This photo tutorial shows step by step instructions for tying & using a two way stretchy wrap. If you would prefer a video tutorial, we have one here.
To find out if your stretchy wrap is a one way wrap or a two way stretchy wrap, you can try to stretch it width ways & length ways. One way stretchy wraps will only stretch width ways, whereas a two way stretchy wrap will stretch both width ways & length ways. Here at South London Sling Library we prefer two way stretchies, as they are slightly easier to use for new (sleep deprived) parents.
The first step is to find the middle marker on your wrap, this may be a label sewn into the hem, or a logo on the front, & place this middle marker high on your chest. Take the ends of the wrap behind you & cross them over.
Bring the wrap up over your shoulders, creating a cross on your back & allow the straps to fall in front of you.
Bundle up the ends of the wrap that are hanging down over your shoulders & push them down through the middle section.
At this stage the wrap forms an ‘H’ on your front – cross the ends over, to make an ‘X’.
Then bring the ends behind you, cross them over again, bring them back to the front & tie off in a double knot.
The horizontal section (with the label/middle marker) is known as the seatbelt layer – you can now bunch this section up & put it down near your knot. Put your thumbs under the straps that are coming over your shoulders & push out in front of you – this shows how much space you have, which you can adjust if necessary. When you let go of these straps, they should “ping” back towards your body, it’s this “ping” that will hold your baby. (If the wrap does not ping back, undo your knot, pull to tighten the wrap re-tie your knot & try again.)
At this stage, it may be helpful to work out which strap (left or right shoulder) is the one that is closest to your body. It dosn’t matter which side of the wrap you put your baby into first, but when you go to spread the fabric across the baby’s body, you will need to start with this layer.
Now pick up your baby & place them high up on your shoulder (burp position).
Supporting baby with one arm, put your other hand under the fabric on your opposite shoulder. Stretch this fabric down & take it round one of baby’s feet. Leave it by baby’s foot/lower leg – don’t move the fabric up towards the baby’s groin.
Now gently move your baby over to your second shoulder & repeat the process on the other side. Put your hand under the fabric near your shouder, stretch it down & around baby’s other foot, & leave it near their lower leg/foot.
Now centre your baby into your chest, leaving the fabric in their knee pits & allow their bottom to come down over the fabric & their knees to lift. You may have already seen your baby hold themselves in this position, it’s known as the “M-shape” or “froggy” position. Your baby will also have a lovely “J-shape” to their spine (as seen below). This is a very natural position for a newborn & we simply want to support baby in this position.
Now take your “inside” layer – this is the one you identified earlier, as being the layer closest to your body – & spread it out accross your baby. You want it to spread from one knee pit, accross into the other knee pit, & almost shoulder to shoulder. Then do the same with the second layer.
No you want to find your seatbelt layer. This is on the back of your ribs, around bra strap level. Grab it like a rope, so you’ve got all your fingers round it, or your thumb tucked under it & pull it down & lift it over baby’s leg.
Do the same on the other side to put the seatbelt layer over the second leg. You should now be able to unroll the seatbelt layer up over baby.
Now run through your TICKS Safety Guidelines to ensure that baby is safe & secure.
If you need to open up the area around baby’s face to make them visible, simply take the edge of the fabric that’s closest to your neck &, making sure it stays up by the nape of baby’s neck, pull it out over your shoulder. (You can do this on either side.)
When you need to take baby out of the wrap, lower the seatbelt layer & tuck it under baby’s bottom, then start to support the baby as you open the layers that cross over on the baby’s back & tuck them under the baby’s bottom.
Open the second layer & again, tuck it under the baby’s bottom. You should then be able to get your hands around your baby’s torso & …
…gently lift them, either onto your shoulder, or straight up & out, Lion King Style (extra points if you can sing the song!
If you’d like some “in person” help, you’re welcome to come to one of our Drop In Sessions, a New Baby Workshop (Crystal Palace or Lewisham), or Private Consultation in Crystal Palace or Lewisham.
And just in case you need it, here’s our video about using your stretchy wrap as a breastfeeding aid.