Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Product Review - Carry Boo Mei Tai with Wrap Straps

Carry Boo make various styles of wraps, slings and carriers, along with some conversions.
After using mei tais with regular padded straps, I was keen to try out a wrap strap version, as I can never get regular straps to feel just right. I have had my Carry Boo mei tai with wrap straps for a few months now and here are my thoughts about it...

I had very particular ideas about how I wanted my new mei tai to be. I definitely wanted wrap straps. I wanted a detachable flat sleep hood, which gathered at the sides, and I wanted the whole thing to be reversible. I already had some fabric which I wanted to use on one side, but it was black so I wanted a lighter colour on the other side. Leanne at Carry Boo said she could incorporate all my requirements and had a slot in a few weeks' time.

As it turned out, when Leanne was ready to start, I couldn't find my fabric! So she sent me lots of links to fabric that she thought were suitable and that I would like. I had already said I'd have black straps to match the original fabric which had a black background, so I was now looking for a similar black backgrounded fabric, plus I had a white background with black or grey flowers in mind for the other side. After a bit of searching, I managed to find two fabrics that I liked. Leanne ordered them and started work a couple of days later when they'd arrived.

I was very surprised a few days after that when she said it was ready. I hadn't expected it so quickly. She can certainly sew quicker than I can! She had also made me two detachable hoods, so that the fabric for the main side hung the right way up whether the hood was up or down.
When I received it I was absolutely delighted! It's amazing. Beautifully made. The stitching is very neat and it is obvious that a lot of care and attention to detail has been put into it. I tried it on and it was so comfortable. The straps are perfect. Not only are they more comfortable around my shoulders but I like the way they can be spread over baby's bottom to create more support there.

First time on London Underground -
and first outside trip in new mei tai

I received it just in time for a trip to London the day after. I wore it from the car, travelling into London on the tube and walking around the city. I took it off for a picnic in Hyde Park, then put it back on again for the return trip back to the tube, tube journey and then the walk back to the car. It never felt uncomfortable at all and my baby was cosy and slept contently in it. It was quick and easy to get on and off, given that it was the first time I'd done it in public. It was also quite a hot day but neither myself nor my baby felt too hot wearing it.

At Marble Arch, London

This mei tai gets a lot of use. It is perfect for days out, when I need a comfortable, supportive carrier which baby sleeps in easily. It's also not too fiddly to take baby in and out of, now she's at an age where she wants to get out to go on a swing or for a crawl around. I also used it for two days at the Tour de France. It was very useful as it was too wet to sit down on the first morning so I adjusted it a bit and fed her in it, then tightened it back up and she went to sleep.

Cosy at Le Tour

I really don't think I can fault it at all. It's exactly what I was hoping it would be. I highly recommend Carry Boo if you are looking for a custom made carrier.
Standard mei tai prices start at around £50. The RRP for my mei tai is £85.
You can find the Carry Boo Facebook page here...

Monday, 7 April 2014

Product Review - SnugiWrap Stretchy Wrap

I love wearing Francesca, four months old now, in a wrap. Up to this point, we have mostly been using a SnugiWrap stretchy wrap. Stretchy wraps are perfect for newborns and small babies. They keep the baby very snug and close to you and have the convenience of being able to keep them pre-tied around you. This means you can quickly and easily take your baby in and out.

SnugiWraps have recently started using a new fabric and have kindly offered me a stretchy wrap to review. This particular fabric has been in use since around new year (2013/14). Whilst using it, I have found myself comparing it to the fabric they used previously. I also have a stretchy wrap which I purchased in September (2013).

The new fabric is noticably thinner and stretchier than the previous fabric. I must admit, it took me a while to get used to it as the first few times I didn't tie it tightly enough. You have to tie it rather quite tightly or once the baby is in there it sags too low down and the baby bounces too much as you walk. However, now I have got used to the tension I need to use, this isn't an issue. The thinner fabric, I expect, will be cooler in summer than the thicker fabric used previously. Another difference between the wraps I have is that the newer one has the SnugiWrap logo sewn onto what becomes the front once wrapped. The older wrap has no logo.

SnugiWrap stretchy wraps are a good starter wrap. They are very good value - currently £19. They are literally an unhemmed piece of fabric, cut to size, but look so snug and cosy once on. The colours available at the moment are black, brown, cerise, marl charcoal, navy, purple, royal blue and teal.

A leaflet comes with each wrap, detailing how to tie the wrap and other safety advice. I didn't read it thoroughly, to be honest, as I had watched people using wraps beforehand quite frequently and had seen YouTube videos.Sling libraries and meets are also good places to get advice on using wraps and other carriers.

Here is a photo of Francesca looking all snuggly in her SnugiWrap...

You can buy SnugiWrap stretchy wraps from their website at

Friday, 7 February 2014

How to make your own umbilical cord ties

I hadn't thought of making my own cord ties until my midwife mentioned it. There isn't that much information about it on the internet so I thought I'd write something about it.

I didn't like the plastic cord clip used on my first baby. I found it very obtrusive and it got in the way during nappy changes. So when my midwife mentioned making my own cord ties I was very interested. I asked her how to do it and I also looked for information online. I couldn't find much about it though. Just a few mentions on forums and someone selling them on an online selling website.

So this is what I did.

I bought some embroidery thread in various colours. I used six lengths of thread per tie. I cut the threads to about 12"/30cm each, gathered together and tied them together with a knot at one end. Then I fastened the knotted end to my trousers with a safety pin, so it would pull tight as I plaited. I then divided the threads into three sections of two threads each and plaited until they were about 6"/15cm long. Then I tied a knot in that end, trimmed the threads and detached from my trousers.

I made a few different coloured ones. Pink, red, green, blue. I was going to do some multi-coloured ones too, but ran out of time in the end! I thought it would be nice for my five year old, Lucinda, to choose which colour ties to use at the time as she was also looking forward to cutting the cord.

When I'd finished making them, I boiled them for a few minutes and then put in a sandwich bag in the freezer until it was time to use them. This process sterilises them.

So, when the time came, Lucinda chose a green one and a pink one. The pink one was tied closest to the tummy and the green one a couple of inches further down. The cord was cut inbetween the ties, leaving the pink one attached. The result was much more attractive than the plastic clips that most of us are used to. It looked quite pretty, more personalised and definitely didn't get in the way like plastic ones do when you're trying to clean baby and fasten a nappy around it. It must have been more comfortable for baby too.

This is the cord stump with the cord tie attached at two days old.

I am so glad I found out about hand made cord ties. It was an enjoyable pregnancy activity and was something I could involve my young daughter in too. She was made to feel important and more a part of the birth by having the job of choosing the ties and cutting the cord.

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If you like the idea of handmade cord ties but don't want to make them yourself, you might like to follow the Etsy banner link at the top of the page and visit my shop. I have some listed there or contact me with your requirements.