Thursday, October 31, 2013

Babywearing for the Plus sized mama's

What started it all:

I was asked recently what I'd recommend for a plus sized mama who wants to baby-wear.
First thing I'd recommend is to buy a tape measure and measure your waist. Knowing this measurement will help you when buying a carrier. In many cases a carrier has straps and you need to know if they are going to fit your waist.
Measure just above your hips and at your natural waist(usually around your bellybutton). If the measurements for the carrier's waist ties/belt will wrap around the largest measurement with room to tie a knot(I'd guess add extra 2 feet) then you are probably safe.

DIY Products:

For the crafty mama's I'd first recommend making a carrier. A Mei tie or a stretchy wrap will be fairly simple.
Stretchy's are recommended to start at 5 yards but If you go with 6-7 you will probably be safe. I'm a size L(when newly breastfeeding) 36D cup and a 5 yard wrap is PLENTY long enough for me. I'd guess it would fit an XL mama as well and you could add another yard per size and it won't hurt anything. Once you've wrapped a squish up in the wrap you will be able to tell if it's too long. And if it is, simply trim the "tails" shorter.

Here's some great tutorials on making a stretchy wrap:
The stretchy in this requires some sewing but would be super cute and even cheaper to make:
And in case I forgot to mention it this is typically a NO SEW project!
There is a downside to stretchy wraps though, they really start to get uncomfortable for mom and baby at about 15lbs and you CAN NOT wear them to do a back carry as it is NOT safe.
Here are some of my favorite Stetchy wrap Videos: (You can also look for directions for using the "moby", or "sleepy" wrap but beware any that say it's ok to do a back carry.)

Next would be a mei tie. This one is VERY easy to make if you can do a simple straight stitch on your sewing machine. I recommend this pattern:
McCall's M5678
Ignore the pouch sling as it's unsafe. The striped version is the one you want. Simply make the straps LONGER and you'll be set.
You can use this for a newborn, and infant and even small toddlers.
For free patterns:

And wearing directions:

On the Market:

Now there are products you can buy that will accommodate the plus sized mama.
Wrap Conversion Mie Ties are a great one. The straps are VERY long, and wide, so super comfy. They are more expensive as they are made from pricey woven wraps. You can also look for a Mei Tie with "wrap straps" and that should work.

Next you can try the infantino Sash Carrier:
There are several reviews that state it to be great for plus sized mommies. And there are a few variations of the carrier with different "prints". So long as it's the mei tie carrier this is a GREAT carrier. And you can get them used online for so cheap. An excellent alternative to a bjorn, snuggli or other crotch dangler, or expensive carrier.

Ergo Carrier:
This carrier on it's own isn't perfect for this but This company sells an extension belt that makes the waist big enough and that is what you'd need:

A ring sling:
Most ring slings come in sizes but you can find plenty of mom's who custom make them and can make them the lengt you need. You typically measure from your shoulder to your hip double that, then from your shoulder to where you want the tail to hit on your leg. Though each sling maker will have recomendations for measureing.
Or just buy and XL or Large sling. Make sure the product is made with Sling rings and not any other kind. Sling rings are weight tested individually up to 100 lbs and are MADE for baby wearing. Any other ring is not tested for such and has unknown weight and lead contents. It also may be welded which is a weak point in a ring and can cause breakage, or can tear fabric and cause injury to your baby.
I recommend the following sellers:

Lastly I'd recommended wraps. Wraps are really the MOST versatile carrier out there. And super supportive. Wraps come in many brands but some good starter LittleFrog, Wrap Nap Fairy, BB Slen, Bara Barn,and Chimparoo.
Budget is anything under 100.00 as most wraps are several hundered dollars or more. Even more so for discontinued and hard to find "prints"/colors. All wraps that aren't termed "stretchy" are woven and are great for newborn and up in age. You can wear a 4 year old or a newborn in a woven wrap.

You can even make one yourself with a little work from a tablecloth. There are many tutorials over at the babywearer forums on how to do so. ;)

Photo credit goes to my beautiful mama friends for volunteering their photo's for me to use! Thanks Tamera S., Becky W., And Sabine K.!

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