Practice makes perfect – the constant learning curve of wrapping

I have been using woven wraps, alongside other slings, for four years. In those four years what’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt? Wrapping is not easy, and I am never going to be perfect at it.

With so many wraps, blends, fibres and sizes available, and your children ever-growing and changing, wrapping simply cannot be constant. Wrapping a baby is entirely different than wrapping a pre-schooler, for a variety of reasons. A small baby needs full head support and a different seat position than an arms-out-wants-to-see-the-world toddler. A pre-schooler is going to put strain on different areas of your body than a baby would, so your carries and wraps adjust accordingly. But that’s the beauty of wrapping really isn’t it, you have a beautiful piece of fabric and you can use it in so many ways to suit your current needs (mine are currently wrapping up my baby bump to ease the weight!)

My first woven was an all-cotton Lenny Lamb. I bought it new so it needed some breaking in and my only child at the time was about 8 months old. So I started my woven education with Front Wrap Cross Carry and a slightly crispy size 6. First issue, learning the carry. Thank goodness for YouTube! I watched a few versions repeatedly and tried many times with an increasingly grumpy baby until I managed to create something secure and comfortable. I also learned an essential lesson here – you have roughly two chances to try any carry before your cuddly bundle of joy becomes a wriggly grump monster and it is not worth carrying on. Put the wrap down and come back to it later.
Second issue, crispy wrap. A new wrap feels totally and entirely different to a well-used one. Breaking in a wrap takes time – braiding, ironing, generally using it until it softens up. This means that using a new wrap feels different too, it needs tightening and adjusting in a different way. It all takes getting used to. Also be warned, some brands take a lot longer to soften up than others. Buying preloved often helps with this, though for some the breaking in process is an important labour of love! You’ll soon work out what it is you love in a wrap, what blends, weights and lengths work for you, and it’s certainly easier to commit to wrapping practice if you are using something you love.

Fast forward, my baby becomes a toddler, my stash shifts and increases to include a variety of types and sizes, I learn different carries. Then of course, the scary part comes… learning to back wrap. Far from cradling your little bundle close to wrap, back carrying involves learning to toss your child up between your shoulder blades in some type of circus move and then simultaneously balance them there and work out how to use your long piece of fabric to secure them safely. Plus you have to tighten it right. Plus you have to be comfortable. It is very daunting and requires practice, no one can back wrap without practice. Whether you go for the hip scoot, santa toss, superman toss or any other move, you’ll get it wrong. A lot. There is zero shame in taking time to learn. My top tips are practice next to a bed or sofa, and in front of a mirror. It’s much easier to figure out if you can see what you’re doing and aren’t terrified that dropping your child will cause significant damage. In all honesty I have never dropped my children while wrapping, I think there’s a good motherly instinct that doesn’t let you, but it’s always nice to feel safer! My other most important tip? Do not attempt any sort of carry in public that you are not totally confident with. People do and will watch, react and make you uncomfortably sweaty.

Switch to now. I have a 4 year old, a 2 year old and third trimester baby bump. Both my boys love being wrapped, they love the closeness, they love the superman toss, they love being able to see the world with confidence. Don’t get me wrong, they won’t go up whenever I fancy. The ball is certainly in their court! Yet it still goes wrong sometimes. Carries inexplicably mess up or are digging somewhere unexpected. Wrapping is still a challenge for me – it’s not the heart thumping, sweat dripping process it once was, but it isn’t a breeze! Even recently the baby bump has forced me to reassess things again as certain carries just don’t work right now.

Ultimately, I have learnt many skills and techniques in my wrapping years – there are some carries I love, some I hate and some I just haven’t practiced much. The real lesson I’ve learnt though? To chill out and enjoy it, and know that while I’m never going to be a perfect wrapper, I will have a beautiful relationship with my children ❤

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