To that I say: "Word. I've totally been there. See that wrapper over there? She's been there too. We all have."
Let's be clear: Woven Wraps are both beautifully simple and mind-bogglingly complex.
So let's take some time to go over a few things you'll want to consider if you're staring down the rabbit hole and wondering whether to jump in. Because there are SO MANY fabulous resources out there, I'm going to address each main learning topic with links to useful resources.
First things first: Try it before you buy it.
There are a lot of things to learn and develop preferences for within woven wrapping. The more you try, the more you will develop preferences for things like length, fiber, thickness, color, brand, stretch, knot-ability, etc. Your best bet is to get your hands on a wrap or two to try out a few carries and see how it feels to use it quite a few times. This is where a BWI membership comes in super handy-- we've got a whole library of wraps for you to try and explore, and take them home to see how they fit into your lifestyle.
Beginner Woven Wrap Carries
The first few times you use a woven wrap, as well as the first time you try a new carry, it's a great idea to be at a meeting with the helpful hands of your Chapter Volunteers. When trying new skills at home, wrapping over a bed or sofa is a great idea, as is having a mirror nearby so that you can see what you're doing behind you. It'll be muscle memory soon, I promise. In the meantime, enjoy a mirror! If you can't get to a meeting, YouTube can be a fantastic at-home resource. My favorite videos and channels are from BWI Educators or otherwise-certified Babywearing Educators, and will be to-the-point, easy to hear and read, and will include tips and instructions. A quick note for safety's sake: Use a discerning eye when trying out babywearing skills featured on Youtube. If a carry or a maneuver seems iffy to you, best not to attempt it and seek advice from a VBE in our group or from a trusted source.
Front Wrap Cross Carry from Babywearing Faith
Short Cross Carry from Wrap You In Love
Rebozo (front or hip carry) from Wrapping Rachel
Where to Buy Woven Wraps
There seem to be 16,000 different places to buy woven wraps these days-- The only place it's really difficult to find woven wraps seems to be in-person (with the exception of a few fantastic Brick-and-Mortar stores that carry a bit of a selection-- my favorite LA-based Small Business who sells wraps is Earth Baby Boutique in Sherman Oaks.
That being said, you have two options when purchasing a woven wrap-- new or second hand. For what it's worth, neither of these options wins over the other outright. Each purchase option has it's benefits. Many love to buy new (especially new-release) wraps straight from retailers or manufacturers, and may enjoy the process of breaking in a wrap (more on that below). Others prefer to buy second-hand; wraps are already broken in, can help keep the second-hand market going (so that you can sell wraps later, more below), and have the sustainable factor of not requiring new manufaturing.
Buying New: Options abound! I've had success with 5mr.com, WovenWraps.com, and Birdie's Room. Other retailers that are well loved can be found at ______. You can also check with specific retailers and buy from them (check shipping prices first though, mkay?).
Buying Second-hand: Facebook groups, facebook groups, facebook groups. There's also a buy/sell/trade (BST) forum at TheBabywearer.com. The most well-known groups for BST on Facebook are The Babywearing Swap (a.k.a. "The Big Swap") and Babywearing On a Budget (a.k.a. "The Budget Swap," where all carriers are $100 or less including postage). Many wrap brands have their own loyalty groups where you can find BST activity. Lastly, check with your local babywearing groups; they may have BST allowed in their groups (hint: BWI of LA County does).
Woven Wrap Costs (a.k.a. Recovering from Sticker Shock)
In short: Woven wraps are usually about $75 and up. This may seem like a lot, and to some folks it really is. But it is oh-so-worth it if wrapping becomes something you and your kiddo really love. There are brands to fit many budgets, and the second-hand market also closes the gap and makes many fantastic brands available between $100-$150. Why do some wraps cost an arm and a leg? Various factors: how the wrap was made (hand- or machine-woven), what fibers are used (more below), how hard-to-find (HTF) or highly-saught-after (HSA) the colorway is, etc. Beyond that, the best comparison I can make is to cars: a Fiat, a BMW, and a Lamborghini will all get you where you want to go. But there is a huge quality difference between the Fiat and the BMW, hence the price difference. There is a huge price difference between the Beamer and the Lambo, but is there such a quality difference? An expert will say yes, a layperson will say no. The point being: They'll all do the job; but some enthusiasts are all about indulging in the luxury that is a high-end woven wrap.
Woven Wrap Fibers
Woven wraps are made with a variety of fibers for both practicality and feel. Many wraps you'll find are 100% cotton. These are the most economical and tend to be the easiest to care for. Cotton is also wonderfully breathable and you'll find cotton wraps in various different weaves, textures, and thicknesses. Other fibers that wraps can be made of include bamboo, linen, hemp, silk.
Woven Wrap Brands (There are a lot. Like, a LOT a lot.)
How to Break in Woven Wraps
How (and How Often) to Wash Woven Wraps
When You're Ready to Let a Wrap Go (or not)
Special Circumstances (newborns, toddlers, leg-straighteners, leaners, nursing, nap transfers)
Other FABULOUS Resources