This is easy: Pick a colorway you like in a medium-weight cotton, cotton/hemp, or cotton/linen. Now stop reading, because you’re done.
So you’re ready to fall down the rabbit hole. Welcome to Wonderland, kiddies. Ask ten mamas which wrap is “permastash” or “legacy” or “can’t-live-without” or, my personal fav, “cold-dead-hands”, and you’ll get ten different answers. One loves thick. The second thinks thick wraps make sloppy wrap jobs. A third says you have to have linen because it’s cushy; a fourth says linen feels like ropes on her shoulders. A fifth says buy hemp. A sixth says you need a Didy. A seventh recommends a handwoven, and you laugh at her, because no way are you dropping a mortgage payment on a piece of cloth, you’re going to DIY something from Joann’s (we’ve all been there, honey, and ended up with Pamirs). Eight tells you to get nothing but cotton. Nine says you can wrap your toddler in gauze. And ten shrugs and says they’re all the same in the end.
So you’re back at square one. You need help.
Rather than tell you to buy the One Wrap to Rule Them All – which is, for the record, Didymos’s mystic petrol hemp – let’s go through some basic recommendations. As always, if you have a local babywearing group, you need to go to a meeting and pet all the pretties, because nothing beats in person help.
So let’s talk wraps. First up:
If you want one long wrap, and never want to think about it again:
Buy a medium-weight wrap. This means something between maybe 200 to 250 gsm (grams per square meter), which means absolutely nothing to you if you haven’t spend more than two years fondling cloth like a fabric fetishist. But a medium-weight wraps gives you a good compromise between ease of wrapping and cush. It’s easier to move around a thinner wrap, for the most part (if it’s super grippy, that’s another story). Generally, the thicker the wrap, the harder to move it around and set your passes in place. If you aren’t used to wrapping, using a thick wrap feeling like wrasslin’ bears or something. Then if you don’t get it tight enough, it sags and slips and you went through all that sweating for nothing.
No, I don’t hate thick wraps. I own and use lots of thick wraps. But honestly: newbies tend to have trouble with them. It’s hard to learn to move that fabric around, and even harder when the fabric’s fighting you.
Buy a cotton wrap. Gasp! Cotton! Heresy! Yes, linen can be more supportive, unless it feels like ropes on your shoulders and you hate it. Other mamas swear hemp’s a great compromise: supportive and with a touch more bounce. Go for it if you want, but you can’t screw up with cotton.
Don’t obsess about “toddler-worthy”. A lot of new mamas get hung up on buying, because they want to make sure they can use the wrap they buy in three years, when their current fetus is pushing two-and-a-half. Stop it. Take a deep breath. See above advice about “colorway you like” and “medium-weight cotton”. As long as your wrap isn’t whisper-thin and you wrap very, very carefully, you can expect a fair amount of comfort from most medium-weight wraps, even if your kid’s a beast.
The flatter the weave, the less the maintenance. A flatter, more tightly woven wrap (Girasol twill, Storchenwiege or Didy stripes) will pull less than a looser weave (Didy indio, Inda Jani herringbone weave). If you don’t mind fixing pulls – and it’s super, super easy to fix pulls – ignore this advice. I can manage it with 5 minutes and a big needle.