**Disclosure Statement: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.**
Today I am super excited to be bringing you a new review! For the past month or so, I have been putting a Wrapsody Breeze woven wrap through the paces. It has been the ONLY wrap I've used for the last 5 weeks, with my ever-growing 3 year old and my trusty demo-doll. And you know what, I love it! If I had a young baby and needed to pare down to only one wrap, this one would be a strong contender!
I have been wearing my children in a variety of carriers for nearly 8 years, and paying close attention to the baby carrier industry and the community of hobbyist wearers for nearly that long. During this time, I've seen many changes in the industry, the community, and the market. There has been a huge growth in the number and variety of carrier manufacturers, with new makers debuting every year, and some manufacturers closing up shop. Some manufacturers have remained constant with a dash of well-planned innovation. Wrapsody is one such manufacturer. It was founded in 2004 and its story is incredible and interwoven (see what I did there?) with the stories of the babywearing community and industry.
When companies approach me to do a review, I am choosy about who I say "yes" to. While doing a review may seem like fun (it is!), it is also a lot of work, and I want to be sure I am putting in that work for a company whose values align with my own. When Wrapsody asked if I was interested in writing a review, I was thrilled! Not only are they a long-time and well-respected manufacturer, they are well-known for their incredible mission that goes well beyond "just" making baby carriers. Wrapsody's core values integrate sustainability, evidence-based practice, collective responsibility and social justice, and supporting strong communities. I frequently refer to articles from their education section (the drop down menu from the "babywearing" tab on their website) and blog.
Wrapsody makes four different carriers (the Breeze, the Hybrid stretch wrap, the DuO water/sport wrap, and the Artisan ring sling) as well as wearable and functional clothing and accessories. They sent me their Breeze wrap, which is the original product upon which Wrapsody was founded. It is a woven wrap made of a gauze material. The words that come to mind when describing the Breeze are: lightweight, versatile, comfortable, and beautiful.
Lightweight: The Breeze is made of a gauzey cotton. When you hold it up to the light, you can easily see through the material, as the threads are not woven closely together. This means that it is lightweight, packs down very small (in a handy built-in pocket on one of the tails of the wrap), and it is breathable, which makes for cooler wearing for both child and caregiver. For warm-weather wearing or for babies or caregivers who "run hot," this is an excellent carrier!
Versatile: A woven wrap is the most versatile baby carrier, in that you can use it with any size baby or child, wrap the child on your front, hip, or back, and do a number of different types of carries that change how your body is bearing the child's weight as well as where the child is positioned. When my shoulders are achy, I can switch to a torso carry, and when I need to have the weight a little higher on my body and my child wants to see over my shoulder, I can do a rucksack carry. The Wrapsody Breeze can be used with children from newborn through 35 pounds. I used it to do a "babywearing challenge" to try out a number of different carries with my demo doll which is slightly larger than a newborn. I also used it with my 35 pound 3 year old. It is 24 inches wide, which makes it a great width for a newborn, infant, or small to average toddler, but I personally prefer a bit more width for my very tall and leggy child who prefers to snuggle deep in the wrap. (Wrapsody's Hybrid wrap is 30 inches wide which works a bit better for me).
Comfortable: In wrap "technical terms" the Breeze was quite moldable (this is my top personal preference out of all wrap qualities) as it snugly conformed to my body and my wearee's body easily, and it had a nice amount of grip (but not too much!) as the fabric easily held a slipknot and various multi-layer carries did not slide out of place, but it also was fairly easy to slide passes into place. One of the things I was worried about with the Breeze was whether it would be diggy since it was so thin. It wasn't, at least for me, but I could understand how it might be for some. I did have to be sure to carefully tighten or pull out the slack from each pass in order for the fabric to lay comfortably, but as long as I did that, it wasn't diggy at all. I would argue that the Breeze (or the Wrapsody Hybrid) is a wonderful first or only wrap because it will help you develop precise wrapping technique!
Beautiful: Wrapsody Breeze wraps are known for their lovely hand-dyed and batik colorways. According to the company they are manufactured in Bali, Indonesia by a small business owned by a single mother (another great reason to support this company!). Many of the designs have an organic feel to them, so they align with my aesthetic preferences. Some retailers who carry Wrapsody have exclusive colorways, and there are also some commemorative colorways honoring an organization or a specific person. There a variety of colors from bright to soft, muted to saturated, dark to light. There are not a lot of geometric or ultra-modern designs, so if that is more your style, Wrapsody might not be your cup of tea. One feature that I love is that many of the designs have different colors along each rail, or a gradation that spans the width of the wrap. This makes Wrapsody wraps (both the Breeze and the Hybrid) really excellent for learning to wrap. I love using them to teach new wrappers! (if you want to learn to use a carrier, you can find a babywearing group via this list compiled by Wrapsody, and if you'd like to start your own group to help other caregivers and babies, you can use this guide!)
Things to know about Wrapsody wraps: There are a couple things that Wrapsody does differently from many other woven wrap companies, notably their sizing and instructions. Wrapsody offers three different sizes of Breeze wraps, ranging from 4.6 meters to 5.5 meters. This size range allows for most caregivers to have a Breeze in their "base" size (the size that lets you do Front Wrap Cross Carry without having too much leftover tail). Very petite or slim caregivers might find even the smallest size to be a bit long. Typically, you can use up a bit of extra length by doing a fancy finish or by adding some reinforcing passes around the baby or tied around your waist. It is possible to "chop" a Breeze to make a shorter wrap. I personally would use the extra length to add extra passes. Additionally, the instructions booklet may be a bit confusing, as it uses different names for carries and positions than the generally accepted names in the community. One example of this is Wrapsody's "Hip Pouch" carry, which is called "Robin's Hip Carry" in nearly every instructional YouTube video demonstrating this particular carry. (Wrapsody does have video instructions on its site for all of the carries in the instruction book). This may be fine for those who know different carries already, but confusing for those who are trying to look up videos.
The bottom line
In short, the Wrapsody Breeze is a wonderfully lightweight and versatile woven wrap that is excellent for newborns, infants, and average to shorter toddlers. It shines in carries that have cross passes, sling passes, and torso passes. It would not be my first choice for carries that involve ruck straps with heavy babies, and I did not love it with my very tall 3 year old.
It would be a wonderful first woven wrap for those who are committed to learn to wrap with care, or a nice addition to a carrier stash for those who are wanting something lightweight.. It is different from any other wrap I've tried (I've tried MANY), and I loved it! If you haven't tried a Breeze, this summer would be the ideal time to change that! Wrapsody would love to welcome you to their online family!
While most people can understand and appreciate the benefits of babywearing for little babies and their families, there are a lot of good things to be said about wearing big kids, too.
My older daughter (now age 7) was a baby who loved to be worn. She would settle into any carrier I had and snuggle right into me. She went through a few months on "wearing strike" around the time she learned to walk, where she preferred walking to hitching a ride on my back. After the strike was over, she continued to love our daily walks or snuggling in a carrier around the house.
As she got (much) older and (much) heavier, I wore her less, but still found that wearing was a great tool: it was still a convenient way to carry her when I needed to keep her safe or she was tired of walking, it helped her relax when she was fighting sleep, and wearing seemed to bring her some calm and us both some connection, after an all-too-frequent preschool meltdown. In addition, it was still a wonderful way for us to have close interaction - as we took a hike or a long walk, she engaged in the constant stream of consciousness chatter for which preschoolers are famous. And when she was sick, it brought her comfort to be held close to my body. Now a "big kid," she still asks if she can ride on my back, and on occasion I indulge her. She still loves it (so do I!) and it still resets our connection if it's been strained.
Wearing can also be a special tool for parents of big kids with special needs. Parents of kids with low muscle tone, visual impairment, or sensory needs (and many other special needs) may find that using a carrier can be convenient, calming, or enriching for their child. If you have questions about using a carrier with your child with special needs, please consult with your child's health care professionals. Many babywearing professionals will collaborate with health care professionals to help families find the right carrying solution for their child.
Woven wraps and ring slings can be used with bigger kids, for varying lengths of time or dependent on the caregiver, child, and the situation. Many people prefer mei tai or buckle carriers for "big kids." Most toddlers can still be worn in standard size soft structured carriers like Ergo, Boba 4G, Tula, Beco Soleil and Lillebaby Complete. Some caregivers (and toddlers) find "toddler size" carriers to be more comfortable for a variety of reasons (taller and wider panel being the usual reason). Some toddler and preschool carriers are also tested to a higher weight limit than standard size carriers.
Here is a list of some of the current specifically toddler or preschool size carriers (buckle carriers and a couple of mei tais) on the market today. Most of these are only available from specialty stores or direct from the manufacturer.
- Tula Toddler
- Beco Toddler
- Angelpack MAX
- Kinderpack Toddler
- Kinderpack Preschool
- Kanga XT
- Kanga XTP
- Lillebaby CarryOn
- Soul Slings Full Buckle Toddler
- Lenny Lamb Ergonomic Carrier Toddler
- ToddlerHawk mei tai (from select retailers, limited supply)
- Fidella Fly Tai Toddler size mei tai
Remember when we talked about why you should avoid buying a fake or knockoff carrier? The temptation is strong but the risks are not worth it!
So, what do you do if you are a parent who wants to wear your baby, but you are on a limited budget? Everyone is telling you that you need a Tula, or you see woven wraps that you think are beautiful but that price tag is steep!
With all baby carrier purchases, it's important to be informed.
One great opportunity for research is attending a babywearing group meeting. Many babywearing groups have lending libraries where you can borrow a carrier for a month to see how you like it. You can keep borrowing, month after month, in many cases! Sometimes there are fees associated with borrowing, but these are almost always lower than the price of a carrier. Some groups have scholarships for families who cannot afford membership or rental fees.
If you are willing to buy a secondhand carrier, you can often find really great bargains. See this post for more details, including the importance of inspecting your carrier. And DIY is another great option for affordable carriers. Learn more here!
If you prefer to buy a new carrier, there are many great options available in the "under $50" and "under $100" price ranges. If you are coupon savvy or regularly scan the clearance racks and pay attention to sales, you can usually save even more off the list price. Some of the carriers listed below are available at big box stores (or their online versions), some are available from the manufacturers themselves, and some are only available from online specialty retailers. Use caution when buying from Amazon (be sure that the seller is authorized) to avoid ending up with a counterfeit.
Below are just some of the options that retail for under $50 and under $100. There are many carriers that retail for higher than $100 but can be found for less if you buy secondhand. (Boba, Ergo, Beco, and Tula come to mind).
Options under $50 (retail)
Moby Wrap (stretchy wrap)
Boba Wrap (stretchy wrap)
Happy Wrap (stretchy wrap)
Baby K'tan - original (stretchy wrap)
Sleeping Baby Productions - twill (ring sling)
Soul Sling - certain models (ring sling and some lengths of wraps)
Bibetts - linen (ring sling)
Zanytoes - cotton (ring sling)
Wallypop - cotton or linen (ring sling)
Peanut Shell (adjustable pouch)
Seven Sling (non-adjustable pouch)
Infantino Sash (meh dai)
WallyPop - canvas without padded straps (meh dai)
Mothers on the Move, or Mo+M (buckle carrier)
Evenflo Natural Fit (buckle carrier similar to an Ergo)
Infantino (various buckle styles)
Options under $100 (retail)
Stretchy or Hybrid Wraps. These are usually best for newborns and smaller babies. If you plan to wear your child past 15-16 pounds, be aware that you will probably need to buy another carrier then (unless you buy the Wrapsody hybrid, as it can be worn comfortably for much longer). These wraps are snuggly and the carrier can be put on first, then add the baby. Stretchy wraps cannot be worn in back carries (hybrid wraps can).
Baby K'Tan - Breeze, Organic, Active, or Print models
Wrapsody Duo (can be worn in water or on land)
Babylonia Tricot Slen
Ring Slings. These are wonderful for newborns through toddlers. Sometimes thinner slings will not be as supportive or comfortable for wearing a larger baby or toddler. Many of these are slings offered from woven wrap companies, but others are from companies that specialize in slings.
Comfy Joey (linen)
Sleeping Baby Productions (certain materials)
Lil Peepers Keepers (some models)
Fidella (some models)
Soul Sling (some models)
Bibetts (wrap conversion)
Wallypop (wrap conversion)
Mei Dais/Beh Dais/Mei Tais. These carriers are also very versatile, for newborns through young toddlers. They are adjustable between body types as well. They can be worn on front, back, and hip, and are fairly simple to learn to use.
Wallypop (models with padded shoulder straps)
Soul Slings Meh Dai (some models)
Lenny Lamb Wrap Tai (some colors)
BaBy SaBye (some models)
Buckle Carriers. These carriers are generally best once baby is past the newborn/small infant stage. They can be worn with baby on front and back. I recommend trying them on before buying (or buying from somewhere that has a generous return policy) if possible, because they all fit a bit differently. Each person has a different body shape and size, and buckle carriers are like jeans - they don't fit everyone the same!
Easy Feel (read my review here)
Action Baby Carrier
Soul Slings (some models)
Pognae Baby Carrier
Bitybean (a compact, narrower carrier, can be used in water)
Boba Air (good for travel, packs down very small)
Woven Wraps. These are incredibly versatile, from newborns through toddlers (and even preschoolers or big kids). They can be worn with baby on front, hip, or back, in a variety of ways to accommodate for different people's body sizes and comfort. There is a learning curve to using them but they can be the only carrier you'll ever need.
Little Frog (some models)
Tekhni (budget line)
Wrapsody Breeze (gauze wrap - read my review here)
Fidella (some models)
Babylonia BBSlen (certain sizes)
Lenny Lamb (some models)
Many thanks to this wonderful source: http://www.bwiaustin.org/babywearing-on-a-budget/
Special thanks to the babywearing families who graciously shared their photos for this post!
What are some of your favorite baby carriers for families on a budget?
(This post is the fourth in a series about choosing and using a woven wrap. See Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here).
Today's post is for the crafty folks - how to make a DIY (do it yourself) woven wrap. While some people prefer to buy a wrap specially made for carrying babies, others choose to make their own wrap. Hopefully this guide will help.
The basic things to know are: type of fabric, dimensions, and "how to."
Recommended types of fabric
Fabric types to avoid
There is a lot of information about wrap sizes (that's another whole post!) but for now, we'll cover some basics. Wrap sizing can be confusing, but in general, most new wrappers start with a long wrap that will allow them to do Front Wrap Cross Carry. This size is also known as "base size." This list may help you decide which size is for you:
Remember, you can always cut a wrap shorter, if you find it is too long for you - so err on the side of too long! Also this fabric will shrink about 20% when you wash it so be sure to account for that when you buy, and add enough extra so that you'll have the length you want in you final product.
Osnaburg fabric is usually 60" off the bolt. A wrap width of about 28" works well for most people, so you will have enough for two wraps!
Step by step directions
1. Buy your fabric (see above).
2. Wash and dry it twice (wash on hot).
3. Scour the fabric if using osnaburg or another undyed fabric (see instructions here: http://www.rootsimple.com/2012/05/how-to-prep-fabric-for-dyeing-scouring/
4. Cut your fabric in half. Measure at the midway point (if your fabric is 60" wide). Cut an inch snip and then rip down the middle. This should be more accurate than cutting with scissors.
5. Cut the tapers. This is not absolutely necessary, but most woven wraps have tapered edges to make tying knots less cumbersome. A 45 degree angle should work fine. Your finished wrap should look like a parallelogram, not a trapezoid.
6. Hem your fabric. If you iron and inch fold all around, then hemming should be easier. You need to do a rolled hem. Cotton thread works fine. Sew very close to the fold! This tutorial is helpful, especially for the corners: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/rehem.html
7. You're almost done!
8. Last step! Make a middle marker to denote the center of the wrap. You can use anything for this: Fabric pen, ribbon, thread in a contrasting color. Most people like to have a middle marker on both edges (top and bottom).
You're done! Go wrap your baby!
(This post is the third in a series about choosing and using a woven wrap. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here).
Today's post contains "everything you need to know" to make a secondhand wrap purchase.
Some benefits of buying secondhand
Some risks of buying secondhand
Where to buy secondhand
If you have an active local babywearing community, you may be able to find a wrap you like for sale within your community. Many local babywearing groups allow buying/selling/trading of carriers in their Facebook groups. You might also be able to find a secondhand wrap at a consignment sale or even listed on your local Craigslist.
If you cannot find one locally, there are many online options for buying secondhand.
Basic buy/sell/trade group guidelines and etiquette:
Buying a new wrap is great and buying secondhand can also be lots of fun! However, if you are more of a do it yourself type, stay tuned for the next post, about making a DIY wrap.
Beth. The babywearing lady.
copyright 2016 Beth Secrist
All photos used under the Creative Commons license through Flickr. Photography by: littletuesday12