Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wear Your Baby Wednesday - Babywearing 101

Carriers, Carriers, and More Carriers!
This was actually my first ever "stash shot"
The only one we still own is the Beco, everything else has since been sold to make room for different carriers...

There are so many choices for different carriers to use, and I've personally used a wide variety.  Because of that, I'm going to focus on the carriers that I personally have used and I'll only briefly mention the other carriers I know of at the end.

Stretchy Wrap - The most common stretchy wraps are Moby and Boba/Sleepy Wrap. They are a dense, jersey knit, long piece of fabric that you wrap around your body and secure baby in.  They're great for newborns because they're so snuggly soft, but although they claim they can be used until up to 35 pounds they tend to get quite uncomfortable around 15-20 pounds.  This is due to their stretch - they can start to sag as baby gets heavier and strain your back.  They also can only be worn in a front carry.

I never liked my Moby wrap.  The dense weave of the fabric is very warm and we live in Hades, so I actually sold mine soon after my son was born.

There are also hybrid stretchy wraps such as a Wrapsody Hybrid Stretch which although I have never used I would recommend over a traditional stretchy wrap.  Due to the nature of the fabric (instead of having dual direction stretch, it only has width-wise stretch) it remains supportive and comfortable even for heavy babies and can be used for back carries as well as front carries.

Ring Sling - this was really my "gateway carrier."  Since I never liked the Moby, I could have easily given up on Babywearing but I actually bought a ring sling off a friend of mine and I was hooked.  Some popular brands are Maya Wraps and Sleeping Baby Productions.  Ring slings are a length of woven fabric (ranging from 70 or so inches to as long as you would like it) that have 2 rings sewn to it at one end.  The fabric is spread across one shoulder, comes around to your front, and is then looped through the rings.
Tension is created in the rings by the weight of the baby as they sit in the "pouch" of fabric.  Ring slings can be used with newborns and toddlers alike, and can be worn in front, hip, or back carries (but I, personally, find back carries incredibly uncomfortable).

Ring slings were one of my favorite carriers when W was a newborn; it was so easy to pop him in and he would happily fall asleep.  As he has gotten older - and heavier - I've stopped using them quite as much and generally just use them for quick ins and outs (like running into the gas station to buy a drink).  If I know I'll be wearing him for a longer period of time I generally choose a different carrier.

Eventually I'll make a ring sling how to video including how to thread your sling, how to get baby in, and how to nurse in a ring sling!

Soft Structured Carrier - these are super user friendly and probably one of the most widely used baby carriers in the Western world.  Some popular brands are Ergo, Boba, and Beco (some less popular but equally {if not more} awesome brands are Kinderpack and Tula).  They're user friendly since they're basically a backpack - buckle the waist, put on the straps, place baby in.  As long as you have your straps adjusted properly, it should be comfortable and secure.  Different body types work better with different brands, so if you find one soft structured carrier uncomfortable, odds are you just need to try a different one.

We have a Beco Butterfly II (which is no longer in production, it has been replaced by the Beco Soleil) and a reversible Batman "cutie cover" made by Pimp My Carrier.  This was The Sailor's favorite carrier until recently; with W pushing 25 pounds he has found some of our other carriers to be more supportive and comfortable for extended periods of time.

Mei Tai and Half Buckle - first things first, it's pronounced "may tie" not "my tie" (a "my tie" is a drink, not a baby carrier).  A popular mei tai brand is Babyhawk.  These are similar to soft structured carriers but have a tie waist (or if it's a half buckle it does have a buckle waist) and then long straps that are tied around you to secure baby.  I like them over a soft structured carrier because you don't need to fiddle with adjusting straps; you can just tie it tighter or looser depending on who is wearing which baby with it.  Since The Sailor and I essentially have the same size waist,  I we actually prefer half buckles.

Not only was a Babyhawk one of my favorite carriers when W was a newborn (it was my go to carrier when we were grocery shopping since he felt more secure in it than a ring sling) half buckles are also our favorite now as well.  We actually have Woven Wrap Conversion half buckles.  We have two of them.  They were both custom made by my specifications by Shiny Star Designs.  They are the same thing as a traditional half buckle, but since they are made out of woven wraps a) they're more expensive (haha) but b) they're more supportive.

At some point I'll make a video going over all the reasons why I'm obsessed with wrap conversion half buckles.

Woven Wrap - these are essentially long pieces of woven fabric that you can tie in a million different ways depending on your preferences.  They can be worn on your front, hip, or back.  They're good for newborns to toddlers and everything in between.  Many are 100% cotton, but there are countless different fabric blends out there.  Some are handwoven, others are machine woven.  They come in different sizes and different carries can be achieved with those different sizes.  They are the most versatile carrier available but they are also the hardest to learn how to use.  There is too much information to share about them for Babywearing 101, but I will dedicate an entire post to them down the road - I promise.

This may look like a ring sling (since there's a ring, haha) but it's just a carry
with a woven wrap that uses a ring.
**And now onto the carriers that I haven't personally used - these will be super brief.

Pouch Sling - a common brand is Hotsling.  These are kinda like ring slings, but they aren't adjustable so if you get the wrong size you're basically shit outta luck.  And thus why I've never used one...

Podaegi - first off, I don't know how to pronounce that word, so I just call them "pods."  These are kind of like mei tais but without a waist strap - so you're just using the long arm straps over the "blanket" (which is the body of the carrier) to secure your baby.  I've never seen one that isn't a wrap conversion, and I know Shiny Star Designs sells them.  They really aren't that popular in the US.

Narrow Base Carrier - aka a "crotch dangler."  It saddens me to say that these are probably the most common carriers used in the US.  Bjorn, Infantino, etc.  They're readily available at chain baby stores all over the country, and they're dumb.  There is research that shows that having such a narrow base can lead to hip dysplasia.  Whether you believe that or not...why risk it?  Plus, I know I wouldn't want to be dangling by my lady bits for extended periods of time.  Please choose a different carrier.  That's really all I have to say about that.

And that concludes Babywearing 101.  Babywearing 102 will be all about safety!

Do you have any baby carriers?  What are your favorites?


  1. So interesting! Both of the carriers we received (K'tan and Ergo) aren't on here that you've tried, but it's good to know that there are even MORE options if those don't work out for us. Especially the ring sling, I hadn't seen those before. Now can you just come here and show me how to use them because holy crap they're confusing. Maybe actually HAVING the baby will help. PS we got the k'tan breeze (mesh) because Orlando is definitely hades hot too.

    1. I never tried the k'tan just because I always heard if you got the wrong size it was really uncomfortable. And I have a TON of friends who LOVE their Ergos!

      And I'll make an all encompassing ring sling video eventually, it might make you more comfortable!

      Fun fact, we actually want to be stationed in Florida next, but it would be north west Florida (Pensacola) and we wouldn't be there till next summer!


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