As an educator and geek of textiles as wraps, I am often asked if the person should buy a stretchy wrap or a woven wrap. A woven wrap is definitely the most versatile option of the two, but a hybrid stretch wrap can be an excellent option for those that love the straight from the box cuddly feel of the jersey cotton knit material that most stretch wraps are made from. Many describe wearing a stretchy wrap is like wearing a favourite t-shirt. Of course this is an inviting image to wearing your newborn baby in! So what exactly is a hybrid stretch and how does it differ from a regular stretch wrap? A hybrid stretch wrap is made from jersey cotton just like a regular stretch wrap. Although some stretch wraps are made from a spandex and cotton blend. The difference lies with the way the material stretches, finishing, elasticity and carry options. What makes a wrap a hybrid stretch is that the material has no lengthwise stretch so the top and bottom tails are supportive without a tendency to fold over or roll. In addition, the top and bottom rails are hemmed for additional strength and support. Whereas with a regular stretch wrap, the wrap has no hemmed rails and the fabric has lengthwise stretch.
The hybrid wrap fabric also has an elasticity to it so that it stretches and then springs back to mold to both the wearer and baby’s bodies. Many regular stretch wraps have this as well but the elasticity is not as substantial and tends to sag over time which subsequently causes discomfort for the wearer and baby not being in an optimal position. There are only a couple of hybrid stretch wrap makers on the market, with Didymos being the only one that provides a 100% organic cotton hybrid stretch wrap. While Didymos recommends that when using their stretch hybrid wrap that the wearer always use carries that provides three layers of fabric or three passes of fabric, the carries are not limited to just front carries as with a regular stretch wrap. The strength of the top of bottom rails allows the wearer to do front, hip and back carries! With a regular stretch wrap, any other carry other than front carries are strongly not recommended due to safety reasons. The lengthwise stretch with most regular stretch wraps can fold or roll if the baby leans back. In addition, most regular stretchy wraps have a narrow width which would not be safe for back wearing nor ideal for some when wearing older children. Didymos hybrids feature a standard wrap width that we see in most woven wraps these days!
Another great reason to choose a hybrid stretch over a regular stretch is that a hybrid stretch can be used from newborn right up to toddler age. Most regular stretch wraps may be marketed to carry up to 35lbs but most wearers find that the wrap tends to sag and become uncomfortable at around 3-6 months of age or around the 15lb mark. A hybrid stretch wrap combines the appeal of a stretch wrap and the strength and versatility of a woven wrap.
To demonstrate the strength of the Didymos hybrid stretch wrap, a fellow educator and friend carried my 6 year old in a wrap for approximately fifteen minutes where he wiggled, straightened, leaned and even flung himself backwards to test the strength of the wrap and how the top rail would stand up under this pressure. It passed the test with flying colours! The top rail did not fold or roll and the body of the wrap fabric did not cave or sag. It held tight and secure!