Indulge me in a confession. When I was first looking into baby carriers, I ran across plenty of instructions and information about wraparound slings, or “wraps,” and had the same reaction to all of them: “AS IF! Like I’m gonna wrangle all that fabric and do all that flipping and tying and whatnot. I’m an American, and I’d like some technology involved with my sling, thank you very much. Twisting and tying a simple piece of cloth is primitive and complicated … can’t I just use something with buckles?”
Indulge me in another confession. Yes, I can just use something with buckles. Particularly now that my 15-month-old weighs 30 pounds and is walking, I use an Ergo Baby Carrier quite a lot. But for the year or so between the time I was an eye-rolling wrap skeptic and an Ergo-using toddler toter, I was a wrapper. And I felt, as I still do, rather silly for my initial skepticism.
My skepticism was overcome when I saw the directions for the cross-carry tie at The Portable Baby. I ran to the fabric store, bought 5 yards of t-shirt material, cut it into strips, and had some wraps to experiment with. Honestly, with the wrap and directions in hand, it took about 90 seconds to master the cross-carry tie. Shock! It was easier and more secure than my ring sling or my pouch! Plus, I could bear the weight of my chunky 3-month-old on both shoulders, which was a real boon. He would snuggle up against me, and the battle at naptime became a thing of the past.
So that’s a long way of saying that wrapping is really easy, comfortable and, with a DIY wrap, cheap! Even my grandmother agrees. That’s her with my first wrap and my son in the photograph. If it’s easy and comfortable enough for a great-grandmother, it’s probably easy and comfortable enough for you, too. So if you haven’t discovered the wrapper in you yet, I invite you to give it a try. Here are some tips to get you started:
If you’re wrapping a newborn, you may really enjoy a stretchy wrap like a Moby Wrap or a homemade stretchy wrap like mine. In either case, a newborn needs a little more support than afforded by the cross-carry tie that converted me. Take a minute to review the information about wrapping a newborn in M’Liss Seltzer’s article about newborn positioning. It’s still easy, though! There’s a video on the Moby Wrap instructions page (it takes a while to buffer) showing how to do it. Or just follow the Moby Wrap text and photo instructions for the “Newborn Hug Hold.”
If you prefer to use a woven wrap (and many do), review M’Liss’s article, and check out this video of yours truly demonstrating the basic front carry at a Magic City Slingers meeting. That’s a toddler in the video; for a newborn, you can leave her feet tucked inside the wrap and position her upright in the “tummy to tummy” position or turn her so that she’s in the cradle position. To give her head support, just tuck the back of her head under part of the fabric. The Mamatoto Project has great instructions for nursing a newborn in the cradle position in the basic front carry.
Personally, I’m a fan of the cross-carry tie with a stretchy (or slightly stretchy) wrap for a baby with head control. I like the directions at The Portable Baby, although the .pdf file takes awhile to load. It’s even easier to tie than the basic wrap carry, and you tie it before loading your baby into the wrap, which makes it “poppable.” You can pop the baby in, then out, then in again, never needing to untie and tie again. It works with a woven wrap, too.
Big Babies, Toddlers, and Little Kids
Yep, you can carry big babies, toddlers, and even little kids (especially when they’re sick, tired, or sad). I prefer a woven wrap for these chunky monkeys, although some stretchy wraps, known as “hybrid wraps,” are supportive enough to do the job. If you don’t want to watch my video, just follow the instructions for the basic wrap carry (also known as the “front wrap cross carry” at WrapYourBaby.
Hip and Back Carries
You’ve probably already realized that part of the beauty of wraps is their versatility … you can tie them many different ways. Can you carry your baby on your hip or your back with a wrap? You bet! But that’s another entry for another day. Happy wrapping!