Using a baby sling or baby carrier is a wonderful way to bond with a newborn baby and keep your hands free for tasks around the house.
Babywearing has many benefits to both mother and baby including creating a closer bond and less crying time from baby. Many new parents are interested in using a baby sling or baby carrier but are overwhelmed by all of the choices available to them.
Pouch slings are simple, one piece slings that are sized to the wearer. Pouch slings are wonderful for carrying newborn babies and are one of the easiest to learn how to use. Since they are made of one piece of fabric, they take up very little space in a diaper bag. Pouch slings fit over one shoulder and hand diagonally across the mother’s body to the hip. The baby lays horizontally inside the pouch that is created when the loop of fabric is folded in half. Pouch slings can also be used as a hip carrier as the baby grows. Because these are sized to the wearer, they can generally only be used by one parent and may not fit correctly if the mother gains or loses weight or may fit differently as the baby grows.
Rings slings are basically adjustable pouch slings. A simple ring design allows the wearer to adjust the size of the pouch to fit the baby and the wearer. Because ring slings are adjustable, they can easily be worn by several caregivers. The ring design does have a tail on one end with any extra fabric. A small pouch that fits 1-2 diapers is usually sewn into the tail to create a great functional feature. Like a pouch sling, a ring sling can be used as a front carrier or a hip carrier and the baby can be held lying horizontally or sitting upright. Rings slings are extremely versatile and easy to use. The small size of the ring sling makes it easy to fit in a diaper bag so it is available whenever you need it.
Mai Tai Baby Carriers
Mai Tai baby carriers require a slightly longer learning time but they are very versatile and allow the weight of the baby to be distributed over both shoulders. This can be very helpful if you truly need both hands free and want to be sure that your baby is fully supported. Mai Tai baby carriers can be used as a front carrier or back carrier, which is very helpful when doing tasks around the house and when you carry a larger baby. The fabric is only lightly padded in most Mai Tai carriers which allows them to easily fit in a diaper bag.
Wrap Baby Carriers
Baby wraps are one of the more complicated babywearing options but they offer nearly limitless carrying positions. Baby wraps are small enough to fit in a diaper bag and are a great one-size-fits-all option. The variety of carrying positions allows a parent to adjust the carrier based on personal preference and weight as their baby grows.
Soft Pack Baby Carriers
Soft pack carriers offer a more structured design and are often easier for beginners to use. These carriers are often one of the more expensive choices but many parents find that they can use them for the longest period of time, especially since many of them offer a supported back carrying option. Soft pack carriers take up more space in a diaper bag but can be adjusted quickly to fit any user.
The Baby Bjorn is a favorite among soft pack carriers. It allows the baby to be carried in the front, forward facing or rear facing. The position that a baby sits in a Baby Bjorn is not ideal for development and it is often difficult to carry a larger baby.
The Ergo Baby Carrier is rapidly gaining popularity. Its developmentally appropriate carrying position and ergonomically focused support makes it a comfortable choice for parent and child. The Ergo baby carrier can be used as a front carrier or back carrier for newborns to toddlers.
There are many wonderful choices in baby carriers. Often, the best options are sold in specialized natural parenting stores or in high end baby boutiques. Many parents find that using a baby carrier often negates the need for a double stroller and is much more functional in their day to day lives.