Stretchy wraps, such as the Boba, Moby and Hana Baby wraps are usually used to make a three layer pre-tied carry, sometimes called a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC). The PWCC is tied on the parent or carer so that it fits them closely without baby then the stretch in the fabric accommodates the baby. This is brilliant for newborns because it is super-supportive and you can pop baby in and out of it all day without needing to re-tie.
Stretchy wrap fabric is knitted rather than woven, feeling more like t-shirt material. Wraps vary in thickness and in how much they stretch. Some stretchy wraps stretch in two directions, and some in just in direction (sometimes called a hybrid). One of the most common complaints about stretchy wraps is how hot they get. There are three layers of fabric over baby’s back which should be considered as if they were three layers of clothing. Even if baby is naked under the wrap, three layers can feel like too many on a hot day. Single Layer Carries
There are several single layer carries, normally used with woven wraps, which only involve one layer of fabric over the baby’s back. If your baby is light enough and your wrap supportive enough these can be used safely with a stretchy wrap. As stated above, wraps vary in the amount they stretch and babies vary in weight and muscle tone so there is no rule regarding how heavy your baby is. The lighter your baby and the less-stretchy your wrap the better.
If, once you have put your baby in a single layer stretchy wrap carry, you feel they are not being held close to you, have room to slump or are bouncing about too much then this is not a safe option for you and your baby. You might consider a two layer carry, three layer carry or progressing to a woven wrap (you have already learnt the skills you will need to use one!) which, because of the lack of stretch is safe to be used with just one layer.
Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC)
This carry is normally the first woven wrap carry learned. Because I’m assuming your baby is very young I have shown it here with a twist underneath the baby’s bottom. This enables the wearer to tie the carry off behind them without applying pressure to tiny ankles. With a bigger baby the positioning would be slightly different and you would not need to worry so much about the ankles. If your baby is bigger and you feel you can tie without applying pressure to the ankles then cross the tails under the baby’s bottom then take them under the feet and tie behind you without twisting.
This carry is another good carry for newborns in a woven wrap which translates well into stretchy wrap wearing. Again I have twisted the tails before tying off (please see point above).
I had the pleasure of consulting for Amalia and Molly over the weekend. They have been kind enough to let me share the details of their consultation.
Amalia has worn Molly in a stretchy wrap and an Ergo since she was a few weeks old. She reported finding the Ergo tricky to do up without help from another person and found the panel went too high up Molly’s back. Amalia wanted to try to improve the usability of the ergo by optimising the front carry . She also wanted to try a hip carry with the Ergo and a woven wrap to see which she preferred.
Molly is a healthy 6 month old baby who can roll and sit with a little support. She enjoys being carried on Amalias hip and is keen to interact with the people around her.
Using a demo doll we experimented with placing the ergo waistband higher on Amalias waist. We allowed the panel to fall down from the waist band and placed the doll so that its bottom sat level with the bottom of the waistband in a seat of fabric made from the main panel of the ergo. This tweak made the panel sit lower on the dolls back which Amalia found preferable. Next, we experimented with different ways of doing up the carrier across Amalia’s back during a front carry. She had been reaching over her shoulders and attempting to connect the chest strap (the small connecter between the two shoulder straps) this way but finding she wasn’t flexible enough to achieve this. We tried moving the strap lower on the arm straps and doing it up by reaching behind, under her arms. Amalia also found this difficult. Finally we tried pre-fastening the chest strap but loosening the arm straps so that she could pass the chest strap over her head, then secure the carry by tightening the arm straps. Amalia found this to be the easiest option so we practiced it a couple of times.
Ergo Hip Carry
We experimented with the ergo in a hip carry as per the manufacturers instructions. Again we found this required a higher degree of mobility than Amalia found comfortable. So we tried a hip carry on a woven wrap.
Hip Carry in a Woven Wrap
I demonstrated and walked Amalia through both a Single Hammock Hip Carry and a Coolest Hip Cross Carry(CHCC). For my Single Hammock tutorials please click here, and for my Coolest Hip Cross Carry tutorial please click here. Amalia tried both out with the doll and, although she liked the single pass of fabric, and therefore, how cool the single hammock was, she preferred the added security of two (cross) passes in the CHCC. We practiced this a few times with the demonstration doll before trying with Molly herself (see photo above) who seemed very happy in this position. Amalia is going to practice this carry and come back to me with any issues. We will either optimise her CHCC or look at other options for hip carries, or maybe, when Molly is a little bit older, back carries.
The Coolest Hip Cross Carry (CHCC) is a 2-cross-pass-hip-carry with a Slipknot finish. It gets its name because there is never more than one layer of fabric on the wearer at any time (and just 2 on the baby). This version is described as ‘inside out’ because the second pass is taken inside the outer pass, this is not necessary but I find it makes tightening easier and I like having the outermost pass closest to my back.
The CHCC can be achieved with a size 3 or 4 wrap depending on your size (I am using a size 3) you can do it with a longer wrap but you will need to tie up the tails to prevent them becoming a trip hazard.
This carry is one my personal favorites. It is easy to tie and you do most of the work before putting your child in. The Slipknot means you can adjust and tighten to suit you both. It can be worn on your chest or your side and you can move between the two positions without re-tying.
Crucially, for getting in and out of the car, or indecisive toddlers, it is poppable meaning that once tied, you can pop child in and out.
Hip carries are not suitable from birth. Your child needs to be developmentally ready to have their hips ‘open’. You can tell by looking at whether your baby is rolling or trying to roll and by how you are naturally carrying them without a wrap. If you find that you and baby are naturally walking around with them on your hip, with their legs straddling your middle then they are ready.
As always, make sure that baby’s airway is clear and you are able to monitor them by looking at their face, Check they have access to their hands, that the fabric is smooth on their back and they are not slumped in the sling. Make sure they are supported knee-to-knee and that their bottom is lower than their knees. If your child wants their arms out then make sure you have tightened the sling with them in this position.
The artwork on this website has all been created by the talented Mark Hiblen. I gave him an idea of what I was looking for and he ran with it. Please check out his page and consider him next time you need some artwork!