The baby wrap, also called a wraparound, is truly a versatile baby carrier. You can put your little one in almost any position you can imagine!
A wrap is a long piece of fabric that you loop around yourself and baby in any number of ways. You create the baby wearing style that suits you best and keeps your baby happiest.
Baby Wrap Fabric Choices
There are two different types of fabric used to make wraps: stretchy fabrics and woven fabrics.
Woven wraps are made from a lightweight, woven fabric. These wraps have sizing. An example of the sizing is: A Small fits up to 140lbs and 5 feet, 8 inches. A Medium fits up to 180lbs and 6 feet. The Large size fits above 180lbs and 6 feet.
A smaller size works if you don't want to do the “basic” wrap position – it requires the most fabric. The basic position offers the most support for the baby, however, so you may want this option if you have a small baby.
It's also ideal if you want a baby carrier position for hiking or similar activities – you'll know your baby is very secure.
A stretchy, knit wrap makes a snuggly baby carrier. Stretchy wraps have the advantage of letting you completely put on the baby carrier without baby inside. After you have it on, pull the fabric away from your body and nestle your baby inside it.
One disadvantage of the stretchy wraparound is you can't do the rucksack style position because it doesn't hold baby as securely to your back as a woven fabric. You may prefer a woven wraparound for your older baby as well, since it gives you a little more support for a heavier child.
There is a stretchy wrap on the market that lets you to carry a large child and allows for comfortable and secure back carries. The Sleepy Wrap is comfy, stretchy, and wonderful from birth on up. It's my favorite wrap carrier and the one I used with Galen, Honor, and Corwin.
The Basic Wrap
The Basic Wrap position makes your baby wrap into a snug, secure baby carrier. The fabric crosses your baby three times to give support. Start the basic position without your baby. Step by step:
- Position the baby wrap evenly over your abdomen area, spread open.
- Bring the fabric around your waist on either side, cross behind your back and bring up over your shoulders.
- Let the ends hang down over your shoulders.
- Pick up your baby.
- Put your baby down into the “seat” made by the piece of fabric you placed over your abdomen area. Have your baby straddling you with the fabric pulled up high behind his knees.
- You can also put baby facing outwards with legs crossed in front, or place baby facing you with legs up in the fetal position – choose what your baby prefers.)
- Take one of the fabric tails hanging over your shoulder and cross it under your baby's bottom and leg. Next do the same with the other tail. The tails should criss-cross across your baby and go under his bottom and legs.
- Pull snug around your back and tie behind your waist.
- All done!
Your baby is very secure in this position. It's good for long hikes or brisk walks. There are several variations of the position, including the forward facing and feet tucked in variations mentioned above.
You can also have the “seat” on the outside of the criss-crossed tails. When you bring the tails down over your shoulders, instead of letting them hang, pull them through the seat panel and criss-cross them over each other.
Place your baby in by putting her leg through the tail closest to your body, then the other tail. Then pull the seat up behind her back. Be sure the fabric is behind her knees and supporting her bum as her legs are straddling your body.
It's possible to have a “peapod” baby carrier with the basic carry. Have your newborn in the wrap with feet tucked in the fetal position and perhaps snugly towards one shoulder. Many tiny babies like this position.
You can also do the basic wrap on the back. Simply follow the directions on your back. You may need help to get your baby positioned like on your back in the basic carry.
The Simple Cross Carry
This variation of the basic carry has only the two criss-crossing tails for support. You can use a shorter baby wrap for this carry. It's a cooler wrap than some of the others.
To begin, tie your baby carrier into a loop. Flip one end of it to make it into a figure 8 shape. Then:
- Hold this figure 8 horizontally across your back and put it on like a knapsack.
- You should have one loop over each shoulder. Grab one of the loops and bring it up and over your head. It should now be crossing your body like a sash.
- Do the same with the other loop.
- The baby wrap should now be crossed in front of your body. Spread the fabric over each shoulder so that it is wide and comfortable.
- Place your baby down into the crossed fabric, putting one leg down through each side. Be sure the fabric is spread under her bum and across her back.
- All done!
The Rucksack Carry
The rucksack carry is wonderful for when you want to work while you wear your baby.
Begin by positioning baby in the center of your wrap. You can either “roll” your baby over your shoulder and onto your back (you bend over to make a shelf for baby), “hop” baby around from your hip (good for older babies), or you can sit baby propped on a couch.
For propping, sit down in front of the baby and pull the fabric up around both of you, then lean forward, pulling the fabric snug so baby stays on your back. Getting your baby onto your back takes practice and you may want a helper at first, but it's an excellent skill to learn and will pay off big time 😀
Once your baby is on your back, either have the fabric under his armpits, or over his shoulders (an young baby may prefer the security of having fabric over his shoulders).
- Next pull the fabric over your shoulders.
- Bring down in front and cross over your body so the tails make a criss-cross
- Bring the tails around your waist and to the back, then tie them snugly under your baby's bum
- All done! Make sure the fabric is spread comfortably across your shoulders
- Alternately, you can bring the fabric up over your shoulders and straight down.
- Bring the tails around your waist and criss-cross under your baby's bottom and legs.
- Pull the fabric back around your waist and tie in the front
Choose the position that works the best for you. The rucksack carry is truly wonderful for taking long walks or for working around the house. It allows your baby to be securely on your back, close to you, but leaves your hands and the front of your body free to work.
Hip Cross Carry
The hip cross carry is good for an older baby or toddler. Place your wraparound baby carrier over one shoulder for this position.
- Criss-cross the two tails at waist level on the opposite side. For instance, if you put the wrap over your right shoulder, criss-cross at your waist on the left side.
- Bring the tail from the front around to your back, and the tail from your back around the front and tie the two ends together on the same side as your shoulder fabric.
- Put your baby on your hip through the inside loop first, then pull the outside loop around her.
You may find your baby needs your arm around her for good support in this position, depending on how high up her back you can pull the fabric.
An Incredible Carrier
Baby wraps can do even more! You can use strapless positions similar to torso carriers and you can make your baby wrap into a tie-style sling carrier.
Wraps are lightweight and can be bundled up to go into a diaper bag or along for a car ride. They're good for use as blankets or changing pads if you need a clean surface for your baby. And of course they can be used for covering baby up!
It might not be quite so easy to slip out of a baby wrap when your little one falls asleep – but it's easy to continue to wear your sleeping child.
The baby wrap offers the most support you can get from a non-structured baby carrier, making it the easiest on your back, neck, and shoulder for extended periods. The versatile back positions make it ideal for back carries and thus great for long periods of baby-wearing.