In the last few years it’s become quite popular to “wear” your baby. Either in a sling or a baby carrier. There are lots of benefits to baby wearing:
1. Your baby feels much more safe and secure against you in their first few months.
2. Baby wearing keeps you hands free to do other things. I used a carrier when travelling with S and the journey was a lot easier without a pram.
3. The wearer can maintain visual contact with the baby at all times while baby wearing.
4. Ideal for skin to skin contact and establishing breastfeeding.
5. Babies feel more at ease and are soothed by the parents movements and sound of their heartbeat.
6. If you have a baby who hates napping in his/her crib/cot then baby wearing is a great way to get your baby to take a nap. Your body heat and close proximity to your heart provides a nurturing and safe environment.
A friend messaged me a few days ago to ask me what I thought the best sling/carrier was.
Here are my top 6 choices:
1. Ergo – This is what I eventually bought for S and we loved it. I bought it when he was 6 months old because it was just the two of us most of the time and carrying S, a pram (HK isn’t very pram friendly) and a diaper bag became unmanageable. My concern was that he wouldn’t like facing inwards when there for so much to see facing outwards but that was never a problem. He was still able to look around and nestled against my chest, he often took a nap or fell asleep in the ergo. It made my life so much easier and is a carrier I’d suggest to any mama looking for one. It can be used from new born but you just need to buy an extra insert so baby is well cushioned. Many breastfeeding mama’s have found the ergo a great way to feed discreetly on the go. The best thing about it is it puts all the weight on your hips and so you’ll never hear yourself complaining of a backache as your baby gets heavier. Baby can be carried in front, on the side or on your back as they get older. The ergo doesn’t come cheap but lasts a long time and has great resale value as well.
2. Close Caboo Carrier – This is a stretchy wrap style carrier which can be used from birth to approx. 6-8 months. It keeps your baby close to you and is made of 100% organic cotton. Again, it’s great if you’d like to breastfeed on the go or if you need your hands free when doing things around the house but baby won’t settle anywhere unless you’re carrying him/her.
3. Baby Bjorn Carrier One – I’ve seen many diagrams detailing why carrying your baby in a traditional Bjorn carrier is not healthy (see below). The baby Bjorn puts all the weight on the child’s dangling legs and crotch, affecting their back and spine. Bjorn took what was being said into consideration and came up with Baby Carrier One. This carrier supports your child similarly to the way an Ergo would.
4. A ring sling – This is basically just a peice of fabric which is wrapped around your baby and you and secured with a ring. It’s the most traditional method of carrying your baby and has been practiced in Africa for centuries (except they use knots rather than rings). They are comfortable and a great way to bond with your baby at home or when you’re out and about.
5. Baby Weavers Expedition Back Carrier – If you and your partner are the outdoorsy type and enjoy walking and trekking, getting a good carrier for your child is a must. The Baby Weavers Expedition Back Carrier can be used from 6 months to 4 years so it’s got a longer life span than most carriers. It is however quite bulky and usually used instead of a pram. It’s great value for money and although I’ve never used one, I’ve read some fab reviews.
6. The Babasling – This works as a hammock style sling, supporting your child’s developing spine. There are five different positions with easily adjustable straps. The Babasling is suitable from birth to about 2 yrs of age.
When choosing a carrier, there are 3 things to be aware of: positioning, wearers comfort and price. In my honest opinion, the Ergo meets all requirements, is ergonomically good for your baby, comfortable for you and the price won’t break the bank. It comes in a variety of styles and colours. The one we used and loved was the Ergo Sport.
If you live in the UK, you can find a sling library near you. It’s great to get advice on the variety of slings, get a chance to try and test them or borrow them to see how you go before you invest in one of your own.