A top UK Babywearing Consultant shares his Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Baby Carry
Some baby carriers can only be used for newborns while others are suitable for pre-school age children. It’s never too early to buy your first carrier. People with two-year olds are often looking for a carrier to transport their dog on walks or as an emergency backup. There are many options available, including options for prem babies and those that will fit well into the arms of children aged 2+. Here’s my advice for choosing a carrier.
You can think about the features that you want:
People choose a stretchy wrap, ring sling, or ring sling in the beginning. From 4-6 months onwards they will look into buckle carriers and tie-on carriers. One person may choose to wear the stretchy wrap while the other uses the buckles. The buckles are then used by both parents as the baby grows. There are so many choices and options. Different things work for different people. I have my buckle carriers that are suitable from birth. Woven wraps, which are also suitable for newborns and pre-schoolers, can be used.
Some carriers allow you to choose whether to face forwards or backwards. Think about whether you are really looking for something for the first few weeks or if you want something that will last until your baby is walking.
Take into account your budget
A decent stretchy wrap can be purchased starting at PS35. Comfortable buckle carriers are available for around PS50-PS160.
It’s tempting to spend less, especially if you don’t know how often you’ll be using it. But if you buy one that is too expensive, it will most likely mean that you get a carrier that is less comfortable over time/as your baby gets bigger.
It’s worth checking out pre-loved carrier options if you have a tight budget. There are many Facebook selling groups where you can post your used carriers for sale. Many carriers are still in good condition and can be sold for more than the original cost. The cost of purchasing new can seem less expensive if you are able to sell your carrier later.
Test before You Buy
The choice of a baby carrier can be a little like choosing jeans. They all fit different people in different ways. The baby carrier that one person finds most comfortable for them and their baby may not be the right fit for another.
South East Slings offers baby carriers and wraps for sale on a “try-before you buy” basis. You have up to 2 weeks in which to test the carrier to ensure that it fits your needs. If you like it, you keep it. Return the carrier to receive a refund of your purchase price and a deduction of the 2-week hiring fee.
Visit a local Sling Library to meet a Babywearing Specialist – either in person or online
There are many Sling Libraries across the UK where you can get advice and help in choosing the right carrier.
You can also find Babywearing Specialists in the UK or around the globe who will provide you with a more personalized service in an individual setting. You have the option to have them come to your place or you can arrange for them to come directly to your home. Consultations usually cost between PS15-50 depending on how long it takes, the distance that Consultant has to travel, and where they are located.
Consultations are a great way to find the right carrier for your needs. It is very common to save money on the Consultation, or even more, as the carrier that best suits your needs may be less costly than the one you initially considered.
Consultants and Sling Libraries can carry a wide variety of carriers. Many are not available at high street shops or large online retail stores. This makes it really useful to have expert advice to help you make a decision. You can also access my consultations online, so anyone can get my help regardless of where they are located.
Be sure to remember the important safety points
These safety requirements must be met regardless of which carrier or sling that you choose
Are baby’s eyes and airways clean and free from material?
Baby must be able and able to breathe normally until they have full control of their head. As tight as possible, hold baby in your arms. This will ensure that they won’t slump or drop their chin onto their chest.
The top edge of the carrier should always be placed at the nape or neck of the baby. The carrier’s top edge should be positioned between baby’s armpits and the nape. This will allow them to see more and have greater freedom of movement. The carrier should support baby snugly and securely. This will help baby feel lighter as they grow heavier.
Listen to your body
You have been a mum for nine months and your body has grown. Your birth will impact your body regardless of how it was. Listen to what your body feels and, if necessary increase your babywearing time.
A baby carrier that is well fitted will make baby feel lighter than being held in arms. But, especially after a long labour, or complications, it’s possible to not feel comfortable carrying baby around all day, whether you are using an infant carrier or in arms. There is no shame in having your baby with you 24 hours a day. If you have to, you can take your time and build up to carrying more. This is especially true if you’re babywearing an older toddler or baby.
Be open to exploring other options
Don’t let friends’ recommendations, however well-meaning, influence you. It is your body, your baby. It doesn’t mean your friend will tell you the [insert type of carrier] is the best. While it might be the best option for you, there may be something better that suits your needs and your baby’s.
The fit of a baby wrap or carrier is crucial.
These are the main points. The baby carrier/wrap should fit your baby comfortably, be easy to use, and feel comfortable on your body. You should also consider whether it is easy to adjust the wrap between you and your partner if you will be sharing it with them.
Comfort is key. A few small tweaks and tips can make all the difference in how your carrier fits and feels.
Baby crying when placed into a carrier is very unlikely to be caused by the carrier
After you’ve eliminated obvious causes such as baby being hungry or tired or having just finished their nap, there is a lot of things you can do to make sure baby is happy:
Do you secure your baby? Baby who is being held loosely will not feel secure and will let you know. Hold your baby with both arms extended. Do you need to lift/bring them nearer to you? If so, you will need to make sure the carrier is tighter.
You should check the position of baby in the carrier. The carrier should have a slight curve to the spine and baby’s bottom should be lower that their knees. Baby may be more straightened in the carrier if their stomach is pressured. This could make them feel uncomfortable, especially if reflux has occurred or they recently ate. A gentle pelvic tilt can help to solve this problem. This will help baby be more comfortable and reduce pressure on their stomach.
Babies like movement. You may feel nervous because this is a first experience. An easy way to calm a baby who isn’t at ease is to take a bouncy, up-and-down walk along the corridor or outside. You’ll find them falling asleep in no time.
You can always try again, even if you don’t succeed the first time.
I truly believe there is a baby carrier that suits everyone. You don’t have to give up if the first carrier you tried doesn’t work out for you. This could be a second-hand, friend-recommended, or a brand new one you purchased in the shops. It doesn’t matter if one carrier didn’t work out for you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t safely and comfortably transport your baby. To help you choose the right option for you, a visit to a Sling Library and a Consultant in Babywearing can be very helpful.