Friday, February 6, 2015

Carrier 101

Overwhelmed by how many types of carriers there are out there? Never fear! Your VBEs broke it all down at the January meeting. If you weren't able to make it, keep reading for a run-down of the major carrier types. :)

Ring Slings: Ring slings are a great option starting from newborn to toddler. It's a one shoulder carry that can be easily adjusted for a comfy fit for you and your baby. The bigger the baby/toddler, the shorter amount of time this carrier will be comfortable as it distributes weight on only one shoulder instead of two. For many mamas, this is a great carrier for quick trips in and out of the store. It's a great carrier for nursing as you can easily lower your baby to your breast and/or use the excess tail length for discreet nursing coverage. This is also great for front or hip carries. You can use it for quick back carry, but nothing too long term and you should be experienced with your ring sling before you try back wearing with one. Here's a great ring sling troubleshooting tutorial

Woven Wraps (and Stretchy Wraps): Woven wraps are the most versatile in the carrier world. They come in different sizes/lengths and can wrap any size baby/toddler. Great for front, hip or back carries. There are so many types of ways to use a woven wrap, you will never get bored. There is a bit of a learning curve when you begin learning how to wrap, but once you do you might not go back. Also great for nursing your baby on the go. Check out our past blog post with even more information on woven wraps and safety tips, including why stretchy wraps shouldn't be used for back carries!

Mei Tai: A Mei Tai is a traditional type of Chinese carrier. They can be used with newborns and into toddlerhood. It consists of a square panel of fabric and four straps. Some Mei Tais come with wider wrap straps, allowing for a woven wrap feel. These are said to be the best of both the soft structured carriers and woven wrap worlds, since they have features of both. A Mei Tai is tied on waist first, like you're tying on an apron. Your insert your baby in the body of the fabric and bring the straps around your opposite shoulders to tie off. Another great nursing on-the-go option! Here's a great video to watch for using a Mei Tai with a newborn.

Soft Structured Carrier: These are the mainstream carriers people tend to know the most about. There are many on the market and people have their favorites based on preference. SSC's or buckle carriers can be used for front, hip or back carries depending on which carrier you have. Some buckle carriers are more comfortable than others, so it's important to try a few out before you commit to one. A good waist belt can offer a lot of back support and padded straps make for comfy long term wearing. Can be used most often with newborns through toddlerhood, although you might need to use a few tricks to get a newborn fitting comfortably. Some buckle carriers are easier to nurse in than others due to lack of adjusting action.

Pouch Sling: Pouch slings are easily stowed in a diaper bag or purse. It's super important to have the right size specific to your body so your baby can be high, tight, and close enough to kiss. Not great for long term wearing as it is a one-shoulder carry. Not ideal for newborns or toddlers either, but fine in a pinch. These carriers do best for a baby sitting unassisted. 

As always, if you're unsure where to go from here or have ANY questions, feel free to ask a Volunteer Babywearing Educator in our Facebook Group or at our next meeting. We would love to meet with you!

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