Composition: 100 % cotton
Weight: 192 g/m² (counted by us)
Size: 6 (493 cm measured by us)
Front wrap cross carry, reinforced front wrap cross carry
I am sure most of our readers have already heard about the Lidl wrap, sometimes pejoratively called the ‘Lidl rag’. It has become sort of a legend over the year it has spent in the babywearing world. You could have also read countless reviews – some by super-experienced wearers who tried hundreds of wraps, some by less experienced, or better said ‘ordinary’ babywearing mums who often bought it as their first wrap ever or as a ‘working’ piece for cooking or gardening with their baby.
Logically, we had to review it ourselves! It is really such a ‘dreadful’ piece of frazzle that you could use only as a dishcloth? Or is it actually an underestimated underdog of the babywearing market?
In my opinion, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The main motivation to buy the Lidl wrap is (or was) its low price. If I remember, its ‘retail value’ was 399 Czech Crowns, i.e. about 15 or 16 Euro, in the Czech Republic. However, put it in the context of today’s prices of the basic cotton wraps, often released by reputable brands, for example Yaro Broken Twill 33, that you can get under 800 Czech Crowns (30 Euro). And consider that with some luck you can buy an older Šanami or Vatanai wrap for 500 Czech Crowns (20 Euro). Then, suddenly the 15 Euro Lupilu does not look like the ‘best buy of the year’, does it? Honestly, the babywearing market is quite different nowadays than it was one year ago; currently the offer of the ‘affordable’ wraps and carriers is much wider. About a year and a half ago, when I started babywearing, it was quite rare to find a wrap with retail value under 60 Euro – these were the most simple and the thinnest Little Frogs, for example. Today, you can get a really good wrap, even a blended one or a high-weight toddler piece, under 80 Euro without much searching. In any case, in December 2017, Lupilu’s price seemed like a revelation! Moreover, in spring, there was a sale of these wraps with their price being bare 6 Euro (or something so ridiculously low) – which is still a bargain even now, for a size 6 wrap.
But! Is it really a ‘wrap for babywearing’, or better said, a ‘wrap woven for babywearing’? Probably not. I have no idea if anyone could get any piece of solid information about the manner this wrap (or ‘wrap’?) was woven, but it is true that its properties are closer to a simple piece of cloth – i.e. something the babywearing beginners are generally warned against (for example the brands Pentelka, Womar, or Medley). A little bit of theory – why not to buy the first piece of fabric you come across and have your handy grandmother sew the hems? Because the ‘real’ babywraps, unlike the ordinary fabric, are slightly elastic in the diagonal direction – this is the basic and very important difference. Thanks to being diagonally elastic, the wrap can embrace and support the baby, it is possible to tighten it, the hems are not loose, the wrap spreads the weight of the wearie on the wearer’s shoulders much better and when walking, the elasticity prevents you from feeling every step on your shoulders. Therefore, wearing is much more comfortable, especially in case you carry a heavy toddler.
However, Lupilu is not a totally non-elastic and non-cooperating piece of rag. Well, yes, it IS probably made of ordinary fabric, and yes, it could make the life of a babywearing novice a bit sour. But could you harm your baby by wearing him/her in this wrap…? Or is the wearing so dramatically uncomfortable that this wrap is truly unusable? Not at all.
I tested the Lidl wrap twice. For the first time, I borrowed it over Christmas, when it was ‘hot new’. My wrapping experience was mediocre, Emilka weighed about 6 kilograms and was still in the ‘little baby’ category (well, in her 8 months a very agile one, but still a little baby 😉 ). For the second time, I tried it at the end of last summer – Emilka became a ‘sturdy’ 9kg toddler and I had touched, wrapped and tested tens of different wraps in the meantime.
There is one saying in Czech – “it is OK, but it is rough”. It is quite poignant in the case of Lupilu. It is surely possible to tie it and if you put some effort in it, you can even tie a quite decently-looking carry. Tightening is no walk in the park, but the hems did not stick out as a piece of stubborn sheet metal in the end, opposed to my expectations. But it is a grippy b.tch – so grippy that it does not slide whatsoever (and feels a bit squeaky when being tied, too) – I even had problems tying the second knot because it did not slide like aaaat all!! However, what a wonder, the wrap does not hold in one knot! 😀 Quite a precarious situation, but if you try hard, the knot will eventually hold tight.
The comfort of the wearing is not the best, I will not dispute this. Even 6 kilograms were a bit too much for Lupilu in a single layer carry and during the photoshoot, with Emilka weighing 9 kilograms, I was really looking forward to reinforcing the front wrap cross carry by spreading the straps. The main problem of this wrap is simply the fact that it is very little elastic – and together with its low weight, if you attempt to carry a heavier load, it will cut into your shoulders like a well sharpened knife. It was a bit better in a back carry, but still nothing I would choose to wear for a full-day trip.
I also want to mention one detail – maybe it is ‘just a detail’, but in my opinion it is one of those details that can tell a lot – in this case, about how the wrap was sewn, who sewed it and that this ‘someone’ probably knew nothing about babywearing: the middle marker is not in the actual middle of the wrap but in the middle of one of its sides. Woven wraps usually have tips, of course, this is quite obvious – but understanding that a rhomboid’s middle is somewhere else than of a trapeze might not be that easy – I think that only those who had tied a babywrap before are able to realize it. Not the case of Lupilu, though.
Positives beyond discussion? It is super-durable which makes it an ideal ‘working’ wrap for gardening/cleaning the stables/cutting down trees in the forest. And – kill me now – the grey variant is really beautiful! There are not many striped wraps I like – but I surely love these decent, soft shades of grey of Lupilu. It is so elegant! I actually saw a wrap conversion made of this wrap and it looked just stunning!
My verdict? As a back-up wrap for those who otherwise own only one wrap and dread the situation when they would have to wait for it to dry before they could wrap their crying baby – why not. But not as the first or the primary babywearing device – that I would never recommend to anyone. But of course, if the only place and situation when you babywear is when you clean the cow-shed from the manure, then go ahead and buy it! 😉
We hereby want to thank to our dear ‘Tomato’ and our also-dear fellow-wearer Mirka for lending us the wraps for testing!