Oh how do I love thee, Size Three? Let me count the ways: seven, give or take a few.
Short wraps are versatile. They’re generally considered to be wraps size three and under (from about 2.1m to 3.2m in length or so). They’re much easier to use than most people think and you need one. Here’s why…
Front, back and side (hip) carries: the classic one shoulder rebozo carries (instructions here) have all the functionality of a ringsling if you use a slipknot for adjusting the tension of the rails. I’ll freely admit to finding the slipknot more difficult to tighten than a ringsling, especially as the wearee gets larger, but I often use a square knot and treat the wrap as a pouch of sorts- it’s not adjustable, but it’s pretied and fast.
If you need to learn how to tie a slip knot, see the video here.
This carry has so many variations, it’s hard to know where to start. Personally, I find them great for both big and little kids. Like rebozo carries, they’re fast to get on and have the advantage of being two shouldered. Variations include Ruck Under Bum (RUB), ruck with chestbelt (an excellent and fast alternative to ruck finished tibetan with a longer wrap), ruck Tied In Front (TIF), ruck with lexi twist, any combination of the above depending on your size and probably a few more.
An alternative to the ruck is the strap carry, excellent for toddlers and very cool in summer.
This is a great carry for tying around an already sleeping baby. It’s one that took me a while to learn, but it was definitely worth it. It has the material advantage of being a two-shouldered front carry which distributes the weight of even quite large children very evenly across the back. Really just a ruck tied with the baby in front, it has a number of the same variations. Photographic instructions here.
But wait, there’s more…
So far, I’ve discussed the most common carries used with short wraps, but there are a number of lesser known carries that you really need to know about!
Torso carries with a short wrap. It’s sometimes very useful to have your shoulders free of your wearee’s weight. Whether that’s due to shoulder weakness from injury, a break for your shoulders or to hang washing, a torso carry is an excellent carry to have in your arsenal. Depending on your size and the length of your short wrap, it can be done in the kanga style, similar to the way it’s done with a beach towel, or using this method which ties at the waist and is very supportive without digging into the breasts.
The Short Cross Variation. As far as I’m concerned, this carry is the greatest thing invented since short wraps themselves. Similar to the Front Cross Carry (FCC), it’s a pretied, poppable, two-shouldered front carry. In other words, we have a poppable alternative to the kangaroo carry that’s much easier to tie. Wonderful for quick trips, if you are learning to use a short wrap, this is a must!
The Hip Cross Carry (HCC).Another pretied hip carry, this one is quick, poppable and easy to tie. Instructions are at Elly’s How-To Rebozo Page.
Other Reasons to Love Your Short Wraps
Wraps aren’t just wraps, they’re change mats, blankets, burp cloths, scarves, shawls, emergency toddler leashes, zombie garottes, swings, (short) hammocks and more. A short wrap folds down much smaller than, say, a size 6 wrap. As I’ve tried to show, they’re just as versatile as longer wraps.
Some of the carries listed above, however, are quite hard to learn- especially if you’re new to wrapping. If you’re thinking about getting a short wrap, my suggestion is to start with a length of ordinary cloth of the right width and length for you and learn a few of the carries – see how you like them. In my opinion, the easiest carries to learn with a short wrap are the rebozo carries (with square knot), the strap carry, HCC and the short cross carry variation. Once you’ve mastered these, venture into the realm of the ruck and kangaroo carries which are a little more complex to tie.
Do you own a short wrap? Would you like to? What carries do you use? Which variations? What are the best short wraps for you? Leave a comment and let us know!