Are you interested in learning about wraps?  Local wrapstar Julia Tarno breaks it down for you here in our first installment for Teaching Thursday!

Who knew that something so simple as a long piece of fabric, a simple piece of cloth, would be the one baby item I recommend no parent go with out?  Wraps are endlessly versatile. The same wrap can be used for different carries, by different people and each will feel as though they have a perfectly custom fit.


The are three main types of wraps available for purchase; stretchy, gauze and woven.  Stretchy wraps are made of cotton jersey knit fabric and are, as the name implies, stretchy.  They are most commonly used with newborns and infants for front carries and occasionally hip carries.  Stretchy wraps should not be used for back carries.  The second type of wrap is cotton gauze.  These wraps are lightweight and ideal for hot climates.  Because of the thinness of the material, careful wrapping is required to prevent pressure points for mom or baby. Gauze wraps are best suited for mufti-layered carries on the front, back or hip.  The final category is woven wraps, also known as German style wovens (GSWs).  Woven wraps are made specifically for the purpose of carrying children.  There are many lengths, fabrics, patterns and colors to choose from.  Woven wraps are appropriate for single, or mulit-layered, front, back and hip carries.

My top tips for safely and successfully wrapping your little one:

• Practice with a doll or teddy first – It is once thing to read instructions and feel like you understand them, but actually performing the actions several times, and committing them to muscle memory, will significantly improve your chances of success when it comes time for the real thing

• It is best to try a new carry when you and your baby are relaxed, well rested, happy and not in a hurry – What you plan to be a quick wrap job can quickly turn in to a sweaty, frustrating, unsafe mess if the wrapper and wrappee are not in the appropriate mood to begin with.

• Always have a fed, dry baby before you get started – One of the most frustrating things for me as a new wrapper was to get “the perfect wrap job” only to realize that I forgot to change or feed baby before starting.  If you plan ahead and use the right carry you will be able to nurse in the wrap

• Start low to the ground or use a spotter – Once you have progressed past using a teddy and are ready to practice with baby, find a soft surface you can sit on (such as a sofa or a bed) and do a few runs in this position before standing up.  Another option is to find another responsible adult to spot you as you wrap, but this person must take the role seriously and understand the seriousness of the task

• Use a mirror – My full length bedroom mirror was the best tool I had when learning to wrap. Being able to see what you are doing and see that your baby is safe, comfy and content is wonderful

• Tighten, tighten, tighten…and then tighten again – This is the best wrapping tip I was ever given.  Take the time to tighten your wrap often throughout the wrapping process.  This will ensure moms comfort and reduce the need to re-tighten once baby settles (thank you, gravity).

• Close enough to kiss – When wrapped in the front, baby should always be close enough to kiss on the head. This ensures that baby can be monitored by the parent

Additional things to consider when wrapping a newborn or infant without head control

• Baby should not be curled in a tight chin to chest position because this partially closes baby’s airway.  With correct positioning there should always be at least one to two finger’s width of space under baby’s chin.

• Wrap fabric should not be across baby’s face, nor should baby’s face be pressed tightly against the parent’s body

• Make sure your baby’s back is straight and supported.

• Be aware of baby at all times. Make sure nothing is covering their face.

• Think about how your movements affect the baby.  Try to avoid bumping or jarring actions.

• Position baby’s face upward when he or she is not actively nursing.  When nursing ensure that baby’s nose is not blocked.

• Baby should be repositioned if he is there are any signs of respiratory difficulty.

• Symptoms of respiratory difficulty include, rapid or labored breathing, grunting or sighing with every breath and/or restlessness.

Now, it is time to start practicing. Grab your wrap and a teddy (or a baby and a spotter), and get comfy in front of a mirror.  Here are links to instructions for a few of my favorite carries.

I recommend that every new wrapper start with one of these front carries:

Pocket Wrap Cross Carry – This carry is commonly the first carry learned with a stretchy wrap

Front Wrap Cross Carry – This carry is most commonly the first carry learned with a woven wrap

Other Recommended Front Carries:

Rebozo (tummy to tummy or hip) – Can be pre-tied making it quick and easy to pop baby in and out.

Tying a slip-knot

Kangaroo – Great front carry to use with a mid-length wrap

Hip Carries:

Robin’s – an attractive, one shoulder hip carry

Hip Wrap Cross Carry – a two shoulder hip carry

Back Carries:

Double Hammock – Considered my many to be the most comfortable carry to use for extended periods

Jordan’s Back Carry – A great back carry using a mid-length wrap

Rucksack – Quick and easy back carry using a shorter wrap

Getting baby on and off your back:

Video

Photos

Newborn

Useful Links:

http://www.thebabywearer.com/index.php?page=WrapInstructionsChart

http://www.wrapsodybaby.com/booklet.pdf

http://site.peppermint.com/girasolcarry.htm

Resources:

http://babywearinginternational.org/pages/InfantSlingSafety.php

http://babywearinginternational.org/pages/safety.php

http://www.thebabywearer.com/articles/HowTo/Positioning.pdf

http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?10263-Our-favorite-links-for-wrap-instruction