This week I went to the Toy Fair in London. It was my second visit to the Toy Fair and I went in my capacity as writer for top toy news website, ToyTalk. I had a great time.
Due to childcare issues (I could write a separate blog post or maybe even a novel about Childcare Issues at the moment) (although it would mostly say 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!') I had to take Eilidh with me. I couldn't face the thought of taking a pushchair on the train, so I decided to carry her or 'wear' her as the trendy hippie mamas would call it. I normally 'wear' her in a moby wrap, as pictured below. This wrap, by the way, was a gift from my hilarious and wonderful best friend Meg who makes clever things at Made by Mum and designs and illustrates professionally at MeganSayers.com. I've taken a series of photos about how to wrap it, but I'll post that another time.
Eilidh is getting too big to carry for long comfortably like this, though, (you can see she's a lot younger in this photo) and I decided I would prefer to carry her on my back. You can put them on your back in the Moby but it's not particularly safe, and certainly not something I'd attempt whilst in a public place.
I don't have a back carrier at the moment so my lovely friend Pip kindly lent me her beautiful Rose & Rebellion carrier to take. Back carrying is surprisingly comfortable. You really don't feel the weight of the baby at all. I am short and fairly small-framed so I actually found the R&R slightly big for me, because if I stood up straight Eilidh leaned out backwards a little. This was fine at the time but the next day I had slightly sore shoulders.
You can put the carrier on your front, and in this case you just do it the same way as a structured carrier like a baby bjorn, and cross the straps across your back. Eilidh slept in it like this on the way to and from the Toy Fair. Getting them onto your back is a little more fun. I've taken a series of photos to illustrate how it's done, as I think I would have found this helpful when I was learning. It really isn't difficult at all. I think the number one tip is to have faith in yourself; you're very unlikely to drop your own baby. Practise over the sofa a few times to start with though, just in case.
Step 1: Attach the carrier around your waist
Step 2: With your child facing you, cross your arms. One palm should face downwards and one should face upwards. Grip your child's shoulders on each side, one from above and one from below. Please grip shoulders not arms; little shoulders dislocate very easily and you would never forgive yourself. I think I look a bit like a ninja in this photo.
Step 3: LIft your baby up and swing them over your shoulder and onto your back, uncrossing your arms as you go. This is called a 'superman toss' or a 'santa toss'. When you've got them onto your upper back, lean forward so that they are balancing on you. Keep hold of them in some way. I like to hold Eilidh's arms over my shoulders for a second till she settles (as pictured at the top of the page) and then put one arm around and hold onto her bum.
Step 4: Make sure you pull the baby's legs foward so that they are round your sides and don't get caught up in the straps.
Step 5: Keeping hold of the baby with one hand. slide your arm into one of the straps, like a rucksack. Keep leaning forward. Change hands so that you're holding onto the baby with the other hand while you slide your second arm into the other strap. You can't see, but I'm holding onto Eilidh with my left hand in this pic. Don't do what I did on Tuesday and forget to fasten the straps beforehand so that when you go to put the straps on you find it unattached and have to start again, while your baby cries!
Step 6: When both arms are through the straps (and your baby definitely inside the fabric... ) stand up straight. Holding the straps, jump and jiggle till your baby is right down inside the fabric.
Step 7: For your baby's comfort and wellbeing, their seat should be deep inside the fabric, with their knees higher than their hips. The fabric should spread from knee pit to knee pit. I find it feels better with the baby's arms inside the straps (below yours) but nothing on earth will persuade Eilidh to keep her arms inside it, and they're perfectly safe out, it just feels more unsteady (and they can pull your hair!)
Step 8: Clip the chest strap. Tighten the straps.
Step 9: Enjoy your hands-free baby!