photography by my Chris
I’ve been meaning to post about Rebozo style baby carrying ever since i made this carrier for Baby Birdie when she was 6 months old. I actually barely take a pram/stroller with me in the car, I just throw this carrier in my handbag and we’re off. Given the lovely small boutiques and cafes in Perth, it’s been a real life saver. Plus not gonna lie, i just love carrying her snuggled up against me. I’ve tried the Baby Bjorn, and i’ve tried the stretchy wrap styles. Nope. Not as good. This style is so much easier, so much lighter, and in a hot summer we both stay so so much cooler. Also it’s negated the need for me to carry a nursing cover, when i need to nurse i just untie the wrap and throw it over my shoulder. Also also, you guys it’s way prettier. Boom. Winning.
So, I discovered Rebozo baby wearing one morning before church, in desperate panic induced googling. Baby Birdie typically falls asleep in my arms during church, but at 6 months old she was getting too heavy and my arms were starting to ache. I wanted a quick fix. A baby carrier i could use that morning, and would be comfy for her and me. So i started searching for carriers that (a) i could make, and (b) didn’t require any specialized hardware.
Enter the Rebozo. If you haven’t heard of a Rebozo, it’s a large woven traditional Mexican shawl. It is used for a lot of things, one of which is tying around your body to carry your baby. The beauty of this kind of baby sling is that all it requires is a large enough shawl / piece of cloth, and a special knot and you’re good to. I like that you’re not relying on the strength of a sewn seam, or a piece of hardware. It’s all on you, you feel how tight things need to be, your arms are around your baby keeping them safe. I like that.
And honestly, after using this sling solidly for 6 months, i can’t see why anyone would spend money on a sling. It’s amazing. I’m obsessed. Out of all of the things i’ve made, this is the one people stop me in the street (constantly) and ask me about.
So today i thought i’d share with you a little tutorial for how to make one and how to wear one. Since tying the knot and seating your baby is easier to understand visually this is a pretty picture heavy post.
You have been warned! Lets do it!
First lets make the wrap. Please note that you will need a woven fabric for this, stretch fabrics are not safe for this kind of carrier. It’s usually recommend that you use a natural fibre such as cotton, silk or linen. And obviously this should be a medium weight not lightweight fabric. No pretty voiles please, they are not strong enough. I used this lovely pale blue cotton i had in stash, it’s roughly quilting weight.
The actual sewing is incredibly simple and is easily achievable by anyone with basic sewing skills.
Cut a rectangle 90″ x 30″ ( 2.28m x 76 cm). Hem the all the way round, by turning in 1/4″ then 1/4″ again and topstitching. I added pom pom trim to the short ends, because, well, POM POMS. The end. Also note that it’s useful to know which of the long edges is the “top” and which is the “bottom”. I wanted a very subtle way to tell, so i sewed one hem with a straight stitch and one hem with a zig zag, easy peasy.
Now we can begin wrapping. Choose which of the long edges you want to be at the top, and make sure you maintain that. No twisting!
Gather up the fabric with your fingers so that it is even across your shoulder and your back.
As you can see the whole knot is done with the long end of the fabric – the piece that goes around your waist. The piece that hangs down your shoulder stays relatively straight hanging down. This makes things easier to adjust later.
Tighten it a bit, but not too much. You want it to be secure, but we’ll do the rest of the tightening with baby in.
Shift the knot close to your shoulder and make sure the fabric is spread over your shoulder. In these photos my knot is not as high as is usually recommended, I’ve found that as Birdie has gotten heavier it’s more confortable for me to shift the knot down a little bit so more fabric is spread over my shoulder and back to spread the weight. But keep in mind it should be higher up.
And now you’re ready for the baby!
Thats right i snuck in a Baby Birdie photo :) Sorry not sorry!!
Make sure baby is stable over your shoulder
Tuck those little legs under
And start spreading the fabric across their back, bottom and right down to their knees. The beauty of this wrap is that for baby the weight is spread right across their bottom and thighs, so it’s important to make sure that fabric is well spread across those areas and all the way to the knees.
Heres a look from the side
Make sure that babies legs are spread around your body and tucked up like a frog swimming or a wide spread squat.
And this is my favourite trick for making sure that the fabric is really properly tucked under the butt and knees, bend over (hold tight to bubs!) and tuck away.
*though i’m not usually doing the bending part in a skirt in public… please note the park was empty and no-one was behind me hehehe
Now spread the fabric high up to the top of babies shoulders to make sure they’re safely in. You’ll notice later on that Birdie has her arms out. As she has gotten older she has started yanking them out, but it’s better if arms are in as it’s more secure.
Now we need to tighten everything up. We do not want this loose. Make sure everything is tight across babies back and pull any excess fabric around your neck and close to the knot.
And this is where it becomes helpful to mark which of the long sides is the “top” and which is the “bottom”. Under the knot, tug the top rail (thats the top edge) till the slack is gone. This works because the knot is wrapped around the piece of fabric going over my shoulder, which means that i can pull on that tail to remove slack, then i can pull on the other tail (the one closest to baby) to make the knot tighter.
Then make sure that the fit is secure but not too tight under baby’s bottom and knees and remove any slack by pulling it around your back to the knot, then pull the bottom rail (bottom edge) till the slack is removed.
Once you’ve got it all tied up the way you like it, it’s easy to just pull baby out the top, and put your wrap in your handbag for when you need it. Just be careful when you put it back on that you always check that the “top” is still at the top and that it isn’t inside out or twisted. And obviously do another check to make sure everything is tight enough.
Happy baby wearing!
Disclaimer: Any tutorials or advice given on this blog by Megan Nielsen are to be used at your own risk. Please use caution when making and using the carrier discussed on this blog.
Some of the information or advice may put some users of this site at risk due to health issues, physical limitations, or misuse. If you or your child have health issues or physical limitations, please discuss the appropriateness of the carry or carrier with your health care practitioner. Megan Nielsen cannot be held accountable for any injuries sustained when attempting this carry or using these carriers.