Using a woven wrap to do a back carry can be an incredibly comfortable, versatile, and beautiful way to carry your baby!
This post focuses on resources for learning back carries in your woven wrap. If you are already comfortable with front carries in a woven wrap and feel ready to begin back wrapping, start with this post.If you are a wrap beginner, it’s easiest to start with front and hip carries. This blog post post might be a better starting point if you are brand new to wrapping.
First off, back wrapping takes time and practice! It can be incredibly helpful to find a babywearing educator and learn in person! With an educator, you can learn your first back carry in an hour or two. It can take much longer to learn on your own at home.
If you are learning to back wrap at home, I recommend learning by wrapping a doll, stuffed animal, or even a bag of rice. It’s not the same as wrapping a baby for sure, but part of learning to back wrap is getting the muscle memory and learning the steps of the carry.
To learn a carry, I would first try the carry with a doll. If you like using YouTube videos, it can be helpful to push pause after the person demonstrates a step, do the step with the doll, and then hit play again. After you’ve made it through the carry one time, see if you can do it a second time with the doll. Once you feel like you remember the steps to the carry, you’re ready to try it with your child.
If you are able, find a person to spot you as you are learning the carry with your child. If you aren’t able to find a spotter, you can do the carry over a bed or couch. You might also find it helpful to wrap in front of a mirror so that you can see what you’re doing.
When I first began back wrapping, I choose a time of day that my child was in a good mood (right after nap time worked well for us) and I practiced the same carry one time every day. The first few times, I just wrapped the carry right over my bed, glanced at the mirror, realized my carry was terrible and took it down. I laughed, and I tried again the next day. At the end of a month, I was really enjoying back wrapping! With some practice and persistence, you can learn to back wrap too!
Putting your baby on your back
The first step to learning to back wrap is to learn how to put your baby on your back. If you have already been doing back carries in another carrier, you can use the same method to put your baby on your back. There are three methods people commonly use to put their baby on their back.
Superman Toss – A superman toss can be used when baby has head/torso control through toddlerhood/preschool.
This video shows how to do a superman toss with a woven wrap:
Hip Scoot – Hip scoot works well from the time you find yourself naturally carrying baby on the hip through toddlerhood/preschool.
This video shows how to do a hip scoot with a woven wrap:
Santa Toss – Santa toss is the method many people use if they are back wrapping a smaller baby or a baby who does not have head control. Santa tosses can be used with older children as well, but most people prefer to switch to a superman toss or hip scoot as baby gets older.
This video by Judy from Denim Beh Dai shows how to do a superman toss with a young baby:
Choose one method to learn and use. You don’t need to learn them all. If one method doesn’t seem great to you, try another one.
Getting baby off of your back
We always spend so much time thinking about how to do a carry and how to get baby on the back, it’s important to also know how to get baby off of your back! This wonderful video by Judy of Denim Beh Dai shows how to get a sleeping baby off of your back and includes tips for transferring them to bed.
Three Beginner Carries
There are three carries that I really love as beginner back carries. These can all be done with a base size wrap. If you aren’t sure what size is your base size, see my Woven Wraps for Beginners Post.
Ruck Tied in Front
Ruck tied in front is a wonderful first carry. This carry is simple in that there are only a few steps to remember.
This video shows how to do a ruck carry and gives lots of tips on getting a good seat in the carry:
This video shows the same carry, but with a very wiggly child and gives some extra tips on working with a child who is wiggling!
Back Wrap Cross Carry
Back wrap cross carry can also be a wonderful first carry. This carry is symmetrical and starts with a half knot at the chest so that it feels secure right away. This carry ends up a bit lower on your back than Ruck tied in front. I tend to prefer this carry with a toddler or older child, but many people like it with a younger baby too.
Secure High Back Carry
Secure High back carry is also a great first back carry. This carry works really well for someone who likes to hip scoot. When you do a hip scoot with the wrap around the baby, the wrap lands in just the right spot for you to start this carry. This carry is also quite forgiving. As long as you have the first pass nice and snug before you tie the half knot, you can be flexible with the second and third passes. It doesn’t matter what order you do the second and third passes, you can do them in any order you’d like.
This video shows how to do Secure High Back Carry, slowly with a babywearing demo doll:
This video shows how to do Secure High Back Carry faster, with a real child:
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:
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.
I find one secret to getting a great seat is to reach under my baby’s legs, bring the wrap from knee to knee, and then lift upward gently bringing baby’s knees above baby’s bottom.
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 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 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.