We love stretchy wraps for newborns and beyond, and you can read more about how stretchy wraps work in our article All About Stretchy Wraps, and read about the key safety points when carrying newborns in our Stretchy Wrap Safety article.
When the FreeRider Stretchy Wraps dropped through my door, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had heard about these premium 100% Tencel stretchy wraps and absolutely jumped at the chance to try them. The material that a carrier is made out of effects the properties of the carrier in many ways: texture, look, strength, stretch (how far you can pull a wrap using tension) and elasticity (how well it will pull itself back to its original shape when the tension is released). As soon as I got my hands on these wraps I found I loved them!
When I opened the box the first thing I noticed was the packaging. It is visibly a premium product. The packaging is beautifully designed, attractive and sturdy and made from 100% plastic free recycleable materials. They also come with a cotton bag to keep the wrap in, so you can easily store it in your bag or pushchair when not in use. I think one of my favourite touches is the affirmation on the label that reads “Being a good parent takes courage and today I’m feeling brave.” Negotiating life as a new parent, everything can feel like a challenge, even, and especially, things that were tasks that were taken for granted before, and a reminder that the job we are doing is hard, but that we have the strength to do it, supported by those around us, is a powerful motivating message. It felt like a personal and apt message, and one that I hope touches and empowers the parents who use it!
They will come in a range of both plain colours and prints making them an even more attractive option as stretchy wraps are largely available in solid colours until recently. Currently Wild Leaf and Blossom are available to buy through the FreeRider website in the 100% Tencel Range.
We are asked a lot about the sources and sustainability of carriers, and parents are thinking more and more about the impact of their consumers choices, but if you are looking for a carrier with a conscience then the FreeRider is definitely worth a try. The Tencel used to make these wraps comes from the Eucalyptus tree which grows well without need for irrigation or pesticidal treatments, making it a low impact resource, and as eucalyptus is a particularly fast growing tree, it is also a sustainable fibre. The process used to create fabric from fibres is a ‘Closed Loop’ process, meaning that almost 100% of the chemicals used are recovered and recycled with minimal waste and very low emissions. The pioneering process in which Tencel is made received the European Award for the Environment from the EU. So if you are looking for a baby carrier with sustainabilty and environmental responsibility, then it is definitely worth checking out this range!
The feel of the fabric
Well, I have to say, this is where they got me hooked. The first wrap I took out of the packaging was the Camel wrap. This is a plain solid coloured wrap. Except it isn’t, it shimmers. To the touch it is incredibly soft and silky. I spent a good while just stroking it because it feels really lovely! The Wild Leaf came out next and it too is softer and sleeker feeling than other stretchy wraps that I have tried. I also felt how thin the fabric was. I could tell that this would be a beautifully light wrap to wear which is a bonus in summer as stretchy wrap can feel overwhleming in warm weather, especially as there are three layers over the baby. However thin fabrics can feel less supportive than thicker fabrics, and sleek fabrics can often feel slippy, so how was this wrap going to hold up the the real test of putting a baby in it?
The stretchiness of the fabric, which you can feel by pulling along the length of the wrap is more akin to a one-way stretchy than a two-way, but as it has no bulk to the fabric it is easier to use than a one-way stretchy and has just enough give along the length to make putting a baby in easy. It pulls itself straight back into shape when the tension is removed scoring very well for elasticity.
In the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry, (see the FreeRider instructions, and our video tutorials on our YouTube Channel Stretchy Wrap Playlist) with my baby (demo doll, on this occasion) these wraps spread beautifully over the baby, and there was plenty of stretch to get all three layers over them without any difficulty. The middlemarker makes it easy to locate the centre to start the carry, and the thinness of the fabric means that there is no bulk, and it is easy to smoothly move each layer to cover the baby.
Carrying the baby
Well, it feels amazing. Incredibly supportive. It didn’t feel slippy, just soft, and the thinness in no way compromised the support it gave. It feels strong, snuggly, soft, silky and stunning, which are qualities of Tencel fabrics. I kept the doll on for an hour or so, because I was enjoying it, but also because that’s how we use these slings with real babies and it was still comfy and supportive at the end of the period, with no sign of the fabric sagging. They felt just as close and secure as the moment I put them in!
And do you know what? I have kept trying these out over the past week, because the feel of the fabric makes me feel so happy. They feel luxurious, they feel light, but not cold, I love them! I can only imagine how amazing they would feel with a newborn baby in them. If you would like to try these wraps then we have both Camel and Wild Leaf available to hire, and they are available to buy from FreeRider for £59.99.