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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

So, You Think You Want to Baby Wrap? Start Here, a Beginner's Guide - Contributor Post

I keep seeing these amazing photos of Joella from Fine and Fair all wrapped up in elegant knots with a baby in the front, a toddler in the back, and two arms free. And I'm like, but how, though? She helped me answer that question.
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Wrap: Natibaby Hemp Clovers (Indigo)
Carry: Ruck Tied Tibetan
There are plenty of reasons that babywearing is popular (here are 10 of them!) and there are plenty of carriers on the market that allow parents to wear their babies and children safely comfortably. Woven wraps are an option that has grown in popularity but that can seem intimidating to the inexperienced. I'm here to eliminate some of the mystique around woven wraps and give some tips for beginners to get started with learning how to wrap!

More than mere pieces of cloth, woven wraps are designed and constructed for the purpose of carrying babies. They are woven from high quality natural fiber blends including cotton, wool, hemp, linen, or bamboo. They are available in a range of sizes to accommodate parents and babies of any shape and size. Different sized wraps also allow for different carries. Woven wraps can be used to carry babies in front, back, or on the hip, and can even be used to wear more than one child at the same time! The variety of colors and patterns, from bright and bold geometric designs to pastel rainbows and everything in between, mean there is an option to match every mood or wardrobe.

Top to bottom: Didymos Sequoia Waves, Ellevill Jade Spring
Natibaby Hemp Clovers (Green), Natibaby Linen Ispir (purple)

A great place to start learning about wraps and wrapping is PAXbaby's Woven Wrap Guide. Start there to learn more about the wrap lingo, sizing, and some basic information about wrapping. When you've decided to take the plunge and start wrapping, here are some of my tips for beginners, learned through trial and error in my experience as a woven wrap enthusiast!


  • Choose your wrap. For your first wrap, I highly recommend buying used. While used wraps are often close in cost to their new counterparts (a testament to their great resale value!), they have the benefit of being "broken in" which makes them softer and easier to work with. Choose something you like the look of. If it's pretty to you, you will use it! Unless you can't stand them, I suggest starting with a striped wrap. Stripes make it easier to learn how to tighten, and also easier to keep track of which rail (edge) of the wrap you are working with. 
  • Watch Videos. A million of them. Watch videos from different people until you find one that makes sense to you. Some of my favorites on YouTube are Babywearing Faith and Wrapping Rachel. At first, just watch. When you find a carry you want to try, watch the video a few times. Then watch the video and try to follow along with a large stuffed animal, or even a bag of flour. When you feel relatively comfortable, try it with a real baby! When you're learning, always make sure baby is calm and content, well fed, and in a clean and dry diaper. Trying something new with a tired, fussy, hungry, wet baby is a recipe for disaster.
    Wrap: Inda Jani Fular Mitla Rojo
    Carry: Front Wrap Cross Carry
  • Start with front carries. While it can be tempting to try some of the beautiful and comfortable back carries, master some front carries before you attempt to back carry. Even if you've used a moby or other stretchy wrap a million times, wrapping with a woven is different and a bit more challenging. Mastering front carries will teach you the logistics of wrapping and give you practice learning to tighten and secure everything, which is of utmost importance when you graduate to tossing your baby on your back. Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) is a great first carry. The basic Ruck carry and the Secured High Back carry are popular choices for beginner back wrappers.
  • Be patient. Wrapping is a skill that takes time to learn and master. It takes lots of practice to get good at it. It took me several weeks, practicing every day, to successfully do a back carry in a woven wrap. It took me several more months to back wrap without a mirror in front of me and a bed behind me. Several more before I back wrapped in public. My first few attempts ended with me a sweaty, crying, red-faced mess. This is a physical skill and it will challenge muscles that are not used to being challenged. Be gentle with yourself, take your time, and don't give up!
Does this seem like more trouble than it's worth? Woven wraps definitely have a steeper learning curve, and can be a heftier investment, than many of the baby carriers on the market today. While those are definite drawbacks to consider, the benefits of woven wraps are that they are the most supportive, adaptable, easy to adjust carriers out there. While she's outgrown many of commercially available carriers, I can still easily carry my 4 year old in a woven wrap. I can lend a wrap to a friend of any size, with a child of any size, and know that he or she will find a carry that works for them. Pragmatism aside, the beauty of woven wraps can't be beat! If you've got the time and patience to learn, woven wraps may be the best carrier you'll ever use. 

Wrap: Inda Jani Fular Rayado
Tandem Carry



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I mean, this is just amazing, right? I'm in awe.



 

3 comments:

  1. I keep seeing these amazing photos of Joella from Fine and Fair all wrapped up in elegant knots with a baby in the front, a toddler in the back, and two arms free. And I'm like, but how, though? She helped me answer that question.playard by thebabyguides

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice article, thanks for the information. It's very complete information. I will bookmark for next reference.baby wrap carrier

    ReplyDelete

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