There are so many types of wrap to choose from! It can be overwhelming- this post will simplify your choice. Understanding the basic characteristics of the most commonly used wraps will help you decide which is best for you.
Cotton knit jersey wraps (Moby) are a popular choice for a first wrap. The cotton is easily washable & the wraps are straightforward to learn to use. They have both widthwise & lengthwise stretch. Although the suggested use period is from newborn to 35lbs, we recommend them only as a newborn carrier (birth to 12-15lbs). The fabric is simply too stretchy to support a baby's developing body. It is also for this reason that they should never be used for excercising with your baby . They are a great choice for skin to skin care and can be wrapped to look like mom is wearing a t-shirt. These wraps are for front & hip carries. They are one size fits all.
Cotton knit/spandex blend wraps (Sleepy Wrap) is another type of stretchy wrap loved by parents of new babies. The directions are superior, allowing the wrap to be tightened around the baby so the baby is better supported. You may continue to carry your baby with this wrap as long as you are both comfortable, but we recommend them as a newborn carrier, for babies under approximately 15lbs. They are best for front & hip carries and are one size fits all.
Fleece wraps (Calin Bleu) are a great choice for families practicing EC. They include an excellent instruction book. They behave somewhat like other stretchy wraps, but are also for use with heavier babies (up to 20-25lbs) because they have only a bit of lengthwise stretch. They are one-size fits all & can be used in front, hip & back (for experienced wrappers, with caution, as they are somewhat narrow).
Hybrid Stretch wraps (Gypsymama/Wrapsody) are in a category all by themselves! These wraps have virtually no lengthwise stretch, which makes them function like a hybrid between a stretchy & a woven. An instructional dvd is included. These are a great choice if you like the softness of a stretchy wrap but want to purchase a carrier that will be functional for years as opposed to months. They are one size fits all & are for front, hip & back carries.
Gauze wraps (Calin Bleu, Gypsymama/Wrapsody) are made of a thin, breathable cotton gauze woven fabric. They have virtually no stretch to them, making them a secure & supportive choice for babies of all ages. Many people use them well into toddlerhood. They can be one size fits all or come in lengths so you can customise the fit.
Traditional woven wraps (Ellaroo) are similar to the gauze wraps in feel & use. They have virtually no stretch to them, making them a secure & supportive choice for babies of all ages. They can be one size fits all or come in lengths so you can customise the fit.
European Style Wovens (Didymos, Storchenwiege, Girasol, Hoppediz, Nati, Ellevill, Neobulle, Bebina, Chimparoo) are made of custom-woven fabrics specifically designed to carry babies. They are a double twill weave, which means that they have no widthwise or lengthwise stretch, but have a diagonal stretch that perfectly supports the baby & the wrappers' body. If you can physically carry the child, you can carry them in a woven! I have personally wrapped a 70lb 7 year old in them on more than one occasion...
Woven wraps are ideal from birth- a woven can be the only carrier you ever need to own. They come in lengths that allow you to customise your wrap to your needs. Many of the fabrics are organic & all are Oko-tex certified to be free from dyes that may harm your child. Instructions can vary from none (Many companies are still creating their English translations) to an excellent book & DVD. Be sure to let the retailer know if you are a new wrapper needing detailed instruction!