There are many benefits to babywearing, as you learned if you read Why I Babywear. Stretchy wraps are widely available in big box stores, often making them a parent’s first experience with babywearing. They are perfect for newborns, as they provide an easy and comfortable way to offer lots of skin to skin contact. New moms often ask me how it can be possible to nurse a newborn around the clock while still feeding themselves and having their hands free to do small tasks at home.
Enter the Stretchy Wrap
Choosing a Wrap
At first, that long piece of fabric may seem daunting, cumbersome, and just plain TOO MUCH. However, these stretchy wraps are easy to use with a bit of practice. To date, I have tried 4 types of stretchy wraps including the Original Moby Wrap, Happy Wrap, Baby K’Tan, and Rolling Over Baby Wrap. You can read my review of the Rolling Over Baby Wrap here.
I think the biggest factor you should consider when choosing a stretchy wrap is the material. Do you live in a colder climate? Choose a wrap made of cotton that is thicker, such as the Original Moby. Do you have a summer baby or live in the south? Maybe, you just sweat bullets (especially with the postpartum hormones raging!) constantly like I do. You may prefer a thinner wrap like a Happy Wrap, which is made of organic bamboo and is luxuriously soft and super breathable.
Another factor you should consider is how big your baby is and how long you plan to use your stretchy wrap. Some wraps have greater maximum weight limits than others, which usually range from about 25 lbs – 35 lbs. If you have had other babies and just KNOW you make bigger babies, you may only be able to use a stretchy wrap for a year. At this point, if you still love babywearing, it’s time to invest in another type such as a woven wrap, ring sling, or soft structured carrier.
How to Wrap
Stretchy wraps are pretty much all the same as far as wrapping technique goes. The BWI Baby Wearing Videos show how easy it can be. Most stretchy wrap manufacturers advocate the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry and these types of wraps should NOT be used for back carries. If you are a beginner and new to wrapping in parking lots, you may try wrapping before you leave the house. That way you can just tuck your baby in the pre-tied wrap and be on your way. I have also tied my wrap in the car to avoid long tails getting wet.
Regardless of which stretchy baby wrap you choose, each can be tied to fit you and your baby perfectly. It will provide unbelievable support for both of you if tied correctly. Remember, your baby’s head should be close enough to kiss, his legs should be out, and his butt supported from knee to knee. The wrap should be crossed and spread evenly across your back. Your baby should love being wrapped close to your body. He may like his head tucked into one of the should straps. You can also use a receiving blanket rolled up and tucked into the top of the outer pocket. Think of this as a neck support for traveling. Babies with limited or no neck strength will appreciate this.
Wearing your Wrap Comfortably
These stretchy wraps are great for carrying your baby for lengthy activities and outings. This is my go-to choice for gardening and sweaty activities, like hiking in the summer and even yoga! The durable, easy to wash fabric makes it a perfect choice for everyday wear, so don’t be afraid to get it dirty. When wearing a stretchy wrap, you do have to make specific wardrobe choices, especially if you plan to nurse your baby. Around home, I would just wear a nursing camisole or nothing! When going out, you want to avoid bulky fabrics and jackets under your wrap. I always prefer to wear my jacket over my wrap to provide maximum comfort for myself and my baby. It is also smart to avoid embellishments. Would you want zippers, snaps, beads, and annoying sequins leaving impressions on your head?
I hope you love wearing your baby in a stretchy wrap as much as your baby does! Have you used a stretchy baby wrap? What is your favorite brand and material?