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 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:
Any questions? Please leave me a comment!