Category Archives: Babywearing

All About… Onbuhimo Carriers (old style vs new style)

All about our Onbuhimo style baby carriers, also called an Onbu.

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Our Onbu carriers in general

The Wallypop onbu is a comfortable and quick option that particularly excels at back carrying. It’s also suitable, of course, for wearing a baby on the front, but it can’t be beat for its ability to get a baby on your back quickly and with little fuss.

An onbu is a square of fabric with a padded waistband, two shoulder straps, and two rings at the waist instead of a waist band. The shoulder straps are threaded through the rings and then tied.

The Wallypop Onbu features a separate, padded waistband made from two layers of canvas, a sturdy body made from two layers of canvas plus one or two decorative fabrics, padded canvas shoulder straps, and two medium-sized rings at the waist.

We sew our carriers carefully and thoughtfully. I do not use a “panel” design (where the front of the carrier is made of several panels and looks like a quilt block) because each seam is a potential weak spot in the carrier. Fewer seams = more safety. We reinforce all of our seams – topstitching around the perimeter of the carrier to give those seams extra support, and we sew down the straps in several places, ensuring that they will never pull loose.

And of course our Onbuhimos have passed ASTM certification to the high safety standards set by the federal government.

Why would I use an Onbu?

The onbu is not the world’s most popular carrier, that’s true. And it’s not for everyone. If you mostly carry a baby or toddler on your back, however, it’s definitely an option I’d recommend considering. Like I said, it can be worn on the front, but if you’re primarily a front carrier, there are better options, in my opinion. But if you’re looking for something fast and comfortable for back carries, it’s hard to beat an onbu.

Old Style vs New Style

We were already working on a few minor design changes when the ASTM regulation became final and mandatory earlier this year (2014). That new requirement forced us to choose one way to make Onbus from now on. The pictures below outline the main changes from the “old style” to the “new style” of Mei Tai.

Old Style Onbu New Onbu

All About… Mei Tais Old Style vs New Style

I haven’t done an All About post in a loooong time. 🙂  All about our Mei Tai Baby Carriers.

Sleepy BabyDSC_0819Nonstop Fun (Iowa State Fair)

A bit about our MT Carriers in General

MT carriers are a great all-around carrier. Two shoulder straps distribute baby’s weight evenly, which is a blessing for the wearer’s back. The two-knot design is quick and easy to put on, with no fancy adjustments needed. And the carrier is simple enough to still be quite versatile – there are several ways to tie the carrier on depending on what you’re going for. I love the MT for the high back carry, and how easy and fast it is to throw a baby on my back.

A bit about safety

Are MT carriers safe? Of course, the answer is yes. I wouldn’t sell you something that I thought was unsafe.

Wallypop Mei Tais are made with two layers of canvas throughout. That canvas is then covered with a pretty decorative fabric on the front and sometimes also the back of the body. The straps are two layers of canvas for non-wrinkly, non-diggy performance.

We sew our carriers carefully and thoughtfully. I do not use a “panel” design (where the front of the carrier is made of several panels and looks like a quilt block) because each seam is a potential weak spot in the carrier. Fewer seams = more safety. We reinforce all of our seams – topstitching around the perimeter of the carrier to give those seams extra support, and we sew down the straps in several places, ensuring that they will never pull loose.

And of course our Mei Tais have passed ASTM certification to the high safety standards set by the federal government.

As with any baby carrier, check the seams before use. Fabric can wear out pretty quickly, particularly in the washing machine, so taking a few seconds to make sure everything’s holding up well should be part of your babywearing routine.

Star Trek MTWrap/Mei Tai HybridNew Asian Carrier

Now about Wallypop MT carriers

In our Basic Mei Tai, the straps are unpadded. In our experience, most wearers are quite comfortable with unpadded straps, once they try them. (There’s a strong bias towards thinking you NEED padding, but many are pleasantly surprised to find that unpadded straps are also quite comfortable.) The unpadded straps are also markedly less bulky! For those who do prefer padded straps, we offer our Luxury Mei Tai, which has padded straps, as well as a pocket to hold a few items, a hood to help corral a sleeping baby head, and a toy ring to hold a small toy for baby.

We sew our waist straps on straight, and the shoulder straps at an angle coming out of the top corner of the body.

Our straps are pretty long, and will be perfect for most wearers. We do recommend chatting with us before purchasing your carrier if you have any concerns about fit – I can always make longer straps for you! I can also shorten straps of instock carriers if you’re really small.

The body of our MT carriers is roomy, without being too overwhelming. It can seem like a lot of carrier when you’re toting around a 6 lb newborn, but we recommend rolling the carrier at the waist to shorten the body when wearing a small baby – that’ll solve the roominess problem.

Old Style vs New Style

We were already working on a few minor design changes when the ASTM regulation became final and mandatory earlier this year (2014). That new requirement essentially forced us to choose one way to make our Mei Tais from now on – it’s expensive to get a carrier through the testing process, so we needed to have only one model of mei tai. The pictures below outline the main changes from the “old style” to the “new style” of Mei Tai. (Now, if you’re wondering if I can still make you a Mei Tai in our “old style,” the answer is yes – but it’ll cost you approx $500. I’ll throw in the actual carrier for free; that’s the cost of testing the carrier to the new ASTM standard.) (please note, the “new style” MTs are the ones that have passed the lab testing. The “old style” is still safe based on 10 years of zero-incident selling, but has not been lab tested, and does not have the required safety labels. We’re just selling through what we have left in stock and then only “new style” will be available.)

OLD stylemt-q-301

We love our Mei Tais and hope you do, too! 🙂

At the Farmer's MarketOur Family

Sale on Babywearing Stuff

Today through October 10, all of our Babywearing Stuff is ON SALE (except Wrapsody wraps, which were just on sale in August). You’ll need to check the individual product pages to see sale prices, but they range from $20 off to $5 off.

Mei Tais

Ring Slings (including wrap conversion ring slings)

Girasol Wraps

 

This actually ALSO includes our custom Mei Tais, Onbus, and Ring Slings BUT..
– The discount is 15%
– Only NEW orders, not existing orders.
– Only the first five people to sign up.
– You have to sign up by messaging Wallypop on Facebook.
– Orders will be added to the current project queue, and may not have completion dates until late November.

Wallypop on Facebook

 

    

The Future of Wrap Conversions

This is another fun regulatory topic. But it will impact YOU directly IF you want your wrap turned into a ring sling, mei tai, onbu, or other carrier.

New regulations, which you’ll have PLENTY of opportunity to read about on this blog in the coming months, are going to be going into effect later this year. Actually, the regulation affecting Mei Tais and other similar carriers is already mandatory and the 6 month compliance period expires in September. The regulation affecting wraps and ring slings will become mandatory in a few months. The babywearing industry is now going to be regulated by ASTM standards. (ASTM is an independent, private company that writes standards for various industries.)

These new standards require a new level of testing for all babywearing products. CPSIA requires testing for lead (and, for some products, phthalates), tracking information for all products, registration cards for baby carriers, and certain information on labels. ASTM will require testing for safety and a whole new set of labels. Those of you who have bought certain brands of carriers recently may have noticed the giant new tags with pictures of people showing how to wear them – those are the tags required by ASTM.

The testing that’s required must be done on every carrier that’s substantially different or made from different materials. (As an example, I’ll likely need to change my ring slings to only one or two types of fabric – probably a linen/cotton blend and a light cotton twill, from only one mill. Then I’ll have to test a ring sling made from each of those fabrics, since they’re different, but not each color of each fabric. I’ll talk more about upcoming changes to Wallypop’s product lineup in a future blog.) Others in the babywearing industry are working to clarify what this means exactly in terms of deciding what’s substantially different, particularly as it relates to wrap conversions. However, the testing is destructive (and, might I add, expensive). It also requires a separate carrier be tested for each possible carrying position.

What this ultimately means is that USED wraps will no longer be able to be legally made into conversion carriers.

Why? Essentially, there’s no way to account for the wear and tear on the wrap. The manufacturer (converter) will have no way to be assured that the used wrap is not substantially different from an identical new wrap that has passed the testing. Since baby carriers must be tested for adherence to the standard in order to be legally sold, there’s just no way to comply in the case of conversion carriers from used wraps.

What does this mean for YOU? We anticipate the new standard being made mandatory yet this year. If you’ve been contemplating having your wrap made into a conversion carrier of any sort, you might want to do that sooner rather than later.

 

NEW wraps will still be OK, but converters will face a large compliance expense associated with the testing that’s required. Current guidance from the CPSC’s small business ombudsman is that different brands of wraps, different weaves of wraps, and different fibers of wraps are all considered different enough to require separate testing. (In addition, carriers with different strap styles – like wrap straps or narrower straps, carriers with different body styles – like infant or toddler, etc. will all need to be tested separately. I would not be surprised if this ASTM regulation shuts many smaller converters entirely out of the market. 😦

 

I need to note that, intellectually, I support these regulations. Assuming that people who make baby carriers care about compliance and care about babies, it should help make sure that the carriers being sold are safe. That they won’t tear, that the fasteners won’t slip, etc. Practically speaking, considering that well over half of the people currently making baby products including carriers wholly ignore all the OTHER laws they’re supposed to be following, I’m not too confident that, in the real world, this will truly make things safer. Hopefully savvy consumers will know to start making sure that the carriers they buy are ASTM-compliant, but there’s no practical way for consumers to really and truly know if they are. If someone’s not following the part of the law that requires safety testing by a third party lab, what’s to stop them from not following the part of the law that says you can’t lie about compliance?

In the meantime, this is just another giant hurdle making it harder for smaller players like Wallypop. 😦  Another set of regulations slowly pushing our marketplace to one that is dominated by large businesses and that excludes in-home, mom-and-pop operations.

Ring Slings Back in Stock

Just a few, though!!

Since we sold completely through the ring slings, and since we knew that, of all our products, the ring slings would be the MOST impacted by the coming regulatory changes, we wanted to take a breather from them and thoughtfully decide how to proceed before restocking.

I believe I have a plan that is workable for moving forward, though I still have a few decisions to make.*

So, for the moment, I have completed a fairly small restocking – just three colors in three fabrics.

I’ve also added a few new features to our ring slings – a tapered tail and two sizes! Our “Long” size is approx the same size as our ring slings have always been. The new “Regular” size is about 10 inches shorter.

 

*The long and the short of it is – what I’ve always liked about my ring slings is that they are available in such a wide variety of prints and patterns. As with most of my products that end up being regulated, it’s that very feature that makes them difficult to get into compliance. Moving forward, I’m going to end up needing to select just one or two basic fabrics to test, and then I can offer slings in all colors and prints in which that one (or those two) fabrics are available.

Projects I’ve Been Working On

I just wanted to share a few of the projects I’ve been working on. I’m slowly working on a few in stock Mei Tais, as well, but customs have been taking up most of my time these days.

Wrap Conversion

Wrap Conversion

Custom Mei Tai   Custom Mei Tai

 

Weighted Blanket

TARDIS Mei Tai (custom, already has an owner!)

I’ve been working on this custom MT for an overseas customer. I love it and I hope she does, too. FYI, though this MT already has an owner, I’m working on adding to my MT inventory, and a MT using this same Starry Night fabric is in the works. It will not have the POLICE BOX hood, but will be more basic. That said, if you like this carrier and want something similar – I’m always happy to make custom items.

 
TARDIS Mei Tai

TARDIS Mei Tai

TARDIS Mei Tai
Patch pocket on the front

TARDIS Mei Tai
Slash pocket at the top to stuff the hood into.

I love it.

A few wrap conversions I’ve finished recently

Waves2
Waves – this carrier has a pocket and hood that all line up with the design on the body. It’s got wrap straps, a padded waist belt, and padding at the leg openings.

WCMT Cracken
The Kraken carrier is a toddler-size contoured body with seat darts, wrap straps, leg padding, and a padded waist belt.

Wrapsody price increase Feb 1

Hey, just a heads-up, Wrapsody’s putting in a price increase starting February 1. The Stretch-Hybrid will go from $86 to $89, the Breeze will go from $79 to $83, and the Wrap DuO will go from $68 to $69. Thinking about a Wrapsody? Might as well buy it now and save yourself a few bucks!

http://babywearing.wallypop.net/wrap

Wrap Conversions

Here are a few new Wrap Conversions!

Pretty WCMT
Contoured body, padded legs
Ring Waist
Toddler size MT with a ring waist, flat/adjustable hood, contoured body with padded leg opening, waist belt, wrap straps, and fully reversible with the dark side on one side and the light side on the other. It’s BEAUTIFUL.

This one is also beautiful, but we’re having such a dark overcast day that I didn’t get any great pictures:
Wrap Conversion Onbu