Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and Winter Hill – Sister wraps

Slinging twins with the Cloudburst Cascade sister wraps!

I came here today to write about our Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and Winterhill wraps, but before I started I read the review that The Wrapping Years have written about Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and I really don’t think that there is anything that I could add to tell you any more than she has written so beautifully already, so I’ll be brief and share lots of lovely photos.

In hand, Cloudburst feels fairly light, and very floppy. When I took it out of the package, Cloudburst virtually flowed out, pooling on the floor in a puddle of delicious fabric. There’s a contrast between the silky smooth soft Cascade warp face and the fine, slightly rougher, texture created by the two different threads in the weft. 

What are sister wraps? Firespiral Sister wraps share the same warp and weft, but with different designs. Previous examples are Solstice Obsidian Starmap and Kaleidoscope, CMYK Obsidian Charters Moss and Gossamer, and SETI Cascade Starmap and Harvest (to be released as our Winter Wovenland exclusive).

Twin nap time in the the Cloudburst Cascade sister wraps

The Cloudburst wraps are both tri-blends of 59% cotton, 33% linen 8% viscose. They are medium weight wraps at around 250gsm, making them great all-season all-rounders. The multi-tonal turquoise Cascade cotton warp face is velvety soft, the indigo Cloudburst weft face a little rougher, but providing some brilliant grippiness to keep any wrap job solid! They are soft from the first wash but will soften further with use. They are thin enough to be suitable from birth but sturdy (and supportive) enough to use with a heavy preschooler. (that’s me in the last photo with my 4-year-old!)

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam

Cloudburst Cascade Winterhill

Cloudburst Cascade Winterhill

Carrying a hefty child in Cloudburst Cascade Winterhill

Cloudburst Cascade Seafoam and Winterhill will be available from our online shop from 10am (BST) on Saturday 28th October. There will also be a small number of matching scarves available.

 

SETI and Sentinal Cascade Harvest; Our Winter Wovenland Exclusive Wraps

For this Winter Wovenland, we have two exclusive wraps –  SETI and Sentinal Cascade Harvest. 

I bet you’re wondering why we have chosen to weave two very similar wraps –  well, the answer is, we didn’t!

There was only supposed to be SETI Cascade Harvest – it was to be the ‘sister wrap’ of SETI Cascade Starmap, and was to be released at the same time. 

Except halfway through the weaving of SETI Harvest we received a call from the weavers to tell us that we had run out of one of the weft yarns – a gorgeous thick, creamy white cotlin (cotton linen blend). This was not a standard yarn, it had been bought as a one-off package and used previously in Pyrula Aqua Vortex,  so we couldn’t just go and buy some more. We made the decision at this point to weave-on without the

We made the decision at this point to weave-on without the cotlin, using just the remaining natural linen and viscose linen blend, until the end of the warp. 

This leaves us with two very similar, very small packages of wraps, perfect to be used as our event exclusive(s) for Winter Wovenland 2017!

SETI Cascade Harvest

Until you look closely, these two wraps look very much the same, although SETI is thicker, heavier and more dense in hand.  Sentinel weighing 255 gsm and SETI coming in at 305 gsm (putting it into our heavy wrap price bracket). Both wraps feature our autumnal oak tree, leaves falling from the branches, but in a change to last year’s release of Harvest in that there is a menagerie of critters inhabiting this autumn landscape.

Weft comparison

Sentinel is the thinner of the two wraps and is a great all-rounder, thin and soft enough to be used with a newborn, yet sturdy enough to support an older child. SETI is thicker and more grippy due to the striations created by the pattern formed by the weft yarn, this makes it a rock-solid toddler wrap. Both of these wraps will be available to try on in our trying on area at Winter Wovenland alongside other in-stock wraps and exciting future releases! 

SETI Cascade Harvest

If there are any of these wraps left over after out Winter Wovenland event we will list them for sale on our website once we are back and unpacked!

SETI Cascade Harvest – weft face

SETI Cascade Starmap

The time has come to write a post about our main September release – SETI Cascade Starmap, but so much has already been said about it by some lovely reviewers, that I’ll stick to the main points and then link you in their direction!

SETI Cascade Starmap features a weft of alternating sets of natural viscose linen, cream cotlin and a fine beige linen. The varying thickness of these wefts give this wrap an amazing texture and provide a wonderfully grippy counterpoint to the smooth, silky feeling Cascade warp. The appearance of this weft combination gave this wrap its name – the lines reminiscent of the lines produced by a scanner that is scanning the universe for extraterrestrial life (The 1997 movie Contact sparked my interest in The SETI Institute and the real-life search for intelligent species elsewhere in the universe!). 

This combination of weft fibres also gives SETI its above average weight –  it weighs in at around 305 gsm. You may think that this wrap will need a lot of breaking in because of its linen content (57% cotton, 16% viscose, 27% linen) but it doesn’t, because in one weft fibre it is spun with super soft viscose, and in another with cotton, so much of the breaking in has been done during the spinning process.

The Cascade warp is a stunning combination of fine stripes of turquoise, teal and thundercloud grey, the random nature of the warping gives the warp a visual texture and movement. It is also so much more beautiful in real life than in the photographs we take of it (as verified by the visitors to our stand at Sling Show Scotland last weekend!).

I’m not going to tell you about its wrapping qualities, I’ll leave that to our three reviewers, as they have already said it so very eloquently!

First up is a review from my preschooler Arthur – he describes it as bumpy-soft and comfy.

 

 

Secondly a very thorough (and very funny) review by  The Wrapping Years

 

And thirdly another review (and some gorgeous photos) from Up Mommy

 

Lastly, a great video where Jen shows SETI before and after its first wash:

 

 

SETI Cascade Starmap wraps and scarves will be available from our online shop on Saturday 30th September (we’ll announce the time on our Facebook page soon).

 

 

 

 

 

Scotland here we come…!

Working from home is nice, but the majority of my communication with humans outside of my family happens via my computer keyboard. So when the chance comes to actually interact with other lovely sling loving humans on the plane of reality I grab it in both hands! 

It goes without saying that Kate and I are really excited to be manning (womanning?) the stall at Sling Show Scotland this year. It is taking place on Saturday 23rd September at the Queen Margaret University Campus – a modern and vibrant academic village, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It boasts good bus links, plenty of parking and even a train station on its door step. 

We’re going to be bringing our simplified set-up that worked so well for us at the Northern Sling Exhibition and at the Midlands Baby Carrying Conference from earlier this year. Doing it this way means that we don’t spend all of our time processing sales and that we get a chance to chat to all you lovely people (keep reading to find out how you can still benefit from our event discount)! I really love helping people try wraps on and answering questions about all things Firespiral! Both Kate and I are Slingababy and Trageschule trained consultants, so we may even be able to offer advice and troubleshooting around your wrapping too!

 

There will be lots of wraps to play with –  both up and coming releases (from our beautiful Cascade warp)  and in-stock wraps. We will have a few weighted dolls with us for you to use if you have come without your wrappee. We may ask you if we can take your photo when you are wrapping/wrapped!

We will have these three beautiful mug designs available to buy on the day for £15 each. Our mugs are all handcrafted individually so each one is unique! 

We will also be bringing our Sling Show Scotland exclusive wrap Haeddre Obsidian Tourbillon. Haeddre is a small run of 100% cotton wraps, they are a medium weight at around 240 gsm and are woven using our amazingly soft Alchemy weave. These wraps will fall into our standard cotton price band

 

Because we aren’t bringing many wraps to buy on the day, we will be offering all attendees an individual 30% discount code, which will work on all wraps, blankets, and scarves in our online shop, and will be valid for a few days following the show. They will be on our table at the event, so come and help yourself!

If you want to buy something from us on the day we will take cards, cash and PayPal.

 

If you want to join us, or just find out a bit more about it all, tickets and more information about the show are available on the Sling Show Scotland website.

Asphodel and our mission to weave the perfect natty!

What qualities would you want in the perfect natty (natural coloured) wrap?

For me, when I think of an occasion wrap I think natty – natties always seem very elegant and pristine, the stuff of weddings and christenings and garden parties.

I think in the perfect natty the design should be visible as a subtle variation in tone, so a slight difference between warp and weft tones (its good to be able to see a pattern if it’s there!).

My perfect natty would be an easy-care wrap, I’d want to be able to confidently throw it into the washing machine once it had picked up the inevitable grubby patches that life and kids throw at it (and then tumble dry it back to smooshy softness again). I’d want to use it and love it, not admire it on a shelf for fear of getting it dirty.

And last but certainly not least, the wrapping qualities. It should be a good all rounder, a birth to end of wrapping wrap, soft and strong and easy to use.

 

Asphodel TS as a Christening wrap.

 

Asphodel was our mission to create the perfect natty. This mission started originally after Dryad Frost Birch Trees (amazing looking and great for heavier babies, but a little too thick for newborns). Then came Elysian Cirrus Seafoam (perfect for newborns, good as babies get bigger (and in multi-pass carries) but slightly too dark and contrasty to be a ‘true’ natty.

I really think we have cracked it with the Asphodel weft! It is a combination of viscose linen, bleached natural linen, and cotton, so a mix of strength and softness with a little stretch thrown in. With the softness comes some texture, which adds the perfect amount of grip. It is a medium weight wrap at 250 gsm, and it is so very pretty!

Asphodel Seafoam on the beach

We have woven it in both our Seafoam and Tentacular Spectacular designs too.

So have we created the perfect natty? Let us know what you think!

Our Asphodel wraps will be available from our website on Thursday 31st August.

Asphodel TS as a Christening wrap

CMYK weft wraps – an optical illusion!

Our CMYK wefts are named for the four inks used in colour printing: cyanmagentayellow, and key (black). Although some may say that it should probably be called CMY due to the ‘K’ being represented by the already named Obsidian warp, we felt that CMYK sounded better!

Close-up of the CMYK weft

Here you can see a close-up of the CMYK weft, with the shiny Cyan viscose linen blend, and the thicker, fluffier Magenta and Yellow combed cotton.

This wrap has a really interesting feature – you can see how very colourful it is close-up, and you would assume that it would look the same from a distance…..but because of the balance of colours the eye combines them and perceives them as a pale grey /  off white. You can get the same effect if you draw a circle on a piece card and divide it like a pizza, colouring in the slices in the same colours as the CMYK weft. Cut out the circle and poke a sharp pencil through the middle. If you spin the disc like a spinning top, on the point of the pencil, your eye will perceive the disc to be a pale grey! Magic (or science 😉 )!

Close-up of the weft face of CMYK Obsidian Charters Moss

Distance shot of CMYK Obsidian Charters Moss showing how it looks monochrome at a distance

 

CMYK Obsidian Charters Moss, and its sister wrap CMYK Obsidian Gossamer are both 87% cotton, 10% viscose, 3% linen and make a medium weight wrap at approximately 240gsm. The combed cotton and alchemy weave produce a buttery soft warp face, and the combed cotton and viscose linen make an exceptionally soft weft face, meaning you get a super soft wrap from new, which requires no breaking in. The viscose adds a little more bounce to the wrap, which makes it is easy to tighten, and easy to get a comfy wrap job with. 

It is thin enough to work with a newborn, and a great wrap for learning to wrap with. It is sturdy and comfortable enough to use with a heavier older child too (I use it regularly in a Ruck Tied Tibetan with my 16 kilo son).

Detail from CMYK Charters Moss

Close-up of CMYK Obsidian Gossamer

Close-up of CMYK Obsidian Gossamer

Both CMYK wraps will be available from our website on Saturday 29th July 2017

Newborn wrapping

Looking after a newborn when you have had no sleep, and have been through a possibly traumatic physical experience is really tough. You feel shell shocked (I know I did), and can barely function, but you have this totally helpless other person to care for, and you somehow pull out that extra reserve and you just manage.

Safely using a sling or baby carrier can help. Babies find comfort in closeness, hearing the heartbeat of their parent is calming, body warmth soothing, natural movement rocking them to sleep, they are where they instinctively want to be so they cry less. (There are many many other benefits of babywearing).

Using a sling (Close Caboo) for the fist time with my firstborn, Natasha, at 2 days old

2 years later my 2nd born, Thomas, in the same carrier for the first time.

2 years later, Arthur’s first carry at a few hours old, in a Didymos ring sling conversion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as being one of the owners of Firespiral, I am also a trained babywearing consultant (Slingababy and Trageschule) and one of the directors of my local sling library (Morecambe Bay Slings CIC), where I am involved in the running of a busy weekly sling meet and undertaking one to one consultations. I did my first consultancy course when my third child was 11 weeks old, and my newborn carrying improved massively as a result! 

The majority of our sling library customers are parents of new babies as we receive lots of referrals from midwives and health visitors, so a large chunk of our time is spent helping parents of newborns with finding the right sling for them and teaching them how to use it. An essential part of this process is educating them about keeping their baby safe whilst babywearing.

Here are some of the important things that we cover:

  • Newborns are have low muscle strength and are unable to move themselves out of a potentially dangerous or life threatening position. You are responsible for placing and maintaining your baby in a position in the sling where they can breathe easily.
  • You are responsible for your baby’s temperature – overheating is more dangerous than being too cold. Treat each layer of cloth like a layer of clothing, and dress your baby appropriately. Find more information about warm weather wrapping here.
  • The activities that you take part in must take into consideration your baby’s safety (a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t do it with your baby ‘in arms’ then it isn’t suitable to be done with your baby in a sling).
  • If you feel you need to hold your baby then your sling needs adjusting.
  • A position that mimics the position that you hold your baby ‘in arms’ is what you are trying to replicate with a sling.

Protecting baby’s airways:

  • Your sling needs to be tight enough to support your baby in a natural curve. They should not be able to slump down inside the wrap. You can check this by leaning forward (support their head with your hand). If baby comes away from you your wrap needs to be tightened.
  • Baby’s chin should be away from their chest, their neck extended.
  • You should be able to see their face (don’t ever cover them, flip shoulders of wrap if needed).
  • When front carried by a woman, baby’s head should be against the hard part of her chest, above the breasts.
  • If you are breastfeeding in your wrap, you must keep your eyes on your baby at all times, using one hand to support baby’s head. Once the feed is finished the carry should be adjusted so that baby is higher up, in a tight carry.
  • Check your baby regularly.

 

Which wrap and which carry?

A newborn can be wrapped in any wrap, but if you have a choice go for a soft, mouldable thin to medium weight wrap. The reasons for this are that thin and mouldable wraps are easier to tighten correctly, and the excess cloth will be less bulky.

Any 100% cotton, Alchemy weave wrap in our online shop meets this criteria, as do a few others (see the video below for a brief comparison of super suitable in-stock wraps).

 

The carry that I usually recommend for a newborn is a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). A FWCC requires a long wrap (size 5 – size 8), most commonly a size 6 or 7 (the size needed is roughly  based on your circumference, the size of your baby, your wrapping skills, and your preference for where you tie off and for long or short tails).

In this video I am using a size 7 (my ‘base’ size with my 3 year old), but could easily have used a size 6, or perhaps even a 5 with my newborn demo doll.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post –  we would love to hear your comments and about your newborn wrapping experiences.

You also might like to sign up to our monthly newsletter

 

Acorn Burnish Gossamer

I can’t believe how long it has been since we wrote our last blog post! This  is testament to a very busy April, with the school Easter holidays spreading across 3 of the weeks, making it much harder than usual to get things done! Our team of 4 work-at-home mums has 11 children between us, ranging from 1 to 8 years old, so I’m sure you can imagine the (mostly) joyful chaos that surrounds us during the holidays!

Anyway, onto the point of this blog post – our next release, Acorn Burnish Gossamer.

Acorn Burnish Gossamer is a heavier medium weight, at approximately 275 grams per square metre. The Burnish warp is a softly fluffy, warm grey-brown combed cotton. The cotton weft, a gradation of 3 tones of gold, bronze and pale olive really brings out the brown in the Burnish warp.

The Gossamer design has been with us since the beginning of Firespiral, and in this colourway it becomes the cobwebs that you would find in a mystical forest which is inhabited by elves and sprites. The colours reminiscent of the dappling of sunlight through the trees onto the dried leaves of the forest floor.

 

 

This is a soft, floppy, grippy, but sturdy 100% cotton wrap. I wrap a heavy toddler at the moment and took Acorn with me on a hike up a steep fell (hill!) this weekend. Arthur’s legs got tired after about 2 minutes walking up said fell, so he was wrapped pretty much all the way up. He was also wrapped all the way down too as it was very windy and he wanted to snuggle into my back to keep warm. I wrapped him in a Ruck tied Tibetan (my favourite back carry) and had absolutely no issues with the wrap. It was solid and comfy all the way, the only bits of me that were hurting were my legs (they still are a bit!), as I don’t go up many hills. (I live in a very flat seaside town).

Half way up it was already windy enough for Arthur to hide

The rest of my family, nearly at the top, looking across Lancashire towards the Irish Sea. My husband is wearing my Absolute Bobbins bag from Fantasia CoP

We made it to the top (and it is really really windy)!

 

Acorn Burnish Gossamer will be available on our website from 10th May 2017.

You can find an independent review from the Wrapping Years here.

Orion Aqua Starmap: boy or girl wrap?

The pastel pink weft and baby blue warp of Orion Aqua Starmap combine two colours that are usually very separate in modern western society.  

 

Orion Aqua Starmap on a frosty pebbled beach

 

Cultural norms tell us that we must either choose pink or blue, and that choice depends on our gender, or more likely the gender of our child.

An article from the Smithsonian tells us about the history of this (it is worth a read in full).

This wasn’t always the case though, up until the early 1800s, both sexes wore easily bleached white dresses up to age 6, meaning that gender neutral clothing was the norm. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out. For example, a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department wrote, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.

In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.

Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers. “It could have gone the other way,” Paoletti says.

I have a daughter and two sons, and have always really disliked this labelling of babies and children. I have worked hard to buy gender neutral clothes in bright and cheerful colours, my favourites from companies like Swing and Rock and Tiny Vikings, but society got to my little girl and she went all pink on me at around the age of 5 (I guess school probably had something to do with that!). I encourage my children not to refer to things (toys, books, TV programs) as gender specific too – it doesn’t always work and I often get told that I am wrong, but hey, I’m just trying, and hopefully they will appreciate that some day!

Tamsin and her family walking in the Lake District, UK.

Back to Orion Aqua Starmap – I really like this wrap. I don’t usually pick pastel colours for myself, but this warm pink and aqua together are really flattering.  I am glad that I ‘had’ to get to know it, as I have discovered something new about myself in the process. Orion is an elements weave wrap, meaning it is tighter and denser. From new it is fairly stiff, with a rough weft , and not-quite-as-smooth-as-alchemy-wraps warp face. It is a pretty heavy wrap, at around 320 gsm, and in loom state feels like it is going to need a lot of work to soften up. The low wool content (around 15%) and the elements weave mean that this wrap is easy to care for. I machine washed mine twice (on a wool setting) to remove any processing oils from the wool. It was still pretty stiff and rough when dry, so I washed again and then, very bravely, put it in the tumble dryer on gentle. That really made a difference, and although the weft is still very textured is isn’t rough anymore. The wrap has gone from flat to very articulated- the weft face puffing through the warp face, forming tiny islands of colour and texture. 

 

Orion in loom state on the left, and after three washes and a tumble dry on the right.

To wrap with, it is strong and supportive. Passes lock into place and don’t budge. It doesn’t sag. The thickness makes it forgiving of sloppier wrap jobs too. I have carried my 3 year old a lot in this wrap recently, as it is so very easy to get a comfortable carry (and it looks good with my winter coat!).

To finish with , and to get back to the original point of this post, this is not a wrap for baby boys or girls, depending on which way it is worn, this is a wrap for people who like pretty wraps.

Orion Aqua Starmap will be available from our online shop from 31st January 2017.

Why on earth would you carry an older child?!

We know that newspapers and daytime television programmes make their money by sensationalising issues and skewing events in a way that draws people in and provokes a response. One of the British newspapers has published an article on babywearing older children whose main emphasis is shock entertainment rather than any genuine desire to enlighten and inform. They are well known for it and it comes as no surprise. Their ‘click bait’ article has serves its purpose well, with thousands of us going on to their site to read, provide comment and inadvertently promote them. Every time each of us have shared their drivel in disgust, we have handed them the advertising revenue that they were hoping for by writing such nonsense. Tomorrow they’ll pick something else to comically misrespresent and anger a whole other section of the community.

That said, we all felt moved to write our own response to counter the thoughtlessly damaging seeds of doubt that the ‘journalist’ hoped to plant around whether or not carrying older children was necessary or safe. So here you go!

 

Tamsin and Arthur at Tarn Hows wearing Orion Aqua Starmap

Tamsin and Arthur at Tarn Hows wearing Orion Aqua Starmap

 

Tamsin

My Facebook feed is full of this article being shared and commented upon and has ignited a passionate response in the many of us who carry our children in slings beyond babyhood.

They used the words ‘pack pony’ to describe us, and by doing that have reduced our precious children to nothing more than a ‘load’.

We carry our bigger children for many reasons – here are some of mine.

Arthur is 3 and a half, he gets carried in a wrap at least once probably 5 days out of 7. I carry him on the school run, as we are always in a rush and on the last minute, and he can’t keep up with the pace. I carry him to nursery on the days when he says that he doesn’t want to go, as 20 minutes in the sling chatting and walking and in the fresh air settles him and gives him that one to one time that he needs before he can confidently say goodbye for the morning. I carry him at the weekends when we go walking in the Lake District, to places where a pushchair could never go. He asks to be carried when he has walked far enough. I carry Arthur when he wants to cuddle and I need to cook tea. I carry Arthur when he is in a strop because being carried calms him down. I carry Arthur to demonstrate slings to other people at sling meets (but only when he wants to). I carry him to test the wrapping properties of our new wraps. I carry him because I love the closeness with him, and the conversation that feels like it is taking place in our own private bubble.

 

Tamsin and Arthur on the way to nursery wearing Poseidon Cirrus Tentacular Spectacular

 

Kate
For our family, wearing our older children came as a natural result to our wearing them as babies. People say it all of the time, that their childhood passes so quickly, but you wear a baby and then all of a sudden you are wearing a toddler without even realising where the time has gone! George, our oldest, is very nearly 5, and we seldom wear him these days. The only real occasion that we do is when we go to the zoo. We have membership to Chester zoo and always take along a spare carrier for him because it is such a big big place. Taking a carrier means we are all more confident that we are going to have a good time. If he gets tired or needs to take a minute he can do that. If there is a big crowds of people around an animal and he finds it intimidating, he can come up and feel the security being carried will always give him, and the better view we inevitably provide!! We see so many other families struggling there, be it parents having to carry tired children in arms, or kids so upset because they are having to keep walking to get around the zoo, and these are struggles that we don’t have thanks to babywearing.

Our youngest, Florence, is almost 3, and we still wear her frequently. Most days on the afternoon school run, when she has had a nice day playing and doesn’t want to stop, I wear her because it save us time when I know she is tired and we get to keep on playing on the way there. We play a lot of eye-spy and guessing games when I am wearing her, she also becomes part of the conversations I have with the other parents at school! She is as much as part of the pick-up now as I am!

Always having a carrier with me gives us security in so many ways. The knowledge that if we need it we always have it to rely on, its there in case someone falls and hurts themselves and needs a little (literal!) pick-me-up, if we’re on a walk and someone gets tired legs or if a wood is a little spooky and they need someone close to show them its safe in there!!
Wearing our children has never been a burden. It isn’t always fun, for our family it is primarily a mode of transport, and on rainy days being bashed on the head by a brolly, or when Florence refuses to not carry something HUGE and bulky with us, can be a pain but it is a pain I cherish every time, even in some small way, because every time we wear we know it may be our last. Whilst moving on to the next stage in our family is exciting we will always cherish every single time we got to wear our babies.

 

Dan wearing George in front of a big radio telescope in an arboretum.

 

 

Kate wearing Florence, who is carrying a statue of a man, in Stormy Twilight Seafoam.

 

Amy wearing Sophie in Albus Twilight Starmap on Stanton Moor.

 

Amy
My big children were only carried occasionally, Sophie in particular was so determined to walk everywhere as soon as she was able. Little legs can only carry you so far though and as we do a lot of walking over moors to visit prehistoric sites, slings have always been an essential item to bring. Sophie walked the whole way to 9 ladies stone circle for a picnic before hitching a lift on my back on the way home!Another time I found the big kids wanting to be carried was on holidays. A wrap is small enough to easily carry round just in case it’s needed and when spending the day playing on the beach, building dens and having epic adventures with your big sister is pretty tiring and a wrap makes for a handy place for a late afternoon snooze!

 

 

 

Amy wearing Sophie on a beach in Devon.

Jen carrying a 3 yr old Douglas after a fun afternoon at the park

Jen carrying a 3 yr old Douglas in Albus Twilight Starmap after a fun afternoon at the park

 

Jen
I have identified myself as a ‘babywearer’ for nearly 8 years now, but my relationship with carrying children is fairly pragmatic  and unsentimental, given that it has played such a pivotal role in my parenting.
Carrying my children has been truly lovely, but I have no desire to prolong the experience beyond its natural lifespan. I’ve never really worried about my carrying days coming to an end and I certainly wouldn’t carry my older children if I didn’t need to. So with that said, I think the amount of times I’ve carried my older children is testimony to how incredibly useful slings can be, even once your child is mobile.
When it comes to toddler/pre-schooler (and even school age) wearing, I tend to ask myself “what would be the alternative to the sling in this situation?” The option of riding in the sling often allows us to walk further and stretch their abilities more than without it. With the wrap I am able to take a 4 mile hike with my 2yr old and she can still walk part of the way. Without the sling we could only cover a fraction of that distance, or be limited to buggy friendly routes rather than wilder adventures.
I have taken a shopping trip into town with a 3yr old, forgotten the wrap and ended up carrying him in my arms or on my shoulders which is a far bigger strain on me than having him in a carrier when he inevitably needs a rest, or has a meltdown and needs a big cuddle as we walk. I could join the queue of parents holding their kids’ hands whilst waiting for the lift (elevator) to get their empty buggy up to the second floor of the shopping centre, but having a size two folded in my bag is far less cumbersome and serves the same purpose.
Even when we get past the point of needing physical support, the sling offers emotional support for older children. Whilst he wouldn’t want to be carried in public, my eldest boy found an immense comfort in being wrapped for 5 mins at the point whenever he felt particularly sad or angry, especially when he started school. Going up on my back offered him a gentle space to calm down, at a point where even eye-contact would have felt too confrontational and raw. He could cuddle up whilst still feeling angry with me. He didn’t need to speak, we would just breathe and i would get on with some mundane task. I would feel his body change relax after a while and the proximity allowed me to be immediately ready to listen to him and make our reparations. 
If there was something easier- a better way of doing things then I’d happily do it as I don’t want to use slings just for the sake of it (although they are pretty and fun), but there are so many times post babyhood where the sling is still the most straightforward and obvious solution to the situation.

 

Preparing to walk over the moor. The boys took turns in the sling when they needed a breather.

Preparing to walk over the moor. The boys took turns in the sling when they needed a breather.

 

 

Nina helping Jen to choose coffee at a busy market

Nina being carried in Firefly Cirrus Gossamer and helping Jen to choose coffee at a busy market