When you become a mum, it suddenly feels like two arms are not enough anymore – there’s endless amounts of tiny clothes to fold, food to prepare, and a baby who only wants to be held by their mama. And that’s just what must be done…what about doing things you want to do, like simply relaxing and being able to hold your phone or a book while doing so?
BY LARISSA – BABY MUMMA
Enter the most magical of baby items – a baby carrier!
A baby carrier is the thing parents dream of: it gives you your hands back, settles Bub to sleep easily, and even reduces crying by up to 51% (according to Paediatrics Journal)! If this sounds ideal to you (and why wouldn’t it?), read on for some handy tips on the types of carriers available, and what to consider when choosing the right carrier for you.
Types of carriers available:
These are just what they sound like – stretchy! Ideal for newborns, they are cosy for Bub and reminiscent of the womb. These can be used from quite early on, as some brands are suitable from 3kg (check the instructions as each brand varies), but the downside is that these tend to get a little uncomfortable once your baby reaches 8kg in weight, or around 6 months old. A “pre-tied” version like a Caboo (a stretchy carrier from the brand Close Parent) has a very small learning curve – it’s as simple as putting on a t-shirt! A traditional stretchy is a long piece of fabric, which you tie around yourself. These are a little trickier to learn than a Caboo, but they do come in some lovely designs. And let’s face it, sometimes a mum needs something pretty to distract herself with, am I right?!
Long pieces of material that you wrap around yourself and your baby – woven wraps come in a wide array of colours, patterns, and fabric blends. These are suitable from birth and can also hold up to a wriggly toddler. This makes them potentially the longest lasting of all carriers, but they do come with the largest learning curve. However, one wrap can be used in a variety of ways (front, back, or hip carriers, over one shoulder or two, etc). They really are so versatile and are worth the learning curve.
Made from woven wraps, these are suitable from birth and are easier than a woven wrap to learn how to use. They are worn on one shoulder, and baby can be on your front or your hip. This makes them an excellent option for curious little ones who just want to see the world – wearing them on your hip means they can easily see what’s going on around them, but also have the option to snuggle in when it gets too stimulating for them.
Soft Structured Carriers
Soft Structured Carriers (or SSCs) may sound fancy, but they’re the most popular option for parents and the ones you are most likely to see being used. SSCs is basically a fancy name for a carrier that has a soft panel, and buckles. To put these on, simply clip the waistband around your waist, lift the panel over baby’s back, and then pop your arms through the straps – as easy as a backpack. And yes, many times I’ve had people ask me whether I had put my child in an actual backpack (not recommended, by the way 😉)! Each brand will vary on its minimum weight requirement, so please ensure you have checked that if you’re planning to use one with a newborn. Many SSCs are weight tested up to 20kg, which means they’ll last you well into the toddler years, if you decide you still want to use a carrier for your toddler.
It’s all well and good to understand the various options available, but how are you meant to know what is the right one for you? Here are two questions and one tip to help you in your choice.
How heavy is your baby and how long do you want to carry for?
The first thing to consider when choosing a carrier is the age and weight of your baby. Some carriers are perfect for newborns but start to get uncomfortable when your baby is around 6 months old. As mentioned above, some have a minimum weight requirement (usually around 3.5kg) so may not be usable right from the start. Still others are perfect right from newborn to toddler! Make sure you take these into account when choosing a carrier – a stretchy carrier won’t be comfortable or useful to you if your baby is already 10kg, and a buckle carrier may not be usable if your newborn is only 3kg! With the answer to this question in mind, it’s time to consider question two…
What sort of learning curve are you prepared for?
Carriers range from super easy to put on (think about how easy it is to put on a backpack), to a five minute process of wrapping material around you and your baby. And of course, there’s options in between! There’s no right or wrong choice here, it’s all about what is the best option for you and your family.
Ask for guidance!
The last tip I have for you is to ask for help! There are Facebook babywearing groups for areas all around Australia, filled with babywearing parents who would be happy to help. But if you would like some personalised assistance from a trained babywearing consultant and help to choose the right carrier for your family, I would love to help you! I’ve been babywearing for over five years, and know the difference that the right carrier can make. I wasn’t joking when I called them magical! You can reach me at all the usual places – Facebook, Instagram, website, or email – and I’ll happily talk you through the options available. If you’ve read this and have already decided which one you’d like, you can pop on over to my website, Baby Mumma, to purchase straight away too! I’m 100% convinced that there is a carrier for every family, that will help make parenting in the little years easier for you.