Hi, my name is Anne and i'm mum to 3 amazing boys, the youngest is only 8 weeks old, I'm a Trageschule trained babywearing peer supporter and advocate.
I want to talk today about stretchy wraps, now I'm a big fan of all things woven but I have a real soft spot for my stretchies, for anyone who hasn't come across them a stretchy wrap is a piece of fabric that has enough stretch in it to be pre tied and baby can be put in afterwards, usually made from a soft supple jersey type fabric as opposed to a woven wrap which is woven from a variety of fabrics and doesn't have any give in it. These are really good for people new to babywearing as they are extremely forgiving of a sloppy wrap job and perfect for teeny tiny babies.
An important function of any kind of carrier is skin to skin and closeness with your baby, this is where the stretchy really comes into its own, it is one of the wraps of choice for babies needing kangaroo care, which is where a baby is kept on its parents chest, bare skin to bare skin, this helps to regulate their breathing, heartbeat and temperature, boosts the mothers oxytocin hormone which is essential for bonding and breastfeeding, helps them feel safe and also is just the most amazing feeling in the world. This is especially important with premature babies.
There is increasing evidence that is showing that babywearing can help prevent or help with the recovery of post natal depression too, by boosting hormones and just having the infant in contact with its parent (or carer).
Stretchy wraps in particular are ideal for newborn to 6 months, they provide a gentle yet supple support for a babies developing spine and hips, they can be used for as long as they are supporting baby in the optimum positions (m shaped legs, following T.I.C.K.S) I used mine up to 12 months with my son - mainly because I was scared of woven wraps though.
In the early days of a new baby, stretchy wraps are really lovely for Daddy to use, bare skin to bare skin can really help the bond between father and child, essentially if mum is breastfeeding and dad is feeling a bit left out, the feeling of being close will benefit both dad and baby, help them get to know each other and give baby comfort whilst giving mum a break to have a bath or a hot meal and brew!
Speaking of breastfeeding, once you've got the hang of tying the wrap and breastfeeding is well established you can combine them both, it takes practice but it means much more freedom (if you really have to get up and go somewhere - if you don't then make the most of being stuck to the sofa!) I find my newest boy likes to time his feeds around the school run, so this skill has become invaluable to me, and most people don't even know you're feeding until they peek into your coat to see the baby. (He once unlatched and managed to spray milk at an unsuspecting parent!).
My last and most favourite thing about stretchies is they're so practical, I can tie one on then pop my coat over the top, so in nasty icy sleet on the school run I simply lean into the car, pop baby into the pre tied wrap, zip my coat (actually daddies that I borrowed as it's big enough to go around us both) up over the wrap and wander into the playground keeping us both warm and dry without any messing around with long woven wrap tails dropping in the wet, then simply pop them back out when you're back at the car without taking your coat off.
Hello, my name is Bisi, babywearing consultant (SoB CIC), mother to two cheeky & very special kids (Joy and Joseph). Our 3rd baby has been christened Joy&Joe baby wrap slings! and we loveeee babywearing :)