When we were preparing for the arrival of our son, three years ago, I never really got into the whole baby wearing thing. It’s not that I didn’t want my baby close to me, I just didn’t realize that there were many options beyond the BabyBjorn-like carriers. Being that he was my first, I didn’t mind carrying him around everywhere.
When we found our our second was on her way, I had read more about baby wearing and knew if I was going to get anything done with two kids, I’d have to look into options for carrying her around hands free. I have two reviews included in this write up. Both are carriers that I purchased. I’ll also list other types of carriers as well.
Baby wearing has tons of benefits, aside of letting you get things done, without having to put your fussy infant down. It’s a great bonding tool for you and your baby as well. Babies love the closeness of being snuggled up next to their mothers, especially newborns. Babies who are worn, also tend to cry less, and in my experience, this may be true. My son was horribly fussy for eight weeks. Fussy, actually doesn’t begin to describe it. He screamed every night for 3 hours. Whether this is as a result of him not being worn, I’ll never really know, but my daughter, who I wore regularly, was more mellow. That is of course, until you put her down, and even now, she’s still like that. Hell hath no fury! Baby wearing is also great for development. Because they’re close t you, they’re more comfortable with absorbing their surroundings. Of course, with attachment parenting, comes a longer streak of dependence on you. However, studies show that they become independent at an earlier age.
Finding the right carrier is crucial to making baby wearing work for you. If you have a carrier that hurts your back, or is uncomfortable to wear, it’ll just make you more stressed and less likely to use it.
Types of Carriers:
Wraps: When I first got a Moby Wrap, I was overwhelmed. It’s a bit of a learning curve, putting on, but once it’s on, it’s insanely comfortable. My daughter LOVED this carrier as a newborn, because she could sleep against my chest in the frog position for hours, and it never caused me any pain. The drawback to this carrier, is that the fabric can be a little heavy for hot summer days. However, if you were so inclined and handy, you could probably make one yourself in a stretchy muslin fabric and use it in the summer. I, sadly, can’t even sew a button back on my pants. For quicker use, put it on before you get in the car. That way, when you arrive at your destination, you have it all ready to go, and all you have to do, is slip the baby in. I don’t use it much right now, only because my daughter is a hefty 24lbs at 8 months. At her age, I’m not quite ready to wear her on my back yet, but she’s getting a bit too heavy to use the wrap to wear her in the front. The Moby Wrap isn’t the only type of wrap carrier. This is just the one I have.
The Soft Structured Baby Carrier: This is a type of soft structured carrier (another example would be the typical BabyBjorn). I purchased the ERGO Baby Carrier prior to flying down to visit Kathy last October. I knew with two kids, I wanted to streamline my travel process. A light stroller for my son, and a carrier for the baby. I knew it would be easier to carry her, and also less worry of people coming up with their germy hands and touching her. It worked like a charm. One of the other benefits of baby wearing. People have to get in YOUR personal space to touch your baby, and are less likely to do so. Bonus! I have to say, this is probably the most comfortable carrier on the planet and super easy to put on (just two clips and you’re done). Even at 24 pounds, my daughter is STILL super comfortable to wear. My main beef with this, is that she can’t face out in front of me. It’s either inward facing, or on the back. So she gets a bit more impatient in it now than she used to, but it is still worth every penny. It’s a lighter fabric and has plenty of ventilation, as well as a sun/rain cover for their head. I recommend this carrier to everyone.
- ERGO Baby Carrier
- Boba Organic Carrier
- Baby Bjorn Carrier
- Beco Baby Carrier
- Olives and Applesauce Carriers
- Action Baby Carrier
Mei Tai Carrier: A mei tai carrier is kind of a cross between a wrap and an Ergo. It’s generally a square piece of fabric with straps at the corners to tie together. The result is versatility, with different wearing positions, your carrier has a longer life. Mei tais have been used by Asian culture for years. There are tons of WAHM’s making Mei Tai’s and if you’re able to sew, you can make your own.
Ring Slings: Ring slings are a great option for quick and easy adjustment. These are more of a pouch type sling, with a ring that the fabric loops through for easy tightening. You can wear your baby as an infant in a cradle position, or on your hip. These are especially great for nursing in as well. The only drawback with ring slings, is the rings themselves. When choosing a ring sling, make sure the ring is well made and sturdy. There have been cases where the rings break, which could cause your baby to fall. SO be sure to choose one from a trusted company like:
Pouch Slings: Slings or “Pouches” are pretty similar to ring slings, just without the ring part of the sling. These are nice because they come in sizes for a more specific fit. They can be worn similarly to ring slings as well, and because they’re one piece, are relatively easy to get on and get a baby in quickly. I’m not personally a fan of them when a baby gets heavier. It doesn’t distribute weight very well, and you end up with sore shoulders (this may be because I’m already top heavy to begin with, so your mileage may vary). But it is nice because it’s not bulky, and fits in a diaper bag easily, making it perfect for quick on the go trips.
Structured Backpacks: This is pretty self explanatory. Backpack carriers, generally have a frame and are a bit bulkier. They’re great for things like hiking or longer days where you might need more support and a child more comfort. I know men tend to prefer these as they’re a bit more masculine looking. Some of them are pretty swanky too. With pockets for holding things as well as sun canopies for coverage from the elements.
There are so many options for baby wearing, that there’s something out there for everyone. I’m a little remiss that I didn’t find a lot of these options with my son. My daughter loves being worn, and for me, I find that it’s so much easier when trying to wrangle a toddler. Not to mention, it’s been great for keeping her warm during the winter. There are even carrier covers, so that you don’t have to bundle them up in a heavy coat and take them in and out of a sling. I find that if I steal my husband’s jacket, I can zip it up over both of us, and this works perfectly, but it’s nice to know that the option is there.
Baby wearing tips:
It’s easy to get frustrated when learning how to wear your baby. Follow some of these tips and you’ll be a pro in no time:
- Practice practice practice. Practice with stuffed animals before your baby is born. Practice around the house when your baby is born. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
- Read the instruction manual. As with any baby gear, reading the manual is essential. You not only want to get the most out of your baby wearing apparatus, but you want your baby to be safe.
- Check on your baby often. If you’re wearing your baby in a cradle hold, make sure their they have sufficient air flow. Also make sure their heads are tilted back enough to allow easy breathing.
- Invest in a good carrier. You want something that is going to be comfortable to wear, otherwise, you’re going to end up ditching the idea, more often than not. If your carrier is comfortable, you won’t notice that you’ve got a baby attached to the front of you. Unless of course, they punch you in the nose, or grab your hair.
- Invest in a few carriers. Depending on your activities, you might want to have a few different types of carriers on hand. Also, if both parents like baby wearing, you’re bound to have different tastes in carriers. Your husband/partner may not like wearing something pink and floral. Worst case: If you hate them, they retain value if they’re in god condition so you can get some of your money back on eBay.
Baby wearing resources:
- The Baby Wearer
- Dr. Sears: Baby Wearing
- La Leche League: The Benefits of Baby Wearing
- Baby Wearing
- Consumer Search Baby Carrier Reviews
Got any other tips or advice? A favorite carrier? As usual, leave ’em in the comments.