My story began some six years ago, when Hannah was first born. A friend of mine, who had been a shoulder for me through a difficult pregnancy and a very traumatic birth, came over to see us and brought her Storchenwiege Inka. Jason and I had already bought a BabyHawk mei tai, which we liked, but I fell in love with that wrap and ordered an Ulli for myself. At the time, I don't recall what my thoughts were about it when I cracked open the package and felt it for the first time. I didn't know anything about wrapping. I didn't know about breaking in, different lengths, fiber blends, anything. I did nothing special, beyond learning my staple Front Wrap Cross Carry... and wearing Hannah everywhere I could, once I was well enough to be on my feet again.
Now, I field questions about wraps every day--what length to get, what fiber blend, what manufacturer is best, which is easier to break in, etc.
Here's a basic rundown of wrapping information, with a focus on our three primary wrap manufacturers: Storchenwiege, KoKaDi and Natibaby.
2.7m (size 3)
3.6m (size 4) occasionally, you might see this one as 3.7m
4.2m (size 5) occasionally, you might see this one as 4.1m
4.6m (size 6)
5.2m (size 7)
What Size Do I Need?
The size you need is dependent on the way you would like to tie the wrap, who will wear it, and how old your child is.
A 2.7m wrap is suitable for a simple hip carry and cradle carry.
A 3.6m wrap is suitable for a simple hip carry, cradle carry, hip snuggle hold, snuggle hold, simple cross carry, and backpack carry (if the wearer is under a US size 10).
A 4.1m wrap is suitable for a simple hip carry, cradle carry, and hip snuggle hold. It is suitable for a snuggle hold, simple cross carry, and backpack carry if the wearer is under a US size 16. It can also be used for a double cross carry and a wrap across carry if the wearer is under a US size 8.
A 4.6m wrap is suitable for a simple hip carry, cradle carry, hip snuggle hold, snuggle hold, simple cross carry, and backpack carry. It can also be used for a double cross carry and a wrap cross carry if the wearer is under a US size 16.
A 5.2m wrap is suitable for all carries, and is recommended for those who are tall or above a US size 16.
Information about Abernathy Naturals' Wraps:
- All have a middle marker to help you determine where the centre of your wrap is, to make tying simpler.
- They all hail from Europe-- Storchenwiege and KoKaDi from Germany, Natibaby from Poland.
- Storchenwiege come in cotton (or organic cotton) only. Natibaby and KoKaDi offer a diverse number of fiber types ranging from silk to bamboo and everything in between.
- In order of softness out of the package, KoKaDi is your winner, followed by Natibaby and Storchenwiege Leo wraps. Storchenwiege stripes would be our hardest product to break in, but they are so worth it. My Ulli is a dream to wrap with. Easy to use, supple, wraps like iron. Well worth the effort and very budget friendly.
- KoKaDi run a little bit long and have the longest tapers of our wraps. Storchenwiege have pretty average tapers, and Natibaby tapers are quite shallow/blunt in comparison.
Robbin's Recommendations for the New Wrapper:
- Get a cotton wrap to start with. Blends, especially blends with silk or bamboo are more slippery and can be harder to tie. Certain blends can also be less supportive, meaning you have to tie them perfectly to avoid painful diggy spots. Cotton is the most forgiving, easiest to care for and a great foundation for your wrap stash.
- Get a size 6 (or maybe a 5, or maybe a 7!) to start with. Why all the maybes? Well, this answer can hinge on a couple of things. If you're really petite, you might be able to get away with a size 5. If you're tall or you'll be sharing your wrap with someone who is, you might need to go up to a size 7. At the risk of confusing you more (!) some wrap manufacturers also run long, so a size 6 in a KoKaDi can fit like a size 7 for some people. In that case you may be able to go a bit smaller. I recommend you go with a minimum size 6, however, because too long is irritating to some (I don't mind it myself) but can still be dealt with. You can't fix a wrap that is too short.
- How much breaking in do you want to do? I started with an Ulli and not a clue that wraps need breaking in. If you feel it now, it's buttery soft and almost silky to the touch. If you're like me, you'll buy whatever wrap you like and just break it in from using it. If you want it to be broken in before you start using it, you can either order early and use the wrap for other things to soften it up. I recommend braiding, using it to sit on, using it as a hammock, washing (but not machine drying), and there are loads of other ideas out there on the internet if you search for "breaking in a woven wrap". If you don't want to worry about breaking in a woven wrap at all, go with a KoKaDi. They're soft out of the package and just need a quick wash and a day to dry on the line before you use them.
- Read your wrap manual. All of our manufacturers provide a manual for their wraps. Give them a quick run through to find some nice, basic carries. If they instructions are unclear to you, or difficult to understand, don't worry. There's so much out there, you will find instructions that you do understand.
- Attend local meetups, if available, and/or join online babywearing support groups. Help in person, or at least on a personal level, can often be very productive when it comes to figure out what you need to make your wrapping relationship work.
- Put YouTube to good use. Once you figure out what carries you want to do, look them up on YouTube. If one video is confusing or doesn't work for you, try another, and another, and...! Something will click.
- E-mail me! I'm always here to help, lend a shoulder and I'll do my best to help you find what you need to be successful at wrapping or wearing your baby.