The ultimate guide for learning how to use woven and stretchy wraps.
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 intimidating, like driving a standard.
In this article, we’ll dive into all the nitty-gritty details of baby wraps. We’ll discuss the different kinds of wraps and what safety considerations you should consider. We’ll talk about how to wear your wrap and how to troubleshoot issues. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about different kinds of wraps.
If you are just 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 mei tais or ring slings?
A baby wrap is essentially a long piece of fabric you wrap around your body to hold your baby in different positions. They are the most versatile baby carriers because you can use them to hold your child from birth to preschool. You can maneuver a baby wrap to hold your little one in several 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: woven wraps and stretchy wraps. Both types have advantages and disadvantages.
1. Stretchy Wraps
These wraps are made of stretchy fabric, 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 for the following reasons:
They are less intimidating: Stretchy wraps can be tied to your body before placing your baby into the carrier. This makes it easier for parents 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 in front and side carry positions.
They are a one-size-fits-all solution: Most stretchy carriers come in one size. This means you don’t have to worry about measuring to find the carrier to fit your size, and more than one person can share the carrier without having to adjust buckles or straps.
The Cons of Stretchy Wraps
Although there are several advantages to using a stretchy wrap, there are some disadvantages you need to consider.
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 for lighter babies.
You cannot use a back carry: We don’t recommend using stretchy wraps in a back carry position because the stretchy fabric is unsupportive. It can allow the child to shift out of position and become unsafe.
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 you will eventually need to purchase a different carrier to keep babywearing your little one.
Comfort: As your baby gets heavier, the stretchy wrap won’t disperse their weight evenly. The weight of the straps on your shoulders can make it uncomfortable for you.
2. Woven Wraps
Woven wraps have less stretch compared to their stretchy counterparts. They are made from a wide variety of fabrics, including cotton, silk, wool, and cashmere. They do not stretch in length or width but do have some diagonal stretch.
The Pros of Woven Wraps
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-layer or multi-layer carrier styles.
It will last you a long time: A woven wrap provides the support a stretchy wrap lacks. You can use it well into the preschool years if you choose.
Pick a fabric you love: Woven wraps come in several 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 of a woven wrap prevents it from digging into your shoulders under your baby’s weight.
There is something for everyone: Woven wraps come in various patterns and designs, allowing you to choose one that fits your style.
The Cons of Woven Wraps
Although the woven wrap is the most versatile 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 shape, T-shirt size, and wrap length you need to do the basic front wrap cross carry. You will need to get the right size to wear your baby in the wrap successfully. Once you start to gain confidence in wearing your baby, you can purchase different sizes to do various kinds of carries.
They have a pretty steep learning curve: Learning different positions can be intimidating, especially since you have to hold your baby as you are wrapping them. As your baby grows, you might need to learn new positions to adjust to their weight or carry preferences. This can take a while to master.
While baby wraps are safe to use, there are always things to consider to ensure you carry your baby in the safest way possible. Keep the following elements in mind every time you wear your baby.
1. Ensure Your Baby Has a Clear Airway
This one sounds obvious, but your baby’s airway can become obstructed easier than you might think. It’s essential 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. You want to place them high on your body so you can monitor their breathing. You also want to make sure their chin does not fall onto their chest because this can obstruct the airway.
You can place your baby in the cradle position while they are breastfeeding. However, make sure to put them back into the upright position as soon you are done to keep them safe (1).
2. Only Use Carriers in Optimal Condition
Every time you wear your baby, you need to inspect the carrier first. Ensure that it has no tears, weak areas, or loose and snagged stitching to ensure that unexpected malfunctions will not happen while wearing your baby.
Purchase your carrier from a reputable manufacturer. That way, you can ensure all current testing and labeling standards are met before using the wrap.
3. Ensure Your Wrap Provides Enough Support
You need to hold your baby ergonomically for your comfort and your baby’s comfort and safety. Your baby’s neck and back both need to be supported correctly as they develop, and their hip sockets should be in the correct position.
Place your baby in the carrier with their knees sitting higher than their bottom. They also require adequate support from their hip sockets to their knees to keep them in the correct position.
If you allow your baby’s legs to hang low, you risk a condition known as infant hip dysplasia. This can lead to discomfort and even surgery for your little one to correct the condition (2).
4. Always Have a Spotter
Babywearing involves a bit of a learning curve.
Until you are confident in the way you wrap your baby, make sure you have a spotter in case something happens.
This can mean wrapping your baby while leaning over a bed or a couch in case they need a soft place to fall or making sure you always have another person there to spot. Many moms find that front holds are easier to learn than hip holds or back holds. It might be a good idea to build confidence by mastering these before moving on to more challenging positions.
5. Don’t Back Carry with Stretchy Wraps
Stretchy carriers do not provide the support required to use a back carry. This is because the wrap stretches as your baby leans back, making it possible for your baby to fall out of the wrap.
However, woven wraps are safe to use for a back carry as the fabric does not stretch. 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.
Tips For Using Stretchy Wraps
Stretchy wraps do not have as big of a learning curve as woven wraps, but they still require some practice. Here are some tips for wearing a stretchy wrap and step-by-step instructions for three ways to wear your baby in a stretchy wrap.
Newborns vs. Toddlers
Many manufacturers claim their stretchy wraps are safe for children up to 30 to 45 pounds. But although it might be safe, it’s not comfortable to carry a heavy toddler in a stretchy wrap.
Stretchy wraps are great for newborns because they don’t weigh a lot and don’t need as much support. On the other hand, a toddler is heavier and needs more support from a wrap.
As your baby grows, their weight will start to pull the stretchy wrap down. This will make the straps dig into your sides and shoulders, which is uncomfortable. You can tighten them back up, but it will continue to happen because of the fabric’s stretch.
Putting Your Baby Into a Stretchy Wrap
The way 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 your baby secured snugly against you in the wrap with their hip joints supported and their airway open.
Taking Your Baby Out of a Stretchy Wrap
Wraps help your baby feel calm and secure and prevent the startle reflex from waking them. 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 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, then finish removing the wrap from your body.
Finding The Correct Tightness
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. You also want to be comfortable. If your back hurts, your wrap might be too tight or sitting too low, or the fabric may be twisted.
Check the tightness any time you take your baby out or change their position in the wrap. This ensures that you and your baby remain safe and comfortable.
How To Position Your Baby’s Seat
When it comes to positioning your baby’s seat, you want to provide enough support for their legs and hip sockets. The seat of your wrap needs to be spread wide so your baby’s legs spread wide around your body with their knees at a higher angle than their hips.
Wrapping Your Baby in a Stretchy Wrap
All of these facts and tips are great, but you’re probably excited to start using your stretchy wrap. Here are some step-by-step instructions for three of the most common stretchy wrap carries.
Don’t forget to conduct a security check each time you wrap your baby. You will need to ensure their legs are in the optimal position; their hips, back, and neck are supported; and their airway is open.
Front Wrap Cross Carry
The 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 the baby upright yet snug and close so they feel protected.
This is how to do a front wrap cross carry:
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 the two straps are forming an X across your back, also known as a cross pass.
Tighten the ends so everything is secure 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 excess 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 create a cross pass under your baby’s bottom.
Wrap the ends around your back and tie them with a double knot to keep the wrap secure on your body. If the wrap is too long, you can cross it again behind your back and tie it in a double knot at the front of your body instead.
Straighten the part of the cross closest to your baby’s back to support your baby from knee to knee. Keep the fabric smooth across your baby’s back.
Do the same with the outer crossed section, making sure to keep it smooth and supporting your baby from knee to knee.
If any excess fabric covers your baby’s face, you can fold the strap back 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.
Pocket Wrap Cross Carry
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 ready when your baby needs some extra love.
This is how to do a pocket wrap cross carry:
Find the center of the wrap, and spread it flat across your stomach and chest. This is called the chest pass.
Wrap the left end across your back and bring it up over your right shoulder.
Then wrap the right end across your back and bring it up and over your left shoulder. This will make the ends form an X across your back, also known as a cross pass.
Allow the ends to lay in front of your shoulders, then tuck them into the chest pass.
Cross the ends in front of you, 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 cross pass’s internal piece, then put your baby’s other leg under the external piece.
Spread the internal piece of the cross pass flat to support 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. Ensure 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 their 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, 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 outer 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 to secure the babies.
Hip Wrap Cross Carry
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.
This is how 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, 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 at your back, or cross them at your back and tie them in front of you if they are too long.
Three-Layer Hip Carry
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.
This is how 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” 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, 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 it 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, 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
Are you having some trouble mastering a carry? 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.
We’ve compiled a list of common stretchy wrap problems and will explain what you can do to solve them.
My Wrap Feels Too Tight
Believe it or not, your wrap should feel too tight. It should be tight enough that it feels like a T-shirt that is a size too small. Since the wrap is stretchy, the fit will loosen up as you wear it. It should feel comfortable within about 10 minutes of wear.
Fixing a Loose or Low Wrap
If you want to tighten up a wrap that is too loose, you can undo the straps that are keeping your wrap tight by using one hand while holding your baby with the other to keep them supported. You can then lift 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.
My Baby Slumps To One Side
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 your baby in the wrap. Then you can spread each section straight across the baby’s back after ensuring that your baby’s knees and hips are even and supported.
My Baby Curls Up in the Wrap
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 redo the carry entirely to fit snugly.
Baby Buries Their Face in the Fabric
It’s important to keep your baby’s face out of the wrap and their airway open. Take the shoulder strap and twist it so it stays out of your baby’s way.
You also need to make sure the wrap fits snugly. If the wrap is loose, your baby can start to slump, which can lead to them burying their face into the fabric as well.
My Baby Keeps Leaning Back
If your baby keeps leaning back, it might be because they do not have enough back support. 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.
Stretchy Wrap FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about stretchy wraps.
Can I Breastfeed in a Stretchy Wrap?
The short answer is yes; you can breastfeed in your stretchy wrap!
It’s easiest to breastfeed in a front carry position by gently shifting your baby down in the wrap so their mouth is even with your breast. Then lift your breast into your baby’s mouth. You can move the shoulder fabric to allow for privacy.
If you want to breastfeed your baby in a cradle position, first take your baby out of the wrap for safety. You can take your baby out of the wrap while leaving the wrap tied on. 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 the wrap correctly.
Can My Baby Face Outward in a Stretchy Wrap?
It is not a good idea to allow your baby to face outward in a stretchy wrap for several reasons.
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. Instead, an outward position will cause your baby’s legs to dangle and put unnecessary pressure on their hip sockets.
Back pain: Carrying your baby in an outward position can cause back pain for you and your baby. Carrying your baby facing outward 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 spine.
Overstimulation: When your baby faces your chest, they can rest their head on 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 U.S. 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.
When to Stop Using Stretchy Wraps
Many stretchy wraps claim you can wear them until your baby is 30 to 45 pounds. But even though it might be safe to wear your baby in a stretchy wrap for that long, it will probably start being uncomfortable long before then.
Once your baby reaches 17 to 20 pounds, your baby’s weight will 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 your baby 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.
Tips for Preparing a Woven Wrap
Woven wraps have a steeper learning curve than stretchy wraps. Here are some tips and more step-by-step instructions for how to use and wear your woven wrap.
Wearing A Newborn Vs. A Toddler
Woven wraps are suitable for newborns and toddlers, so don’t fret about having to buy a new wrap once your baby gets bigger. ‘However, different carries will work better with a newborn than a toddler. For example, you do not want to place a newborn in a back or hip carry.
Putting Your Baby Into the Wrap
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 keep your baby snug and secure in the wrap, with their airway open and hip joints supported.
Taking Your Baby Out of the Wrap
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 feel calm while you are taking them out of the wrap and help to ease the transition.
Types of Fabrics Available
Most woven wraps are made 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 blends, such cotton with as bamboo, hemp, linen, silk, or wool. These fabrics can provide extra support and softness and help with your grip.
Some wraps are thinner, making them better for warm temperatures, while others are thicker and more suitable for winter months. There is a wrap for every person and every situation!
Finding the Correct Tightness
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. Check your baby’s positioning every time you take them out of the wrap or change their position.
Finding A Good Seat Position
Your baby’s seat position in a woven wrap should be the same as in a stretchy wrap. Your baby needs to sit wide and be supported from knee to knee.
How To Position Your Baby’s Seat
When it comes to positioning your baby’s seat, you want to provide enough support for their legs and hip sockets. Spread the seat of your wrap wide so your baby’s legs will be spread wide around your body with their knees at a higher angle than their hips.
What You Should Know About Sizing
Unlike stretchy wraps, woven wraps are not a one-size-fits-all design. Instead, woven wraps come in several sizes. You can buy various sizes based on your body size or based on what types of carries you prefer to use. Some carries require more passes over and around the body with the wrap, meaning you’ll need a longer wrap for these carries, while others require fewer.
Your base size is the wrap length you 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.
11.8 to 12.1 feet
If you wear an extra-small or small T-shirt size, this is likely your base size for wearing a newborn. If you are wearing a toddler, you might want to move up to a size 5.
13.4 to 13.7 feet
This size is the base size for many who wear a medium or small T-shirt size. However, 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.
15.09 to 15.4 feet
This is the base size for a parent who wears a medium, large, or extra-large T-shirt.
If you are wrapping a toddler, have large breasts, or have broad shoulders, you might consider moving to a size 7.
16.7 to 17.06 feet
This is the base size for parents who wear an extra-large or size 2X shirt.
If your base size is a size 6, you can also use this wrap for a tandem carry or do extra-long carries.
This is considered an extra-large full-length wrap.
Pro Tip: You can also purchase a wrap that measures 19.68-feet if you find a size 8 is not a good fit.
Different Carries Based on Sizing
You can do different carries for different wraps based on whetherwhether you want a short carry, full carry, or long carry. Are you confused? Don’t worry; it’s explained in the table below.
Three sizes smaller than your base size. For many parents, this is a size 3.
kangaroo carry, double hammock carry, knotless rucksack carry, short back cross carry, shepherd’s carry, torso carry, hip cross carry
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, Poppin’s hip carry
One size smaller than your base size. For many parents, this is a size 5.
rucksack carry tied Tibetan, reinforced kangaroo carry, secure high back carry
This is your base size, which you can find above. For most parents, this is a size 6.
front cross carry, Charlie’s cross carry, front double hammock carry, reinforced kangaroo carry
One size larger than your base size. For many parents, this is a size 7.
Taiwanese carry, wiggle-proof back carry, Norwegian wiggle-proof back carry
Woven Wrap Positions
It can take a while to master tying a woven wrap, 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.
Newborn Front Wrap Cross Carry
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.
This is how to do a front wrap cross carry with 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 big 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 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 creates a pocket for your baby’s bottom, and if 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 in the front and tie it under your baby if you need to.
Newborn Front Double Hammock Carry
The front double hammock carry is similar to the back double hammock carry, but 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.
This is how 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, then center the center of the wrap on 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 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 (also called the 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 hanging tail end (this will be the same part of the wrap you pulled in step six) 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 both of the tail ends should be gathered together 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, 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 it to the front. Do the same with the top rail, then the center, until it is all tight and brought to the front. When tightening the top rail, be sure to tighten the pouch your baby is sitting in as well. This will ensure 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 your baby’s legs and around your back before tying it.
Newborn Kangaroo Carry
The newborn kangaroo carry is another easy wrap you can do with your baby. It holds your baby snug to your chest in a pouch similar to that of a mama kangaroo, hence the name.
This is how 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.
Pick up your baby, and place the middle marker for the wrap under your baby’s bottom.
Make sure to support your baby’s head and neck while you bring the tail ends up in a U shape over your shoulders.
Pull up the top rail to create a pouch for your baby to 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 tail ends are now at the front of the wrap.
Tighten the tail end 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 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 them under your baby’s legs and around your back to tie.
Toddler Front Wrap Cross Carry
The toddler front wrap cross carry is similar to the front wrap cross carry with a newborn. The only real difference is the way you put your toddler into the wrap.
This is how 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 to 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 one-third 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 the strands with the other.
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.
Back Wrap Cross Carry
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.
This is how to do a back wrap cross carry:
Start 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 your toddler secure.
Put the arm that is on the same side as your toddler up and around them, then gently scoot your child to your back with that arm while holding the end pieces tight with your other hand.
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 child’s bottom to create a seat. It’s easier to do this by reaching under your little one’s legs. Make sure the seat supports your child from knee to knee and that you sweep their knees up as you wrap, so they sit slightly above their hips.
Carefully move the tail that is over your shoulder out and under that arm so 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 child into a higher position if you need to.
One of the tails will be going down, and one will want to go up. Take the tail that wants to go up and put it between your knees.
Take the tail that wants 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 goes from knee to knee to support your child. 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 shift them upward.
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.
Toddler Rucksack Carry
The toddler rucksack carry is another easy back carry that you can do with your toddler. It’s not super complicated, so you can try this even if you are a beginner.
This is how 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 supports 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 five 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, then secure the wrap in a knot at the front.
If your wrap is too long, you can cross it at the front and tie it in the back under your toddler’s bottom.
Robin’s Hip Carry
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.
This is how to do 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. Tuck the fabric under your child so 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.
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, 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 our tried and true solutions to getting everything in order.
Fixing a Loose or Low Wrap
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 upward.
Other moms choose to tighten their wrap strand by strand. You do this by holding the end piece out, grabbing the top of rail, and pulling the fabric upward. Then grab a few inches down from the top rail and tug and tighten that section up to meet the piece. Repeat this process until you reach the bottom of the end piece.
After you have done this, you can re-wrap your baby.
My Baby Slumps to One Side
A slumping baby is not a good thing; this can affect your baby’s airway and make the wrap uncomfortable for them to be in. If your baby keeps slumping, the middle third of the wrap is likely too loose. Tightening this section should help keep your baby in the correct position.
My Baby Buries Their Face in the Fabric
If your baby’s face is being buried in the fabric due to slumping, you will want to tighten the middle third section to get 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.
My Baby Wants to Look Around
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.
My Baby Feels Heavy
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 take some of the weight off.
Shoulder Passes are Digging Into My Neck
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 redistribute the weight and ease the pain.
Red Marks on My Baby’s Neck
Red marks on the back of your baby’s neck are usually due to over-tightening 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.
My Baby’s Legs Keep Straightening
Straight legs, when wrapped, can lead to infant hip dysplasia. Make sure you have the cross passes positioned in the pits of your baby’s knees. This will give your baby’s legs an M or “froggy” shape and ensure their hips are supported correctly.
Woven Wrap FAQs
We’ve thrown a lot of information at you already, but you might still have some questions. Here are the answers to several frequently asked questions about woven wraps.
Can I Breastfeed in My Woven Wrap?
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 to lower them gently into a position where they can reach your breast.
You also want to ensure your baby’s airway is kept open 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, return your baby to a snug and upright position to ensure they are safe.
Baby’s Age for Back or Hip Carry
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 putting 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, your baby should be at least three months old. Most babies can sit comfortably on their parent’s side by this age.
When it comes to a back carry, many seasoned babywearers will back carry babies 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.
Can I Tandem Carry in a Woven Wrap?
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.
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 unnecessary weight continuously put on it.
Can Plus-Size Moms Use Baby Wraps?
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 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 you can do with shorter wraps.
Can I Wrap While Pregnant?
Being pregnant does not mean you have to stop wearing your baby in your wrap. Babywearing can make pregnancy easier since it allows you to carry your older child in a way that distributes their weight and keeps your hands free.
Most pregnant women prefer carrying their older children on their back, taking the pressure off their growing bump. You want to make sure you are careful when lifting your child onto your back, 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 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, take a break. It’s the best way to ensure you and both of your babies are safe.
Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.