When I first started to attend my local babywearing meetings, I was firmly in the soft structured carrier and meh dai camp. I saw the wrap table from across the room, and completely dismissed that it could be anything I would be interested in. It looked too complicated. When I finally got curious about wrapping, I was afraid of all the fabric, and started with a very short wrap, a base -4 (don't worry, we'll get into what that means.) I abandoned wrapping pretty quickly after maybe a month of playing with that, it was just too hard to get right. Little did I know that a longer wrap likely would have been easier! By choosing a very short wrap, I was giving myself very little wiggle room if I didn't tie the carry perfectly. Then I went to a wrapping workshop and tried a base size wrap, and everything made more sense! I have tried a lot of different wraps since then, and have come to love wrapping as a very supportive, customizable, and beautiful form of babywearing. This all brings me to one of the most common babywearing questions I hear: What size wrap should I get?
Disclaimer: I am currently a Soul brand ambassador, which influences which wraps have been featured in this post, but does not in any way impact the information below. All opinions are genuine and my own.
There are a couple factors to consider:
1. What's your base size? Your base size wrap, is the length wrap that you can do a front wrap cross carry with. If you watch any of my wrapping videos, you'll see I refer to "our" base size, because it will change as your child grows, so it's really my son and my collective size. My base size with my toddler is a size larger than my base size with the infant I care for. If you don't have a wrap to try this out with, you can vaguely guess based on shirt size, as illustrated by this graphic from Babywearing International:
I would say these estimates are for wrapping an infant, my base size with my toddler is a 6, and I usually wear an XS. Now that you know what your base size is, you can take other factors into consideration.
2. What kind of carries do you want to do? I would say there are a couple main factors to figuring this part out. Do you plan on doing mostly front carries or back carries? Do you plan on wearing for long periods at a time, or just for short tasks? Is it hot where you live? Is your child patient with being wrapped? I made a this little infographic to help you make a decision about what wrap size to try. Everyone has different preferences, and they change as you and your child changes, and as you learn more about wrapping you will learn what works best for you, but this guide should land you with something that will work for your situation and be fun to try a few different carries with. This is an amazing list of carries by size relative to base, and how difficult they are, from BWI of Hampton Roads.
My two favorite sizes with my toddler are base -2 and base +1. I like the smaller one for quick tasks around the house, like running to the basement for laundry, and the bigger one for longer walks. My toddler is fairly patient with being wrapped, so when we are going out for longer walks I like to do a multi-layer carry that really distributes the weight. WIth the infant I watch, I prefer a base size wrap, so I can do a lot of the standard, multi-layer front carries she likes to nap in. My friend Theresa at Wraps, Slings, and Harmony says her favorite is "Base-2, almost all the goodness of a base but less fabric when my impatient toddler needs me to be quick!" Kelsey from Babywearing Bilingüe says "I typically stick to my Base - 3 wraps. They're quick and easy to use and I can wrap without tails dragging on the ground. When the toddler wants down, I can use it as a scarf or tie around my waist until he needs back up." Finally, Val from LNO Babywearing says "Base -2. Not too long to be overwhelming, but still so many options. Lots of front and back in cooler temperature single layer carries or more supportive double layer carries." As you can see, base -2 is a very popular size!
I do really enjoy having a variety of lengths of wrap! Here are examples of me wearing: Base -2, Base -1, Base, and Base +2:
Base -2, Ruck with Candy Cane Chest Belt, Soul Maze Pride
Base -1, Rear Reinforced Ruck, tied Tibetan (not that you can see the front), Soul Fennel Handwoven
Base Size Wrap, Double Hammock with a Candy Cane Chest Belt, Soul Maze Umi
Base +2, Ridiculously fancy Double Hammock with a bunch of extra stuff going on, Soul Maze. Base +2 wraps are fun for getting really creative with fancy finishes.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what size wrap to try! As always, when in doubt, check out your nearest babywearing group, or ask a friend who wraps if you can borrow something. One thing I love about the babywearing community, is as far as I've found, everyone is excited to share! What are your favorite wrap sizes relative to your base? Why?
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