Monday, November 24, 2014

Plus Size Babywearing

For years I never thought a thing about my size.  I was a size two going into college.  I danced (ballet ya’ll) six days a week.   I was a twig.  Then I slowly started gaining weight, and then I got married and had babies.  I went from twiggy to plus size in a matter of years.  When my precious little guy was born, I saw a Moby wrap and I thought, “I must have that.”   I quickly went from, “I must have that” to “…but I’m too fat” and “What will people see when they look at me, the fat mom with the tiny baby wrapped to herself?”  If you are a plus size mom, I bet you’ve had the same thoughts. 

The thing is  1) No, you aren’t too fat to babywear.   2)  Yes, the carriers will fit you.   3) People will see a mother who is wearing her baby, and a tiny baby they want to touch and ask a million questions about.  They are too enthralled by your ability to multi-task and by your beautiful child and how in love you are with your child to care about your body image.

Some things I’ve learned over the past four years of babywearing as a larger mom are this. 

  • Get a carrier with a pattern you love! 

Don’t buy a carrier with a dark color to try to hide your roundness or blend into your surroundings if what you really wanted was the carrier with the bright pink flowers or the one with the puppy dogs all over it.  Get something you really like and enjoy wearing it!  People will see the cute pattern and the baby anyhow.  If you are going to spend the money, get something lovely instead of the drab gray if you really hate gray.

  • Don’t buy the “plus size” without first trying it out. 

A standard size carrier, wrap, or sling is probably going to fit you.  I’m a size 22 with 40K breasts, and all the standard carriers fit me *with room to spare*.   Ring slings come long anyhow.  If you are also short as well as plus size, you’ll probably find the longer sling under your feet.   If you wear the standard size buckle carriers and mei tais properly (let’s put the waistband at our natural waist instead of our hips gals), you’ll probably be like me and have to roll up all that extra strap hanging down.  I found out the hard way that just because I am bigger doesn’t mean I need a size 7 or 8 wrap…waaaay too much fabric hanging down at my feet.  So, when you see that cute Ergo and then see it comes with “waist extenders”, please don’t automatically buy the plus size accessories.

  • Don’t buy a carrier without trying it first

Really, this could go for anyone, but don’t see something online or in your friend’s picture and just go buy it.  This may end up costing you a bundle in the end, and worse, will make you feel bad about babywearing and your body.  Everyone has different body shapes and what works for one person may be incredibly uncomfortable for someone else.  I’ve found some carriers have buckles that rub my arm fat horribly.  Some make my breasts contort into weird positions.  Wrapping was annoying to me because I can’t reach around my back with my short chubby arms.  However, other types had rings that I loved, and straps that didn’t rub, and easy ways of getting a baby on my back. Find a group with a lending library, like Babywearing Around Tulsa, and go to a meeting to try before you buy.  If you can’t make it to a meeting, at least borrow from another member or friend who owns what you are interested in and see if you like it first.  Meetings are nice because an expert can help you put it on correctly and be sure it fits you correctly. It’s better to be able to just set something back on a table than to have it bought and at home, where you can cry over it and get down on yourself for it not fitting well.  There’s something out there for everyone, but it may be trial and error to find the one for you!

  • Yes, you can breastfeed in a carrier!

If you aren’t breastfeeding, this doesn’t apply to you obviously, but many babywearing mamas are also breastfeeding mamas.  Many plus size mamas are plus size all around…hello big boobs!  Just because you are a larger size, doesn’t mean you can’t breastfeed in a carrier too.  It may take some practice though.  My advice is to start by finding a shirt you can lower and pull the breast out the top of vs trying to lift up a shirt in carrier.  Sports bras are my go-to nursing bras for this since they have no fabric impeding the lifting process on the top.  Find a carrier you can lower easily or turn baby a bit in too.  I liked that my ring sling tail covered the top half of my chest.  Ideally, find another mom who is or who has breastfed in the same carrier you have and get help!  If I hadn’t had a real-life, in-person tutorial, I may not have tried hard enough to figure it out.  Breastfeeding in a carrier is wonderful once you get it down though.  Large breasted mamas can breastfeed while babywearing! 

  • Be confident! 

Easier said than done, but be confident that you are a beautiful woman and a good mom.  This stage of your child’s life is gone in a flash, so have fun and enjoy snuggling with your little one.  Here are some of my favorite babywearing pictures of this fluffy mama and my kiddos….with at least one in my pajamas.

My name is Kristin Riffe.  I’m married and have two little boys who keep me on my toes.  I used to teach elementary school, but recently decided to quit and start a small sewing business.  I would consider myself a partially “crunchy” mama, who is somehow both extroverted and a wallflower.   



  1. Hello I was wondering what brand is the carrier you have on under the section don't buy it till you try it?