To the uninitiated, the Maya wrap appears to be nothing more than a long, padded strip of cloth with two large rings sewn onto one end. In fact, it is a sturdy sling designed to hold your baby securely against your body while allowing your hands to remain free. The Maya wrap, sometimes referred to as the Maya sling, can be manipulated in several ways to create a variety of techniques for safely holding your baby from birth to early toddlerhood.
Preparing the Wrap
Look at the Maya wrap. Identify the end with the rings as the "head" of the wrap, the free end as the "tail" and the long edges as the inner and outer "rails." The inner rail rides lower on your body and the outer rail is the one you will pull up to support the baby's head.
Thread the tail through both rings. Open up the rings in a V shape.
Pull the tail over the top of the first ring and through the second ring. Make sure the tail does not get twisted in the rings as you thread it through.
Take the Maya wrap in one hand with the tail hanging in front. Slide the wrap over your empty hand, up onto your shoulder and over your head. The wrap should rest diagonally with looped over one shoulder and under the other. Adjust the wrap so the rings are on your shoulder and the tail is hanging down your front.
The Newborn Carry Method
Pull apart the inner and outer rails to create an open pouch of material.
Support your infant securly and place him in the pouch. It does not matter which side of your body his head rests against.
Hold the baby with one arm and pull the tail to secure the pouch around you. Adjust the baby so he is looking forward, not facing either your chest or the outer layer of the wrap. Check to make sure there is adequate airflow around your baby's mouth and nose. The makers of the Maya wrap recommend this hold for newborns up to babies 3 months old.
The Snuggle Hold Method
Pull the rails apart so the outer rail is high on your chest and the inner rail is near your belly button.
Place your baby in the wrap vertically with the side of her face against your chest.
Support the baby well as you slide her into the wrap and pull the upper rail over her head. Her legs should be in a "frog position" as they rest inside the sling. Adjust the tail to secure the wrap.
The Kangaroo Carry Method
Adjust the wrap by pulling the outer rail up and the inner rail down.
Carefully place your baby in the pouch with his eyes facing forward. Cross his legs to rest inside the pouch.
Adjust the tail as needed to secure the wrap around your body.
The Hip Carry Method
Create a pouch with the wrap by pulling the inner and outer rails apart.
Lower your baby into the Maya wrap and let his legs dangle though the fabric. Adjust the baby so he is straddling your hip. Tighten the tail if necessary.
Pull the outer rail up around the child's shoulders and the inner rail down to his knees.
Removing Your Baby from the Maya Wrap
Hold your baby securely as you pull the upper ring forward and loosen the material.
Pull the Maya wrap away from your baby and over her head.
Remove your baby from the bottom of the wrap. Take off the wrap only once your child is completely out and secure in another location.
Practice using your Maya wrap with a bag of flour before using it with your child.
The makers of the Maya wrap recommend various hold methods for specific stages of your child's development. The "newborn carry" and "snuggle hold" are intended for newborn babies up to 3 months old. The "kangaroo hold" is for 3 to 6 month old babies with head control and the "hip carry" is for children over 6 months old. Please see the resource section of this article for complete safety information regarding the Maya wrap sling.