When I was pregnant, I spent way too much time
As I researched, I learned that the "crotch-dangler" style baby carriers weren't good for developing baby hips.
|This is the only time Gv's been in this carrier. See how her legs are dangling? That's not good for little hips. Also notice her choice of toys for the moment. She's quite excited about them.|
If you're worried because you have one of these carriers already, here's a way you can make it safer with just a simple scarf:
|This is an easy fix for this type of carrier - all you do is tie a scarf around so that her knees are higher than her hips.|
I'd been so excited to receive two carriers of this type as hand-me-downs and I was so disappointed when I read they weren't safe. One of them was actually recalled and I was able to send it back to the company and get this as a replacement:
|Replacement baby carrier. No need to replace the husband doing the wearing.|
I use this carrier pretty often, because it's so quick to throw on when I just need Gv in it for a minute, like to hang clothes on the line or to grab something quick from the store.
We'd also gotten this carrier:
While it was super-comfy, I wasn't able to use it very long - Gv was a large baby from the start and continued to pack on the pounds quickly, so the wrap's stretchiness made it unsafe for her after she reached a certain weight. I learned that what I needed for my little chunker was a woven wrap.
I joined a baby-wearing group on Facebook and learned that the baby-wearing community is a whole other world. One full of beautiful fabrics that cost outrageous prices.
Now, I completely understand what is involved in weaving these textiles, so it makes sense that the prices reflect this skilled craft. If we had the budget for it, I would love to have one of the many rainbow-colored weaves that are out there.
But our budget just couldn't handle all those zeros, therefore I needed to come up with a more economical option.
I also wanted simple. Even though I had pulled out my sewing machine for the first time in over 20 years just after Gv was born, I wasn't in the mood for a complicated sewing project.
Who am I kidding, I wasn't in the mood for any kind of sewing project.
Enter the no-sew, $5 baby wrap idea.
I went to my local JoAnn's store armed with my 50%-off coupon and a plan to search for woven material with selvage (finished) edges.
I was guessing that I would end up with muslin, since I knew that would be fairly inexpensive, but I discovered something called osnaburg that was just what I was looking for.
First, it was cheap. $1.99 per yard, before my coupon! Second, it had selvage edges (less sewing - hooray!)
|Selvage edges look like this - you don't have to hem them and they won't ravel!|
Third, I liked that it had a natural-fabric look to it. I knew I could always dye the fabric if I wanted something fancier, but since I tend to like things plain and natural, I figured I'd be pretty happy with the rustic-cotton look. Fourth, I learned that the fabric doesn't ravel too badly, so I could actually get away with no sewing whatsoever and just trim the ends with scissors if they got too frayed (it's been a year and I still haven't needed to trim them!)
|This is the raw edge, after a year of fraying, which is not too much for me to bother with. Easy to hem, though, if you'd prefer a neater edge!|
I carted the bolt of fabric over to the cutting table, asked for 5 yards, used my 50%-off coupon at the register, and once I washed it, had my brand-new baby wrap ready to go for just $5! Impossibly easy, right?
This is the wrapping style that I am most comfortable with (there are myriad of ways to wrap your baby, but this variation is easy and works for me, so I stick with it). You can find all sorts of great videos and instructions on how to do different wraps online - youTube is especially helpful for this. My one piece of advice is to practice your wrapping on a bed until you feel confident doing it - especially with back-carries, because it can be a little tricky to wrap and juggle a squirming baby until you've had a bit of practice.
|Carries have these crazy names that sound like an Olympic diving competition - like double-under-back-cross-hammock, but I just do this with mine and don't worry about what it's called. I can even do this same thing with Gv on my back!|
I found that I liked this wrap so much, I wanted another one (so I could have one in the wash and one to wear at all times), so I trotted down to JoAnn's again the next time I had a 50%-off coupon. This time, I got 6 yards of fabric, just to see if I liked that length better.
For me, I prefer 5 yards, but I would suggest starting with a minimum of 6 because you can always cut it shorter and you might need more fabric than I do, plus other types of wrapping styles might require longer pieces of material.
I found that the width of the fabric didn't seem to matter much (so I just got what was cheapest), but whatever you do, don't get a wider bolt of fabric with the intention that you can save money by cutting it in half lengthwise and sewing the two pieces together. That is not safe because it compromises the integrity of the material for baby-carrying.
Do you think you'll try to "make" your own carrier like this? If so, will you dye the fabric to make it fancier, or add decorative fabric to the edges, or hem the raw edges, or just let it be super-simple and plain like mine? I'd love to hear! Leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.
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