So many parents come to me wanting a carrier that will do absolutely everything. It needs to fit newborns and toddlers optimally, offer knee to knee support, head support, back support… It should carry front or back and either hip. It needs to be machine washable, fit vastly different shaped adults, be cool in summer and warm in winter, and be soft and comfortable to wear. It needs to be quick and easy to use, so they don’t want a wrap.
Now it is not to say that there are no carriers in the library that can fill that brief without being a wrap. But I am here to fight its corner, just a little. If I could choose just one carrier from the library to suit me and my children through our carrying years, it would need to be a woven wrap. For you to consider it, I want to correct a couple of common misconceptions about woven wraps.
Woven wraps can be used from birth
Sometimes people assume that because a stretchy wrap is a newborn and small baby specialist carrier, woven wraps are designed for older babies. Yet in truth woven wraps can be used from birth and offer a great deal of support and strength to floppy and new babies whilst also being soft and snuggly.
Woven wraps do not have to be expensive
Sure, they can be, but there are some wonderful woven brands out there that are supportive, beautiful and do not break the bank. In the world of wovens, there are a lot of fashions and trends, and there are collectors, but there is no reason you need to join in unless that appeals to you. It is perfectly possible to buy a lovely cotton German style woven wrap in a colour you love and use it again and again throughout your children’s carrying years for much less than a buckle carrier or equivalent. Woven wraps can offer tremendous value for money. My oldest woven wrap has been with me for over seven years and carried both my children – still as strong as ever and one of the best value baby items I have ever invested in.
There are a range of brands and prices on the market, but here are some examples of German style woven wrap brands I have personal experience with which I highly recommend as strong, supportive and long lasting – these are examples but by no means an exhaustive list! Alongside is listed their various prices for a standard line, cotton, standard length size 6 wrap – the size most people buy. Please see the note below if you are interested in purchase or hire.
BB Slen – around £70
Colimacon et Cie – around £60
Hoppediz – around £53
Lenny Lamb – around £47
Little Frog – around £50
Natibaby – around £64
Neobulle – around £67
Storchenwiege – around £70
Woven wraps are supportive especially for heavier babies and toddlers
A lot of parents are concerned about the support for their baby, and the way a carrier fits the adult as well – does it offer ‘lumbar support’ is a particularly common question. A well tied woven wrap is the epitome of an ergonomic carrier and that is down to its complete custom fit – carrying your child snugly all the way along their backs and legs, from knee to knee and as high to their neck as needed – high for newborns or arms free for older babies and toddlers if they prefer. A woven cloth feels supportive against your muscles – consider how we bandage a strained limb – and moulds perfectly around you, offering a close carrying experience that does not strain either shoulder muscles or the lumbar region.
Woven wraps can be pre-tied
A lot of parents enjoy the convenience of using a stretchy wrap that has been pre-tied – with all the fabric in place before the baby is put inside. This can reassure when you are starting out, or work very well as an option when out and about. Tie the carrier on at home, pop the baby in the car, and when you get where you are going slot the baby into the carrier and in and out at will. Pre-tying is something I did a lot when my babies were tiny – in and out of doctors appointments, popping out to the shops, for the school run – with my woven wraps. Yes, woven wraps can be pre-tied too. For babies and for toddlers. Now I use a pre-tie with my toddler for things like train journeys – on and off my knee, in and out of the carrier at the station, walks a bit, slots in the wrap to tackle the stairs and make the connection, walks a bit, slides back inside to tackle the train gap and luggage. Woven wraps can be used quickly and easily when you are used to tying them.
Woven wraps do not have to be complicated
A wrap is, quite literally, what you make it. However there is no reason at all that using it need be any more complicated then learning to use any of the other library carriers – a ring sling, a mei tai, a buckle carrier, all have a learning curve. Or learning how to collapse a pushchair or install a car seat – I venture to say the latter is a lot more complicated than woven wrapping as I still struggle with car seats nearly eight years into parenting. The reputation for complexity comes from the hundreds of ways there are to use it. But, as I point out with some frequency, you need learn only one. Yet at some point in the future, when that one is not exactly what you need, you might feel the urge to learn another. Or maybe more than one. The reassuring thing to realise is that as your carrying needs change, so can your wrap, for as long as you need it to. The versatility is what I ask you to concentrate on, not the imagined complexity.
Woven wraps have a huge amount to offer as a genuinely adaptable birth to toddler to preschooler option. You don’t need to adapt the carrier between children, just pick it up and it will carry your newborn or your big kid. You don’t need to adjust sizing or buckles between users, just pick it up and it will fit you. You don’t need to learn every way there is to tie it, just pick up some basic skills and you will wonder what you did without it.
If you are in the market for a woven wrap, I highly recommend the above brands for producing good quality wraps that will last, and most of these brands are available to buy through our library supporters, see the tab at the top of the page. If you have used library services some supporters offer a library discount code, please ask for further details.
If you prefer to hire, the sling library has a large selection of colours, brands, blends and sizes available for hire at any of our sessions.
If you would like help with your wrap, we offer free wrapping help by email or at any of our drop in sessions, for as long as you need it. For more in depth help we offer one to one sessions so do get in touch for more details. Call 0113 2100855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wrap happy, everyone.