Image of the tails of a long woven wrap baby carrier by Lenny Lamb on a white model showing the model's hand. The print is Hematite, a grey and black geometric pattern.
Ah, the long woven wrap! Seen by many as the "one true" baby carrier, the long woven wrap has a rich history across cultures, starting with relatively short pieces of fabric (2m / 6') up to 6m (18')+ ! Many traditional cultures today still prefer shorter lengths for traditional sling carries, which can resemble ring slings to those of us more familiar with the carriers with sewn-in rings.
Perhaps because fabric is easier to find and make than carriers with buckles and rings, long woven fabrics to carry babies have had a special place in the hearts of many for many years! Although you will still find examples of cradleboards and other carriers that hold baby in a swaddle in a stiff backed "backpack"-- an SSC precursor, if you will--used by some traditional cultures today, and many other styles of carriers developed throughout the world.
Although the fabric content, weight, weave, and length can vary, a long woven wrap is a long piece of woven fabric strong enough to carry infants through toddlers (and beyond!), held in place with knots. These finishes can be embellished with added rings and loops and twists for flair!
Pros of a long woven wrap:
- Plenty of fabric choices for customization
- Can be modified hundreds of ways depending on caregiver preference! In a single day a wrap can go from front carry to back carry to hip carry, can be single or multi-pass over baby, can be over both shoulders, one shoulder, or no shoulders at all, without needing any additional tools. This allows for ultimate flexibility to the physical condition and needs of the caregiver and child
- Fabric can be used for other purposes while out, such as a blanket or nursing cover
- Ultimate adjustability as baby grows--the same wrap could be used for a child just hours old as well as for a child well into preschool. The length of extra fabric and carries chosen may change, but the principle is the same
- Available in stunning soft and strong colors and textures, making a beautiful statement piece
- Can be rolled up into a diaper bag (although longer wraps take up more space and take longer to gather up!)
- Promotes the ultimate snuggly factor in babywearing closeness
- Extra layers of wrap are cozy for cooler weather
Cons of a long woven wrap:
- The "base size" for most is what most would consider a lottttt of fabric. It takes time to get used to it and coordinate it all
- Extra fabric may require tying around the body multiple times, multiple knots, or some long fabric hanging down, which some do not like
- It takes time to master tightening and the different carries available
- Too much choice can be confusing and overwhelming when selecting a wrap
- Tails will likely drag on the ground as you tie in public places, etc., which may mean cleaning more than other carriers
- Wraps do best with a break-in period that some don't like. Although Lenny Lamb wraps are soft from the beginning, they do continue to soften and break in over time.
- Some caregivers have mobility issues that make tightening a wrap harder and require some modifications
- Depending on the fabric type and carry chosen, some find this carrier too warm for being outside in the heat
So, who is likely to enjoy using a long woven baby carrier?
You might like a long woven wrap if:
- You are excited by beautiful fabric and the creativity of different carries
- You want the ultimate cuddles of a snuggly wrap
- You can think of a thousand ways to use extra fabric when out with baby
- You want a carrier that lasts your whole babywearing journey
- You need a carrier with ultimate customization options for different caregivers or caregivers with different mobility needs
You may not like a woven wrap if:
- Fabric length seems daunting
- You don't want to have to memorize different carries and ways to tie
- You don't want to or can't physically tighten down the wrap each time
- You are looking for a more familiar way to put baby on you, such as a backpack style buckle carrier (soft structured carrier or SSC)
Want help with length, sizing, and other tips? Stay tuned for Part 2: What size woven wrap do I need? And more parts to come!
What do you think of the long woven wrap? Do you love it or is it not for you? Let me know!
Looking for a long woven baby carrier? We carry stunning Lenny Lamb designs here: https://mama-roo.com/collections/long-woven-wraps