Babywearing- it’s not just a trend; it has many benefits for mother and child. But which type of carrier is the right one for you? We’ll help you get started!
Babywearing Options: Getting Started
The art of babywearing can seem pretty daunting to new parents! With unlimited options of materials, colors, and styles, where do you start?
Do you want a simple sling, or to buckle in a Soft Structured Carrier? Moby wrap or Ergo? We’ve got an overview of some of the most popular styles to get you started.
The Baby Wrap
A baby wrap is perhaps the most basic carrier, since it’s basically just one big piece of fabric you can wrap around to secure your baby. Boba wraps and Moby wraps are two of the most popular designs, but there are plenty of options when selecting a baby wrap.
When you first look for a wrap, you’ll notice that they come in many different lengths. But fear not! These are now standardized and the same for all manufacturers. Depending on the type of binding and the size of the wearer, companies recommend slings in different lengths. A standard size for babywearing beginners is the 6 (approx. 15 feet) or, for smaller persons, the 5 (approx. 13 feet). With these lengths it’s possible to wrap the baby in all the most common variations.
More Choices: Materials and Weavings
Babywearing wraps also come in several different materials- so how do you know what to choose? Some of the most popular choices include cotton, hemp, silk, wool or a mixed fabric. What are the major differences here? Temperature. A wool cloth provides extra warmth on cold winter days, while silk is cooling in summer. Hemp is particularly robust and suitable for heavier loads.
In addition to the type of fabric, you also need to consider the weave of each material. A special kind of weaving ensures that slings can withstand their high loads. The most common- cross-body and jacquard weaving, are true all-rounders. They ensure high elasticity and strength at the same time.
Wraps to Use with Caution
Most materials are great, but be careful with slings made of elastic cloth. Carrying professionals are divided about recommending this material. It must always be tied perfectly to provide ideal support and therefore requires more practice than a normal sling. So if you want to use it, make sure you know what you’re doing! Be sure to ask a professional to show you how to correctly bind this type of cloth to prevent postural damage to your child and yourself.
Scarves are also not an ideal babywearing choice. While they’re usually quicker and easier to wrap than a standard sling, they don’t always offer adequate support. Make sure the scarf is made of sling fabric, so that the elasticity allows your child’s back to stay rounded. :
Ring Sling – A Simple Babywearing Aid
A ring sling is really similar to a baby wrap, with the exception of two rings that help secure the wrap. A lot of parents prefer this configuration since you don’t have to do any crazy knots to secure everything in place. The rings, rather than any knots, support your chosen binding method. Popular ring sling carriers include the Maya wrap. This wrap is a great choice if your baby is under 35 pounds, and you want to keep them close. You can even breastfeed while wearing the sling!
Strap on Meh Dai / Bei Dai Baby Carriers
Literally meaning “strap carrier” this Chinese-inspired style carrier has adjustable straps with a sewn-in hip belt. Moby’s Baby Hawk carrier is a popular version of this style in the U.S. It looks similar to the Soft Structured Carrier at first glance, these are fastened with different knots, so they’re versatile enough to fit several body types
You can snuggle your baby in this carrier starting at birth, but if you’re not good with knots and don’t want to have to deal with long straps, this might not be the carrier for you.
Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) / Buckle Carrier for Babywearing
SSC carriers, like the Ergo Baby or Baby Bjorn, are among the most popular baby carriers in the U.S. They’re relatively easy to clip together, and many can hold up to 45 pounds, so you can use them well into the toddler years. There are two different styles- half buckle and full buckle -but what’s the difference between the two?
Half buckle SSCs only have one set of buckles, usually at the hips. So they’re really similar to the Meh Dai carriers at the top, but without the knotted hip belt. Instead, there’s a buckle or even a velcro fastener.
Full buckle SSC are an extension of the half buckle, and the more popular of the two styles. There are usually two sets of buckles on this style: one on the hip belt and one for the shoulder straps. This way the baby stays secure.
The Onbuhimo, or pouch sling, looks a little bit like a toddler backpack. Since it doesn’t have an abdominal belt, it’s less expensive than many other baby aids. Pouch sling users also love that it’s relatively easy to put on, and a great solution if you just need to pick up your toddler for a little bit when their legs get tired.
This design also has some drawbacks. First of all, without the belt, all of the child’s weight stays on the shoulders, so you probably don’t want to wear this for too long. Furthermore, since you can only use it on your back, it’s not ideal for infants.
Which Baby Carrier Will You Choose?
Every parent and child is different, and different baby carriers meet different needs. It’s possible that you’ll need to switch up your carrier style as your child grows, so don’t feel like you have to stick with just one.
Some baby carriers can get expensive- so if you want to try out something new, see if a friend will let you borrow theirs before making the investment. You can also get advice from friends and family on the FamilyApp. Regardless of how you’re wearing your baby, be confident that the two of you are spending some quality time together!
If you have chosen a carrier, which one did you pick, and why? We’d love to hear below in the comments.