What Size Wrap Do I Need?

by Anna Williams

One of the most common questions we see when someone is deciding what to buy for their first woven wrap, is which size to get.  There’s a tendency to repeat a standardized spiel for new wrappers, but the reality is a bit more open-ended than that.

What is my base size?

Usually, when you go to buy your first wrap, people recommend your base size.  But what is your base size?

Your base size is the size you need to successfully, comfortably, and safely execute a front wrap cross carry tied in back with a double knot.

A size up from that is called your base +1.  A size down is base -1, and so on.

Why Front Wrap Cross Carry?

Front Wrap Cross Carry is the typical “first carry” new wearers are often introduced to.  It’s a great, secure carry which helps familiarize the wearer with the skills of making a nice deep seat, strand by strand tightening, and spreading passes.  All essential skills to learn before moving on to more complicated carries.

However, there are a few other carries which can also help teach these principles, and can be done in different lengths of wrap.  This is to say that if you can’t find a wrap in your base size (perhaps you are plus size) or if the wrap you want or already have doesn’t quite work for you, your baby, and FWCC, there are other carries you can do which can allow you to successfully use and love a shorter (or longer) wrap.

So, what size do I need?

The size you need isn’t as important as the wrap you want.  If you don’t like the way it looks or the way it wraps, the fact that it is your “base size” doesn’t really matter, because you aren’t going to love using it.

Maybe you are in love with a wrap but it is expensive, and a shorter one is more affordable for your family.  Maybe you are plus size, and would need a size 7 or 8 to FWCC, and find they are so much more expensive and hard to find than your friend’s size 5.  Maybe you found a great deal on a really soft wrap local to you but it’s only a 4.  Maybe your partner also wants to wrap, but they are much bigger or smaller than you are, and you can only afford one carrier.  Maybe you just really hate 15 feet of fabric but feel comfortable with 10.

We can work with that.

Love is more important than FWCC.

What other carries are there?

There are some handy charts showing what carries can typically be done in which sizes (relative to your base size).

One of my favorites is for base -1 or base -2, called Knotless Front Cross Carry.  It is pre-tied, popable, and there are no knots!  This means you can tie it before leaving the house, pop baby in and out between stores, and still be able to drive the car without a knot in your back!  The other reason why I love this carry is it is perfect for my husband in a size 5, which is a much easier size for us to find in patterns he likes than a 7 or 8.

There are also several front wrap cross carry variations.  They may be more difficult to learn for some, but the learning curve may be easier to tackle than the daunting task of finding “the right size” for you.  It just depends!  Like all things, it’s a personal choice.

Personally, I’m a base 6.  I started with a 6.  And I LOVE size six.  But that doesn’t mean it’s the best size for you.

The best way to find out what you like best is to try before you buy.  Gainesville has a large community of wrappers, and our BWI chapter has a Lending Library available to all members of the community to find what works for them.  Stop by our monthly meetings or join our facebook chatter group for more information!

Special Thanks to Babywearing Faith, Gyspy Primrose, Wrap your Baby, and Wearing Wiki for the links!
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