Most of our time is currently dedicated to our new baby boy. Today's musings are about babywearing. There are only so many ways to carry a baby, yet there are so many carriers to choose from! Sifting through the options can be a bit daunting.
Some of my favorite articles discussing the various babywearing devices are at wearyourbaby.com. This is a huge resource for different types of devices used all over the world, and also has links on how to make your own baby carrier. There is a lot of information here!
If you are short on time, and just want a quick summary to guide you on a purchase of commercially available carriers, then this article is very helpful.
My babywearing experiences so far:
My favorite carrier by far is a wrap carrier, The Moby Wrap. It is simply a very long piece of cloth, about 18 yards long and 22 inches wide, with some tapering at the ends for ease in tying. wearyourbaby.com has directions to make your own, but I have been very happy with my purchase, as I don't own a serger to hem all the edges perfectly. It comes with an easy to follow instruction book. It actually is very easy to tie, and once you learn it, you can put your baby in the carrier in a variety of different ways. He's been in it since he was a newborn, and during the day he sleeps much longer in the moby than anywhere else. Between the cozy swaddling newborn position, the wearer's heartbeat and walking motions soothing the baby, and truly having your hands free to do chores, blog, etc, this has been indispensable. We ended up buying a second one for times when we suddenly needed to wash it, but still wanted to wear him cosily. Having the spare moby has also been very handy for passing the babywearing back and forth quickly.
Pros: comfortable, distributes baby's weight evenly for much less body strain, fits everyone (both baby and wearer) well, many positions to wear the baby, machine washable, less expensive than many other carriers ($39.95)
Cons: too hot in hot weather, people are hesitant to use it because they think it will be too hard to learn, ends drag on the ground when you are putting it on
New Native Carrier
The New Native is a very simple, non-adjustable sling that you purchase in your size. It is a tube with a curvy end at the bottom for a little extra pouch space for the baby. As with most carriers, you can wear your baby in front, on your hip, or on your back, but I find that I only use this carrier to have the baby sit in front, and near my hip, as he is not the right age/size for any of the other carries. I found that in my proper size carrier, I cannot easily wear the baby heart-to-heart. To wear the baby higher, I made a sling out of an old, stretchy t-shirt pictured on the right (just cut horizontally, so that you have a tube). It doesn't reach down as far, so the baby sits up high in a more natural position.
Pros: very easy to use, you can pass the baby to another person or into the carseat without disturbing him, comfortable in hot weather, machine washable, compact for travel, less expensive than many other carriers ($42)
Cons: not comfortable for long episodes of wearing as the weight is on one shoulder, must buy the right size which may limit who can wear it, fewer carries available
The baby bjorn carriers are a structured soft carrier, with buckles and straps which adjust the carrier to the wearer. There are currently five models to choose from, some which provide more lumbar support, others which are lighter weight. Prices range anywhere from $54 to $160.
I find it takes a while to adjust the carrier the first time, but once it is adjusted, it is fairly fast to put on and take off. If you are sharing the carrier with another wearer, then you end up wasting a lot of time adjusting back and forth. Once in a while you will also need to adjust the carrier to the growing baby too. I find the carrier fairly comfortable, as the straps are wide and padded. My husband complains that the center of gravity while wearing the baby is not as comfortable as in the moby wrap.
Pros: somewhat comfortable, fairly easy to use (step by step illustrated directions were on the inside of mine), wide price range to choose from
Cons: adjusting between users is a chore, limited ways to wear the baby (only able to wear in front, facing in or out)
Next carrier to try:
The mei tai, or Asian based carrier (ABC), is a simple unstructured soft carrier that is easy to use. It ties around the waist, then around the baby and shoulders. It's not as good for newborns because it doesn't swaddle as well, but now that the baby is 3 months old, that is no longer an issue. Since it's been hot lately, I am looking for a less warm carrier, and the mei tai fits the bill. I'm also getting ready to try wearing the baby on my back, but I don't feel comfortable wrestling with 6 yards of moby wrap. I've ordered a beautiful used one from ebay, and am eagerly awaiting it's arrival.
Here are some links on how to wear it:
Great youtube video showing front and back carries