For those of you that are regular babywearers you may have found sometimes for some unknown reason your carry just isn’t quite right. Lines of tension could be the problem. It’s a common scenario. You wrap baby up in a nice double hammock and 5 minutes down the road their bum pops out! The chances are you didn’t have lines of tension, in the beginning, to keep the wrap tight and stop them popping the seat. But what is this ‘line of tension’. Here are our top woven wrap tips to get to grabs with this question.
Far from a mythical beast, a line of tension is as simple as it sounds. A tight line. Tension or tightness is essential when wrapping. Without it you risk baby falling out, the child feeling unsafe in the carry, slack appearing, bum poppage or general uncomfortableness for the wearer. The line comes in by securing areas tightly stopping movements. For example, a line of tension will be found across babies back. This tension stops the baby from falling out. Do it too loose and it’s not safe.
Similar lines of tension appear across carries, usually found:
Vertically between shoulder and knees
Diagonally between shoulder and opposite knee
Horizontally between both knee-pits
Under arm-pits (both child and wearer)
If any slack is introduced into the carry through poor tightening, the lines of tension are compromised and the carry will begin to fail. with symptoms as suggested above.
How to produce a line of tension
Creating tension along the passes of a wrap can take practice. But mostly patience. As you begin to identify the feeling of tension and slack you will be able to create better tension across any carry. There is a feeling, especially when a child is crying, to rush a carry. Rushing will pretty much mean you are not being thorough enough with removing excess slack and the carry will suffer.
Taking your time and feeding any slack out if the area towards the knots will eliminate the slack. Strand by strand is one method of tightening. In contrast, to just pulling the whole wrap as one handful. Tightening the wrap every 5-10cms insures accurate pulling out of any slack that has been introduced when initially wrapping. This allows the tension to build up across the whole of the line of fabric evenly. Creating a supportive and comfortable carry.
However, the most important area to ensure there is tension is always going to be the top of the wrap, wherever it is positioned on the child or wearer. The bottom of the fabric is less important, but if you can at least get these two areas tight, the rest of the wrap will follow quite easily.
Getting the correct tension
Any tension placed in a carry needs to be finely balanced between holding the body in place in a supportive manner but not forcing the body into an unnatural position. Forcing will create as much uncomfortableness as slack. So bear in mind when creating lines of tension. If the baby is still upset. Reassess whether over tightening is to blame. If you struggle to get your fingers under the tensioned area. The likelihood is it’s too tight. To recognise an area over tightened, look carefully at the fabric. Ask yourself is it visibly strained? Is the fabric rippled where it should be flat? Is it leaving marks on the child’s skin? These can be ways to identify and then rectify this.
Essentially there is 4 main areas to create tension
In the knee-pits
Between shoulders and knee-pits
If we were to just use a single rope under these places the child would be fully supported enough to not fall out. Although it wouldn’t be the most comfortable. It helps you to identify where lines of tension are most important. So give it a try the next time you are wrapping and see if it makes a difference to the carry. Of course, let us know your findings in the comments below.
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