Some time ago, we published an article about potential risks of babywearing and the most common comments and objections the babywearing parents usually hear time to time. Now, we decided that the number of these articles, “About babywearing”, should be much higher – we are even planning on publishing a whole series of these articles!

Today, I will focus on the basic question of most of the parents that begin or plan to begin to wear their baby; the one you see in any babywearing group several times a day – a wrap or a carrier? 

A very simplified answer would be – wear in anything you want, the most important thing is that it should be comfortable both for you and your wearie. But what is “the best” and “the most comfortable”? A simple question, but a very difficult answer – this is an eminently individual matter. 

I will answer this question quite comprehensively, beginning with my own experience – how and in what I started to wear my daugher (you can read everything about why I became a wearer in this article). I am a wrap freak, everybody who knows me just a little can be sure about that. Of course, there are some carriers I really like, but I have not found a carrier that would be as comfortable as a well-tied wrap for me yet.

My first wrap was elastic – I bought it blindly, without any research and looking for advise on the Internet. By that time I had no idea that all the babywearing world lives on social networks! The elastic wrap, however, seemed somehow naturally as the best and logical choice for a newborn baby – a soft, pliable material that supports and embraces the baby perfectly, I also found the manipulation with this type of wrap easier. I carried Emilka in this wrap for the first two months of her life, but later I realized one wrap is not enough and, moreover, my babygirl became a very agile infant, making the elastic wrap her very first trampoline. Therefore, I decided on buying my first non-elastic wrap, the turquoise Storchenwiege Leo (again, I bought it blindly and only thanks to our friends who gave us a gift certificate to the V Bavlnce shop – an only shop in Ostrava with babywearing gear). And the third time’s the charm – with a fanfare, when Emilka was nearly 3 months old, we bought a carrier blindly! 😀 It was Manduca – it did not take much time since we realized that it did not fit our little baby very well. We waited for a couple of months and started to use it when Emilka was about 4 or 5 months old. When I look back on our babywearing beginnings, I wonder how it is even possible that we did not make any fundamental mistake when choosing our babywearing equipment.

It is quite obvious what my personal opinion on the ‘wrap or carrier’ dilemma is. 😉 Therefore, I will pose a different question – what are the advantages and disadvantages of a wrap and what are of a carrier?

OK then, a wrap (and yes, I will lobby for the wraps – morever that nowadays everyone wants something ‘quick and easy’, i.e. a carrier):

  • advantage nr. 1 (the main one): it is universal. You can tie a wrap with a newborn as well with toddler; you can wear twins in it and also wrap a pregnant belly in it (not speaking about the easiest swing you can create of a wrap and a table). You can wear your baby both in front and on your back. And if your and your partner’s weight and hight do not differ too much, a wrap of a suitable lenght will fit you both, of course. Meanwhile, it is not very comfortable to wear a baby on your back or the position of the wearie is not ideal in many carriers, while in some carriers it is not possible to wear on the back at all. And, quite obviously, it is quite probable that one carrier will not fit both you and your partner.
  • advantage nr. 2 (the other ‘main one’): you can use the wrap from day one. In my point if view, manipulation with an elastic wrap is easier for an unexperienced babywearing beginner; however, it is possible to tie a tiny newborn in a thin non-elastic wrap very well and comfortably, too. On the other hand, in (not only) my opinion, there is no such carrier that would fit ideally even a few-days-old baby. Moreover, you can also tie even a newborn on your back in a wrap (in a suitable carry of course), but there is no carrier in which wearing on the back could be recommended before the baby sits by him/herself.
  • advantage nr. 3 (not a ‘main’ one, but an important one): taking care of the wrap. Most parents buy an all-cotton piece as their first and primary wrap – it is quite hard to make some fatal mistake when it comes to laundering pure cotton. You can put it it a washing machine, spin-dry it, there is no need to dry it flat; all you have to do is to iron it and the wrap is ready to be tied. Trust me, I really appreciated an easy-care wrap like this with my vomit-machine of a baby in the first few months of her life.
  • advantage nr. 4: price. You can buy a good-quality second hand wrap for 500 Czech Crowns (i.e. approximately 20 Euro). For this amount of money you can hardly find any functional and at least decently looking ergonomic carrier. the washing machine, spin-dry it, you do not need to dry it flat; all you need to do is to iron it and it is ready to be tied.
  • advantage nr. 5 (a big one 😀 ): the COMFORT! Surely, it depends on what wrap you choose, but as I always say, the way you tie the wrap, that way your wearing comfort will be. A well chosen carry with a meticulously tied wrap will always be more comfortable than any carrier.
  • disadvantage nr. 1: you need to learn how to tie a wrap. BUT! It is no rocket science! All it takes is some courage and in the best case, someone who will help you with your first tries. As I said, it is much easier than it seems and there is no shame in not knowing how to do it for the first, second or even the tenth time. The carry might be imperfectly tied, the position of the baby might not be as in the books, he/she might have one leg a bit higher than the other… these are not really important things – only practice makes a master! Just a few tries and the manipulation with the baby and the wrap will become natural for you. The crucial matter is that your little one is happy and content. And just a little remark – all the trouble with learning how to tie a wrap can be overcome by using an elastic wrap in the beginning – the basic carry, front wrap cross carry with the outside pocket, is a pre-tied one; you just put a baby in the wrap and you do not need to tighten anything. You baby can get used to being carried in a wrap, you get used to baby wearing and the transition to a non-elastic wrap will not be such a shock.
  • disadvantage nr. 2: there is no ideal wrap “from newborn to preschool” (but, honestly, there is no such ‘ideal’ carrier, either). Wearing a 12kg toddler in a see-through newborn skinny, so perfect for wrapping a tiny baby, is feasible but not really comfortable, generally speaking. On the other hand, it is nearly impossible to tie a newborn in a high-weight toddler piece. Even the most “universal” wraps I have held in my hands so far would be a compromise either in the beginning or in the end of the babywearing years.
  • disadvantage nr. 3 is connected to the advantage nr. 3: the care of the wrap. A wrap (mainly the pieces with some delicate blend) is not a regular piece of fabric that you can toss in a washing machine with other dirty laundry, let in spin in Persil at 60 degrees without much thinking and let in dry in the sun. The more ‘extraordinary’ your wrap it, the more delicate maintenance it requires to preserve its properties, so that its wearing is safe and comfortable (we are planning to publish a whole article about the care of the wrap in near future). All the wraps are more or less prone to pulls, i.e. if you are not careful, you can easily pull or even tear a thread. However, the basic repairs of a wrap is, again, no rocket science and can be easily done by an averagely manually skilled individual. On the other hand, I understand that there are people who do not bother to do such things.
  • disadvantage nr. 4: the wraps are addictive! Much more than carriers. If you fall for this addiction, it is very hard to get out. 😀 Same as me, you will want to try more and more brands, blends and twills – and there is an overwhelming amount of wraps to choose from! And quite sadly, it is a really expensive hobby. On the contrary, the risk of developing an addiction on carriers is not that great – such a hobby would be even more expensive and the number of different carriers is not that high as in case of wraps.


  • advantage nr. 1: it is fast. Yes, from the moment you learn how to manipulate with the carrier and how to adjust it properly, putting a child in a carry is much faster than to tie a wrap, of course. This is something mainly the parents of very impatient wearies appreciate (Linda could tell you a lot of stories about this 😀 ). Even I sometimes choose a carrier instead of a wrap in certain situations.
  • advantage nr. 2 (a relative one). it is easier – hop, click, let’s go; no need to worry about getting the wrap dirty when you tie somewhere outside (even though there are certain tricks how to avoid it, just FYI 😉 ). Well, easier, BUT – adjusting many carriers, mainly the ones that are the most popular nowadays – the adjustable ‘growing’ ones, is not an easy job at all. We always recommend to get some help and advise from someone with experience with the particular carrier (and not only by the means of a mirror selfie on Facebook with the obligate question “does it look OK?” 😉 )
  • advantage nr. 3 (to be discussed): it is possible to buy an adjustable (‘growing’) carrier to which you can stick to from the beginning until the end of your babywearing carrier. We already discussed the matter of the adjustable carriers in the article about the Be Lenka Middlesize carrier just a few days ago.
  • advantage nr. 4 (on the contrary, no discussion here needed): in case someone unexperienced in babywearing would have to step up and fill in for you in this area, it is much easier to adjust and install your own carrier for him/her than to teach him/her how to tie a wrap. That is obvious.
  • disadvantage nr. 1: what to choose? There are many, many good, great and marvelous carriers on the market nowadays; it is wonderful that the offer is no longer just “Manduca, Ergobaby or KiBi”! But what to choose from the immense amount of different brands, models and types of carrier, that would fit you, your baby and, in the best case, also your partner? The decision is extremely difficult and to answer this question, I would have to write not only a single separate article, but a series of articles. 😉 In the case of a wrap, if you are not unlucky enough to buy some piece of ordinary fabric looking like a wrap but without the properties of a real baby wrap, it is virtually unimaginable that it would not fit you at all or that it would be absolutely impossible to wear a baby in it – which is, in contrast, something you can hear about this or that carrier from different people on daily basis. Moreover, not all the carrier that look ergonomic or are even claimed to be ergonomic by their manufacturers, are in fact really ergonomic. And – be really careful about this! – in case of some famous brands (namely Manduca and Ergobaby) there are a lot of fakes on the market. These usually come from China from Aliexpress and do not match any safety criteria of the used materials – wearing in the can be dangerous! In comparison, even with a very bad wrap you do not have to fear that it would tear apart and the baby would fall out…
  • disadvantage nr. 2: taking care of the carrier. While it is possible to launder most of the carriers (both fabric ones and wrap conversions) in a washing machine, they all take much, much longer to dry compared to a wrap. And to repair a pull of a torn thread on a wrap conversion carrier is relatively more difficult than on a wrap.
  • disadvantage nr. 3: price. Whether you like it or not, you can hardly find a carrier in good condition under 1000 Czech Crowns (i.e. approximately 40 Euro). If you are willing to spend 1000-1500 Czech Crowns (i.e. 40-60 Euro) on your babywearing gear, you will have a quite wide choice of very decently looking second hand wraps, while if you look for a carrier in this price level, you will find only very old Manducas or some home-made no-name carriers of questionable quality (well, of course, sometimes you can find a gem in the dirt, but it is rather rare).
  • disadvantage nr. 4 (very individual, but for me a fundamental one): I have to repeat it again – any carrier, with any special design and special properties, will never be as comfortable as a well-chosen and well-tied wrap.
  • What about you? What is your answer to this question? A wrap or a carrier? And why? Let’s discuss it!