Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tips for babywearing in the heat

It's sunny, it's hot, and it's muggy. It's summertime in Central Virginia! We have had some more reasonable weather recently, but we all know that heat and humidity will be upon us soon.

While we all love to wear our babies and toddlers, those little ones create a lot of heat and babywearing, by nature, is hot. We have gathered some tips to share for babywearing in the heat.

First, let's start with some safety tips:

  • Monitor your child, especially the younger babies. They aren't great at regulating their body temperature.
  • Minimize sun exposure.
  • Wear sun protection, including sunglasses.
  • Babies who are overheated should be removed from the carrier and taken someplace cooler right away.
  • Heatstroke is a serious condition, even more so in babies. Familiarize yourself with the signs here.

Now let's talk about you and the child:

  • Dress in light and airy clothes.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink even more water if you're breastfeeding.
  • Try to schedule outdoor activities in the cooler hours; early morning is best.
  • Stay in the shade. If there's none around, bring your own. Umbrellas are for more than just rain, or buy a parasol ("parasole" meaning to shield sun). 
  • If shade isn't available and an umbrella/parasol isn't an option, then try wide-brimmed, light-weight hats for both you and the child.
  • Keep a layer of cloth, either your clothing or a thin piece of muslin or cotton, between you and the baby. This helps with the "sticky" feeling of skin-on-skin.
  • Fans: either hand or battery powered.
  • Use water-cooled towels ("FroggToggs") or a damp washcloth to cool YOU. Do not place these  on your baby or between you and your baby. They need air to work and there isn't much, if any, air circulation between your bodies.

Finally, let's talk about carriers:

  • Many of the companies that make Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs), now make these carriers with mesh panels on the front. They allow for the carrier to breathe a bit more than regular SSCs.
  • An ultra-compact SSC is especially great for the pool/water, but less great for long periods of time due to the lack of padding.
  • Linen Ring Slings or light weight cotton Ring Slings are a good choice with the breathable fabric and only having one layer of fabric around you and the child.
  • Mei-Tais can be a good choice with open sides allowing some air flow and minimal cloth around the wearer.
  • Lightweight woven wraps in a single-layer pass carry is the coolest way to wear with a wrap. (Be on the look out this week for a blog post about a torso carry!)
  • Do not wear a mesh or water ring sling or wrap outside the pool/water for long periods of time. The fabric will only cling properly when wet.
  • Stretchy wraps that are popular with newborns (ex, Moby wraps) are not very good for hot weather wearing. They have multiple passes and do not allow for air to flow between you and the baby.  Consider a ring sling as an alternative.

We have all of these options in our lending library. If you want to try on different carriers to see what will work, please come to one of our meetings and one of our educators will help you with that.

Here's a handy graphic that our friends at BWI of St Louis Gateway made and are allowing us to share with you:

Enjoy your babywearing summer!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Leap Into Spring! Carry of the Week: Double Hammock Rebozo Carry

The Carry of the Week for week 7 is the Double Hammock Rebozo Carry (DHR).

Double hammock rebozo is a one shoulder carry. You are less likely to have an aching shoulder with this carry due to the chest pass and multi-layers helping to take the weight off the shoulder. It is generally completed with a size 2, 3, or 4.

If this carry feels a little low, its because it is restricted due to the passes coming under your arms.

Practice all carries, especially back carries with a spotter, over a bed or couch, or low to the ground until you are completely confident. A BWI meeting is the perfect place to learn new skills with the assistance of a Volunteer Babywearing Educator. In most cases it is best to be comfortable with front carries before attempting back carries. (BWI Babywearing Safety) We recommend waiting until your baby can sit unsupported to begin back carries. You should always try your first back carries with a spotter or over a soft surface such as a bed. However, if you have completely mastered front and hip carries and have successfully back wrapped another baby, it is safe to do back carries in a woven wrap with a baby who isn’t sitting unsupported yet. (BWI Back Wrapping Infants).

First up is a video tutorial with Maddy.

Now we have Lauren with a photo tutorial:

Start the carry off center, with one short tail and one long tail.
Get baby onto your back using any method you choose. Create a seat.

Bring the long tail under your arm to make a rebozo pass. Then bring it across your chest to the opposite side to make a chest pass.

Bring the pass all the way around your back, spreading across baby and creating a second seat with the second pass.

Strand by strand tighten to remove all slack from the second pass.

Bring the tail under your arm to tie a slip knot at the opposite shoulder (see detailed instruction below).

Think of this as if you are tying a knot around the shoulder pass.

Bring the tail from under your arm to tie a slip knot at the opposite shoulder (1). The tail from your back should go across the shoulder pass tail and come behind it (2). Then down and back behind the vertical tail (3). Finally, pull it through the loop, and adjust up and down along the vertical tail as needed (4).

And Viola! You have a Double Hammock Rebozo Carry!

Check back next Monday for a new Carry of the Week!