Over the past 9 years I’ve used a lot of different baby gear and I’ve found that one of my must-have items is a great baby carrier. It’s simple, you need to get stuff done but babies demand being held. And while snuggling a sweet little baby 24/7 sounds awesome it isn’t practical. Baby carriers allow you to keep your baby close and feeling secure while freeing up your hands and allowing you to be mobile all the while.
There are many different kinds of baby carriers and the choices can be overwhelming so let me give you a brief run down on the various types of baby carriers.
- Wraps – Long piece of cloth that is wrapped around both the baby and user.
- Ring Slings – Long piece of cloth sewn on rings
- Pouch Slings – Sized pieces of fabric sewn together to create a pouch.
- Mei Tai – Waist band and shoulder straps sewn to a rectangular piece for fabric, belt and shoulder straps are tied.
- Buckle Carriers – Structured carriers that often have adjustable padded straps and buckles.
You can read more in detail about the types of carriers at Baby Wearing International. Of course there are also a variety of hybrid carriers as well.
So now that you know a little bit about carriers lets’ talk pros and cons.
I have found that I prefer different types of carriers for the different ages of my children and for different uses. I prefer a ring sling, pouch sling or wrap when my babies are newborns. They keep the baby close to my body and offer support for the baby’s head (when worn correctly). However, wrap slings do come with a learning curve and do require a bit of practice when tying different positions. Ring slings can put a lot of stress on one specific shoulder. And pouch slings are NOT one-size-fits all so you and your spouse will most likely not be able to share.
I prefer structured carriers or mei tais for older babies and toddlers. They are quicker and easier to operate and often provide greater comfort for the user. Most structured (buckle) carriers and mei tais can be worn on both the front and back. (I highly recommend getting a versatile carrier.) They are also typically adjustable to the size of the user, meaning both you and your partner can wear it. Structured carriers can get expensive and they often aren’t ideal for smaller infants and newborns, although many offer infant inserts.
You can read more about the pros and cons of different types of baby carriers on Parent dot Guide.
Ultimately I don’t think there is one superior carrier over another but you need to find out what works best for you and your baby. Examine your lifestyle and weigh out the pros and cons of the different types of carriers. And then once you’ve decided on the type of carrier then you have to compare brands to determine what fits your budget and which features you prefer. It can seem overwhelming but I think purchasing the carrier that works best for you will insure successful baby wearing. There are numerous benefits of babywearing and I’ve found that my babies are generally happier when they are being worn.