What to expect when you're expecting...your first mei tai, ring sling or woven wrap
We all know what it's like to anticipate Kebbie's fluff mail. A few hours are spent stalking the mail man, followed by a mad dash back inside to open the goods. You pick up your thoughtfully wrapped package with the telltale sticker, take a whiff- is that a Scarlet's sample I smell?- then proceed with ripping that baby open to reveal the contents. Woo hoo! Your first woven! Time to wrangle the baby into this thing and see how he fits! Right?!
Pump the breaks, my friend.
Woven wraps are special and need to be treated as such. It is very important to prewash your woven wrap or ring sling before wearing in order to prevent damage (such as thread shifting) and also to soften up the material for your squishy little one. Washing instructions vary by brand and fiber, but in general, most wovens can be machine washed with care.
Caring for Your Ring Sling or Wrap:
1. Use a small amount of liquid detergent with no softeners or brighteners. Ecos is a widely available brand, and Kebbie's also carries BumGenius Detergent.
2. Cover the rings with a sock (white socks are a good choice so there is no bleeding or color transfer). You can also stick your ring sling in a thin cotton pillow case if you're afraid of your washer being a bully! Wraps can go right into the washer, as is.
3. Machine wash on gentle cycle in cold or cool water.
4. Hang dry or tumble dry low. Do not use dryer sheets. Kebbie's Reusa wool dryer balls are a great way to help break in your woven and reduce drying time. Tencel is susceptible to shrinkage (up to 20%), so ensure you don't use much heat if you are machine drying a cotton/tencel blend.
5. Steam ironing can be helpful for breaking in cotton wovens, but it is not necessary.
*Tula recommends handwashing when possible; however machine washing is also included in their instructions.
It's finally dry! Now what?
Your wrap or ring sling may be several inches shorter than it was before the washing and drying process. Tula allows for the shrinkage by adding length to their woven products. Tula wovens tend to be fairly soft and easy to work with at this point, so you may find that you don't have to do much to break it in.
Honestly, until you've wrapped with a well loved, floppy, buttery soft woven, you won't even notice that yours isn't broken in! Just think of it as something to look forward to in the future. Like a fine wine, your woven will only improve with age. If you feel compelled to jump start the process of breaking it in, you can use your wrap as a hammock...in your baby's crib, across the hallway wedged between two doors, or under your kitchen table. Braiding, washing/drying, and using dryer balls are all good ways to break in a wrap. The best way of all, however, is to use it! That's right. Grab your little one, stuffed animal, or baby doll and start practicing front and hip carries. Enjoy your new fluff!