In my time as both a nanny and a mother, I’ve found babywearing to be an amazing way to keep my hands free while keeping my child content and snug, with plenty of snuggles. When I was pregnant with my first child, I immediately and enthusiastically dove into the babywearing world and loved many of the stretchy wraps and soft structure carriers I tried.
The unicorn of baby wraps, however, seemed to be the more expensive and sought-after woven wraps. Because they’re made of sturdy woven material, they are the only wraps you can use for wearing your baby on your back. While soft-structure carriers also provide this function, they don’t have the same sort of snug fit or intricate and comfortable variety of carries. They also don’t come in as beautiful of colors. To say I was beyond thrilled to try out Hip Baby Wrap’s Classic Wrap and Classic Sling ($58-68) is an understatement. The day the box was delivered felt like Christmas morning.
Beautiful and unique
The first impression you’ll get of this company’s wraps is one of color. Both styles are available in a rainbow of vibrant colors and subtle patterns. Both styles are made with beautiful 100 percent cotton, hand-loomed, breathable fabric. The Sling is looped carefully through a top quality, solid aluminum sling ring. They’re easily adjustable for front tummy-to-tummy and hip carries for babies 8-35 pounds.
The Classic wrap, in contrast, has no metal piece: it’s simply a (very) long stretch of fabric that the caregiver must learn to tie properly into place. Both styles boast an ergonomic design, which is supposed to help distribute the weight of the baby evenly and comfortably across the caregiver’s body, relieving the shoulders and neck from unnecessary strain. Both designs are machine washable, use uniquely designed lightweight fabric that make the wraps cooler for baby and easier to manipulate, are great for nursing on the go or being used as nursing covers, enhance parent-child bonding and child development, are all made using fair trade, and are individually handwoven with eco-friendly non-toxic dyes in India. In short: each wrap is beautiful and unique.
The sling: Sturdy and secure
I won’t lie: learning to use these wraps and slings is definitely more difficult than throwing on an Ergo carrier or a Baby K’tan wrap. You have to practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. The sling is infinitely easier than the wrap, as there’s no tying involved. It comes with a small guidebook, but I found it easier to watch Youtube tutorials so that I could follow along while I practiced putting the sling on. I love using ring slings for infants and found this sling to be of excellent quality. The fabric texture prevented any sort of slipping and the sling ring kept the fabric secure. I’ve used cheap slings in the past which slip and slide uncomfortably, so this was a big selling point for me. While my toddler finds the sling a bit more restrictive, whenever he’s teething or incredibly clingy he loves it and its tight hold around his body.
For an older child, a ring sling does seem to put more weight on the caregiver’s hips, which I don’t love, but I do really appreciate the convenience of a sling. You can pop it on really quickly and it makes for a great means of getting a baby up and down stairs if you have your hands full. I also use it a lot for holding a small child while taking the stroller out of the car or breaking it down. For an small infant, it’s even nicer because they weigh so little and it makes nursing while out and about really convenient.
The wrap: Tough, but worth it
The wrap is more difficult, but so worth it. Wearing in the front is rewarding enough, but if you master the backcarry you feel like a pro. Once again, I found youtube videos to be more helpful than the small instructional packet. My son is 14 months and resisted at first, but then began giggling and clapping the very first time I successfully managed to backwear him in the Classic Wrap.
The colors of the wrap I chose, a vivid blue with a lighter stripe on the top and bottom, proved to be a great pattern for learning to wrap. The stripe always let me easily see where the top and bottoms of the sides were, which is pretty important when you’re still fumbling around during the tying process. I also really liked how sturdy the fabric was. While my tying is still not as tight as I’d like to get it, the fabric holds in place quite well. I’m able to vacuum, wash dishes, and fold clothes easily while my toddler chatters away behind me and plays with my hair.
My son is starting to get a bit heavy, so I’m looking forward to using this wrap with an infant this fall. I think one of my favorite parts about this wrap, too, is just how bright and beautiful the fabric looks while being worn. I can certainly better understand why many mothers who babywear become addicted to purchasing different colored and patterned wraps.
The bottom line
I would highly recommend Hip Baby Wrap’s gorgeous wraps and slings! Not only is this company quick to send the product out, but the wraps are also priced quite reasonably for being such high-quality and beautiful woven wraps. I’m quite confident that both the Wrap and the Sling will hold up to lots of love and wear and bring many peaceful and productive hours to my life.