We often hear the term “Breaking In” or “Broken in” in the babywearing community. Most commonly with those who use and buy brand new wraps and ring slings. But what does it mean?
To answer your question, Breaking In is simply the process of breaking down the fibres of a fabric (in this case a woven wrap or ring sling), in order to soften it up, make it more moldable, floppy, glide smoothly, and tying knots easier. In short, it helps make your wraps become more cooperative and easy to use.
To help you understand it more, here are some of the ways to break in a wrap and ring
- Washing it – Before using a wrap or ring sling, it is best to wash it first so as to let the threads settle and remove any residue that may have been left from the mill or factory where it was produced. Washing also helps the fabric to fluff up and soften. (Flash photo of pre wash and post wash state as sample, as well as before and after macro shots) Also take note to always follow the washing instructions indicated on the slings label, pamphlet or manual. Caring and washing may vary depending on what type of material was used. (State an example – Viscose blend) Following such instructions will help extend the life of your sling, and keep it in mint to good condition.
- Drying it – Unless clearly specified on the washing instructions and labels, always line dry, and air dry your slings, under a shady area. Keep in mind that drying in direct sunlight will cost your slings colors to fade and might even be the cause for pilling. Drying your slings properly will help the threads to soften up. Some slings may be safe to put in a dryer put on delicate setting. Throw in some tennis balls inside a sock with your sling, and you’ll be surprised how effective it’ll be.
- Ironing – Again, always check what is indicated on the tag, labels and pamphlets. Unless stated, it is best to steam iron your wraps and ring slings. You may also use a regular iron, so long as it is set correctly, according to the sling fabric content.
- Braiding (Demonstrate) – Braiding is one of my favorite ways for breaking in. Since the fibers of the fabric rubs together more, and doing so over and over while braiding, it helps the sling become softer and easier to handle. (Note: Take care not to snag your sling on anything like rings, fingernails and the like, while doing this)
- Putting it through rails (Demonstrate) Any railings would do, (ex. Baby crib railings or stair railings), so long as you can put your sling through and over repeatedly and carefully. Be mindful of any splinters that your sling might snag on though.
- Using Sling Rings (Demonstrate) If you happen to have a pair of Sling Rings, you can thread it through there, over and over again. Any ring size would do, but in my opinion the small or medium ones would work best in getting the best and fastest result of breaking in.
- Make a hammock/swing (Demonstrate)
- Use as a blanket, or sit on it
- Tug of War
- Leave it under the couch for a week
- Leave it in the car braided overnight
Those are some of the techniques you could try when breaking in your wraps or ring slings. Although, nothing beats the good old way of just simply, wearing your baby in it. By simply using it every day, you’ll get to enjoy cuddling up your LO while softening up your sling at the same time That’s it for now. Happy Babywearing!