Please support the SLSL by voting for us now!

I’m currently taking part in a competition for Lambeth business women with the best vision for their business.  On Tuesday 19th I’ll be delivering a 5 minute pitch at ITV studios to present my vision for the South London Sling Library in the hope to win some fantastic prizes and support for the library, as well as to raise awareness of the benefits of safe, comfortable carriers, and the amazing services that Sling Libraries across the country provide to so many thousands of parents.

As a warm up,I was also asked to make and upload a 30 second ‘elevator pitch’ video to put to the public vote online!

My video pitch can be viewed here: Brand Amplifier Video

And I’d really appreciate you showing your support o the Sling Library by voting for me Williamson/South London Sling Library here by Monday 18th February: Brand Amplifier 2013 Voting

You’ve only got 1 more day to vote so please do it now!!! Thanks so much to everyone for your continued support and enthusiasm for the Sling Library, and for your vote! 😀

Emily xx


© 2013 South London Sling Library

A Very Important Subject

In my last post (here) I stated that close physical contact with your baby (especially for the extended durations possible when using a suitable sling or baby carrier) can reduce the symptoms of postnatal depression (1). Now I’m ready to explain why this is such an important subject…

At least 10-15% of mothers will experience Post Natal Depression during their pregnancy or in the first years after having a baby. It’s not something to be ashamed about, or to pretend doesn’t happen. It does. I suffered from it, and I recognise symptoms of it in others every week. I blogged about my experience here: A Light Through the Clouds: Reply to a Mother with Post Natal Depression 

I believe that our culture has lost the recognition of how important community support is for those having babies, and how a lack of it (or the ever increasing expectations and demands placed on mothers who are effectively managing alone) can be so damaging to so many women. Mothers and fathers need understanding and patience and reassuring supportive company, not unattainable and restrictive standards, blame and guilt (they put enough of that on themselves without any help!)

As a friend posted earlier today, symptoms of depression are NOT a sign of weakness. They are signs of having tried to remain strong for too long. Being a parent is one of the hardest, most physically demanding and emotionally relentless jobs that you can ever undertake and I’m always in awe of the many many strong women and men that I get to meet at such a pivotal part of their life.

However black it may feel at times, please believe in yourself. Your baby does not feel any blame or see any lack in your care. They love you wholeheartedly for whatever you can offer them. It does get easier and there is help out there.

For a more informative and less emotional view, this new factsheet from the Royal College of Psychiatrists is very clear and has lots of useful links to support organisations: Postnatal Depression


© 2013 South London Sling Library

5 Reasons a Sling or Carrier is a Newborn Essential

Human babies are not best adapted to being left alone and so there are a whole host of benefits associated with carrying your newborn baby. By using a sling or baby carrier to help support your back and keep your hands free you can fit carrying into your day more easily, and with a huge range of carrier options out there you’ll be sure to find one that suits you and your family.

Here are just 5 research-supported reasons why using a sling or baby carrier can benefit you and your newborn.  There are links below so that you can find out more, and for even more about the benefits that using a sling or baby carrier can offer both parents and babies, see our Benefits of Babywearing and Related Research pages.

1) Reduces stress and crying in your baby, promoting healthy cognitive and physical development:

Caring physical with your baby contact reduces stress (thereby promoting healthy brain development), helps premature babies to gain weight more quickly, and helps babies to regulate their temperature and to digest more effectively. Regularly carried babies cry less and are provided many opportunities for them to share in everyday social interactions and experiences without overstimulation. http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs611.pdf

2) Safe for daytime naps:

Research suggests that having daytime naps in a sling or carrier is safer for your baby under 6 months than for them to nap in a room alone. http://www.isisonline.org.uk/resources/isis.online/pdfs/ISISPDFSlings.pdf

3) Helps to establish successful breastfeeding:

Using a sling supports the natural process of breastfeeding and helps mothers breastfeed for longer. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2012.02758.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage&userIsAuthenticated=false

4) Helps you to bond with your baby:

Not only does close contact benefit the baby, but it also releases oxytocin (and other hormones) in the Mother’s body, promoting a positive emotional state, aiding bonding with your baby and reducing symptoms of postnatal depression. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302207000179

5) Protects your back and pelvic floor:

Using a well fitted sling or baby carrier will allow you to carry your baby without needing to adjust your posture to compensate for their weight, which could put undue pressure on your spine and your core and pelvic floor muscles (particularly important for a postnatal mum): http://www.lifftslings.com/uploads/files/lifftslings_biometric_report_final.pdf

For help with using slings and baby carriers safely and comfortabley from birth to preschool, and for lots more dicussions and photos join us on Facebook.com/SouthLondonSlingLibrary or Twitter @SLSlingLibrary. x


© 2013 South London Sling Library

Wrap Straps

Today I’m enthusing about Wrap Straps!

Wrap Straps are carrier shoulder straps that are extra wide (about 30cm) and often unpadded. You’ll find them on Asian Style Carriers like Mei Tais, Half Buckle Mei Tais and Podageis and they’re usually made from woven wrap fabric.  Carriers like these are also sometimes called Wrap Conversions or Wrap-Tais (i.e. wrap fabric mei tais).

What’s good about wrap straps? Well, they allow you to spread the fabric to cup your shoulders and to add extra support on baby’s back/bottom.

You can also spread the fabric out across your back for really excellent weight distribution around your whole torso.  Wrap Straps are great for small babies as the straps can really add lovely, gentle support for their backs. And they’re also ideal if you want to use your mei tai for hip carries as the wide straps will cup your shoulder and not ride up into your neck.

 

For bigger babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers the wide straps helps to extend the width of the carrier body so it fits your child for longer. There’s also lots of options for spreading the fabric out to distribute your child’s increasing weight.

Wrap straps enable you to have an asian style carrier that’s easy to use but fits and supports more like a woven wrap…. and if you can’t be bothered with all that spreading out wrappiness then you can still bunch your wraps straps up and use them just like normal mei tai straps!

I’m a massive fan of wrap straps! 😀

There are several off the shelf carriers with wraps straps including: Hop-Tye, Didytai, Maya Tie, BB-tai, Wearababy Wallabi Wrap Tai, Lana baby carrier. These all have completely unpadded wrap straps.

There’s also lots of work at home mum carrier makers who convert woven wraps into mei tais (and others) with wrap straps including: Kitten Creations, Opitai, Kimimela, Monkey Mei Tai, Ocah + more!  Some of these brands offer unpadded straps or wrap straps that are partly padded to give you the advantage of padded shoulder straps whilst still being able to spread the straps out too. There’s lots of options!

The South London Sling Library has examples of almost all of these brands, though they are very popular so we rarely have them all here at once! 😀

© 2012 South London Sling Library

Why do you still need a carrier for your 2 (or 3, or 4) year old?

I get asked this quite a lot. And I don’t mind being asked 🙂 When I was first pregnant the idea of carrying or needing to carry such a large (and surely walking) child seemed rather silly and unnecessary. But then I got a baby of my own, who grew into a toddler, who turned 2…..

….and then I got it.  At 2 my son (and now my daughter) could happily walk, but not for longer than about an hour. And even then he needed to be in a good mood to not be constantly trying to run off into the road or to look at an interesting stick or to get back to playgroup. Or to actually move anywhere without having a tantrum.

And then there’s the times when we’d be out all day and he just couldn’t keep up, or he needed to sleep, or needed lifting to see the exhibits/animals at the museum/farm/aquarium. Or when he was a bit ill and feeling snuggly. Or had just fallen over and grazed a knee, or bumped his head or got his finger trodden on or got barked at by a scarey dog. These things can all prevent the ability to walk when you’re 2.

And some children just need more reassurance than others at the end of a long day of learning and socialising at nursery or playgroup or with friends.  I know I like a hug when I’ve had a big day at work.  And I’d definitely love to be carried home!

So all in all it’s not really surprising that people find they end up carrying their 2 (and 3 and sometimes 4) year olds more than they ever imagined. Luckily there are lots of slings and carriers that will help you do this in a way that’s comfortable and supportive for you both 😀

So here’s a list of some of my reasons for still needing carriers and slings for my 2 year old, and why I expect I’ll still be occasionally using carriers with her for the next year or so.  Feel free to comment to add your own!  And if you’ve got a picture to email, then so much the better! (Please send any photos to southlondonslings@hotmail.co.uk)

Reason Number 1: Naps when out for the day

Number 2: To get from A to B whilst going in the right direction and at a reasonable pace

Number 3: To get an extra hand free (that would otherwise be holding hands/reins)

Number 4: For snuggles at the end of a long, tiring day of running, climbing and learning

Number 5: For that great view you get from Mum/Dad’s back

Number 6: Because when you’re 2 you shouldn’t be expected walk when you have a scratch on your arm

Number 7: To keep them out of puddles and mud when you’ve forgotten wellies, raincoats or any way of protecting the car.

Number 8: Because otherwise it’s not easy to appreciate all those lovely walks and sights on holiday when you’re dragging a reluctant small person

Number 9: Because a sling is much easier to carry about ‘just in case’ than a buggy is

Number 10: Because they don’t want to feel left out

Number 11: Because carrying a 2 year old in your arms or on your shoulders for a long time without support can really hurt!

Number 12: So she can carry HER ‘babies’!

Number 13: Because toddlers don’t walk fast enough when you’re running late for school

Number 14: Because there’s some things you want to do that they just can’t manage…

Number 15: …but they always want to be able to do what you can do, however small

Number 16: Because today they didn’t ever want to leave the house/playgroup/sand pit

Number 17: Because you can also use a sling as an indoor swing

Number 18: …. and as a snuggly blanket

Number 19: Because sometimes it’s just lovely to bask in how much they love you (for the short moments they want to show you)

Number 20: It’s easier to have a conversation when they’re facing you and at your level

Number 21: Because however much SHE’D like to, you really don’t want her running off in here….

Number 22: …or here…

Number 23: …. or here!

Number 24: At the end of a long day for everyone, sometimes it’s the only way for everyone to stay happy get fed without a melt down

© 2012 South London Sling Library

Woven Wrap is a Traditional English Baby Sling…

Almost 15 years ago I studied an anthology of poetry past and present for my English Literature GCSE exam.  One of the poems was written in the 17th Century by the English poet William King (who was pleasingly born in London!) I loved it at the time because of the humour and how a poor woman turns the tables of control on a rich gentleman. And so when I started using long woven wraps to carry my daughter I remembered how poem refers to using fabric in a cross to bind a baby to the adult….. sounds familiar?

It fascinates me that long lengths of fabric were used in this country as baby carriers and that carrying or being close to an adult’s body was known to soothe the baby so that it did not cry. And that this was so widespread that even an educated male poet (who we might expect to have had very little to do with child-rearing) knew about them and why and how they worked, but that in a few generations our culture managed to completely loose this knowledge and skill. Luckily it’s coming back again!

Anyway, here’s the poem – enjoy!

The Beggar Woman

by William King (1663-1712)

A Gentleman in Hunting rode astray,
More out of choice, then that he lost his way,
He let his Company the Hare pursue,
For he himself had other Game in view.
A Beggar by her Trade; yet not so mean,
But that her Cheeks were fresh and Linen clean.
‘Mistress’, qouoth he, ‘and what if we two shou’d
Retire a little way into the Wood.’
She needed not much Courtship to be kind,
He ambles on before, she trots behind;
For little Boby to her Shoulders bound,
Hinders the gentle Dame from ridding Ground,
He often ask’d her to expose, but she
Still fear’d the coming of his Company.
Says she ‘I know an unfrequented place,
To the left Hand, where we our time may pass,
And the mean while your Horse may find some Grass.’
Thither they come and both the Horse secure,
Then thinks the Squire I have the matter sure.
She’s ask’d to sit, but then Excuse is made,
Sitting, says she ”s not usual in my Trade;
Should you be rude, and then should throw me down,
I might perhaps break more Backs than my own.’
He smiling cries; ‘come, I’ll the Knot untie,
And if you mean the Child’s we’ll lay it by.’
Says she, ‘that can’t be done, for then ’twill cry.
I’d not have us, but chiefly for your sake,
Discover’d by the hideous Noise ‘twou’d make.
Use is another Nature, and ‘twou’d lack
More then the Breast, its Custom to the Back.’
Then says the Gentleman, ‘I shou’d be loth
To come so far and disoblige ye both:
Were the Child ty’d to me d’ye think ‘twou’d do?’
‘Mighty well, Sir! Oh, Lord! if ty’d to you!’
With Speed incredible to work she goes,
And from her Shoulders soon the Burthen throws.
Then mounts the Infant with a gentle Toss
Upon her generous Friend, and like a Cross,
The Sheet she with a dextrous Motion winds,
Till a firm Knot the wand’ring Fabrick binds.
The Gentleman had scarce got time to know
What she was doing; she about to go,
Cries, ‘Sir, good buy ben’t angry that we part,
I trust the Child to ye with all my Heart,
But e’er you get another ‘ti’n’t amiss
To try a Year or two how you’ll keep this.’

Oh, and I’ve found a great image that would really fit this page, if I can get the rights to use it!  It’s here: http://www.heritage-images.com/Preview/PreviewPage.aspx?id=1239265


© 2012 South London Sling Library

Washing Slings and Baby Carriers

After a short intermission of failing to wash, our washing machine is once again operational (more or less). This weekend I’ll be churning through all of the library slings to give them a freshen up and I thought I’d post with some general slingy washing and cleaning info.

If you only have one sling, you’ll find you’ll need to plan in when to wash it as most will need to be hung dry and so will be out of action for a day at least.  I’d always recommend having at least 1 cheap spare sling for emergencies if possible.

Soft Slings and Carriers; Wraps, Pouches, Ring Slings and Mei Tais

   

When and how to wash: Wash your soft slings whenever they need it.  For mei tais you may find that the main areas to get soiled are the straps – to avoid getting the whole thing wet you could always sponge clean the straps using warm water and liquid detergent.

All cotton, linen and hemp slings (whether woven, stretchy, ring, mei tai, etc.) should be absolutely safe to wash on a normal cotton cycle at 30 or 40 degrees using non-bio liquid detergent (I use Ecover Delicate).  Some cotton and linen slings can be washed at hotter temperatures, though do check the label. Avoid powder detergents and those with optical brighteners as these are more harsh on the fibres of your sling’s fabric and will reduce the life-span of your sling.

To prepare your sling: For ring slings (and others with rings such as the Close/Caboo Carrier), unthread the sling from the rings and pop a sock over the rings to stop them clanking about inside your machine. You could secure this with a rubber band.  Alternatively you could pop the sling into a pillowcase or cloth bag. I’d also recommend bagging mei tais to prevent the long straps from tying temselves up in knots during the wash. Most wraps are fine to just bung in, though the thinner long ones (like 5.2m Ellaroo wraps) do have more tendency to spaghetti tangles than others.

  

After the wash: All slings can be hung to dry on the line and some can be tumbled on a cool cycle. For cotton, linen and hemp woven wraps, cool tumbling with dryer balls can be a great way to soften them up, especially when new. For soft slings with padding, make sure the padding is not twisted or folded while drying – you may wish to hang the sling on a hanger to dry to help it hang nicely.  You may find that padded mei tai straps and pleated styles of ring sling shoulder can take a couple of days to dry completely.

Most non-stretchy slings can be cool ironed (while slightly damp for the best results). Cotton and linen slings should be able to withstand hotter temperatures and steam ironing, though again do check the label. I would never bother to iron a stretchy carrier!

Notes: The longer you use your sling without washing, the softer and more mouldable you’ll find it gets (imagine jeans after a few day’s wear). If your soft sling is starting to feel saggy or less supportive, then you may find that washing it helps to tighten it all up again – this is most noticeable with stretchy slings.

Even if you’re in a hard water area and washing tends to initially leave your sling feeling a bit ‘crunchy’, it’ll soon soften up again with more use. Older woven slings that have been well used and appropriately washed tend to be the most comfortable and easy to use!

Some slings, particularly woven wraps and more premium ring slings may be made from special fabrics like silk, wool, bamboo, merino, alpaca….. Follow washing instructions for these slings very carefully as you can spoil the wrapping qualities of the sling if it is washed incorrectly. Not all slings made from special fabrics will be hard to wash and most manufacturers will have washing information on their websites so check the manufacturer’s instructions before purchasing if this is a worry for you.

Soft Structured Carriers

Soft structured carriers are usually safe to wash on a cool gentle cycle using liquid detergent.  Many instructions advise you to avoid washing your more structured carrier regularly as, over time, washing can affect the integrity of the padding, webbing and buckles.  I’d always recommend popping your structured carrier into a cloth bag or pillow case to offer it and your machine some protection during washing.

Do not tumble a soft structured carrier – these should be air dried on a line or rack. Make sure that the straps are straight and not twisted for drying – you may find that it’s best to hang on a hanger to help preserve the shape of padded areas. Soft structured carriers can take 2 or 3 days to dry completely due to the padding and more reinforced areas holding water. I try to only wash mine completely when the weather is warm and breezy and perfect for quick drying 🙂

I usually recommend that you avoid machine washing structured carriers unless completely necessary (so in a nappy failure or complete-jam/juice/ice-cream-coverage-type situation). As with mei tais, you’ll find that the parts that get most grubby are the shoulder straps and the top edge of the carrier. Sponge clean these areas and other spots as necessary using warm water and liquid detergent (washing up liquid is fine).

You can get removable strap protectors and even slip covers for some structured carriers that will protect the carrier itself from spills, stains and dribbles and that you can more easily wash in the machine.

Framed Carriers

Obviously carriers with metal framework cannot go in the washing machine, though some have covers or components that are partly removable for washing. Sponge clean other areas as necessary using warm water and liquid detergent and air dry.

If you have any doubts at all about whether a particular detergent or cleaning method is sutiable for your sling, then get in touch with the manufacturer to ask – they should be more than happy to help 🙂


© 2012 South London Sling Library

Slinging in the Sun

It’s a weekend for slinging in the sun! Slings and carriers are great for getting out and about to enjoy the gorgeous weather, so I’ve put together a few thoughts on how to make the most of them for hot weather carrying.

You’re always going to feel warmer when carrying a baby or toddler and to some extent you’ll just have to acclimatise to the heat, like you do without baby or when going to a hotter climate.  Some adults and babies will always manage better in hot weather than others, but there are a few things that can make you both more comfy…

Carriers that are made from natural, lighter fabrics will be more breathable and help wick away moisture.  Linen is naturally cooler against the skin than other fabrics, and bamboo slings tend to be lighter than cotton equivalents. You can also get carriers with special mesh, or solarweave fabrics that are specially designed for hot weather use, offer increased UV protection or will not hold moisture.  These tend to be synthetic fabrics which, while lighter in weight than many natural fibre alternatives may not feel as breathable or comfortable against the skin for some users.

Carriers that that have less fabric can also improve air circulation.  Those that are easy to wash will also be a life-saver when you want to remove traces of sun-cream, sand, drinks and snacks at the end of a long day out.

If your baby is old enough (from around 6 months), and the carrier is suitable, then carrying them on your back will be much cooler than carrying them on your front. Woven wraps, mei tais and most of our soft structured carriers are suitable for back carries from 6 months. If you’re already a confident sling user, then you can back carry a younger baby in a woven wrap and some mei tais from an earlier age.

Ensuring that baby isn’t over-dressed is important, especially when using multiple-layer carries in wraparound slings. Most slings will be the equivalent of least one clothing layer (and wraparound carries up to 3 layers), though do be aware of parts sticking out of the sling and cover/sun-protect legs, arms and heads if necessary. Some mei tais and buckles carriers have hoods that can be used as a sun shade, and you can use the tail of a ring sling to protect baby’s head from the sun too.

We find it most comfy if there is a thin cotton layer between parent and baby to avoid sticky skin rubbing. And adding an extra layer (such as a folded muslin cloth) between your body and baby’s head can help you both to feel cooler, especially when they fall asleep.

Popular Sling Library carriers for hot weather use include lighter weight woven wraps (especially the Ellaroo, Wrapsody and Calin Bleu gauze wraps and the Fil’Up mesh wrap) as well as shorter woven wraps (3-4m long rather than 4-5m long), mei tais (such as the ByKay Mei Tai or Babyhawk) and lightweight ring slings (like our Comfy Joey Linen or Mesh Water Slings).  If you prefer buckled carriers you could try the Library’s Solarweave Connecta or ErgoBaby Performance, which are made from light fabrics that don’t hold moisture.  Or you could think about buckled carriers with mesh panels such as the Pognae or Lillebaby Airflow.  For smaller babies, the lightweight and stretchy bamboo Hana Baby Wrap is a great option too.

The safety and comfort of your baby is important! 

Babies and small children can get hot or cold much more easily than adults do and the smaller the baby the more careful we need to be with extremes of temperature.

Check if your baby is getting too warm: The best way to check (without a thermometer) is to pop a couple of fingers down the back of their neck – they should feel warm and comfortable, not hot, sweaty or clammy.  A baby with a sweaty back is a good sign that they don’t need so many layers!

You can also check their face, hands and feet for colour and touch temperature. And their behaviour may also give you a clue – babies that are too hot often fuss or get agitated more easily.

Keep your baby hydrated!  Make sure that your baby is drinking plenty of water (or milk as appropriate) to replace lost fluids when it’s warm.  And keep yourself hydrated too!

And finally, if you find you can’t keep your baby at a comfortable temperature in a sling during hot weather then consider limiting sling use in the middle or the day.  Remember that in many countries people tend to stay in the shade and rest during the hottest part of the day – if it’s too hot to be out comfortably then you may find it too hot to use a carrier, so have a sling siesta until it’s cool enough to go out again!

If you’ve got any questions about getting the most out of slings and carriers in different weather conditions, get in touch by emailing info@southlondonslings.co.uk or pop along to a drop-in Open Session and we’ll be happy to help!

Enjoy the lovely weather; I know we will! 😀 xx


© 2012 South London Sling Library

Terminology for Parts of Wrap Carries

There are so many different ways to tie a woven wrap and the phrases and terminology can be extremely bewildering so I was thinking that it’d be great to have a list of all the components of wrap carries. This would hopefully help to explain the names of carries and the differences between different woven wrap carries better.  I’ll aim to add pictures and/or links to different parts later on – this is a work in progress so please let me know if I’ve got anything wrong and feel free to ask questions!

So, as I understand it, here are the different features and components of wrap carries….

Positions of the child in wrap carries:

Obvious, but here for completeness as they’re included in some wrap carry names – front, back or hip.

For front carries, tummy-to-tummy is when baby is in a more upright position (this is the best position for a small baby), and cradle is when baby is lying in a more diagonal position (a baby should not be held horizontal in a carrier unless it’s been deliberately loosened for breastfeeding and baby is supported by the parent). You can also have a sideways seated position, where the baby isn’t directly face-on to the parent.

Small babies may also be legs in (have their feet and legs tucked inside the wrap a foetal or froggy position with knees above hips and feet close to their body); in most wrap carries most children will be legs out (feet and legs sticking out of the wrap in a spread squat or ‘M’ position with legs to the sides of their body and knees above bottom – legs should be supported kneepit to kneepit).

All babies may like to be carried arms in (with their arms tucked into the wrap) and from around 4 months babies and toddlers may be carried arms out (with their arms over the top of the wrap passes – make sure that when arms out a baby has sufficient head and upper back strength and is supported by the wrap right up to their shoulder blades/armpits).

Main types of wrap pass:

Rebozo/Hammock pass – over both legs of child and only one shoulder of adult.
Ruck/Kangaroo pass – over both legs of child and both shoulders of parent (ruck is on back and kangaroo is on front)
Torso/Straight pass – over both legs of child and under both arms of adult
Cross pass – anything going between child’s legs (so a pass that goes over one leg, and then under the other). Can go under one of both of the parent’s shoulders.

Other variations/types of passes:

Spread – the fabric is spread knee pit to knee pit, and/or kneepit to armpits/neck + uses as much of the width of the wrap as possible.
Unspread/bunched/gathered/sandwiched – the wrap is bunched up or folded rather than spread out. You’d find sandwiched passes in ruck straps to help them to stay on the shoulders, and gathered wrap cross passes in things like a kangaroo carry or basic ruck tied in front (these last will usually go around child’s bottom and tuck into one or both kneepits).
Reinforcing – anything that goes over the first basic passes of a carry to reinforce and add security and support to the carry. Reinforcing passes are usually spread passes.
Ruck Straps – the two wrap ends each go straight over one shoulder and back under the same shoulder to look like rucksack straps. Ruck straps can also pass from under the shoulder, going over the same shoulder (as in a BWCC with ruck straps). They can be spread, gathered, flipped, twisted or folded.

Other wrap carry components/terminology:

Pocket – any part of a wrap carry where you’re making a pocket/pouch/seat for your child to sit into. This could be any type of spread pass (ruck, rebozo, torso or cross) and is usually used to emphasise that you need to spread the wrap rail-to-rail from kneepit-to-kneepit and ensure that child’s knees are positioned above their hips with their bottom sinking into the middle part of the wrap width.
Top Rail – whichever long edge of the wrap is highest up (this one will often be spreading up the child’s back to their armpit or neck).
Bottom Rail – whichever long, hemmed edge of the wrap is lowest (this one will often be tucked under child’s bottom into their kneepits).
Note that in some carries the rails change position (e.g. in some reinforcing passes, the bottom rail is twisted to the top for the reinforcement to help with tension along both rails). Many wraps have different coloured top and bottom rails to help you keep track.
Chest Belt – in back carries where the tails of the wrap are knotted or twisted around each other on the parent’s chest. This can be done at different points in the carry (e.g. you can tie a chest belt in the middle of the carry after a straight/torso pass; or you could tie a chest belt between two ruck straps after tying off at the shoulder) and adds extra support to help take the weight of the carry off the shoulders and distribute it more evenly around parent’s torso.
Lexi Twist – where the two tails of wrap are twisted around each other behind the child (usually at their bum/seat, but can be at their back), to add extra support for the child’s weight or pull them closer into the parent. Can be used in back, front or hip carries.
Flipped shoulder – the wrap fabric is spread, but twisted once before passing over the shoulders. This is usually to add better tension to the rails and tighten the carry, and also enables the wrap to comfortabley ‘cup’ the shoulder.
Crossed – both ends of the wrap cross over each other at the chest (for back carries) or at the back (for front or hip carries) to more evenly distribute the weight around the parent’s torso. I hope this isn’t confusing with the Cross Pass above.
Robins/Poppins twist – usually in a hip carry where the wrap ends are twisted around each other, usually in front of the parent’s shoulder (rather than over the child as with a Lexi twist), and taken back from the direction they came from. This helps to get tension and security at the beginning of the carry.
Sling Rings – wrap carries can be done using 1 or two sling rings. Sling rings can be used with any length wrap, and have the benefit of being flatter and often more easily ajusted than knots or twists. 2 rings may be used at the end of the carry instead of knotting to allow easy adjustment and tightening; 1 ring may be used in the middle of a carry (e.g. instead of a robbins/poppins twist) to help anchor a part of the carry so that the wrap can be taken back over itself.

Ways to tie off:

In Front (TIF) – generally in back carries, when the wrap tails are tied at the stomach.
At Back – generally in front (or sometimes hip) carries, where tails are tied behind parent’t back.
At Hip – for front or back carries when tails are tied at hip
At Shoulder – for any carry where tails are tied in front of one shoulder – often a slip knot will be used when tying at shoulder for easier adjusting/tightening of the wrap carry.
Under Bum (TUB) – tails pass over both of child’s legs (so sit in both kneepits) and are tied under the child’s bum.
Tibetan – in back carries with ruck straps, both ends of the wrap come under the arm, across the body and loop through the ruck strap on the opposite side to make a cross on the chest. The wrap ends can then be tucked around or into their nearest ruck strap of tied on the chest like a chest belt.
Knotless – in back carries that would otherwise be tied at the shoulder, the wrap ends are twisted around each other and one is threaded through the shoulder strap on the other side. This creates a bunched chest pass for added support and avoids awkward knotting at the shoulder.
Candy Cane – a variation on the knotless finish where the wrap ends are twisted together across the chest from one shoulder strap to another.

Types of carry:

Cross Carry (CC) – any carry that is primarily two spread cross passes in opposite directions so that the child sits with their bottom in the centre of the cross and with both wrap passes giong between their legs. Can be front, back or hip.
Wrap cross carry (WCC) – as above, but with an additional straight/torso pass over or under the cross passes.
Ruck – back carry, usually starts with a ruck pass
Kangaroo – front carry, starts with a kangaroo pass
Double Hammock – usually has two rebozo/hammock passes
Mixed Pass or Wiggle Proof – both of these tend to include a combination of cross, hammock and/or ruck passes to gain the best bits of different types.
(I know there could be more here, but hope that the idea makes sense + will add more later.)

So in my head you can combine these to explain how to do any wrap carry….

So a Rebozo Hip carry is a single rebozo pass with the child at your hip. A Ruck Tied in Front (RTIF) is a ruck pass with ruck straps and bunched cross passes and tied in front. A reinforced ruck is a ruck pass with ruck straps and two spread reinforcing cross passes and tied in front. A Rear Reinforced Rebozo Ruck is basically a rear rebozo carry with another reinforcing rebozo pass + is presumably called ‘Ruck’ because it ends up with ruck straps (rather than an actual ruck pass iyswim?). A Double Hammock (DH) has two rebozo/hammock passes to make the double hammock (and can then end in various ways). A Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) with Chestbelt is a back carry that starts with a torso pass, then you tie a chest belt, then go over the shoulders to make two spread cross passes and tie in front…..etc. etc.

So that’s how I think about it all….I hope it’s all at least vaguely clear!

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This is largely copied from a blog post I wrote on a different site last year, and which can be found here: Terminology for Parts of Wrap Carries

© 2012 South London Sling Library

Baby Carriers Around the World and in the Past

I’m collecting links to interesting articles and films about baby carriers and slings around the world, both modern and in the past.

Things to Watch:

Things to Read:

Things to See and Feel:

  • At the Sling Library we have a range of traditional carriers from around the world, including an Ethiopian Leather carrier, a South American Rebozo, a model of a Native American Papoose, and hemmed fabric in a size commonly used all over the world.
  • You can also often spot examples of babywearing in objects in museums – there’s a fab bronze statue of women working with babies tied to their backs in the African Exhibit at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill!

© 2012 South London Sling Library