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How to Select a Size for your Woven Wrap Baby Carrier

Sizing on woven wrap carriers can be intimidating. Do I use my size or the baby's? Do I allow room for the baby's growth? Or my post-partum weight loss? What if I want to share my wrap with someone of a different size? Does it matter which positions I want to use with my baby? The good news is that a good fit on a woven wrap is much easier to achieve than on a typical piece of clothing.

You see, unlike a shirt or a pair of pants, a wraparound baby carrier is totally adjustable: after all, it is just a long piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself in many possible ways. The surprising truth is that any size would fit you and your baby. So why do many woven wraps come in 4-5 different lengths? The answer is that shorter wraps are more convenient to carry, while longer wraps can be used in a wider variety of positions, so the variation of length allows you to choose just the right balance of convenience and versatility for your lifestyle.

There are three factors that you might consider in choosing the size of your wrap:

  1. how you plan to use your wrap (e.g., which carrying positions you want to use)---this is by far the most important consideration;
  2. your size (height and weight)---this can play a role depending on #1; and
  3. the baby's size---surprisingly, this hardly matters at all. It's a good thing, too, because babies tend to change size rapidly.

We have developed a wrap sizing chart that shows the basic thought process we follow when recommending a woven wrap for a client:

How do you plan to use your wrap? Choose the response below that most closely reflects your answer.
"I want to use it as a super-convenient, super-portable sling. My plan is to use it tied like a sash over one shoulder, whether carrying the baby on front, hip, or back."
Recommended Length:
2.7m or 3 yards
(EllaRoo size R)
"I want the versatility to carry the baby on my front, hip, or back while distributing weight over both shoulders, but I don't need the length for every possible position---I'd rather have a more convenient length."

"Are you a plus-sized (size 18 or above) or very tall woman, or an average-to-large sized man?"

Recommended Length:
4.1m or 4.5 yards
(EllaRoo size S)
"I've never tried a wrap, so I have no idea! I guess I'd like all of the options open to me, because I'm not sure which positions will end up working the best for us."
"I want the most comfortable and/or most versatile wrap possible; in particular I want to be able to use the front and back wrap cross carries which are the best for weight distribution."
Recommended Length:
3.6m or 4 yards
(EllaRoo size XS)
Select the size below of the principal user of this wrap. If two different-sized adults plan to use the wrap equally, then check the recommendation for the smaller user and then go up by one size.

"A petite or small-sized (below size 8) woman."
"An average-sized (size 8-16) woman or a small-to-average sized man."
"A plus-sized (size 18 or above) or very tall woman, or an average-to-large sized man."

Recommended Length:
4.1m or 4.5 yards
(EllaRoo size S)
Recommended Length:
4.6m or 5 yards
(EllaRoo size M)
Recommended Length:
5m or 5.5 yards
(EllaRoo size L)


Other Considerations in Wrap Sizing

A few other factors are worth considering when choosing a wrap size. One is the age of the baby. Although it's counterintuitive, we've found that parents of newborns tend to prefer the longer wraps, while those of toddlers often lean toward the shorter wraps. The reason for this is that newborns are often carried around nearly all the time, and must be taken into and out of the wrap frequently, while toddlers tend to be carried for shorter periods, maybe as back-up transportation for when they get tired on long walks. In the case of the newborn, it is often found to be most convenient to have a wrap that you can leave tied on, allowing you to easily slip the baby in and out as needed; the longer wraps are more suited to this usage style, while the tying methods for the shorter wraps tend to lose integrity without a baby inside. In the case of the toddler on the other hand, the most convenient option would be a wrap that is quick to pull out and tie on, and can be easily stashed somewhere when not in use; clearly the shorter wrap has the advantage in this situation. The weight distribution advantage of the longer wrap may outweigh the convenience consideration for many parents of toddlers though. Again it all comes down to personal preference on the comfort-convenience continuum.

Another worthwhile consideration is the weight of the wrap. For wraps made of heavier fabric, like most commercial wraps from Europe, parents are motivated to reduce the total weight by choosing as little fabric as they need for the carrying positions they hope to use. Some find any extra length cumbersome with these wraps. For wraps made of lighter fabric however, like many commercial American models, any extra length is less noticeable from a weight and bulk point of view, and the weight distribution advantage of the longer wraps takes on more importance, as it compensates for the pressure points that sometimes form when using a thinner fabric.

We hope this helps you to select the perfect length for your first, second, or twentieth wrap carrier. Please let us know if you have questions remaining on sizing for woven wraps.

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