We don’t get many customer phone calls, but by far, the most calls that I get are from people wanting to ask some questions to help them choose their first wrap.
I clearly remember the time that I spent researching and researching before buying my first woven wrap – it is a big decision and a lot of money on a single item, so I had to get it right. The world of wraps was a lot smaller then, so a little google searching, and looking through the albums on the Natural Mamas forum helped me work out what I wanted. This was followed by a week or so of working out whether it was a purchase that I could justify (I could, just about), followed by a week of waiting for the postman to deliver my parcel that had to come from Poland (I was worried at this point that I had been scammed, that it would never come and that I had done a really silly thing!). My second wrap purchase was a lot easier (and my third I barely had to think about….).
These days there is so much more information out there, and so much more to be confused by. Your local sling library might be able to help with your choice, if they are a ‘wrappy’ library (but not if they use mainly buckle carriers), and there are umpteen Facebook groups full of people with different opinions on this and that, who may or may not have had any experience of what they are talking about….so I completely understand why I get the calls that I get.
The main questions that I am asked are about which size will be best, and which fibre composition to choose.
So about size. If you are the parent of a young baby, and this is going to be your only wrap (for a bit anyway!) I always recommend a long wrap. A long wrap will give you the most versatility, you will be able to master a simple newborn carry such as a ‘front wrap cross carry’ (plus many others), and also move onto hip carries and back carries. Long wraps are sizes 5, 6, 7 and 8 and the size that you should choose will be based primarily on the size of the adult that will be wearing it. I am a UK size 14 and a size 6 wrap is fine as my long wrap size (but I actually prefer a 7 as I like swishy tails, and that little added versatility that another 50cm gives).
Next about fibre blends. There is a fair bit of confusion about fibre blends – new wrappers are often told that they should buy a ‘blend’ over 100% cotton, as there is a popular misconception that ‘blends’ are best. As a first wrap, I always recommend a wrap with a high cotton percentage. Firespiral cotton is easy to care for, it is soft and mouldable from new (and requires no ‘breaking in’), our cottons are a medium weight, so easy to handle, cool enough for a British summer and snuggly enough for winter wearing. Our cotton is soft against the skin of a newborn, and isn’t bulky. It is easy to wrap with too and is comfortable on the shoulders of the wearer in carries that are less than perfect. Our cotton regularly (and comfortably) carries my 2 year old, who weighs over 2 stone, in a single layer back carry.
We also sell a range of 75% cotton, 25% linen wraps. These have very similar in qualities to our 100% cotton wraps. The fine linen adds a bit more shimmer to the weft, and a little more airiness (it is a smooth fibre where the cotton is fluffy, so lets a little more air through). They are slightly more ‘cripsy’ on arrival, but will soften with use.
We do sell other blends but I haven’t covered them here today as they generally require a little more care / breaking in (please have a look through the blog to find out more about these).
Lastly, but also very importantly, buy the wrap that you love! If you love it, you will get joy from wearing it. And of course, if you still aren’t sure, please give me a call (I love to chat about our wraps and will do my best to help you with your choice!).
Written by Tamsin, mother of 3, part-owner of Firespiral, Slingababy and Trageschule trained babywearing consultant, working out of Lancaster Sling Library (part of Morecambe Bay Slings CIC).