Thursday, July 10, 2014

Budget Conscious Babywearing

Budget Conscious Babywearing
Guest Blog Post By: Erin Carpenter

As a newcomer to the babywearing world, the sticker shock of various woven wraps 
and carriers can leave you wondering if this is even feasible for your family, or if 
this is a practice for the wealthy and privileged. I was a first time mom without the 
financial means or support at home to afford what I thought was the “necessary” 
carrier, an Ergo. Unaware and uneducated about my options, I fell prey to the allure 
of a counterfeit carrier, with its lower price point. You don’t have to make the same 
mistake as I did, and you don’t have to sacrifice safety in order to wear your baby.

Donated Carriers
There are several specialty non-profit organizations that will donate a carrier to 
you, based upon family circumstances.

The Carrying On Project – Carriers for military families, who cannot otherwise 
afford a carrier.
Ruckabye Baby – Carriers for wounded warriors or Gold Star families with a child 
under the age of two.
3.21 Carry – Carriers for families whose child/children have Down syndrome or 
other disabilities.
Lift Me Up Babywearing – Carriers for families whose child/children have 
developmental disabilities, and who don’t otherwise own a carrier.

DIY Carriers
Handy with a sewing machine, or have someone available to help you? Our own 
VBE Natalie has made a number of her own carriers, with patterns and materials 
that are readily available. There are DIY forums on, with tons 
of online patterns and instructions to help you make anything from a tablecloth ring 
sling, an Asian baby carrier (mei tai, podaegi, onbuhimo, etc.), even a soft structured 
carrier! Osnaburg is a popular fabric used for DIY wraps, running as low as $3.89/
yd online and it can be dyed for a personalized touch.

Low Cost Carriers 
Little did I know when I first started out, there are safe and time-tested carriers 
out there that are low cost! The Infantino Sash Mei Tai can be purchased for less 
than $25 at your local big box store. There is a "Babywearing on a Budget" group on 
Facebook where users can buy, sell, and trade carriers under $100 – you might even be in 
the right place at the right time and score a much pricier carrier for a steal! Local 
resale groups and Craigslist are also good options for looking for a budget carrier. 

I regularly see stretchy wraps for sale. Use caution when purchasing a carrier 
through the last though, as counterfeit items will show up. When in doubt, get a 
second opinion from a VBE or an experienced babywearer. Have a non-ergonomic, 
narrow based carrier? There is a scarf trick to make the seat more comfortable for you and babyYou can use a scarf to make a wider seat for them! 

Lending Library
Not sure about what carrier you’d like to use with your baby, and cautious about 
how you’re spending that limited budget? Consider membership into our BWI 
group! For the cost of $30 a year, you’ll have the ability to check out one carrier a 
month from our Lending Library! You’ll have access to wraps of various sizes, ring 
slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers, as well as pouch slings, that can grow with 
you and your baby. It’s a great option to explore what works best for you and your 
family, while still being mindful of your dollars.

Babywearing is not a privilege for some, it’s a benefit for all, and can be done on any 
budget! It’s not the carrier that matters, it’s the carrying that counts. Let BWICOS 
help you wear your baby, whether your budget is $20 or $200!

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