(I know: am I the only one who finds these “months” kind of weird? Like, who has the authority to decide that it’s International Baby-Wearing Month? Is there an official calendar somewhere? Ah, well. I don’t really care. It gives me an excuse to write about one of my favourite things!)
It’s been exactly a year since I first wrote about babywearing (totally coincidence!), and I thought I’d offer an update.
I know these review posts are a dime-a-dozen, but I couldn’t resist offering a few of my own thoughts on the different kinds of slings and carriers I’ve used.
Now that Lydia’s over a year old and can walk, I don’t wear her much. But I still pull out the ring sling or the Ergo every once in a while — to go for a walk at the beach, or if she’s being especially whiney while I’m trying to work in the kitchen. And nothing puts her to sleep faster than walking around with Daddy in the Ergo before bed.
First of all: Why Wear Your Baby?
Because it makes life so much easier.
Most babies love to be held close. It’s comforting and soothing. Babies who are held a lot cry a lot less, which is great for a new parent (and obviously, for the baby. But especially for the parent).
And most of the time, you can still get things done while wearing your baby.
Owning baby carriers also means you don’t need a stroller, which means you don’t need to upsize your vehicle with your first kid just to fit that huge contraption in the trunk. That was a big plus for me. We’re still in our little yellow hatchback, which is fine by me.
(We do own a big jogging stroller, but it stays at home.)
I wrote more about the why’s of babywearing here.
Anyway, here are all the carriers I’ve used, and my reflections.
I adored the Moby Wrap during the Early Months. Once I figured out how to get the dang thing on properly (it is a challenge at first), I used it on a daily basis for the first several months. Lydia felt so snug and secure in there, which is important when they’re so floppy, and both of my hands were free so I could carry on with my day. I took her everywhere with me. I would keep her in there for hours. She would sleep in the wrap while I did daily tasks, and I’d take her for walks to the library or the post office – even in the rain (just add an umbrella!).
We began to phase out of the Moby once Lydia had good neck and back control, mostly because the ring sling was so much quicker and easier to get on and off. Plus, the Moby keeps your baby close and facing your chest, which is less desirable as your baby gets older and wants to be able to look around.
The cons: I found it hard to learn to use at first (but it’s simple once you’ve mastered it). It’s also a pain to fold. It’s a lot of fabric. That made it less than ideal to take along to different places (though we still did it. I liked to have it along when we went to the mall and the like). And like I said, it’s kind of warm, which isn’t ideal for the summer. Also, it’s a bit pricey: I paid $70 Canadian for mine; they seem to be less in the US.
But all in all: I would still buy it. I loved the Moby for the newborn stage. I never could figure out how to get Lydia into a sling in those first months without feeling like I was suffocating her.
If the price is a problem, I would suggest buying used, borrowing from a friend, or making your own. Like I said: it’s just a long piece of stretchy fabric. It can’t be too hard to figure out. (The black one with the patterned panel, pictured above, is a homemade one, which I received as a gift).
I think every mother should have a ring sling. It is so easy to use and so versatile. You can wear your baby in many different positions. You can use it from the newborn stage to the toddler stage. I still pop Lydia in there every once in a while, and wear her on my hip. You can easily stuff it into your diaper bag to go out. And, in my opinion, it looks fabulous!
Some people aren’t crazy about the long tail that hangs down, but I love it, especially for travelling. (I took it with me to Mexico, and it was indispensable!) I could use the tail to cover her face against sun and wind. I could use it to cover up when breastfeeding in public. And if I wanted it out of the way, I would just tuck it into the pouch.
I got mine custom-made from a woman in my city. I paid about $50. I don’t know of any particular company that makes them, but I believe they’re widely available from independent vendors. You can also make them yourself, I’m told – they can be made super-simply – but I liked the slightly more complex design I got, with padding in the shoulder. If sewing isn’t your thing, there are lots and lots of options on Etsy.
If you’re thinking of getting one, I recommend getting it made with a light, cottony fabric, with thicker (preferably plastic) rings. That makes it so much easier to tighten or loosen as needed. I borrowed a ring sling made out of a heavy, textured fabric with thin metal rings, and it was a bugger to adjust. Moreover, Lydia would always bump her head against the metal. My custom-made sling was so much better.
I have NO CONS to list for the ring sling. Affordable, versatile, sexy. What’s not to love?
Some people love their pouch slings. I didn’t. I used mine a handful of times. Given the choice, I would always reach for the ring sling. The pouch sling was harder to get on and off, was less comfortable, and sized to fit only me, so no one else could really use it.
Pouch slings are cheap, though, and so easy to take with you – just a little scrap of fabric. Because they’re so cheap, in theory you could get a bunch of them in lots of different prints to match different outfits. I didn’t find them worth it.
I was given a used Ergo Carrier from a friend. I didn’t know how much I would love it. I only started using it when Lydia was older – around six months, when I stopped using the Moby. Since she was older then, I could utilize the backpack position – something I was too afraid to try when she was tiny.
Once you get the hang of it, you can easily get your baby in and out either on your front or your back by yourself.
I tried other structured carriers, and the Ergo is hands-down the best. Other carriers have all kinds of clasps and straps and nonsense. The Ergo is easy to use – just two clasps, one around the waist and one at the chest (or back). I like using both the front and back positions.
The other great thing about the Ergo is that I can still wear her comfortably for long stretches of time, even though she’s over twenty-four pounds.
Another huge plus about the Ergo: it’s masculine enough for my husband to use. He refused to try any other carrier, but will happily wear the Ergo.
As you can see from the picture above, Lydia loves it, too, even after a year. It always puts her to sleep.
Well, how about you? What are your favourite carriers, or which ones would you like to try? Any questions about the ones I talked about?