Choosing A Stretchy Wrap
Stretchy wraps are great for newborns, but which should you buy for your little one? Make choosing your stretchy wrap easier with this handy buying guide.
Welcoming a new baby to the world can be a joyous and complicated time. Keeping your baby close facilitates deep bonding; building a strong, mutual attachment; hands free (hot cuppa, slow dander through the leaves). Stretchy wraps are respectful of newborn physiology. We offer a fantastic range from JPMBB, Hana, Didymos, Close Caboo, Coracor and Ergobaby.
Your baby is new to the world, and your baby needs to be carried. Here's why:
- carrying your baby helps develop a secure mutual attachment;
- it allows both parents, or indeed any caregiver, to develop a deep bond with baby;
- it increases parental sensitivity to a baby's needs - you learn to interpret their noises and expressions so much quicker;
- it simulates the sensations of pressure, motion, warmth and security of the womb;
- carrying your baby in a sling reduces their level of stress, and
- it can greatly reduce crying and fussiness, and also helps your tired baby fall asleep.
What Is A Stretchy Wrap?
Stretchy wraps comprise one long piece of fabric, akin to t-shirt fabric around 5m in length, which is wrapped around your body and keep your little one secure, snug and close - the best place to be after nine months in utero!
Stretchy wraps are usually pre-tied. In other words, you tie it around you before tucking baby in. The main advantage to this is that you can tie it on in the morning, and if you want to, keep it on all day, popping baby in and out as necessary - you can also have it tied before you go out. In this way, stretchy wraps can be an amazingly helpful tool in those first challenging and precious few weeks. There are no buckles, rings or fasteners, just soft jersey fabric.
In general, most stretchy wraps are used for front carrying only, with baby being placed in an upright, tummy-to-tummy position. One size fits most wearers and stretchy wraps can be very comfortable and supportive for both wearer and baby, particularly as they are so soft. They're a great carrying option for newborns up to around 1 year.
What Are Stretchy Wraps Made From?
Most good stretchy wraps are made with a cotton blend, knitted (as opposed to woven) fabric. This lends a breathability and super-softness that’s just right for newborn physiology.
Here are the main styles and how they differ:
Didymos Jersey Wrap: The Jersey Wrap is a wonderful place to start your baby carrying journey. It's not a super-stretchy, but the jersey fabric wraps softly - it's like a stretchy wrap but almost with the support of a woven wrap. It sits somewhere in-between a stretchy wrap and a woven wrap - the best of both worlds. Made with GOTS certified organic cotton, it's perfect next to young baby’s skin.
Coracor Baby Wrap: If you’re looking for a stretchy wrap to basically live in during the fourth trimester (and who wouldn’t - it makes life easier and there’s constant cuddles), then a Coracor Baby Wrap is it. Designed in Sweden the wraps are soft, lightweight, durable and organic; not only that, the designs are stunning! Easy to wear colours, and designs that wouldn't be out of place in a boutique clothing store. Made with organic certified cotton the Coracor baby wrap is a two-way stretchy wrap, which is soft, thin but durable, beautiful and safe. The fabric is breathable and keeps both you and your baby comfortable and close.
Hana Baby Wrap: The Hana Baby Wrap is a wonderful 2-way stretchy wrap (it stretches up/down and left/right), for ease of tying. Weight-wise it’s lightweight and fine, with a really good amount of stretch. You can tie it really snug, and pop baby in and out whenever you need, without having to re-tie or readjust. It’s made with an organic cotton/bamboo blend, so it’s gentle against baby’s skin too. It comes in both standard and short lengths.
JPMBB Basic: The JPMBB Basic is also a 2-way stretchy wrap. As the name suggests this is a basic stretchy wrap, and not super-heavy (you won’t feel like you’re being mummified when you're wearing it), but it’s not super-light either (you’re not going to poke your finger through the fabric as you tighten). It is made from pure cotton with a little elastane for stretch, and has a french-terry knit on the reverse so that both sides feel different (you can tell by feel which side should be facing out).
Ergobaby Aura Wrap: The Aura is lightweight and breathable, and super-supportive for baby. It’s 100% Viscose, made from eucalyptus and acacia. It doesn’t have the 2-way stretch of other options, which gives slightly less give and bounce, which some parents prefer.
Are Stretchy Wraps Safe To Use?
Carrying your baby in a sling is a beautiful way to bond and make a deep connection. It also enables you to get on with the everyday - whether it's UN-style negotiations with other children, or simply being able to drink a hot cup of tea, having your baby in a sling or carrier can make that all so much easier.
Stretchy baby wraps are perfectly safe to use when done so with common sense and understanding. As with all things in life a cupful of knowledge and a sprinkling of common sense is the best recipe to ensure happy, safe carrying for you and your little one. Always use a quality stretchy baby wrap and ensure you read the instructions on its use. Stretchy wraps should always be used according to the instructions, and the ABC and TICKS safety guides.
Always make sure your stretchy wrap is tied nice and snug to you; this should ensure baby is seated high (close enough to kiss) with their back soft, but very much supported. Once baby is in the wrap, look at their profile - it should be capital ‘J’ shaped, and NOT ‘C’ shaped. Baby’s face and airway should be visible and clear of the wrap.
Are Stretchy Wraps Easy To Use?
There is a slight learning curve to using a stretchy wrap - but it’s quite a short curve, as most parents and caregivers use the same carrying position all the time with a stretchy wrap.
The main advantage to using a stretchy wrap is that you can tie it on in the morning, and if you want to, keep it on all day, popping baby in and out as needed. You can also have it tied before you go out, such as to the shops, the park, or in the car. In this way, stretchy wraps can be an amazingly helpful tool in those first challenging and precious few weeks.
Stretchy baby wraps come with full, illustrated instructions, and of course there are a plethora of online tutorials, should you need them. We are always on hand to help with any questions you may have at any time, regarding your stretchy wrap, or babywearing in general.
Is A Stretchy Wrap Right For Me?
Stretchy wraps can be very useful in those first days, weeks and months, as you can wrap it on you, and leave it on, for as long as you you want, or need. Wrap it, tie it, and pop baby in and take baby out, without the need to remove, re-tie or readjust the wrap. In that initial period after your baby is born (known as the 4th trimester), this can be wonderful - you know where the sling is, you know it's on and you know that baby is close, secure and connected all snuggled up in there.
Adjusting as a family and adapting to the changes a newborn brings can be challenging. A stretchy wrap can make this transition simpler - babies are calmed when next to you, they hear your heartbeat, smell you, feel you. And it's the same for you - you feel them, hear them, smell them. It all makes sense, your body understands by producing oxytocin. This has positive effects on baby and mother, on your mental health, and on your emotional and physical well-being.
Remember that with a stretchy wrap there are no buckles, rings or fasteners, just soft jersey fabric, so it’s a great option for newborn bodies, still adjusting from womb to world. One size fits most wearers and stretchy wraps can be very comfortable and supportive for both wearer and baby, particularly as they are so very soft. So there’s no complicated sizing to be figure out, and no guessing whether or not it will fit.
How Should I Care For My Stretchy Wrap?
Guidelines vary between manufacturer, so here are our general washing guidelines:
• Spot clean when necessary and wash as seldom as possible - you'll be without it as it's drying.
• Use a non-bio, preferably eco liquid detergent; wash at 30C.
• Don't use softener, as it will make the fabric of the stretchy wrap slippy and make it more difficult to use.
• Air dry.