The Quick and Easy Way to Wrap a Baby SlingTying your baby in a sling shouldn't be another task on your list that you procrastinate. Here's the quickest and simplest way to get it done.
As a new mom, caring and bonding with your little one is made so much easier with a baby wrap or sling because you get to keep your baby chest close through skin-to-skin contact.
We hope this easy guide on wrapping your baby in a sling will help you get the job done.
We've included a few tips for informational and educational purposes so you can keep your child safe and secure during this process.
We'll also cover a few how-to's and answer some nagging babywearing questions that often pop up.
What is a Baby Wrap?
A baby wrap is a carrier or sling. More specifically, it's a long length of fabric between 2 and 7 metres long that wraps around your body, creating a sling or pouch for your baby. This allows you to carry your child through to toddlerhood by simply adjusting the pouch size to suit your growing baby.
There are different methods to tie a baby wrap to access various baby carrying positions, such as hip carry and back carry.
There are also different types of wraps or slings. This includes ring sling, buckle carrier, and tie strap carrier, all of which help you support your baby as you do what needs to be done.
In this article, we'll concentrate on the standard fabric baby wrap carrier as they are the most versatile when it comes to molding to your body shape and evenly distributing your baby's weight.
Your partner or caregiver can also use baby wraps without the hassle of adjusting buckles or straps because of the stretchy material.
At What Age Can Baby Go in a Wrap?
You can use a wrap or sling to hold your baby from the time you leave the hospital with your little one, but when you start will differ from mom to mom and how long it takes to recover from an exhausting childbirth. We cannot give a one size fits all medical advice on this one.
Recovering from birth complications or a caesarean section may take a while. Don't rush to carry or wear your newborn as it may slow your recovery down. Only you will know when you're strong enough to carry your baby safely.
The best method is to start slow and only carry your baby for short periods of time. As you recover and build up your strength, you will be able to carry your little one for longer periods.
Are Baby Wraps Safe?
The short answer is yes. Using a wrap or sling baby carrier is considered a safe way to carry your child, but babies under 4 months old risk suffocation if safety measures are not considered.
Here are a few helpful safety tips for keeping baby safe:
- Keep your baby's airway unobstructed. Always make sure your little one's face is visible to you and not covered by the wrap or pressed against your body.
- Make sure the wrap you use can carry your baby's weight.
- Be careful when bending to pick things up. Rather bend at the knees and keep your back as straight as possible to keep your body and baby upright, as opposed to bending at the waist and tipping your baby over and stressing your back. Make sure to always support your baby's head when you bend forward as well, but overall, it's a hands-free experience.
- Check your wrap for tears and signs of aging or weakness.
- Use the front and side carrying position to carry your baby. A back carry position is best suited for babies over a year old who has a strong neck and head control.
- Woven wraps are naturally ergonomic and put an infant into a "J" posture while in the wrap. It is very important for continued normal development to have the head aligned with the spine and rounded off with a pelvic tuck to raise the knees above the bottom. A ball position may restrict your baby's airway.
- Babies will not normally overheat in a wrap or sling if they are dressed for the season. Mothers who wear their babies will notice if their little one starts getting hot because they are so close together and can immediately remedy the situation. Woven wraps are breathable and will regulate temperature to some degree, but it also depends on the fabric and blend.
- It's always best to chat to your pediatrician about any issues you or your baby may have that arise from a wrap.
- Because wraps are generally ergonomic by design, it is safe to have your baby in a wrap for a long time, but babies need to move so they too can get stronger. If your baby falls asleep in your wrap, then it's better to lay him or her down as it's a more natural sleep position.
- Breastfeeding while babywearing is okay, but you must make sure your baby can still breathe normally by keeping them at chest level.
How to Tie a Baby Wrap
Now it's time to try tying your baby's wrap. Follow the steps below and practice it a few times to familiarize yourself with the wrapping process. There are other tying methods, but this is the easiest and most common way.
After a few attempts, that long piece of fabric won't be as intimidating as it was when you first unraveled it. You'll be an expert in wearing your baby in no time.
Read on to get the baby wrap tying technique down:
- To begin, find the middle of the wrap. Some wraps have a marker or label in the middle, but you can also hold the ends together and run your hand down the fabric to find the middle.
- Place the middle of the wrap around your stomach and "wrap" the ends around your back, pulling both ends over each shoulder so the ends cross over each other, making an "X" on your back. It's a good idea to fan or spread the wrap out as it goes over your back for a more comfortable wear.
- Pull the ends down over your shoulders and chest, make sure they are also spread over the top of each shoulder.
- Tuck the bottom ends underneath the fabric running horizontally over your belly and straighten them out to cover your whole front. Then cross the ends over in the front and wrap the fabric around your back again.
- At this point, you can either tie the ends together behind your back, or if there is still enough fabric, bring the ends to the front and tie them together using a double knot for safety. Either have the knot on your side or in the front, whichever is more comfortable for you.
- Of these two ends or panels, the one closest to your body is the inside panel that your baby will be looking out of. It's a good idea to alternate the crossover sequence to change the position of the inside panel. This way, your baby's neck and head will not always be in the same position when you use your wrap.
Your wrap is now ready for your little one, but we'll go through placing your baby in the sling wrap as it can be a daunting task if you're not sure how to do it.
Your aim is to get your baby secure and snug in your woven wrap, remembering the natural "M" posture and making sure your baby's airway is always free.
Here's the how-to method:
- Pick up your baby and place him or her on the opposite shoulder to the inside panel of the sling.
- Place one leg through the inner sling panel and pull the fabric up and over your baby's bottom, back and part of your little one's head, always with the face exposed. Keep the fabric of the sling straight so your baby is fully supported from the knees upward by the inner panel.
- Put your baby's other leg through the outer panel of the sling and repeat the process. This is the second full support that begins at the knees but only comes up over your baby's shoulders to leave the face open and on your chest.
- Check hour baby's legs. You will notice they form an "M" shape. Place your baby so his or her legs are tucked through the horizontal part of the wrap and pull it up over your baby's back. Your baby's legs must still form an "M" shape in this position. We're almost done!
- The final step is to go through the T.I.C.K.S checklist:
- T - Tight
- I - In view at all times
- C - Close enough to kiss
- K - Keep chin off the chest
- S - Supported back
Your little one is now nice and secure in your wrap with three separate panels for support. This is especially good if you're using a stretchy wrap as the material is not as strong as other fabrics.
In the beginning, when you practice wearing your wrap, you will get a feel of how tight you should wrap the material around yourself and still have enough space for your little one. It shouldn't be too tight nor too loose.
If both you and baby are comfortable, then you've mastered "babywearing 101".
Moms are forever looking at ways to make life more comfy and homely for their little ones, and there is no better way to do this than by wearing your bundle of joy right next to your heart.
Wraps have evolved a great deal, yet they are so naturally simple in both design and use no matter what design or method you choose.
I'm sure you'll agree that wraps provide far more positives than negatives. The biggest takeaway is the growing bond you'll have with your little one just from carrying them.
Happy tying and bonding!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.