Posted by Special guest blogger on 11/3/2014 to Care of Woven Wraps
My theory about breaking in a wrap is, the more you can rub the fibres of the fabric together or over other material, the softer it will become. Please take care not to snag your wrap on anything, finger nails, watches, bracelets, rings, splinters; anything you are going touch your wrap with should be checked. With that in mind I have these techniques to help break in the toughest of linen blends or your soft and squishy combed cotton blend.
Braiding - When I got my first woven wrap I heard about braiding and looked it up on the web. This is my ‘sitting in front of the TV not even thinking about it’ technique.
Pull Throughs - Holding the end of the wrap in your left hand wrap the material round your hand and begin to pull it though the hole, tighten the hole by pulling on the short end. Pull the material through the hole until just before you get the other end, then, pull it back again. Repeat this as many times as you like. This is another one for sitting watching TV.
Wearing – With or without a baby, wearing your wrap as much as possible will speed up the process immensely. Even in bed. Or you can use it as a blanket a seat cover in the car. Contact with your heat and movement are the key here.
Washing, tumble drying and steam iron – (NOT FOR WOOLLEN WRAPS). Your wrap may need to be washed to get to get it to it’s final length, just like any store bought item of clothing it will shrink in it’s first wash. This is not a fault, it is just what happens. Most wraps can be tumble dried and ironed but always check the care instructions of your wrap, all joking aside I will not be paying for a new silk wrap if you wash it without following a care label. During the breaking in process I put a wrap into the tumble drier any time it is on and I’m not using the wrap. So I stick it in with my cloth nappies, (I take out any with aplix just incase they snag) first thing in the morning and then take it out when I’m heading out for the school run at 8.30; a lovely cozy warm sling for a lovely morning walk.
Banister weaving – This is one of my own techniques, find a sturdy banister with posts or a, well secured, stair gate. Weave the wrap in and out a couple of times and then pull it through until the other end just reaches the start of the weave. Alternatively you can stand close to the stair gate or the banister and hold both sides pull it back and forth a few times then pulling it through to work the next section and repeat until the end of the wrap. My eldest son likes to use the first way as he thinks it’s a game of tug of war. Work the entire wrap.
Boa– Another of my own techniques. Again using a banister post or a, well secured, stair gate wrap the end round the post and then over the wrap twice. Start pulling the short end and just supporting the long end so it stays straight the short end has to snake around it to move. Pull the long end to bring it back to the starting point while supporting the short end. Repeat this step a few times. To move to the next part of the wrap, don’t pull it back once. Continue until you have worked the entire wrap.
Carries - We all have our favourite carries, or more accurately the ones we know and are comfortable with. I love breaking in a new wrap as I always try new carries to keep my interest. I like to go to my local sling library and learn a new carry with the guidance of a babywearing consultant, getting feedback and going at the right pace for me is a vital part of doing any new technique safely. Some wraps will be suitable for some carries straight away, others won’t and that it the whole point of breaking then in. For example I know that when I can do a robbin’s hip carry, easily, with a long wrap the wrap is ready for anything. So practice your carries and see how pretty each carry is in your new wrap.
Hammock under a table - (check the safety of your chosen table before trying this technique, if you are unsure at all do not tie your wrap to the table) tie your long wrap over your table with a double knot, making sure it can take the weight so the pocket is underneath. If you have soft play mats I would suggest you put these under the table too. The wrap should be a about a foot / 30cm off the floor to allow a small person to get into the hammock and it not be touching the floor. If it does touch the floor, ask the child to get out and tie the wrap a little higher. Do not untie the wrap with a child in the hammock.
Hammock with two adults - (adults should be in good health and not have any back injuries or pain anywhere in their body) lay the wrap flat on to soft play mats. Have a sensible older child lie flat on the wrap length ways keeping their hands and legs inside the wrap. At the same time the adults gently lift the end of the wrap using both hands, one foot in front of the other and standing at 45 degrees to the wrap, knees slightly bent. Once the child is about 3or 4 inches / 10 cms from the floor you can gently swing the wrap from side to side. Let the movement stop before gently lowering the wrap to the ground for the child to get out.