These days, there are more baby carriers out there than you can count. While it’s great to have options, having so many to pick from can make things totally overwhelming. Seasoned parents tend to find a carrier (or a few) that they love and cling to it. And it becomes especially necessary when there are more kids than one. Even more so when you have more kids than you have hands! But for newbies, choosing a carrier is confounding, to say the least. Do you want a wrap or a sling? Front or back carry? Forget about it! But we’re here to help. We’ll give you the basics of baby carriers so you can get comfortable, which is really the key to loving your carrier anyway.
Here are the basic types of baby carriers you can choose from:
1) Stretch wraps
These kinds of wraps can be awesome for babies of all ages but they’re particularly popular for new babies because they are so soft, stretchy, and cozy. But what’s great about a soft wrap like a Moby (one of the most popular brands) is that they can fit all body types and they can definitely grow with your baby — that’s why there’s so much fabric, if you’ve ever wondered. The only trouble with soft wraps is that they can be overwhelming at first when you don’t know the formula. But once you get the routine down, they fit like a glove. Stretch wraps are also super warm for the colder months because you’re wrapping the baby in layer after layer. It almost works like an extra jacket. Baby should be around seven pounds before you put them in a wrap but it’s easy to make sure their heads are supported. For extra tiny babies, just make sure they are snug to your chest and that the wrap isn’t drooping to keep them safe and snug. You can also always throw your wrap in the wash which is a huge perk.
2) Ring sling
Ring slings are another great option and are especially popular with parents with several kids for a few reasons. First, they are really easy to adjust by pulling up on the ring. They are also make it easy to wear baby on your hip, which can feel natural and comfortable for a lot of parents, especially as your baby grows. The fabric is light and just one layer which helps you and baby from getting overheated in the warmer months. Another great perk of ring slings is that the extra fabric can provide an easy cover for baby which can be super helpful for nursing, avoiding overstimulation, or giving your older kids a break from being distracted by your newbie, because ya know, sometimes they want to feel like your attention is still focused on them! Lots of moms love the ring sling, too, because they are some of the best kinds of carriers to nurse your baby in. But getting comfortable nursing with baby in a carrier often depends on your body and your preference.
3) Buckle carriers
These kinds of carriers come in many different brands. Ergos are some of the most well-known. And they are great for all kinds of outings. Parents will often use them for hiking or when they’re going to be walking for a long time because these carriers really have a great deal of support. Wearing a buckle carrier makes you feel like you’re ready for anything. They’re easy to adjust by pulling down on the straps to get your baby nice and snug. Some people prefer to use an insert, which goes inside the carrier and gives baby some extra cushion when they are still small, but they aren’t necessary. As long as baby is seven pounds, you can use them without the insert. Just make sure they are snug and comfortable. Typically, this kind of carrier can be used up to age two or even longer. The padded shoulder straps make that even more doable. While the other types of carriers can be worn on your back also, this one is particularly great for back carry and you might find your baby loves to be on your back well into toddlerhood or beyond. And for you, it’s like giving a piggy-back ride, but way easier!
The key to finding a great carrier is simple: try a ton on and practice, practice, practice! Borrow a carrier from a friend and find the style (or multiple styles) that feel the best on your body. Baby-wearing will totally change your life for the better– it’s a great way to bond with your baby while also getting your hands back. But there’s a bit of a learning curve. So, keep trying until you find the right one and if you have questions, know that we’re here to help.