Front Double Hammock
Carrier: Woven Wrap (Base size +)
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Suitable from: Newborn and up, especially great for those with heavy children or back pain.
Listen to me provide full instructions for the Front Double Hammock. I will narrate you through this carry, explaining each step along the way including tactile as well as visual cues.
Photos + Written Instructions
For these photos, we used a size 6 handwoven called "Moria" by Mama Minnow.
A bit about the model, Kayla:
Part 1: Preparation
Start by locating the middle marker on your wrap.
Do an even gather down the width of the wrap to form a band.
Place the gathered wrap so the middle marker is centred on your back.
Tuck one side in between your legs. This will keep the wrap out of your way and make sure it doesn't shift around while you're working on the other half.
Choose what the top rail of your wrap will be and orient it rightside up. It is important to keep track of the top rail of your wrap throughout this carry, so this simple step is crucial to a snug and comfortable Front Double Hammock.
Bring the wrap across your body so that the wrap cascades down your arm. The top rail (in this case, the orange portion of the wrap) should be closest to your shoulder and the bottom rail (the black portion of the wrap) is in your hand.
The Shoulder Flip
You are now going to flip the wrap up onto your shoulder. This flips your wrap inside out and helps it to cap your shoulder.
Make sure the wrap is evenly spread down your arm and that the top rail is just on the outside of your shoulder.
Keep the top of the wrap on the outside of your shoulder for a good cap. If the wrap is too close to your neck, when you flip the shoulder, it will just end up folding the wrap in half (also known as "sandwiching") instead of flipping it.
In one swift motion, touch your hand to your shoulder. To be precise, in a split second motion, you are pulling your arm up to a 90 degree level from your shoulder then bending at the elbow so your fingertips touch the top or back of your shoulder. Now the top rail of your wrap is on the outside of your shoulder and the bottom rail is closest to your neck.
Bring the wrap smoothly around your back and to the front. Make sure the bottom rail of your wrap (in this case, the black portion) is the part that is closest to your underarm.
Tuck the finished side between your legs and begin work on the other side.
Preparation - Repeat
Bring the wrap across your body and spread it down your shoulder in preparation for flipping the shoulder.
Flip the wrap up onto your shoulder.
Here's a reminder of how to do that: In one swift motion, touch your hand (which is holding the bottom rail of the wrap) to your shoulder. To be precise, in a split second motion, you are pulling your arm up to a 90 degree level from your shoulder then bending at the elbow so your fingertips touch the top or back of your shoulder. Now the top rail of your wrap is on the outside of your shoulder and the bottom rail is closest to your neck.
Spread the wrap smoothly across your back and bring around your front.
Once you have finished preparing both side, hold a tail in each hand and tighten or loosen the wrap as needed. You don't want your wrap to be excessively loose, because that will make it more difficult to tighten once your child is in the wrap since it will be unable to provide their body any support. You need just a bit more than their body will require.
Tie a loose single knot.
Spread the first layer (the layer closest to your body) across the front of your body, taking special care to make sure the wrap has not become twisted and to separate the top and bottom of the wrap. The front panels of the wrap have not been flipped yet, so the top rail of the panel will correspond to the outside of your flipped shoulder.
Orient the second layer of the panels with the top rail up and spread it across your body to make sure it is smooth and manipulate once you have your wrappee.
Part 2: Wrapping the Child
Now it's time to get your wrappee!
Lift your wrappee up to a burping position opposite the shoulder holding your first layer. This will make it easier to lower your wrappee into both layers of the wrap.
Lower your wrappee through both layers of the wrap, pulling both legs through at once. The panels of the wrap are forming hammock passes (which go over both legs), not cross passes (which go between the legs).
The First Layer
Locate the top rail of the first layer of the wrap and spread the panel over the wrappee's back. To keep the bottom rail down, use the hand supporting the wrappee to hold onto the wrap. I like to hook my thumb inside it but you can use your hand to grip it as well.
If you're having trouble finding the top rail, reach to either side of the panel - either reach back towards your ribs where the top rail should be closest to your underarm, or you can reach to the outside of your shoulder and follow it in towards the panel.
Make sure the bottom rail is pulled down and it can reach from the back of one knee to the next on your wrappee. The panel of the wrap should be smooth over your wrapee's back so if there are any folds, smooth them out by pulling more fabric towards the bottom.
Spread the second layer of the panel over the wrappee.
Make sure that both layers of the wrap reach from the back of one knee to the back of the other. You can even tuck the fabric into a seat if you like. If your wrappee is cooperative, this is an excellent opportunity to rotate his/her pelvis into your body, which can be done by lifting the knees higher than the bum.
Rotating your wrappee's pelvis benefits both of you. It helps your wrappee to be in a more ergonomic position and maintain their natural positioning (especially in infants, who sitll have a C curve in their spine). There is an added bonus that this pulls their weight into your body and makes the weight easier to carry.
Untie the loose single knot you had tied during preparation so that you can begin tightening. You can tuck one tail between your legs while you tighten the other side but I find it helpful to hold one tail in my hand as counterbalance. Either option is possible depending on personal preferences.
You are going to be tightening the wrap from the bottom up (since the bottom of the wrap now corresponds to the section closest to your wrappee's neck) so before you start tightening, make sure to orient the wrap once again.
Tighten the tail from the bottom up.
That means tightening the part of the wrap that corresponds to the outside of your shoulder, working through the width of the fabric and ending by tightening the portion corresponding to the top of the shoulder. When you do this, you will tighten around the wrappee's neck and shoulders first.
When you are finished tightening, tuck the finished side between your legs to maintain tension.
Begin tightening the other shoulder from the bottom up.
I find it helpful to drape the wrap over my arm (like a butler or wine server) to make the wrap easier to grab as I'm tightening the different portions.
When you are finished tightening, grab the whole tail and bring around the front using a firm grip.
Be sure to tie a double knot in this carry.
Now that you're pretty much finished and tied off, go back over your wrap and make sure it's comfortable for you. Cap the shoulders so that the weight is equally distributed; spread the wrap over your back for full coverage; do small tweaks so that the wrap is exactly how you would like it to be.