BWI of Central Iowa’s friend, Jaimie, admin to the Ames Area Babywearing Group offered us some of her insight on different wrap blends. Thanks Jaimie!!
Are you new to baby wearing? Do you wonder the difference between wrap fibers and blends? Or a veteran baby wearer and have only stuck with one blend? Well you have come to the right place! I will explain the difference between the 5 major blends and touch base on some other more exotic blends that I have tried.
Cotton: Cotton wraps are usually where people first start when they get interested in woven wraps. These are perfect for cuddling little babies and depending on the weave/maker can be supportive enough for big kids too. Cotton wraps take little effort to break in and are very easy to care for. They are light and airy, great for warmer climates. I like the cotton wraps for ease of use and care. I have found some lighter cotton wraps started to dig into my shoulders once my little one got to be bigger. I do have a few beasts that are very supportive and makes him feel weightless. With cotton wraps, a lot has to do with the tightness or looseness of the weave. A more loose weave may feel less supportive than a tighter weave.
Linen: Linen wraps are available in 100% linen or more commonly a cotton/linen blend. These wraps are by far the most supportive in my opinion. With the support though, they are a pain to break in, they are very stiff and crunchy when new. Once they are broken in they are very soft, super supportive, and dreamy. I disliked linen wraps when my son was a baby but re-discovered them once he got bigger (and heavier). The main difference I have found between the straight linen and the linen/cotton blend is that the blend has a little more cush to it. It have a little give so if you have picky shoulders I would recommend the blend. A straight linen wrap is a beast and can literally carry the weight of a full grown man. Linen wraps are very easy to care for.
Silk: Silk wraps are amazing. They break in so easy and are super soft and cushy. They glide through the passes easily and have grip so they wrap stays put. Depending on the maker, some silk wraps are better for babies and others can carry preschoolers. They are thin but are warm. They are not a good choice for Iowa summers. Silk wraps do take more care when washing. Some are hand wash only and some require a specific temperature. I personally do not dry these in the dyer.
Wool : Wool wraps are another amazing wrap. They are super cushy and have bounce as well as support. Wool is one of the most breathable blends available. It is very breathable in the summertime and keeps you very warm in the winter. These wraps do not require a lot of breaking in, but may be scratchy in the beginning. Once worn they become very soft. This blend is perfect for little babies up to bigger kids. Wool wraps are high maintenance and require very specific care. They need hand washing and air drying laid flat to prevent felting.
Hemp: Hemp is a great blend for beginners. It is very similar to linen with a slightly different feel. I did enjoy my hemp blend and looking back, I wish I did not trade it, hopefully I will have one again. Hemp wraps are another one that take some time to break in. A hemp blend wrap breaks in really well by using heat. Washing it on hot and using a steam iron will quickly turn a new wrap from feeling like a tapestry to a soft cuddle worthy blanket. It is supportive and cushy, so great for all ages. I did not have much time with this wrap so this is all I can tell you. Hemp is known to be a little bit warmer than a 100% cotton wrap
I have touched on the main blends, none of these blends are anything to be afraid of. They are all great in their own way. I have one of each of these blends in my stash. They all serve their own purpose while snuggling my baby. I have tried a few other blends that I will touch base on. These have not stuck around long because I just did not reach for them.
Bamboo: This is one blend that I like the least. I know several babywearers that love this blend though! This wrap is great for newborns, however I found it not as supportive for bigger kids. I found that this blend was very hot and slippery. It did not have very much grip either. Because I did not enjoy the bamboo blend I had tried, I have not sought out other brands, so my opinion may be limited on this particular blend.
Cashmere: This particular blend I have not spent very much time with; I have only worn this blend on one occasion. It is very similar to wool. Very cushy and soft. It has more bounce so I would imagine it would not be very supportive with bigger kids.
There are many different types of blends available on the market. I have tried most and to be honest with you I cannot tell you which one is my favorite. They all serve their particular purpose. Blends appear intimidating, but do not let the fiber scare you. Even the pickiest of blends (maintenance wise) is worth every penny. I encourage you to try a blend, you might just find the perfect fit.
Happy baby wearing, friends.