Welcome to the wonderful world of woven wraps! It can be overwhelming when you are starting out but let me try to break things down for you a little!
A woven wrap is a long piece of fabric woven specifically to carry a baby. A wrap is one of the most versatile carriers. It is one that will grow with your baby and can be worn on the front, hip and back. You can even nurse in a woven wrap. Woven wraps are specially woven to have exceptional performance as baby carriers, offering strength, breathability, the perfect amount of diagonal stretch, and the right texture for holding a baby securely. They are individually adjustable and if used properly, a wrap will always support your child in the correct healthy spread squatting position, regardless of being worn in front, back, or on your hip.
AnatomyMost woven wraps are cut in the shape of a parallelogram with tapers. The tapers at the end make it easier to tie a knot. Woven wraps without tapered ends make for bulky wraps. The top and bottom longer ends are hemmed and are called rails as they connect and help move the fabric around as you are wrapping. The horizontal threads along the length of the wrap are the warp threads. The vertical threads across the width of the wrap are the weft threads. The weft can be woven in different color threads. This usually adds a layer of color to the wrap.
SizesWoven wraps are measured in meters and are available in 8 different sizes. The size of a wrap is the length from one end/rail including tapers.
Size 1 - 2.2m (7.2ft) rebozo
Size 2 - 2.6m (8.5ft) shortie
Size 3 - 3.2m (10.5ft) shortie
Size 4 - 3.6m (11.8ft) mid-length
Size 5 - 4.2m (13.8ft) mid-length
Size 6 - 4.6m (15.1ft) standard
Size 7 - 5.2m (17.1ft) long
Size 8 - 5.6m (19.7ft) long
Most woven wrap are about 70cm (28 inches) wide. There may be some slight variations in length and width depending on the brand.
Most people can start out with a size 5 (4.2m) or size 6 (4.6m). I recommending trying out the different sizes and using the shortest size you can use to do a basic front carry like a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). This will be your "base" size.
This is a great guide by Oscha Slings on some basic carries and the wrap size you may need.
How to use your woven wrap
Woven wraps can be tied in an unlimited number of ways also referred as carries. Here are some tips and some of my favorite videos to get you started using your wrap.
- When you are starting out it helps to practice in front of a mirror you can see how the fabric moves as you are adjusting.
- Babies are not always very patient when you are learning a new carry. Try practicing with a doll first until you build muscle memory and are able to wrap a little faster.
- When doing back carriers stand in front of soft surface like a bed or a couch and have someone else spot you until you feel confident doing it yourself!
**Please note that this is just a guide to give you an idea of how you can use a wrap and does not take the place of a in person consultation or professional hands on help. Please schedule a consultation or register to take a class to learn more!
Front Carries can be done from the time baby is born and up until you are comfortable carrying your baby on the front. Front Carries are the most secure and they are great for skin to skin contact. Just leave your top off, leave baby in a diaper and enjoy!
Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC)
*Wrap Size: 5 or 6 (base)
A FWCC will be probably the carry that you will do the most. It's secure, comfortable and easy to nurse in!
>> Front Wrap Cross Carry the easy way by Lorette at Sling a Baby
Kangaroo Carry*Wrap Size: 4 or 5 (base-1)
It's a great option for newborns as it helps support baby's neck.
>> Kangaroo Carry with a newborn in a woven wrap by Babywearing Faith
Hip Carries are great as baby has more core strength and neck control which is usually around 3-4 months. A hip carry gives baby more visibility but is still secure and close to mom. Hip carries are awesome for nursing as well. Most hip carries can also be done on the front off center.
Robin's Hip Carry (RHC)
*Wrap Size: 4 or a 5 (base - 1)
This is a one shoulder carry which is very similar to a ring sling.
>> Robin's Hip Carry in a woven wrap by BabywearingFaith
Hip Wrap Cross Carry (HWCC)
*Wrap Size: 5 or 6 (base)
This is the hip variation of the Front Wrap Cross Carry. It's secure and comfortable.
>> Hip Wrap Cross Carry by Wrapping Rachel
Back CarriesBack carriers are great to allow you to be hands free and still give baby visibility specially when she does not want to be carried facing in. Please wait until baby can sit unassisted and can support her head before trying out a back carry for the first time. This is usually around 6 months.
Back Wrap Cross Carry (BCC)
*Wrap Size: 5 or 6 (your base)
It is one the easier, more secure carries to start out with. Watch this video carefully at couple of times and give it a try!
>> Back Cross Carry (BCC) by Lorette at Sling A Baby
Rucksack Carry (RC)
*Wrap Size: 4 or 5 (your base -1)
It is one of the quickest back carries specially with a toddler who wants to go up and down all the time. Check out the tips in this video to get a good seat!
>> Rucksack in a woven by BabywearingFaith
Fabric Blends and Care Instructions
Woven Wraps are woven using different types of fabric blends. Below is a description of the different blends and my recommendations for usage.
Bamboo fabric is exceptionally soft and light, almost silky in feel. Bamboo fabric may have an anti-bacterial property that is maintained in fabric. Bamboo woven wraps are great for newborns and small babies. They are soft, silky and light but they are not the most supportive.
Most woven wraps are made out of 100% cotton. Cotton is my recommendation for first time wrappers because it's easy to wrap with and for newborns because cotton wraps are usually soft and do not require a lot of breaking in and are the most affordable.
Hemp is a natural fiber which is extremely resistant to tearing. A hemp woven wrap is a great option for bigger babies because of its support. Hemp wraps are not soft out of the box and takes some breaking in.
Linen is less susceptible to collect dirt and bacteria, and due to its air balancing feature, has a cooling effect in the Summer.* Linen woven wraps are known for being breathable but they are also very crunchy out of the box and takes a while before they get soft and comfortable. It's a great option for bigger babies as well.
Cashmere is a very soft and fine natural fiber derived from the undercoat of the cashmere goat. It is one of the most valuable and most expensive natural fibers. Cashmere is very warm and light.*Cashmere woven wraps are great winter wraps as they warm and soft but they do require some special care.
Repreve is made by Unifi, is a family of synthetic fibers containing recycled materials. Unlike many other recycled yarns, the recycled content is certified by an outside party. The Repreve yarn Tekhni uses is made from recycled PET water bottles. Repreve wraps are very supportive.
Silk is a very fine natural animal fiber derived from the cocoon of the silkworm. Silk is highly tear resistant and acts as insulation against the cold as well as the heat.* Slik wraps are usually best for smaller babies since they are nice and soft. Most silk wraps are expensive.
WoolWool is a natural fiber composed of proteins, as it comes from the fleece of sheep. Wool fabric does not cling to the skin which is part of the insulation properties and comfort of wearing wool. Wool wraps are great winter wrap but they do require special care.
How to Care for your Wrap
- A general recommendation for washing most fibers is to wash them in cold water with a liquid detergent free of optical brighteners.
- Do not use fabric softener
- Lay flat to dry
- You can also steam iron to make the fabric nice and fluffy
*Please refer to your manufacturers instructions for fabrics which require extra care: bamboo, silk, cashmere or wool.
If your wrap is a little crunchy (not soft) and requires some breaking in try brading it, or sitting on it and just using and washing it a lot!
Here's a good video on how to braid a woven wrap.
>> How to Braid your wrap - Babywearing
Guide By Brand
|Size 4||Size 5||Size 6||Size 7||Size 8|
** Original Source: http://www.kokadi.de/en/production:_:172.html