Water Carriers 101

It’s the stereotypical summer scene: lounging around at the pool or beach on a beautiful, carefree day. Add a baby/toddler/kid (or two), and suddenly this seems a little less idyllic, right? As with everything, there’s a baby carrier for that!

Why a water carrier?

Water carriers are baby carriers that are designed for use in or near the water. Why do you need a special carrier? Because regular carriers aren’t designed for use in water, wearing them wet can put extra stress on the carrier. Water carriers are made with materials that can better hold up to salt water or pool water. Also, a regular carrier can sag or stretch when wet in ways a water carrier won’t – so it’s safer for baby to be in a water carrier if you’re going to be splashing around. Water carriers also dry faster, since they’re made of quick-drying materials and use less padding.

 

Safety First

As with all babywearing, safety is very important. All of the same considerations that you would make for dry wearing should be made for water wearing – you want to make sure baby’s airway is clear and visible, that baby is in an ergonomic position, and that you and baby are both comfortable.

Also, the same as all babywearing, you don’t want to do anything while wearing that you wouldn’t do while holding baby in your arms. While water carriers are made to get wet, you don’t want to actually swim with them – wading and splash pads are perfect, but heading into deep water while wearing isn’t safe. A great rule of thumb is to stay no more than waist-deep in a pool and less deep than that in ocean waves. Remember, baby’s head will always be lower than yours so you need to be extra aware of where baby is in relation to the water.

We often rely on babywearing to corral multiple kids – wear the little one so we can attend to the older one – but when it comes to water wearing, you have to be incredibly cautious. If something happens with the older child, it’s easy to lose awareness of where baby is in relation to the water and accidently dunk them.

 

Picks from the Lending Library

So, how do you pick a water carrier? A good place to start is with which carriers you like on dry land. Whether you prefer a wrap, ring sling, meh dai, or buckle carrier, you can find a water-friendly version. Also, then, consider what you want to use it for. Mesh ring slings are a great, fast-drying option but aren’t ideal for carrying outside of water. A buckle carrier will provide more support for a carry on land as well as in the water.

In the lending library we have several to try out including the Connecta Solarweave and BityBean, which are both buckle carriers, a Water Onbuhimo by Cute Awaking, the Wrapsody Duo water wrap, and water-safe ring slings from Zanytoes and Comfy Joey.

Water Carrier Care

Water carriers need a little extra TLC to extend their life – salt and chemicals can be harsh on them. Once you’re done wearing, it’s best to rinse out the carrier in water and hang to dry. At the end of the season, wash according to the manufacturer’s directions before storing.

How to Rock Your First Babywearing Meeting

We get it. Attending your first meeting can be intimidating. It’s hard to get out of the house with a new baby. Or a toddler. Or one of each. And when you don’t know what you’re walking into, it can be even harder – but we’d still love to see you at a meeting so we’ve put together this quick guide on what goes down at them so you can be prepared. Consider it a cheat sheet to rocking your first babywearing meeting.

 

Before the Meeting

  • Double check the meeting time/date/location on our Facebook group or page. We don’t often switch things at the last minute, but if we do we’ll post updates to both.
  • Come as you are. So you haven’t showered in two days and are covered in spit up? It’s cool. We’ve all been there. We don’t judge.
  • If possible, dress yourself and the kid(s) in layers. Our meeting rooms are often warm (and babywearing is warm) so it’s helpful to be able to shed a layer or two if needed.
  • Bring any carriers that you have. We’re happy to help troubleshoot any issues you’re having or adjust the fit to make you more comfortable. Don’t have a carrier? That’s totally fine! We have a big lending library for you to try on.
  • Kids are always welcome but if you’re still expecting or can’t bring the child, we have weighted demo dolls available.
  • Feel free to bring your support system. Any caregivers, extended family, and friends interested in learning more about babywearing or wanting to be supportive are welcome to come along!

At the Meeting

  • Aim to get there during the first 15 minutes of the meeting. We don’t expect you to be in your seats, ready to go exactly at meeting start time but arriving at the beginning of the meeting will ensure you hear the intro and any announcements and important info we have to share.
  • Check in. We’ll need all attending adults to check in – there’s usually a laptop near the door for this. If you can’t find it, a volunteer will point you in the right direction.
  • Listen to the intro. We’ll start each meeting by introducing the Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs) and volunteers there, going over some basic babywearing safety, and explaining the main carrier types we have in the lending library. It’s a super helpful crash-course for new wearers and a good refresher for seasoned wearers.
  • After the intro, we generally break into groups for more individualized instruction. Each VBE present will take a carrier type and anyone interested in that carrier can join them to learn more. Feel free to switch groups at any time!
  • Does baby need a break? Take one! We totally understand if you need to pause in the middle of something to feed or change a baby. We operate on kid time.
  • Want to take a carrier home for the month? You can! Full details on our lending library and policies can be found here. You can check out a carrier at any point during the meetings – fifteen minutes before the end of the meeting is our “last call” and then we start packing up the library.

After the Meeting

  • Still need some help with getting a proper fit? Want to double-check what you’re doing is correct? Feel free to post pictures to the Facebook group! We’re happy to do some virtual trouble shooting.
  • Have a serious mess or a stomach virus and need to wash that carrier you borrowed? Contact a VBE for washing instructions.
  • Note the date/time/location of the next meeting. Any carriers borrowed from the lending library are due in the first 30 minutes of the next meeting. If you can’t make a meeting, you can drop off a carrier at the closest VBE’s house before the meeting – just send us a message!

We hope to see you at a meeting soon!