A beginner’s guide to woven wraps – everything you need to know and more

A woven wrap is a length of fabric in which you can carry your child. Some of these are purposely woven whilst others are fabrics which have been selected by manufacturers as suitable for the purpose of carrying a baby.

Woven for purpose

Just a few short years ago it was possible to name all the major wrap brands in a simple conversation about wraps. With a current explosion of new brands and many more appearing all the time that is no longer possible. When looking for a first wrap it can help to go for a brand which you have been able to try or feel at a meet or from a friend. If that is not possible investigate some of the different varieties available and consider which will suit you best in terms of style and material.

Cross twill or German style woven. These wraps have a diagonal stretch which can make it easier to wrap. Generally speaking these are one colour or striped.

Straight weave/gauze – simpler weave means that these are often cheaper and thinner.

Jacquard – with a diagonal stretch but also with the ability to have pretty much any pattern you can imagine. Not as sturdy as a cross twill yet very smooth to wrap with.

Not woven for purpose

SPOC – Simple piece of cloth. Of course there is nothing simple about it as it is not a case of walking into your nearest fabric shop and simply selecting any old piece of fabric. The feel and manufacture of the fabric will need to be taken into account as well as how it wraps.

When considering buying or making a SPOC it is a good idea to check which dyes have been used if any and if they are child friendly. Many children suck and chew on wraps if given the chance.

There are some amazing SPOC available which are really good value for money yet there are also some pieces of fabric which although sold as a baby carrier are really not suitable to be used as such. Going by something you have tried or by recommendation can help prevent an expensive mistake.

Sizing

Wrap sizing can be confusing and opinions are divided on which size is suitable for which carries. As a basic start it can help to consider the following points:

  • Size the wrap by the largest person who will use it, extra material can be looped around your waist and tied if needed.
  • When trying a wrap and finding it is too big, measure the tail to see how much spare you have. This can help you decide whether you can drop a size.
  • When buying second hand it can be more cost effective to find someone to cut and hem a longer wrap especially if it is a good deal.

The table below can be used as a general guide towards determining the size of a wrap.

Size

Length ( meters)

Size 1

2.0 – 2.2 m

Size 2

2.5 – 2.7 m

Size 3

3.1 – 3.3 m

Size 4

3.7 – 3.9 m

Size 5

4.2 – 4.3 m

Size 6

4.6 – 4.9 m

Size 7

5.2 – 5.4 m

Size 8

5.5 – 5.8 m

Different sizes are suitable for different sized adults and different carrying methods. The most popular carrying method for those new to using wraps is the FWCC and the most selected size for using it is a size 6 ( between 4.6 and 4.9 meters). It is worth noting that in general users find that they need more material when new to using a wrap.

Oscha Slings created the following table to help users determine which size of sling they would probably need for different carries.  The column on the left indicates the smallest size and it slides up to the right for the largest size.

Blends

Traditionally woven wraps were all cotton. Now, however, more and more different types of yarn are being used to make wraps. Linen, wool, bamboo, silk, ramie and many more are being blended with cotton to make wraps with a different feel to them.  Which blend you choose comes down to personal preference although it can be useful to make sure that you are happy with the care instructions for a specific blend of wrap.

How to use my new wrap?

When you get your new wrap you will have to decide which carry to try first. With so many different tying methods out there it can be hard to choose. Below are the names of some popular ones.

Medium/Long wraps

FWCC – Front Wrap Cross Carry. Can be used from newborn until your toddler becomes too heavy or too tall for you to comfortably carry on your front.

Ruck. The simplest back carry there is, a rucksack does what the name suggests and ties the wrap like a rucksack to hold your child on your back. It can be used from newborn until your child is too heavy for you to carry.

BWCC – Back Wrap Cross Carry. A slightly more complex yet very secure back carry. It can be used from around 5 months depending on the baby’s size and degree of head control until they become too heavy for you to carry.

DH – Double Hammock. A very secure back carry which creates two hammocks for the baby to sit in on your back. As it can be tied as a high back carry it can be adapted to be used from birth until your child is too heavy to carry.

Robyn’s Hip Carry – This hip carry uses a longer wrap and is partially pre – tied. It ads versatility to your wrap and is especially useful if you have only one sling.

Short wraps

Slipknot Hip Carry. By using a slipknot to fasten the wrap at one shoulder you create a one shoulder carrier which is easy to adjust.  Very comfortable and can be used from birth until they are too big for you to carry on your hip.

RUB – Ruck under Bum. Just like a normal ruck but tied under the child’s bum which means a shorter wrap can be used. Generally better for slightly bigger babies and toddlers.

No Sew Ringsling. Using a pair of sling rings you can transform a short wrap into a ring sling by threading the wrap through the rings and making sure enough fabric sits on your shoulder. A great way to get more out of your wrap.

Safety

Remember the TICKS rule of Safe Babywearing. When using your wrap be sensible of your and your babies ability and use common sense when trying something new.

When learning how to wrap you may want to check out whether there is a local babywearing consultant. Alternatively SlingABaby has compiled a comprehensive list of videos which can help you learn.  Practising with a teddy or doll can help you figure out where the material is supposed to go without upsetting your baby.

 

And above all …

 

Wrapping is both functional and fun! Enjoy and spread the wrapping love.

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I carried my daughter in a woven wrap sling from birth to around 18 months and loved being so close to her. The only thing I struggled with was as a newborn she’d tend to slump into foetal position at the bottom of the sling. It didn’t feel very safe or supportive any tips for new mums to prevent this.

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