Baby Wearing: How to Buy the Perfect Carrier
I knew I wanted a baby carrier when I was pregnant, but didn't know much about baby wearing. Since having my baby, it's safe to say I've become a baby wearing enthusiast! I read somewhere once (perhaps a Dr Sears book?) that before your baby is born, she is used to being carried 24/7. After being born, even if you carry your baby for 10 hours a day, that is still a huuuge decrease! Some babies don't seem to mind at all. In the case of ours, she pretty much never wanted to be put down. This is why in the early months, baby wearing was a lifesaver... I could actually use two hands to eat! And if I was feeling ambitious, I could make green juice or clean the house a little.
In case you want a visual reference...
This was our baby when we put her down:
(Don't you love that her shirt says "never crabby," yet she's crying?)
This was our baby being held:
Either content or sleeping!
So, what is the perfect carrier?
The perfect carrier for me and my baby is going to be different than the perfect carrier for you and your babe! Much like my perfect pair of jeans won't necessarily work for you.
My #1 piece of advice... try before you buy!
The best way to do this is find a group near you with a lending library. In my area, it's called SlingBabies, a volunteer-run group with monthly meetings and baby wearing workshops. From the time Caterina was about 2 months old, I went to every month's meeting and rented a new carrier to try. For this group, you give them a check for what the carrier is worth, but this will never get cashed unless you lose or severely damage the carrier. Then, you pay them $7 cash and the carrier is all yours until the next meeting! I tried so many different carriers, meanwhile comparing it to the one that we owned.
I pretty much tried them all! Mei tais, ring slings, woven wraps, and soft structured carriers.
What will you use it for?
We found that different carriers were useful for different situations. A ring sling was great for popping her in (especially in winter, I wouldn't have to take off my coat) and running a quick errand, while a woven wrap was comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Also, consider the ease of use. Like I said above, I think woven wraps are super comfortable. However, it takes a bit of time and practice to learn how to wrap.
Will you be breastfeeding while wearing? If you want to nurse your babe while in the carrier, don't forget to see if you are able to adjust it for that purpose.
Will your partner be baby wearing?
While everyone has their own preference, it is definitely a money-saver if you both find the same carrier comfortable and it adjusts to fit both of you. So, be sure to have your partner try it on too!
What have I owned?
I registered for the popular Ergobaby Baby Carrier, and my husband and I both got a lot of use out of it. I found that by the time she was about a year old though, she seemed to have outgrown it. She is on the taller side, and the Ergo has the shortest body of all the soft structured carriers.
We recently bought a Kinderpack and are in love with it. I rented one several times through my area's baby wearing group and then realized, I need to just buy one! I find it to be the most comfortable out of the soft structured carriers that I've tried (and I've tried a LOT).
Check out Babywearing International for more great baby wearing information.
What about you? Do you or did you wear your baby? What is your favorite carrier? Leave me a comment!