We had a full house this month! Thank you to everyone who made it out! Topics this month included aging stretchy wraps, infant inserts in SSCs, mei-tai modifications for newborns, and babywearing in the heat.
Our new Lillebaby was checked out of the lending library for the first time and we have finally added photos of our other new lending carriers! If you are interested in using our lending library, check out the tab above. We don’t charge but we do ask that people attend two consecutive meetings before checking out and provide a deposit check for the carrier (which is returned when the carrier is returned).
Stretchy Wrap Life Cycle
It is awesome when a well-loved wrap gets passed from friend to friend as new babies arrive– unless it’s a stretchy wrap. Which is kind of heartbreaking because stretchy wraps are often the first carriers to hold a newborn but they have such a short span of usability before a baby is either too strong or too heavy for safe comfortable use. So we pass it along, and along– but with each washing and each use the fibers weaken. The more spandex that is in a stretchy wrap the faster this will happen but it happens eventually to all knit fabrics. A supportive wrap should only stretch a couple inches in each direction and return to shape immediately. It should hug curves not drape around them.
A good test to see if your stretchy wrap is past it’s prime is to hold it up to a bright light. Are there patches where the light is shining through? That is a weak point and your wrap isn’t as supportive as it should be. Do you see holes in the knit? Stop using it as a baby carrier.
SSC’s Newborn Inserts
Many brands of SSCs have built in modifications for newborns, which do the same thing as stand-alone newborn inserts: they narrow the seat and boost up the baby in the body of the carrier. But not all newborns need a modification, it depends on the length of their legs and torso in comparison to the body of the carrier– not baby’s age, weight, or development. For those carriers without built-in modifications, the newborn insert is an optional accessory. The same thing can be accomplished with a folded blanket placed under the newborn’s bottom, allowing them to be supported knee to knee (but not beyond) and to be boosted high enough in the carrier that their shoulders and back are supported (preventing them from slumping into the carrier). If you aren’t sure if you need a modification or if your baby is big enough to do without one, you can post a photo on the FB discussion page or visit us at a meeting.
Mei-Tai Newborn Modifications
Mei-tais are very similar in concept to SSC’s but without added structure, this means they can be adapted to fit the newborn without an insert or folded blanket. For example, instead of boosting a short baby up, you can fold the waistband to make the body shorter, instead of creating a narrower seat inside the carrier, you can cinch or scrunch the body panel of the carrier to make it narrow enough for your baby. Depending on the cut of the mei-tai body and the body type of the wearer, additional modifications may be required to support a particularly squishy newborn. For example, after crossing the shoulder straps behind you, bring them to the front and twist them starting just below baby’s shoulders and stopping at their bottom, before bringing them back behind you to tie off. This pulls LO closer and supports their back to prevent them from slumping into c-spine inside the carrier.
It is safe to babywear when it’s hot outside, so long as you are using a breathable fabric carrier. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a natural fiber but if it is synthetic it needs to be something designed to wick away moisture so it can be evaporated. As a bonus, with your LO attached to you in the summer heat, you are much more likely to pay attention to cues that LO is getting too hot and seek shelter.
There are product available that are designed to bring down body temperature, for example Frog Togs Chilly Pad (#notspons) which you wet (but it will feel dry) and then place on your skin, it evaporates very quickly cooling you. It is not recommended to use them on newborns, as they do not regulate their temperature as well as older babies and may become too cold too quickly. There are other summer products that can make babywearing in the summer more enjoyable, including lightweight carriers made of UPF fabric that are safe to use in the pool and sun protective clothing, for more information check out our Babywearing at the Pool or in the Shower previous post.