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Woven Wraps vs Stretchy Wraps

Wraps can be an incredibly cozy way to wear your baby, but there is a significant distinction between woven wraps and stretchy wraps. Both can be great options, but you should know what you are getting into before you start.

  Stretchy Wraps Woven Wraps
Description Stretchy wraps are typically made of a t-shirt-like soft fabric (cotton or rayon) that stretches along the length and width. Common brand-name stretchy wraps include Moby, Boba, Sleepy Wrap, and Solly. Woven wraps are typically made of a strong woven fabric that has no stretch along either length nor width.
Sizing Stretchy wraps typically come in one size, designed as a "one size fits most," that is usually around 18 feet long. Woven wraps vary in length from a 2 meter size 1 up to a 6.3 meter size 9. Most wearers can use most sizes (up to about 6 sizes smaller than their "base size," the sizes needed to wrap a front wrap cross carry), it just changes what carries the wearer can do with the wrap.

Because of the incredible amount of fabric needed for a stretchy wrap, it is one of the few carriers that is often more economical to buy commercial (especially used) than to make yourself.

A brand-new commercial stretchy wrap will usually run between $30-$60. They are very common to find second-hand in the $15-$25 range, though.

DIY, a stretchy wrap can cost $25 and up depending on how good a deal you can get on fabric. However, if you pool your money with another mom or two, the amount of fabric needed to make a wrap is usually wide enough to make two (or sometimes 3!) wraps.

A DIY woven wrap can be made for about $15-$30, especially using fabrics like osnaburg or repurposed tablecloths.

Used "budget" brand wraps typically sell for $60-$100.

New "budget" brand wraps typically sell in the $80-$120 range.

Pros Because of the natural stretch, stretchy wraps are incredibly cozy and soft. They can be pre-tied snug against your body and worn all day, and then you can simply pop baby in and out of the wrap without having to do much adjustment at all.

Woven wraps have almost no weight limit and the same wrap can be used from newborn through toddlerhood and beyond.

Woven wraps can be used in single- or multi-layer carries to either offer more breathability in the heat or more support for a toddler.

Woven wraps can be safely used for front, hip or back carries at nearly any age, dependent on the wearer's skill.

Woven wraps can be used for two-shoulder, 1-shoulder or even no-shoulder torso carries to accomodate the wearer's comfort.

Dozens of different ways to wrap mean that the child's weight can be distributed exactly as the wearer needs, even as these needs change.

Woven wraps provide a lot of core support, which makes them idea (along with ring slings) for premature infants who need more support than a full-term newborn.


Due to the stretch, stretchy wraps need 3 full spread passes over baby's back in order to offer safe support, which means there are minimal ways to safely wear one. Typically, most parents only ever use the basic pocket wrap cross carry with a stretchy wrap. While there is an approved hip carry for stretchy wraps, by the time most babies are big enough for a true hip carry, they are too heavy to be supported by a stretchy wrap.

Also, due to the three full spread passes, stretchy wraps can be incredibly hot in the summer.

Stretchy wraps are not safe for back carries in any way and should only ever be used in a front carry.

While most commercial stretchy wraps are safety rated up to 30lbs, most parents agree that they begin to sag and become unsupportive once baby is around 15lbs.

While they are great for full-term newborns, stretchy wraps do not always provide enough core support for premature babies who may have low muscle tone issues.

Woven wraps have a fairly steep learning curve. The process of "strand by strand" tightening (unnecessary with a stretchy wrap) can take a lot of practice to master.

Some people don't like wrapping with a wrap outside because of getting the tails in the dirt (however, like a stretchy wrap, a woven can be pre-tied beforehand into a "poppable" carry.)

If you like most of the pros/cons of a stretchy wrap but are intimidated by the length, consider making a dual pouch carrier.

If you like most of the pros/cons of a woven wrap but are intimidated by the length, consider making a shorter size, such as a base-3

There are a few commercial "hybrid" wraps on the market such as the Wrapsody hybrid wraps, which encompass the cozy stretch and poppability of a stretchy wrap with the support and versatility of a woven. These are not readily DIY-able, but can be found used occasionally.

-- Alyssa Leonard - 2017-01-26

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Topic revision: r4 - 2017-05-14 - AlyssaLeonard
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