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.
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
Lift Me Up Babywearing – Carriers for families whose child/children have
developmental disabilities, and who don’t otherwise own a carrier.
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 TheBabyWearer.com, 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!
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!