12 Ways To Wrap A Baby: An Ultimate Guide For Beginners
Are you thinking about trying babywearing but feel a little bit confused about how to wrap your baby safely?
Do you want to learn the best ways to wrap a baby depending on the size and age of your little one?
Are you looking for more variations in your baby wrapping techniques besides just a standard front or back carry?
No matter what brings you here, if you’re searching for suggestions for how to tie your baby wrap, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll walk you through 12 of the most popular methods for wrapping baby carriers no matter which type of carrier you might have. For each style of wrapping, we’ll let you know when you can use this method with your little one as well as which type or types of carriers it works best with. From there, we’ll take you through every step of the process so you can better understand the right ways to tie your carriers through every stage of your child’s development.
Remember that not every baby carrier can be tied the same way, so it’s always important to know which type you have before you start looking for new methods in which you can use it. It can be very dangerous to try to tie a carrier using a method that isn’t intended for it, but otherwise, when you use the proper tying styles with the correct carriers, babywearing can be a fun and safe experience for you and your little one for a long time to come.
If your baby is still a newborn, you’re going to be a little more limited in terms of the wrapping styles you can use. Just remember that, although your child will need you to stick to newborn-safe carrying methods for the time being, as he or she gets older, you’ll be able to try a variety of new exciting ways to wear your baby.
For 12 options that will cover just about any stage of your child’s development, read on!
12 Wrap Styles for Different Baby Carriers
Below are our top 12 picks for the best ways to tie your baby wrap and carry your child during your babywearing experience. For each one, make sure you read through the directions thoroughly and understand how to perform these carrying styles before you ever try them with your own baby. Also, take the time to check out our links to videos on how to tie your wraps the correct way. A firm understanding of these methods is the best way to ensure your baby’s safety when babywearing!
1. Front Wrap Cross Carry
This method of wrapping your baby is a good first option for anyone learning how to try babywearing for the first time. This is a great choice if your baby is sleeping on your stomach and you need to transition to a standing position without waking him or her up. It’s safe to use with a newborn as well as with children up to about a year of age, and depending on the size of your baby, you may be able to keep up with this carrying style until a year and a half as well.
Type of Carrier: Baby wrap (woven or stretchy)
1. Spread the wrap across your body so that the center of the wrap is near your belly button and the rest of the fabric is hanging down to your knees like an apron.
2. Bring the sides of the wrap up and over the opposite shoulders so that the wrap is forming an X on your back.
3. Bring the ends of the wrap to the front of your body so that they’re hanging down over your shoulders. It’s okay if they’re still touching the floor at this point.
4. Pull the front pocket portion of the wrap (the section that is across your stomach) out slightly so your baby can fit down into it.
5. Tuck your baby into the front pocket and then tuck the pocket around your baby’s bottom for extra security.
6. Pull your baby’s legs around your waist if he or she is older, or fold them under your child like a frog if your baby is younger.
7. Pull the ends of the wrap tightly down over your shoulders so that they’re secure.
8. Cross the ends of the wrap under your baby’s bottom to add more support for his or her weight.
9. Tie the wrap in a square knot behind your back. You may choose to double knot it if you have a lot of fabric left.
10. Keep younger babies’ arms inside the wrap, but you can allow older babies’ arms to remain free. Make sure your baby’s knees are high if his or her legs are around your body.
11. You can spread out the fabric from the crossed portions of the wrap for more security if you like, but remember that this will feel hotter on a warm day if you do.
2. Front Wrap Cross Carry Tied Under Bum
This method is very similar to the traditional front wrap cross carry, but the biggest difference is how it’s finished. With this method, your baby will have even more security and you may feel like you can try babywearing even more hands-free than you ever have before. Just like the traditional front wrap cross carry, you can use this method with a baby who is as young as a newborn or as old as your child can be comfortably carried in this type of position. Keep in mind that the only limits to this carrying method are really the size and weight of your child.
Type of Carrier: Baby wrap (woven or stretchy)
1. Start by spreading the wrap out like an apron with the center of the wrap around your belly button and the width of the fabric falling down to your knees.
2. Pick up the long ends of the fabric and pull them over the opposite shoulders, forming an X across your back.
3. Let the long fabric ends fall down the front of your body over your shoulders. They may still touch the ground at this time.
4. Pull out the portion of the wrap that is stretched across your stomach so that it forms a pocket large enough for your baby to sit inside it.
5. Place your baby into the pocket portion of the wrap. If your child is older, place his or her legs around either side of your body with the knees kept high. If your baby is younger, fold his or her legs underneath your child’s body like a frog.
6. Pull the long ends of the wrap fabric taut to remove any slack in them.
7. Cross the long ends of the fabric under your baby’s bottom and then pull them to the back of your body
8. This is where the carrying method differs from the traditional front wrap cross carry style. This time, cross the ends of the fabric behind your back and pull them back to the front of your body.
9. Tie the ends in a firm square knot underneath your baby’s bottom.
10. Spread out the fabric across your baby’s back and your own back as desired.
3. Semi-Front Wrap Cross Carry
This is a great alternative for anyone who wants to try a front wrap cross carry but doesn’t want to commit to wearing a big, long baby carrier. This is a fun option for babywearing when you’re on the go, especially on vacation. It doesn’t use as much fabric as the traditional front wrap cross carry or the front wrap cross carry tied under the bum, so it’s a much cooler and more lightweight alternative that’s sure to keep you and your baby safe and comfortable no matter what the weather might surprise you with. This wrap is safe for newborns and babies up to any age that is comfortable in this position.
Type of Carrier: Short stretchy baby wrap
1. Start with one tail of the wrap over one shoulder and the rest of the wrap hanging behind your body.
2. Reach behind your body and pull the other end of the wrap around to the front of you.
3. Spread out the fabric from the front of the wrap across your front as well as your baby’s back. Ensure that your baby is being worn high on your chest with his or her head close to your chin.
4. Tuck the bottom rail of the wrap up underneath your baby’s bottom and legs.
5. Pull the long end of the wrap around behind your back and tug on it until it’s taut.
6. Pull the long end of the wrap forward and underneath your baby’s bottom until it reaches the tail that you put over your shoulder at the beginning of this method.
7. Tie into a secure knot at the side of your body where the first tail of the wrap was hanging. If your baby is younger, tuck his or her arms into the wrap. If he or she is older, you can leave the arms free.
8. Spread the fabric of the wrap out over your baby’s back for additional security.
9. Spread the fabric of the wrap out over your shoulder for more support for your baby’s weight.
4. Short Cross Carry
Also called the simple cross carry, this is a very low-maintenance and easy way to wear your baby. It’s similar to the other methods of cross carrying, but it’s a little quicker and easier to put on when you’re in a hurry. While this method tends to work a little bit better for older babies and toddlers who have better control over their bodies, it is safe enough for use with a newborn. However, if you want to go hands-free with your newborn, you may want to choose one of the other front wrap cross carry options for maximum security instead. This is a convenient method that can be performed by any adult who may be babywearing in your family without having to buy a separate wrap or carrier for other members of the household.
Type of Carrier: Baby wrap (woven or stretchy)
1. Start by placing the wrap so that the tails are hanging down over your shoulders and the middle is draped behind your back. Adjust it so that one tail is longer than the other one.
2. Cross the longer tail over to the opposite side of your body so that the fabric forms an X across your chest.
3. Bring that end up and over your shoulder, then pull it down through the draped loop of fabric on your back.
4. Bring the long end to the side where the other end of the fabric is positioned and tie them into a knot together at the side of your body.
5. Place your baby’s legs through each of the crosses on the other side of your body to form a little seat for your child.
6. Spread out both of the crosses over your baby’s back and legs so that he or she is held securely in this wrap.
7. Adjust as needed to ensure that the wrap is tight and your baby is held firmly in place.
5. Half Front Wrap Cross Carry
This is another good solution if you’re looking for a carrying method you can try with a shorter or thinner wrap. It’s also great for warmer weather, so it’s a wrap method you’ll want to perfect before the next time you take your baby on vacation! Although this carrying style is safe for use with a newborn, you may want to support your baby with a hand on his or her back if you’re carrying a very young child who doesn’t have control over his or her upper body in this wrapping method.
Type of Carrier: Baby wrap (woven or stretchy)
1. Begin this wrap by placing the fabric so that one short tail is over your shoulder and the rest is falling down behind your back.
2. If you’re trying this method with a longer wrap, you may need to take up some slack from the extra fabric. To do this, you can either fold the wrap in half if it’s thin enough or wait until the end to make extra knots in the fabric instead.
3. Pull the long end of the wrap behind your body and then around the front, spreading it out over your chest and stomach so that the fabric is kept wide.
4. Pull the short tail of the fabric so that it’s hanging on top of the other side of the fabric on the front of your body.
5. Pull the long end of the fabric around your back again and up over the opposite shoulder from where the short tail is.
6. Slide your baby into the pocket of fabric between your body and the wide portion of the wrap that’s stretched across your stomach and chest.
7. Adjust the fabric so that it’s spread over your baby’s back and he or she has a safe and secure seat in the wrap.
8. Pull the long end of the fabric over your baby’s shoulder and diagonally across his or her body, ending underneath his or her opposite leg.
9. Pull the long end of the wrap straight up your own body and tie it in a knot with the short tail of the wrap that is still over your shoulder.
10. Spread out the fabric you used to cross your baby’s body so that it’s holding him or her more securely.
11. Adjust the knot accordingly to keep the wrap taut.
6. Newborn Hug Hold
Most parents who practice babywearing believe there’s no greater option for carrying a newborn than the newborn hug hold. Although there are definitely other safe options for carrying a newborn baby, this is one of the safest, most secure, and most tried-and-true versions of babywearing with a newborn child. Your baby will need to be at least 8 pounds before you can use this carrying method, however, so take care not to use it with premature little ones. Otherwise, however, it’s safe for use when nursing or going through your day to day activities—whichever way you choose!
Type of Carrier: Baby wrap (woven or stretchy)
1. Start by tying the wrap on your body first before you pick up your baby
2. To do this, fold your wrap in half lengthwise so that both long open ends of the fabric are facing upward.
3. Center the middle of the wrap at your belly button and keep the open part of the wrap facing upward still.
4. Cross both long ends of the wrap behind your back.
5. Bring one long end of the fabric up and over your shoulder to the front of your body and then repeat with the other end. This should form a wide X shape over your back. Take time to spread out the fabric at this point so you don’t have to try to do it when you’re wearing your baby later instead.
6. Pull the ends of the fabric taut and then tuck them beneath the “waist band” you formed during the first part of this method.
7. Cross the long ends of the fabric so that they form an X shape on your chest that is tucked into the waist portion of the wrap.
8. Pull the fabric behind your back and tie a knot, then pull it to the front of your body and tie another knot.
9. Open the seams of the shoulder portion of the wrap that is closer to your body than the other shoulder.
10. Put your baby’s head on the opposite shoulder from the seams you just opened.
11. Slide your baby’s legs, in the fetal position, into the open seams of the fabric on the side of your body opposite his or her head.
12. Spread the fabric so that it covers your baby’s back, shoulders, and bottom but leaves his or her head and neck free.
13. Pull the center of the wrap up and over your baby’s bottom and back for additional support.
7. Kangaroo Sling Baby Carrier Wrap
Popularized by the well-known Moby company, this method of carrying your baby is safe for newborns as small as 8 pounds, but it shouldn’t be used with very small or premature infants. You can continue to use this method up until any age that is still comfortable for you and your child. It’s a convenient method of babywearing if you plan to try nursing your child while you’re wearing him or her since it allows your baby to have easy access to the front of your body. It’s also very safe and secure!
Type of Carrier: Stretchy baby wrap
1. Position your wrap so that the center of the wrap is at your belly button and the wrap is hanging down to the floor.
2. Wrap the long ends of the wrap behind your back in a wide X and spread the fabric out across your back.
3. Pull the long ends up and over your shoulders so that both sides are draping over your shoulders and hanging down long.
4. Hold your baby’s head high on your shoulder and lower his or her legs, in the fetal position, down into the portion of the fabric that’s stretched across your chest.
5. Pull this width of fabric up over your baby’s back and shoulders and down under his or her bottom.
6. Keep holding your baby while you pull one long end of fabric from your shoulder across your baby’s back and around your opposite hip.
7. Repeat this process with the other long tail of fabric and pull tightly to ensure that everything is taut.
8. Wrap the long ends of fabric around your body until they are still long enough to knot but not too long.
9. Knot the fabric at your back, hip, or under your baby’s bottom on the front of your body.
8. Back Wrap Cross Carry
This is a little bit more of an old-fashioned method of carrying and wrapping your baby, but that doesn’t make it any less useful for you and your child. This method keeps your baby on your back and therefore is not ever safe for use with newborn or very small infants. Your child should at least be able to sit up and hold up his or her head without assistance before you introduce this carrying method. It’s best if you wait until your baby is at least 8 months old in most situations, but you can judge your own child’s development and determine if you can start sooner or should wait a little later.
Type of Carrier: Woven baby wrap
1. Wrap the center of your wrap around your baby’s back and bottom.
2. Carefully pull your baby onto your back as if you’re giving a piggyback ride. Make sure your baby is big enough and old enough for this before you try it!
3. Pull one long end of the fabric over one shoulder and then repeat the process with the other piece of fabric and your other shoulder.
4. Pull the fabric ends under your armpits so that they are straight. You will need to keep your body bent for this part of the process so that your baby doesn’t fall off.
5. Pull the bottom of the wrap under your baby’s bottom and then up and over his or her knees.
6. Pull the top edge of the wrap up your baby’s back and under his or her armpits.
7. Hold one end of the wrap between your knees and pull the other end of your wrap across your body to the opposite shoulder.
8. Spread the back of the wrap over your baby’s back, shoulders and knees once again.
9. Pull the wrap snugly around your baby on both sides and tuck it up under the baby’s legs.
10. Repeat this process with the other long end of the fabric and then tug on both ends of the fabric at once to pull the wrap taut.
11. Tie firmly at the waist and spread out the fabric on your own body as needed.
9. Rucksack Carry
Another great way to try carrying your baby on your back is the rucksack carry. This is similar to the back wrap cross carry but also a little bit different. Because of its differences, it may be more comfortable for parents and children both who have found the back wrap cross carry to be a little too bulky or difficult to move around with. This method requires your baby to be able to support himself or herself fully in a sitting position, so wait until at least 8 months of age before trying it in most situations.
Type of Carrier: Woven baby wrap
1. Start by spreading the center of your wrap across your baby’s back and placing your baby on your own back. Always keep one hand on your baby for support when tying this wrap.
2. Pull the long ends of the wrap straight down and under your armpits like you would in the rucksack method.
3. Pull one long end of fabric across your baby’s leg, under the knee, and then across the body to the other side.
4. Repeat the same process with the other long piece of fabric on the other side of your baby’s body.
5. Pull both ends of the wrap together on the front of your body and tie in a secure knot.
6. Spread the fabric out so that it’s wide enough to cover your baby’s back, legs, and shoulders if he or she is smaller. It may stop under your baby’s armpits if you’re carrying a bigger baby or toddler, however.
7. Spread the fabric out over your own body for comfort and safety and make sure to pull the wrap taut before you walk with it in place.
10. Reinforced Rucksack Carry with Tibetan Finish
The reinforced rucksack carry with Tibetan finish method of babywearing is a variation on the traditional rucksack carry. It adds a little more support and security for your child and can be especially beneficial if your baby is getting a little too big or heavy for the methods you’ve been using up until this point. This method of babywearing isn’t safe for use with newborns or premature babies. Wait until your child is at least 8 months old before trying this method, but feel free to continue using it as long as it’s comfortable for you and your baby.
Type of Carrier: Woven baby wrap
1. As with the back wrap cross carry and rucksack carry methods, you’ll need to start by spreading the center of the fabric across your baby’s back and then putting your baby on your own back.
2. Keep the top rail of the wrap tight at all times and bend over so that your baby won’t fall off your body.
3. Pull the bottom rail underneath your baby’s bottom and then up and over his or her knees to form a comfortable and secure seat.
4. Pull the wrap tight over your shoulders and then bring the bottom rail over the top rail on one side. Hold the tail between your knees and repeat the process with the other side of the long wrap.
5. Twist the second side and pull it behind your back and up and over the seat you made for your baby during the first part of the process. Spread the fabric so that it’s going under your baby’s bottom, over the knee, and then under the opposite knee before it falls back to the front of your body.
6. Repeat the process with the other tail, holding the first one between your knees instead.
7. Ensure that your baby’s head is still high enough on the back of your body at this stage.
8. Now the tails should be lower on your body. Hold one between your knees and bring the other up and under the shoulder straps you formed already. Pull it tightly.
9. Repeat the process with the other tail of the fabric. You should have the tails crossed over your chest and tucked into the straps that are around your shoulders.
10. Tie into a double knot on the front of your body near one shoulder.
11. Spread the fabric out as needed for the comfort and safety of you and your baby both.
11. Hip Wrap Cross Carry
When your baby gets a little bit bigger, he or she is going to be more comfortable being worn on your hip rather than on the front or back of your body. Although a hip carrying method may take a little time for both of you to get used to it, you and your child are sure to enjoy this comfy style of wrapping as soon as you get the hang of it. Use this method with babies who are at least 4 months old and are a little more capable of supporting their heads and upper bodies than a newborn baby might be.
Type of Carrier: Stretchy baby wrap OR ring sling (Note that these directions are for tying a stretchy baby wrap)
1. Start with the center of the wrap placed at the back of your neck and one long tail draped over one shoulder.
2. Pull the other long tail wide around the back of your body and around to the front of your body.
3. Cross the other tail (that is draped over your shoulder) over the top of the tail you just pulled around your waist.
4. Bring both long tails of the wrap around your body once again and cross them on the opposite hip.
5. Tie them into a double knot at this position. If your wrap is very long, you may need to repeat the tail crossing process before you can tie your fabric successfully.
6. Hold your baby on the side of your body opposite the knot you made.
7. Slide one of your baby’s legs through the crossed fabric on the front of your body and the other leg through the crossed fabric on the back of your body.
8. Spread out the fabric from these crossed parts of the wraps so that it spreads from one of your baby’s knees to the other and across your baby’s back. Repeat the same with the second cross to provide a secure and safe seat for your little one.
9. Your baby should be positioned so that he or she is on your hip but slightly to the front of your body. If your baby has ended up slightly to the back of your body instead, you’ll need to adjust this position before you can be finished with the wrap.
10. Double check your knot to ensure that it’s still tight enough now that your baby is in the wrap.
11. If you prefer, you can keep your baby’s arms tucked inside the wrap. Older babies and toddlers in this carrying method should be allowed to keep their arms free if it’s convenient, however.
12. Poppins Hip Carry
The Poppins hip carry method is a variation on the hip wrap cross carry that can provide your baby with a little additional security and safety while you’re practicing babywearing. This is a great option for anyone looking for a completely hands-free experience with babywearing throughout the day. Your baby should be at least 4 months old before you try this style, but you can continue to use it well into your child’s toddler stages as well. This is a comfortable method that can help you support the weight of even a larger baby without having to resort to carrying him or her directly on your back.
Type of Carrier: Stretchy baby wrap
1. Spread the baby wrap so that the center of the fabric is at the back of your neck and one long tail is draped down over the front of your shoulder. Keep the other tail down your back.
2. Pull the tail at the back of your body up and keep the fabric wide.
3. Hold your baby so that his or her head is high on your shoulder opposite the tail of fabric that’s hanging on the front of your body.
4. Pull the other tail of fabric around the back of your body and over your baby’s back and shoulders to meet the long tail on the other shoulder.
5. Tuck the tail that is around your baby’s back underneath the tail that is over your shoulder. Bring it back between your baby’s body and your body to the other side.
6. Pull both tails taut.
7. Pull the tail that is on the same side of your body as your baby around your back, keeping the fabric wide.
8. Bring that tail around to the front of your body where it will meet the other tail of fabric underneath your baby’s knee.
9. Tie it in a secure double knot and position your baby so that he or she is sitting with one leg on the front of your body and the other leg on the back of your body with his or her weight supported by your hips.
10. If your baby is sitting too far toward the back of your body, adjust the hold so that he or she is closer to the front of your body instead.
11. Adjust the knot as needed to ensure that the fabric is pulled taut and your baby is in a secure seat.
5 Tips on Where to Buy Baby Wraps
When you’re looking for baby wraps, you may start to feel a little overwhelmed by the variety of options available on the market. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be tough to tell which products are good ones and which ones are less than quality. Because of this, it’s always important to be sure you’re buying from places that have a proven record of providing good products that work well and are sure to keep your baby safe. Check out our list below to help you get started shopping.
Places like Target and other big box chain stores tend to carry a few varieties of baby carriers. Most of the time, the carriers you find in these stores are going to be of the hard, formed variety, but every now and then they do stock brand name wraps, slings, and other types of soft carriers. It pays to check out their websites and visit local stores to see what’s in stock, but remember that you might need to check elsewhere if you aren’t finding just what you need in these places.
2. Local farmer’s markets
If you live in a large area with a good farmer’s market that includes many different vendors, you may have a local resource for someone who makes and sells baby wraps and slings. If you’re thinking of buying from a craft table at a farmer’s market or another local event, be sure you ask for some references so you can speak to someone who has already purchased from the same seller. A reputable crafter will be happy to put you in touch with someone who has been pleased with his or her work and may already have online feedback you can check out, too.
Brand name baby carriers and wraps are almost always available for purchase through the company’s websites. Sometimes, however, you may be at the mercy of low stock if you’re hoping to go this route for your purchase. On the other hand, this can be a great way to stock up on “last year’s models” of baby carriers when the websites are trying to make way for new products. Be on the lookout for free shipping and other types of deals if you want to buy your carrier from a company website.
As with just about anything else online, you can find baby wraps, slings, and carriers through sellers on Amazon. It’s important, however, to remember that not all of these products are as good as they appear, and you should always take your time choosing baby carriers that come from Amazon. Look at feedback and see how many products the sellers have sold in the past. Make sure to do your research outside of the Amazon site, too, to ensure that you’re getting a carrier that’s going to stand up to a lot of wear and tear and can keep your baby safe.
If you prefer to stick to handmade products, you can always check Etsy. This is a marketplace website a little bit like Amazon, but instead of buying stocked products from companies and large-scale sellers, you’re buying from individuals who make everything by hand instead. These items may sometimes be in stock but may also have to be made to order, which can cause your order to take some time. However, you can usually find some beautiful products and may be able to even choose custom fabrics if you’re willing to wait a little bit longer for your carrier or wrap to arrive.
With so many different methods of wrapping your baby to choose from, how can you figure out which one is best for you? The first step is, of course, to narrow down your options to include only those that work with the type of carrier you have. However, from there, you’ll have to figure out the size and weight of your baby and try a few different styles before you find the one that works best for both of you.
Remember that your baby’s safety and comfort should always be the top priority in terms of any carrying method, but you should also be concerned with your own safety and comfort throughout the process as well. Without wearing your baby the correct way, you may run the risk of hurting yourself, pulling muscles, or causing unnecessary back or shoulder pain.
But which method of carrying your baby is the most versatile and useful throughout your child’s life? As you can probably see from the list above, there are tons of different variations on the cross carry, which makes this the most universally helpful style of carrying your baby. However, this style isn’t safe for use with newborns, so remember not to try it until your baby is big enough for it to be done safely.
If you have any concerns about babywearing, you can speak to your child’s pediatrician for more information or talk to people online or in person who have been through the process already. There’s a wealth of information out there just waiting for you to find it, so don’t be afraid to go digging and learn as much as you can.
Always research babywearing thoroughly before you try it yourself, and make sure to pick options that work for you and your child based on size, age, and any safety concerns you might have. With the right information, you’ll be sure to enjoy a healthy and safe experience from start to finish.