So, you want to learn how to tame your beast? Got a brand new woven wrap that just isn’t quite as smooshy as it could be? You’re in the right place!
First thing’s first: not all wraps need to be broken in. Many (in fact most, I would say) come soft right out of the box, so after a wash and iron (see our instructions on how to wash your woven wrap) it’s pretty good to go. It might get a bit softer with use, similar to your favourite pair of jeans, but it’s not like you need to do anything else before you can wear it.
But some wraps take a little bit of work before they reach their full potential. A number of factors might cause a wrap to need more breaking in, including:
So if after washing your wrap and ironing it (if stated in the care instructions), it still feels crunchy, rough, or a little hard to tighten and mould, it would benefit from some extra lovin’ to get it all nice and smooshy. Here are some ideas for what you could do to soften it up!
Steam baby, steam!
Generally speaking, a beastly wrap will benefit from moist warmth, so a good steam ironing every now and then will go a long way to breaking your wrap in. Just check the care label first – but if it’s a cotton, linen, or hemp blend, you’re probably all good!
Again, check your care label for directions, but if you have an easy-care wrap, a little tumble-drying can help the fibres soften nicely.
Into the Car
Pop your wrap in a bag (so it’s out of the sun) and leave it in your hot car. The extra warmth will work wonders!
Do you have a toddler or small child? A table with smooth edges (nothing your wrap could catch on!)? Perfect. Tie your woven wrap over the top of the table with a secure knot, and let your child lie under the table in their own hammock. It should even keep them occupied for a while. Another option is to tie your wrap over the top of your cot for some (supervised) baby hammock time.
BIG Person Hammock
If you own your own hammock, perhaps you could tie your woven wrap over the top? Tie it with just enough tension to stretch a little when you lie down, and your wrap will break in nicely! Just make sure you spread out both pieces of fabric (the wrap and main hammock) so that you have enough support. Added bonus? You get some well-earned rest!
Braiding your wrap on itself is a great way to get those fibres softening up. Braiding is the same as crocheting a chain, or doing multiple slip-knots in a row. Make a loop of fabric, and pull more fabric through that loop to make another loop, and then repeat until you run out of wrap.
Give it a Beating
If you’ve braided your wrap, now is a great time to beat it! Seriously. Throw that baby on the ground hard, like a whip. Just be warned, this could inflict damage on anything or anyone it hits, so be careful. It’s also louder than you might expect, so maybe save this one for when no one’s asleep (yep, I learnt this the hard way).
If you have stair railings, chair backs, or even a cot railing at your disposal, this is a good one! Simply weave your wrap back and forth across the rails. You can even pull it back and forth to help with breaking in.
Run Through Rings
If you have some sling rings at your disposal (and you should – they’re great for tying off your wrap and trying different finishes), thread your wrap through them and pull back and forth. You’ll quickly notice any stiffness/crunchiness will disappear!
Sleep On It
This is so easy, it’s crazy. Simply by sleeping on your wrap, your body heat will help to break it in beautifully. You could pop the wrap underneath your bottom sheet, or pop it inside a pillowcase, or even just cuddle up to it like a blanket. I’m always impressed by what a difference this can make!
Sit On It
Like to sit on the couch for an hour or so to watch TV or a movie? Or perhaps at the computer? While you’re at it, you may as well sit on your woven wrap. Your body heat will help to break it in! Just be careful if you eat any snacks while you’re there ;-)
Send It Travelling
Let someone else do the work for you! If you have any babywearing friends, or are part of any online babywearing communities, offer your wrap up for travel so that other mamas and babies can help break it in for you. Check that they’re trustworthy by having a look at their feedback first, and lay out the terms and conditions clearly. But this is a major win-win – you get a softer wrap with basically no effort, and another mama gets to try your pretty out for the price of postage!
Nothing works better than actually wrapping with your wrap. If it’s wrap-able, do it! A beastly feeling wrap will often become easier to tighten, softer, and more mouldable within a few hours of wrapping/wearing.
Note: if you’re weaving/braiding/knotting your wrap or doing anything like that, it’s a good idea to un-braid/knot/weave it after a few minutes so that your wrap doesn’t sit in one position for too long. Movement is key! If your wrap stays folded or tensioned in one position, you might run the risk of permacreasing, which isn’t ideal. If you notice any folds or lines that aren’t going away, try giving your wrap a nice steam ironing.
That’s it for now! Remember that breaking in a wrap can be a bit of work sometimes, but the rewards are immense! A nicely broken in, thick woven wrap might just end up being your most comfortable, favourite baby (or toddler) carrier.
The woven wrap displayed here is Daiesu Tatami Lavender and we have ONE left in size 6 waiting for a new home!
Copyright Brooke Maree © 2017
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I thought it was time to talk about shopping while babywearing. After all, it’s a bit of a different experience than shopping with a pram ;-).