One thing that a lot of moms register for when they become pregnant, is a Baby Carrier. It is kind of a must in my book but most moms do it, because… well, its expected. Right? At least that is how I was when I became pregnant with our 1st born Caleb.
A baby bjorn.
or a snuggi of course.
Those are the go to carriers of most new moms. I’m not sure why. Price may be a factor… popularity via target, babies r’ us or walmart? I for one knew nothing about babywearing when I had my first baby… and really it wasn’t until my 2nd son came along that I began to really learn more about this world of babywearing.
It is so much more than just carrying a child around to get them out of your arms.
Babywearing is very special and can create such a special bonding time. I adore it and encourage any mom I know to invest in a good baby carrier.
I truly cannot imagine not wearing my children. Once my boys get to big to wear, I miss it greatly. It is a time in their life and mine, that I adore.
I thought though I would address a sensitive subject here…. one that I am a bit vocal in… Over time I have found it hard to address this topic in person or directly to someone, without coming across as offensive. Even though those are never my intentions.
So before I get started…
Let me just say that everyone has to make decisions on their own.
No one has the perfect solution.
and I for one am not judging or thinking poorly of anyone who chooses otherwise.
I think babywearing is beautiful and love any time I see a mom doing it.
Even if I disagree with their carrier choice. :)
… but I want to talk today about some carriers that I feel are not the best for our infants… and explain why.
— So that Snuggi that I owned with my first born son.
As popular as it was, it truly is not the best carrier out there. For mom or baby.
Here is why….
— Take notice of the legs. No support.
Baby should always have their legs at hip level. When you look at an image of a baby in a Bjorn or carrier similar, their legs are dangling. This does not properly support their legs. There has been medical research proven by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute that has shown how this discourages proper hip development. It isn’t something other baby carrier companies are making up in order to sell their carrier. It is proven medically to cause harm. This is something I had no idea about when I registered and used mine…
The only way to give baby proper support of the legs, is to have the fabric on the carrier cover their entire back… and go up onto their thigh area, to almost the backside of the knee.
— It is not comfortable. For you or baby.
I was at aldi the other day and saw a mom wearing her 2 year old (or close to it) in a forward facing carrier. As she bent over to pick up the eggs from the display, the toddler almost fell out and hit her head. This not only causes discomfort for baby but also for moms back. When you lean forward and baby leans forward it is doing no good in the area of proper weight distribution. Trust me, if you wear a baby in a full supporting carrier, with proper placement, you will see a world of difference. Little did I know this with my 1st born. When I finally found a carrier that had proper support, my whole idea on babywearing changed. It was actually enjoyable AND comfortable then.
— Would you want something grabbing your girly or dude parts?
I don’t know about you… but one time I had to put a jump harness on when I used this huge trampoline thing in a mall… and as it pulled me up, it held me by my girly parts. I remember thinking how incredibly uncomfortable it was after just a few jumps, it actually began to cause soreness between my legs. Beautiful image I know… but imagine how this feels for baby… as he is dangling in the carrier. Especially for little boys.
— Support that neck… and head
While this isn’t so much important for infants who have great neck control… it is very important for tiny babies. Smaller babies should never be placed in a forward facing position that does not support their neck and heads.
There are actually a few other reasons I could probably go on listing about this topic… but to me those are the most important to consider.
I hear a lot of people say to me when I mention the carriers I use, that they don’t like that you cant wear the baby “front facing out“… They say that their baby likes to see what is going on… and that facing inward would not allow them to do so.
I get that… some babies are super curious and yes, sometimes they do want to see what is going on….
Can I be honest though.
I have had 4 children…
I baby wore 3 out of those 4.
My first born I wore maybe twice, because the snuggi I had was so uncomfortable for me to wear, I hated it… Out of the 3 children I wore OFTEN, I never once had a child really protest about facing inward.
At a certain age I do remember my boys getting curious and wanting to see more… when this time came, I began to wear them on my back. This allowed for a little bit more visual for them.
I hope this post comes across as non-judgmental… I don’t want anyone to think I think poorly of them or that I think they wish harm on their babies. I don’t think those things and hopefully the fact I use to use a snuggi expresses that a little bit more. I was there one day too. :)
Also before I get into some “Carrier” option chat… lets go over some…
Benefits of Babywearing
Cause lets be honest. You don’t do it just to do it. There really are proven benefits to wearing your babies.
1. No bulky strollers and gained confidence
I cannot tell you the freedom that comes with going into a busy mall wearing a baby, rather than pushing a stroller. Such freedom!! When you have a bunch of other kids to deal with as well, the last thing you want is to deal with hauling giant strollers everywhere. Then again, some moms like always having a stroller and thats totally fine. We each have our likes and dislikes… There are days I prefer my stroller to a carrier… but more times than not, I chose to babywear.
It also gives you a confidence in knowing your baby is so close. You are able to read their cues… sense when they are fussy, hungry, tired… and yes, while you can do this from a far… I found keeping them close, always made that easier.
2. Keeps baby close to milk source
Now even if you do not nurse… I find that having a baby near a mothers beating heart, is so comforting to that infant. Babies sense their mother regardless of nursing them or not. Their smell… their skin. I have found when I kept my babies close, they were so much more laid back and calm… especially as newborns-young infant.
You also could nurse in a carrier too, which some love to do. I for one never did.
3. Hands free time
This is an obvious benefit :) – I cannot count how many times I put one of my boys into a carrier so I could cook a meal! I did this often… and it saved me some sanity. I also baby wore a lot while cleaning. When my infant wouldnt settle in a crib or baby swing, the carrier always did the trick.
4. No Flat Head
Infants spend A LOT of time laying down. I remember my first born son Caleb had the hardest time with his head getting flat. I didnt babywear him… and he was a back sleeper. Any time he was out, he was in a bucket seat… or stroller. That dude laid so much on his back that his poor head began to flatten. This is a huge problem with many infants… Thankfully with Caleb I was able to use a sleep positioner and it helped to reshape his head. My other 3 boys NEVER had this issue. I firmly believe its because I wore them CONSTANTLY and they didn’t sit in something all day long.
The image to the right of my oldest wearing my youngest in a wrap, is evidence of how precious babywearing can be. Not just for mom but the entire family. My oldest loved wearing his baby brother… Babywearing also gives dad a great opt. to bond with, while holding their infant close.
SO. Lets talk options.
This is where it can become very overwhelming….
I am going to post a few carriers I suggest. Some cost more than others… Do not let that sway you. You do not have to spend a fortune… there are patterns to create and sew your own baby carriers (I’ve done it!)… there are lots of great etsy shops to buy from… you can even find many of the carriers I will mention on ebay used for very little money.
Before I list these off… I’ll go ahead and let those reading know, in case it comes out down the road… that I am the photographer for Boba. Two of the carriers I will mention below come from this company.
However, I do not make a dime off mentioning their carrier. I am hired to do their photography and nothing more. They do not pay me to mention their carrier to other moms. I am not an affiliate…. so even if you click over to their site to purchase a carrier, I don’t get a dime.
I truly just love the carrier and the function of it. It is probably one of the best I have ever used… and I’ve used a lot.
1. The Boba 4G
This is the company I do photography for. I’ve been their photographer for years now… but I have been using their carriers since the beginning! Right around 7 years now. Great, great company. Amazing carriers that hold up to years of abuse. You will really only ever need one.
The Boba 4G to me is the carrier to get if you only want one. It allows you to wear baby from newborn to age 3 or so. It is simple to use. It is a one size fits all. It can fit a petite mom like myself (I am around 115lbs and 5 foot 2 inches). Yet it can fit my husband who is 6 foot and 220lbs. So it is a great all around carrier for both mom and dad.
It is VERY supportive. Great for hiking, church, mall trips or even in the home.
You can wear it on the back and front.
I cannot speak enough about how much I love this carrier.
Feel free to watch THIS VIDEO on my youtube. It shows me putting Reed into the Boba on my back in about 30 seconds. :)
& some man crush photos… I love a man babywearing :) – This is my husband Travis wearing our 3rd born Owen. Who is now almost 5! :( goes to fast….
2. Mei Tai Carrier
I have used a few brands of the Mei Tai style carrier. I wont bother listing them all… One very popular one is the Baby Hawk Mei Tai. They are a bit pricey though but do function well… My mei tai from Babyhawk is many years old. Its very soft and works really well. It has held up to many kids now… So if you have some budget to spend, that is one I can recommend that will last. The Mei Tai is really easy to use, although some people think it looks complicated. It isn’t. I for one really like Mei Tais. They are really comfortable to wear on the back. I also find that the ability to tie a knot in the front with the straps, helps to hide any “new mom tummy” you may be battling. Even the thinnest of moms battle this, esp. when babywearing. :) So a lot of women do find that having the straps is more comfortable. I also do find as a petite mom, that I can get the carrier HIGHER UP on my back with the Mei Tai, than I can the Boba. So I do enjoy that about them. It just has a bit more learning curve… I have found a lot of men do not like them because they involve “tying” something onto you. If your husband is like my husband, they will like buckles more (which the Boba 4G above has). Still, Mei Tais are great and I would highly recommend them.
There are also lots of great tutorials on how to make a Mei Tai on Pinterest.
3. Ring Sling
These have a bad rep… after some infants suffocated in them. The ring slings sold in department stores do not come close to the awesomeness a ring sling made properly can bring. Do keep in mind any time you babywear, in any carrier… your infants head should be close enough that you could essential kiss it. You do not want your baby to ever have their face buried down where you can’t see it.
I have owned many ring slings! My favorite was created by a work at home mom. I purchased it off etsy for like $25.00. I LOVE IT!! She sadly does not make them anymore. If SHE EVER DOES, you better believe ill let my readers know… cause her slings and the way she has designed the shoulder, are perfection if you ask me. I cannot praise her slings enough.
You can find lots of great ring slings on Etsy. This one looked pretty good (note: I have never used that shops slings, but from the look of them, it looks great.)
One thing to look for in a ring sling is a pleated shoulder, or shoulder design that CUPS your shoulder well. Also always make sure the sling designer is using SLING RINGS. DO not buy a ring sling that does not use sling rings, unless you intend to replace the rings (which ill talk about in a sec). Sling rings are tested and seamless. They were created to babywear with. You do not want to buy a sling that does not use these. Also I highly recommend LINEN, cotton muslin *single layer* or Batik fabric. Its light weight and thin. Not a huge fan of double layer slings or silk.
A popular company that does have beautiful and soft slings as well is Sakura Bloom. This one is very popular but also WAY overpriced (if you want my opinion). I own one [that I got 50% off years ago] and can honestly say my inexpensive/affordable $25.00 WAHM ring sling [featured in the cream and reddish tye dye pattern, both made by the same mom] beat the Sakura Bloom any day. So just because it cost more, does not mean its better. Look around and have fun shopping for a great sling. For those who are sakura bloom fans, this is in no way meant to down Sakura Bloom. They truly are beautifully crafted slings and so soft. I do love my linen one from them… for those on a budget though, these really aren’t ideal.
Another option for a ring sling too btw is the Lite-on-Shoulder ring sling. It has some padding in the shoulder, but not a lot. Its isn’t overly bulky. I used one for a while and actually really liked the light padding it had on the shoulder and rails. It was thin enough that adjusting it wasn’t hard. HOWEVER.
DO NOT buy this sling if you do not have the intention of switching out its rings.
The rings it comes with are CHEAP and thin…They don’t adjust easily because of their size. However, the base and design isn’t bad. So, what I did was I had my mom who is great at sewing, undo the shoulder and replace the ring with a Medium Sized SLING RING. Once this was done, this made for an amazingly comfortable sling. So if you can sew, I think this is a great option too. It also has a small closed tail. Which was nice for adjusting and less fabric to deal with. If you go to the amazon listing you will actually see a photo of me wearing Taite years back. :-) *Pre-sling-ring change –Here is the photo using it with the replaced rings (bad photo of me, for you, ill show it haha)* – Again those rings come from SLING RINGS. Very inexpensive to buy. I prefer aluminum ones over their nylon too.
I find having a ring sling great for quick trips into a store. Church. Events. Post office. That sorta thing. I would never recommend a mom wear their infant for longer than an hour in a ring sling. Not because its bad for baby but because it is terrible for moms shoulder and neck. Because it does not evenly distribute the weight onto both shoulders, it really can become uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. However, for shorter periods (20-40 minutes), they are great!! I used mine to many times to count :)
Also I asked my Chiropractor years ago to look at my Ring Sling and Boba… and he agreed that to use either of those carriers is much better for our backs than to just hold an infant on the hip. He was very impressed with the support from all the carriers I brought in. Yes, Im that mom. I showed our chiropractor baby carriers. :)
4. A Wrap
These are wonderful but have a high learning curve. I love my Boba Wrap and cant imagine not having it when I have newborns…. its my go to for ages newborn-4 mo. of age… They are a bit harder to deal with though. Because of the longer fabric, a lot of people don’t like this.
I will say, if you master using a wrap, you will swear by them. :)
I have a Boba Wrap. I have also used a Moby (this one is really popular in dept. stores). Between the two, Boba wins. Much better fabric. Better hold. Better feel. I’m not just saying that because I do their photos either. Trust me!
Pro babywearers rave about Didymos (or woven style) wraps too btw. That is a whole new level of babywearing however… so I wont get into all that. :)
I think that sums it up :)
There are obviously lots of other carriers out there. Ergo, Catbird, Tula, etc..etc… so many!!
From all the many I have tried, these are my favorite.
So if you are a newly preggo mom registering for a Carrier. Check out some of the ones I mentioned above. Also, Boba sells their carriers at Target as well as on Amazon! So lots of places to register for those at.
Feel free to comment with any questions… and I leave you with a cutie babywearing his stuff toy and skylander toys. Happy Babywearing!
All the images above are of myself or my husband babywearing our children over the years. :)
Such awesome memories! I love looking back on these photos….
To those wondering how I afforded so many carriers over the years…. One cool thing about being a blogger is you get a lot of freebies to try. Many of these carriers I got for free over my years of blogging. Which was really fun, because I got to try lots of different designs and find which ones I liked best. A few of them I did purchase myself… but many I did not.
I was not paid by ANY of the above companies to mention them in any way what so ever. I chose the carriers I mentioned above because after 8 years of babywearing, they are my go to. There are lots of other brands and options available… feel free to look around. Also google and look for a Babywearing Lending Library in your area. Many times you can rent these carriers to try and find a fit for you. Then purchase the one you like best. :)
Another great site to check out as well is TheBabyWearer.com – sign up to be a member for free and you can search lots of listings for great baby carriers gently used. I purchased a few of my nicer carriers from this site for much less than I would have paid retail.
Just keep in mind the design of the carrier and make sure it supports the babies spine/hips and legs well.