Now that we’re in the throes of winter with walls of snow towering over narrow paths (or at least that’s what it’s like here in Boston), how are all the babies supposed to get around? Wrap carriers provide a great way to keep both baby and parent mobile regardless of the season. Underneath a roomy coat, you could be keeping each other warm!
Wrap-style baby carriers are both the most simple and versatile pieces of baby gear you could own. With one piece of fabric, you can carry your baby hands-free in countless different ways from newborn to toddlerhood. Cross in front, cross in back, tie, and it’s a wrap!
At Magic Beans, our favorite wrap-style carriers are:
- Ergobaby Wrap: A traditional one-piece wrap (17’ x 25.5”)
- Moby Wrap: A traditional one-piece wrap (18’ x 20”)
- Baby K’Tan: A simplified version of the traditional one-piece wrap.
- NüRoo Pocket: A baby-wearing wrap shirt optimized for skin-to-skin contact; excellent for preemies, newborns and breastfeeding.
The essential specs, below:
Let’s clear up a few questions about these specs, first.
If these are so great for newborns, why the eight-pound minimum?
The eight pound minimum originates from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) as a requirement for package labeling. Wraps are often recommended for smaller babies, so how do you get around this weight minimum for your newborn? Just ask your healthcare provider for the okay, and practice all of the safety tips outlined below.
And how long am I going to use a wrap, really?
The Baby K’Tan, Moby and Ergobaby wraps are all considered “stretchy” wraps by the baby-wearing community. Stretchy wraps are often swapped out for structured carriers or a woven (stronger) wrap after six months. The NüRoo Pocket has the shortest lifespan as a carrier, since it is typically used during what experts call the “fourth trimester,” the first three months of baby’s life, in which baby is adjusting to life outside of the womb.
How do I know if my baby is safe in a wrap?
Here are some safety tips for any baby wrap carrier:
- Follow the tying directions provided by the company, and practice with another adult and perhaps a mirror. Come into Magic Beans with your wrap any time you’re unsure of the fit or tie method for one-on-one help!
- Pay close attention to your child’s breathing. Whistling, wheezing or grunting may be a sign that they are not able to get enough oxygen.
- The baby’s chin should not be curled in and touching their chest.
- Position your baby so their face is visible and kissable. This means the baby’s head is on your chest and its breathing is not obstructed by cloth covering their face.
- Use fabric over the back of your baby’s head for head support.
- Make sure that your baby’s knees are at their hip level. Spread the fabric under your baby’s seat so that it extends from knee-pit to knee-pit, giving them a frog-legged position.
- Never tie around your baby’s arms or lower legs.
- Untie and retie to adjust tension for longer wearing periods with the Moby and Ergobaby wraps.
- Pay close attention to your baby while nursing.
Now that I’ve watched videos, witnessed a masterful Beanster demonstrate these wraps, or maybe even practiced with some, which one is best for me?
Get the most use out of a NüRoo Pocket by purchasing it before your baby is born. Use it as a maternity shirt and pack it in your hospital bag. The NüRoo Pocket is best for providing skin contact with preemies, and for breastfeeding.
Ease of use seems to be one of the most attractive features for the Baby K’Tan. It requires fewer steps than Moby or Ergobaby wraps. The Baby K’Tan is priced well for its versatility (it doubles as a nursing scarf and sling!) and portability. Their sizing system can be tricky, though, especially if you’re trying to share between parents and caregivers.
With Moby Wraps, you can adjust the tension and support by tying the wrap differently. Eventually it becomes another piece of clothing. The fabric is stretchy, but strong enough to support some of the more advanced carry methods.
The stretchier fabric of Ergobaby Wraps is excellent for prenatal support (see their “pregnancy tie”) and that hug-like quality of a stretchy wrap. It is also relatively easy to stuff the wrap in its integrated pocket, though it is heavier than any of the other options.
Readers: which baby wrap was your favorite? In your opinion, how do baby wrap carriers stack up against soft-structured carriers, and why? Tell us about it in the comments!