Today I have a guest blogger, Caroline, you can learn more about below! I think you’ll really enjoy this fun post about babywearing and woven wraps particularly.
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When I am talking about babywearing at playdates, I try to refrain from injecting personal preference of wrap brand or type of carrier. Unless I find an option unsafe or extremely uncomfortable for me, I really don’t think personal opinion is too much of an issue. Picking a carrier that works for a family is based on individual needs and preference. However, today, I’m going to spill the beans, break my rule, and GUSH over my favorite wrap brand.
Boy, do I love Natibaby.
I like to imagine that deep in the Black Forest in a cozy cabin, a group of flaxen hair elves sit at glistening, magical looms, weaving nothing but Natibaby wraps. I imagine that the finished product is then blessed by a beautiful, shimmering, fairy that looks suspiciously like Galadriel from the LOTR films. Last of all, a stout group of tomtens in red hats work through the night in the shipping barn next to the sleeping milking cows, to pack and ship out Natibaby wraps all over the world. Of course, this fantasy isn’t complete without a Griffin flying the neat little packages out of the Black Forest to the local shipping facility where he is paid handsomely in fresh, raw, Kobe beef.
I’m so passionate about the product that I often wince at the sight of a dyed or chopped Natibaby. It’s a personal preference thing; I don’t like to think it happens. Remember, every time someone in the United States dyes or chops a Natibaby, a Black Forest Elf dies at his loom. Don’t let that happen. Ever.
Ok, so the point. When I think about Natibaby wraps and I find myself wrap gazing at 11 p.m. while nursing my son; I keep asking myself why I am so drawn to that particular brand. One word – Whimsy. Now, Diva Milano has some amazing wraps that appeal to my classical side. Oscha is enchanting, but Natibaby has a particular talent for creating whimsy…out of thin air…hence the description of how I would like to think wraps are made by the company.
Why am I bringing this up? Lately, I have had a lot of folks ask me a loaded question, “What is the best wrap?” or “If I’m going to make the investment, what is the best wrap for my money?” When I thought about it, in my personal experience, I was actually stumped from the standpoint that I don’t think there is a “bad” wrap brand on the market. I have been cautioned about a certain lower priced brand out of Mexico that is not as safe or sturdy. I haven’t had any experience with such a brand nor do I know anyone that owns one so it’s safe to say that most wrap brands are…FREAKIN AWESOME.
I remove the subjective from my schpeel about wraps when someone asks me which one they should purchase. I really have to retain my composure when someone holds my Nati Deers wrap (I call it the Stag wrap) and feels that luxurious wool cotton blend. I want to be objective about giving recommendations because I understand that whimsy is not always on everyone’s wishlist. Some people LOVE rainbows. I do not. I need more whimsy. Rainbows do not offer that for me. Some people want simple and functional. I need textile love. I need to hold it against my face when I get frantic about the two boy insanity that I am surrounded by on a daily basis. Some people have girls – girls that don’t stab each other with forks at the dinner table.
So, what do I tell someone? Well, first I ask; then I listen. “How old is your baby?” “How much do they weigh?” “What interests you about babywearing?” I never get the same answer. Sometimes they have grown out of the infant carrier they used non-stop in the first few months. Sometimes they want to wrap while they are pregnant with their second. Sometimes, they are just drawn…to whimsy.
I always tell them something that surprises but puts a smile on their face; this is my best advice for purchasing a wrap. Buy the wrap you want the most, that one wrap that you covet, the one that you keep stalking on websites and in Facebook boards, the wrap that you Google Image search late at night.
That is your wrap. It’s the one you always reach for. It’s the one that you always fall back in love with when you unbraid it and run your fingers over it. It’s the one that makes you smile. It gives you a feeling of…whimsy.
Of course, there is the necessary discussion of fiber content. I thinks it’s an important discussion. I really didn’t have that discussion before purchasing my Nati Deers wrap, but I was pretty lucky in that I knew I was purchasing something that was wool that was high maintenance. Sometimes I can have an hour long discussion about what fiber contents people like in their wraps. Many are highly opposed to a wool blend since it is slippery to work with before breaking in and because it is high maintenance: hand wash, cold water, hang dry…all size 6 of it. When I started breaking in my first cotton wrap I was so impressed by how easy it was to launder. Yet, I am still annoyed at how much harder it is to break in compared to a wool blend. See what just happened? I went off on a fiber content tangent about care and feel. People get passionate about how they care for their wraps and how the wrap feels.
One thing I know to be true of all babywearing regardless of species, is that if you are enjoying it, finding it comfortable, if not a little luxurious, your baby will take notice and enjoy the ride, too. If you have a wrap that you love and enjoy, it becomes part of daily life whether you are wrapping with it or not. Many times my son has clutched the Nati Deers in his hand for comfort on long car trips. Sometimes I find both boys on the couch swaddled in some fashion with it. On particularly long or hard days, the younger one will drag it (size 6) across the house to the kitchen and forcefully shove it in my direction. It is part of our lives. We love it.
And sometimes, we really need some whimsy in our lives.
Caroline Bollman is a mother of two boys: a three year old extrovert and a 14 month old introvert. She lives in Napa Valley and is a group leader of the Napa Valley Babywearing Group. She loves British TV, crocheting, knitting, reading histories by Antonia Fraser, and drinking boba tea that she doesn’t have to share. Of course, she really loves wearing babies and must restrain herself when she sees a small baby. WEAR ALL THE BABIES! Her husband loves her despite her severe affliction.