The Difference Between One-Way and Two-Way Stretchy Wraps

The typical method of tying a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC) assumes that you are using a two-way stretchy wrap, this means that the fabric stretches along the length of the fabric and across the width. When this is the case you can tie your wrap so it fits like a skin-tight top, then rely on the ‘stretch’ and your baby’s weight to give enough to accommodate your child.

Not all stretchy wraps are ‘two way’; some only stretch across their width or ‘one way’. These will stretch to accommodate your child width ways, but not length ways. This means you will need to ‘fit’ the length of your wrap to your child, this means you will require a slightly different technique.

How do I tell if my Wrap is a One-Way or a Two-Way Stretchy Wrap?

If you already have a stretchy wrap you can tell whether or not it is a two way stretchy wrap by taking a section (not the hem) of fabric which is exactly parallel with the top or bottom edge and attempting to stretch it. If it is a ‘Two-Way’ then it will stretch, if it is a ‘One-Way’ then it will not. (If you take a section at a right angle, across the width, this will stretch for both a one way and a two way stretchy wrap).

If you have not yet bought your stretchy stretchy wrap you should be able to tell by looking at the sellers/manufacturers website. I’ve listed the most common brands below*:

One-Way Stretchy Wraps

Two-Way Stretchy Wraps

Which is Better?

It really is down to personal preference.  The one way stretchy wraps require a little bit more work in the initial set-up when you are doing a pre-tied carry but some people prefer the fit that this gives them.  Be aware that there are other differences between wraps (regardless of whether their stretch is one or two way) in terms of how stretchy and thick they are which you may also wish to consider before making a purchase.

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Triple Layer Stretchy Wrap Carries 

Triple layer stretchy wrap carries are generally the first carries new parents learn.  These carries can be used with babies and young children for as long as you like so long as the fabric is supportive enough to maintain your child’s position and your child does not exceed the manufacturers recommended weight limit (which normally goes up to at least 35lb).  The fabric must hold your child tight to your body so that they are not able to slump (restricting their airway) and to prevent putting an unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders.

This post contains two options for triple layer carries with a stretchy wrap, the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry and the Front Double Hammock  (see below). It is also possible to use your stretchy wrap to tie a Front Wrap Cross Carry (video tutorial coming soon!).

Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC)

When people first buy, or receive, a stretchy wrap (e.g. a moby or a Boba)they are generally advised to use it for their newborn baby in a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC).  This is a three layer carry which you pre-tie then are able to pop baby in and out of as required throughout the day.

The way a PWCC is tied depends on whether your Wrap is a One-Way or a Two-Way stretchy wrap.  If you don’t know which kind of wrap you have them please read this post.  Video tutorials are provided for both types of wrap below:

Pocket Wrap Cross Carry with One-Way Stretchy Wrap

Pocket Wrap Cross Carry with a Two-Way Stretchy Wrap

Once you have learned how to tie the PWCC you can use the same method to tie a Front Double Hammock (FDH).

Front Double Hammock in a Stretchy Wrap

The Front Double Hammock (FDH) carry is tied in the same way as the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC) but, once tied, the baby is inserted differently.  While the two diagonal passes go between the babies legs and are stretched from knee to knee on a PWCC they are used as hammocks instead in a FDH.  Both legs go through both diagonal passes and out of the bottom of the cross.

Which is better?

Which ever works for you and your baby.  Some people find they love the PWCC and the security of having the passes between the baby’s legs so much they do not want to do anything else.  Other people find that using a FDH makes them think more about getting a deep seat and helps them to avoid over extending the baby’s hips.  Please let me know which one you prefer and why.

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Case Study 1: Victoria and George


Victoria attended her Sling Doctor consultation on a hot day in July with her 8 week old baby George. George was born full term, was not underweight and is developing as expected. Victoria is recovering well from the birth and also has an energetic toddler and a dog to keep up with.  They had been using a beautiful hybrid 1-way stretchy wrap by Wrapsody in the traditional Pocket-Wrap-Cross-Carry (PWCC) style.

PWCC Optimisation

Victoria asked for advice on the PWCC:  She was finding that the fabric on the top rail (edge of the wrap) of the two cross passes nearest her neck and going down over George’s back were quite tight.  This was making them uncomfortable and difficult to flip over her shoulders (to create space around George’s face). Victoria also asked was there was a way of supporting George’s head without tucking it under one of the cross passes? She found that when he was awake he did not want the back of his head covered, this was meaning that she needed to support his head with one of her hands.

Victoria and I went through the basics of the PWCC, looking for places where she might be over-tightening or introducing excess slack in the fabric.  When Victoria placed the Demo doll in the tied wrap we found that the top rail was, as she had said, tight.  However, the top rail of the pocket (the external wrap pass) was slightly loose.  I showed Victoria how to feed the slack from the pocket, along the top rail, round her back to the cross passes on her shoulders and chest.  This relieved the problematic tension and allowed her the space to flip the shoulders of the wrap as she had wanted to.

In order to support George’s head without tucking it under a cross pass we tried rolling up a muslin cloth, placing it over the front of the wrap and folding the top part of the pocket over it so it sat in the nape of his neck.   This enabled Victoria to go ‘hands free’ while George was awake.

Single Layer Carries with a 1-way Stretchy Wrap

Victoria asked if there were any cooler ways of wearing George in the 1-way stretchy wrap.  The PWCC results in three layers of fabric over the baby, which can make it too hot on warm days.  As Victoria’s wrap is a 1-way stretchy and her baby is still relatively light she is able to use carries that only involve one layer of fabric.  I showed her how to do a Front-Wrap-Cross-Carry (FWCC) and a Kangaroo Carry.  As George gets bigger Victoria will notice he begins to slump with just one layer of fabric,which will make the carry less safe.  when this occurs Victoria will need to introduce another layer of fabric or transition over to a woven wrap.

Follow Up

I have sent Victoria links to video tutorials for both the FWCC and the Kangaroo Carry.  I am available to troubleshoot both and will be happy to help her when she reaches the next step in her babywearing adventures.