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jkpenney

Babywearing Educator, Parent, Advocate

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Babywearing

Review: Kokoskaa Willow Jewel

Blend: 60% Cotton, 40% Tencel
Size: 3/4


Note: I’ve only had it 4 days but have dragged it everywhere since getting it. I did want to get a review out before the preorder closes tomorrow. 
Wearee Stats: 

4 yo, 38 lb, 42ish” and a 2 yo, 25 lb, 36ish” maybe. 

Both move all over, push against my back while wrapping and during wearing. Seat popping, leaning, and climbing out of carries is the game. Most carries end up looser then they ought to be. 


Carries used: Front reinforced torso sling carry, double Hammock sling carry, Elleville Jordan’s back carry tied at shoulder, rucksack

My first impression was, “this is gorgeous. Photos didn’t do it justice.” Willow reminds me of moving water and comes to life in a way photos can’t show. It is blankety to touch and is what I imagine when I think of blanket scarves. The texture is such that you just want to run your hands along it repetitively. Basically I just want to cuddle Willow on the couch. 
When it comes to wrapping, I prefer multilayered carries because my children are basically limit testing Houdini’s. Willow did really well with these parameters and both children. The texture added grip which held my sloppy passes in place. But the texture didn’t make getting multilayered carries in place difficult. There’s a good glide-grip ratio. 


When we ruck, the top edge tends to be loose and the kids lean as far back as they can. This is probably not the norm for most people. With these circumstances, I prefer dense wraps typically for a rucksack. This continued to be true with Willow and my preschooler. It was okay for short periods, but I would choose the sweetheart weave for longer trips. The blanket like wrap did hold my toddler in place comfortably though. Considering the toddler is my main wrappee, I would be content with Willow in a shorter size for single layered carries. Plus in a traditional sling carry, I know that knot isn’t budging. I would go with a longer size and/or multilayered carries for a larger child. 


TL:DR

Soft, blanket like, textured, grip, great for multilayered carries, good in single layer but preferred with younger toddler and below. 
ETA: Monika informed me the tester is a tencel blend and not 100% cotton. I bet all cotton would rock with the preschooler and be a bit grippier. 

Vacation

Atlanta is for Friends

Importance of Community 

The 2016 International Babywearing Conference is less than a week away. As I prepare for travel, finalize schedules, and plan meet ups with my internet friends, I am reminded of how amazing the community of friends I’ve built through Babywearing is. Babywearing, and its subsequent Facebook groups, has brought the most amazing people into my life. Whether they live locally or exists only in my screen, I know without a doubt I have people to support and assure me. 

Chatter groups put a lot of focus on equality for all through social justice awareness, unlearning normal but harmful language, and making a welcoming space for minorities. It’s not a smooth road and there is plenty of backlash. But my friends have shown me that change is possible. Through many long and deep conversations, I’ve watched friends open their eyes to the hardships of many and stand up as allies. Most starkingly wonderful is how many #blacklivesmatter posts have flooded my newsfeed. This affirms for me that I have found my place and it is filled with the most deserving people. 

Thank you my friends. I can’t wait to see those of you who live in the computer for real next week. 

jade  wearing A on her front in an elevator with two friends
Time with friends at Mommycon DC 2015

Rucksack Tutorial

One of the best tricks I learned from the Center of Babywearing Studies (CBWS) course I took was an alternative method of doing a ruck. It was fantastic timing too as I was struggling with how to teach Casey how to ruck with his limited range of reach to create a seat.


For a photo tutorial, check out the BWI of Hampton Roads blog.

Babywearing As An Autistic Parent

Babywearing is a fantastic tool for parenting an autistic child. It allows us to meet the world where it is without fear for safety in crowds or over stimulation. Both are still a factor, but wearing E makes them easier to manage. This is all really great, and I’ve touched upon it before in the post titled Sensory Overload.

Jade wearing A in a rainbow buckle carrier. Both are looking at the camera smiling. E is sitting next to them with a huge grin at the camera.
Jade, A, and E on the train at Busch Gardens
But how does babywearing affect me as an autistic adult? It’s actually helped me in a few ways as a parent and as an individual. As a parent, it makes going out seem possible. Outings are overwhelming and exhausting. I typically limit myself to one errand a day as more than that has me burnt out for days after.  When I need to take the kids with me to do these errands, even thinking about the day’s tasks feels like more than can be done. Babywearing transforms these mountains into manageable tasks. It does this because it puts the  children in a visible, contained space. They climb out of cart belts, let go of hands and disappear, and E even figured out how to lift the back panel of a cart to climb in and out. When I wear them, I can focus on the tasks without fretting about the children’s safety, thus lessening the anxiety that surrounds it.

Babywearing also helps to satisfy E’s need to touch me while considering my adversions to being touched. It’s really difficult to remain present and kind with E when she is constantly touching me. I don’t like being touched and honestly half the time it makes my skin crawl. Wearing her gives her that close contact she craves without it being focused to the surface area of her tiny hand. This makes it significantly more bearable.

As an individual, babywearing helps me to disengage with the surrounding public. You can’t politely stare at your phone in crowded gatherings. You can, however, disengage by cuddling your kid. I can go out and be social without being forced to maintain eye contact, small talk, or acknowledging the discomfort that comes with standing close to too many people. This is especially good because I don’t want to be antisocial. I enjoy hanging out with friend and forming new relationships. The process to it all can just become terribly overwhelming and taxing before it does for others.

Overall, Babywearing is a win for everyone. The kids are happy. I’m happy. And strangers are happy that they don’t have to bear through awkward small talk. Cheers all around!

A close up of Jade and E dressed for bed. E is in a teal soft structured carrier on Jade's front. Both are smiling at the camera.
Jade and E babywearing before bed

Kokoskaa Brave

100% cotton

Red, White, and Blue

276 GSM post wash and wear
This tester is the first wrap from Kokoskaa’s newest budget line. All wraps in this line are priced under $100. What is great about this wrap is it provides excellent quality for an economically considerate price.

As for the wrap, I tested a size 7 with my 20 lb 11 month old and my 32 lb 3 year old using standard carries such as a FWCC, Ruck, and a DH.

The first thing to jump out at me is how smooth in hand the wrap feels. When wrapping, that translates to great glide. Yet there is also enough grip that you need not worry about it being slippery. Once in place, Brave is quite solid and supportive.

It’s a flatter weave so isn’t cushy. But it is also a thicker medium wrap and doesn’t wrap flat either. I know, I make perfect sense. It doesn’t seem pull prone and fixing any pulls would be a breeze. That’s a must for me with a beater wrap, which Brave would serve perfectly as.

It comes stiff in the bag and will take some work breaking in. After a couple weeks of mild wear, Brave is already starting to reveal its soft potential. Once softened, and with its easy to wrap with-ness, this wrap will be great with even the small babies.

This wrap is a great option for anyone looking for a one and done wrap or an inexpensive beater/loaner. It will provide excellent support through toddlerhood and not only withstand, but benefit from frequent wear. It’s an easy to care for blend that you can drag through the dirt then throw in the wash without a second thought. Overall, it’s a great investment and more than worth the cost.
TL;DR: strong, smooth, glides, touch of grip, great beater, great for toddlers, needs some breaking in, great price point, classic looks

Kokoskaa Hope

100% Cotton

3 yo (35 lbs) and an 18 m old (21lb)

Carries tried:FWCC, Ruck, Ruck TT, DH, Ring Sling

Hope has been staying here in different forms for a few weeks now. I’ve used it with both children on various occasions, the longest being a 2+ hr shop run with the little in a DH. Hope is fantastic in single or multilayers. It is thinner and glides with ease making multi layered carries beginner friendly. It also still offers the support of the first budget grad release, Brave, without the bulk. This translates well to a ring sling, supportive yet light and easy to adjust through the rings. Its a flat textured standard cotton (neither soapy or dry) that lays on the shoulders without digging. The width is enough with a preschooler without being overwhelming with the baby. It breaks in quickly.

The most defining adjective for this wrap is “easy”, easy to wrap with, easy care, easy to learn with since there are different colored rails, and easy to depend on for various situations.

TLDR: Glide, flat, beginner friendly, thinner, no dig, solid, softens quickly.

This is not for you if you want a cushy, bounce, thick, or textured wrap.

Kokoskaa Daydream Summer Nights

From quite awhile ago. Summer nights now lives here permanently. It’s broken in wonderfully. 

Size 6, 100% Cotton

I’ve been using this carrier exclusively for 2 weeks now. That’s a rarity around here. Yet somehow I never got bored of this pretty. It glows in the sunlight and the colors are neutral enough that it goes well with most of my wardrobe while still standing out. 

Little sister to the original daydream pattern, the wrapping qualities are similar yet still different. The grip is still a prominent feature. It’s not difficult to wrap with yet it will lock in place once set. There is just enough stretch to get a neat chest pass. It is a dense, tight weave, but the smaller daydream cotton blend feels thinner in hand than the larger one. There is no need to baby this wrap. It offers solid support and did not dig even when tandeming 50 lbs of child in a Ruck Tied Tibetan. A torso carry with a 20 lb 8 m old stayed locked in place throughout a park excursion. No matter which carry I tried with this wrap, from a FWCC to a simple ruck and plenty in between, I was always comfortable and pleased. 

This is really a perfect summer wrap. It can take you to the park or beach without needing to treat it delicately. It can handle the 30lb toddler and the bowling ball baby with ease. Give it a shot, you’ll be happy you did. 


TL;DR – grip, dense, thin in hand, good beater, rock solid, no dig, locks in place without being difficult to tighten. 

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