At just £26.50 the Sling School stretchy wrap represents a seriously good budget option. There are a great number of budget stretchy wraps available, many many many on Amazon and Ebay and for almost all the old maxim "you get what you pay for" definitely rings true. The Sling School Stretchy wrap, however, is very much the exception to this.
Unlike the Amazon/Ebay cheapies, the Sling School Stretchy wrap has two way stretch (it stretches equally across both its width and length), which makes it very easy to tie and use. In terms of the amount of stretch - its a perfect balance between stretchy enough that its easy to pop baby in and out of and enough recoil and strength that it will continue to support baby as they grow. This wrap has been designed by sling consultants with a wealth of experience and it really shows.
Its made from 94% cotton and 6% lycra and in terms of thickness I'd say its medium to light. Its thin enough that I'd happily use this wrap pretty much any time of the year other than maybe the 2 or 3 days a year where it gets truly warm in the UK!
Two lengths are available - 4 or 5 meters respectively. Which length you need depends on your size and if you'd prefer to have the knot at your front or back. I prefer to knot in front so that I can sit down without a knot digging into my back and at a size 16 I would need the 5m size. If you don't mind tying behind you or if your petite and/or a size 12 or under, the 4m wrap is likely to be preferable. While if you are taller or fluffier or sharing the wrap with a larger partner then the 5m maybe more suitable.
So whats the catch? How have the Sling School managed to make such a great wrap at such an affordable price?
- It's unhemmed. Unlike woven fabric, jersey knit doesn't fray and so doesn't have to be hemmed. Most wrap companies do hem their wraps to give a more 'finished' look. However, as wraps are generally 4 or 5 meters long... the labor cost of hemming contributes a significant proportion of the overall production cost. As it is not vital to hem jersey and as it doesn't affect the safety or use of the wrap, the Sling School have cut costs by simply not hemming. This does result in a slightly scruffier looking wrap and it does mean that the edges have a strong tenancy to roll in on themselves. This will bother some people while others may well not even notice!
- It's very narrow. Most stretchy wraps measure between 54 and 65cm wide. Generally speaking, it can be a bit easier to tie a narrower wrap but the trade off is how well you can spread the passes across baby - particularly as the baby grows. Jersey fabric is generally made in bolts 150cm wide so most manufactures can cut 2 wraps out per length of fabric. The Sling School Stretchy is exactly 50cm wide, so they can cut 3 wraps out of the same width of fabric - thus cutting costs and enabling them to offer a good quality wrap at a great price. But the downside to this is that it narrow compared to most. And it wraps even narrower than it is, because the unhemmed edges roll in giving even less usable width.
When it comes to width, this is to a certain degree a matter of personal preference. But for me the Sling School Stretchy wrap is very narrow. I can see this working well for the newborn phase, and really well for babies born prematurely. While the material itself is more than supportive enough to support a bigger baby, the narrow width is likely to mean that babies will grow out of this wrap sooner rather than later. However, as most parents love stretchy wraps for the 4th trimester period and then feel ready to move onto something else by 3-4 months anyway, many will happily just move on as this starts to be an issue.
Compared to other stretchy wraps on the market, the Sling School Stretchy is most similar to the Lifft Stretchy wrap in terms of feel, stretch and ease of use. The Lifft is wider, hemmed and approximately £10 more, but otherwise feels very very similar to the Sling School stretchy. For more on how this wrap compares with other brands please see here.
All in all the Sling School wrap is a great budget option - it represents amazing value for money ... a really good quality sling for £10-30 less than many other brands. Its narrow width and slightly scruffy appearance may mean it might not last as long as other wraps on the market - both in terms how quickly a baby grows out of it and in terms of how many babies it will do (for those planning more than 1 child or those thinking of the second hand retail market). But for many, this is a trade off they will happily make for such an excellent wrap at such a wallet friendly price.