It’s been beach weather in Sydney recently, and word is we’re in for a bit of a heatwave in the lead up to summer. Babywearing in the summer time can be sweaty, particularly if you live somewhere humid, or you spend a lot of time outdoors. But you can do your best to beat the heat by choosing a wrap least likely to leave you and your little one sticky and wet.
Just like linen pants or shirts might be your outfit of choice during the summer months, linen can also make for a great lightweight wrap. While cotton/linen blend wraps come in a variety of densities, some far too dense to be comfortable in a hot summer, a wrap that is 100% linen is thin and cool, less than 200 gsm. Linen is also very supportive, which many people prefer for carrying bigger babies and toddlers.
I recently had the opportunity to try an Oscha 100% linen wrap, in the Amelia colourway. Oscha is a well-established and popular woven wrap company based in Scotland. Among their extensive collection, they produce wraps on natural and white 100% linen with a variety of grad dyes – the Amelia colourway is a gorgeous purple (anyone notice that all the wraps I’ve reviewed so far have been purple? I didn’t plan it that way, I promise!).
One thing that is pretty true of all wraps with a high linen content is that they are quite stiff when brand new – so 100% linen is really stiff, it takes a lot of breaking in to get it into a softer state suitable for comfortable everyday wearing. The wrap I tried was a fair bit softer than new, but was still a work in progress that could be broken in a bit more. This quality makes an all linen wrap a bit confronting; I wouldn’t recommend it for a brand new wrapper or a newborn baby in its unbroken state.
This wrap is also very grippy, which meant it required a bit of effort to make the second pass on a double hammock. Linen also has very little stretch, so it is unforgiving of a sloppy wrap job, and it was difficult to get the top rail as tight as I would have liked. A loose top rail with a thin wrap and a 13 kilogram toddler wasn’t very comfortable I have to say. Thin wraps have no cush on the shoulders; to get a comfortable wrap job with an all linen wrap you need to be very precise and careful. The third time I wrapped with it, I did a much better job. I got the double hammock chest pass tighter and therefore my top rail tighter – after my first failed attempt I was surprised to find it was actually reasonably comfortable. Linen is rock solid, which I do like in a wrap. After a 30 minute stroll my daughter had barely moved, and there was little if any sag. With a big toddler, the thinness of this wrap did mean it was a little diggy after 30 minutes however, though I think if I was to use this wrap regularly I would learn more about it and improve my technique for a more comfortable ride.
It is certainly lightweight and cool though in the warm weather, which is what you would buy this wrap for. I think if you’re looking for something very lightweight for carrying in a particularly warm part of the world and your baby is between about five and 11 kilograms then this would be perfect. For me, I don’t think it gets quite hot enough in Sydney for me to carry a 13 kilogram toddler in this given the loss of comfort compared with some of my cushier wraps. You would also want to be dedicated to giving the wrap the time and effort it needs to be broken in, if you can’t buy a second hand one already broken in for you that is! A broken in linen wrap will be a million times more comfortable and easier to wrap with than a brand new one. Patience, and perhaps a few babywearing friends to help you break it in, would be key.
If you want to give all linen a try, as well as Oscha, an Australian brand called Lewlewbelle also makes 100% linen wraps. Alternatively, you might like to consider purchasing linen from a fabric store and trying a DIY wrap – it will need a lot of breaking in, but if you have the energy, it might work out a cheaper option if you’re on a budget.
What’s your favourite warm weather wrap?