Hello Woven Wrap! Baby Wearing explained…

Since I love to publish pictures of Zoe in a woven wrap, I have received many enquiries on what wraps I prefer and where do I get them from. So I decided to do a little post on the weird and absolutely wonderful world of woven wraps.

So what is a wrap? A wrap is a long piece of fabric that is tied in a variety of ways to ‘create’ a carrier.  Because it spreads the weight so well over your shoulders and body, it is incredibly comfortable for wearing newborns to preschoolers, for long periods of time.

You get various brands of stretchy wraps- my personal favorite being the PiPaPo stretchy wrap. You can comfortably wear a newborn to a toddler of 9kg. What I liked about the stretchy wrap is that you can tie and secure it before you put your newborn in. They are also cuddly and soft and made from fabric with a four way stretch. There is unfortunately a downside to stretchy wraps though- they can be hot in summer (which was not a problem for me as Zoe was born in the dead of winter) and the other being that they can only support weight from up to about 10kg max. But they are a great way to bond with your baby and to be close to them all the time. You can do what ever you have to hands free and respond to the cues of your little one a lot quicker. Zoe was a breast fed baby and when she grew to big for the stretchy wrap- I had to look for something else.

I tried different carriers after that (Mei Tai, BabySense ring sling) but nothing comes close to the comfort of a wrap. I started searching and came across a WAHM (work at home mom) that imports woven wraps from Germany. I was sold.

Imke from PiPaPo sold me my first woven and assisted me with getting the carries right as woven wraps has a bit of a learning curve and can take a couple of tries to get it right. Luckily there is also amazing videos on YouTube to check out if you have an issue.

Once I got my first carry down I knew I found the perfect baby wearing fit for us.

I use woven wraps and woven ring slings every time I go out. I can in all honesty say it has really simplified my life as I don’t have to struggle to take a pram out of the car. I pop Zoe in her ring sling and off we go. For longer carries (like going to the zoo) I use a woven wrap as it is the most comfortable for us.

Now some load down on Wovens-

These wraps are EXTREMELY strong. They are a lot cooler than your stretchy wraps and can be used from newborn stage right up to toddlerhood. Only thing to note is that some fabric blends are more supportive than others. You can also wear them in different ways (called ‘carries’) Woven wraps also comes in different lengths. This may sound super confusing but I will clear that out in a bit.

SIZING

When looking for woven wraps, you will notice they come in many different sizes ranging from size 2 (2.7 meters) all the way up to size 7 (5.1 meters).  The sizes usually work out like this:

size 2 –  2.7 meters

size 3 –  3.1 meters

size 4 –  3.6 meters

size 5 –  4.1 meters

size 6 –  4.6 meters

size 7 –  5.1 meters

Why all these different sizes you ask?  While the size of the wearer is a factor in choosing a wrap size, it has more to do with what carries you are looking to do.  If you are beginner, you want a wrap size that will allow you to do a lot of different carries so that you can test them out and find your favorites.  For most average sized people, this is a size 6 wrap.  If you are plus sized, then you would likely want a size 7, and if you are petite, a size 5 would most likely be enough.  All of my wraps are size 6, since my favorite carries need that much length.

The shorter wraps can’t be used for quite as many types of carries, but can be more convenient to carry around, since there is less fabric to worry about.  They aren’t always great for beginners though, since the carries are more complex and easier to mess up.

FABRIC BLENDS

Woven wraps also come in several different fabric blends and thicknesses.  These are usually 100% cotton, silk/cotton, linen/cotton, wool/cotton, cashmere/cotton, and hemp/cotton.

100% cotton wraps are usually very soft and supportive, depending on how thick the particular wrap is.  My Girasol wrap is a thickish 100% cotton wrap and it is one of my absolute favorites.  The cotton wraps also super easy to care for, since you can just toss them in the washer and dryer.

Silk/Cotton wraps are not as supportive as other blends and are usually very expensive, however they are very VERY soft. Literally silky soft. Perfect newborn wraps, in my opinion.  I have a silk wrap from Didymos.  They are a bit harder to care for though, since they need to be hand-washed and hung to dry.

Linen/Cotton wraps are the most supportive wraps, in my opinion.  They are the best for toddlers and heavy babies, and are virtually indestructible.  They are, however, quite scratchy when they are new, so they take some wearing and squishing (I sit on mine at my car!) before they get softer.  They are also very easy to take care of…just toss in the washer and dryer.  Most of my Didymos wraps and ring slings are of this blend. They are my absolute go to.

BRANDS

As for brands, the big names are Didymos, Girasol in my opinion.

Here’s my thoughts on each brand:

Didymos – These are the most sought after, and therefor the most expensive.  They sell many different fabric blends, as well as a ton of absolutely gorgeous limited edition wraps. They are worth every cent and can be used over and over again. My favorite about Didymos is their beautiful designs and the fact that I can carry my 4 year old and 1 year old. Didymos is woven in Germany and available in South Africa from PiPaPo

Girasol – Very reasonably priced, very supportive, and all around really nice wraps.  I own 2 Girasol wraps and it’s one of my favorites.  So much that I just ordered another Girasol because they can be thrown around anywhere without worrying about them. They are handwoven in Guatemala and are truly unique.

(Natibaby – I don’t have any of these, but I want to get one because they sell bamboo blend wraps that are apparently the softest things imaginable.  Other than that, I’ve heard good things about Natibaby wraps)

WHERE TO FIND THEM

Now, where to get them.  Most woven wraps are made in Europe (Germany is a huge producer of wovens), however there is a South African retailer for DidyMos and Girasol. (www.pipapo.co.za)

PiPaPo is owned by a mom, Imke Fuesgen, She is a baby wearing expert that has years of experience. The after sales service is also a huge plus as Imke is always there to help should you have a question. She has a lot of knowledge when it comes to the different carries and and is a baby wearing mommy herself.

Woven wraps can also be purchased second-hand.  The great thing about doing that is that someone else has already done the breaking in for you!  And they are just as good second-hand as new.  They also hold their value incredibly well…so much so that you can usually sell a wrap for almost as much as you paid for it, as long as it’s not stained or pulled.

I think that is pretty much it.

If anyone needs any more info, please let me know.  Also, a great resource for babywearing in general can be found at www.pipapo.co.za