I never thought I’d be so into wearing my baby. Sunny would talk about the latest sling she was coveting and I felt confused. Why would you need more than one? As it turns out I love baby wearing. K doesn’t get it- he hearts the stroller- and to be fair a stroller has its benefits what with the cup holder and the space on the bottom to stick a diaper bag, but for me a stroller has its place, but a baby carrier? Its so much more. I don’t need to tout the benefits of babywearing, though there are many which you can read about here, but for me I wear him not because I’m an attachment parenter, or whatever other terms are out there- I wear him because I love it and he loves it and I know that I won’t be holding him like this forever. I know some of you reading are new mamas or mama-to-bes so I thought I’d share my take on the different carriers I’ve gone through. The Baby Wearer is a much more comprehensive site but this is my personal take on the art of baby wearing.
Balboa Baby Sling: This is your classic sling, slung over your shoulder like a messenger bag and you wear your baby like Paris Hilton wears her puppy of the moment. This was my first venture in baby wearing. Back in the innocent days when I thought one sling would be enough. Right around the time I ordered this off Amazon the sling recall alerts began popping up all over the news. I figured it was mostly hype but truth-be-told it felt weird carrying him in this. He sort of fell into it. His chin would press against the fabric or his nose would burrow against the fabric and I got paranoid that he might suffocate. Now its true- if you keep your eye on your baby and make sure they’re okay- nothing will likely happen. But in addition to paranoia the sling was a bit uncomfortable, weight distribution was funny, and I always had this sensation like I was going to drop him. In all fairness maybe once he got older this would have worked but I didn’t give it too long of a try and quickly returned it.
Baby Bjorn: This seems to be the most popular one. I love that I could wear him snuggled against me, but when he got older I could also wear him facing out. There is some controversy about facing your baby outward but Waleed really loved this and when we went out for walks or I did the dishes I loved how engrossed he would get with the unique angle front-carrying provided him. The major downside for the Bjorn was that once he reached 15 pounds my shoulders and back hurt when I wore him and I could not wear him for more than one hour at a time, max. I also felt nervous if I leaned or bent down because it felt like he could slip out. Plus if I sat down while wearing the Bjorn, he would instantly start crying.
Moby Wrap: This is just one long piece of cloth that baffled me for some time. So much so it was on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I’m happy to say that thanks to this video I can wear him in most of the positions Moby allows. I liked how easy it is to wash since its just one simple piece of cloth, and when he was a newbie the cradle hold soothed him like nothing else. Now that he’s older I like that when I wear the Moby wrap my back aches less than it does with the bjorn but I often felt like as time went on while wearing it, he would sink lower and lower. Still, this can be adjusted. I’ve seen moms wearing the Moby Wrap while out and about at the stores or at the park but for me, its a bit time consuming to get on and really covers me up with fabric so on a warm day I can feel a bit suffocated by all the extra fabric wrapped around me. Its just not easy to park the car, unbuckle baby from the car seat and pop him in the wrap- it requires time unless you pre-wrap yourself before you go. My biggest issue with the Moby Wrap came when I read studies that raise eyebrows at hanging a baby from the crotch as it can cause spinal and nervous issues. While the company insists, if worn properly, no spine issue should happen, I just can’t be 100% confident I’m wearing it properly or that if I had an option, if I’d like to be walked around hanging from my pelvis.
Ergo: The Ergo seems to be the Lamborghini of baby carriers but its hefty price-tag kept me at bay for a while. My friend Baraka loves her, and the pictures of her with her beautiful baby boy out and about the city did nothing to help me talk myself out of it. I was determined not to get one telling myself that I had enough carriers, thankyouverymuch. But then a friend gave me a gift card to Amazon and well, the temptation proved too strong. [For the record, giving me gift cards to Amazon and Target are like handing a toddler a car full of cupcakes and telling them mommy went out for a long walk and won’t be back for a while.] Ofcourse I consulted with K to get his perspective before buying it.
Me: So I think I’m going to finally get the Ergo carrier
K: But don’t you have two other baby carriers?
K: But you need another one?
K: Not, want, but need? Do you really need it?
K: *pause* okay.
He tolerates my baby carrying love much like a parent may smile indulgently at a child who likes to eat crayons- you’ve tried to make them stop- you can’t- but hey, at least they’re non-toxic? [Though in my defense- I too bite my tongue when he agonizes over fantasy football deliberations as though he actually owns the team. Tis a give and take.]
I’ve only had it a few days and I’m already truly, madly, deeply, in love with it (though I do wish it had the forward-facing option). First, the baby sits in it like a chair, not hanging from the crotch. The weight distribution is also great with most of the weight on the hip area instead of in the shoulders and upper back. Essentially, I carry him in this carrier as I would carry him in my arms. I took him to the zoo last Sunday and it was hassle-free with space to put your money and even a few diapers, taking away the urgent need for a diaper bag at all times. Plus, it has a sleep-cover you can use that works as a great sunblock as well for when its bright out. I was even able to nurse him with privacy without even having to pause and sit out. Walk and nurse. That is as cool as cool can get. I love that I can wear him for hours without even realizing it. The back carry position rocks but its really hard for me to get him on my back without help. Once he’s there though? Awesome. I can cook, fold clothes, even flame throw if I am so inclined while he chills out safely on my back. And blessedly I can sit while wearing it without him getting frustrated so I foresee eating out at restaurants being much easier with me able to wear him when he gets fussy without him putting his hands in the mashed potatoes. From what I’ve read I can use this until he’s 40 pounds so I know that despite the price-tag this is a long-term investment and I will certainly get my money’s worth.
So that in sum is my baby wearing post. Some women covet purses, some hoard shoes. Me? I love my baby carriers. Do you use any of these? Any I haven’t heard of but really should look into?