As far back as we can remember, people from all over the world have held babies using pieces of cloth. It was done out of necessity as a way to protect, to work, or to travel.Essentially, it has been a way to keep baby secure while people continued on with their day. It looked different across cultures, but the idea was the same. A simple piece of fabric tied in a particular way to keep baby close. This post discusses modern woven wraps which are woven pieces of material used all over the world today.
What is a Woven Wrap? Babywearing International defines a woven wraps as ” A wrap made of woven fabric; used to distinguish from stretchy wraps. Generally a long piece of rectangular cloth that is wrapped around a caregiver and baby and tied to secure the ends, without the use of separate ties or fasteners such as buckles or rings. Sometimes called a ‘wraparound carrier”
When was the Woven Wrap created?The introduction of the modern woven wrap to western society is rather complicated . We highly encourage you to learn more about Tina Hoffman, founder of Didymos, and the cultural appropriation of the Zapotec peoples’ rebozo.
For more information on this, please the following links:
The goal of this education is not to discourage you from using woven wraps. It is to bring awareness. Love your woven wraps. Just keep in mind their origin and give marginalized cultures the respect they deserve in the babywearing community.
Now that you know what wraps are and where they came from, you are probably wondering how to use them?
Let’s answer some Frequently Asked Questions first:
Why are they so long? Woven wraps are long because they need to wrap around your body and baby’s body—often several times. But not all are super long! Wraps comes in a variety of lengths and widths to suit different sizes and shapes.
Why are the ends tapered? Most manufactures, but not all, taper the ends of the wrap. This bias-cut angle makes it easier to tie a knot at the end.
What are rails? They are the lengthwise edges of the wrap.
What are tails? The length of fabric that is not wrapped around you or baby after your tie a knot or secure the carry.
What is a middle marker? A tag or marking of some kind that indicates the center of the length of the wrap
Can I use it with my newborn? Yes! It is usually perfectly safe to wrap a healthy newborn. If your child has any breathing issues, muscle/skeletal issues, or any other special needs please consult with a doctor first. And always contact us with questions or concerns before you wrap.
Can I use it with my toddler? Yes! Please check the manufacture’s suggested weight limit first. But most wraps are designed to carry bigger kids. Many of our volunteers still wrap their older kids!
Can I use it for back carries? Yes! Please check with the manufacture’s instructions first, but majority are perfectly suited for back carries.
Why are there so many patterns, weaves, colors and fiber options? As modern woven wraps become more popular in mainstream culture, more and more manufactures are entering the market. Each one is making their own variety. Lighter and heavier fibers are for different weather. Different colors and patterns are so everyone can find something that they like. Different weaves makes different wrapping qualities. Examples are stretch, cushion, sturdiness, and ability to mold to your body.
Why do some have safety tags/labels? The US government is implementing new standards for baby carriers. They will need to have safety information printed right on the product
Can I wash it? Yes! It’s a product for baby—a peeing, popping, and puking baby. Check out our blog post on washing woven wraps.
What is base size? The length of wrap that you can do most carries in, including a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a reasonable amount of tails. It varies from person to person. It depends on individual size, shape, and preferences of the wearer and baby.
We highly suggest new wrappers begin with a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). This teaches you key features of wrapping, including making a seat, cross passes, and tightening.
When you feel confident in a FWCC, try other front carries! There are too many to list, but check out our YouTube Playlist for options.
Once you have confident in front carries and baby has some neck/torso control, try hip carries! We recommend starting with Traditional Sling Carry.
And when you and baby are confident, you can venture onto back carries! You can start with a Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC). It has a half knot at your chest at the start to help keep baby secure while you get experience wrapping with baby on your back. It’s like training wheels for wrappers!
You can also start with a Ruck. This carry focuses on making a knee-to-knee seat, the foundation of all back carries. A wonderful skill to master.
Do not be intimidated by these long pieces of fabric or the numerous ways to tie! Woven wraps are very versatile. They mold to individual body shapes, individual needs, and can be adapted as baby grows.
Show us your woven wraps with #BWIofPDX