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Dictionary of Babywearing Terms

Attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy that proposes methods which aim to promote the attachment of parent and infant not only by maximal maternal empathy and responsiveness but also by continuous bodily closeness and touch.

An item made exclusively or primarily of fabric, worn on a caregiver’s body and used to carry or hold a baby (or child) with little or no support from the caregiver’s arms. It may also mean specifically a structured baby carrier, or any baby carrier with straps (as opposed to a wrap or sling made of a cloth of more or less even width).

A long, tapered rectangular piece of cloth used as a baby carrier by means of wrapping the entire cloth around the caregiver’s and baby’s body and tying or otherwise securing the ends, without the use of separate ties or fasteners such as buckles or rings. Sometimes called a “wraparound carrier.” Most often, but not always, refers to a long wrap, 4 meters or more.

Carrying or holding a baby or young child by means of wearing a baby carrier.

Any carry in which the baby is worn on the back of the wearer’s body.

This refers to the size of woven wrap. It is the size in which you can do the first carry most of us learn, a Front Wrap Cross Carry. The base size for many people is size 5 or 6.

A snagged thread that broke

Back Wrap Cross Carry

(1) The position of the baby on the wearer’s body; e.g., front, hip or back; (2) The position of the baby in relationship to the carrier or the wearer; e.g., cradle or kangaroo (which are different types of front carries). (3) The method of wrapping and/or tying the carrier around the wearer; e.g., cross carry, wrap cross carry.

Candy cane chest belt

A carry in which the baby is cradled across the wearer’s body in a reclining or semi-reclining position. This carry is strongly discouraged as there is risk of asphyxiation in the event that the baby’s chin is pressed too hard again its chest, cutting off the airway.

In describing a method of using a wrap carrier, such as “wrap cross carry” or “hip cross carry”, to “cross” means to bring both ends of the carrier over the wearer’s shoulders in such a way that they form an X (cross) on the wearer’s back and/or chest. 

Double hammock

If a wrap or ring sling is identitifed as easy care that means that the product can be washed and dried in the washing machine.

Full buckle

Front Cross Carry

Felting is when wool shrinks or turns fuzzy due to improper washing or treatment. Heat and agitation when wet can cause this damage. There are different degrees of felting, mostly a wrap is not safe to be used for babywearing anymore after severe felting.

A position of the baby’s legs, knees bent upward with feet near the hips like a squatting frog. Generally used for upright carries with a newborn whose legs are too short to straddle the wearer as an older child would do. This is a natural, healthy position for a young infant.

Any carry in which the baby is worn on the front of the wearer’s body.

Front Wrap Cross Carry

Full wrap width

When the edges, also known as rails, are sewn.

Any carry in which the baby is worn at or on the wearer’s hip. Sometimes called a side carry.

Synonomous with “carry,” but especially the second definition: the position of the baby in relationship to the carrier or the wearer, e.g., snuggle hold.

Handwoven

Half wrap width

A special loom or the method employed in the weaving of a fabric with an intricately woven pattern.

Jordan’s back carry

Skin-to-skin care, often used with premies as it ensures physiological and psychological warmth and bonding.

Knee-to-knee simply refers to the seat of the carrier extending from the back of baby’s left knee to the back of right knee, fully supporting both thighs. This is ideal for supporting a child’s legs and bottom in a carrier. In a wrap or ring sling, you achieve knee-to-knee support by spreading the fabric as wide as needed. 

Loom state is when the fabric is fresh off of the loom, and woven, but unfinished.

A baby wrap that is machine woven.

A marker on the baby wrap that identifies the middle point of the wrap.

Mei Tai. Mei Tais are a traditional Chinese baby carrier with a rectangular cloth body with straps coming off of each corner.

Natural (white/creme/undyed)

A nub is a thick lump in the yarn, common in linen or hemp but can also occur with other yarn materials. A nub doesn’t influence safety.

One of a kind

On the loom

Permacrease is permanent creasing in a woven wrap. Especially linen and hemp wraps can be affected by this. Ironing and folding your wrap differently every time after wearing can help to prevent permacreasing.

Sometimes a thread gets snagged, by jewelry, nails, keys. Often times these loops are easy to fix, but if you don’t fix it, it can break.

Rails are the long edge of each side of a ring sling or wrap. The “inner rail” is the rail next to the wearer’s body and the “outer rail” is the rail supporting the baby on the side opposite the wearer.

Rebozo carry or Traditional Carry is a term referring to a carry where the wrap or sling comes over one shoulder and under the other. It’s one of the three main styles of carrying in a wrap, the others being ruck and torso carries. It is a short carry, generally requiring a shorter wrap.

Traditionally a rebozo is a long flat garment used mostly by women in Mexico. It can be worn in various ways, usually folded or wrapped around the head and/or upper body to shade from the sun, provide warmth and as an accessory to an outfit. It is also used to carry babies and large bundles, especially among indigenous women. (Wikipedia)

A tapered rectangular piece of cloth with two rings sewn to one end, used as a baby carrier by threading the “free” end through the rings and wearing the sling looped around the wearer, generally from shoulder to hip.

Reinforced rear rebozo rucksack

Ring sling

Ruck tied in front

Ruck tied under bum

Refers to fastening a baby carrier in a manner similar to a backpack or rucksack, with the fabric or straps coming over the wearer’s shoulders, straight down in the front (rather than crossing on the chest), and then winding to the back. Used with respect to baby wraps, mei tais and buckle carriers.

Secure high back carry

A wrap between 2,5 and 4 meters long. Functionally very similar to a long or “regular” wrap but more convenient for wrap methods requiring less cloth, including one-shoulder hip carries, and not usable for other wrap methods that require more cloth.

Sometimes the term shoulder flip is used to describe a pass which comes under arm and flipped back over shoulder to create a rucksack pass. There are different kinds of shoulder flips and they can serve different purposes. The most common shoulder flip is spreading the wrap on shoulders to distribute weight.

A slub is an irregularity in the yarn or weaving. A slub doesn’t affect safety. Often nubs and slubs are mentioned together in reference to weaving flaws.

Commony referred to a newborn baby being carried.

Soft structured carrier

Any fabric that hangs loosely down from a knot or fastener. In a ring sling, the end of the sling that is threaded through and flows down from the rings; in a wrap, the loose ends of the wrap below the knot; in a mei tai, the loose ends of the straps. 

Tandemwearing is wearing two children at the same time.

Nearly all baby wraps are tapered, which means that the ends or tails of the wrap are diagonal, making it easier to tie a knot when finishing a carry.

Tied at shoulder

Two of a kind

A back carry in which the carrier is wrapped around the wearer’s torso and no weight is borne on the wearer’s shoulders. Typical of certain traditional carriers including the podaegi and kanga.

Tied Tibetan

Tied under bum

An upright front carry in which the baby faces the wearer; could more accurately be termed a chest-to-chest carry. Also known as a snuggle hold.

Any carry or hold in which the baby is positioned with his or her torso vertical.

The longitudinal threads that run the entire length of the fabric

Wrap conversion Mei Tai

Wrap conversion ring sling

A weaversknot sometimes occurs when the weaver has to make a knot when the spool of yarn finishes. This is especially common in machinewoven wraps, but you can notice them in handwoven wraps too. Weaversknots do not affect safety.

Weft refers to the horizontal threads that get woven through the warp.

A wrap made of woven fabric; used to distinguish from stretchy wraps.

In describing a method of using a wrap carrier, such as “wrap cross carry”, to “wrap” means to wind the carrier horizontally around the wearer’s torso.