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The Basics of Back Wrapping

So you’re ready to back wrap and looking for a place to start? That long piece of fabric does seem a bit scary at first, but don’t let that discourage you.  Here’s a guide I put together to help you as you begin your journey into back wrapping. There is no right or wrong carry to start with, but if you are just learning you may find it less intimidating if you progress through the back carries in the same order as detailed in this blog. I  have intentionally ordered the videos from least difficult to most difficult. They can all be done with your base size wrap as well. How convenient! I made the mistake of jumping into advanced carries way too soon and ended up beating myself up when I couldn’t get it just right. Many times I got so frustrated I threw my wrap across the room and swore I would never try again. I’m so glad that was just the anger talking because eventually we got it! Don’t be surprised if your baby is a little resistant at first. You are both learning something new so it may take some time to get used to it.

Before you begin back wrapping be sure your child is ready first. It’s best practice to begin putting your baby on your back when they are able to sit up unassisted. It’s true some parents out there will begin this journey sooner than this, but trying to wrap a newborn is very advanced and should not be done if you are just starting out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need assistance. Visit your local babywearing group or consult with a Certified Babywearing Educator. There are plenty of educators out there that love babywearing and would be happy to help you wrap. You might even learn a few helpful techniques.

COZY KANGAROO-1005imageThere’s more than one way to get your baby on your back.  The three most popular methods are: Santa Toss, Hip Scoot and Superman Toss. What does this all mean you ask? It means you have options. Yay! With that said; one isn’t better than the other, it’s all about what you like best and what makes sense for you and your baby. I find the Santa Toss to be beneficial for beginners who have smaller babies. The hip scoot is my favorite and what I do the most since that’s what we started with and what my kids are most used to. Once your kid is a bit older and able to sit or stand unassisted the Superman Toss really comes in handy. Occasionally we will do the Superman Toss but not every time.

Since you are just starting out don’t be afraid to ask for help from a loved one or friend. Also, back wrapping over a bed or sofa is a great start and keeps your sweet baby safe.

Now that you’re familiar with getting your baby on your back let’s talk carries. The Rucksack Back Carry holds a special place in my heart. It was the very first back carry I learned when I started wrapping and that’s why I think it’s important to start here when you and your baby are ready to back wrap. What makes this such a great beginner carry is the fact it does not require extra passes around your baby. It also gives you the chance to practice getting your baby on your back, making a deep seat and reaching behind you to tie off your carry.

I know I suggested starting with the Rucksack when you are starting out, but the Back Wrap Cross Carry is another beginner carry that is really easy to learn. What makes it so easy is you tie a half knot at your chest right away. This gives you time to adjust your seat, take a break and think about your next step while your baby is secure. Sure there are a couple of passes that go over your baby, but what a great way to start practicing!

If you liked the Back Wrap Cross Carry but you’re looking for another carry that lets you tie a half knot at the beginning you can try the Secure High Back Carry. Just like the BWCC you tie a half knot at the very beginning. It’s hard to think about all the steps when you have a wiggly baby on your back so this gives you a second to take a break and think about what your doing while keeping your baby secure. It’s also a great way to practice doing an over the shoulder flip which is tricky for a lot of people…even me.

Double Hammock is one of my personal favorites. It’s the most versatile carry in my opinion and you can do this with various size wraps. You will just need to get creative with how you tie off your carry. The original version finishes off just like the Rucksack which you should be familiar with anyway.

Back wrapping can be very difficult and frustrating and often ends up being the only way older children want to be worn. As your baby gets heavier this is also more comfortable for the babywearer. Wrapping is an art form so keep practicing and pretty soon you and your baby will become Picassos. As you become a seasoned babywearer you may find playing around with different size wraps fun. Some advanced carriers require longer wraps while others require shorter wraps. Have fun and happy babywearing!

If you have any questions on the wraps shown on the videos please feel free to comment below or send me an email. You can also visit The Cozy Kangaroo and browse around at the different wraps and slings.

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8 Reasons Why You Should Not Forward Face Your Baby in a Carrier

A parent’s job is to keep their children safe and make them feel secure. As a certified babywearing educator and store owner I get a lot of parents who ask if it’s safe to forward face their child in a carrier. While it’s well known that as babies grow up they become more interested in the world and want to face out parents must still understand the physiological and emotional needs of their baby. Here are 8 reasons why I never recommend forward facing a child in a baby carrier.

1. The Spread Squat Position is not Possible Facing Forward in a Narrow Based Carrier.

The ideal baby carrier will be able to support your child and keep him comfortable for long periods of time not just short spurts here and there. Supporting your baby’s natural spine development is crucial during the first year of  life. During the first year their spine is developing  and it’s important to understand the stages in which this happens. Kyphosis is described as the slightly rounded position babies take during the first several weeks following their birth. This continues until they reach stage one known as Neck Lordosis which consists of the top 7 vertebrae. This stage begins as soon as your baby starts to lift his head and it’s complete when baby can hold his head up unassisted and can lean on his forearms. This usually takes place around 4 months of age. During this time your baby’s neck needs to be fully supported and the fabric of your carrier should extend from the back of your baby’s neck all the way under his bum and behind the hollow of each knee.

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Stage two is known as Chest Kyphosis and consists of the 12 chest vertebrae. During this phase your child should be supported from his armpits all the way under his bum and behind the hollow of his knees. Normally kids going through this phase will naturally push their arms out of the carrier and want to look out. If you are thinking of forward facing your child, try moving him to your hip instead. This stage is complete when your child is able to sit up unassisted which is around 6 months of age for most babies.

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Last but definitely not least is stage three, Lumbar Lordosis. This stage begins when your child starts pulling up on furniture and is complete when he is able to walk unassisted. During this phase supporting the lower back is key. Back carries are a great alternative to forward facing during this stage. It takes practice and a good place to start is on the edge of a bed or sofa. That way you and your baby are able to practice in a safe area.

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“Because the human is a physiological premature birth, the skeleton of a newborn is mainly cartilage. The squatting spread position is most favorable. A clue for this is, for example, those populations where babies are carried in a wrap, close to the mother’s body, hip laxations are basically non existent. When the children sit in the wrap, the legs are 90º spread apart (45º from midline) and the knees are raised about 110º-120º. Thereby the pivotal muscles push above the hip ball into the socket, thereby creating a hydrostatic pressure, which in turn supports the hardening of the bone.” -Dr. Ewald Fettweis

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2. Child’s Back is not Supported Properly and Forced into an Unnatural Position.

Forward facing your child in a carrier pushes their back into an unnatural position. It is arched instead of rounded. This may not cause your baby problems right away but could lead to future back problems later in life.

3. Baby May Become Overstimulated.

Baby’s sense of direction starts to develop around 4 months of age. Before that happens they usually like to face their parent or caregiver. This gives them security from the outside world which can be very scary for a small baby. Once their sense of direction develops they start to get interested in how their parents see the world and may want to explore and see out with them. It may be tempting to face your child out at this point but try a hip or back carry instead. That way if they want to fall asleep or hide from the outside world they can easily turn in towards the parent. Problem soloved.

4. Breastfeeding is Impossible.

This one is pretty obvious and needs little explanation. Breastfeeding is impossible when your baby is facing away from you and you’re not able to ready your baby’s hunger cues either.

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5. The Center of Gravity is Too Far Removed From the Babywearer.

Carrying your baby while they are facing out can not only damage your baby’s back, it can also damage the babywearer’s back since your baby’s curved back pulls you forward. This position also negatively affects your pelvic floor.

6. Sleeping is Impossible and/or Uncomfortable.

A good carrier will provide the ideal spread squat position for hours at a time which leads to more restful sleep for your child. This also brings confidence to the new parent and allows them to be hands free to do what they want while their child naps without feeling guilty from leaving their child on the floor or in their crib alone. Did you also know babywearing also counts as “tummy time?”

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7. Baby is Unable to Straddle Their Legs Around Babywearer, Causing Circulation to be Cut Off in Their Legs.

Circulation in the legs can definitely suffer when a child is suspended in a harness carrier for long periods of time. It’s hard to tell how long it takes or a child to loose circulation but the first signs of suspension trauma can happen in as little as three minutes. On average it takes anywhere from 5-20 minutes for this to happen. Of course it’s not fatal or anything extreme but it can be extremely uncomfortable.

8. Unable to Read Your Baby’s Signs.

I love how easy it is to read my daughter’s signals and cues when I’m wearing her in a sling. When she was a small infant I would have her positioned where her fists were near her mouth. Whenever she wanted to nurse she would let me know by chewing on her knuckles. No crying, just simple mother daughter communication. I was able to feed her on demand without the use of a nursing pillow or cover either. Doing this made our lives so much easier.

Unfortunately not all manufacturers of baby carriers are up to speed on safety and baby spine and hip development. They will often advertise forward facing your child in a carrier and make it look very appealing so it’s up to you to make the safe decision for you and your baby. If you are ever unsure on the positioning of your baby in a carrier please see your local babywearing educator or find a babywearing group in your area.

Please browse The Cozy Kangaroo website for safe and ergonomically friendly carriers and email me if you have any questions. Happy babywearing!

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Ruck It!

Woven wraps can be down right intimidating! I was 7 months pregnant with my second child when I got my first wrap. It was a Wrapsody Bali Breeze and I had no clue how to use it plus I had this huge pregnant belly and a toddler with zero interest in being worn. It was gorgeous though and all I knew was, I wasn’t giving up.

I decided I would spend the rest of my pregnancy practicing wrapping so I could get the hang of it before my youngest daughter arrived. Lucky for me I got the opportunity to take a babywearing class provided by Babywearing Institute when my daughter was just 2 months old! I received tons of knowledge on front carries and I felt very confident wearing my newborn, however, I didn’t have the same confidence when it came to back carries. My little squish and I were traveling alone and she was too young to be worn on my back at the time so I didn’t get the same practice as some of my other new mom friends with bigger kids. Not to worry, they had weighed dolls so I wasn’t completely left out. They just weren’t the same as a real baby.

Once I got home my focus was front carries. I wanted to practice as much as possible until I mastered the basics of the woven wrap. After my daughter turned 4 months old I started to experiment with back carries. Most back carries if not all are based off the rucksack so it’s a great launching point when starting out. Little did I know about how difficult and frustrating wrapping a baby on my back would be. I had a leg straightener on my hands so getting her to bend her knees and keep her spread, squat position in the wrap was a major challenge! I wasn’t sure what to do except practice and take breaks. it wasn’t until Harper was a little over 5 months old before she was content being on my back and seeing the world as I see it. Even though she may have been ready to backpack, it didn’t take away the fact that she liked to straighten her legs. I talked to some friends from my babywearing class and read a ton of Facebook posts from moms discussing the same exact thing. A solution that seemed to work for us was tucking the bottom rail of the wrap in my kid’s pants. Sounds weird I know but it works and it allows me to interact with my toddler and get stuff done around the house that I wouldn’t have been able to easily do if she was on my front. Also, working with one tail at a time seemed to make a difference. I’m short and with that comes short arms. Bringing the tails behind my back and under my baby’s bum one at a time allowed me to reach for the tail with the other hand.

As I said earlier, woven wraps can be very intimidating but don’t let that scare you away. They are amazing once you get the hang of it and with a little practice you will become a pro. If I can do it, anyone can do it! Happy babywearing!

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Wrap Your Baby!

I love wraps! I love stretchy wraps and I love woven wraps! Some would call a woven wrap just a long piece of fabric but it’s much more than that. You can do so much with it and the possibilities are endless. It’s definitely the most versatile baby carrier on the market.
Not all carriers are created equal and price doesn’t always determine quality. Watch my video and find out the pros and cons to each type of carrier to help determine what works best for you and your little one.

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Front Wrap Cross Carry

The front wrap cross carry was the first carry I learned when I got my woven wrap. I love this position because it’s easy to learn and comfortable to wear. Not only can this be used for a newborn baby, it can also be used for an older toddler as well.
When I got my Moby Wrap I had a hard time figuring out the Hug Hold. It was complicated and I could never quite get it and it didn’t feel very natural to me. It’s not a bad hold, it’s just not for me. When it comes to babywearing you have to find what works for you and go with it.