Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Emergency Babywearing for the Non-Emergency

A couple months ago following the tragedy of the Japanese tsunami, we discussed emergency babywearing in a true emergency situation: natural disaster, fire, injury.  In this post we follow up with emergency babywearing in a non-emergency situation.  These are those occasions where your babywearing skills come in handy even though it isn't a true emergency.  Babywearing is a skill, not a carrier.  Once you have the skill, almost anything can carry your baby. And sometimes those baby carriers can stand in for other things needed in your non-emergency.

Situation #1:
 You've gone to the library with your kids.  You thought both were ready to look at books peacefully, so you didn't bring in a carrier, but your toddler begins grabbing books from the shelves and you need to get her away from them.  Your lovely scarf can come to the rescue:

This same solution can come to the rescue at an outdoor market where you can pick up a pashmina, selendang, or sarong.  Or at Target (or other store) where you can find a scarf or table cloth from the clearance bin that will work well. I've also pressed a pashmina into service when I couldn't find a carrier to go with an outfit for a dress occasion (ignore the terrible knot positioning, this was early in my wrapping carrier).

Situation #2
Your family has headed to the beach.  You only had a short walk, a few blocks at most from the house/hotel/car, and you knew your preschooler would have no trouble with the walk.  But at the end of a long day of beach fun, your preschooler is wiped out and doesn't have enough juice to make it home.  What now?  You still have to carry the beach stuff back, so you can't carry them in arms.  Your towel to the rescue!
I actually had this that same day with my toddler.  I carried her in arms from the car (not sure why, I was excited about our day at the beach and wasn't thinking clearly), then at the end of the day, I was too tired to carry her back and get the stuff to the car...
Ariel towel to the rescue!

Situation #3
Sometimes you have an emergency of an entirely different sort.  We've all had the experience when a baby has a diaper leak, or pours out a cup of juice, but when it occurs when you are wearing them, you get wet too.  Most moms carry extra clothes for baby, but what about you?  Do you get to stay icky and wet?  Now, how to get home?  A double hammock carry with your wrap will provide the coverage of your top without having to put the dirty shirt back on.  Once you've made it home, or at least to the relative safety of the car, you can usually find a longer term solution.  Perhaps you won't be the height of fashion, but you will be dry and covered.

It seems whenever I'm around my kids, they find ways to make me a mess.  During my older daughter's swim class a few weeks ago, my toddler was determined to get in the pool.  I spent the class chasing her and trying to keep her from falling in.  I was wearing a long skirt, and squatting by the pool edge I got the skirt all wet.  I had a long drive ahead of me, and wearing a wet skirt to drive didn't sound comfortable at all.  A short wrap to the rescue.  A wrap can stand in for a skirt in many situations.

Situation #4
Finally, sometimes you brought a carrier, you remembered extra clothes (or managed to stay clean), you remembered to pack sandwiches, snacks and drinks, what you forgot was a place to PUT the lunch down.  That carrier can come in handy here as a table cloth or picnic blanket:

A tangent to this one is when you arrive where you are going to eat and discover that there are no high chairs.  Sometimes leaving baby in the carrier will work fine with a small baby, but an older baby or toddler may want to join in the meal, so once again, carriers to the rescue:

So remember that knowing how to babywear is about more than knowing how to use a carrier in its intended fashion correctly.  It's using a skill and fabric devices to make your life better.


  1. Thanks for the ideas! I'm going to go practice wrapping random household item's around my body!

  2. Great article! I've done some of these myself and in a small way, it does feel like a brilliant solution in an "emergency".

  3. Thanks for this!

  4. Wow!!! Nice post. Very good explanations and suggestions to handle these kind of situations. I m sure these will be very helpful to lots of mamas. Thanks for sharing.

    Take the test Caring For Toddlers and find out how good are you at caring for toddlers.

  5. I've used a ring sling to secure a wiggly 1yo to a restaurant chair before! Worked great!

  6. I love it. I miss those days of baby wearing. In my baby wearing days I have done all of those you suggested plus some. We used a sweat shirt tied around my waist as a baby carrier for a tired 2 year old while out hiking. It helped that it was my husband's sweatshirt. It gave us more fabric to work with.

  7. Could we see a post about knot tying? Specifically a slip knot to turn a scarf/pashmina/shawl into a carrier? I'd also love to see a few close-ups of the towel-turned-carrier. I tried it and my knots kept slipping.

  8. For the towel/kanga, I find knots are sometimes less sucessful than twisting and tucking. I twist the 2 ends and then tuck the bundle under itself. That seems to hold well and end up tighter than a true knot.

    I can't find a video I like right now for slip knots, and that would probably make a good post unto itself, so I'll work on making one in the next day or so.