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I am starting to see the blog just the way I like it. Just a couple more things to fix up and it will be ready to go. The picture on the top may change in the near future but I’m waiting for the chance to get just the one I want! I will be updating the menu at the top of the page with recipes and projects so that they are easier to find when you want to search for something. It’s just going to take some time to get them all sorted.
But, without further ado, on to today’s post!
When I began to look into a baby carrier when I was pregnant with Little Miss, it was a little overwhelming. There were so many different types and they all cost a fortune! While I understand that the cost is quite reasonable when you consider the amount of material and time it takes to make one, I still found that the prices were way outside of my budget.
I also wanted to consider safety for her. When I was in Africa, the women there just sling their baby onto their back (or snuggle them on the front) with a long piece of material. But they constantly had to adjust them and I was terrified at the thought of her falling out. So that was a big thing for me. When I was doing some of my research I was interested to note that according to a number of pediatricians and companies, the slings and carriers available on the market today are safe for your baby.
That being said, there are still some things to take into consideration.
A. Newborns can ONLY be worn on the front. You cannot put a newborn into a backpack baby carrier (that is worn on the back). You also need to be aware that your newborn’s head is being supported by whatever carrier/style of wearing that you choose. Check out the safety specifications for each carrier when you look into buying or making one. Most carrier companies will have a page on their site that tells you what position is right for the age/maturity of your baby.
B. Some doctors advice against the cradle hold. I used it. However, they do say that if you decide to use that hold you need to make sure that baby’s chin is not touching their chest. You should be able to put two fingers between their chin and chest. And baby should be high enough on you for you to kiss her forehead. It’s pretty high. It surprised me the first time I wore Little Miss.
C. Most doctors/pediatricians advise against wearing your baby forward-facing. While many baby carriers include this as one possible way to wear your baby, doctors are saying that it is not the best for them. Baby should be worn as if you were carrying them without a sling/carrier. I know a lot of moms have worn their babies forward-facing and say their babies were fine. I don’t know how great the risks are but I have heard some cases of children having hip displasia from what they call “crotch dangling”. Here is a great article from one of the top baby carrier companies on 9 reasons why you should not wear your baby forward-facing.
But back to the carriers:
Above I mentioned how most of them are super expensive. However, that rarely deters me when it comes to having something, haha. I am your typical DIY’er and this instance was no exception. But which one did I want to try making? What would be the easiest and the best to wear?
When I had Little Man, someone gave me a Snugli. For those who don’t know what they are, a Snugli is a backpack-style carrier with a bunch of buckles, etc. There are a number of different ones out there and some people really love them. Some other brand names include Baby Bjorn, Ergobaby, and the Infantino. Some are easier to put on than others. I saw some really great Ergobaby ones when I was searching out, but again, the price deterred me.
Personally, I found the Snugli extremely difficult to get Little Man into and then up onto me. You can wear them both front and back so they do work for newborns. But I’ve seen other moms at the park struggling the same way I did to get their babies on and just found that these types of carriers were not for me. They are made of a very sturdy material, much like a backpack, and have cushioned straps, so those having issues with back or shoulder pain might find these a great choice when it comes to babywearing. I found a number here on Amazon of the different styles so you can see what they look like.
The one that I am currently using with Little Miss, styled like a Mei Tai (yes, I made this one), is considered a backpack-style…however, it has straps that you tie around you and I find it much easier to maneuver her in and out of. I actually added a buckle to the main one that goes around my tummy so that it was super easy and fast to clip on and get her up into. Most are made with double ties, though. I like this style. It is soft-shelled (not like backpack material) and has cushioned straps for your shoulders and around your waist.. I think the main difference between it and the other ones is that it just has two long ties that go over your shoulder and tie around baby as opposed to four or more buckles that need to be buckled here, there, and everywhere (sometimes behind you!).
I’m pretty sure these backpack-style baby carriers are some of the more popular. There are even some that have foot rests (strictly for your back for older children) that you can use if you’re a serious hiker. They are really fun to look at if you have time to spend on google or pinterest, hehe.
And then there are the soft baby carriers. There are so many different styles of these. Wow. I will try to scratch the surface here. There are some I chose to stay away from but I know are quite popular and then there are the two that I used that are similar to some of the popular brands out there.
Lots of people are familiar with the slings and wraps. Some are just one giant loop of material, others incorporate rings. I was not so keen on those. Seven Slings is one of the bigger companies and they always have a coupon going around where you can get a free sling and just pay the shipping. It’s a good deal if you like this type. I wanted something that would keep baby close to me and not have her flopping around if I needed to bend over or something, though, and these just didn’t look that sturdy.
My first choice was a Moby wrap. Again, I made my own out of a brown jersey that I found for a good price. It cost me less than $30. I liked that she would up close against me and tied in and it was super easy to make. There are a ton of tutorials on making Moby wraps.
Dun, dun, dun….baby is born…
I used this for about a month, maybe a bit longer, before I just found it was wayyyyyyyy too much material to deal with. I like simple and the Moby was not simple. Plus, I found that if I didn’t get it tied just right she would slip down and not be in the right position for me. It just wasn’t as comfortable as all the pictures out there made them look. So it was back to the drawing board. I didn’t have money to get more material so I needed to make something using the same material I had made my Moby out of.
Enter the Baby K’Tan.
This picture actually makes me want to cry. My Little Miss is too big to wear like this now, sigh. Here she is just about 2 months old, and sleeping. Makes my heart melt looking at her in there. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this style of sling. Have I mentioned that I LOVE it? For this newborn hold, you only need the two basic rings of material (you can check out the website here) and it is so incredibly easy to get them in and out of. Seriously fast! I think someone even did a video on youtube that shows how much faster it is to get your baby in compared to a Moby. And because they are two rings of material your baby can’t slide down (well, to amend that statement just a bit, if your material isn’t super stretchy and is made to fit properly, your baby won’t hang in the wrong position – oops, sorry to my wonderful friend that had to find this out).
I made this, and because I was super concerned with her falling out, I double sewed the seams so there would be no chance of the stitching coming out, etc. I was even able to play games with her like this at our couple’s retreat in September (she was just over a month old). Her head popped out when I got a little carried away with a hockey stick, ahem (you didn’t win, Friend that I was battling! haha We’ll have a rematch when I’m not carrying a baby)…but she was still stable and her head, actually, was still supported by the pieces of material that were around her body. It was amazing. I wore her in it All. The. Time. Seriously. I tell all new moms that I know about this baby carrier because I love it that much! I would even make one for all my new mom friends if I had the money to do so. They seriously make your life easier. You can also use this style when they are older, however, my material was not stretchy enough and Little Miss grew out of it. We just got to the point one day where she was too chunky and it was uncomfortable (okay, painful) to have her in it. She was upright at this point. But, I wore her while playing the piano at church (I can’t stand to listen to her cry), while cleaning the house, and while doing random things like playing games (as stated earlier). I never had an issue with this baby carrier at all. Not one. I think the only bad thing I had with it was that she grew out of it, inspiring the Mei Tai style that I made (and talked about in last week’s post).
There are a number of other soft baby carrier types that are quite popular out there that I didn’t try but are similar to K’Tans or Mobys. You can check out these other brands for ideas: Boba, Solly Baby, and Girasol (a woven wrap).
I hope these two posts have helped you out a bit when it comes to the fascinating world of baby wearing and baby carriers. Safety is the key to wearing your baby. Make sure you know what you are buying and, if you see one you like and can’t afford it, try checking craigslist or kijiji for someone selling one. You won’t regret wearing your baby and experiencing the closeness that doing so brings.
Here are some more great articles to check out:
on choosing a baby carrier from Babywearinginternational
reviews of a number different types from one mom at Alphamom
and four reviews get to check out four different types at Sweetlittlepeanut