And I've jumped both feet first into babywearing. I used a ring sling a lot with my daughter, but it wasn't a well-made one, and I never felt entirely secure using it.
So this time, I did my research and in the last six months especially, I've found a variety of babywearing paraphernalia - all on sale, I might add!! (I love finding good bargains!) So for anyone wondering about the pros and cons of different babywearing devices - this post and the ones to follow are for you!
For those unfamiliar with babywearing - a quick introduction to how it's done.
First, babywearing refers to having a way to hold your baby or young child close to you, promoting closeness, comfort, trust, etc. There are two general categories - narrow base carriers (think Snugli and Baby Bjorn) which tend to "dangle" a baby by his crotch, and wide base carriers, in which a baby sits with their legs at a more natural and comfortable angle, facing the one wearing him or her. I used a Snugli with my daughter, and found it comfortable for a short time, but not beyond her early babyhood days. My preference now is wide base carriers and wraps, and I can see using these well into my son's toddler years.
Here is a brief rundown of the best-known wide-base carriers:
Stretchy wraps - a long piece of fabric (generally around 5 yards or so) made from stretch fabric that you wrap around your body and your baby. Good for up to 20 pounds or so. You generally wear your baby on your front. Examples: Moby Wrap.
Woven wraps - same thing as above, but woven instead of stretchy. Good for up to 35-40 pounds. They come in different sizes, from 2 yards to 6 yards, and there are dozens of methods for wrapping them around your baby. You can wear your baby on your front, hip, or back. Examples: Ellaroo, Gira, NatiBaby, etc. - too many to name!
Ring sling - a woven wrap threaded through a pair of rings. Baby sits in the pouch made when you drape it over your body, supporting it on one shoulder. You wear your baby on your front or hip. Examples: Maya Wrap, Sleeping Baby Productions.
Pocket sling - a usually non-adjustable sling that is bought to fit the wearer, generally by measuring from should to the opposite hip. The fabric often has a slight stretch to it. Examples: Hotslings, Seven Slings.
Mei tai - an Asian-style carrier, made from a sturdy square of fabric with ties coming off of each corner; can be worn on front or back. Examples: Kozy, Babyhawk.
Podaegi - Similar to a mei tai, but one set of straps at the top. The fabric supporting the baby is longer, and the top straps get tied around it to support him. Wear baby on front or back.
Soft Structure Carrier - like a mei tai, but with buckles and often backpack-like straps so you buckle it on instead of tying it. There are also "half-buckle" and "reverse half-buckle" carriers where only the waist straps are buckled or only the shoulder straps are buckled, and the other ones tied. It's all a matter of personal preference. Examples: Ergo, Beco, Boba, Angelpack.
Okay, future posts will share more about each of these. I'll share what I like and don't like about each one and which brand names I know anything about. Disclosure-wise - I'm doing this for the fun of it. No one gave me any carrier to try, and no one paid me to say anything nice. This is all me. :)