There are a number of ways how to use a wrap. Most wrappers will try out a number of woven wrap carries to find the one that is most comfortable for them (and what is most comfortable may change over time as the baby grows).
Table of Contents
How to Use a Baby Wrap: General Guidelines
There are a few general guidelines that will help you get a comfortable wrap job with any carry. I also recommend checking out the babywearing guide.
1. The wrap should support the baby out to his knees
As with any carrier, you want the wrap to support the baby out to his knees. The knees should be slightly higher than the baby’s bum.
Newborns can be wrapped with their legs froggied, although their weight should still rest on their bum and not on their feet.
Babies can be wrapped legs out from birth since the seat of a wrap can be made as narrow as needed to prevent overstretching while still achieving the proper support to the knees’ position. My preference is to wrap legs out from birth.
2. Wrap arms in until your baby has good head control
Babies should be wrapped arms in until they have good head and trunk control. This will keep them well-supported. You can also use the wrap to support a sleeping baby’s head.
Older babies may prefer arms out; if they fall asleep, re-wrapping arms in will provide them more head support.
3. The wrap should never cover the face
Make sure that the baby’s airway is always clear (the wrap should never cover the face). Baby’s head should be tilted up and out never down towards her chest.
4. Tightening and spreading will help you avoid pressure points & distribute the baby’s weight
Tightening is key to comfort and safety. If you take the time to work the slack out of the wrap, you will be rewarded with a more comfortable carry. Stretchy wraps will stretch more than you think – pull them tight!
Spreading the wrap carefully is also key. Tightening and spreading will help you avoid pressure points from the wrap and will more evenly distribute the weight.
5. Wrapping a very small baby fold the wrap in half
If you are wrapping a very small baby, you may find it easier to fold the wrap in half before wrapping (the side where the rails meet should be up so that you have a pocket for the baby). You aren’t using the wrap doubled but folding it can help you get a better seat if you are otherwise having trouble.
6. Carry high
Babies should be worn nice and high in front carries. For newborns and small babies, a good rule of thumb is “high enough to easily kiss baby’s head.”
Older babies and toddlers will be more face-to-face with you in front carries.
Carrying too low is a common beginner’s mistake that can lead to back pain.
7. Master a front wrap first
It is best to master a front wrap or two before attempting back wrapping. You should be confident with the mechanics of tightening and spreading the wrap before attempting back carries.
You can back wrap even very small babies; however, we recommend that you not do so unless you are an experienced wrapper or have an experienced wrapper to assist you.
Babies who have good head control are easier to back wrap. There is also a tricky stage when babies learn to roll and crawl but aren’t yet old enough to understand when you ask them to lie still which can make learning back wrapping challenging. Sometimes a toy or snack can help.
Young babies who are unable to sit unassisted should always be worn high on the back. A newborn’s head should rest at the nape of your neck so you can monitor breathing and provide proper head support. An older child can be worn at any height that is comfortable for you.
8. Learn back wrap over a soft surface
When learning how to wear a baby wrap with a back wrap carry, it is best if you can do so over a soft surface like a bed (or have a spotter). Wrapping in front of a mirror is also helpful so you can see where to place the wrap. A car window makes a great mirror on the go once you are ready to take your wrapping on the road.
9. Watch videos
When you are ready to learn a new carry, watch several videos (I’ve embedded some great sources below). There are different techniques and pointers that different wrappers will use/give, so watching multiple sources will help you find the method that will click for you.
10. Practice makes perfect
It may take multiple attempts to get a carry just right so keep working at it.
Baby Wrapping Terminology
Here’s a bit of wrapping lingo that you will see referred to in carry instructions and wrap chatter.
- Rail – the long edge of the wrap; when wrapping, you will have a top rail and bottom rail
- Taper – the short end of the wrap, usually angled; “tying in the taper” means you are tying in this angled portion and not “catching” the whole width of the wrap in the knot
- Middle marker – most wraps come with a small tag in the middle of the wrap – which makes it easier to find the right spot to begin your wrap job.
Wrapping: Front Carries
1. Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC)
Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) is the most common first front carry. It is appropriate for all ages (newborns can be worn froggy-legged if you like).
You will need your long length wrap for this woven wrap carry. You can use a shorter wrap and tie under the bum instead of bringing the crosses down and back behind you. Another alternative is to twist the passes under the baby’s bum, bring them under the legs, and tie them behind.
Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC) is the most commonly used stretchy wrap carry (can be pre-tied with a stretchy wrap). It is the same thing as a FWCC except the pocket will be on the outside. This carry doesn’t work as well with woven wraps as it is harder to tighten. PWCC is appropriate for all ages (newborns can be worn froggy-legged if you like). You will need your long length wrap.
In the following video, there’s a great guide through the process of safely and comfortably wearing your newborn in a Front Wrap Cross Carry with their legs out.
2. Front Cross Carry (FCC)
Front Cross Carry (FCC) is another variation on the Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). Instead of a pocket around the baby for the first pass, the pocket will be behind you, and only two layers of fabric go over the baby. This carry can be pre-tied. It is appropriate for all ages (newborns can be worn froggy-legged). You will need a long wrap for this carry (although slightly less than FWCC).
3. Short Cross Carry (SSC)
Short Cross Carry (SSC) is another front cross carry variation that uses a mid-length wrap. It is appropriate for all ages (newborns can be worn froggy-legged).
4. Kangaroo Carry
Kangaroo is a single-layer front carry (although there is also a reinforced version). It is appropriate for all ages (newborns can be worn froggy-legged). You will need a mid-length wrap or a long wrap for the reinforced version.
See this video from a certified babywearing educator and learn how to properly execute a Kangaroo Carry.
Wrapping: Back Carries
5. Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC)
Back Wrap Cross Carry (BWCC) is a good starter back carry because it uses the same mechanics as front wrap cross carry. There are three variations: chest belt, crossed in front, and ruck straps. The chest belt and crossed-in front versions generally use a long wrap. The ruck straps version can be done with a size or so shorter. BWCC is good for all ages and can be done legs-in for newborns.
Watch how to perform a secure Back Wrap Cross Carry.
6. Double Hammock (DH) / Chunei Back Carry
Many wrappers find the Double Hammock (DH), also known as the Chunei Back Carry, to be the most supportive woven wrap carry and most comfortable for long-term wearing. DH will take slightly more length than you will need for a FWCC. There is also a “tied under the bum” version that can be done with a mid-length wrap. DH can be done with all ages and can be done legs-in for newborns.
7. Rucksack (Ruck) & Ruck Under the Bum (RUB)
The Rucksack (Ruck) is probably the most popular back carry – it’s quick and easy once you get the hang of it. There are several different versions: tied-in-front (TIF; the most common), tied Tibetan (TT), and reinforced (RR). Ruck TIF is done with a mid-length wrap; TT will generally take a size longer. Ruck is easiest to get high on your back.
Ruck Under the Bum (RUB) is a great shortie carry. It is similar to ruck TIF except the carry is tied under the baby instead of being brought back to the front.
An alternative version – reinforced rear rebozo ruck (RRRR) – ties at the shoulder.
RUB is best suited for babies who are able to sit and who have enough bum to tie under (5-6 months is generally a good time to start). RUB is a great toddler carry since it allows for easy ups and downs.
8. Secure High Back Carry
One more variation of a high back carry. Check out this video with a sleeping newborn being wrapped with a High Back Carry. And it’s so cute. 🙂 If someone asks me about the most motivating video to start babywearing, I would share this one. It’s literally my favorite. ❤️
9. Jordan’s Back Carry
Jordan’s Back Carry allows the baby to have a high vantage point, providing them with a great view of their surroundings. It is particularly suitable for older babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
This carry style is often preferred by experienced baby wearers who are comfortable with more intricate wrapping techniques.
10. Back Rebozo
Back Rebozo is a carry technique that originates from Mexico, where the rebozo, a long woven shawl, has been used for centuries by women for various purposes, including carrying babies.
The use of a lightweight rebozo fabric can provide cooling benefits in warm weather.
This carry is often preferred for its simplicity and versatility. It can be adapted to accommodate babies of different ages and sizes. Also, it allows for quick adjustments and easy on/off access.
Check out this video guide from a mom who mastered Back Rebozo carry.
Wrapping: Hip Carries
Hip carries are a popular category of baby-wearing techniques that involve carrying a baby or toddler on the caregiver’s hip using a wrap.
Two specific hip carry variations are the Rebozo Hip Carry and Robin’s Hip Carry.
Both the Rebozo Hip Carry and Robin’s Hip Carry offer benefits such as enhanced bonding, ease of breastfeeding, and hands-free mobility.
11. Robin’s Hip Carry
Explore the technique for achieving a perfect Robin’s Hip Carry in this video.
12. Rebozo Hip Carry
The Rebozo Hip Carry is a traditional Mexican baby-wearing technique that utilizes a rebozo, a long woven shawl. This carry allows for close contact with the baby while keeping your hands free for everyday tasks. Here’s a great video on Rebozo Hip Carry.
How to Get a Small Baby High on Your Back Using a Woven Wrap (Rucksack Style)
While front snuggles are wonderful, there may come a time when getting your newborn/young baby on your back would be really handy. As babies start to become more and more interested in their world, they often want more of a view than a tummy-to-tummy woven wrap carry generally provides.
Enter the High Back Carry! Newborns and young babies should always be worn high on your back so that you can easily monitor their breathing and position. Being high also means they can peak over your shoulder and enjoy a view of the world. Plus there are few things sweeter than feeling little baby “kisses” on the back of your neck.
Check out this nice video to get proof. 🙂
If you don’t have a woven baby wrap in your babywearing gear collection yet, you may find the list of 34 best baby wrap carriers helpful in making a choice of which carrier to buy. Also, see the woven wrap length guide to know what’s your perfect wrap size. You’ll also find the best carries by wrap size on that page, which is really helpful.
Buckle carriers should not be used for back carries until the baby can sit well unassisted; since they sit lower on the back, a smaller baby could more easily slump into an unsafe position.
So, the rucksack back carry using a woven wrap.
The “ruck” is one of the simplest carries, but it can be a tad tricky to do safely and comfortably. To get a safe secure ruck every time, remember these pointers:
- A thin wrap is generally easy to wrap with when wrapping a small baby. Narrower wraps are also a bit easier as there’s less width to lose the baby in. My favorites for wee ones are Ellaroos and older Vatanais (which are narrower than the new ones).
- When learning to ruck (or when learning any new back carry), use a spotter or practice over the bed. If you keep one hand on the baby at all times, it’s unlikely the baby will fall, but having a spotter will make it easier for you to focus on where the wrap should go. Wrapping in front of a mirror can also be helpful when learning a new back carry.
- The top rail is what secures the carry and makes it comfortable. As you wrap, always keep tension on the top rail (the edge of the wrap closest to the baby’s head).
- For a young baby, the top rail should rest at the base of the head (don’t allow the baby’s head to fall into the wrap). This will provide support for the baby’s head and give a nice, comfy carry.
- Once you get the baby into position and secure the top rail, pull the width of the wrap down towards the baby’s bum.
- It’s hard to make a good pocket/seat for a small baby since there’s not much space between their knees and bum. Ideally, the baby’s knees should be higher than her bum (as with any carry). Push the extra width of the wrap between you and the baby (under her bum). Then, keeping tension on the wrap (especially the top rail), stand up so that the baby’s bum falls into the pocket and the slack gets pulled out of the wrap.
- I prefer to twist my ruck straps to keep them from slipping. Others find “sandwiching” or folding them over to be more comfortable.
- When you bring the wrap over and under the baby’s legs, make sure to catch the bottom rail under the tails as you pass them through. This locks the pocket into place. You can also push up a bit on the baby’s leg at this point to get those knees above the bum.
- I prefer to simply tie in front, but you can also finish the carry with a Tibetan tie-off – pull the tails back through the ruck straps and tie across your chest.
Remember, practice makes perfect.
Enjoyed this content? Save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Babywearing board and refer back to it for future reference!
Mom of 3-year-old superhero Michael and 7-year-old princess Stasia. 👩👧👦
Passionate about research and getting to the core, enjoying processing information & always hungry for more. 📖
Learning & sharing how to be a better mom. Join me, and let’s grow together! 🌼