Blogging has been light … ’cause we’ve been busy! We’ve been working on a handbook that includes lots of information, including illustrated how-to instructions. Ambitious, are we? Well, yeah. 🙂 At one of our photo shoots, my friend Kate asked me to wear her. I was delighted to oblige, of course.
So … here’s me and my friend Kate demonstrating a back carry with a shawl. This particular shawl is a BB-Slen brand woven wrap in the colorway “green paprika” that I bought as a long wrap and cut into two pieces. I made one piece into a ring sling and kept the other as this 2.7m wrap.
Toddler Back Carry With a Shawl
For a baby that sits up well on her own, a shawl makes a relatively easy and elegant back carrier. There are several ways to get a baby on your back; these instructions are for lifting a baby over your shoulder. Please practice this method a few times with a doll or stuffed animal before you try it with a baby. These instructions and illustrations are for lifting the baby over your left shoulder and tying the shawl with the fabric over your right shoulder. Some people may find it more natural to lift over their right shoulder and/or to tie the shawl with the fabric on their left shoulder. When you do a few “dry runs” with a doll, you’ll probably determine your preference; adjust the instructions as necessary.
1. Start with your baby facing you. Put the center of the top rail of the shawl at the top of the baby’s back. With your left hand, wrap an inch or two of fabric over the baby’s left shoulder. The baby’s left shoulder will be on your right side. Now, open your hand like someone about to give you change for a dollar and grasp the fabric and the baby’s upper arm together. Your fingers will be under the baby’s upper arm and your thumb will be on top of the baby’s shoulder, holding the fabric. With your right hand, reach above and across your left wrist and grasp the baby’s upper arm and the fabric together. Make sure you have a secure grasp of your baby.
2. Lift the baby up and over your left shoulder and onto your back. The baby will naturally turn so that she will remain facing you.
3. Continue holding your baby and the fabric with your left hand. Bend over slightly and, with your right hand, reach around your right side and grasp the baby’s right thigh so you have a more secure hold.
4. Now, bend over to make your back as flat as a table. Reposition the baby so that she is in the center of your back horizontally and has her legs wrapped around your waist. Grasp both ends of the shawl, pull them under your arms, and pull them so that the shawl is holding the baby snugly and securely to your back. (This photo basically shows what this step looks like … please pretend that the arm you can barely see is doing the same thing as the arm you can see.)
5. Put the left tail between your knees and clamp it there while you bring the right tail up and over your right shoulder and hold it with your right hand. With your left hand, tuck the bottom rail under your baby’s bottom and the backs of her thighs. Remember, babies sit in slings. The sling must make a hammock under the baby’s bottom and the backs of her thighs, all the way to the backs of her knees. Pull on the right tail and push up on the baby’s bottom to get the highest, tightest carry that feels natural — this is a very important step.
6. Tie a half knot at the front of your chest, wherever it feels most comfortable. Pull tight.
7. To get as much slack out of the fabric as possible, now pull on the two tails “diagonally” … pull on the top rail of one tail while pulling on the bottom rail of the other tail; repeat on the other diagonal. Once you’re satisfied that you have the baby at the highest position on your back that feels comfortable to you and that the fabric is as snug as you can get it without overtightening, tie the fabric again to turn the half knot into a square knot.