I’ll admit that when Lori and Katie told me that this month we were doing cross training, I said, “Nope.” I, in case you didn’t know, have a true hatred for sweating and working out, but mostly sweating and I try to experience everything if we are going to write it as a group post. Wasn’t hiking enough out of my comfort zone? The things I do for y’all!! *insert dramatic fainting*
BUT… we’re talking about carrier cross training! Like comparable carriers. Now, HERE is a cross training I can get behind. Perhaps even my FAVORITE cross training! No sweat! (see what I did there?)
ANYWAY, enjoy this SUPER informative and educational post by our edu-blogger, Katie.
(My favorite way to use this post is to think of it as, “If you like _____, try this. Just find the carrier that you love and flex your cross training muscles! Also, check the end for a note about scheduling this month.)
For the month of September, we’ll be exploring babywearing cross training! Perhaps you’ve found your child growing out of a previously loved style of carrier, or wanting to explore another style of carrier with similar qualities or mechanics when putting it on. We’ll discuss several different carrier varieties and brands that are comparable to one another. Many of which can be found in our lending library at our monthly meetings!
Many caregivers start out with a stretchy wrap because of their moldable softness with a new baby. You may find that you outgrow it more quickly by a certain weight range, or perhaps would like the coziness of a stretchy wrap without the wrapping. Let’s explore the hybrid wrap, the woven wrap, and the Baby K’tan as similar options.
- Hybrid Wraps – If you love the t-shirt soft coziness of a stretchy wrap but would like something you can use for a back carry then a hybrid wrap may be a good option. A hybrid wrap has a similar knit cotton or cotton/spandex blend but with a slightly different weave that provides more support for heavier babies and thus makes it a good option for front, hip, and back carries.
- Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid – Made of 100% cotton jersey and can be used from birth to 35 pounds. Available in a variety of hand dyed and batiked prints. One size.
- Ergobaby Wrap – Made of cotton and spandex, may be used from 8-35lbs. Comes in several two-tone, solid colors. One size.
- Je Porte Mon Bebe (JPMBB) – Made of cotton and spandex, may be used from birth to 30lbs. Available in a variety of two-tone, solid colors. Short and long sizes available.
Woven Wraps – If you enjoy the mechanics of wrapping and would like to move on to something more sturdy and supportive after your baby has outgrown your stretchy wrap, a woven wrap is a great option. A woven wrap can also be used for front, hip, and back carries, whereas a stretchy wrap cannot. Woven wraps are one of the most versatile styles of baby carriers available, used from birth to toddlerhood and beyond. They vary widely in length, weave structure, fiber content, and are offered from many different brands across the globe.
Baby K’tan – The Baby K’tan is a brand of carrier similar to a stretchy wrap but without the wrapping. It consists of two pre-sewn loops that slip over the caregiver like a t-shirt, with a third sash piece to go around baby and caregiver for extra support. It can be used from 8-35 pounds and requires appropriate sizing to fit correctly. It can only be used in a front or hip position. It comes in original cotton, sport fabric, cotton-mesh, and organic cotton.
Do you love your ring sling for quick ups for your toddler, but want something a bit smaller to fit in your diaper bag? Perhaps you enjoy the ease of a one-shouldered carry and the breathability of a single layer of fabric, but would like to try different carries from time to time?
Pouch – A pouch is very similar to the one-shouldered carry of a ring sling but without the adjusting. It is a sized carrier, so finding the right size is important for proper fit and comfort. It can be a quick, easy option that packs down small to bring with you on the go. BWI of Greater Austin is pleased to offer a Pouch Exchange Program where you can get fitted, exchange one you already own for the proper size for FREE, or purchase your very own for $5 at our monthly meetings!
Rebozo – A woven wrap rebozo carry with slip knot provides the breathability and ease of a one shouldered carry similar to a ring sling, with the versatility of a woven wrap.The mechanics of adjusting a slip knot are similar to a ring sling. Instead of strand by strand tightening across the front of the body through rings, you’ll be tightening one tail after it has been drawn across the back and through the slip knot. A rebozo carry can be accomplished with a size 2+ woven wrap.
If you gravitate toward woven wraps or are a long-time wrapper, but find that a pre-tied waist belt is necessary either for a seat popping toddler or for more support for long-term wearing, a mei tai can be a nice alternative. High back carries are also a breeze with a mei tai.
Mei Tai – Mei tais consist of a pre-tied or buckled waist belt, a body panel, and either padded, wrap-strap, or a combination of both styles of straps. Tie off options include ruck and chest belt varieties. Wrap style straps provide similar support that you as a wrapper are already familiar with, and can be spread in a similar fashion.
Mei Tais with padded style straps –
- Babyhawk – Can be worn from 8-40 pounds. Available in a wide variety of colors and prints with customization available. Fits up to a women’s size 20/22 or mens XXL.
- Cabird Baby – Fits children who weigh between 9-35 pounds. Offered in a variety of colors and prints. Fits up to size 18/20.
- KoKaDi TaiTai – Baby size fits from birth to 12+ months (8-18 pounds). Toddler size fits approximately 10-24 months, and Toddler XL fits from 18-30 months. KoKaDi wrap conversion prints. Maximum length of waistband is 44 inches.
- Infantino Mei Tai – A good budget option. Can be worn from 8-36 pounds. Available in a variety of prints. Fits up to size 30-32.
Mei Tais with wrap Style Straps –
- Didytai – Can be worn from birth until approximately 18 months. Didymos wrap conversion prints. Total waist strap length of 83 inches.
- Girasol Mysol – May be used from 8-35 pounds. Girasol wrap conversion prints. Total waist strap length of 86 inches.
- BB Tai – Fits newborns up to 44 pounds. Available in wrap conversion and solid prints. Waist strap length approximately 73 inches.
- Fidella Fly Tai – Fits newborns to 33 pounds. Available in Fidella wrap conversion prints. 74 inch waist strap length.
Buckle carriers feature a wide variety of characteristics with no two fitting exactly the same (much like pairs of jeans!) which makes it convenient to adjust and buckle for individual caregivers once properly fitted. But they can’t always be shared easily between different sizes caregivers.
Mei Tais – If you love to convenience and ease of a buckle carriers but are looking for something that can be shared easily between two differently sized caregivers without having to adjust, a mei tai provides the familiarity of waist and shoulder straps similar to your buckle carrier, but with tie waist and shoulder straps.
Half Buckle Tais – If you’d like to merge both worlds, half buckle tais provide a structured, buckle waist with mai tai shoulder straps.
Reverse Buckle Tais – Opposite to a half buckle, the reverse buckle consists of a tie or ring waist similar to a mei tai and shoulder straps that buckle.
You love your mei tai, but perhaps you’re looking to branch out and try something new but familiar. The onbuhimo or podaegi may be two carriers to try.
Onbuhimo (onbu for short) – The onbu consists of two mei tai style straps and two rings on each bottom corner of the body panel that the rings are threaded through.
Podaegi (pod for short) – The pod consists of two mei tai style straps and an extra long body panel in varying widths without a tie waist.
Whether you’re looking for something similar after your child has grown out of what you’ve known and loved or want to branch out and try something new, there are so many options out there for everyone! Please bring your carrier cross-over questions and join us for the 102 portion of our meetings during the month of September!
Because of the way that calendar fell with our Monday morning meeting being moved up a week AND the incredible photography talents that attend our meetings, we have a rare opportunity for the Babywearing 102 post. We have pictures of it actually being taught BEFORE the information is posted! On Monday, our Cedar Park meeting enjoyed some babywearing cross training with Leigh! It was super informative and very well-done and we hope you get to see it in person!