~ please note that this is not a sponsored post ~
The wonderfully helpful ladies at Wear Your Baby (WYB) were kind enough to sit down with me, my limited knowledge and multitudes of questions to try and help decipher the often overwhelming world of Baby Wearing.
So if the idea of deciding on a carrier or even considering one is enough to see you cowering in Baby Wonderland then read on, arm yourself with some knowledge and tackle the process with the confidence of a Ring-slinging, baby-toting, Paltrow-shaming, superwoman.
I’ve included below a GREAT and simple guideline to lay a nice foundation for your baby-wearing expertise that can be found from the Office of Fair Trading Baby Wearing safety page. A few of these have popped into my head when putting on our carrier lately. A few odd glances may have been given with me muttering ‘close enough to kiss, close enough to kiss’….. incidentally people give you a wide berth when you mumble this under your breath.
Lots of information! I have referred back to my notes multiple times over the last few weeks so please don’t try to ‘download’ this all at once. Take one bit of advice away at a time.
Let’s go through the different types of carriers.
Wraps – what I tend to think of as the most intimidating carriers. Still yet to personally attack this option because I feel like I’d either fail so miserably with the wrapping directions, resulting with a baby bungee jumping from my chest or over wrap and triple knot so much that I’d need those Fire Department jaws of life to untangle me.
But I have been reassured!!! Once again thank the Lordy for the internet that spits out all the life instructions we need! Step by step videos (click here) spell it out for us and WYB strongly recommend practising over a bed until you’re confident you have it right.
Wraps can either be…
- Stretchy, made from a cotton/elastene mix and ideal for smaller babies (up to 6kg)
- Woven (with no stretch)
- or Pre-tied wraps (e.g. such as the Caboo, perfect for Dad’s or those new to baby wearing).
Ring Slings – these have the wonderful added benefit of basically being pre-tied. Stretchy, generally woven cotton. Quick and adjustable and are slung over one shoulder and around the waist. A really nice middle ground I feel on wraps! I did once have one of these and once again my lack of having any idea how to use it left it buried at the bottom of the closet. I cannot stress how fabulous it is having someone show you (sometimes over and over again) how to use it properly.
Soft Structured Carriers. These guys can be verrrrry overwhelming and are what really stumped me while shopping. There.Are.HUNDREDS!…. So many different brands that honestly looked identical to me, so where the hell do you start? Luckily for me (and you!), WYB really know their stuff and instead of overwhelming customers with too many options, they have sourced the brands that in their opinions are the best. The Beco Soleil that we chose for me and my family is honestly brilliant and has already been worth its weight in gold (and don’t tell the Hubby but I’m eyeing off a Boba wrap in prettttyyy fabric).
Soft Structured Carriers will generally have a waist belt (my advice, make sure you have a waist belt, sooooo much more comfortable and less neck/shoulder strain), and two shoulder straps. They have many different position options for varying ages/weights; such as, forwards front, inwards front, inwards back, on the hip etc.
My 1 year in particular does love facing forward for periods of time, especially when outside. But worth noting that forward facing isn’t ergonomically the best option and can also be overstimulating. It should also only be used when hub is old enough to have good neck/head control and only ever for short periods of time.
Pearls of Wisdom from WYB
- Every carrier (that WYB stocks anyway, I probably can’t vouch for every single one worldwide…. but most anyway) should be possible to put on on your own when correctly following the instructions
- Try and avoid the cradle hold, and only carry your child in the upright (straight up and down) position. This is something that WYB do feel strongly about after their accredited training due to breathing complications that otherwise can incur.
- Double wearing is a possibility with multiples! But definitely seek some professional advice and assistance when learning the best holds, combinations for your unique kids’ ages and weights. You do need confidence and strength for this but will always be more supportive on your body that double carrying without a carrier.
- For a child with special needs always consult for proper assistance. A properly used carrier can assist with many varying needs. WYB have had particularly great feedback from clients with babies struggling with reflux. A secure upright position can be a godsend for this! ( And who wouldn’t try anything to help settle reflux)
- Confidence is key when getting used to your new carrier. Practise putting it on either with help or over a bed until you feel comfortable. Babies pick up on your nerves as well so maybe keep them distracted with a toy or song when you’re practising.
- Always use as per instructions…. and if they are cryptic/ridiculous then chat to a professional consultant. Sometimes someone physically demonstrating it is all you need
Benefits of Baby Wearing
- People often talk about the ‘fourth’ trimester. Those first 3 months of baby’s life where it’s beneficial to simulate the closeness of pregnancy. Baby Wearing soothes and comforts with familiar smells and sounds
- Wearing your baby can help make night sleeps better! Sign me up now!
- When worn tightly and securely in a carrier, the gentle movements of the parent (or carer) can help baby’s stabilising muscles develop. Sometimes resulting in a reduced need for tummy time (though baby wearing for 5 minutes a week doesn’t mean you can avoid it completely…. nice try! Who really loves tummy time?)
- Great for Dad’s and other carer’s to build attachment! They still have two hands free to cook dinner, massage mum’s feet etc… and get amazing bonding time.
- Jessie from WYB has personally vouched for Baby Wearing being a saviour when building attachment to their young foster children. It helps them feel safer and more secure in a different environment
Now before you start shopping for your carrier ask yourself the following questions to help narrow down the options.
- What will you be using it for? How long each day? Where?
- Who’s going to use it? What is their size, strength etc?
- Price range – a decent one with longevity (in Australia) $160-$250
- Book in with a consultant if still struggling
And remember if someone isn’t loving their carrier (like I used to feel) it’s usually because it’s not being used properly. A good carrier should be able to last your whole family and grow with your child (probably not to teenage years, I’d draw the line before then).
Phew! Information overload. No wonder this post has taken me so long to write (sorry bout that)….. but so much of what I was learning is still sinking in. Would love to hear your stories (and struggles) with baby wearing and pleeeease share any wonderful tips and tricks with the online world here. We’re all constantly learning how to be mums.
And honestly Carly and Jessie from Wear Your Baby have been incredible and really know their stuff. If you are on the market for a carrier or need some help with one you already have, hit them up!
And thanks for reading 🙂