Happy New Year! We’re back with the second post in this two part series (see the first post here) from my friend Jillian. Today we get to show you the actual carriers! If you love the one you see in the picture, go ahead and click on it and it’ll send you to the site where you can buy it. Enjoy!
Now that safety has been addressed, we can discuss the many different types of carriers that are available that support your baby in the proper way to provide you with all the neat benefits that babywearing brings…
Types of carriers:
Stretchy or Elastic Wrap– I like to call these the “Gateway Carrier” because they are very popular for newborns and are most mamas’ introduction to babywearing. Stretchy wraps can only be used for one carry on the front of your body. It consists of a very large piece of fabric (about 5-6 yards) that is tied around your body. Once the baby is put in, there should be at least 3 layers of fabric covering baby to hold them securely. Once the way of wrapping it is learned, putting it on is very quick and easy. These wraps are great for the smaller babies but can become rather uncomfortable and non-supportive after 15-18 lbs. although the manufacturers will state that they can carry a higher weight.
Examples: Boba Wrap, Moby
Woven Wrap– Woven Wraps are the most versatile carriers on the market and are the only carriers that can truly go from the newborn stage through toddlerhood without needing any modification whatsoever. This carrier can be tied in many different ways and offers front, hip and back carry options. Woven wraps have a long learning curve and it may take many attempts to feel comfortable with it (especially back wrapping) but the payoff is huge and there are so many ways to wear it. Woven Wraps are probably the most classic carrier that is used in many cultures around the world and come in many colors, weaves and weights.
Examples: Didymos, Girasol, Neobulle etc.
Ring Sling– Ring slings are a piece of fabric laid on one shoulder to form a sling for baby to sit in and are adjusted with metal rings. This carrier offers front and hip carry options. Back carries are not recommended. Because a ring sling supports baby’s weight only on one shoulder, this is not a good choice for anybody with back problems or sensitive neck or shoulders. Babies can be worn in front or on the hip, with hip probably being the most popular. There are several different styles of ring slings and it is the best option for quick errands and the up and down stage of toddlerhood. A lot of the comfort of a sling depends on its shoulder style and fabric.
Examples: Sleeping Baby Productions, Maya Wrap
Mei Tai– the Mei Tai is an Asian inspired carrier with a waist belt and shoulder straps sewn onto a rectangular piece of fabric. The belt and shoulder straps are knotted. A Mei Tai offers front and back carry options. This is a great carrier for all ages in a front carry and from about 2 months-toddler (with good head control). These carriers offer a back carry option that is easier to learn than a woven wrap and is fully customizable to each wearer with simple ties to secure. A Mei Tai is easy to share between Mom and Dad because of the easy to adjust straps. There are many different Mei Tai’s on the market and some can be unsafe because of cheap materials or unsafe sewing techniques. As with all carriers, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Examples: Kozy, Mother and Bebe, Infantino etc.
Soft Structured Carriers– Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) are patterned after backpacks and the shoulder and waist strap are usually padded and they have buckles to secure the carrier and customize the fit. These carriers offer front and back carry options. Every brand of carrier varies greatly in many aspects like back lengths, crotch widths, back widths, fabric, and belt straps (buckles or hook and loop tape). Soft Structured Carriers are best tried on with your child before purchasing and torso lengths and build of the babywearer will greatly affect the comfort. These carriers are preferred by many Dads because of their backpack look and they are easy to share between Mom and Dad because of the easy to adjust straps. There are many different SSC’s on the market and each has pros and cons; you have to find one that works for you.
Examples: Boba, Ergo
So, if all this info has made your head spin, join the club! Getting into babywearing can be really overwhelming at first, but there are so many online resources that can help! The Babywearer is probably the best place on the internet to go for babywearing info. Babycenter and Diaper Swappers both have babywearing forums as well. With any luck, you may be able to find a babywearing group in your area that can help you learn and grow in your babywearing journey. My mothering experience would not be what it is today without babywearing and the freedom it has afforded me. Raising two under two is always daunting, but being able to wear one and play with the other makes it MUCH easier and dare I say, enjoyable?! Get with babywearing and “wear your kid in your shirt” as often as possible. You will never regret it!
Jillian is the mama of two growing boys in a house where even the dog is a man. She uses her “Free Time” to make slings, wraps and cloth diapering things over at Pretty Paisley Productions and is one of the Administrators for the Babywearing group in her region of Utah. She loves to laugh and usually spends most of her time laughing at herself.