How I Use (and LOVE) a Great Stretchy Baby Wrap
I'm going to start by letting you in on a BIG secret: I LOVE Boba! No kidding? NO KIDDING! Ha ha, right? The truth is that this is the truth. I wouldn't be working for the company in myriad capacities over the years along with making sure every dear friend I have gets their products if I wasn't a huge use-'em-and-love-'em fan. They don't pay me to say these things. Wait. Actually, they sort of do, but my views are my own.
I was recently joining a live Facebook chat over at our friend Jessica's The Leaky Boob FB Page, and I was really happy to see so many people talking about how "babywearing" (that's hip mama speak for holding your baby close-as-clothes in a baby carrier) promotes bonding and health. I was a little surprised though, with all the reviews and advice-type write-ups published across the web for all sorts of carriers, that several questions were posed up about which kind of carriers are best for nursing. Others wanted to know what was best for their newborn. Others, for their toddler. With so much interest in babywearing and keeping our kids hugged in as we traverse streets and kitchens galore, questions abound. So, I thought I'd take a moment to give a big shout out for the stretchy wrap, especially Boba Wrap, of course!
We used the Boba Wrap from Day 2 through 6 months, napping, nursing, working, and more
As I was healing from my homebirth, keeping to my bed for a few days, and otherwise enjoying the afterglow, my partner joined in the bonding big time. We practiced skin-to-skin with our little one pretty much non-stop for the first two weeks, my partner included. He absolutely loved wearing our little girl in the wrap. She snoozed while he helped around the house and made me yummy food. He's spread the love so much that we have four other male friends and family who, having welcomed new babies into the family this year, discovered the joys of babywearing their wee ones in the wrap, too. It's so sweet to see them at parties with their babes in wraps! Just melts my heart.
After I was up and around after birth, I kept our little flower in the wrap at least a few hours a day. It was her favorite napping spot, and my favorite snuggle spot. As my daughter grew, her view from the Boba Wrap, snuggled in heart-to-heart, became a calming and joyful vantage point from which to view the world. From beach strolls to farmer's markets to family gathers, hanging together in the Boba Wrap made getting around with her easier and sweeter than I can imagine having her in a buggy (not that there is anything wrong with a buggy, but we just found it so much easier to use the wrap than to haul around a stroller). My daughter was a happy, confident newborn and I know our bond, our closeness contributed a lot to that.
I've seen a lot of bigger babies carried comfortably in the stretchy wrap, and it's plenty supportive for them. We love our Boba Carrier so much, though, that we pretty much switched to that exclusively after 6 months.
Key points for wrap success:
1. Start early - Mothers of older babies sometimes report a bigger learning curve for their babies if they aren't used to being snuggled close in a wrap carrier. These babies usually get the hang of it after a few times and settle in for the the joys of a snug fit, but if you can start early it will help get your baby used to being held this way, in addition to providing the myriad health and bonding benefits of babywearing.
2. Get a nice snug fit - Baby should sit hight and tight heart-to-heart so you can kiss the top of their head. The fabric hugs them and harkens to the safety and containment of the womb. The fabric should be spread out across your back for the highest level of comfort.
3. Consider your wrap as wardrobe - As I used the wrap really often throughout the day, I often just got dressed and put it on in the morning as part of my outfit. This gave me a leg-up on sudden babywearing needs, and let me put on the wrap in a relaxed way. A few times, when we were doing a lot of skin-to-skin, I just wore the wrap as my shirt (made nursing extra easy). I also acquired the skill to get the wrap on fast and seamless after just a few times using it. It may seem like a lot of fabric, but once you do it up a couple of times and discover your own tricks, it's quite easy. Here's the video on how to tie a stretchy baby wrap (Boba Wrap):
4. Nurse in the wrap - I learned from Boba founder Elizabeth how easy it is to nurse in the wrap. I loosened the tail a little, stuck my hands in to the seat area, pushed the seat down to bring the baby lower, lifted my breast with one hand to help my little get a good latch, and held her head with my other hand. I could stick a rolled up dish towel under my breast to keep it at a good level so I had one hand free to do all sorts of other things.
5. Free-up the legs - Once your baby is big enough, let their legs out (follow the user manual for insights into when it's best, because every baby is different). Always keep the fabric panels that make up the seat pulled to the back of the knee for full hip and leg support. When your baby is a newborn, it's important to keep their legs in that hip-loving "M" position by putting them in with "frog" legs or in the fetal position. This popular Boba post about why not to carry babies facing forward offers a lot of insight into proper child alignment when babywearing (and what not to do).
6. Tails forward - If no. 3 above (wrap as wardrobe) suits you, or you're just taking your wee one out long enough for carseat time on the way to somewhere where you'll slip her back in, etc. it's helpful to tie your tail in the front so it doesn't bother you when you sit down and lean back into your own seat. The Boba Wrap is long to accommodate a wide range of body types, so front ties can leave a bit of fabric for moms with thinner middles. I'm not thin, but I do have a little extra fabric left over when I front tie. I don't mind my tails hanging down a little (it's not long enough to trip on or anything), but I've seen some moms tuck them in, tie them in a bow, or even cut them after they figure out what length they really need (in addition to an extra wrap around for a back tie).
7. Double up if you can - If you happen to be gifted two Boba Wraps at your baby shower, I suggest keeping them both (or exchanging for your fav colors, of course). It's nice to have an extra to keep in the car and for laundry days. Spills, spit up and hormonal forgetfulness are par for the course in the first months, so it's nice (but not necessary) to have a back up. My two favs are the orange and the beige.
8. Safety first - Last, but never least, always be certain baby's airway is clear, there is space between chin and chest (insert two fingers to check) and that you can kiss the top of baby's head. Like with any baby product, please read Boba's baby wrap safety documentation.
I think what sets Boba Wrap apart from other wraps is three-fold:
- Boba Wrap is extra soft. It's amazingly cozy.
- Boba Wrap is nice and long, so it's great for bigger moms and offers more options for tying preferences of all moms.
- Boba is an awesome family company that does a lot of advocacy and outreach for the health of children. I am happy to support them and their work.