BABYWEARING (PART 2) - SO MANY CHOICES
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of babywearing, let’s look at the different options.
Wraps are the most traditional type of carrier and have been used for centuries by many cultures. There are several different materials and sizes to choose from, not to mention the multitude of beautiful colours and patterns. Wraps are versatile in that they can be used with newborns, older babies, toddlers, and children in many positions. This is one style of carrier that can be used for years, but wrapping does take some practice to learn.
These are similar in style and use as the traditional wraps, however they are made from a stretchy jersey material and are suitable only for babies up to around 15 lbs. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to find in most baby stores, and one neat feature is they can be tied around
A ring sling is a wonderful option for a newborn if a wrap seems intimidating at first. They are relatively easy to use, also come in a variety of patterns and colours, and are great as an option to quickly pop baby in and out as needed. The ring sling is so named due to the nylon or metal rings that are attached to the end of a long piece of fabric. The tail end is then used to wrap around the caregiver and baby, and then is threaded through the rings. The weight of the baby and the position of the fabric keeps everything in place.
Popular ring slings:
The least popular baby carrier is a pouch sling, which is very similar in style to a ring sling, except without the rings (obviously!). It consists of a tube of fabric worn over one
shoulder in the same manner as a ring sling, but without the adjustability that a ring sling offers. Due to the one-size-fits-all concept of the pouch sling it may not be suitable for all caregivers, however they are generally the least expensive option.
Popular pouch slings:
Pronounced “may tie,” this is an Asian-style baby carrier that is similar to a soft-structured carrier (see below), but is tied instead of buckled. They can be used with newborns but are generally better suited for older babies and toddlers. They are versatile, can be adjusted for different caregivers, and can also accommodate front, back, and hip carries.
Popular mei tais:
Soft-structured or Buckled Carriers
Comfortable, convenient, accessible, and arguably the most mainstream. Once fitted to a caregiver, soft-structured carriers (SSCs) can be put on and off as easily as a backpack. Most can be used from the newborn stage to toddlerhood and beyond, just be aware as some require a newborn insert to be used until at least 15 lbs. Many also come with additional features, such as ergonomic support, pockets, and mesh panels for air flow. It’s all too
easy to fall down the rabbit hole buying all the accessories available - hoods, reach straps, and suck pads, just to name a few.
I am in no way an expert on babywearing, so if there is a brand that you think should be included let me know in the comments.
And again, I would highly recommend seeking out a babywearing group to try on different styles and to get help on proper positioning and safety. As I mentioned in Part One, a great resource in the Toronto Area is the Carry Me Close Babywearing Group, which has meetings once a month where you can try on different styles, get advice on carries, and mingle with other babywearing parents. Happy babywearing!