Let's get out there with babies! Here are 6 tips for wrapping while out with baby! The above image is a graphic with text. The photo is of my white baby boy being worn in a light blue-green and off-white abstract leaf-patterned wrap Tekhni Omada Nova tied in a Front Wrap Cross Carry. I'm wearing him and standing outside with a ground covered in dry leaves behond me. The text is quote Six Tips for Wrapping on the go by Amy Wraps Babies.
One of the many benefits of babywearing is that it helps us stay on the go with kids in tow - babywearing on the go is a lifesaver! Babywearing with a woven wrap is my absolute favorite because it is a super functional and versatile piece of baby gear when away from home. Here are a few of my favorite tips for wrapping while out and about.
#1: Wrap before leaving the house. If you're driving to your destination and you plan on front-carrying in a wrap, pre-tie it on! Then when you arrive, pop baby from carseat to pre-tied wrap seat, re-tighten, tie-off and go! A few good "poppable" front carries are Front Cross Carry (base size), Semi Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (base-2), and Inside Out Coolest Hip Cross Carry (base-2). A Front Wrap Cross Carry can also be pre-tied with a base size wrap, it just requires a little bit more re-tightening than the poppable carries.
#2: Use a short wrap. If you can't pre-tie, a short wrap is a great size to use. It requires fewer passes around you and baby so it is usually faster to get on, plus if you're wrapping in a parking lot your tails won't drag on the ground as much. If baby wants down a short wrap is a little easier to cart around without wearing anyone in it, too. My favorite short front carries are Traditional Sling Carry (base-3 or shorter), Front Wrap Cross Carry tied under bum or tied at shoulder (base-2 or shorter), and Robin's Hip Carry with a ring or without a ring (base-2). For back carries I love a ruck (tied at shoulder or tied in front, base-2 or shorter), Half Jordan's (base-2 or shorter), and Pirate Carry (aka Reinforced Rear Rucksack or RRR, base-2 or shorter).
#3: Use your wrap for other stuff! A wrap doesn't have to just carry a baby. Use the wrap as a high chair or shopping cart cover - it keeps baby away from germs that may have been left behind. (Use caution if you have a particularly messy eater!) Wraps can also be used as blankets for keeping warm or sitting on (again use caution with wet grass and mud!). You can even carry your other stuff in a wrap instead of carrying a baby in it! Use it knapsack-style (think Johnny Appleseed) or rucksack-style with everything strapped to your back.
#4: Navigate inclement weather. Need to wrap in the rain? My best advice - don't! Grab your baby, grab your stuff, and scoot those full arms indoors and wrap in there. When that isn't possible, do the fastest carry you know. Maybe that's one of the poppable front carries in #1 (see above) or maybe it's one of the short back carries from #2. And if that isn't possible, try this tip for braiding long tails that are quickly untied as you go (https://youtu.be/Hh_zg7J72-s)
#5: Know before you go. Parking lot wrapping is not the time to try out a new carry! Have a plan for what you're going to do when you get to your destination and make sure it is one you already know well. This is helpful for speed but also helpful for your nerves! Wrapping over concrete also comes with a certain level of risk so the more prepared and confident you are, the better you can mitigate that risk.
#6: Watch for onlookers and "helpers." This is not my favorite tip, but in my experience with wrapping in public you need to be aware of others around you, especially while back wrapping. People who are unfamiliar with babywearing are sometimes very concerned when they see a baby on someone's back. They may try to "help" without asking which can be a potential hazard for you if a pass is not where you think it should be or your baby's weight shifts unexpectedly. A polite but firm - "please do not touch" is entirely appropriate. Sometimes the helper needs reassurance - "I am experienced at safely wrapping my baby." Conversely, some people are just really interested in what you're doing! To those curious bystanders I say - "Hi! You're more than welcome to watch. Let me know if you have any questions!"
That last tip brings me to this - I highly encourage you to wrap in public!!! Most likely you will be nervous the first few times you have some bystanders. Those bystanders may never have seen wrapping before though! You are exposing them to a practice that has been long in existence yet long forgotten in "modern, Western" society. By wrapping in public you are making it less "weird." The more people that see wrapping and realize it's normal, safe, and awesome, the less nervous you'll be wrapping in public because people won't stop and stare. When we normalize wrapping people won't rush to us to "help," they'll just be like oh that's one cute baby and they will let us go on with our day! Yay!!
Happy wrapping on the go, babywearers! And if you have more tips or a favorite of the above, let us know in the comments!!