By Leslie Kung
I have seen many, many people post that they play tug of war with their husbands, or another adult with their fabric, wrap, or sling in order to break it in, along with braiding, and washing, and ironing, and sitting on it, etc. PLEASE DO NOT YANK, PULL, OR JERK ON YOUR FABRIC/SLING/CARRIER TO BREAK IT IN, ESPECIALLY NOT BETWEEN TWO ADULTS. Breaking in your fabric or sling should be done in ways that the fabric or sling would normally be used. Wash and dry cycles, gentle hand braiding, sitting, using as cuddle blanket, and actual use as a carrier are all more than sufficient to break in and soften the fabric without causing undue stress. Honestly, ‘breaking in’ a wrap is not even necessary most of the time, as normal daily use will make those adjustments for you.
Using the force of two adults to run fabric back and forth through sling rings, or between crib slats, or playing tug of war…these are pretty good ways to put undue stress on the fibers, weaken your fabric, essentially breaking the fibers. THIS HAS CAUSED TEARS IN OTHERWISE BRAND NEW WRAPS AND RING SLINGS. Not only that, but your actions, trying to break in the wrap or sling in this manner, would void any warranty with any good name brand wrap/sling.
Flannel is unsuitable for BWing weight bearing purposes because the fibers are distressed so that it feels very soft, which makes it weaker. Machine woven flannel is distressed with many large metal brushes, on one or both sides. You don’t WANT flannel, and you certainly shouldn’t take fabric or a carrier you paid money for and weaken, tear, or rough up the fibers so much that it isn’t suitable for bearing weight any longer.
Yanking and tearing at fabric to test strength is not an accurate test. PLEASE do not yank and try to tear fabric and think that it is an accurate measure of whether or not a fabric will be suitable for BWing! Neither should you yank and pull on sewn or structured carriers. Baby carriers and slings are made to gently and snugly hold babies, not pull semi trucks or withstand tug of wars! Most well constructed carriers WILL TEAR APART if you TRY TO TEAR THEM APART!
Case in point, it would be easier to rip cotton gauze than flannel, but gauze is more suitable for BWing purposes than flannel. Tensile strength, and resistant strength against quick, violent yanking–those kinds of strength are rather unrelated to what makes fabric good for wrapping or good for making ring slings, MTs, SSC, and more.
Advising people yank on fabric really hard or try to rip it (and for any sewn carriers) is akin to telling people to test their child’s car seat for strength by hitting it with baseball bats. 1) That kind of impact is not related to vehicle collision or every day wear and tear so what does that prove, and 2) You are going to damage the integrity of your car seat, and void your warranty.
So, yanking and pulling with intention to try to rip 1) has nothing to do with the normal stresses of every day use, and 2) might weaken or rip the fabric/carrier.
Thank you for reading.
By Leslie Kung