Sunday, January 29, 2012

which type of baby carrier is best?

I wrote about the reasons I like to carry my babies back in November but there's so much more to write about. Most people go to register for baby stuff and see the baby carriers and know they'd like one, just don't know what they'd like or how they'd use it.

Here's some questions to consider before purchasing a carrier: Will you use the carrier primarily at home or while you're out as well? Do you plan on using the carrier for a newborn only or will you use it into toddlerhood and beyond? Will mom and dad (and maybe even grandma, or a babysitter) use the carrier as well? The answers won't leave you with one definite answer but they'll give you somewhere to start.

First off though, what makes a carrier a "good" carrier? Baby should be in a position similar to how you'd carry him. Naturally a baby will bring his knees up and be in a seated position with their knees at or above their butt. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has a good image showing this. Their back should be curved in a natural position without being slouched over. He should be facing in to put him in a good seated position, keep his weight distributed properly on your body, and support his head. You should also be able to kiss the top of his head, which keeps him in a safer position and also allows you to monitor him more easily.

If you think of how you'd rather be, it's obvious that the seated position is much more comfortable than being suspended by your crotch. Right?! I think so!

So what types of good carriers are out there?
Ring Sling: Maya Wrap, Lightly Padded Shoulder in Olive Green
Ring Slings: These wrap around your body and over one shoulder creating a spot for the baby in front or on the wearer's hip, they have a set of two rings that rest just under the shoulder that adjust the size. They are still sized but the tail will just be longer for the smaller parent. Ring slings can be used from newborn up to toddler but can get heavy since the weight is just on one shoulder. They are handy though for a quick trip in the store. I used a ring sling with both boys when they were really light but once they got a bit bigger it was uncomfortable with that much weight on one shoulder.

Soft Structured Carrier: ERGObaby Original in Galaxy Grey
Soft Structured Carriers: These are usually very easy to use, a buckle for the waist, shoulder straps, and a chest buckle. SSC's aren't sized so the same carrier can be used by many people. Also, they can be used from birth up until 30-40lbs depending on the brand of carrier you buy. The weight of the baby is supported on both the wearer's hips and shoulders which spreads out weight a bit better than a sling. Baby can be worn on the front, back, or hip depending on the brand of carrier. They're very quick to put on which is especially nice when you have a fussy baby. This is Aaron's favorite carrier.

Woven Wrap: Didymos Silver Waves, length 4.2 meters
Wraps: There are two types of wraps; stretchy wraps and woven wraps. A wrap is a long piece of fabric that is tied around the body using different techniques to secure the baby. Stretchy wraps, like Mobys, can be used for newborns and small babies. Due to their stretch, they can only be worn on the front since larger babies can tip back and fall. Woven wraps can be used from newborn to preschooler on the front, back, or hip. The same wrap can be used by many sizes of people although they may not be able to use the same technique or might end up with longer tails depending on how they do the tie. Wraps are overwhelming to some people just because there's so much fabric and take some practice to get a good tie and be confident that baby is secure. But many people love wraps because the weight is dispersed on the entire torso and they are so comfy once you get used to wrapping.

These are the three carriers that I have. I bought the ring sling and used it first when both boys were little. Then went to the Ergo and used it for a long time. Now my hips are bothering me while wearing the Ergo so I just bought the woven wrap. I've used it a lot since I got it and I like it so far. It seems like Devon likes it too!

There's no right answer to which carrier is best for you and it may change as you get more comfortable with carriers or as your baby gets heavier. They can be a bit expensive but they're definitely worth it if you use it! I'm happy to answer any questions you have. I'm not an expert but I've tried many different kinds and can point you in the right direction. Happy babywearing!

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