Baby Wearing Tips: Stretchy Wraps vs. Woven Wraps

I have used, and loved, both a stretchy wrap and a woven wrap. Both types of baby carriers have positive points and negative points about them. I believe that the positive aspects of the baby carriers far outweighs the negative parts, making these carriers both nice to have as part of your baby carrier stash, if even for just a short time.

Stretchy Wrap Baby Carrier

There are many different brands of stretchy wraps. I had a Sleepy Wrap, but Moby is also a popular brand to have. It is also quite easy to make your own stretchy wrap without even any sewing. Just do an internet search for make your own stretchy wrap. I LOVED my stretchy wrap baby carrier for when my baby was a newborn. It was nice and snuggly and perfect for when he just wanted to be held all the time. I wore him everywhere in the stretchy wrap baby carrier; to the store, walking my daughter to and from school, at church, even hiking.  Some of the not as pleasant parts of a stretchy wrap are the length of the wrap, the thickness of the wrap and how long you can use it. A stretchy wrap baby carrier is similar to a woven in that it is a long piece of fabric that you must wind around your body. Yes, this takes some practice. You must also make sure you wrap it tight enough on your body so the baby doesn’t sag. It should be like a tight fitting t-shirt. You might think there would be no way to get a baby in there, but that’s the beauty of a stretchy wrap… it stretches and hugs your baby to you. After a few times you will be a pro, honest. If not, leave me a comment, maybe I can help.  The thickness of a stretchy wrap can be a problem, especially if you have a summer baby. Mine was born in January, so the Sleepy Wrap kept us nice and warm, which was nice unless we were at the store. Sometimes I became a hot, sweaty mess just picking up a pack of diapers.  If you have a summer baby, a stretchy wrap might not work very well, unless you live somewhere that is cold in the summer, or never leave an air conditioned house.  Most stretchy wrap baby carrier makers say you can use their carrier until your baby reaches about 35 pounds. In reality a stretchy wrap baby carrier is really only supportive until your baby reaches about 15 pounds, maybe 20 at the most. The point of a baby carrier is to help you hold your baby up on your body, if your baby is way down by your hips, that is putting some strain on you and not being very helpful. If your stretchy wrap is not holding your baby nice and high, it’s time for a new baby carrier. When babies reach about 15 pounds, stretchy wrap baby carrier start to sag and babies start to get wiggly. Stretchy wraps don’t hold wiggly babies in place very safely.

Woven Wraps

Woven wrap baby carriers seem like a natural next step after a stretchy wrap.  They are basically the same concept, a long piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself to secure your baby to your body. Since they are a woven material with no (or not as much) stretch to them you must hold your baby while you wrap it, which can be a daunting prospect. Some ways to wrap you can pre-wrap part of it, that’s what I do when I do the Front Wrap Cross Carry, it’s easier than trying to hold my baby with one arm and trying to get the wrap to go behind my back with the other! There is also a pretty steep learning curve with woven wrap baby carriers. It’s really frustrating while you are learning, but once you get it, wrapping is a breeze! One thing with woven wraps, that you should never attempt with a stretchy wrap, you can wrap your baby on your back. This is also fairly challenging to learn, but once you do your baby will feel as light as air traveling around with you.  Woven wraps hold your baby more firmly than a stretchy wrap does, so wiggly babies can’t go far. Woven wraps are available in many different lengths, colorways, thicknesses, and material. It can be overwhelming when faced with so many choices. Basically if you are just starting out pick a size (size 6 is a good beginner size, that is 4.6 meters long) and a color/pattern that you like. Cotton, or cotton/linen blends are good starter woven wraps, but there are some that are made with wool, silk, hemp, bamboo, etc.  Obviously the more unique the woven material the higher the price of the woven wrap.  If you need help picking a woven wrap, leave me a comment, I’m happy to offer suggestions or help you find a place to buy.  Most of time you will buy a woven wrap online, mostly sight unseen, unless you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a babywearing store that carries woven wraps.

Stretchy Wraps vs. Woven Wraps

So basically it breaks down like this:

Woven vs. Stretchy wrap

 

 

Any questions? Please leave me a comment!

Comments

  1. Trisha says:

    After reading this and watching your video, I’m thinking about investing in a woven wrap. Do you have any suggestions where I can find an affordable one? I love my stretchy wraps but Baby E is getting to heavy for them =(

  2. Erin says:

    TheBabyWearer.com has a For Sale or Trade board. I got mine for about $80 there. Sometimes it takes some time to find one and it is overwhelming with all the different choices. PieceOfCloth.com also has a variety of different woven wraps that are new. TheBlueBerryTree.com also has a selection of new wraps. Good luck!

  3. Ray Welke says:

    Very wonderful site thank you so much for your time in writing the posts for all of us to learn about.

  4. Romina says:

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been doing some research into woven wraps and really want to buy one. I’m looking for a woven wrap that is good for warmer climates as I live in SoCal. Someone suggested Ellevill and another person suggested Bali Breeze. Although Ellevill has beautiful prints, they are rather pricey. I am 5’4 and would be interested in both front and back carrying positions. Thanks.

    • ErinAnn says:

      Woven wraps are a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. I have not tried either of those brands of woven wraps, but I have a friend who loves her Bali Breeze. I would think since it’s a gauze wrap it would be nice and airy for warm weather! A shorter wrap might also be an option so you wouldn’t have as many layers wrapping around you and baby.

  5. iole says:

    that is great article, I finally understood the difference between babywraps!
    i am nearly 4 months pregnant and my best friend is due in 2 weeks, so I thought about getting one each. she lives back in Sicily (very hot during the summer) and her baby his due at the end of may. If i get her a Woven one, will she still be able to use it with a newborn? Or what is the thinest among the strechy ones? would Mobywrap would be too warm?
    Also I looked into making myown, but got confused when it comes to the fabric. the adv jersey on internet but not sure if it is the single, double or interlock that I should get. any advise?

    Thanks again. iole

    • ErinAnn says:

      Yes, woven wraps can be used for a newborn. Some ideas for thinner wraps in hot weather are the Wrapsody Bali Breeze (or stretch, but it is not as stretchy as most are) or a Vatanai wrap they are a little more expensive, but I have heard they are good warm weather wraps. Good luck!

  6. heather says:

    This is a wonderful article to explain the differences! I have a moby and I like it for the reasons you listed, but baby girl is going to hit 15lbs in a few months and I would like to try a woven but they are more intimidating for me for some reason. So for a newbie, what brand/price range do you suggest?

    • ErinAnn says:

      Wovens do have a steep learning curve! I like my BB Slen. They are fairly inexpensive at around $100. Colimacon et Cie is an affordable wrap as well, but I haven’t wrapped with one. I would start with a 100% cotton wrap and just pick a color you like. If there is a babywearing group near you, you could go to a meet up and try different things to see how they feel.

  7. Teresa says:

    I cannot afford a woven. I looked at some gauze, I am lost. Help! I have a friend who sews and can hem for me, I have absolutely no idea what fabric to get. My son is 6 months old, almost 20 lbs and I want to use it this spring!

    • ErinAnn says:

      Hi Teresa! Gauze wraps can be a great wrap to use. However, at 20 lbs, you may find that if you don’t wrap really carefully, the gauze will start to feel “diggy” on your shoulders. There are some brands of woven wraps that you can find under $100. Have you looked into Colimacon et Cie wraps?

      Good Luck!

  8. nicole says:

    hey, great article! i was wondering why my baby was starting to sag in our moby, its time to go to a woven wrap.. I am a plus sized woman (2x) and i live in an area thats very hot and humid in the summer so i want something light. would the woven wrap be a good option for a plus size lady with a 25 lb 8 month old. I would like to be able to carry him on the front and back. thank you very much!

    • ErinAnn says:

      You might try a size 7 woven wrap (5.2 meters). You could try a linen blend wrap. It might take a bit to get broken in, but it will wrap solid and be somewhat cool for summer weather. Do you have a babywearing group near you? Maybe they have something you could try. An all cotton wrap would work as well. Wovens are also great for front and back carrys.

  9. nicole says:

    after doing research i decided i will go with a size 7 wrap. Unfortunately, i live in a rural area and there are not many mothers like me who choose to do things naturally and baby wear. :-( I am trying to figure out what type of wrap i want. I looked at some of the colimacon et cie but they seem so heavy, it wouldnt be bad in the winter but summers here (arkansas) are very hot and humid and yucky! i will look at some more cotton wraps and have been considering gauze. Wow, sooo many decisions and i’d hate to get one and not be happy with it because they are so expensive. i’m only going to be able to get one so its got to be the right one. thank you again :-)

    • ErinAnn says:

      Gauze can be nice and airy, but you do need to wrap pretty precisely so it does not get diggy. The Colimacon Et Cie are cotton wraps and I think they would be fairly cool as far as wrapping 2 people together in the summer could be. If you are able to spend a little more, you might look for a linen blend of wrap. Didymos and Natibaby have many linen blends. There are other manufacturers with linen blends as well, but those two could get you started. A wool blend may work as well as it breathes and wicks away moisture. They are pretty soft and wool helps to regular body temperature, not just keep you warm it will help you keep cool as well.

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