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The High Back Carry in a Buckle Carrier (with Video Tutorial)

19 Jun

Recently, there’s been a bit of a surge in popularity in the online babywearing community of wearing SSCs and buckle carriers in a “high back carry.”  To be honest, I’m in the camp of “Use the structured waist of the ssc the way it was intended to be used…to distribute weight to the wearers hips (on short torsoed people, this may be higher but still around the waist), with the weight of the baby being taken off the shoulders by loosening the shoulder straps enough to allow baby’s weight to really fall down into that supportive structure of the waist.” (whew! that was a mouthful!)

There are definitely those who prefer the feel of the high back carry, and many older babies and toddlers like it, as they can see over their caregivers’ shoulders.  However, often, when I see buckle carriers with structured waists used to achieve this carry, we run into a couple of issues…

1. You’re losing all of the support that the structured waist is supposed to give (and that you pay for!) in those types of buckle carriers.

2. Since you’re not using the structured waist to distribute baby’s weight, the weight should be distributed by pulling baby in close.  Since you may not be able to cinch the straps in tight enough to really get that nice high and tight fit, you may be distributing all of baby’s weight from your shoulders!

2. In some SSCs (or on some body types) buckling that structured waist so far up creates a giant pocket of fabric and baby doesn’t fill the entire body of the carrier from top to bottom, but rather sits in a fold of fabric at the middle of the carrier body.  This means that the body panel may be too low on baby’s back and too loose (allowing baby or toddler to lean back and definitely not supportive for the wearer).

Now for the good news…

If you DO like the feel of a high and tight back carry, there are carriers perfectly suited for that! They are wraps, mei tais, and even buckle mei tais like the Catbird Baby Pikkolo!

Check out my newest video tutorial to show how I get a high back carry with my toddler in the buckle carrier I believe is really SUPER at the high back carry!



Tweak of the Week: Troubleshooting your Stretchy Wrap

9 Jan

One of the most common things I help new mamas with is troubleshooting their Moby Wraps, or other stretchy wrap.  I have 2 tips that typically seem to help almost everyone who is having difficulty –

1. Don’t fold the wrap in half, no matter what the instructions say, lol!  More often than not, you’re going to get more support by wrapping with the full width of the wrap, it avoids the wrap becoming rope-y and uncomfortable, it provides better support for baby, AND…it’s tedious to fold THAT much fabric perfectly in half!

2. Pre-tie tighter than you think.  Stretchy wraps work to support baby’s weight (which, in turn, provides more comfort and support for you!) by stretching snuggly around baby and holding him or her close.  ESPECIALLY with newborns, tying tightly is key to avoiding dangerous and life-threatening positioning (when infants slump down chin to chest and cannot breathe properly).  With older babies, it’s the tightness that will help support the weight.  When pretying the wrap, make sure to take out the slack as you tie and think of the wrap feeling like a “fitted” t-shirt against your body.

Need a visual?  Here’s a video I made with 17 lb. darling daughter who is perfectly supported and comfortable.  I used the exact same method when she was a newborn, the wrap may have been a smidge tighter.  I always put legs through the cross and avoid legs in the pocket hold, as I always found that baby would continue to slump down and curly into a ball (as newborns will do) if his/her seat is not made and held by the cross passes going from knee to knee.


One Year at QuirkyBaby and a Giveaway to Celebrate: Win a Maya Wrap Ring Sling or Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Wrap!

1 Sep

Well, it’s been a whirlwind year for me at QuirkyBaby!  Taking over on Sept. 1st of last year, I couldn’t have imagined how many amazing people I’d get to meet and help on my mission to spread the babywearing love (…or what it would be like to run the business over my first year through a devastating hurricane, while pregnant, having a baby, and surviving the early newborn days and colic!)

One of my favorite blog posts that I made this year was entitled, “You Are a Baby Carrier.”  As I work to make babywearing accessible for all different types of caretakers and babies, the heart of my mission is that it is the ACT of carrying your baby in your arms that matters, more than the product.  As an avid babywearer who really loves to try out everything I can get my hands on, it is fun to get caught up in the rage of the latest “it” carrier, wrap conversion, newest wrap, etc.  But, it’s important to come back down, sometimes, and remember that every carrier is a “real” baby carrier.  There are none that are better or worse than others.  Everyone has different tastes and opinions for what he/she likes in a carrier, and each baby likes different ways of being held for different reasons. Certain carriers might fit and feel better to one person and maybe other carriers fit and feel better to a different person, but that doesn’t mean that carriers are ranked in terms of good, better, best.  They all help us to carry and care for our children, and that is the most important thing of all.  It’s not about the brand, or how much you spend. It’s about the act of carrying your children and whatever carrier you prefer, can afford, and find comfortable to do so.  There was a blog post on Where We Wear, recently, that really sums it up so eloquently.

Two of my favorite carriers are a Maya Wrap Ring Sling and a Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Wrap, both of which I’ve sadly heard described sometimes as “beginner” carriers or not “real” carriers, as if they’re fine carriers to start out with and then one must move on to something else. There is no reason that these brands should be labeled as “entry level” carriers, as if one MUST graduate to something else to be part of the babywearing community.  If you choose to expand your horizons, that’s one thing, but many “real” babywearers, like me, still use carriers like the Maya Wrap and Wrapsody as go-to carriers with newborns, toddlers, and even preschoolers.  Maya Wrap Ring Slings are one of the original wrap conversions – made from wrap fabric woven in Guatemala and converted into a ring sling.  Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Wraps are not your every day stretchy.  Besides the fact that the colorways and patterns are gorgeous, they are supportive enough to take you from newborn through preschooler, can be used in every type of carry one might do with a non-stretchy (including back carries and tandem carries!), and the slight stretch has such a lovely bounce on your shoulders and helps wrap with that second-skin quality.  I have just a “few”pics (and, believe me, there are more!) of how much use I’ve gotten out of my Maya and Wrapsody.


So, to share my love of these brands, and to celebrate my first year at QuirkyBaby , I’ve teamed up with Lizzy from Where We Wear for a giveaway! 

Visit Where We Wear and the official Where We Wear Facebook Giveaway Page for details on how to enter, and don’t forget to submit your own pictures and stories to the Where We Wear blog to help continue the mission.  At the end of 2 weeks, a winner will be chosen at random from all entries.  The lucky winner will have the choice of a free Maya Wrap Ring Sling in Berries or a Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid  in Bridgid.  I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful babywearing pics and hear your wonderful stories!



Tweak of the Week #4 – Woven Wraps

10 Apr

When doing a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC), did ya ever have trouble tightening up that top rail? When you adjust the fabric, do you find that it gets caught or rubs tightly under your arms? Hopefully, this tweak of the week can help! 🙂

Breastfeeding & Babywearing: About nursing in a carrier…

4 Mar

breastfeeding in a carrier

Can I nurse in this carrier? Which carrier is best for breastfeeding? Can I be hands-free while nursing? These are very common questions I hear, so let’s tackle them…

Can I nurse in this carrier?

For sure, most baby carriers are absolutely able to be used for nursing. There is a caveat I always share, though. Anyone who has ever been a new nursing mama will admit that those first few days, weeks, maybe even the first couple months of nursing were a learning process for both mama and baby. Likewise, any babywearer can try to remember back to her first times using a baby carrier with a floppy baby…and it was also a learning process! Both of these are skills that take time and patience to develop, so I ALWAYS recommend feeling confident in each skill separately before trying to combine them. In fact, nursing the newborn in a carrier can be extra tricky because they have no head control, which can complicate things in terms of your ease and comfort, as well as safety. When breastfeeding the newborn, as well as when wearing the newborn in a baby carrier, mamas should be completely aware of baby’s comfort and breathing. This can be especially difficult when trying to do both at the same time. However, if both skills are worked on separately, when it’s finally time to combine them, baby is usually a bit older, with more head control, and mama and baby are both usually a bit more comfortable with the ins and outs of their breastfeeding relationship. This is a great time to work on nursing in your carrier. Another important consideration in terms of ease of nursing in a carrier is the clothing you’re wearing. Nursing clothing, or clothing that allows you to access your breast without pulling up your shirt (so v-neck, scoop-necks, etc., where you can just access the breast from the top) will make life so much easier.

Which carrier is best for breastfeeding?

Which carrier is best for wearing and/or breastfeeding really is a matter of personal preference. There are so many factors like the physical build of the wearer, age/stage of baby, and just one’s own preference for a “feel” of a carrier. Most carriers can be used for nursing, with the exception being carriers that have a panel between mama and baby, which might make nursing difficult. Many of us who have nursed our children find that we “learned” to breastfeed with baby in a cradle position in our arms. Wraps and ring slings can support this semi-reclined position, if desired, though one has to be a bit more cautious in that cradle position, making sure that fabric behind baby’s head is not forcing baby into a chin-to-chest position (which can interfere with baby’s breathing, whether breastfeeding or not) or forcing baby into the breast , AND remember to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS monitor baby and return to an upright position when baby is done nursing. There has been so much development in the world of “baby” (specifically in Kangaroo Care and Breastfeeding) in the past few years, and we now know that most babies naturally orient themselves vertically, between the breasts…think biological nursing, laid back breastfeeding, the breast crawl, skin-to-skin kangaroo care, etc. So, MANY mamas (including myself) have found that we actually have more success breastfeeding baby in an upright position (added perk – it helps vary your nursing positions to work the less-used milk ducts in your breasts). This can be done in any carrier that allows upright, tummy-to-tummy positioning, and mei tais and buckle carriers can make it especially easy since you can just loosen up, lower baby down, and then re-tighten baby at breast level. When baby finishes, again, you need to return them to the higher, upright position.

I LIVED in my Catbird Baby Pikkolo when my daughter was a baby, because I loved how easy it was with the dual-adjusting buckles to lower her down and then tighten her back up again, not to mention the fact that I could use it without the structured waist belt meant that there was nothing digging into me if I were nursing in the Pikkolo while sitting down. Again, it’s still important to monitor baby while nursing him/her, and this position is best when baby has good head control. If you have particularly large breasts, any carrier might be tricky to nurse in, and you might prefer a stretchy or woven wrap where you can pop baby out for nursing, but use the “x” of the fabric to help with discretion, if that’s important to you.


A Note on Discretion While Nursing

Ring slings are often recommended for nursing b/c the tail allows for “discreet breastfeeding.” Besides my own opinion that we need to make nursing in public more socially acceptable and you shouldn’t feel the “need” to cover up for others, some mamas prefer to be discreet for their own comfort. When baby is new and you’re both learning to breastfeed, it makes more sense to NOT try and cover up. You really need to see what you and baby’s mouth and airway are doing. If discretion is important to you, it’s probably better to practice at this point in a private place, rather than try to cover up. If you’re a more competent/confident nursing mama, nursing in a carrier can be discreet but you still should NOT attempt to cover baby’s face while he/she is nursing. Many babies actually hate being covered up, but it can also prohibit good airflow, make for a hot, uncomfortable experience for both mom and baby, or hinder breathing. I hear ring sling tails often being described as “wonderful for covering up while breastfeeding.” For your own peace of mind and for baby’s safety, please do not cover baby’s face (while breastfeeding, or while wearing).

Alternatives for nursing discreetly in a carrier:

  • Pull up the edges of the carrier to cover up a bit.
  • You can use the tail of the ring sling or fabric from a wrap to cover over the top of the breast, but, again, not covering baby’s face.
  • Carriers with head rests can allow you to have some privacy, but still be able to look down and monitor baby.
  • Hoods used for discretion while nursing can be attached in a diagonal position, which will make you both a little cooler and allow for some airflow, as well as letting you see baby’s face and nursing position.


What about “hands-free” breastfeeding?

I don’t know about you… but, I was never able to be “hands-free” when nursing my daughter in my carrier. I always needed one hand to support the breast while she nursed. I’ve actually heard this from a lot of mamas, so I know I’m not alone. Being hands-free while nursing was a promise of baby carriers that was really appealing to mamas a few years back, but most people who have experience nursing in carriers and most babywearing educators will tell you that very few people are actually able to be completely hands-free. It’s completely normal if you are not able to magically breastfeed baby in the carrier and have both of your hands free for something else. One hand free is usually quite helpful, even if the other hand is helping to support breast or baby.  Also, again on a safety note, being “hands-free” or “one-hand-free” while nursing does not mean that you are free of monitoring baby while he/she nurses. It is always important to know how baby is doing and pay attention to his/her breathing and behavior when breastfeeding in the carrier.  If you’re still nursing your toddler in your carrier, you might actually get lucky and finally achieve “hands-free” nursing if he/she helps out a little by supporting the breast on his/her own!


Remember: Being able to breastfeed in your carrier is a fabulous perk of wearing your baby, and wearing your baby PROMOTES breastfeeding!  I hope the information I’ve shared helps moms and their babes do this comfortably and safely.

For more information and individualized help with breastfeeding and babywearing, try reaching out to your local babywearing educator, consultant, or babywearing group.

How was your experience breastfeeding in a baby carrier? Any stories or suggestions to share? Leave a comment! 🙂

Why Buy New ? (…when you’ve heard you can get such great bargains buying used)

6 Feb

There are some reasons why, as a baby carrier retailer AND a babywearing educator, I always steer a new babywearer to try to purchase a carrier new. It’s not just because I’m a retailer and I want a profit. Heck! I’ve sent babywearing parents to other retailers who carry products QuirkyBaby doesn’t. With the growing popularity of online baby carrier FSOTs (for sale or trades) and swaps, it seems like most people think, “Why should I buy that carrier new when I can buy it for less on one of these sites?” And, to be fair, I have gotten many carriers well-loved and recycled from other babywearing mamas. I love the FSOT and Swaps! Who doesn’t love finding that amazing deal on a baby carrier at a thrift shop, consignment sale, or craigslist? But, even when I find those “deals”, there is something of which I’m always aware – Caveat Emptor.

As an experienced babywearer, you might know what to look for when you pick up a used carrier. You might know the general age of the carrier, how to examine it and test it for flaws/defects/stresses to the fabric and seams that could cause tears, whether or not the directions the come with the used carrier are updated to the latest understandings of babywearing safety and standards (if it comes with directions at all!). But, many people don’t…especially those new to the babywearing world.

When you buy a used baby carrier, there’s a lot you don’t know (like age of the carrier, whether or not it’s been recalled in the past, how many times it’s been washed and whether or not the fabric has been weakened, etc.). There are no guarantees. When you purchase new, from an authorized retailer, there ARE guarantees:

1. Guaranteed Satisfaction – if you’re not happy with the carrier you choose, most retailers, like QuirkyBaby, have a return/exchange policy.
2. Guaranteed New In Box – carrier will come to you brand spankin’ new! No worries about past spit ups, accidents, fragrances, pet allergies, over-laundering, smoke smells (yes, there HAVE been mamas who bought from FSOT and gotten a carrier that smells of smoke…and if the seller denies it and refuses to refund you, there’s nothing you can do.)
3. Guaranteed Warranty – If something happens to your carrier, even if it’s your own fault (accidentally slam the buckle clasp in the car door and need a replacement, carrier tears in the wash), the manufacturer will usually send you a brand new replacement carrier (or replacement part) easy-peasy.
4. Guaranteed Fair Pricing – authorized retailers MUST price carriers at MSRP (or below for a sale). You’ll know that you are not getting ripped off or be the victim of price gouging. Just the other day there was a USED Wrapsody Hybrid Stretch on a very popular swap that was priced above retail. Several mamas replied with interest, and the wrap sold very quickly. If any of these mamas had done their research, they would find that they could have gotten the same wrap, NEW, with free shipping in most cases, AND all of the guarantees listed above for LESS than the price of that used wrap. Definitely use those FSOT/swaps for hunting for your “hard to find”/”desperately in search of” dream of a carrier that you can’t buy new anymore…but don’t shop on them without checking retailers, first. 😉

Loving my Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Orca at SeaWorld! (bought new from Quirkybaby...before I was the owner, lol!)

Everyone loves a bargain and I have absolutely been known to try out some carriers after buying used from other WONDERFUL babywearing mamas. But, as an educator, I believe that new babywearers are best served by buying a fabulous and safe carrier new from a trusted, authorized retailer. Plus, as Rachel the babywearer (not Rachel the babywearing retailer), I know that when I do buy new from other babywearing retailers, I’m helping this industry that I love so much! We really do need to support babywearing retailers…they make the multitude of carrier options available to all of us. Not just QuirkyBaby, but all of the mom-owned, small-business, babywearing vendors. We’re small and we’re definitely not doing it for the big bucks. We’re doing it because we love babywearing, and want others to love it, too!

YOU are a Baby Carrier!

4 Oct

You know, this past summer I attended the International Babywearing Conference in D.C. It was such a great experience to be among “my people”! In a session called “Practice, Not Product,” we were discussing different baby carriers, the tendency for those in the babywearing world to talk about one type being better than another, etc. For many of us, baby carriers are like pairs of jeans. Each type or brand will fit each person’s body and tastes differently. There is no one “best baby carrier.” There are so many! Some people prefer buckle carriers, some prefer the feel of fabric in a wrap or mei tai. Some people (like myself!) LOVE a ring sling, some have never been able to get the right feel. As a babywearing retailer and as a babywearing educator, my goal is to help you find the carrier that suits your individual needs best, or work with a carrier you have to get the best out of your babywearing experience.

It was in this session that I had an “Aha!” moment… Having studied human development, I believe in the importance of holding your baby. Maybe not all the time, but certainly a lot. I believe babies come into this world expecting to be held, soothed, nurtured, and kept close. It was only a recent development in the span of human existence (the Victorian era wasn’t that long ago, when you consider all time) that we decided children should be separate from us and independent from the get-go. Those wonderful scientists who devoted their lives to studying the development of the human mind and body (and who I had to read again and again in college!) found that children need be dependent before they can be independent. They need to feel comforted, before they can learn to comfort. We nurture them now, because we want them to grow into amazing human beings who will feel it’s important to care about others and the world around them. And then it hit me… WE are baby carriers!

We were given these fabulous things called hands and arms to take care of the child’s expectation to be touched and held. Without any device, you are a carrier. So, a baby carrier, as a product, is just a tool that allows us to use those other things called hands and arms to do the gazillion other things we need to do as parents these days, while still meeting that basic need. We know that when we fulfill the most basic needs on the pyramid, children are free to grow in every other area, cognitive (smarts!) and social-emotional (feelings). We come fully-equipped to carry our babies in our arms. Sometimes, we need some help…sometimes, we need our hands! Let QuirkyBaby help you find a carrier to match you and your baby’s needs.

I carried my daughter for 41 weeks…

We carried her from the moment she was born…
New Baby

Daddy Hugs

Found our “tools”…

Daddy, Baby, and Boba

And are still carrying her today!
Maya snuggles

Baby Carrier Sales and News at QuirkyBaby, June 2011

1 Jun

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  • Memorial Day Sale continues for a few more days! Take 10% off and enjoy free US shipping on most baby slings and baby carriers at Quirkybaby. Baby sling and baby carrier brands on sale: Babyhawk, Kozy, Boba, Scootababy, Pikkolo, Maya Wrap, Moby Wrap, Hotslings AP, and Wrapsody. Baby accessories on sale including BabyLegs and Sunday Afternoons Kids Play Hats. Sale doesn’t apply to sale items, Ergo, Beco, and Sakura Bloom products, but you can still qualify for free BabyLegs on orders over $100!
  • Need to protect those tender little arms and legs from the sun? Check out the new designs in BabyLegs Cool, with a UPF protection factor of 50+! Other great sun protection items: Moby Wrap UV baby wraps, and the best kids’ sun hats ever from SunDay Afternoons that are cool, comfortable, and actually stay on!
  • Need a cool, lightweight, and portable baby sling or baby wrap carrier for hot summer days? A woven cotton ring sling from Maya Wrap or a single layer linen ring sling from Sakura Bloom will keep you and baby cool and ventilated.  Need two-shoulder support? The Wrapsody Bali Stretch is a great option for those who want a traditional all-in-one carrier for newborns through toddlers, while the Ergo Performance gets rave reviews for its high-tech breathability and support.
  • New Beco Gemini patterns coming soon! Lucas on Espresso and Aiden on Espresso will expand the boy-friendly/gender-neutral range of this extremely popular buckle carrier that enables forward facing out, forward facing in, hip, and back carries.
  • In other Beco Baby Carrier news: Beco Gemini and Beco Butterfly in the sunny, cheerful Luna organic print have been discontinued. Limited Edition Beco Butterfly in Ever and Duke are in stock only while supplies last! And there are still a few Beco Butterfly carriers on sale for $20 off with free US shipping in Aiden, Lucas, and Natalie prints.

Wrapsody Bali Stretch Wraps Debut at QuirkyBaby

13 Oct

I am delighted to welcome Wrapsody Bali Stretch Wraps to the QuirkyBaby line up!  Back in the days when these were known as GypsyMama Bali Baby Stretch, it was a gently used Aphrodite Bali Stretch that persuaded me to give her a new home and to give wrapping another try once we’d outgrown the Moby Wrap. I’d tried — and given up in frustration on — too many big-name brand woven wraps to count. The Wrapsody was like a wrap with training wheels; once I’d practiced with it for a while, I was able to move on to the challenges of heavy-duty woven wraps such as the Storchenwiege.

The Wrapsody Bali is essentially a hybrid between a woven and a stretchy wrap — more supportive than a regular stretchy wrap, and thus appropriate for back carries, but cushy and forgiving of less-than-perfect wrapping skills. (It’s also a lot cooler than most woven wraps, so it’s a great choice for warm weather.) The Wrapsody is a great beginner or intermediate wrap — perfect for a newborn, but also perfect for a bigger baby when the Moby just isn’t supportive enough any more.

These stunning wraps are batiked in Bali, Indonesia, under fair trade and environmentally friendly conditions.

Beautiful New Moby Wrap Colors In Stock — Blossom, Lilac, Sky

20 Jun

A Moby Wrap stretchy wrap is a wonderful first baby carrier for yourself or to give at a baby shower. It’s soft, snuggly, and surprisingly simple to use — no degree in origami is required! The comprehensive instruction book makes it easy even for complete novices to learn the primary method of tying the Moby Wrap, which is versatile enough for numerous positions for newborns through bigger babies.

Moby has just updated its palette with three fresh new colors: Blossom (a pale pink), Sky (a pale blue), and Lilac (an updated, lighter shade than the one previously available).