Are you considering using a baby wrap, but have no idea where to start?
I like to call baby wraps the Volkswagen Beetles of the babywearing world. They are bright and adorable, and everyone seems to want one. But they also require a little more work and can be a tad bit intimidating, like driving a standard vehicle.
In this article, we are going to dive into all the nitty-gritty details of baby wraps. We’ll discuss the different kinds of wraps and what safety considerations you should keep in mind. We’ll also talk about how to wear your wrap, how to troubleshoot issues, and answer some frequently asked questions about different kinds of wraps.
Does this sound like a doozy or what? It’s not called an ultimate guide for nothing. So, grab your coffee and take a seat. You’re going to learn a lot.
What’s the Deal With Baby Wraps?
If you are just now joining the world of baby carriers, you might be asking yourself why you should consider a wrap in the first place. What makes them unique compared to carriers such as a mei tai or a ring sling?
A baby wrap is essentially a long piece of fabric you wrap around your body to hold your baby in different positions. They are some of the most versatile kinds of baby wraps because you can use them to hold babies from birth to preschool age. Wraps can be maneuvered to hold your baby in several different positions on various areas of your body.
This article goes into all the details, big and small, about baby wraps. But first, let’s start with what you need to know before choosing the wrap that’s right for you.
Different Kinds of Wraps
There are two basic kinds of baby wraps, the woven wrap and the stretchy wrap (source). Each of these offer their own advantages and disadvantages. But, it’s up to you to choose which one is right for you.
These wraps are stretchy, as their name suggests. This makes them a popular choice as a beginner wrap for several reasons.
The Pros of Stretchy Wraps
Stretchy wraps are a popular choice for moms who are new to babywearing because:
- They are less intimidating: Stretchy wraps can be tied to your body before you place your baby into the carrier. This makes it easier for moms to get the hang of tying the wrap without fear of dropping their baby.
- You can hold your baby in more than one position: Stretchy wraps can hold babies on both a front carry and side carry position.
- They are one-size-fits-all: Most stretchy carriers are sold in a one-size-fits-all model due to their stretchy nature. This means you do not have to worry about measuring to find the carrier to fit your size.
The Cons of Stretchy Wraps
Although there are several advantages to using a stretchy wrap, there are some disadvantages you need to consider before making your choice. Such as:
- They do not offer support: The stretchiness of the wrap might seem appealing, but unfortunately, it takes away from the carrier’s support. Because of this, it is best used in the newborn stage.
- You cannot use a back carry: It is not recommended to use stretchy wraps in a back carry position because of the lack of support they provide.
- You will not be able to keep your baby in it for as long: Again, it’s the support that causes the issue. As your baby grows they need more support, this means eventually you will need to purchase a different carrier in order to keep babywearing your little one.
- Comfort: As your baby gets bigger, the stretchy wrap will start digging into your shoulders under the weight of your baby. The weight of the straps on your shoulders can make it uncomfortable for you.
Woven wraps have less stretch to them compared to their stretchy wrap counterparts. They are made from a wide variety of fabrics including cotton, silk, wool, and cashmere among others. They do not stretch in length or width but do have some diagonal stretch to them.
The Pros of Woven Wraps
Woven wraps are the most popular type of baby wrap for several reasons. Here are some of the advantages of choosing a woven wrap.
- The versatility of positions: A woven carrier can be used in front, back, and hip carry positions. You can also use them in single or multi-layer carrier styles.
- It will last you a long time: A woven wrap provides the support a stretchy wrap lacks. Because of this, it can be used well into the preschool years if you choose.
- Pick a fabric you love: Woven wraps come in several different fabric options including silk, cotton, and wool. You can choose a wool wrap to keep your baby warm in the winter and a breathable cotton fabric during the hot summer months.
- It’s comfortable: The support a woven wrap gives means it won’t dig into your shoulders under your baby’s weight.
- There is something for everyone: Woven wraps come in a variety of different patterns and designs, allowing you to choose one that fits you and your baby’s personalities.
The Cons of Woven Wraps
Although the woven wrap is the most popular choice for baby wraps, that doesn’t mean they are without flaws. Here are some cons to consider before purchasing a woven wrap:
- They are not one-size-fits-all: Woven wraps come in different lengths based on your base size, which is based on your t-shirt size and is the length of wrap you need to do the basic Front Wrap Cross Carry (source). You will need to make sure you get the right size to wear your baby in the wrap successfully. Once you start to gain confidence in wearing your baby, you can also purchase different sizes to do various kinds of carries.
- They have a pretty steep learning curve: Learning different wraps can be intimidating, especially since you have to have your baby in the woven wrap as you are wrapping them. As your baby grows, you might need to learn new wraps to adjust to their weight or how they like to be carried. This can take a while to master.
Safety Considerations When Using Wraps
While baby wraps are considered safe, there are always things to take into consideration to make sure your baby is being carried in the safest way possible. Make sure to keep the following elements in mind every time you wear your baby.
1. Ensuring Baby Has a Clear Airway
This one sounds obvious, but your baby’s airway can become obstructed a lot easier than you might think. So, it’s important to keep this safety precaution in mind the entire time your baby is in the wrap.
The best way to keep your baby’s airway open is to keep them in an upright position (source). You want them placed high on your body so you can monitor their breathing. You also want to make sure their chin is not falling onto their chest because this can obstruct the airway.
2. Is Your Carrier in Optimal Condition?
Every time you wear your baby, you need to inspect the carrier first. Make sure it has no tears, weak areas, or loose and snagged stitching to ensure that unexpected malfunctions will not happen while you are wearing your baby.
It is also recommended you purchase your carrier from a reputable manufacturer. That way you can ensure all current testing and labeling standards are met before you ever use the wrap.
3. Is Your Wrap Providing Enough Support?
Your baby needs to be held ergonomically both for your comfort, as well as their comfort and safety. Your baby’s neck and back both need to be supported correctly as they develop, and their hip sockets should be placed in the correct position.
Place your baby in the carrier in a way that their knees are higher than their bottom. They also require adequate support from their hip sockets to their knees to keep them in the correct position.
4. Always Have A Spotter
As I mentioned before, wearing your baby involves a bit of a learning curve.
This can mean using a bed or a couch as a soft place for your baby to fall, or making sure you always have another person there to spot. Many moms find that learning front holds are easier than hip or back holds. It might be a good idea to build confidence by mastering these before moving on to more difficult positions.
5. Don’t Back Carry with Stretchy Wraps
As mentioned before, stretchy carriers do not provide the support required to use a back carry. This is because the wrap stretches as your baby leans back, allowing your baby to easily fall out of the wrap and onto the ground below.
Woven wraps are safe to use for a back carry, however, as the fabric does not give. If you use a back carry with a woven wrap and your baby leans back, your baby will not fall out of the wrap as long as you have secured it tightly.
Stretchy Wraps 101
Tips For Using Stretchy Wraps
Wearing a stretchy wrap is not as big of a learning curve as wearing a woven wrap, but it still does require some practice. Here are some tips for wearing a stretchy wrap, as well as step-by-step instructions for three ways to wear your baby in a stretchy wrap.
Many manufacturers claim their stretchy wraps are safe for children up to 30 to 45 pounds. But, although it might be safe, the truth is carrying a toddler in a stretchy wrap isn’t comfortable.
Stretchy wraps are great for newborns because they do not weigh a lot and therefore do not need a lot of support. A toddler, on the other hand, is heavier and needs more support from a wrap.
As your baby grows, his or her weight will start to pull the stretchy wrap down. This will make the straps start to dig into your sides and shoulders, making it uncomfortable. You can tighten them back up, but it will continue to happen because of the way the fabric is designed.
How exactly you put your baby into a stretchy wrap will differ based on which carry you are using. You want the process to be slow and smooth, based on your baby’s needs. Keep baby secured snugly against you in the wrap, with the hip joints supported and their airway open.
Wraps help your baby feel calm and secure and can help to dampen their startle reflex and allow them to sleep. This is all great until you want to take your baby out of the carrier without waking them. Then things can get a little bit tricky.
To keep your baby feeling calm and secure when taking them out of the carrier, go with a slow approach. Don’t untie the wrap first, instead take the wrap off of your baby one layer at a time while keeping them held snug to you with your opposite hand. Once your baby is released from the wrap you can gently lay them down and then finish removing the wrap from your body.
You want your baby to sit snug against your body, similar to the way they are if you are holding them to your chest with your arms. Of course, you also want to be comfortable. If your back hurts, your wrap might be too tight, sitting too low, or the fabric may be twisted.
You want to make sure you check the tightness any time you take your baby out or change their position in the wrap. This makes sure that both you and your baby remain safe and comfortable.
When it comes to positioning your baby’s seat, you want to make sure you are providing enough support for their legs and hip sockets. The seat of your wrap needs to be spread wide so that your baby’s legs are spread wide around your body with their knees at a higher angle than their hips (source).
Wrapping Baby In A Stretchy Wrap
All of these facts and tips are great, but are you wondering how to actually use your stretchy wrap? Wonder no more, here are some step-by-step instructions for three of the most common stretchy wrap carries.
A Front Wrap Cross Carry is a basic carry and one of the easiest to learn. It’s also a great way to carry a newborn baby because it keeps baby upright, yet snug and close so they feel protected.
To do a Front Wrap Cross Carry:
- First, lay the wrap flat against your stomach, then bring the right end behind your back and over and around your left shoulder.
- Keeping the middle section flat against your stomach, bring the left end behind your back and over and around your right shoulder.
- Make sure the front part is evenly spread out and not twisted, and that the two straps are forming an ‘X’ across your back, also known as a cross pass.
- Tighten the ends so everything is secure against your skin but not cutting into your skin.
- Pick up your baby and gently place them into the front part of the wrap.
- Keep the wrap straight from your baby’s knees to their neck. Make sure your baby’s legs are spread apart with their knees angled above their hip sockets.
- Tuck any excessive fabric under your baby’s bottom between you and the baby.
- Tighten the ends until your baby feels secure against your chest.
- Take one end across your baby’s bottom and tuck it in under your baby’s opposite leg.
- Repeat with the other end, so they are creating a cross pass under your baby’s bottom.
- Wrap the ends around your back and tie with a double knot to keep the wrap secure on your body. If the wrap is too long, you can cross it again across your back and tie it in a double knot at the front of your body instead.
- Straighten the part of the cross that is closest to your baby’s back so it is supporting your baby from knee to knee. Keep the fabric smooth across your baby’s back.
- Do the same with the part of the cross that is on the outside, making sure again to keep it smooth and that it is supporting your baby from knee to knee.
- If any excess fabric is covering your baby’s face, you can twist the strap on your shoulder to move the fabric away. You can also use the external layer of fabric to support your baby’s head if needed.
The Pocket Wrap Cross Carry is another easy carry to master. It’s similar to the front wrap cross carry. You can pre-wrap it if you are out and about, so it will be all ready when your baby needs some extra love.
To do a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry:
- Find the center of the wrap and place it flatly onto your stomach, this is called the chest pass.
- Place the left end across your back and up around your right shoulder.
- Then take the right end across your back and up and around your left shoulder, this will make the ends form an ‘X’ across your back, also known as a cross pass.
- Allow the ends to fall over your shoulder, and then tuck them into the chest pass.
- Cross the ends at your front, then wrap them around your back.
- Cross them again behind your back and bring them back to the front, secure the ends with a knot.
- Pull the chest pass down and use your hands to pull out the front cross pass made by the end pieces. This will make room for your baby.
- Put one of your baby’s legs under the internal piece of the cross pass, then put your baby’s other leg under the external piece.
- Spread the internal piece of the cross pass flat, so it is supporting your baby from knee to knee. Then flatten the piece across your baby’s back.
- Do the same with the outer piece of the cross pass, again make sure it supports your baby from knee to knee.
- Tuck any excess fabric under your baby’s bottom.
- Pull the chest pass over your baby’s legs and spread it flat across the baby’s back.
- Depending on your baby’s size, you can pull their arms through the straps made by the cross pass. This will allow them room to move.
- Pull the knot you made tight to keep your baby secure. You might need to cross it around your back again if the ends are too long.
You can tandem wear your twins in a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry when they are newborns. To do this, you place one baby inside the internal part of the ‘X’ with one leg on each side. Then do the same for the second baby in the external part of the ‘X’.
Make sure the fabric supports each baby from knee to knee.
Just make sure to pull the chest pass up over your first baby so they are secure while you are putting your second baby in the wrap. Pull the chest pass up over both babies and then tie the wrap tightly so the babies are secure.
A hip wrap cross carry allows you to wear your baby on your hip. This is a great way to continue to use your stretchy wrap as your baby gets older.
To wrap your baby in a Hip Wrap Cross Carry:
- Find the middle marker of your wrap and place it under your armpit, then wrap the other end of the wrap under your opposite armpit.
- Reach behind you and take each tail up and over the opposite shoulder. You will now have a little pouch in the front similar to what you would have in a Front Wrap Cross Carry.
- Provide some slack in the pouch for your baby.
- Place your baby on your shoulder and guide their legs into the horizontal pouch.
- Spread the wrap flat up your baby’s back, and then from knee to knee, and shift your baby onto your hip.
- Tighten both tails to keep your baby secure. You will need to tighten the top, middle, and bottom of the tails to make sure you get them tight enough.
- Spread one tail across your baby’s back and bottom, keeping it flat from knee to knee, and tuck it under your baby’s opposite leg. Repeat this with the other tail.
- Tie the tail ends together either at your back or cross them at your back and tie them at your front if they are too long.
This carry is another way to hold your baby on your hip. It can be great when your baby is bigger, but you are not quite ready to move on from a stretchy wrap.
To do a Three Layer Hip Carry:
- Find the center of the wrap and place it on your right shoulder with the bottom of the wrap next to your neck.
- Twist the end that is going down your back, then bring it around to your front. It will go over the end that is hanging in front of your right shoulder.
- Flip the front end up and back over your right shoulder. Then wrap it around your back and under your left armpit.
- Tuck both ends between your knees to keep the pouch that it makes secure.
- Loosen the ‘pouch’ made under your left armpit so that it has enough room to fit your baby.
- Guide your baby’s legs into the pouch and spread them wide with their knees above their hip sockets. Tuck the extra fabric from the pouch under your baby’s bottom.
- Make sure the fabric is supporting your baby from knee to knee.
- Pull the pouch flat up to your baby’s neck.
- Pull the end tail that is under your right arm tight to secure your baby, while keeping the tail that is coming across your left side secure between your knees. Once the right tail is tight, place it back between your knees to keep it secure.
- Take the opposite tail end and hold it out. It should be flat with the bottom section of the wrap pointing up.
- Flip this end tail around so it is twisted once and the top of the wrap is now on top.
- Spread the wrap securely and flat over your baby’s back and then tuck it under the opposite leg. The other tail end will be on top of your baby’s leg.
- Pull the tail end that is under your baby’s leg around your back again, wrap it around to the front, tucking under your baby’s opposite leg as you do. Both tail ends should be on your belly.
- Twist the tail end that is on top of your baby’s leg (on your right side) so the bottom of the wrap is on the top.
- Lay it flat against your baby’s back, tucking the extra fabric under your baby and wrapping it under your baby’s leg and around your back.
- Tuck this end under your baby’s opposite leg as well, then secure both ends together in a knot under your baby’s bottom.
- You can wrap the extra fabric on the tail ends around your back and secure another knot if necessary.
Troubleshooting Your Stretchy Wrap
Have you learned a carry, but are having a little bit of trouble mastering it? Maybe you feel like it’s too tight or too loose. Or perhaps you are worried about your baby’s positioning? We’re here to help.
Below we’ve compiled a list of common problems when it comes to using stretchy wraps, and what you can do to solve them.
Believe it or not, your strap should feel too tight. In fact, it should be tight enough that it feels like a t-shirt that is a size too small (source). Since the wrap is stretchy, the fit will loosen up as you wear it, and within about ten minutes it should feel comfortable.
If you want to tighten up a wrap that is too loose, you can undo the straps that are keeping your wrap tight with one hand, while holding your baby with the other to keep them supported (source). You can then lift up your baby into a higher position and pull on the straps to make your wrap tighter around your body.
You can also easily change a Pocket Carry to a Front Carry if you need more support or a tighter fit.
If your baby is continuously slumping to one side, you can solve the problem by gathering up each section of the X, or cross pass, and placing them into the crook of your baby’s knee when you put baby in the wrap. Then you can spread each section straight across the baby’s back after ensuring that baby’s knees and hips are even and supported.
If your baby is curling up inside the wrap, it is often because the wrap is too loose. You can either tighten the wrap by undoing and pulling on the straps while holding your baby to keep them secure, or you can also redo the carry entirely so it fits snugly.
It’s important to keep your baby’s face out of the wrap and their airway open. To do this, take the shoulder strap and twist it so it stays out of the baby’s way.
You also need to make sure the wrap is fitting snugly. If the wrap is loose, your baby can start to slump — this can lead to them burying their face into the fabric as well.
If your baby keeps leaning back, it might be because they do not have enough support on their back. You can remedy this for a time by placing a folded receiving blanket or piece of muslin into the wrap behind your baby’s back.
We’ve covered a lot about stretchy wraps so far, but you still might have some questions. That’s okay! Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to stretchy wraps.
The short answer is yes, you can breastfeed in your stretchy wrap!
You can do this especially in a front carry position by gently pushing your baby down in the wrap so their mouth is even with your breast (source). Then you lift your breast up into your baby’s mouth. The shoulder fabric can then be moved to allow for added privacy if you wish.
If you want to breastfeed your baby in a cradle position, it is recommended you take your baby out of the wrap first for safety reasons (source). You can take your baby out of the wrap while leaving the wrap tied on though — that way when they are done eating you can place them back into the wrap easily. Just make sure to do another security check to ensure your baby is in correctly.
It is not a good idea to allow your baby to face outward in a stretchy wrap for several reasons.
These reasons include:
- Leg positioning: Holding your baby in an outward facing position does not allow you to keep your baby’s legs supported like it does when they can be wrapped around your body (source). Instead with an outward position, it will cause your baby’s legs to dangle and put unnecessary pressure on your baby’s hip sockets.
- Back pain: Carrying your baby in an outward position can cause back pain for you and your baby. Carrying your baby outward facing redistributes their weight awkwardly and can cause you to arch your back to compensate. It can cause your baby to arch their back due to positioning too, which can cause back pain and stress on your spine and your baby’s.
- Overstimulation: When your baby faces your chest they can rest their head onto it. In an outward facing hold, your baby cannot rest their head. This can cause them to become overstimulated and fussy.
- Head and neck support: The US Consumer Products Safety Commission has warned that babies should not be placed in forward-facing carriers until they have adequate head and neck control. But even if your baby is older, they cannot adequately support their head while asleep in an outward facing position.
Many stretchy wraps claim they can be worn until your baby is 30-45 pounds. The fact is though that while it might be safe to wear your baby in a stretchy wrap for that long, it will probably start being uncomfortable long before then (source).
Once your baby reaches 17 to 20 pounds, your baby’s weight will more than likely start pulling at the fabric more. Your baby will also start to discover the fabric as they get older and pull on it themselves. Both of these can cause the need to readjust and retie your wrap often to keep it snug.
Eventually, your baby will start looking around and moving toward the world around them. This will put further strain on the stretchy wrap and increase the chances of it becoming loose or your baby falling out of it.
Once you start to notice your baby’s weight causing your wrap to become loose, or them beginning to lean out of the wrap, it is best to move to a woven wrap or another type of carrier. This will keep your baby safe and give you peace of mind.
Woven Wraps 101
Tips for Preparing a Woven Wrap
Woven wraps have a steeper learning curve than their stretchy wrap counterparts. Here are some tips, as well as more step-by-step instructions for how to use and wear your woven wrap.
Woven wraps are suitable for both newborns and toddlers, so do not fret about having to buy a new wrap once your baby gets bigger. Different carries will work better with a newborn vs. a toddler though. For example, you do not want to place a newborn in a back or hip carry.
Just like when you use a stretchy wrap, you want the process of putting your baby into their wrap to be slow and smooth. This will be different based on what type of carry you are doing, but you want to make sure you keep your baby snug and secure in the wrap, with the airway open and hip joints supported.
Taking off a woven wrap is also similar to taking off a stretchy wrap. Go slow, taking off one layer at a time while keeping your baby held snugly to you with your opposite hand. Doing this will help your baby to feel calm while you are taking them out of the wrap, and help to ease the transition.
Most woven wraps are made out of cotton. This is because cotton is a breathable fabric that is soft, strong, and easy to care for.
You can also purchase woven wraps that are made of cotton that has been blended with other fabrics such as bamboo, hemp, linen, silk, and wool. These fabrics can provide extra support, softness, and help with your grip.
Some wraps are also thinner, making them better for warm temperatures, while others are thicker and more suitable for winter months. You can say there is a wrap out there for everyone!
As with a stretchy wrap, you want your baby to sit snug against your body in a woven wrap. If your baby is too loose, it can be a safety hazard and can also cause stress on your back. Make sure to check your baby’s positioning every time you take them out of the wrap or change their position.
Your baby’s seat position in a woven wrap should be the same as it is in a stretchy wrap. Your baby needs to sit wide and be supported from knee to knee.
When it comes to positioning your baby’s seat, you want to make sure you are providing enough support for their legs and hip sockets. The seat of your wrap needs to be spread wide so that your baby’s legs are spread wide around your body with their knees at a higher angle than their hips (source).
Unlike stretchy wraps, woven wraps are not one-size-fits-all. Instead, woven wraps come in several different sizes. You can buy various sizes based on your size or to do different types of carries.
Your base size is the wrap length you will need to do a Front Wrap Cross Carry. This means three different moms might have three different base sizes.
The table below explains the different wrap sizes and what kinds of carries you can use them with.
|Size 4||11.8 to 12.1 feet||If you wear a size XS or S t-shirt this is more than likely your base size if you are wearing a newborn. If you are wearing a toddler, you might want to move up to a size 5 though.|
|Size 5||13.4 to 13.7 feet||This size is the base size for many who wear a size medium or small t-shirt, although if you are wrapping a toddler you might want to use a size 6.|
If your base size is bigger you might want to use a size 5 to do shorter carries.
|Size 6||15.09 to 15.4 feet||This is the base size for a parent who wears a medium, large, or extra large shirt.|
If you are wrapping a toddler, have large breasts, or broad shoulders you might consider moving up to a size 7.
|Size 7||16.7 to 17.06 feet||This is the base size for parents who wear an extra-large or 2X size shirt.|
If your base size is a size 6 you can also use this wrap for a tandem carry or do extra long carries.
|Size 8||18.7 feet||This is considered an XL full-length wrap.|
Pro Tip: You can also purchase a 19.68-foot wrap if you find a size 8 is not adequate to wrap your baby.
You can do different carries for different wraps based on if you want to do a short carry, full carry, or long carry. Are you confused? Don’t worry, it’s explained in the table below.
|Base -3||Three sizes smaller than base size, for many parents this is a size 3.||Kangaroo Carry,|
Double Hammock Carry,
Knotless Rucksack Carry, Short Back Cross Carry, Shepherds Carry, Torso Carry, Hip Cross Carry
|Base -2||Two sizes smaller than your base size, for many parents this is a size 4.||Short Cross Carry, Half Front Wrap Cross Carry, Jordan’s Back Carry, Reinforced Rucksack Carry, Poppins Hip Carry|
|Base -1||One size smaller than base size, for many parents this is a size 5.||Rucksack Carry Tied Tibetan, Reinforced Kangaroo Carry, Secure High Back Carry|
|Base size||This is your base size, which can be found above. For most parents this is a size 6.||Front Cross Carry, Charlie’s Cross Carry, Front Double Hammock Carry, Reinforced Kangaroo Carry|
|Base +1||One size larger than your base size, for many parents this is a size 7.||Taiwanese Carry, Wiggleproof Back Carry, Norwegian Wiggleproof Back Carry|
Woven Wrap Positions
Tying a woven wrap can take a while to master, but don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Below are some detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to tie your woven wrap.
Make sure to always do a security check when you are done tying your wrap. This will ensure your baby is safe and secure in the wrap and that their back, hips, and neck are supported, and their airway is open.
A Front Wrap Cross Carry is a great beginner carry to learn. It will keep your baby snug and allow you to get some work done hands-free.
To do a Front Wrap Cross Carry on a newborn:
- Find your center marker and place it on the front middle of your chest.
- Take each tail up your back and over the opposite shoulder.
- Tug on the ends to tighten them, then make a pouch with the center area. Don’t make the pouch too big — just enough to hold your baby.
- Place your hand up through the bottom of the pouch and use it to guide your baby’s feet into the pouch.
- Pull the top part of your wrap up to your baby’s shoulder, then take the bottom of the wrap and tuck it under your baby’s bottom between their diaper and your body.
- Make sure your baby’s legs are in a froggy position, with the bottom of the wrap supporting them from knee to knee.
- Take your bottom tail, the one that is underneath the cross path on your back, and pull the top rail (or the top of the end piece) tight.
- Grab the whole end tail and place it between your legs to keep it secure.
- Do the same to the top end tail.
- Give a good tug on both tails and then tighten each tail strand-by-strand. Do not tighten the bottom tail too tight because this will make a pocket for your baby’s bottom and if it is tightened too much it can pop out.
- Tug the tails one more time, then cross them under your baby’s bottom and tuck them under the opposite leg.
- Wrap the tail ends around your back and tie them. If you are working with a longer wrap, you can cross it again into the front and tie it under your baby if you need to.
The Front Double Hammock Carry is similar to the Back Double Hammock Carry; only your baby will rest on your chest instead of your back. It is called a double hammock because your baby will sit in two hammocks, or passes, on your chest.
To do a Front Double Hammock Carry:
- Place the center of your wrap at the center of your back with one hand, and gauge what part should go at the center of your baby’s back by bringing the wrap around to the center of your chest with your other hand.
- Place your baby on your chest and then place the section that should go on the center of your baby’s back onto their back.
- Grab the bottom rail of one tail end, and bring it up and over your shoulder so that it is twisted and reversed with the bottom rail at your neck and the top rail at the bottom of your shoulder.
- Bring the second tail around your back and over to the other side, doing your best to keep it high. Bring this tail end under your baby’s bottom and then place it between your knees so you can work on the first tail end.
- Tighten up the bottom rail of the first tail end — this will be the part closest to your neck. Bring it around your back to your baby’s bottom and hold it together with the second tail end.
- Pull the top of the pouch, or hammock, your baby is sitting in to make sure it is snug. Then pull on the top rail of the first tail end — this will be the piece closest to your shoulder — to tighten the pouch. Make sure to pull it at your shoulder and not at the end hanging over your back.
- Reach behind your back and pull on the top rail of the tail end that is hanging (this will be the same part of the wrap you pulled in step 6) and bring it to the other tail end.
- Reach behind your back to pull on the middle rail of the tail end that is hanging behind your back and tug it to tighten. Then bring it up to the other tail end. Now all of both of the tail ends should be gathered together in at your front.
- Put the tail end you just stopped working with between your knees to keep it snug and grab the opposite tail end. You will use this to make the second hammock for your baby’s seat.
- Throw this tail end over your opposite shoulder and then tuck the bottom of it up under your baby’s bottom, making sure your baby stays in a secure and snug position while you do so.
- Then take the part that is on your shoulder and flip it so that the bottom rail is closest to your neck and the top rail is at the bottom of your shoulder.
- Just as you did with the other tail end, you will tighten the bottom rail first and bring to the front, then top rail, and then the center until it is all tight and brought to the front. Make sure when tightening the top rail you are making sure to tighten the pouch that your baby is sitting in as well. This will make sure your baby is safe and secure in the wrap.
- At this point, you can tie the tail ends under your baby’s bottom, or if your wrap is longer you can twist it at the front, bring it under baby’s legs, and around your back before tying it.
The Newborn Kangaroo Carry is another easy wrap you can do with your baby. It holds your baby snugly to your chest in a pouch similar to that of mama kangaroo, hence the name.
To do the Newborn Kangaroo Carry:
- Place the center part of the wrap in one hand and gather the fabric for your shoulder in the other.
- Get your baby and place the middle marker for the wrap under your baby’s bottom.
- Making sure to support your baby’s head and neck, bring the tail ends up in a U shape over your shoulders.
- Pull up the top rail to create a pouch for the baby sit in.
- Put your hand under your right shoulder pass to grab the top of the wrap. Flip this shoulder pass so the top rail is now at the bottom of your shoulder and the bottom rail is at the top of your shoulder.
- Pull the top rail down to keep most the shoulder pass unbunched.
- Bring this shoulder pass around your back and around to your front.
- Do the same with your left shoulder pass so that you’re making an X on your back and both of the tail ends are now at the front of the wrap.
- Tighten the tail end that is at the bottom of the X, going from the bottom, middle, and top of the tail end. You can wiggle your shoulder to get rid of any slack as you are doing this.
- Do the same with the tail end that is on the top of the X.
- You can either tie the knot in your front under your baby’s legs if your wrap is short. You can also bring the tail ends over your baby’s legs, cross them, then bring it under your baby’s legs around your back to tie.
The Toddler Front Wrap Cross Carry is the same thing as the Front Wrap Cross Carry with a newborn. The only real difference is the way you put your toddler into the wrap.
To do the Toddler Front Wrap Cross Carry:
- Put the center of the wrap at the center of your chest.
- Place the tail ends around your back and up and over your opposite shoulders.
- Gather the tail ends at the top of your shoulder and let the tail ends hang down in front of you.
- Pull at the pouch you created on your chest to make room for your toddler.
- Lean down to place the bunched part over your toddler’s head, spreading it so the top rail is coming up their shoulders and the bottom rail is going down to their knees.
- Pick your toddler up and tuck the bottom rail between your toddler’s bottom and your front. About ⅓ of the width of the wrap should be between you and your toddler.
- Take each tail end and tighten them strand-by-strand, holding your toddler with one hand while you tighten a strand with the other.
- Now you can either bring the tail ends over your toddler’s legs, cross them under their bottom and bring them around the back to tie it. Or you can double twist it under your toddler’s bottom and then tie it at your back.
The Back Wrap Cross Carry is a great beginner back carry for parents who are just starting out with wrapping their babies. If this is your first time using a back carry, it is a good idea to have a spotter or to start on a soft surface so your baby is safe as you learn.
To do a Back Wrap Cross Carry:
- Start off with your toddler on your hip and place the middle marker of your wrap onto the center of your toddler’s back just below their armpits.
- Bring the tail of your wrap up and above your opposite shoulder, keeping it tight.
- Then grab the tail end that is over your arm and hold it with the other tail end, to keep a tight hold of your toddler.
- Put the arm that is on the same side as your toddler up and around them, then gently scoot your baby to your back with that arm while holding the end pieces tight with other.
- You should now have your baby on your back with one tail over one shoulder and one tail under the other shoulder.
- Hold the two top rails tight under your chin while pulling the bottom rail down to tuck it under your baby’s bottom to create a seat. It’s easier to do this by reaching under your baby’s legs. Make sure the seat is supporting your baby from knee to knee, and that you sweep their knees up as you wrap so they are slightly above their hips.
- Carefully move the tail that is over your shoulder out and under that arm so that both tails are under your arms. Then tie a half knot at your chest. You can take a break here to bounce and move your baby up if you need to.
- One of the tails is going to be going down, and one will be wanting to go up. Take the tail that wants to go up and put it between your knees.
- Take the tail that is wanting to go down and fan it out over your shoulder, then find the top rail with one hand and push it out over your toddler’s bottom.
- Gather the tail end at your shoulder then bring the top rail high across your toddler’s back.
- Take the bottom rail and bring it down, making sure it is going from knee to knee to support your toddler, then pull it snug and pin the bottom rail under your toddler’s bottom and tuck the tail under their knee.
- Pin this tail end with your knee to keep it snug and repeat steps 7-11 with the other tail end.
- Once you are done wrapping both tails, you can move your toddler higher if you’d like by bringing the tails out to the side and bouncing a little to move them higher.
- Tie a double knot in the front to secure the wrap, and then spread out the straps on your shoulder to provide more comfort if you need to.
The Toddler Rucksack Carry is another easy back carry that can be done with your toddler. It’s not super complicated, so you can try this even if you are a beginner.
To do a Toddler Rucksack Carry:
- Find the center of the wrap and hold it between your legs while you grab your toddler.
- Place your toddler on your back using your preferred method.
- Pull the wrap across your child’s back and over your shoulders.
- Tuck the bottom rail over the wrap under your toddler’s bottom between them and your back, making sure it is supporting them from knee to knee.
- Hold one tail between your knee while pulling the other tail tight by the top, middle, and bottom rails.
- Repeat step 5 with the other tail.
- Bring the tails under your arms and over your toddler’s legs, crossing them snugly at your toddler’s bottom.
- Pass the tails under your toddler’s legs and then secure the wrap in a knot at the front.
- If your wrap is too long, you can cross at the front and then tie it in the back under your toddler’s bottom.
Robin’s Hip Carry is an excellent carry for once your baby can sit unassisted. If you want to use it before your baby can sit you can also move it forward to carry your baby on your chest.
To do a Robin’s Hip Carry:
- Place the middle of the wrap over one shoulder and hold your toddler with the same arm.
- Reach behind your back with the opposite arm to grab the top rail of the wrap.
- Pull the top rail of the wrap around your back, under your arm, and across your child’s back.
- Using the bottom rail create a seat for your child, making sure they are supported from knee to knee, and tuck the fabric under them so that it is between their bottom and your chest.
- While keeping the seat in place, pull the top rail up your child’s back and across their shoulders.
- Take the tail end that is going over your baby and place it over the tail end that is over your other shoulder.
- Toss the end that is over your shoulder back and over your shoulder so the tail is going down your back.
- Now grab the top rail of the tail end going down your back and tug it to tighten the wrap.
- Bring this tail end around your back and gather it over your child’s leg.
- Tie a double knot under your child’s bottom to secure the wrap.
- If your wrap is too long you can cross it at your child’s bottom and then bring the tail ends around to tie at your back.
Troubleshooting Your Woven Wrap
Just like with a stretchy wrap, you might discover some bumps in the road even after you’ve learned a carry in your woven wrap. Here are some common problems you might face, as well as tried and true solutions to getting everything in order.
If you find your wrap is too loose, you can tighten it one of two ways. Some moms choose to tighten it by holding the end piece out and then grasping the top, then the middle, and lastly the bottom of the end piece while pulling up.
Other moms choose to tighten their wrap strand-by-strand. You do this by holding the end piece out, grabbing the top of the piece and pulling the fabric up, then you grab a few inches down and pull that up to meet the piece, repeating until you reach the bottom of the end piece.
After you have done this, you can re-wrap your baby.
A slumping baby is not a good thing; this can affect your baby’s airway as well as make the wrap uncomfortable for them to be in. If your baby keeps slumping the middle-third of the wrap is likely loose. Tightening this section should help keep your baby in the correct position.
If your baby’s face is being buried into the fabric due to slumping, you will want to tighten the middle-third section in order to put your baby in the correct position. If your baby is already in the right position but still keeps burying their face in the fabric, you can fold the shoulder pass out to keep it out of the way.
You do not have to turn your baby forward facing to allow them to look around. Instead, you can cross passes across your baby’s body to give them visibility.
A heavy baby can lead to an aching back for mom. To remedy this, spread the cross passes out from knee to knee on your baby. This will give you an extra lift and help to take some of the weight off.
If the shoulder passes are digging into your neck, this can cause discomfort well after you take your baby out of the wrap. You can solve this by spreading the fabric wide across your shoulders. This will help to redistribute the weight and ease the pain.
Red marks on the back of your baby’s neck are usually due to over tightening of the top hem of your pouch. This part can be loosened a bit, and you will need to tighten the top third of the pouch to support your baby’s shoulders.
Straight legs, when wrapped, can lead to infant hip dysplasia. You’ll want to make sure you have the cross passes positioned into the pits of your baby’s knees. This will give your baby’s legs the M shape and ensure their hips are being supported correctly.
Woven Wrap FAQs
I know we’ve thrown a lot of information at you already, but I also know you might still have some questions. Here are the answers to several frequently asked questions when it comes to woven wraps.
You can feed your baby in a woven wrap, but it will take a little more time than with a stretchy wrap. When feeding your baby in a woven wrap, you will first need to loosen the wrap in stages so your baby is lowered gently into a position where they can reach your breast.
You also want to ensure your baby’s airway is kept open during the entire time you are nursing, and you want to keep your baby upright while they are in your wrap. When you are done nursing, make sure you return your baby to a snug and upright position to make sure they are safe.
Trying out new carries is fun, and you might be anxious to start placing your baby in a carry that is not on your front. I completely understand the desire, but you want to make sure your baby is ready before you put them in either a back or hip carry position.
You can carry your baby off-center in a front carry from the time they are little, as long as you keep them in a good position with their legs in an M shape. For a full hip carry, you will want to make sure your baby is around three months old. It’s at this time when most babies can sit comfortably on their parent’s side.
When it comes to a back carry, many seasoned babywearers will back carry as young as a few weeks old. That’s because you can adjust a woven wrap strand by strand to ensure it provides your baby with the head, neck, hip, and back support they need.
If you do wrap your baby when they are this little, make sure they are held high on your back — you should feel their breath on your neck. And as your baby gets older, and you practice more, a back carry will be easier to obtain.
Yes, you can tandem carry in a woven wrap. You can carry children of two different sizes and ages at the same time in a woven wrap as well. You can carry two babies in a single wrap if they are small enough, and you can also tandem carry with two separate wraps (source).
Before tandem carrying your babies, you will first want to master wearing one baby at a time. You will also want to make sure your babies are wrapped snugly so they cannot turn, sink, or slouch while being worn.
It’s essential when tandem carrying that you make sure no single spot of your wrap has unneeded weight continuously put on it.
Being a plus-sized mama will not inhibit you from using a woven wrap. That’s the beauty of having sized wraps. Plus-size moms can carry single babies or even tandem carry without issue.
Many plus-size moms find that size 7 works great as a base size and some manufacturers make extra-large sizes as well if you want to do longer carries. If searching out an extra-long wrap is not your idea of fun, don’t worry, there are a lot of carries that can be done with shorter wraps.
Pregnancy does not mean you have to stop wearing your baby in your wrap. Babywearing can actually make pregnancy easier since it allows you to carry your older child in a way that distributes their weight and keeps your hands free (source).
Most pregnant women prefer carrying their older child on their back, taking the pressure off of their growing bump. You want to make sure you are careful when lifting your child onto your back though, and if you are both able, you might choose to squat down and let your child climb onto your back themselves.
You can tie your wrap in several different ways: under your belly, above your belly, under your baby’s bottom, or even at your shoulders. Choose the tie that is the most comfortable for you.
The critical thing to remember is to listen to your body. If you feel that carrying your child starts to be too much, then take a break. It’s the best way to make sure you and both of your babies are safe.
Wrapping It Up...
Whoa, that was a lot of information!
I know that learning about babywearing, especially the ins and outs of baby wraps, can be a little overwhelming. That’s why this article covers so much. We didn’t want to leave any stones unturned.
Have you used a wrap to wear your baby? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below. And if you have another question, please, don’t be afraid to ask.
If you have friends who are considering using a wrap for their baby, don’t keep this article to yourself. Share the love and the knowledge and remember, we are all in this together.