Getting ready for our last baby a lot of things have changed. Let’s just say this momma is chasing after a two year old and a five year old. So while crossing a parking lot or let alone the street I have my five year old on one hand and my two year old on the other. It dawned on me about a month ago I have two hands and am going to have three children. I’m outnumbered. I turned to a couple different friends who pointed me in the direction of considering a baby carrier to keep my hands free and save my back. I attended a free Baby Wearers International of Atlanta local meeting. After listening to a brief explanation about each type of carrier and how to wear the baby safely and correctly it was hands on. With fourty different carriers available to touch and feel and try on I decided there really are five things to consider when selecting a baby carrier.
- Budget: Baby carriers range from $15 to over $600 depending on brand, exclusivity, material, style etc. Knowing what your budget is can help you narrow down some options in the category of carrier you want. But if you know your budget is $100 don’t go into the $400 categories and fall in love with something you can’t afford. Stay within you budget you can fall in love with something there and not know the difference that a luxury carrier makes. Not following this counsel can lead to carrier envy as well as carrier disappointment.
- Style: If you are a first time mom or a mom of three there is a carrier for you and your lifestyle. Styles include mei tai, woven wraps, jersey wraps, soft structured carriers, slings/pouch, structured carriers, framed carriers. Trying on and touching these different styles will help you decide which style is right for your activities and body size. I thought I would love the tula since they are so cute with all of their adorable prints, and needless to say these narrow shoulders and small 5’6” frame of mine didn’t lend well to a good fit.
- Material: Besides the fact that many sensory issues now arise in our society, the feel and type of material has become very important. Finding a carrier that supports your baby in a material that is comfortable for you and baby will help you love your experience instead of dread putting that carrier on. Whether it’s a woven wrap (often similar to table cloth material), organic cotton, jersey stretch, or synthetic material consider the season you are using your wrap. I will have another summer baby. Sure any carrier will have its added heat issues as another human is right next to you exuding her body heat, but honestly selecting a jersey moby like wrap for a summer baby is just asking for heat stroke, unless of course you go around in the air conditioned pope mobile.
- Fit/Comfort: Know your body. Know what doesn’t feel right. Know if the carrier will fit baby and you correctly. The worst thing is having a carrier that doesn’t fit your baby or you. You can imagine how important this tip is. If there are sizing charts for the carrier I am interested in then don’t buy the wrong size. And just because it might fit, for example, the baby is able to meet the criteria for correct safe carrying, doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. That’s right, those jeans that are the stiffest jean material known to man but they fit. Yep, they definitely aren’t worth the discomfort to wear to a day out shopping. You are investing in a tool to help you as a mother and help your child and there isn’t a reason that you should compromise on fit or comfort even if that print is adorable.
- Purpose/Ease of Use: If the carrier takes too much time to put on and go it almost defeats the idea of convenience and ease of carrying the baby. I personally have an issue with buckles. I can’t seem to figure the darn things out. I’ve pinched myself, and baby in carriers with buckles and can’t stand the squeeze here and here to release for an extra safety caution. Remember I have two hands….two hands people not four to hold the baby, adjust a strap, clip the buckle and pick up a bag. Wrapping with a woven wrap doesn’t do buckles but It would take me a few weeks with a professional and a wrap the right size and instruction for me to really get the hang of how awesome they are.
Evaluate these five areas and your baby carrier searching will not only be narrowed down but you won’t be disappointed by looking at a wrap that doesn’t suit your needs. I feel more in control of my carrying experience as well as more educated on safe carrying. Walking through the zoo I was able to identify incorrect uses of carriers and boy it was a little creepy I have to admit.