Babywearing with Wraps

Babywearing with Wraps

I am not a certified babywearing consultant. However, recently, strangely enough, I received messages asking me about babywearing and friends asking what carrier is suitable for a cranky baby or specifically newborn. Thus, this entry.

Please understand that I am not a know-it-all or intend to be one. I am writing this with the sole intent of sharing. Also, this post is not by any way saying that wraps is the best carrier of all.

I started babywearing since my first child was born 4 years ago and I actually wrote an entry on it here.

Fast forward 3 years later, my sister introduced me to wraps. I was hesitant at first because sleepy wrap (stretchy wraps) is nothing but SUPER hot for our climate. It’s just crazy to wear it in this weather with hijab and all.  But oh boy, wraps are not as hot as sleepy wraps and feels comfier than a soft-structured carrier.

There are so many reasons why I continue to babywear. One of the many reasons is that I believe constant touch (and massage) will stimulate the antistress chemical oxytocin in his brain.

“Three key things release the calming chemical oxytocin in a baby’s brain in a way that can drop levels of stress chemicals back to base rate. These are touch and massage, sucking and warmth.

Touch and massage

Most babies will stop crying if you pick them up. Close bodily contact regulates their bodily arousal system, activating the calm and centered branch, as well as releasing oxytocin.

Sucking

Warmth releases oxytocin

Hold your baby cuddled close to your body or snuggled in a flannel sheet.

Movement and rocking

Babies love rhythmic movement, particularly being carried around, being pushed in a stroller or riding in a car. It is though that the rhythm triggers associations of being carried around in the security of the room. Make sure that you do not rock too hard, however, as this can has the same effect on the brain as shaking, which can cause burst blood vessels.

– The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland”

Doesn’t baby wearing promotes the factors mentioned very much? 🙂

Babies, especially newborns, tends to nurse ALOT and wants to be carried. Sometimes, it feels like you are forever nursing and carrying them that it seems almost impossible to carry out your daily activities as per normal. Babywearing certainly saves both mommy, baby and siblings of baby. 😛

So these are some questions that people ask me with.

1. Why do you choose wrap over soft-structured carriers like ergo, tula etc. especially for newborns up to 6 months?

A woven wrap is like a piece of cloth that drapes nicely around your body as well as your baby’s. It follows the structure without applying unnecessary pressure on their tiny being. This will avoid risk of over spreading baby’s legs. Furthermore, it can be used for as long as baby wants it.

I started off as an ergo mommy. While ergo provided me with the ease and quick-fix, the waist and shoulders feels comfier with a woven wrap than an ergo. Especially with a newborn, a woven wrap is definitely much preferred than an ssc because of the recommended physiological position when we babywear them.

From the website jeportemonbebe.com

A quick description of the physiological position :

  • Limbs are bent and close together near Baby’s center of gravity
  • Knees are lined up with the navel
  • Pelvis is tilted forward
  • Spine is in a curve
  • Head is lined with spine
  • Head doesn’t fall forward nor backward, and doesn’t loll sideways
  • Ankles aren’t turned away from the tibias and femurs
    Before Baby reaches 3-4 months, his knees open only as wide as his pelvis. After 3-4 months (when Baby can grab his feet on his own) the space between the knees can be wider, Baby can straddle the wrapper.

Photo is from  jeportemonbebe.com

Also, a good back carry isn’t about baby being perfectly centered on your back. The most important thing is that his natural position is respected.

2. What are the benefits of babywearing?

I can go on and on and on but to keep it short, when Ali was born, babywearing was one of the key factors that salvaged my relationship with firstborn and also my sanity. The moment I woke up, I will need to bathe the baby and the toddler, prep breakfast for toddler, cook lunch, feed toddler and play with toddler. My life could not come to a standstill just because my baby needs to nurse and nurse and nurse. I needed to be going and my toddler and I need to visit places again like we used to.


What happens when you need to be in the thick of the action with your firstborn but the second one wants to be carried? Combine them together of course! 🙂

Soon after, my newborn became healthier and gained weight, Alhamdulillah! But having him on the front makes me feel pregnant all over again. So he was promoted to back carries.

Also, because woven wraps are mostly suitable for any child, Umar gets his uppy times too. 😉

Feeling at “home” even when he is out of home. 😉

Still as comfortable as he is in front. 🙂

3. Isn’t it hot with hijab and all?

Singapore is a land of heat and high humidity.  There’s no running away from that. Babywearing would make you feel the heat even more. But then again, babies, at least for mine, wants to be carried – almost all the time. What is a better way to ease that load off your arms than babywearing?

For beginners, my take is to look out for three things (although it is not a sure measure you gonna have cooler days)

A. Choose your woven wrap wisely.
B. Check at the density of the wrap.
C. Check the weave of the wrap.

A. Choose your woven wrap wisely.
I recommend 100% cotton regardless if your bub is 3kg or 10 kg. Other blends like linen and hemp, which tends to provide better support for heavier bubs, needs time to break in (become softer and more mouldable for use). Chances are, you might not like the stiffness of the wrap and quit wrapping altogether.B. Check the density of the wrap.Density usually gives you a gauge (although most of the time is almost NEVER accurate) of how heavy a wrap is. Wrapping with heavier wraps tends to be tiring especially so if it is your first time wrapping. It might feel more than a workout. Just a guideline, choose one that have a density of less than 300 gsm. 🙂

C. Check the weave of the wrap.

Since we get so intimidated by the heat and humidity try to avoid plainweaves.

Maybe zig zag twill, diamond or jacquard weave is better for our climate because it tends to be airier.4. How do you learn to wrap?I learn to wrap through youtube videos and LOADS of practice. It also helps if you have friends who have baby wear for very long to come by and give you tips on areas you can improve or if you have the time, attend sling-meets. 🙂

Two youtube channels I subscribe are:

BabywearingFaith and WrapYouInLove.
BabywearingFaith is great if you need someone to explain verbally and show to you at the same time. It’s like having a physical teacher in front of you. WrapYouInLove, however, is great if you need a quick revision of what you have learned from BabywearingFaith. 😉

Several beginning front carries you can learn are:

A. FWCC (Front Wrap Cross Carry)
Babywearing Faith – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gJEIYTQRTk
Wrapyouinlove – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PD5YKSf1Q4
Nursing in FWCC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teXaZeVmkCg

Nursing anywhere. Theres ample cloth to pull up and you are good to go! 

B. FWCC TUB
Wearallthebabies – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YaP6Flcigk

C. Rebozo Carry
Babywearing Faith – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gJEIYTQRTk
Wrapyouinlove – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PD5YKSf1Q4
Nursing in a Rebozo – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrKNVZTTbJ0

Once you have mastered and are comfortable with more front carries and wish to venture to back carries, you can try and learn several.

*Disclaimer: For back carries, PLEASE have a spotter nearby to ensure that baby’s safety is not compromised while you get baby on the back.

A. Getting baby on the back by Hip Scoot Method
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO88XknhgkU

B. Getting baby on the back by Superman Toss method.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rujf4IraxiY

After getting baby safely on the back with the top rails secure, you can wrap baby by the ruck method or double hammock method. 😉

5. I want to buy a wrap today and bring out baby with wrap tomorrow. Can I?

“In order to activate the calm and centered branch in your child’s autonomic nervous system, you need to quiet yourself down first.”

-The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland
Honestly, no unless you have wrap before and won’t mind your wrap sprawling all over the floor when you are outside. I took nearly 2 weeks before I was confident enough to wrap in public and ensuring that when I untie, the whole wrap doesn’t fall on the floor.Just like any new “gadgets”, you need some time to get acquainted with. Same goes for the baby. The baby might not enjoy being in the wrap for the first time. He might fuss and cry endlessly and you would think that he doesn’t like to be wrapped. Not true. Try again when he is calmer, had his nap and a full feed. Chances are he will be ready now.And then, keep wrapping and wrap and wrap until you can untie and retie without having to throw the wrap on the floor but on a sofa/bench/chair without the help of anyone.

Don’t be demoralised by a couple of beginning failures. Don’t bother wrapping when you feel tired either because first time wrapping feels like a total workout.

Important note is that BOTH wearer and wearee MUST be happy before, during and after wrapping. 🙂

6. Can you recommend a wrap for me please?

Didymos 100% cotton is a good starter point I feel.

7. A woven wrap has sizes. What size do I buy?

Image courtesy of oschaslings.com

How do you use this chart?

I am a size 8 and FWCC is a carry that uses most fabric. So I should get a wrap of size 5.

8. Where can I buy wraps that meet my budget?

For a start, this is a good website to consider.

Jars of Fluff
The owner is a certified babywearing consultant and is happy to answer all your burning questions. I also heard that she is very helpful in giving you first hand tutorials if you need one. Last I checked, I believed she has some wraps for rent. Rent is great because you can consider before purchasing.

CareRing Slings
The owner is a certified baby wearing consultant and am sure will be happy to answer your queries. 🙂

8. So… what is next?

You may also join these two facebook page:

Babywearing Singapore
SG Babywearing Swap and Library
SG Babywearing Swap and Library is also a sling library where you can borrow a carrier with a fee. It is also a place where people buy, sell or trade their carriers. Buying preloved items can be to your advantage as preloved wraps are usually already worn and used. Thus, this wraps are already soft and very moldable. Just a word caution, as these are preloved items, do make your homework first before purchasing. The Internet has made information so widely available that it would be impossible to say “I do not know about item XxX”.

Last but not least, observe TICKS when baby wearing regardless what carrier you are using.  😉


Front, back or side, as long as TICKS are observed, insyaAllah, your baby is happy. 🙂

3 comments found

    1. he does. he cosleeps with us so he is just beside me. he only needs me to babywear him if he is feeling fussy or unwell. :)Sorry for the late reply.

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