One of the topics we discussed in our Natural Baby Care Class was the benefits of babywearing and the various babywearing options. There are so many great benefits to discuss as well as a variety of babywearing options out there, it can be really overwhelming to figure out which style is best for you. In our class our doula brought along a few different carriers for us to try out and show us how they actually work.
Did you know?*
- Babies that are held/carried often cry less.
- Babies that are held/carried are calmer.
- Babies that are held/carried are better sleepers.
- Babies that are held/carried nurse more frequently.
- Babies that are held/carried have better digestion, especially those who experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Babies that are held/carried develop better.
Fitted Pouches- A simple tube of fabric that does not have any rings, snaps or buckles. The wearer choose the proper size based on their height, weight, chest and shoulder-to-hip length. This may require you to purchase two different fitted pouches if both you and your partner plan to use one and you are not the same size. At this time we have chosen not to go with the fitted pouch but our Doula Sarah, highly recommends the Hotslings brand and loved to use it with her daughter.
Adjustable Pouches- These are similar to fitted pouches however they can be sized via snaps, zippers, drawstrings or a product similar to Velcro but much stronger called Aplix. These are great because they work well if you loose or gain wait however they can be much bulkier than a fitted pouch.
Ring Slings- A ring sling is a a long loop of fabric that is set through adjustable rings. There are two types closed-tail and open-tail. Closed-tail slings such as the one seen here the fabric ends in a strap that can be adjusted, they are usually much more padded and can be bulkier. Open-tail slings have a wide length of fabric that are passed through rings and has an open tail of fabric. The tail can be used for shade, breastfeeding cover, a blanket or burp cloth.
(Source: Maya Wrap)
Sarah brought her Maya Wrap for us to see and test out during our class and both Neil and I really loved it so we decided to add it to our babycarrier stash. Things I loved about it: how you can easily adjust it with one hand, the extra piece of fabric that can be used as a cover when breastfeeding, how you can easily loosen the sling and breastfeed, it’s lighter for summer time, the padded shoulder and how natural it seems to wear it.
Asian-style Carrier (onbuhimo, podegi, hmong, bei (these use 2 straps) or mei tai (uses 4 straps)– These style carriers use square/rectangular panels of fabric and two or four straps to secure baby. The mei tai (may-tie) style of carrier is the most popular. Our friends have the Babyhawk mei tai style carrier and absolutely love it. For now we are going to stick with the carriers we have/registered for but are considering getting a Babyhawk some day.
A Wrap- A wrap is basically a really long rectangular piece of fabric that your wrap and tie around your body. It is the least structured and can be used by any body type and you can tie it so you are able to carry in a number of positions. It can be rather tricky at first to get used to and to make sure you are doing it correctly but after a few tries you’ll get it. It is great for newborns and smaller children (under 20 lbs). As you can see in my photo at the top I have been practicing with our MOBY wrap.
Soft-pack Carriers- These are actually based on the Asian-style carriers are little more structured with buckles and extra padding. These style carriers generally allow for limited positions which include front, back and side. We purchased the Ergo Options Carrier off of Babysteals after being highly recommended by a number of people and fellow bloggers.I have also heard great things about the Beco Baby which is a similar style.
Do/did you practice baby wearing? What kind of carrier do/did you use?
We not only learned about the various types of baby carriers but also how to correctly use them. Sarah demonstrated the proper position for the baby in each of the carriers she had, neither of us had a mei tai so we did not get a demonstration of that carrier, however we were provided handouts with photos that discussed proper and improper wearing of each baby carrier.
*Source: From Babywearing: The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition by Maria Blois, MD (Pharmasoft Publishing, 2005) found in excerpt from Mothering magazine.
**Source: Mothering magazine– article Babywearing 101
Disclosure: We are not babywearing experts. All the knowledge above is based off of materials and discussion provided in our Natural Baby Care Class.