“A Snuggly Sleep Solution”
I would have never, ever figured out how to use the SleepyWrap without the instructions. So, even though it just about killed me, I didn’t even try my normal first use without reading approach. I read up on the instructions on the way to our destination and by the time we got to the Urban Craft Uprising, I had it down. Unfortunately, the first time I was trying it was on a cold and rainy day (here I go perpetuating Seattle’s bad rap) and I probably should have thought ahead. Even though I am 5’10”, I still had to have hubby hold the ends while I wrapped myself up so the long ends didn’t drag on the ground as I tied. Although the wrap is fully machine washable – I repeat, fully machine washable – I really don’t want to launder it each time I use it outdoors, so it made sense to have an assistant initially and then learn how to wrap without help. I found that even with the rain and yuckiness, I got it all wrapped and was ready to put baby in much quicker than I thought I would be, especially for a first try.
We woke baby from her nap to put her in the carrier, and she gave us the wild-eyed, slightly suspicious look of an infant who can’t understand why you woke them. I wriggled baby down into the wrap one side at a time and then pulled the bottom up around her and over her back. She didn’t seem to mind at all, now fully roused and smiling away. Immediately I was surprised by how light she felt all wrapped up, roughly half of her actual weight. Because it distributes baby’s weight so well across both shoulders and your hips it feels really good on - nothing digs in, pinches or chafes. The SleepyWrap has a little bit of stretch in the fabric, giving it a bouncy feeling as baby’s weight shifts as you walk, all of which had a spring-like affect on your gait.
The SleepyWrap is essentially just a really long strip of fabric tapering at both ends that you tie tightly around your torso in a series of “x” shapes before putting your babe inside. Really, it is the fabric that it is made from that makes it noteworthy, and why we're raving about it today. The SleepyWrap fabric is incredibly soft and just the right amount of stretch, which means that it holds its position after tying it and putting baby in, unlike other wraps that stretch out while using them and then end up loose and baggy.
I love the way you tie the SleepyWrap tight against your body and then stretch it away to fit baby inside, instead of having to estimate baby’s size and leave room while tying, which was one of my biggest concerns of wrapping. I explained these features to hubby as I demonstrated how to use the Wrap as sleep carrier and tucked one of the shoulder loops over the back of her head, securing her whole body. Surprisingly, baby didn’t mind at all, even in her now playful mood. She snuggled into the Wrap, her little hand holding firmly to my necklace as promptly fell asleep. And she kept on sleeping. We walked aisle by aisle through the maze of urban crafters for almost two hours and she didn’t stir once, even though almost every booth was met with excited cries of “ooh, a baby” or my favorite – “look at those cheeks!”
When she finally did wake up she was starving, and I decided to try the nursing cover properties of the SleepyWrap instead of taking her out for feeding. I got ready for nursing and stretched the shoulder pieces over baby’s head to cover us both while she ate. I found that although the SleepyWrap was the first carrier that was full coverage enough for us, the shoulder pieces were too restrictive behind baby’s head when left tied as tight as SleepyWrap recommends. Baby’s not too particular about too many things, but you and those within a two block radius will hear about it if you mess with her meals.
In the end, I used the Sweet Baby Nursing Cover over the SleepyWrap instead of removing her completely and still thought it worked out pretty well. The next few tries at using the SleepyWrap for nursing were much more successful as I experimented with different Wrap techniques, but still baby would prefer not to be restrained in any way while eating. We are still working at using it without the nursing cover as I think it would be so incredibly convenient if we could go without, and it’s getting easier each time. Eventually we will have it down, but I think it would have been even easier if we had been SleepyWrap breastfeeding from birth. In the meantime, I still am holding out hope that you can teach an old baby new tricks.
Although baby hasn’t completely come around to using the SleepyWrap for nursing, she absolutely adores it for long walks and days on the town. Our favorite hold is the facing in cuddle hold, or the “Love Your Baby Hold” because you can make best use of the Sleepy Straps when baby inevitably falls asleep. I love that the SleepyWrap is fully adjustable and the fact that the success ratio of babies that prefer this method of babywearing is bound to be higher because of it. Because you can make unlimited adjustments, it is much more likely that you and your baby will find something that you both agree on.
This is the best kind of “one size fits all” products, since it can accommodate any size frame or build. Which means that you can wrap over anything – tank tops, sweaters, puffy coats, without having two sizes of wraps. Likewise, if hubby was down for wrapping (I’m still working on him) we could share one Sleepy Wrap since it is one size fits all.
In true “one size fits all” fashion, the SleepyWrap can also accommodate a large range in child sizes as well, ranging from newborn to toddler. I especially love that the SleepyWrap can be used with either baby’s legs snuggled into the Wrap or exposed, and can be switched easily even while wearing. Even brand new babies can ride SleepyWrap style because the unique Sleepy Straps support the head before baby can without requiring a special infant insert, which makes it one of the most versatile carriers on the market. Since you can do a sling style carry as well as an upright carry (back, side or front), it really is two carriers in one, and twice as likely your baby will enjoy the SleepyWrap.
Their website says you can use the Wrap “as long as you both feel comfortable” and even shows a woman carrying a school-aged child in a wrap, which in theory would work, but I would think you would need to do a side or hip carry otherwise it would be pretty awkward to carry a larger child. Their website says you can do a side or hip carry, but I couldn’t find much instruction on how to wrap for a side carry. I would imagine you wrap it in the front and then shimmy it to one side or the other before you put baby in.
The variety of holds and the weight reduction benefits of the SleepyWrap make it perfect for babies from birth until a year and a half, which is even a bit longer than the SleepyWrap website recommends. With its equal weight distribution and the fact that baby feels so much lighter, it really is the perfect Wrap for all day use. The only real complaint I have, if this is considered a complaint at all, is the appearance of wrapping in general. Because the fabrics best for wraps such as SleepyWrap are typically plain they are not the most sleek and stylish baby carriers, but it’s hard to fault them for something that is unpreventable, especially when the functionality far outweighs the superficial appearance of wrapping.
Although wrapping is not for everyone, hubby included, those who are interested in wrapping should definitely try the SleepyWrap, pronto. You and your baby will never be closer and more snug that when you are SleepyWrapping. We have used our SleepyWrap while snowshoeing, backpacking, winter sports and more and love that it offers freedom of movement as well as comfort for both babywearer and baby.
Price: $39, which makes it one of the most inexpensive carriers I have seen, but is not a reflection the quality of the SleepyWrap at all. Highly recommended to babywearers, both by Rave and Review and by Parent Tested Parent Approved, which has awarded the Sleepy Wrap their coveted PTPA winners badge!
A huge thank you to SleepyWrap for sending their amazing wrap and making it comfortable to babywear on the go. No type of monetary compensation was received for this Rave Review.