I used to tie wraps on to moms. I would guide them through the steps. “Yep, “x” in the back of your body- then “x” on the front of your body”. Although I will admit that tying the wrap tight enough with no twists, or loose or hanging fabric is a big part of getting the right fit for you and your baby, tying the wrap so that it conforms to your body is only half the battle!
Putting your baby into the wrap is just as important! As this point I would have the eagerly anticipating mama pull the “x” away from her body. “This is where your baby will sit”, I would say. And we would place the baby in the wrap. “Spread the fabric over baby’s bottom and wide over baby’s back”. But the most important thing, I often neglected to mention.
It has taken five years of manufacturing baby wraps to give a concise way to moms to discern whether they are wearing the wrap well or not. There are only two points. Here it goes.
1. Make sure the fabric is spread all the way to the back of the baby’s knees.
Covering baby’s bottom with the fabric is not enough. Your baby needs a seat. Imagine yourself sitting on a hammock. Would you want the fabric bunched up behind your hamstring or would you want it all the way to the back of where your knee bends. To really make a seat, your baby’s legs should be flexed and widespread. Like the babywearing expert from Canada says, your baby’s bottom and legs should look like the capital letter “M”. Bottom down and thighs at least parallel to the floor.
What you don’t want is two little legs hanging straight down in front of you. If wearing a woven wrap or other cloth carrier on your back, then you certainly don't want little legs hanging down in back of you either. You want them hugging your sides. The easiest mistake to make is only spreading the fabric over baby's bottom. When you spread the fabric all the way to the back of the knees, it naturally pulls the legs up into a flexed position. The legs are then supported, the pelvis is turned under and the spine supported in a natural c-shape. The head of your baby’s thigh bone perfectly fills out the hip socket with flexed widespread legs.
2. Baby’s bottom should be above your belly button.
You’ve probably heard countless times that stretchy wraps are only good for the baby’s first several months. As long as the fabric is spread all the way to the back of your baby’s knee and your baby’s bottom is sitting above your belly button, it is tough for the baby to go anywhere. Wearing your baby higher is safer.
When you wear your baby high on your chest the load you are carrying is closer to your center of gravity. A closer higher load helps out with your balance and it helps take the pressure off of your back. Moreover, you are less apt to be leaning forward or leaning backward to compensate for the extra weight that you are moving.
I once put my five year old into the wrap to prove my point. I pulled the fabric to the back of her knees and tied it so that her bottom would be above my belly button. And you know what? No Sagging!!!!
From now on, I will say “spread the fabric to the back of the knee and make sure that baby’s bottom is above your navel”. That’s all you really need to know. If it worked for my five year old, it will work with your yummy chunky monkey.