Why I'm a Wrapper
The internet is awash with articles detailing why babywearing in pretty much any form is great for both babies and their grown-ups. Babywearing makes for comforted, emotionally secure babies, and parents who are less prone to stress & postnatal depression. It frees up your hands, and enables you to go places that buggies fail to tread. In short, as long as you follow the safe babywearing guidelines (including the 'T.I.C.K.S rule') then whatever babywearing option you prefer is awesome. My husband loves our soft structured 'buckles' carrier (SSC) for its ease of use, but I'm a wrapper at heart. Here's why I bother with all that "ninja origami wrapping lark":
The Carrying Chameleon
One wrap can be used for loads of different carries, and for your child from birth through to the end of your babywearing years. There's no need to buy different sizes of carriers as they grow; one wrap will carry your newborn on your front, your preschooler on your back and many carries in between. Of course, once you start wrapping, you may well feel the urge to buy more than one wrap anyway... for this I cannot be held responsible!
What's more, a woven wrap is so much more than a baby carrier. Your wrap will double up as a baby blanket, a shawl for you, an emergency towel in event of over exuberant paddling, a comforter... the list goes on.
As if that isn't enough, your wrap continues its usefulness long after babywearing ends. Many people sell their wraps when their now not-so-little ones no longer want to be carried, taking advantage of a still healthy (compared to other used goods) second hand resale market. However, if emotional attachment to your wrap(s) prohibits such a sale, then you're left with a beautiful piece of woven art that can be re-purposed as you choose. I've justified many a wrap purchase by telling myself what a perfect bed runner / throw / pillow case / comforter it will make one day!
Deliverance from Drabness
After my son was born, I scoured my wardrobe looking for clothes that fitted, facilitated boob-access for breastfeeding, were comfortable to wear and wouldn't be terminally affected by coming into contact with baby bodily fluids. Unhappily, the satisfaction of these basic criteria resulted in the immediate elimination of 99% of my clothes. I was left with an 'attractive' selection of black leggings, long vests and chronically faded baggy tops that hadn't seen the light of day since I graduated from uni.
The lack of self-expression, variety and colour in this enforced 'capsule wardrobe' left me feeling as though I'd lost a part of what made me me. Wraps filled this deficit, becoming a part of my 'wardrobe' in a way that no other type of carrier could, injecting colour, beauty & individuality back into my life.
They're just so comfy!
When used correctly, wraps are incredibly comfortable for both wrapper and 'wrappee'. The weight of your little one is distributed across the length & width of the fabric, instead of a couple of narrow straps, and there's no waist belt to dig into your belly and emphasise those oh-so-attractive bits of mummy padding! More importantly, as well as being super soft and mouldable, wraps facilitate the positioning of your baby in the ergonomic 'M position', which is widely considered to be preferable to and more comfortable than the 'dangling leg position' used by some high street carriers.
The Wrapping Community
Knowing that we'd be moving across the country a couple of weeks after our little boy was born, we didn't bother with NCT classes or anything like that. I figured we'd build a social network in our new area and foresaw no issues with meeting people & making friends in my new role as 'stay at home mum'. I mean, how hard could it be?! It hadn't occurred to me that the lack of colleagues, workplace outside the home, or evenings out might impact on my ability to interact with other grown-ups.
The Wrapping community saved the day. It really is pretty special, and easily accessible through social media. Through buying, selling and chatting about wraps, I've made some of my best 'real life' 'mummy' friends. We've gone to conventions, local meet-ups and found lots of like-minded, friendly people who share our interests not only in wrapping and babywearing, but in other aspects of parenting and life.