Wrapping an Uncooperative Wrappee...

Let’s chat about uncooperative kids. They want held, but they don’t stay still to be wrapped, and fuss if you get them there. What to do?

First, let’s clear a few things up: I don't advocate forcing anything on anyone. No one is going to get hurt if you don’t ever use a woven wrap. No one is going to get hurt if you don’t get them up on your back in a perfect double hammock back carry right this instant.

I don’t force my kids to be worn. That said, they know that being worn is calming - for both of us. They know it is helpful to me when I can have my hands free and hold them easier. And they know to wait when I need. Likewise, I do my best to recognize when they need up immediately, or held for longer than I’d like. In a wrap or not. It’s all about give and take, recognising each others needs, communicating them well, and respecting ourselves and each other.

But let’s pretend for the sake of this post that you have a little one who really does need or want held, but just refuses your attempts at wrapping - or gets wrapped and then cries and wants out (but still wants held). Why? And what do you do about it?

Make sure there’s not a physical reason:

Are they hungry?
Do they need a nap?
Did they drop a shoe?
Are their pants bunched up or footie pjs pulled too tight?
Do they have to pee?
Is big sister into something they want?

I ask them as I run through the list in my mind… making sure that there’s nothing that needs taken care of first. (Ask them even if they’re not yet able to respond verbally - it lets them know you understand and helps them learn to communicate!) It might be that they just want you to know of their discomfort - not that they need a problem solved. (How like us, right?!) In that case, “You’re feeling very strongly, I understand,” will go along way. We also love these phrases:

“I’m here for you”
“We’re on the same team”
“Let me know when you’re ready”

Ok! Finally, we’re communicating, needs are taken care of, little one still wants up, and is still avoiding being wrapped - here are a few tips to help:

* Make sure you are practiced up so you can move quickly and confidently. Practice when they are feeling up for it - or better yet, practice with a heavy doll or pillow. It won’t be the same, but you’ll feel a lot more confident when you already know what goes where.
* Give them something to look at. Wrap while watching a wrapping video on YouTube, or in front of a window while you search together for animals or leaves.
* Let them watch themselves. Wrap in front of a mirror!
* Get into the groove. Move a little, bounce, dance!
* Be silly. Sing a silly song as you wrap, or go on a bear hunt. Stay super quiet so the dinosaur doesn’t see you, then you can get really close in your super wrap and pet the dinosaur!
* Tell a story. Make up a story, recite a favorite book, or tell them about the day that they were born or entered your family.
* Vacuum or sweep the house (or just the same stretch of floor over and over!) The noise can be soothing for babies and entertaining for young toddlers. If you are using a power vaccum, consider using hearing protection - it seem silly, but the noise really can cause damage to ears over time. We love these from Peltor Kids.

Once wrapped, most little ones will quickly settle down - but if not, double check that list to make sure nothing needs changed, then continue on with the above ideas until they settle in and enjoy the ride.

And if they don’t? Don’t worry, and don’t give up. Keep wrapping fun and enjoyable for both of you. If it’s not - stop. There will be another time.

Have you been there? What are your best tips for getting kids wrapped quickly, safely, and easily?


Tried it all and wraps just don’t work for you? Maybe a mei tai, ring sling, soft structured carrier, or just sitting down in the rocking chair or on the couch for a bit of snuggle time is what works. If you have another option that works for both of you, take it! Check out some of our favorite soft structured carriers here.