With all the new products on the market, it’s so easy to wear your baby. Baby wearing is the most convenient, natural way to multitask while bonding with your baby. The question remains, what’s the best way to wear your baby? Here’s a short review of SmartMom approved products for moms wanting to “babywear.”
Soft Structured Carriers
The Ergo was our first carrier and we also got the newborn insert, which helps to position the baby for the first few months. It comes in cotton, organic cotton, and a more breathable performance material. Your baby can be carried on your front, your hip and your back. Your child can only face in, they don’t ever face out. This is to best support their growing hips. Many people say, “but my baby wants to look out and observe,” but I can personally say that my son adored facing in. He learned very quickly to turn his head to be social, and facing in makes it easy for them to nap on your chest. We used the Ergo multiple times a day with the front carry until our son was 1. From 1-1 ½ we carried him in the back carry, but with a heavy child (he was 30 pounds by 1), it does put a lot of strain on your back and shoulders.
Baby Bjorn – I have many friends who swear by the Baby Bjorn, and I have other friends who complained of back pain. Based on the research I read on the best kind of hip support for babies, we did not go with a Bjorn. The baby faces in when it is a young infant, but when it gains more head control, it faces out in a position that many say is not good for their hips. Some also say that facing out forces the baby into social situations that it might not want to be in and that might be overwhelming. There are a variety of Bjorns- the Original can hold up to 25 pounds, and the new Baby Carrier One can hold up to 33 pounds.
Boba Carrier – This carrier looks very similar to the Ergo, however it incorporates a newborn insert into the carrier, so you don’t need to buy anything extra. Just like the Ergo, the baby only faces in. This carrier can last from newborn until 45 pounds.
Ring slings provide an easy way to wear your baby and nurse them at the same time. Sakura Bloom makes beautiful double layer linen ring slings that can hold a child through the toddler years, and Maya Wrap makes a more affordable and very popular ring sling option too. A great thing about the ring sling is that it is easy to bring on the go, and involves minimal work to get on and to get your baby inside. I own a ring sling, and I consistently had trouble getting my son into it in a way that looked comfortable for him, and I constantly felt the ring digging into my neck. But not everyone has this problem, I know people who really love their ring slings. Like everything else, you’ll have to try it to see if it’s right for you.
The Moby Wrap is just one of many brands of wraparound slings that consists of a long piece of stretchy fabric that you tie around yourself. It can be tricky to get the hang of it, but the online videos can help. Tie it tighter than you would think, because the fabric stretches when you put the baby inside. It provides a cozy place for a newborn to snuggle. I struggled with the length of the fabric, and the amount of time it took me to wrap it around myself, but my husband enjoyed the “snuggliness” of it. The Baby K’tan seems like it would have a better fit for a smaller mom, but would provide the same type of experience as a Moby Wrap.
Structured Hiking Carrier
Kelty makes a popular line of structured hiking carriers. We used this once our son had good head control, and it’s something our 2 ½ years old still sits in when we go hiking. I found that even on the smallest settings, it still rubbed my lower back a little bit, so beware to petite wearers. My husband found that this type of carrier distributed our son’s weight the most efficiently for long walks, and it is the only carrier he has been able to use past 18 months of age without feeling like his back is going to break.