this wrap is already broken in but has a lot of life left in it. New wrappers can break in wraps but do know that it may take time before you can wrap the same way you did with your Certified Babywearing Educator (or at your babywearing group).

GreenNatiwrap

Natibaby 4.6 wrap, 100% cotton, double hammock carry.

  • Kanga Carrier (not pictured)

A Kanga Carrier is a Traditional African carrier using a thin blanket looking piece of fabric. Baby is worn on the back in the small of mother’s back. If you would like to see one in action I really love this video by Alyssa. These are beautiful traditional carriers. I do have one in my stash but I am not nearly as well versed with these as women that traditionally use them.

*For full disclosure I am a Boba Ambassador. I became a Boba Ambassador because I love their products. They send me free products to review from time to time but I do not receive any other compensation from them. I like to offer my honest opinion and free products do not influence my views*

What is your favorite type of wrap?