The day has arrived, a new carrier was delivered; it’s fluff mail! Excitedly you open your package and remark at the beauty of your new carrier. This wonderful and beautiful tool that will help you and your baby achieve and bond. You pour over the directions and care instructions and possibly give your carrier (wrap) a wash, an iron, and give it spin.
But uh oh. This wrap/carrier is stiff, scratchy, or a wee bit beastly. Buyer’s remorse? No. In fact your wrap or carrier just needs a bit of breaking in. Often times a carrier becomes more soft, floppy, and easier to use once it has been ‘broken in’. There are many ways you can work on breaking in a carrier to make it more comfortable for you. One of the more risky, but much faster ways to break in you new carrier is to send it travelling!
What do you mean send it travelling? Well, I mean just that. Send your carrier to other babywearers who will use your carrier for a given amount of time before sending it off to the next person. The more hosts your carrier visits the more “broken in” your carrier will be when it returns to you. Now the idea of a sending your carrier out to other babywearers may give you a bit of hesitation, I know it did for me at first so I’ve compiled some tips that may help you decide whether or not you want to send your new carrier travelling or if you want to put in the work yourself.
Start with your local friends/community.
First and foremost start with people you know. Trusted friends and relatives who are babywearers themselves will be an excellent option. You will know your wrap/carrier is being cared for and the type of home it will be in (pets in home? Smokers? Perfumes?)
Reach out to your babywearing community.
Talk to other babywearers in your online groups who are passionate about babywearing. Look for people who are experienced wearers and willing to host. Ask for references, ask for temporary trades if it makes you more comfortable, talk with the person or people you are sending to and make sure you feel comfortable with them.
Setting rules for your hosts is not unheard of. How many days does each host have with the carrier before they are expected to pass it on to the next person? If the carrier is travelling by mail, who pays the shipping (the host should in my opinion) ? How much would you like it to be insured for?
What, if anything, happens if it is late? What would you like done if it gets dirty or arrives to a host damaged?
For the group of hosts, establish communication so that everyone knows where the carrier is and when it will be moving on to the next person. Questions about proper usage of the carrier/wrap can be asked in the group and even sharing images can occur. This could be a FB group, an email chain, an Instagram pod, whatever is most convenient.
Check in often
This is one that I have learned the hard way. Check in with your carrier often so you know where it is and are aware if it has been lingering with one host for too long. Sometimes a host may have questions and be afraid to ask. Be the assertive, be vocal, check in.
Life happens. Understand that the carrier may need extra time with one or more hosts, account for time to post from person to person. Have a general timeline for your carriers’ travels but be willing to be a little flexible and make sure your hosts understand that too.
Send your carrier on small trips. Try to send only to a handful of people. If the carrier comes back and you’d like to send it out again that’s great! It is much easier to manage a traveler who goes to 5 people and boomerangs back than if it travels to 10 people before heading home.
Sending your new carrier/wrap traveling is a great way to work on getting to that wonderful soft, floppy, and moldable stage quicker. Giving other babywearing parents an opportunity to try something different, and knowing that the carrier that will carry your most precious cargo has also hugged other little ones can be very rewarding. It may make you a bit nervous to send a carrier travelling, after all they aren’t cheap and can sometimes be a big investment but if you find a host or group of hosts you trust, it can be a great way to break in an exciting new carrier!
Pictured SoulSlings AnoonA (Lapis), Topaz