Babywearing with Jess


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Breastfeeding in a woven wrap in a cradle position

A Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) is generally the first carry most people learn in a woven wrap. This way to adapt the carry to allow you to feed in a cradle position is shown in the video below:

 

Make sure to follow the breastfeeding safety guidelines which are talked about in the video (in case you want to watch it without sound cause you are feeding baby right now! 😛 )

 

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Taming the beast!

I am a massive ring sling fan, I have worn one pretty much everyday for over the last year! My first open tail woven converted ring sling was a Girasol Saltillo which I got when Josh was 18 months old. It was the first ever thing I wore Jai in only a few hours old!

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Not long after he was born and I realised how much of a ring sling fan I was, a friend and I went halves in getting a Natibaby Oxytocin wrap converted into a ring sling by K.I Designs. It is a cotton/hemp blend and the extra stiffness and bulk added by the hemp has completely softened after a year of use! It is my go to ring sling, partly because of the wrap having a “right” and “wrong” side (different look to the print), which makes it easier to spot which way is up and avoid getting myself twisted or tangled with quick ups and downs.

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But now my youngest boy is nearly 14 kgs, despite only just having turned one.. and when my threenager has super epic hormone surging meltdowns and tantrums, it is still a ring sling which I would first reach for first and I thought it might be time to look at getting something even more “toddler worthy”…

So I recently purchased a heavy duty woven wrap that had been made into a ring sling, Poe Chevron converted by Island Customs, as part of a fundraising auction for a new babywearing group being established in Geraldine, a small town down the line in the South Island of New Zealand.

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I knew it was a heavy duty wrap before purchasing it, Poe Chevron is a 425 g/m2 wrap, the weave is made of four different threads, as opposed to two in a standard Poe woven. It is noticeably thicker and heavier than a standard woven wrap.

And both beastly and beautiful it sure is, just like the threenager I am planning to use it to help me tame 😉 but when it first arrived, it was hard work even threading it or tighten through the rings… Not that it was of any concern to my snuggly 3.5 year old who cuddled right in and said “it’s like a snuggle blanket!!”

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Which is lovely but on that first try, I needed some serious bicep power and fiddling to adjust it. Which isnt unexpected with a thicker or heavier weave ring sling wrap conversion.. My hemp/cotton Natibaby took a while to easily glide through the rings as I adjusted it…

But Poe Chevron is a whole different ball game, and as I blogged about recently, my go to approach of a wrap hammock to soften and break in my wraps with my kids help, isn’t going to work the same with a ring sling!

So here’s what I have done so far, because I said I would share the process with you! 😉

First, and this is seriously essential, you need to wash your wrap. When wraps arrive new to you, they are often in what is called “loom state”. They have just come off the loom, the weave hasn’t had a chance to settle into place. It is wise to always check the care instructions for your particular wrap on the manufacturers website or in an instructional booklet if you have one, even wraps of the same blend may require different care so it’s safest not to assume anything and double check!

So in this case, following the guidelines on the Poe website, I used a cold wash on a delicates cycle and liquid detergent. I then tumble dried and gave it a through steam iron on the cotton setting.

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Once I had done those steps, it already felt a little softer and mouldable.. But the thing with a ring sling is you are pulling a piece of material, in this case 66cm wide through and between two metal rings, which in this case are about 8.5cm in diameter. There is always going to be some “work” required to soften up that gliding action of the material through the two rings.

The best way to soften or ease that process is by doing it really… Today we had a movie afternoon because we were all feeling average after a long week. So after Mr 3.5 and I went to the video shop and got some DVDs, we sat on the couch together, and while we watched, I sat and pulled the material through the rings and back again.


(riveting photage I know! Haha)

This is a seriously heavy duty wrap, despite changing sides and taking a break, my arms where sore after a while!! So I resorted to an alternative approach of tightening and loosening it as I was wearing it (thanks again Jai for your hands on help with that video hahah).

I’ve already given it another steam iron and will probably sit and pull it through and back again as my husband and I watch something on Netflix later but it’s already noticeably easier to pull through…

We will soften and tame this beast yet! 😉


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Breaking in a wrap…

Once upon a time, second hand wraps commanded a high price in a healthy babywearing market. The bottom has fallen out of the market a bit at the moment and I personally suspect it is somewhat to do with the influx of people new to babywearing, trained to buy, buy, buy and only the best, which often equates to new for first time parents at least- I know it did for us! The advantage and benefit to second hand in the world of babywearing is that buying something someone else has used, comes “broken in”…

This is relevant to all carriers but particularly poignant in the world of woven wraps or woven wrap conversions… (stretchy wraps are the exception to this rule, please don’t try to “break in” a stretchy, it will likely lose most of its stretch and be really unsopporting!) Some brands and blends are heavier and require more “work” than others…. Often people will borrow something from my library, buy a brand new version of the same thing and say to me “it’s not as soft as yours”…

Of course not! Mine has been worn by me for at least some period of time and then loaned out to others before you have even had a chance to try it… And to take the work out of that for myself, I often buy second hand. Wraps doesn’t lose as much value as other second hand baby items do because they are often nicer to use after someone else has “broken them in”!

Breaking in wraps is a bit of a drawn out process of washing, drying, ironing, braiding and using wraps as the weave settles. Though personally one of my all favourite ways to break in or soften a wrap is to set it up as a wrap hammock for my kids to play in!

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Under the dining table, in a cot or toddler bed like our currently permanent set up in the nursery (as our toddler this time round uses his cot and toddler bed just as much as his big brother did, which is not at all!), under bunks, in a tree (tie a towel or something around the branch before you throw your woven wrap up there at least!!), on the hammock stand… Anywhere we can secure it… I string a wrap up, making sure to double knot it tightly and check the security, then encourage my kids (it seriously doesn’t take much!) to swing, climb, squirm around… Whatever they want to do in it…

The whole time they are enjoying this “special fun activity” they are also stretching and pulling the weave to settle, soften the wrap with each hammock…

I have a heavy duty woven converted ring sling on its way to me soon and it’s going to test my conventional “breaking in” method as it won’t be long enough for a hammock! So watch this space and I will shortly share with you the process of trying to break in a heavy duty woven already custom converted into a ring sling with you shortly!!


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Testing Tarabeau’s Neo (size 6) Woven Wrap

I was lucky enough to be sent a tester wrap all the way from The Netherlands from Tarabeau recently. The whole line is beautiful, but it was the pretty Neo that won over my attention most.

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Neo is a beautiful 50/50 blend of Egyptian cotton and finely woven silk. It was beautiful and soft straight out of the box! Certainly no heavy work required to break in or soften this wrap!

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The colourway was even more beautiful than what I had expected from pictures and both sides are as vibrant and striking as each other. It has a very luxurious feel to it and is very visually striking when wrapping. I found myself changing finishes in a ruck carry as I didn’t feel like it was showing off enough of the beautiful print!

I tried a few different carries in this wrap; kangaroo carry, FWCC, Poppins hip carry and ruck with both a standard and also Tibetan finish.

I have found a poppins carry can be difficult to get secure in some wraps, the other silk wrap I have is way too slippy for me to yet achieve a good, comfortable poppins for very long. While a poppins is usually my preferred hip carry at the moment in a woven wrap, normally in silk it is not a carry I would attempt based off my past experience (I used a Robins Hip carry in my Ellevill Silk Blue for my sisters wedding as I couldn’t get a tight, secure poppins).

In Neo that wasn’t an issue, the blend affords itself to a slight diagonal stretch which is really forgiving to wrap with. I was able to achieve a really comfortable poppins hip carry and successfully used it to battle a “nap strike” that had been going on for many hours with Mr 1!

We also took Neo out with us for a trip to our local beach, Muriwai. Even before it arrived, there was something particular about Neo specifically from the Tarabeau range that made me think of the shiney black sand beaches and blue crashing waves out there. After my husband showing me some of the snaps he took for me, it certainly lived up to that expectation and there are also soo many beautiful photos from that trip that a slideshow is probably the best way to share them!

We specifically went to Maori Bay, which has a rather steep and decent walking track to get down to the beach. We also had to navigate some pretty rocky terrain as the recent weeks of storms and king tides have eroded the sand and changed the beach landscape. Initially I had Jai in a hip carry for the walk down and attempted to put him in a kangaroo carry for the beach walk which he wasn’t having a bar off! So I resorted to a ruck and we went off exploring the rock pools, having running races with Mr 3.5 and finding starfish.

We walked for well over an hour, maybe closer to two… the wrap and carry, even with only a single pass, were definitely comfortable for that time. We would have probably explored for longer if it wasn’t for the cold winter sea wind, despite the sunny skies!

The colours and print are really versatile and match with pretty much anything I could find in my wardrobe. And it truely has been, for me, a pleasure to get to host, try and play with Neo! I am a little bit sad to have to pass it on, but excited for Neo to continue to New Zealand tour and for other Kiwi babywearers to discover the beautiful work from Tarabeau!

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Check out Tarabeau on Facebook or Instagram for some pictures of the other beautiful wraps in this line.