There are so many benefits to babywearing! My friend Rachael says that I’m “obsessed” with baby carriers and she’s so right! I have three wraps, five ring slings, and three soft-structured carriers. I use some sort of carrier with my newborn every single day. When I wear my daughter she’s able to take naps so I can play with my toddler or get stuff done around the house. Other benefits include promoting bonding and a secure attachment, nurturing proper spinal development, and allowing you some freedom to have your hands free. Win win win!
When my son was born nearly three years ago, I knew that I wanted to wear him every now and then so I registed for a Moby Wrap and was lucky enough to find a brand new ErgoBaby carrier at a garage sale for just $55! When he was four months old I got a Beco Gemini carrier with my VIP ticket purchase to MommyCon. Last summer, when he was 1 1/2 years old, I wanted something a little less bulky than a soft-structured carrier (SSC) so I purchased my first Sakura Bloom ring sling.? Wraps, ring slings, and soft-structured carriers are the most common baby carriers, and I love every one of them, so I’ll do a brief overview of each one.
Wraps are fabulous from infancy to toddlerhood, though most people choose to stop using them when babies reach 15 pounds for a few reasons. Some wraps can stretch too much if the fabric isn’t very supportive while others choose to stop wrapping because it takes a some time to put on and can be complicated to use. Wraps are made of about ten feet of fabric that you wrap around yourself and then tuck the baby in. Wrapping yourself definitely takes some practice. I wear my newborn in a wrap nearly every day and even still, sometimes I wrap myself too tight or too loose. Another great option for those who love the idea of a wrap but don’t like wrapping themselves is the Baby K’Tan. The K’Tan is pre-wrapped so you simply slip it on over your head like a t-shirt. My favorite wraps are Solly Baby and Modern Wrap (save 15% on your first Modern Wrap purchase with the code BRENNA15).
Ring slings are also great for newborns and toddlers. Many brands can safely carry up to 35 pounds (the average weight of a three year old). They also take a little trial and error to figure out how to comfortably, and safely, wear the baby and some fabrics are more supportive than others. Linen and silk are the strongest and best fabrics for ring slings. Though less expensive, cotton slings can stretch too much, may put more strain on the wearer’s back and shoulders, and won’t last long past 3-4 months of age. I like to wear the rings on my left shoulder because I’m right handed and I like to have my dominant hand free to use. Single layer ring slings are typically best for smaller, lighter children. I purchased a couple of single-layer slings last summer when my son was 20 months old and about 25 pounds. I could wear him comfortably for short time periods but he was just too heavy to wear for more than 30 minutes so that’s when I invested in a few double layer silk slings. They are just stunning and are so much more supportive than single layer linen slings. Thankfully, they’re still very breathable, even in the Phoenix heat. Double-layer linen slings are also very supportive but they can take some time to break in and aren’t quite as breathable as silk slings. My favorite slings are Sakura Bloom and Vienna Springs. Vienna Springs is owned and operated by a work-at-home mama whose slings are safety-compliant and absolutely breathtaking. She stocks her Etsy shop on Wednesdays at 5pm PST.
Soft-structured carriers are the easiest and probably the most common type of carrier. ErgoBaby, Beco, Lillebaby, Tula, and Boba are some of the most popular brands of ergonomically correct carriers. SSCs buckle around the wearer’s waist and back. They are fully adjustable to accommodate wearers up to several hundred pounds. Some SSCs may be used from infancy but I prefer using them once the baby has reached 15 pounds or three months old. SSCs can be worn on the front, back (once the child can sit unassisted), or hip. The SSC is the only carrier my husband will use because it’s not too “girly.” Our 30 pound toddler still loves to be worn “piggy back style” on Dad’s back.
Feel free the ask any questions if you’d like to know more! My next babywearing post will be all about babywearing safety.