It’s no secret that my family is a baby wearing family. Most afternoons you can catch us strolling the neighborhood with two kids in tow, Husband with one, me with the other.
Sometimes I sport the newborn in a sling carrier, while other days I choose a stretch wrap baby carrier. No matter which baby carriers we don, we always manage to catch quite a few stray glances, since baby wearing is just beginning to gain popularity here in Costa Rica.
Honestly, I couldn’t cope without my baby carriers. Dealing with a two year-old’s needs and tending to a newborn is a challenge. Going out of the house with both is nearly impossible without a baby carrier.
There are pros and cons to both the sling and the wrap baby carriers when wearing a newborn. Today we’ll explain the ins and outs of the stretch wrap baby carrier and next week we’ll analyze the ring sling. My goal is to help you feel confident in choosing the best baby carrier for your newborn.
Mom’s (and Dad’s ) Comfort
A stretch wrap is downright cozy when baby is properly adjusted. For long periods of time, I always choose the wrap. It is easy to adjust the fabric around your shoulders and tummy to achieve maximum comfort for mom and baby. The wide fabric stretched across your shoulders won’t dig in, even when carrying a larger infant. Baby’s head is gently supported by two soft fabric panels and I don’t feel the need to use one hand to hold the head in place unless I’m bending over.
Your newborn should feel right at home inside a cotton stretch wrap carrier. He is cuddled tightly against your body, hearing your heartbeat and relaxing with his head secured to your chest and his legs curled up in a froggy position, almost like he was in the womb.
Newborn Sleep Factor
The inherent warmth of baby’s body snuggled against you paired with your movement jiggling him around makes for a perfect sleep environment. My newborns rarely stayed awake for ten minutes when taking a stroll through the neighborhood in the wrap carrier.
In the proper position, newborns can be breastfed in the wrap carrier, though I didn’t personally do it often. At such a young age my babies tended to choke when I nursed them while walking. When mama is seated, the wrap is a very warm and discreet option for breastfeeding your baby.
Newborns should be carried facing the parent’s body in a wrap carrier. Both my husband and I find it easy to insert the baby after a few tries. Before my first child was born, my husband and I actually practiced the newborn carry by inserting a teddy bear.
If you tie the carrier on too tightly or too loosely in the beginning, it is a pain to adjust, since you have to remove the baby and start all over again. Once the baby is in place, it is easy to reposition the shoulder and front panels. After a few practice rounds, finding the right tension for carrying your newborn will become second nature.
When properly tied on, the wrap will not sag much with a newborn baby. Tighten the fabric so that it’s snug to your body before inserting your newborn and you should both remain comfortable for the length of your carry.
Most stretch wraps get hot on warm, sunny days. With my daughter, it was the only baby carrier we owned. My husband and I wore it daily in this tropical climate and managed fine. Traveling to Italy in the springtime, the wrap was excellent for keeping cold breezes off the baby.
My cotton wrap has been through multiple launderings, 11 months of wearing my daughter, and 5 months (and counting) of cuddling my son. The only wear and tear is a tiny hole where the brand tag is sewn on- something miniscule that I’ve been meaning to mend. It definitely holds up well!
Ease of Use
It takes some practice to put on the wrap carrier, but once you’ve done it a handful of times it’s a cinch. However, it is difficult to put on without having the tails touch the ground.
Running Errands (in a car):
It’s best to plan ahead and tie on the wrap before you get in the car. When you arrive at your destination you’ll be ready to pop baby in and get to shopping. Otherwise, you risk putting the wrap on in the parking lot, where it’s likely that the long fabric will drag the ground and get dirty.
Wrap carriers have advantageous wide fabric panels that you can easily pull over baby’s face to keep out the sun. No, you won’t smother him, despite what many passerbys might think. Baby has plenty of air ventilation from the cotton itself and drafts coming in from the sides and at the top of his little head. You can also pop a sun hat on your newborn if you prefer to keep his face uncovered. Moby even makes a stretch wrap with built in UV protection.
My cotton Sleepy Wrap (now sold as Boba Wrap) has been laundered at least a dozen times on a normal cold wash cycle with like-colored clothing and was line dried. No special laundry care is necessary.
Stretch wrap baby carriers are my go-to for long walks and outings where I’ll need both hands to carry items or push my toddler in a stroller. They’re super soft and make for smooth-sailing through airports and double as cushy pillows and warm blankets in the plane too!
Your Turn: Do you wear your baby? What is your favorite carrier or most helpful tip for selecting a baby carrier for a newborn? Please share your mama wisdom and any questions below in the comments.
Learn more about natural parenting. Check out these posts: