Baby Wraps: The Yay to the Nay
Over the past few weeks, I have been immersed in the land of baby wearing. Baby wraps, slings, Mei Tais and soft carriers. Wearing my baby inside, outside, on the couch, walking around, while sitting in a restaurant— all to tell you which is the best way to tote your newborn hands-free.
I actually went to a place called Metro Minis in New York City, to make all my purchases and get instruction on how to use them properly (you should go there if you live in the area!). Seeing a visual demonstration, whether in-store or by using baby wearing videos online, is key. For me, baby wearing is not an intuitive thing.
I am going to be discussing all the different types of baby carriers in a series of posts. Today, I will be comparing two different baby wraps. The Girasol baby wrap and the less expensive Boba baby wrap.
1. Boba Wrap $48
The Boba Wrap (which was once called the Sleepy Wrap) is touted as a beginner’s wrap— easy to use and comfortable for the baby. There are no closures, snaps, buttons etc— just one long stretch of material and it is suitable for babies from 0-18 months or zero to 35lbs. We have heard, though, that really it is best for babies up to 15lbs. The Boba, along with the Moby Wrap (which we are not reviewing) are referred to as “gateway wraps.”
The technique used to wrap the baby is not intuitive. I had to be shown twice- once at the store and once viewing a video on how to use a “stretchy wrap” at home before I got it down.
Once you have the Boba wrap on correctly, you put your baby inside pretty easily. You carry them in the front so that they’re head is below your chin. Do the “kiss test”— see if you can easily kiss the top of your baby’s head to make sure they are situated in the right place. Since I have a newborn, I also used a rolled up washcloth inserted into the top of the Boba to support my baby’s head.
The biggest problem with the Boba is the stretchiness of the material. Even if everything seems secure from the onset, eventually, the front pouch stretches. I don’t believe your baby will ever be in danger of falling out, but you might be uncomfortable with your baby’s head dangling to one side as your baby angles a little more diagonally across your belly.
On the plus side, the Boba is very lightweight and made of very comfortable fabric, so it’s the closest you’ll get to feeling like your child is just an extension of your outfit. It ties in the front which makes it easy to slip on under a coat or sweater and it doesn’t get in the way if you decide to recline on your couch.
The Boba wrap ended up being my choice if I was staying in the house and relaxing. If I was venturing outside or doing anything somewhat strenuous like housework, I chose a different baby carrier.
THE VERDICT: OKAY
2. Girasol Wrap $125
The Girasol wrap can be an intimidating piece of fabric. It’s much wider than the Boba and incredibly long, which is one of the reasons it can accommodate newborns to toddlers. Plus it’s made of a twill fabric that has no stretch in it, so it must be tied correctly from the get-go because there is no way to shift it around once the baby is inside. It falls into the category of “woven baby wraps.”
There is no question that putting on the Girasol wrap is a little more complicated than the Boba wrap. Again, I think you should have it demonstrated for you by someone who knows what they are doing so you can learn how to use and master it correctly (here is a video). I learned the most basic way of baby carrying and have been using that consistently, but as the baby gets older, there are supposedly countless other methods of wrapping. Ways to put the baby on your belly, your side or your back. Many Girasol wraps have “three color ways” which are helpful to guide you in the wrapping process, plus the tag let’s you know exactly where the middle is so you can tie your wrap evenly.
After a few tries, I found the wrapping process moderately simple but the length of material is somewhat annoying. It’s not easy to fold up and put away and there is no way I would ever be able to wrap or unwrap in a public space. That material would be everywhere including on the floor.
The Girasol wrap ties in the back and creates a pretty big knot (always double knot, never make a bow), so sitting down is a tad uncomfortable (you can’t sit all the way back) and putting a coat or sweater on is cumbersome (there will be a big lump in the back).
But all that being said, I felt like quite the Earth Momma when I had it on. The non-stretchy material keeps the baby firmly in place and evenly distributes the weight so you can walk around with your baby hanging off your front for hours. Granted, my baby is still very small (yes, still a newborn), but it didn’t feel strenuous at all. It also looks attractive, hiding your middle and sides as opposed to accentuating them like the Boba wrap.
For now, I am wearing the Girasol wrap only in the house since the tie in the back does not work well with a jacket, but I will definitely be wearing it all over town when the weather gets nicer.
Conclusion: Both baby wraps work great indoors, but I would only wear the Girasol out of the house because the baby feels much more secure in it. The Girasol wrap more evenly distributes the baby’s weight so I feel like I could carry her for a longer period of time. Plus, I love that the Girasol works in a variety of positions –and with kids as old as three– making the additional price well worth it.