Have you seen those oh-so-awesomely-cool hippie Mamas wearing their babies in crowded places? They look so hip! So in tune with the needs of this tiny person that can’t yet manage to walk through the masses of humanity on their own. It’s so much tidier than a stroller. I want to be like them!
A note before I go on: I have no desire to wear my baby all day every day. He’s hot. And heavy. And awfully wiggly. But at an indoor rummage sale or a craft show with lots of fragile stuff lying about just BEGGING to be touched I really hate the gigantic limousine of a stroller that Chubby Hippie Baby and I usually enjoy.
So… I went on a search for a baby wrap. I learned three things.
The first: baby wraps are really expensive (by my cheap skate make-my-own-diapers-out-of-old shirts standards). You can easily spend $50-100 on a pretty wrap. If you try hard you can spend $500 or more!
The second: baby wraps are a giant rectangle of fabric. Sometimes there are slight additions to the fabric. There may be rings to tighten it or tags to center it. But mostly, it’s just a big rectangle. A really expensive big rectangle.
The third: These things are comically difficult to use! There are you tube videos that make it look so simple. Maybe it’s easier with a smaller baby. Or maybe I just don’t have enough practice. I don’t know. But, upon learning that they are just a giant rectangle, I decided to enlist my daughter’s help in getting my very large 9 month old into a wrap. 30 minutes later we were both sitting in the middle of the living room floor weeping with laughter. The baby just seemed rather bewildered and somewhat frustrated to be wrapped up in multiple yards of ugly puke-pink cotton. (It was what I had on hand to experiment with).
OK. So, wearing my baby wasn’t off to a great start. I did my go-to move. I Googled “wear my baby,” and I learned about the Mei Tai. This Asian style carrier is like a cross between my old Infantino soft-mold carrier that he no longer fits in and a totally cool hippie wrap. It is, basically, a baby-sized rectangle with four very long straps. You center baby in the rectangle and just wrap the STRAPS around yourself. This is much easier! Also much cooler. As the first day of spring in MI this year was a global-warming-freaky 84 degrees out, cool is an important consideration. It can be worn on the front or back. I loved this as, sometimes I want my sweet boy face-to-face so I can visit with him but, sometimes, I need him on my back since he’s as heavy as a newborn elephant.
Babyhawk (http://www.babyhawk.com) is a popular brand of Mei Tai style carriers. They are seriously super cool. If you are not as cheap as me, save 2 hours of sewing and buy one of their products! That said, if you think $109…. that’s right…. $109 (In my house that’s about a week of groceries, 1/2 of a month’s worth of electricity or 30 days of car insurance. It’s a lot of dough!) is not too much to spend on a small rectangle with four long straps you should check out this fabulous tutorial:
Alissa’s instructions are super easy to follow! I used her pattern and did what I do. I sort-of-kind-of in the fast, sloppy way I have of sewing, followed it. I added some length to the straps because I’m a whole lotta hippie woman to wrap. I LOVE it! It is super easy to use! I don’t get tired at all carrying CHB on my back. Putting him in the front is a little bit of work for me, but still far more comfy than the Infantino carrier.
All together it took me 2 baby naps and an episode of Yo! Gabba Gabba! (that’s how I measure time these days) to get it done. Final cost for 2 yards of new fabric (I also used about 2 yards I already had) was about $9. I saved $100!
Here’s my version of the Mei Tai. (Alissa’s is much more professional. She is far craftier than this lazy hippie will ever be):