Kathleen’s Review of Baby Carriers

ergo infant carrier babyDid you get the memo? October is International Baby-Wearing Month!

(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.

Moby Wrap

baby carrier mobyIf you don’t already know, the Moby Wrap is essentially a seven-foot-long piece of stretchy fabric that you wrap and tie around your body, and then tuck your baby into.

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!).

infant carrierIt was also great as the weather got colder – the Moby is great for keeping everyone warm. I continued to take Lydia for daily outdoor walks into November and December.

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).

Ring Sling

baby carrier slingI 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.

baby carrier slingI 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?

Pouch Sling

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.

Ergo Carrier

mom dad ergo carrierI 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?

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  1. Totally agree about the Moby & Ergo. Love them. My oldest is 4 years old, so as a rule I don’t wear him any more, but the last time I broke the rule he was about 50 pounds and still very comfortable in the Ergo. Now that I have a newborn again I’m back to putting the Moby on before I leave the house so I can pop her in when we get where we’re going without dragging the wrap on the parking lot to put it on.

    I also have a mei tai which I used a lot before getting my Ergo, but is now mainly my back-up, keep-in-the-car carrier. I have a ring sling, but I’ve never liked it. I’ve used it a few times because it’s my prettiest carrier, but I feel like I’m constantly adjusting it and never quite comfortable.

    • For some reason, I was never quite able to master putting on the Moby before going somewhere and then slipping my girl in once I was there. I felt like it got all twisted and bunched in transit. Maybe with the next one! It sounds like a great solution to the folding problem.

  2. I just posted about Babywearing yesterday! :) I loved the stretchy wrap for the newborn stage, for many of the same reasons you listed. I liked my ring sling for a little while but not nearly as much as you like yours. Our Ergo has only been worn by DH so far but both he and DD seem so like it.
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  3. I got a Moby at my baby shower the other day and am still in the hopelessly lost stage re: putting it on. But everyone swears it’s easy once you get the hang of it, and it seems so darn handy! I figure with a winter baby the warmth thing won’t be a problem, plus it will keep him away from germy strangers, and we’re getting a big convertible carseat instead of the carry-about infant one since it will last longer, so I want it for toting him around. BUT. In the meantime I just get myself and my stuffed koala bear hopelessly tangled and the dogs laugh at me. :-(

    I do have a ring sling and the koala bear and I managed to figure that one out, so surely there’s hope for the Moby!

    The DDH picked out a more structured carrier that he decided with his Masculine Intuition would be best, but we haven’t gotten it. I think it’s a Bjorn but everyone seems to recommend Ergo instead; I may see if he wants to reconsider or if he’s attached to his choice. ^_^

    • Katie: perhaps you will have an easier time once your belly is gone. I couldn’t figure the Moby out while I was pregnant, either, for that reason.
      I tried the Bjorn, too, and it was comparable to the Ergo in personal comfort and ease of use. The major problem with the Bjorn carrier, however, is that it’s not the best design for the baby’s spine. Check out this article if you’re interested. If you look at the “Baby harnesses” picture, the Bjorn is like the first (“bad”) one, and the Ergo more like the second (“good”) one.

      • I hope so! I got the ring sling when I wasn’t nearly so huge, so that might be why I managed to figure that one out but am struggling with the Moby. I’ll practice a little more and make sure I watch the video and everything, and then we’ll just have to see how it goes with the actual munchkin!

        Oooh. Interesting. Thanks, Kathleen! I’ll let my husband know. ^_^

  4. Totally agree with this post! I LOVED the Moby when M was little. Exactly like you said – there’s a learning curve, but once you have it it’s indispensable. They’re cheaper here – I think ~$40 and even available at giants like Target and Babies R Us, so people can put them on their registries.

    For my ring sling I had a Maya Wrap, which seemed much more expensive at the time ($75). Worth every penny. I carried M in it every single day for a year (her daily routine was lunch, potty, walk the dog in the Maya, then nap). We only just stopped using it a few months ago (around 20 months) and that was simply because I wanted to transition her to a different nap routine. By this point it wasn’t really comfortable to do for long periods of time, but definitely easy enough for short walks and trips to the mall if need be.

    I agree that I never felt comfortable with a pouch sling (though I think mine was too small). I never tried any structured carriers like the Ergo. I heard a friend rave about a Mei Tai style one (I believe the Kozy Carrier) but never got around to justifying getting one myself. Maybe next time :) And maybe next time I will branch out and try to sew some myself. For the first baby, I was too worried about safety – now I think I have a handle on the whole risk of suffocation thing.
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  5. Well like the annoyances of your freezing Northern winters, our summers here in Australia get pretty hot, so for me, it’s the Ergo which wins hands down. DH wore a wrap for the first few weeks while bub was small but as I had a emergency c/section I didn’t feel comfortable having the tied section near my cut nor the brain cells to work out how to tie it myself. Couldn’t wait to use the Ergo to become hands free. With Mika I can do so much and I very rarely use the pram which she never relaxed in anyway. I believe it has paid off for our 10 month old in terms of our communication and as an amazing calming tool. Unfortunately in Australia most consumer-led magazines and sites recommend the Bjorn despite it having your baby facing away from you. Imagine how scary that would be for a baby not facing a familiar face and not feeling that supported facing busy streets and lots of people. Plus I heard it’s not as supporting for a baby’s spine.

  6. I completely agree about the Moby for when they’re little (and keeping them warm!) and the Ergo for later! We love both and I think if I could still comfortably wear the Ergo Malachi would still like it.
    I’m not supposed to carry Malachi much right now, but my midwife did say I should get a ring sling for when I do want/need to carry him so I can put him on my hip. Guess I’ll have to look into that! I’ve never heard of anyone not liking it once they have one, but they always look like the baby could slip right out! Of course, I’ve never heard of that happening, but maybe I just have a wiggly kid.
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  7. I wore my baby in the exact same 3 carriers at the exact same times! :) Thanks for this beautiful post…and I love the pictures!
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