How to choose a baby carrier?
The world of baby wearing and carriers is pretty confusing to a new parent. I am often asked this question from new baby wearers on how to choose the right carrier. Or if they had a choice to buy just one, which will be the best. Honestly, it is a very tough question to answer because what works for me may or may not work for you. Over time, i have tried to chew on this question and here are a few points that might help you in selecting a carrier.
- First and most important question should be, how old is your baby. There are carriers that work best for new born babies and some that work better for older, heavier tots. For new borns, the most preferred and safe carriers would be a wrap, a ring sling or a meh dai. If the care giver prefers a full buckle, there are a few new born to toddler carriers available too which work as a great one time investment carrier.
Wraps are a long piece of cloth, draped around you and your baby that will keep your little one snug against your chest. While being a bit overwhelming at the start because of the sheer amount of fabric, a newbie can get stressed, but trust me, once this phase is met, you will love wrapping. Personally, i found it the safest. Being a first time mom, i was always scared i would drop my baby and the wrap made sure he was safely held against me.
A ring sling is a shorter fabric with 2 rings stitched on. Being lesser cloth, it is less overwhelming, but has its own learning curve. It is quicker than the wrap though so it may work for you.
A meh dai is great from early babywearing stages to toddlerhood. It is a cross between a soft structured carrier and a wrap. While the straps being long could still stress a new person out, it is a great carrier to invest in if you plan on using just one till your baby grows up.
The new born to toddler full buckles are completely adjustable, from width to height and can be used from 3.2 kgs to 20 kgs. These have the least learning curve and often parents prefer to go for this option because of its ease and also the one time investment on it to last you through your entire Babywearing journey.
For older toddlers, if you are looking at investing after your baby is 6 months old, there is a wider choice available. You can select a soft structured carrier (has weight specifications that change from brand to brand, so please check before investing in one), meh dais, ring slings, wraps and onbuhimos. I am sure there are other types of carriers that exist, but the above mentioned ones are the only carriers that i have tried and hence i can comment on.
- Decide on who will be the prime user and invest accordingly. Most important is the comfort for both, your baby and you. A wrong carrier or a wrong way or wearing can lead to backaches or discomfort for the wearer and at times even for the baby.
Always remember to try out something new when your baby is well fed, has had a nice nap and is in a generally happy mood. Once you put your baby in, bounce about and walk around. This helps the baby settle in and you have better chances of getting an approval from them. Most of all, don’t give up because your baby cries in the carrier. You might be doing something wrong.
- There are often babywearing meets held so try to find one closest to you and ask if you can attend one and address all your questions to experts. You never know what you might learn! Meets are a great place to try all kinds of carriers under one roof so instead of blindly investing in one, it might be a good idea to try and then decide what works for you.
I hope this post has given you a rough idea and peek into the world of carriers. If you have any specific questions, do write to me and i will be happy to help.
Happy babywearing 🙂