Babywearing with Jess


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Different ways to soften a wrap..

“Breaking in” is the name of the process given to soften a wrap when it is new. The journey of me trying to break in this heavy duty Poe Chevron should give you just a little insight as to why woven wraps maintain thier sales value when sold second hand. Second hand wraps have often had someone else do all the hard work for you!

So I have already shared the process of washing, ironing and pulling repeatedly through the threads… But as expected, this beast of a wrap is going to need more work than that to become the beautifully thick floppy wrap I know it has the potential to be!

So what else can be done..?

Just some general manhandling, for lack of a better word, with a new ring sling will help the wrap soften around the rings. Just scrunching up the shoulder around the rings, I gave the wrap a good solid tug a few times.. This shoulder conversion is a box shoulder and quite wide around the rings which isnt helping when it comes to easy of threading the tail end. So by pulling and tugging on it a bit, it is helping settle the join to the rings to become a bit more narrow…

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Knotting and braiding wraps is another way to help soften them, when it’s a ring sling it is shorter, usually more so than even a “shorty” wrap so you won’t get the same “plaited” braid look, well, I certainly didn’t with Poe Chevron!

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You can also “knot” a wrap to help break it in, again, the resulting effect with a ring sling doesn’t look quite like it might with a woven wrap due to the shorter length, and Poe Chevron being so thick, because of the high GSM, meant it was even shorter again. 

The other obvious step in breaking in a wrap is to wear and use it. The more you do so, despite any of these other methods, which are ineffective, just trying to replicate the same “man handling” you will give it by wearing it. 

When I first got this, it was waaay to stiff and heavy for me to get a good carry in it easily with Jai, my smaller beast, and it was ok with Josh (3.5) but just too tough to tighten with Jai in it. Today I picked it up as it was the first thing to cross my path when the alarm service guy came and it was soo much easier to thread and tighten through the rings already! 

It probably would have found sleepy dust for my grizzling teething wee dude but I was worried it wouldn’t be very easy to transfer out of and the alarm guy had gone so I pulled him out for a sleep before transfering him into his hammock. 

Will probably give it another wash, steam iron and threading through the rings treatment again but it may well take place as my go to ring sling in general at this rate! 🙂


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Taming the beast!

I am a massive ring sling fan, I have worn one pretty much everyday for over the last year! My first open tail woven converted ring sling was a Girasol Saltillo which I got when Josh was 18 months old. It was the first ever thing I wore Jai in only a few hours old!

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Not long after he was born and I realised how much of a ring sling fan I was, a friend and I went halves in getting a Natibaby Oxytocin wrap converted into a ring sling by K.I Designs. It is a cotton/hemp blend and the extra stiffness and bulk added by the hemp has completely softened after a year of use! It is my go to ring sling, partly because of the wrap having a “right” and “wrong” side (different look to the print), which makes it easier to spot which way is up and avoid getting myself twisted or tangled with quick ups and downs.

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But now my youngest boy is nearly 14 kgs, despite only just having turned one.. and when my threenager has super epic hormone surging meltdowns and tantrums, it is still a ring sling which I would first reach for first and I thought it might be time to look at getting something even more “toddler worthy”…

So I recently purchased a heavy duty woven wrap that had been made into a ring sling, Poe Chevron converted by Island Customs, as part of a fundraising auction for a new babywearing group being established in Geraldine, a small town down the line in the South Island of New Zealand.

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I knew it was a heavy duty wrap before purchasing it, Poe Chevron is a 425 g/m2 wrap, the weave is made of four different threads, as opposed to two in a standard Poe woven. It is noticeably thicker and heavier than a standard woven wrap.

And both beastly and beautiful it sure is, just like the threenager I am planning to use it to help me tame 😉 but when it first arrived, it was hard work even threading it or tighten through the rings… Not that it was of any concern to my snuggly 3.5 year old who cuddled right in and said “it’s like a snuggle blanket!!”

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Which is lovely but on that first try, I needed some serious bicep power and fiddling to adjust it. Which isnt unexpected with a thicker or heavier weave ring sling wrap conversion.. My hemp/cotton Natibaby took a while to easily glide through the rings as I adjusted it…

But Poe Chevron is a whole different ball game, and as I blogged about recently, my go to approach of a wrap hammock to soften and break in my wraps with my kids help, isn’t going to work the same with a ring sling!

So here’s what I have done so far, because I said I would share the process with you! 😉

First, and this is seriously essential, you need to wash your wrap. When wraps arrive new to you, they are often in what is called “loom state”. They have just come off the loom, the weave hasn’t had a chance to settle into place. It is wise to always check the care instructions for your particular wrap on the manufacturers website or in an instructional booklet if you have one, even wraps of the same blend may require different care so it’s safest not to assume anything and double check!

So in this case, following the guidelines on the Poe website, I used a cold wash on a delicates cycle and liquid detergent. I then tumble dried and gave it a through steam iron on the cotton setting.

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Once I had done those steps, it already felt a little softer and mouldable.. But the thing with a ring sling is you are pulling a piece of material, in this case 66cm wide through and between two metal rings, which in this case are about 8.5cm in diameter. There is always going to be some “work” required to soften up that gliding action of the material through the two rings.

The best way to soften or ease that process is by doing it really… Today we had a movie afternoon because we were all feeling average after a long week. So after Mr 3.5 and I went to the video shop and got some DVDs, we sat on the couch together, and while we watched, I sat and pulled the material through the rings and back again.


(riveting photage I know! Haha)

This is a seriously heavy duty wrap, despite changing sides and taking a break, my arms where sore after a while!! So I resorted to an alternative approach of tightening and loosening it as I was wearing it (thanks again Jai for your hands on help with that video hahah).

I’ve already given it another steam iron and will probably sit and pull it through and back again as my husband and I watch something on Netflix later but it’s already noticeably easier to pull through…

We will soften and tame this beast yet! 😉


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Breaking in a wrap…

Once upon a time, second hand wraps commanded a high price in a healthy babywearing market. The bottom has fallen out of the market a bit at the moment and I personally suspect it is somewhat to do with the influx of people new to babywearing, trained to buy, buy, buy and only the best, which often equates to new for first time parents at least- I know it did for us! The advantage and benefit to second hand in the world of babywearing is that buying something someone else has used, comes “broken in”…

This is relevant to all carriers but particularly poignant in the world of woven wraps or woven wrap conversions… (stretchy wraps are the exception to this rule, please don’t try to “break in” a stretchy, it will likely lose most of its stretch and be really unsopporting!) Some brands and blends are heavier and require more “work” than others…. Often people will borrow something from my library, buy a brand new version of the same thing and say to me “it’s not as soft as yours”…

Of course not! Mine has been worn by me for at least some period of time and then loaned out to others before you have even had a chance to try it… And to take the work out of that for myself, I often buy second hand. Wraps doesn’t lose as much value as other second hand baby items do because they are often nicer to use after someone else has “broken them in”!

Breaking in wraps is a bit of a drawn out process of washing, drying, ironing, braiding and using wraps as the weave settles. Though personally one of my all favourite ways to break in or soften a wrap is to set it up as a wrap hammock for my kids to play in!

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Under the dining table, in a cot or toddler bed like our currently permanent set up in the nursery (as our toddler this time round uses his cot and toddler bed just as much as his big brother did, which is not at all!), under bunks, in a tree (tie a towel or something around the branch before you throw your woven wrap up there at least!!), on the hammock stand… Anywhere we can secure it… I string a wrap up, making sure to double knot it tightly and check the security, then encourage my kids (it seriously doesn’t take much!) to swing, climb, squirm around… Whatever they want to do in it…

The whole time they are enjoying this “special fun activity” they are also stretching and pulling the weave to settle, soften the wrap with each hammock…

I have a heavy duty woven converted ring sling on its way to me soon and it’s going to test my conventional “breaking in” method as it won’t be long enough for a hammock! So watch this space and I will shortly share with you the process of trying to break in a heavy duty woven already custom converted into a ring sling with you shortly!!