3.5 years ago I discovered the world of babywearing, woven wraps, buckle carriers and the loveliest group of mamas. My first carrier (post stretchy) was a 100% cotton Lenny Lamb woven wrap, 4.6m. Bubs was approximately eight months old and it was with this wrap that I learned my first front and hip carries. It stayed with us for a few months, got traded for another Lenny Lamb, then sold for buckles. Why? A, because back wrapping was a very daunting prospect, and B, because the wrap wasn’t cutting it with my chunky 16 month old anymore. This is when I was first introduced to the concept of cotton wraps being only for babies, and the need for a ‘blend’ once bubs reached a certain weight. Adding linen/hemp/wool to a wrap seemed to be the magic answer. Even now, I see constant references on the babywearing groups to needing ‘blends’ over cotton alone due to having bigger babies or toddlers. It seems to be the generally accepted idea, and I went along with it without question. In fact, even though my second son is nearing 20 months and I’ve wrapped him since day one, I’m only now questioning why exactly I believe this. I’ve really avoided 100% cotton wraps up to this point, but now I’m digging deeper one question seems clear – is this actually a myth?
I actually asked a babywearing group this question, and there was a resounding agreement that it is indeed a myth! Most people could give an example of an all-cotton wrap that was perfect for them and completely supportive. So perhaps, rather than a total generalisation about cotton wraps, we need an acceptance that different wraps are suited for different situations? With all the wraps I have tried I’ve found that the weave and gsm weight of a wrap are hugely more important to its supportiveness. A Woven Wings American Quilt is all cotton, but dense and heavy, and extremely suited to toddlers. A Firespiral cotton is kitten-belly soft and wraps like a dream, and in base size its perfect even with my preschooler. The Nona I recently reviewed was very sturdy indeed! My first Lenny Lamb wasn’t the best for an inexperienced wrapper with a toddler, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was ok now. Ultimately I think I’ve learned that trying a variety of blends, sizes and weights is the way to find what you love. There is definite ‘hype’ around the idea of blends, though each element does bring it’s own characteristics to the table.
The other element to this? The carry. A simple ruck is hardly ever going to cut it with my two huge kiddies. I always regret it if I sling either of them up quickly ‘just to get them home’, no matter what blend we’re talking. Currently my favourite short/mid length carry is probably RRRR, as it gives a double layer of support and a chest belt. Double hammock or Charlie’s Cross Carry are the faves with a long wrap. This is totally different to 6 months ago; it’s important to play around with what works for you and acknowledge that it will likely change as your children grow and you get more experienced with what works for you.
What’s my point? Don’t avoid cotton, the poor underdog that it seems to have become, and try new things. You never know when you will stumble across the wrap of your dreams!