Time for part II of my series on the three basic types of baby carrier and my favourite option: the wrap.
To recap, a babywearing wrap is a large piece of cloth that you tie around yourself and your baby: no rings, no fasteners, just material and the occasional knot. Of course nothing is that simple: wraps are available both in stretchy and woven material and the way you use them is quite different.
You need a stretchy wrap if:
* you want something for a young baby - stretchy wraps have a relatively low upper weight limit because of the stretch in the material
* you are happy with only a few carrying options (a couple of front variations and on the side)
* you like the feel and look of jersey material
You need a woven wrap if:
* you want something that can really grow with your baby in terms of weight and variations
* you want lots of different carrying options including horizontal and vertical front, side and back options (the number of carrying positions a specific wrap can handle depends on its length and you size)
* you don't mind the rather earthy, barefoot mama look of up to 6 metres of material wound around your body
What to remember when picking a model:
* pick a colour that goes with most of your outfits and doesn't show stains. You want this to be durable and go with as many outfits as possible (unless combining pink batik rings with a twinset and pearls is your thing)
* woven wraps can be confusing in their many variations. If in doubt, pick simplicity over variety - you don't want to hurl the wrap away in frustration on the first day.
Why I bought a stretchy wrap
One of my first baby purchases was a structured carrier for my husband and a stretchy wrap for myself. The benefits compared to the woven wrap to me were the simplicity of choice (one size fits all) and the simplicity in holding options (2-3 front positions and side). I also liked that you first tie the wrap on and then insert the baby - holding a newborn in one hand while trying to fling a piece of cloth over my shoulder seemed a bit too much for the first weeks post-partum. I love the feel of jersey material and the wrap looks like something I could comfortably wear around the house.