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Thursday, January 14, 2010

DIY Babywearing

I recently read a post on a parenting message board. A man asked how much money he'd need to budget for his new baby for each month.
For many, a new baby can be quite costly. A bassinet. A crib. A car seat. A carriage. An umbrella stroller. Clothing for the baby. Formula. Bottles. Daycare. Diapers. For me? I barely budget anything into the new baby expenses. Maybe 250 dollars over the course of a year. (Once they start wearing shoes, kids get a bit more expensive.)
How did I do this?

I'm going to start a series on cutting back on the cost of a new baby. I've already posted quite a bit on cloth diapers so far in my blog and have a few more posts on that subject. One by one I'll cover the rest of the topics listed above, how I get away with barely paying anything. 200 of that 250 dollars was the cost of my cloth diapers, and now I'm onto my second kid with them, so that was a one time expense and didn't even repeat for my second kid.

The easiest way to cut money on baby expenses is, in my opinion, cutting out the big, heavy strollers that are able to fully recline and are meant for newborns. These strollers can be very expensive and they completely unnecessary generally. If you wait till your child is able to sit up and then buy a cheap, light, umbrella stroller, you're able to skip the stage of a reclining stroller entirely.
I can see you shaking your head now in disbeleif. How can someone manage without a stroller for the first few months of a baby's life? you're asking. Your arms would get really tired. Not neccesarily. You don't need to hold a baby in your arms constantly even if you don't have a stroller. Babywearing is a much better option and its much cheaper than a stroller.

There are many ways to wear your baby. You can buy something like the baby bjorn or a ring sling or a Ellaroo mei tai- all of them are cheaper than a stroller. In my opinion, however, none is as comfortable as a Moby Wrap. I've used a wrap for both my babies so far and I truly love them! They are the most versatile, comfortable, and cool way to baby wear, in my not so humble opinion.

Only I never bought a Moby wrap, nor did I ever buy from any other company that sells wraps. I made one myself for a fraction of the cost.

The wraps that companies sell are either stretchy or woven and non stretchy. Having only had experience with stretchy wraps, I can't give recommendations on how to make a woven one, but making a stretchy wrap is quite simple.

You buy 3 yards of teeshirt fabric. You don't want it to be too stretchy; you want the fabricthicker and just somewhat stretchy.
The fabric sold is usually a yard and a half wide, so you'll want to cut your fabric in two, lengthwise. Some fabric stores might be willing to do this for you. If they aren't willing to do so, you can easily to it yourself by folding the fabric in half lengthwise and cut it with fabric scissors down the fold.

That is all that is required to make the wrap. Its really quite simple.
You will have two wraps. You can keep both, or sell or give one away.
With this wrap, you can do so many different ties. You can put your baby in at least 6 different ways on your front, and at least another 3 or 4 ways on your back.
Although I personally have a stroller (bought second hand and got the money to pay for it as a gift), I often prefer wearing the baby to pushing him in a stroller as its easier to not have to worry about stairs and your hands are free. It also lets me be close to my baby while doing housework, because I have him on me buy my hands are free.

The time that baby carriers are the most beneficial are when you have your second child. Most people don't have room to store both their single stroller and a double stroller in their home. The cost of a double stroller is usually quite prohibitive as well.
When one's older child is already walking well but uses the stroller often, in most cases it pays to put your baby in the stroller and let the older child walk, and when needed put the toddler in the stroller and wear the baby. I did this today when I went to do errands. Though I actually own a double, many times its more convenient to use the baby wrap and my single stroller.

Want to know how to tie the wrap in many different ways? Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. NO! You cannot I repeat NOT safely use a stretchy wrap for back carries! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J19oOkQ61hI I knew this is an older post and even the manufacturers were still advising back carries but now it's been found to be very unsafe.
    If you want a cheap nonstretchy wrap that's good for back carries, osnaburg fabric makes a decent wrap using similar instructions as yours. You can use certain types of gauze too. A natural fiber tablecloth like this makes a nice wrap, just cut in half and hem- http://www.amazon.com/Mahogany-Jacquard-Tablecloth-120-Inch-Turquoise/dp/B00CRW9OFG Also many beginner wrappers like a longer length so if they were to make a stretchy wrap (used for front carries ONLY) they'd probably want like 5yds not 3 as a Moby and other commercial wraps tend to be 15+ft (or around a size six in BWing lingo).

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