Another day and another common query from a parent. This one wants to share all the positive effects of carrying with her pregnant friend & gift her a stretchy wrap.
My friend is having a baby in Nov and I want to gift her a stretchy for those first weeks and months! Any brand you recommend?A caring friend, 2019
I could give a one line answer & a link to my personal favorite brand BUT not only is that not my style, it doesn’t fit with my desire to empower parents.
So wether you are wanting to buy a wrap for a friend, or looking for yourself, I hope this information will help.
Stretchy Wrap (Video)
What is a stretchy wrap?
Let’s start at the beginning.
- A stretchy wrap is a long, stretchy length of t shirt like fabric
- They usually come in one size fits most length.
- They are often a cotton blended with something stretchy.
- Most often used between newborn and around 3 months, although many use longer.
- Two main sub types, stretching in two ways, or one.
One way & two way
The most common type seen on market, is the two way stretchy wrap.
Two way stretchy
- This means it has stretch in the fabric horizontally and vertically.
- It is very easy for someone learning to get the baby in and snug.
- As the baby grows, the strechyness means the baby will sink from where you first had them in the wrap.
- This will happen eventually in either type, although oftern later in a one way stretchy wrap.
Link – two stretchy wrap tutorial
One way stretchy
- Same as above except –
- Fabric stretches most in one direction only.
- Requires tightening more like a woven wrap (not stretchy).
- Some parents find they can carry their baby longer before needing a new type of sling
Link – Tighen one way stretchy wrap
- In short, you get what you pay for with stretchy wraps.
- You can pick one up for £6 BUT honestly, it’s worth the investment in a bigger brand.
- There are free hire schemes for newborns around the county, is there one near you?
- Look around your online market places, second hand slings are an affordable option for many !
- The colours and patterns do not affect their function, but choosing one you like might make you smile on a tough day.
- Investing in a higher quality stretchy wrap, often means they can last thought multiple children, and be lent to friends with bumps.
- I personally, I have 6 types in my teaching bag but I love most, an organic bamboo Hana baby wrap 😉
Want to know more about these types of slings? You can read more in the links and book to work with me 1:1 online and in person in Buckinghamshire.
find a local sling library and skilled helpers
Everything you’d ever need to know about stretchy slings (inc how to videos)
Stating to sag or feeling to heavy?
When babies enter the world, they expect to be, and need to be carried by us.
Be this in our arms or with the aid of slings and carriers, the positive effects are wide reaching for baby, parents and society as whole.
Positive effects for baby
- Encourages bonding
- Helps to regulate body systems and growth
- Promotes and encourages breastfeeding
- Reduces crying, often calming for fussy babies.
- Encourages social and language development
Positive effects for parents
- Heightens awareness and responsiveness to baby
- Help with perinatal mood disorders
- Increase Paternal confidence and family connections
- ’Hands free’ for tasks and getting out the house.
- Provide comfort and nurturing for older children
Positive effects for society
- Strong bonds are linked to more resilient children
- Carrying keeps families active
- associated higher breastfeeding rates
- Carried babies have less ear infections
- Improves perinatal mental health, good for everyone!
Read more (link)⠀⠀⠀
If you want to read more positive effects, read the original article here by Dr Rosie Knowles @ Carrying Matters.
Read more (Book)
If you want to know even more about babywearing, it’s history, the science and why it matters to everyone that we carry our babies.
Try Why Babywearing Matters
It’s written by Rosie, a GP who is also a bit of a babywearing community legend and I love love love this book. Well done Dr Rosie Knowles!
So someone gave you their sling. Maybe they loved it, maybe they hated it, but either way, you are probably not sure what to do with it.
Here are 5 things to try first.
1. Find manufacturers instructions
This is the best place to start. Most brands tend to have a video or picture tutorial on how their sling works these days.
This is one of the times Google is your friend 😉
2. Practice with a teddy
Whilst you are getting to grips with clips, straps and the instructions, use a teddy in place of your baby.
This can help to remove some anxiety around hurting your baby, until you feel more confident with the steps to get your baby secure.
3. Try different slings
Just like we know the same bra style will not suit everyone, the same sling will also not be universally loved.
Even within the same family, care givers have different body shapes and needs. A sling that works with mum in the new born days might not work with another carer on a long walk.
There are lots of types available, and many traditions all around the world.
4. Look within your own community
There might be people within your own community who are skilled in traditional carrying or experienced with their own children.
Ask your communities elders, or approach someone who looks confident with a sling.
Most humans will be happy to help another parent master new ways to enjoy their little ones, honestly.
I love this Facebook page for an insight into traditional slings world wide.
5. Find Skilled help
If you are still struggling, finding skilled help can save you some time and frustration.
Think of a sling educator as someone who has been there, seen the common pitfalls and is trained to help find a solution that works best for you and your family.
Find your local skilled help here.
Or search your location with terms such as
Babywearing consultant /educator
Infant carrying consultant /educator
What ever you do, enjoy holding your little one. Food spoils, but little ones do not.
Find out more about me or how to work with me here.
Your little one does not stop expecting their needs to be met, just because its hot outside but you might have questions about caring for you little one when those needs seem harder to meet in the heat
It is just as important as ever to read and meet your little peoples needs. Here are some adjustments you can make to carry on parenting responsively.
Breastfeed on cue
Your breastfeed milk is already adapting to be more watery in the heat. Babies under 6 months, who are yet to start eating solid foods do not need any extra water.
You might hear about formula fed babies needing extra water in the heat, this is due to the limitations of formula. Your babies milk is a living, constantly adapting and personalized food that will take a heat wave in it’s stride.
More from the NHS
Over 6 months, offer water to thirst and your little ones, what ever age, will usually prefer to feed little and often. This is normal, go with it 🙂
When carrying in arms, breastfeeding or using a sling, placing a muslin between you and a sweaty baby can improve both of your comfort. It will also stop them slipping around in slings.
Make sure your babies face remains clear of the cloth, gently turning their head to the side works with babies who are yet to gain head control.
If you are using a stretchy wrap, you can use a single layer carry like this Kangaroo Carry in a Stretchy Wrap which is cooler with less layers of the baby.
If you have woven wraps, you can do this too 🙂 Many find silk blend wraps are cool and light weight to carry in the heat. Read more on blends.
If you are using a carrier with buckles to secure it, you have little option but to strip baby off to a nappy under the sling. There are more breathable summer slings available. Go have a google 😉
Read more about Carrying in the Heat here too.
It is ok to say no to plans that have you and fractious little ones out in the heat. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking anything but your presence is enough. You got this 🥰
If you want personalized support, get in touch
In this blog:
Outgrowing first sling
Holidaying with slings
The title of this blog is a typical query for a babywearing consultant. Like most of the parents I work with, this mum has chosen to tune into her child’s needs, not turn away from them. She has met a challenge and bravely, seeks help.
Beyond Babyhood Consultation
Fast forward to our first meeting, mum explains she has a last minute invite to a holiday with friends and there is absolutely no space for a buggy.
She has seen a woven wrap back carry and wants to learn how to do it for her holiday. Maybe you have already notices, this isn’t where she ends up!
Mama explains further how her sons differing physical abilities, translates into extra cuddles when they are out and about. He is used to resting his tired legs within a pushchair or a much loved sling.
Outgrowing first sling
The problem is, this sling is now a wee bit small., no longer supporting his growing body.
It works in a pinch, and her son chimes in to show me how it digs into his legs and hurts.
We talk a bit more around safety, skill, budget and time available before the holiday.
This mum was keen to see the carry her friend had shown her, so I show her how it’s done.
Together we notice the how it’s not the right solution for them.
At this point mum and big boy seem to deflate a little. It’s not uncommon for the end result to not match the parents initial idea. Options and troubleshooting however are what I am trained to work around.
Adapting what you have already
So next I show her how she could wrap a scarf around the bottom of her existing sling to spread the weight of her son’s bottom. This seems like a workable emergency solution and we talk about the possibility of visiting the local sling library, who I know have a dedicated sling for older, diversely abled children .
Visit a sling library
I then float the idea of looking at the preschool sized Connecta/Integras and mum admits she has been looking at them but didn’t like the patterns available at the time. Ah I think, I bet this is where her heart lies. It’s like a bell goes off in my head and I know we have reached both the ‘ah ha’ moment and the limit of our time together.
Buying a larger carrier
We part and I follow up with the links I promised and a willingness to keep in touch. A few days later, I hear the Connecta is on its way to her, just in time for their trip.
Holidaying with slings
Just today, I get these photos in my inbox of this glorious duo. Look at their smiling faces, their glowing skin and hooray for accessing the places untouchable by pushchair!
6 Top reasons to use a sling on holiday;
💜 pack up small
💙 carry tired legs
💚 access remote places
💛 a place to nap
🧡 reconnect whilst moving
❤ a safe space in new surroundings
Meeting our children’s needs beyond babyhood can feel like a struggle sometimes, but with a bit of skilled troubleshooting, there is often a way that can meet most needs and situations.
You are quite unlikely to regret choosing to meet your child’s need for closeness and connection as, lets face it, we all crave it too right?
What has worked for you in the past? I’d love to hear your stories too, please get in touch.
Story shared with permission
Find a sling library near you.
Book with me today and you too will have a smile this big 💚