Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Popit wrap - new to our carrier library!

Amy from Popit Wrap has generously donated one of her stretchy wraps in aqua/black to our carrier library. So we thought it would be a good opportunity to review it.

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Popit Wraps are 100% NZ designed and made. They're made from 100% light weight cotton knit which only has width wise stretch for more support and safety. They're machine washable and dryable - a big plus with babies, especially newborns! They also come with an instruction DVD (included with your hire) showing different tying methods.

They're the first stretchy wrap I've seen with two sides - colour on one side, black on the other. I really like this, as you can change it to suit your mood. When you have the black side facing out, the colour peeks through at the edges which looks cool. It's also a good way of making sure the wrap hasn't twisted as you're tying it.

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Believe it or not, this was the first stretchy I have tried and I was pleasantly surprised when I put Audrey (15 months and around 10 kg) in it. It was comfortable, supportive and not nearly as 'stretchy' as I'd thought stretchy wraps were. Sarah C had one when Holly was born and enjoyed using it with a newborn. The fact it came with instructions on DVD was a big plus, and she liked how many different colourways they come in.

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The instruction DVD has well paced video instructions with a voiceover explaining the different steps. I think it would be easy to follow for a beginner wrapper. The DVD contains instructions for 6 different carries, including front carries, a hip carry and a back carry. Because the Popit Wrap only has 2-way stretch it is theoretically safer for back carries, however it is not overly wide (compared to a woven wrap) which means you would need to wrap very carefully to ensure a safe carry. I would recommend only trying this if you are an experienced wrapper and don't have a child who likes leaning back.

The Popit Wrap is available to hire from Babywearing Wellington's carrier library. If you're interested, please let us know at the next slingmeet or by emailing

Amy would appreciate any of your feedback once you have tried it out too.

Thanks again, Amy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tips for Successful Babywearing - The Early Days

You've done the research, bought the sling and are completely committed to wearing your baby. So what does a new sling mumma do if their baby doesn't seem to 'like' being worn?

We've all experienced some degree of difficulty in those early days of babywearing, so here's a few ideas for successfully working through those hard times, and wearing your beautiful newborn successfully and safely. These tips are based on our own experiences of those early days of babywearing, and what we did to overcome our own personal hurdles.

- Practice the different carries first with a teddy or doll. The doll won't wriggle or cry like a newborn baby might, but the practice will set you in good stead for when the baby comes along. This is particularly important with a wrap sling, so you can understand the body mechanics required for wrapping your baby.

- Practice putting your baby in the sling when she isn't too tired or hungry. Often people use slings as a last resort as a sleeping tool (I certainly did!), with first attempt when baby is completely overtired. This may mean that the experience of getting baby into the sling is traumatic both for the wearer and baby - it is no surprise that many people give up if this happens a lot.

- Have your partner, friend or relative be a support person when putting your baby in the sling. Your support person can assist hugely by boosting your confidence and keeping you calm while you put the baby in the sling. They can also assist with the more difficult wrapping techniques. However, you may find that once you get your wrapping mojo, an extra pair of hands can be more of a hindrance than help.

- Enlist the help of an expert, preferably in person. Babywearing Wellington committee members are available to give advice whenever you need it. We also hold monthly slingmeets, which are a brilliant place to get some help and practice the different carries.

- Don't be rushed. Take your time to get the carry right and don't be afraid to start again from scratch if you need to. 

- Try different carrier types. Sometimes a baby won't enjoy a wrap sling, but will love, love, love a mei tai! Sometimes the wearer will find a certain sling type or brand uncomfortable, but finds another type or brand to be the perfect fit. The Babywearing Wellington Sling Library gives you the opportunity to 'try before you buy'. We have a range of sling types and brands that might just be perfect for you.

- Be patient and keep trying if it doesn't work the first time. It may also help to have a break and come back to it again later (after a nice cup of tea and a well deserved piece of cake!).

The most important thing is to feel comfortable asking for help if you need it. We are a phone call or email away, and are ready and willing to help you with any aspect of Babywearing. Don't hesitate even for a second to reach out to us. :)

Kia Kaha,

The Babywearing Wellington Team

Friday, March 4, 2011

Slingmeet March 4th - Stretchy Wraps

Stretchy wraps tend to be 4.5-5.5 meters long and made from a knit jersey or interlock fabric. They can me made from natural or synthetic fibres, though natural fibres like cotton have the advantage of being more breathable. Fabric with any spandex or lycra content will tend to be very stretchy - carriers which are 100% cotton or other natural fibres will tend to have less lengthwise stretch.

All wraps are incredibly versatile. Though they can not achieve as many holds as a woven wrap, there are still a wide range of ways to tie a stretchy wrap. The most common seen is the ‘front pocket cross carry’ but you can also achieve cradle holds, outward facing and hip carries.

Outward facing in Popit Wrap
Hip carry in a Popit wrap
They make hands-free breastfeeding very do-able in the cradle hold or upright position.

A lot of people find stretchy wraps are easier to learn to use than wovens, as you can pre-tie it onto your body before placing baby in. This is also helpful when removing baby, as you take baby out before removing the sling. This ‘poppability’ is really useful, as when you are out and about you don’t need to worry about re-tying on the street front after a car trip or toilet stop.

Stretchies are often used as a ‘starter’ wrap, as they are an awesome way boost the carers confidence in wrapping because they are very forgiving while you're learning, and they are still very comfortable even when not tied on perfectly.

Though a lot of retailers recommend them for back carries, we do not, as often they’re not as wide or as supportive as a woven wrap. Baby can push against the carers back, pushing themselves backwards, which combined with the stretchy nature of the sling puts the baby at risk of falling or getting into an awkward position on the carers back.

I tend to direct people to stretchy wraps if they have a colicky baby as it is so easy and comfortable to have the baby in an upright position (helping avoid stomach acid rising up) from newborn as their head can be fully supported. Being upright really seems to help soothe baby and the motion from the carer often helps them bring up wind.

The wonderful thing about slings, particularly stretchy wraps, is that baby can self regulate their stimulation by looking out sideways at what's happening around him, or up to the carer, and can snuggle into the carer and sling easily when they feel the need. Babies are really good at regulating themselves, and a sling enables them to do this easily. This is one of the criticisms of the outward facing position.

When a baby is facing out to the world they are unable to turn in when it is getting a bit much for them. The baby may signal this with a wriggle or whimper, and if not picked up by the carer the baby can become overwhelmed and unsettled. Stretchy wraps are a great way to balance this as you can help you baby avoid this by being aware of the risk and changing babes position in this wonderfully poppable carrier when they are showing signs that they need less stimulation.

 We have a couple of stretchy wraps in the library, including the New Zealand made Popit wrap - so you can hire them to try or just have play and feel the different fabrics that various brands use.

And thank you to Natasha, Michelle, Rachael, Rhian and Popit for the use of your beautiful photos.

Slingmeet 4 March 2011 - Woven wraps

For anyone that missed out this morning, here's the information I handed out on woven wraps at this morning's slingmeet:



  • At its simplest, a wrap is just a long piece of fabric tied around you and your baby.
  • German-style woven wraps such as Storchenwiege and Didymos are designed specifically for carrying babies and children. They are woven with the right amount of diagonal stretch, support, mouldability and breathibility. They are expensive because they are made by hand in Europe under strict quality controls and use all natural fibres.
  • Woven wraps are soft and comfortable enough to use for newborns, but also wide and supportive enough to use up to age 3-4.
  • They can be used for front, back, hip and torso carries.
  • Woven wraps provide even weight distribution over your back and shoulders so are great for people with bad backs.
  • There is a big learning curve to start with, but once you get the knack it is just as quick, if not quicker than putting on a soft-structured carrier.
  • They can be used by both parents or other caregivers even if different sizes.
  • They can be pretied in a 'poppable' carry for easy ins and outs, or retied each time.

Tips and safety:

  • Only practise new carries when your baby is fed, changed and content. It's normal for them to fuss a bit to start with, especially if you're not sure what you're doing. They'll usually stop once you've tied it properly and start moving around.
  • Make sure wrap is spread out over your back and not twisted (each edge of the wrap – called 'rails' – are usually different colours to help with this).
  • Make sure the fabric is tucked under your baby's bottom and spread from knee to knee (if their legs are out).
  • Your baby's knees should always be higher than their bottom. Newborns should have their legs 'froggied' inside the wrap.
  • Always keep one hand on your baby at all times.
  • Your baby should be high enough for you to kiss their head and the fabric should be snug along their back (keeping their spine in a gentle curve).
  • You can tuck your baby's head in for them to sleep but make sure their face is clear so they can breathe.
  • Always practise back carries with a helper or over a bed to start with. Lean forward while you're making any adjustments.
  • For back carries, pull as much fabric as you can in between your baby's legs and your body to create a 'seat'.
  • Remember the wrap adds at least an extra layer so don't dress too warmly.


  • Front carries – front wrap cross carry, front cross carry (poppable), kangaroo carry.
  • Back carries – rucksack tied tibetan, rucksack tied in front, back wrap cross carry, secure high back carry (good for newborns), double hammock carry.
  • Hip carries – simple hip carry, Poppin's hip carry, Robin's hip carry, front cross hip carry.

For more information and instructions on the different carries, see and or ask one of the Babywearing Wellington crew for a demo.


Woven wraps are generally available in 2.7m (size 2), 3.2m (size 3), 3.6m (size 4), 4.2m, (size 5) 4.6m (size 6) and 5.2m (size 7) lengths. The most common length is 4.6m which is suitable for doing lots of different carries.

If you want to make your own wrap, you should look out for fabric that is cross twill and has a good amount of diagonal stretch but no vertical stretch.

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