International Babywearing Week: Choosing The Right Wrap
By Diana Rosenfield for WrapYourBaby
On my website WrapYourBaby, I sell eight popular and wonderful brands of baby wrap that offer a tremendous variety of length, color, weight, texture, fiber, and weave.
EllaRoo and Bali Breeze are two that are most popular with people in hot climates, or those looking for a Summer wrap. They are thinner and airier, resulting in a wrap job that is less warm and toasty. EllaRoo is a 100% cotton weave, handwoven in Guatemala and it comes in beautiful stripes and solids with striking colors. Sturdier than the Bali Breeze, Ellaroo will do fine in shortone-layer carries like a rucksack, and are great with newborn through pre-school aged child. The Bali Breeze wraps are bottom-weight gauze–thin, but not too thin to support baby comfortably–hand batiked in Bali (under fair trade practices) and have a unique look among wraps with stamped designs and mottled shades. Gauze wraps are not–strictly speaking–woven, but are commonly categorized as woven wraps as they are used like wovens, rather than stretchy wraps. Bali Breeze are best used in multi-layer carries, and are not available in shorter lengths that would be used in single layers.
Natibaby wraps are among the most popular wovens on the market due to the variety of colors, designs, and fiber content, all produced to meet their reputation for safety, comfort and beauty. Natibaby wraps are available in all cotton, linen blends, bamboo blends, wool blends and hemp blends, giving families a greater variety to choose from. Note the care instructions for whichever wrap you are eyeing as they vary depending on what fiber the wraps are made from. Natibaby wraps are made in Poland.
Lenny Lamb, also in Poland, makes wraps that are soft, supportive, and generally beloved to those who own them. Wrap Your Baby currently stocks only one Lenny Lamb wrap at this time: the Day of the Dead wrap made exclusively for Wrap Your Baby in several color choices.
Easycare makes thin, supportive striped wraps that are super nice to wrap and wear, and easy to care for, too, in 100% cotton. They are made in Austria. At this time Wrap Your Baby carries one Easycare wrap: the exclusive Rainbow Baby that will be restocked in February 2014.
Storchenwiege wraps have a reputation for being very sturdy, supportive with even the heaviest kiddos, and being indestructible. This means easy care: you can machine wash and dry them. They make great hammocks and swings for the kids (tied around a tree branch or porch railing, or suspended under a top bunk). And they come in many colors and lengths for years of happy babywearing. The Storch stripes are a flat twill weave with almost a denim feel, that becomes floppy and moldable with use and washing and are known as very “toddler-worthy” wraps. The Leo weave is a famously soft and fluffy, or cushy, weave that is airier than the stripes, and beloved to many. Storchenwiege has an organic line called Bio Louise, with a unique pattern and a thinner, cooler weave than other Storchs (which can be quite warm in hot weather), makes a smaller knot than other storchs, and is quite grippy and supportive.
Colimacon et Cie wraps are newer on the market, but so far have great reviews. The Miel et Malice from C&C are a wonderfully affordable 100% organic wrap option that feels a little thinner than a new Storchenweige, and is floppier right out of the package, needing less breaking in. It is a flat, grippy weave, becomes soft and moldable after a little use and washing. It is in the same general category as a Storchenwiege being a strong, supportive workhorse of a wrap, and great for toddlers. The M&M wraps are available in a rainbow of rich colors and they are all solid colors, rather than stripes.
The Colimacon et Cie Biotiful wrap is a unique wrap in 50% organic cotton and 50% organic linen for a 100% organic wrap that is ultra supportive (a property of linen). It is undyed and untreated, offering the benefits of natural fibers, but it starts out rather thick and stiff due to being untreated. It is recommended that it be washed prior to the first use to soften it up a bit, and the more often it is washed and used, the more flexible and soft it will become. This wrap is great for a rock-solid carry with a heavy toddler or pre-schooler, but it is great for infants, too, with no dyes or chemicals to worry about!
Ellevill are more of a high-end, luxury wrap. Perfect for newborn through toddler, and a great wrap that could serve all of your needs for many years, but with some fancier weaves and patterns, and a higher price tag. Zara is an immensely popular weave, and there are collectors with large wrap collections almost exclusively consisting of Ellevill Zara wraps, which are so beloved. They are not only very soft and comfortable, but extremely beautiful designs, available in a wide range of striking colors from soft and subtle, to bold contrasts. The Paisleys are a gorgeous and delicate eastern design in amazing colors which like the Zaras, are available in cotton or a cotton/linen blend for a cooler, more supportive fabric. Ellevill’s Norwegian wool design is perfect for chilly days in 50% cotton and 50% wool in a jacquard weave that is super soft and comes in lovely colors. Unlike the other Ellevill wraps that are manufactured in India, the Norwegian wool wraps are manufactured in China. All Ellevill wraps are certified to be produced under humane working conditions.
As these are all wonderful and reliable wraps, your best bet for deciding may be in shopping for the one you like the appearance of best. You may enjoy shopping for wraps by color to find the one that is just right for your tastes. Most of the differences between the brands are fairly subtle, especially for a new wrapper, and need only be considered if you suspect yourself of being particular sensitive to one particular feature, for example if you are easily over-heated, or if you have sensitive shoulders and specifically want a thick and cushy wrap.
- You might choose a Bali Baby Breeze or EllaRoo–or perhaps an Ellevill in cotton or linen–if you are particularly concerned about the heat.
- You might choose an EllaRoo or Ellevill for a sturdier option in warm weather.
- You might choose a Miel et Malice (from Colimacon et Cie) or Storchenwiege for the most sizing options.
- You might choose a Storchenwiege, Colimacon et Cie, Ellevill, Natibaby, Lenny Lamb, or EasyCare for more support and a more forgiving fabric.
- You might choose a Bali Breeze for a wrap that folds down small and can fit in a diaper bag.
- You might choose a Colimacon et Cie, Storchenwiege, or Ellevill for an organic wrap option.
- You might choose an Ellevill for luxurious fabrics like silk.
- You might choose a C&C Biotiful for a totally untreated, undyed, organic wrap.
- You might choose a Natibaby for more fiber options (hemp, bamboo, linen, wool)
- You might choose a Lenny Lamb if you like skulls or the Day of the Dead.
- You might choose a Bali Breeze if you prefer the batiked designs and tie-dye effect coloring to the more conventional woven wrap style.