The wonderful world of baby wearing
The world of baby wearing is vast and amazing, and is often a lifeline for parents with high needs and colicky babies. But with so many choices out there, what should you be looking for?
Easy To Use
When you Google baby carriers, you will come across a million and one brands and types. While there are some hybrid carriers nowadays, the broad categories are:
Wraps are extremely comfortable and adjustable but do take some skill to get right.
Ring slings are worn diagonally like a messenger bag and adjusted by (you guessed it) two rings - you may have had belts that tighten the same way. They’re a really easy and comfortable way to carry tiny babies who aren’t ready for a buckle carrier yet. They’re cooler than wraps (as it’s just one layer) and they have a shorter learning curve.
Buckle carriers (also called soft structured carriers) are the ones you most commonly see - like backpacks for babies. They usually buckle around your waist and between your shoulder blades. They’re quick and easy to use.
T-shirt carriers have the comfort of a wrap with the ease of a buckle carrier and can fit tiny babies just as well as ring slings. They’re worn like a t-shirt (so it’s critical to get the right size) and they’re effectively a pre-wrapped wrap.
Typically, most parents will use a buckle carrier and then have a second, softer carrier (either a wrap, ring sling or t-shirt carrier) which really shine during the fourth trimester.
Having a baby’s knees higher than their hips - while babywearing - allows them to assume the most ergonomic position for their developing hip joints and helps avoid issues like hip dysplasia and other growth development concerns. Carriers that allow the child’s legs to hang, with the knees lower than the hips, aren’t considered ergonomic.
A Good Fit
Carriers can be adjusted but they are not really a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, and a good fit is key to using a carrier comfortably and sustainably - without adding to your chiropractor bills. If you choose a highly adjustable carrier, you can purchase it while pregnant, then have it fitted by one of our certified babywearing consultants once you’re home from hospital. If you plan to get a very fitted carrier like a t-shirt carrier, then it may make more sense to buy it after bub is born.
Where do you think you’ll use your carrier? If it’s mostly at home (in the air con), to help you settle baby and give you the freedom to multitask, then your options are completely open - wraps, ring slings, t-shirt carriers or buckle carriers. However, if you plan to babywear while you’re out of the house, then there are three considerations: ease of use, how sweaty it might get, and the practicality of washing and drying it.
With babies, it can (who am I kidding - will) get messy. Poop, puke, diaper explosions; you get the idea. We always suggest getting a carrier that you can easily wash for your first carrier. Wraps and lightweight ring slings obviously dry the fastest as they’re a flat piece of fabric, and structured carriers can take quite a bit longer due to the sheer thickness of the fabric in some sections.