The Little Frog Boulder Opal and Storchenwiege Leo Rouge wraps we’ve been using are very similar. Both are 100% cotton, non-stretchy, and perfectly good for carrying your child around in. The Storch is almost twenty quid more though (£69.95 versus £47.95 for the Little Frog at Love To Be Natural, both 4.6m long), so there must be some differences between the two.
And there is.
Storchenwiege and Little Frog
Storchenwiege are (as you might have guessed) a German outfit, working out of Dresden. Started by textile engineer Günter Schwartzer in 1996, the company is now run by his daughters (Ulrike Kaul and Claudia Dix).
Little Frog are run by mum-and-dad team Marzena and Patryk, based in Wrocław in southwest Poland.
Both slings have identical baby-friendly and environmental credentials
Your child will spend a lot of time chewing, sucking, dribbling on and generally mucking around with a sling (and the rest of your clothes).
The proof that they’re not ingesting anything unpleasant when they do so is compliance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, specifically product class 1. This is the most stringent of the four classes, and covers “textile articles for babies and toddlers up to three years old”. To pass the test, every bit of the product—including material, labels, buttons, etc—must be free of a bunch of unpleasant-sounding substances (carcinogens, heavy metals, pesticides, allergenic dyes, etc) as well as meet other parameters like colour fastness and a skin-friendly pH (acidity).
Most wrap-makers meet this standard, and Storch and Little Frog are no exception.
Both wraps are made locally, so stuff for your child hasn’t been made by someone else’s.
Neither of these wraps use organic cotton (Storch technically offer a Bio range of wraps which do, but I can’t find any for sale to UK addresses). Although organic cotton offers no material difference to your baby , non-organic cotton is by far the world’s dirtiest major crop. Globally only 2.5% of arable land is used for cotton, yet it accounts for 10% of pesticide use (including the really nasty ones) and 22.5% of insecticides. It gobbles up vast quantities of artificial fertilizers.
The Oeko-Tex tests ensure none of this toxic grunt will make it through to the wrap that you’re wearing, but it’ll still be there in the soil and water of the developing-world communities that grew the crop.
Something to ponder…
(Obviously this is the same for all cotton, not just babywearing cotton. Your shirts are just as guilty.)
The Storch has a more textured and elastic weave
I know nothing about cotton weaving, but Storchenwiege have a handy page all about it. Go there for lots of uses of the word ‘weft’.
From a muggle’s viewpoint, the Storch Leo fabric is thicker and more textured. This makes it:
- A fraction warmer.
- Harder to tighten up (as the fabric grips itself more).
- More forgiving for bad knot tying (as once you’ve wrapped it round you, the friction keeps it solidly in place).
- Very slightly more supportive (as the stretch in the fabric is even over the entire piece)
From around the web Storch wraps get a slightly bad reputation for being “hard to break in”, which I struggle a bit with. This is a piece of cotton, not a hessian sack. It’s fine. Wash it; use it as a chair covering for a bit if it makes you feel happier. It’ll be just as soft afterwards, but you’ll feel like you’re a better parent.
The Little Frog is slightly cooler to wear and has a smoother feel. Michelle finds it much easier to tighten up, but be careful with your knots; I had a lazy attempt work itself undone. Tie them tightly, and you won’t have a problem.
The Storch has longer tails than the Little Frog
Slings aren’t rectangular; they’re a slight parallelogram (imagine a rectangle, then push the top edge sideways a bit). This gives you pointed ends that are much easier to tie knots with—I reckon tails are as good a name as any.
I’ve got the 4.6m length in both wraps, although the Little Frog is actually a smidge wider (see photo below). Despite this the Storch feels longer. I think this is down to the more pronounced taper to the tails making the knot easier to tie.
If you’re wondering about length, I’m a skinny 6’2” chap and 4.6m is long enough for me to be able to tie a front-wrap-cross-carry round a fairly tubby baby with the knot at the front.
Whilst we’re talking about tying, the Storch has one long edge (“rail”) in a different colour, which helps you keep track of the fabric as you wrap it round you. The Little Frog changes colour across the width, so that isn’t needed. Both have middle markers (which make tying much, much easier); the Little frog has them on both rails, the Storch just on one.
The best way to learn how to tie wraps is either to have someone show you or to search on Youtube for some video guides.
However, it would be unfair not to mention the booklet that came with the Storch, which is well written, lengthy and as helpful as any photographed-based guide could be.
The Little Frog booklet is almost as good.
Which do I prefer?
I pick up the Storch unless it’s above 25 Celsius, in which case the slightly cooler Little Frog wins out. I like the woven feel of the fabric more—the Little Frog has a very slight polyester tie feel to it. I also find the extra friction helpful in keeping DarkerSide Jr in place; after some frenzied wriggling the Storch is generally still neatly round both of us, whilst the Little Frog requires a few tugs back into position.
Michelle is the other way round, with the initial ease of getting the tension on with the slidey-er Little Frog more than compensating for the more careful knot-tying required.
The official DarkerSide conclusion?
Both are great slings. Get the one that matches your eyes.