What do you do with four meters of fabric that you bought on clearance and has been sitting in your cupboard for 2 years… Make a baby wrap!
As with all things baby, initially, the thought to DIY sort of crossed my mind, but I put the idea off, thinking, oh, but what about the fabric, the ‘this’, the ‘that’, but store bought baby wraps, while may be very cool looking and nice, are pretty darn expensive! I’ve been researching about wearing a newborn on your back, and it’s nothing new to mothers around the world. The front wearing is cute and nice for walks, but when you really want to get stuff done, having a baby in the front is sort of hard on your back, like being perpetually pregnant, hard to bend over, etc. Their little heads become crumb catchers if you’re eating with them on your front, and things like cooking and dishes can even be dangerous with them on the front! I’m not an expert newborn back wrapping just yet, but I did wear my older daughter on my back from about 6 months on, and I know that it’s the best! Here are a few tips and tricks I found about making your own wrap.
You will want to chose a fabric that is woven. It should have a little diagonal stretch, a little, but not too much. You should be able to see light shining through it when held up to a light. Linens and linen/cotton/hemp blends are the best. Cotton works too, but can get a bit ‘diggy;’ on your shoulders once the baby gets bigger. Cotton muslin is nice for hot weather. Osnabruk is the closest thing to real woven wrap material that you can find… but you will have to probably order this online and then dye it, it’s not much to look at, as it usually only comes in a natural colour. There is a company.. Colimacon, they’re form France and they make specific baby wearing fabric, it’s organic too! I highly recommend getting this fabric as it will last you until your child is heavier. But, I’ve even used cotton voile, which sort of looks like a glorified bed sheet, but is great in hot humid weather. I would avoid getting the synthetic linen blends, as they tend to be ‘slippery’ and hot. Stretchy jersey fabrics are good for front carriers, but not the best for the back as they stretch too much. Before you buy your fabric, make sure you’re not spending more on the fabric than you could on buying a store bought baby wrap! Store bought baby wraps can be between about $80 to $180… but fancy fabric can cost just as much!
Fabric Length and Width
You will want bare minimum of 4.5 or 5 meters (5 to 5.5 yards), depending on your size and stature, could be a little more or less. You can also use a shorter length of material, as there are a million and one ways to tie a wrap, but 4.5 meters is sort of standard size, or almost a size 6 in woven wrap terms. Fabric width should be between 70and 76 cm (28-30 inches). Ideally, you can cut your piece of fabric in half and make two wraps! I happened to only have a 4 meter piece of fabric in the cupboard. It’s just long enough to tie off, but I think I will add a little length on the ENDS with the extra fabric, just to make tying off easier for the carriers that I like to do. You would want to avoid having a seam in the middle of the wrap (like doing a dodgy, cutting a smaller piece of fabric together and sewing in the middle). This creates a weak spot in your wrap, and if you have fatty babies like mine, your seam will probably be busting by the time they’re four months old!
A woven fabric will need to have the edges finished, unless there is already a finished edge, otherwise it will fray! Time to break out the old sewing machine!
Tips on Putting You Baby on Your Back
Ok, so you’ve got your wrap.. now what?! There are 101 different ways to tie it! A newborn on the back can be a bit tricky, so make sure you practice a little first, maybe with a doll… sack of rice… or have someone to spot you when you’re trying it, or do it over a bed. And, make sure they’re calm (and mom is too), if you’re frantic, they will feel it too. I was trying to do it with my 2 1/2 year old underfoot, chattering, and I was getting a bit annoyed! Wear it around the house before venturing on a huge walk to get used to how it settles, etc. Here are some excellent videos worth watching on how to tie a newborn and baby on your back, but there are many more to look for, find the right tie for you!
Happy Baby Wearing!