One of the UK’s most respected Babywearing Consultants shares 10 tips to help you choose a baby carrier
Some baby carriers are made for newborns, while others can be used by pre-school children. It is never too late to purchase your first baby carrier. Many people have two-year-olds and want to carry them on their backs for walks or as a backup if their legs tire out. There are so many choices, from carriers that fit prem babies to those that work best for older children to carriers that can be used by adults. These are my top tips for choosing a carrier.
Consider what features you would like.
For the first few months, many people opt for a ring sling or stretchy wrap. Then they look into more structured carriers such as buckle carriers or tie-ons from 4-6 months. They may get one of each, one wearing the stretchy wrap and the other the buckles at birth. As baby grows older, they switch to the buckles. There are many options, and different things will suit different people. My buckle carriers are also suitable for newborns. Woven wraps can also be used from pre-school through newborn.
Some carriers may allow you to carry your baby in one of two ways. You can either carry them on the back or hip. You might be looking for something to last you the first few months or something that can carry you through until your baby starts walking.
Be mindful of your budget
A decent stretchy wrap starts at around PS35. There are comfortable buckle carriers for as low as PS50 to PS160.
You might be tempted to purchase something less expensive, especially if it’s not something you will use often. A carrier that is too cheap will likely mean that it’s less comfortable to use for longer periods or as your baby grows.
Pre-loved carriers are worth considering if your budget is tight. You can list your used carriers on Facebook in many selling groups. Many carriers hold their value well, with some even selling at a higher price than new. This can make it more affordable to buy new carriers, as you can always sell them on later.
Do a trial before you buy
It’s a lot like buying jeans: they fit differently to different people. One person’s baby carrier may fit perfectly, but it might not suit another.
South East Slings sells all of my baby carriers and wraps on an ‘try before you buy’ basis. This means that you can use the carrier for up to two weeks, to make sure it is right for you. If you like it, you keep it. You can return it for a full refund, less a 2-week rental fee.
Visit a local Sling Library, or visit a Babywearing Consultant in person.
There are many Sling Libraries in the UK that can help you choose the best carrier for your needs. You also have the option of trying out other carriers.
Many Babywearing Consultants are available in the UK and worldwide. They can provide a more personal service in a one to one setting. Many will offer to come to you or to your house at a time and place that suits you. Consultations typically cost between PS15 and PS50 depending on the length of time required, distance traveled by Consultant, and geographic location.
Consultations are invaluable. They help you find the right carrier and give you the time to use it confidently. You may find that the carrier that suits you best is less expensive than what you originally considered.
Consultants and Sling Libraries have a large selection of carriers, many of which are not available in High Street shops and large online retailers. It can be very beneficial to seek expert advice and help to make the right choice. Online consultations are also available. This means that anyone can access my assistance, no matter where they may be located.
Keep in mind the following safety tips
No matter what carrier or sling choice you make, be sure it meets these safety standards.
Are baby’s airways and face clear?
The most important safety factor is for baby to breathe freely while being carried. Baby should be held tightly in their arms so that they don’t fall asleep and their chin doesn’t touch their chest.
The carrier’s top edge should be at the baby’s nape. To give baby more freedom and visibility, the carrier’s top edge can be placed between the nape of baby’s neck and his armpits. The carrier should be able to support baby comfortably and securely. Baby will get heavier and will feel more comfortable being held close to their chest.
Pay attention to your body
Your body has been carrying a baby nine months since you became a mother. No matter how your birth experience was, it will have an impact on your body. Pay attention to your body and gradually increase the amount of time you spend babywearing.
Baby will feel lighter in a well-fitted baby carrier than being carried in their arms. However, if you have had complications, surgery or long labor, you might not be able to carry baby with you all the time, either in your arms or with a baby carrier. There is no reward for keeping baby close to you all the time. Take it slow and, if necessary, work your way up to being able to carry for longer periods of time. If you are babywearing a toddler or older child for the first time, this is also a good idea.
Open-mindedness to other options
Do not be influenced by the recommendations of friends, no matter how well-intentioned. Your body and baby are yours. Your friend might tell you that their [insert brand of carrier] is the best, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best. You might find something that suits your body better than the one you have chosen.
It is important to know how a baby carrier wrap or wrap fits you.
The key points are that your baby’s wrap or baby carrier fits comfortably on your body and is easy to use. It is important to consider how easy it will be for you to adjust together if you are sharing the baby carrier with your partner.
It is crucial to ensure that the carrier is set up for maximum comfort. You can make a big difference in how the carrier fits and feels on you body by making small adjustments.
It’s unlikely that the carrier is causing baby’s crying if they are placed in a carrier.
After you have ruled out obvious causes like baby feeling hungry, tired, or just about to eat, , there are many things that can be the cause of baby’s unhappy behavior.
Are you holding your baby securely? Baby will feel unsafe if it is not held securely. As if you were holding your baby in your arms, wrap your arms around them. Do you have to lift or bring them closer? If so, the carrier should be tighter.
Make sure baby is in the right position. Baby’s ideal position in the carrier should be lower than their knees and have a gentle curve to its spine. They may feel more comfortable if they are a little longer in the carrier, especially if they have recently eaten or suffer from reflux. This problem can be solved by gently tilting the pelvis. It will make baby feel more comfortable and relieve pressure from their stomach.
Babies like movement. It’s a new experience and they may be nervous. A bouncy stroll up and down the corridor/outside can calm unruly babies. They will fall asleep within a matter of minutes.
Try again if you fail the first time.
There is a baby carrier for everyone, I believe. Don’t lose heart if you don’t like the first baby carrier you try. It could be one you were given by a friend or something you bought second-hand. You don’t have to carry your baby around in a carrier that doesn’t work for you. You can benefit from a consultation with a Babywearing Consultant or a Sling Library to find the best option for you and your baby.