If you’re considering purchasing a baby carrier for your little one but not sure where to start we can help! Local mom Lindy Wilson knows a lot about babywearing and she is sharing her knowledge on this topic with our readers in this informative piece. You’ll find everything from tips on buying the best carrier for your baby, babywearing groups in Greenville and more in this piece.
Whether you’re a diehard attachment parent or just looking for a stair and all terrain friendly alternative to strollers, you might want to check out babywearing. Babywearing is the ancient art used by various cultures throughout the world of carrying a small child on one’s self using a carrier such as the traditional papoose or even just a strip of fabric.
Babywearing groups in Greenville
One of the things that assured me that we were moving (sight unseen!) to the right place was the online parenting groups I found here in Greenville. No one bats an eye (well for the most part) when my husband or I wear one of our babies. One of the best things to do if you are interested in babywearing, is to attend a babywearing meeting hosted by the Upstate Babywearers. Their Facebook page can lead you to the more area specific private groups as well as the local swap page. The meeting will give you a hands on introduction and additional instruction on babywearing. Currently the meetings are monthly at Modern Cloth in Greenville.
Here on out I will try to give a brief Babywearing 101. As discussed, babywearing has been around for eons whether it was an African kanga, Mexican rebozo or an Asian mei tai. Although as it hasn’t been practiced in recent Western culture as much, we’ve lost what used to be common knowledge regarding safety and there have been some product recalls reflecting this. For instance, if you come across this recalled “bag sling” PLEASE contact Infantino for a replacement product.
The main safety guidelines for babywearing are TICKS: Tight, In sight (back carries are ok but are a more advanced move and shouldn’t be attempted until more experienced), Close enough to kiss, Keep chin off chest- you should always be able to fit two fingers between your baby’s chin and chest to keep airway open, and Supported Back- avoid carriers that don’t keep baby’s knees higher than their bottom and have baby facing away from you.
Where and what when buying a carrier
Now that you know what to start to look for, let’s talk where you can buy a carrier. Most babywearers end up buying online since the selection is so much wider. However there are a few local places to get a nice carrier. The obvious are your big box stores like Target, Walmart, Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby. The most well known mainstream carrier is a Bjorn. However I’d skip them. Instead I’d get an Ergo (don’t forget the additional infant insert for young babies!), Lillebaby, Beco, Boba, Tula, Action or even the “knock off” Infantino Union. These will be more comfortable for you and your baby. These are known as “soft structure carriers” and are like backpacks or hiking carriers without the frame. These tend to be very straight forward and their utilitarian look are a favorite of dads. A forerunner to these is a mei tai the Chinese carrier I mentioned earlier. It doesn’t have buckles so you just tie the straps. It’s a simple square of fabric that covers your baby with a strap at each corner. The Infantino Sash is a mainstream version of this and very affordable.
The BabyHawk is a more upscale brand. There are also the “simple pieces of fabric” that you use to hold baby on you known as “wraps”. Most are about 15 yards long for beginners (size six in wrap terms) but come longer or shorter depending on the user’s needs. Some people use a length of osabung or jersey cotton or even a sturdy table cloth to make their own. I would only recommend this for those very experienced with sewing. The most popular commercial wrap is a Moby though now there is an ErgoBaby and BobaWrap. These are widely available, though if you can spend just a little more, I’d recommend a Wrapsody Hybrid Stretch pictured with the princesses above. It’s just as forgiving to use but will stay supportive as your baby grows bigger and bigger. It is also the ONLY stretchy wrap that is safe for putting baby on your back. Wraps can be a lot of fabric to deal with but it passes over your child so much that it’s very secure yet comfy. Unlike pouch slings, the options and amount of “passes” are much more secure. Pouch slings can be a good start but tend to be easy to misuse so I’d choose something else.
Ring slings are a better bet but those take a bit more to track down and have a bit of a learning curve. They work like those belts with the two hoops at the end. The weight of your baby holds the end secure and it’s very adjustable. These are usually the easiest sling to learn how to nurse in (meaning you can potentially nurse hands free and very discreetly without the obviousness of a nursing cover). There are all kinds of other fun tricks you can learn when you attend a meeting.
The hardcore babywearers all tend to love “wovens” which are wraps but not stretchy. These are often imported from higher end textile producers in Europe. I do have a soft spot for these. The Dolcino is a good one to start with, or the Wrapsody Bali Breeze though it’s thinner and can dig in if not wrapped well (though it does encourage you to wrap properly from the start). Be careful- these tend to lead to a full blown babywearing addiction! Symptoms include obsessive online cart stalking and declining bank balances! Babywearing need not be expensive of course and many of the carriers mentioned here can be found for well under a hundred (which compared to the price of most strollers these days is a steal!). Hope you’ll considering trying your hand at Babywearing Around Greenville! I find it a great way to keep up with my young children while enjoying our city’s many local events, most of which I hear about right here on KAG!
Do you have a preferred method of babywearing?