For anyone that missed out this morning, here's the information I handed out on woven wraps at this morning's slingmeet:
WOVEN WRAPS – INS AND OUTS
- 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.
- Storchenwiege (www.mynaturalbaby.co.nz)
- Didymos (www.didymos.co.nz)
- Girasol (www.keoni.weebly.com)
- Hoppediz (available on Trademe)
- Neobulle (www.bebops.co.nz)
- other overseas brands include Lana, Vatanai, BBSlen and Bali Baby.
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.