How to Use a Woven Wrap for Beginners

Woven wraps are beautiful, versatile, and comfortable! This resource will help you with selecting a wrap and learning a few beginner carries.  We will go over beginner woven wrapping tips and woven wrap terminology.

Wrap Sizing

One thing that people find confusing about wraps is that they come in different sizes. Different sizes can be used with different carries. Some carries work well with a shorter wrap and others work well with a longer wrap. Every person can use every size wrap.

Wraps come in sizes 1-10. Each size is a different length of fabric and can be used for different carries. Some wrap companies have slightly different sizing, but generally each size is a specific length in meters.

Size 1: 2.2 Meters
Size 2: 2.6 Meters
Size 3: 3.2 Meters
Size 4: 3.6 Meters
Size 5: 4.2 Meters
Size 6: 4.6 Meters
Size 7: 5.2 Meters
Size 8: 5.6 Meters
Size 9: 6.2 Meters
Size 10: 6.6 Meters

Finding your Base Size

To begin wrapping, most people choose to work with a base size wrap. A base size wrap is the size wrap that you need to do a Front Wrap Cross Carry (a beginner front carry). The best way to find your base size is to try on wraps in different sizes at your local babywearing group. Tie the wrap in Front Wrap Cross Carry and see if you like the amount of excess tail that the wrap has. Two people who are the same size and have the same size baby might have different “base sizes” because they might prefer different amounts of tail.

This great graphic by Babywearing International gives more information on wrap sizing:

Beginner Front Carries

Front Wrap Cross Carry
Base size wrap

The first carry that most people learn is Front Wrap Cross Carry. Front wrap cross carry is a great first carry to learn because it teaches you how to tighten the wrap. The secret to wrapping is to tighten each strand of the wrap (and not pull on the whole tail). If you imagine that your wrap has stripes, you can tighten each stripe of the wrap individually, rather than pulling on the whole wrap at once.

This video demonstrates Front Wrap Cross Carry with particular attention to how to tighten the carry.

The video shows how to nurse in the carry and readjust the baby after nursing.

Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied under the Bum
Base size minus two

Front wrap cross carry can also be done tied under the baby’s bottom. This is a wonderful quick carry that works well with a wrap that is shorter than your base size.

Front Cross Carry
Base size wrap

Another wonderful first carry is Front Cross Carry. Front cross carry is wonderful because you can pre-tie the entire carry and then pop your baby into the carry, adjust, and go! If you are not loving Front Wrap Cross Carry, give this carry a try! It’s wonderfully convenient. You can tie on the whole carry before you leave the house and pop baby in and out of the carry as needed. This is similar to the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry in a Stretchy wrap. If you’ve loved your stretchy wrap, you will likely also love this carry.

This video shows how to do Front Cross Carry:

If you prefer Photo-Tutorials, try this one.

Robin’s Hip Carry
Base size minus 2

Robin’s hip carry is an easy first hip carry. This carry is easy to tighten and can also be treated like a pop-able carry. This photo-tutorial shows the secret to tightening the carry. This tutorial is also available in Spanish here.

This video shows how to do the carry:

This video shows how to do the carry with a newborn as a front carry. This video also shows the secret to tightening the carry and demonstrates how to pop baby in and out of the carry:

Simple Hip Carry
Base minus 5

If you are beginning wrapping with a very short wrap, Simple Hip Carry is a good place to start. This carry is quick and easy. This video by Tandem Trouble shows how to do the carry with a toddler. This carry works well with a newborn as well! You can position baby in front or on the hip. It makes your wrap feel like a pouch sling.

Woven Wrap Beginner Tips

Getting a Great “Seat”

A great seat is key to a comfortable carry! It can be confusing to understand what a seat is, especially because it’s the part of the carry that you can’t see! This wonderful image by Modern Babywearing shows what the wrap should look like between you and baby:

seat graphic

Notice that the bottom edge of the wrap makes a straight line from one knee to the other. A good seat means that the baby is supported from knee to knee in the wrap.


Tightening the Wrap

The secret to using a woven wrap is in learning to tighten it.  When you’re tightening the wrap, don’t pull on the whole tail to tighten.  Instead, tighten each part of the wrap strand by strand.

Take a look at the image below.  I’m tightening only the very top blue part in this picture.  I hold the first few inches of fabric in my hand and pull to tighten.  Pulling just that blue strand makes the wrap nice and snug around the baby’s upper shoulders and neck.  If I were to pull the whole tail, the part around baby’s neck would remain too loose.

It can help to imaging the wrap width in thirds or fourths.  Tighten the top third, the top middle third, the bottom third.   Here’s another tightening image.  In this image, one hand is tightening the top third.  The other hand is tightening the middle third.  Tightening each strand or third individually gives your an evenly tightened and comfortable carry.

Tightening the Top Third or Fourth

It can be tricky to tighten the top third or fourth of the wrap. If you’re finding you have a lot of slack in your wrap near your baby’s upper shoulders, try lifting your elbow while you are wrapping. This allows the fabric to slide under your arm.

In this image, you can see that one hand is pulling straight up and slightly back on the wrap to tighten the top fourth of the width. The other elbow is lifted outward to allow the fabric to slide under my arm and around my back.


Positioning the Baby

This great image from Babywearing International shows how a baby should be positioned in a woven wrap at different ages.


Wrapping Terms Glossary

Sometimes when learning wrapping online, you come across wrapping specific terms. Here are definitions of common terms:

Base Size: The size wrap that a wrapper needs to do Front Wrap Cross Carry with their preferred amount of excess wrap tail.
Middle Marker: The tag in the center of a woven wrap marks the middle of the fabric.

Mid-Length Wrap: A wrap that is one or two sizes smaller than your base size.
Pop-able Carry: A pop-able carry is a carry that can be pre-tied. Then baby can be popped in and out of the carry as needed.
Rails: The rails of the wrap are the top and bottom edges or hems of the wrap.
Shorty: A wrap that is 3 or 4 sizes smaller than your base size.

Strand by Strand: A tightening technique where the wrapper tightens each inch of the width of the wrap one at a time rather than pulling on the whole tail to tighten.

Further Reading:

Positioning a Newborn in a Baby Carrier
Positioning an Older Baby in a Baby Carrier
How to do Front Carries in a Woven Wrap
How to do Hip Carries in a Woven Wrap
Guide to Buying a Woven Wrap