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Baby Buying Guide: Slings, Wraps, Carriers & Backpacks

JUMP TO BABYWEARING: Buying Guide - Best Sellers - Top Rated - Hot New Releases - Most Gifted - Most Wished For

MORE: Cloth Diaper Supplies - Breastfeeding Supplies - Car Seats & Accessories - Strollers & Accessories - Child Safety - Babywearing

Beco Baby Carrier Gemini

Beco Baby Carrier
» Buy US | UK

Many parents and parents-to-be think a stroller or baby carriage is only way to go out and about with baby. But there is another alternative that offers increased mobility and greater closeness! A growing trend for today's on-the-go parents is using a carrier/wrap/sling that straps onto or wraps around your body - or, for an older baby, a backpack. You might soon find this is a product you can't live without!

Keep your baby where they are the most content - next to your body where they can be immediately comforted by your smell, your heartbeat. The most important time to carry your baby is during the first six months because it helps to give that sense of closeness and security that all babies need. Your baby will feel your breathing, hear your voice. Being face-to-face will allow your little one to imitate your facial expressions, body movements and gestures which stimulates brain development. Numerous studies show that all of this intensifies the bond between you and your little one. If your little one experiences reflux, colic or wind, carrying them upright makes it easier for the gas to pass and a carrier/sling/wrap makes that easier on your weary arms. They also can help to settle and soothe a tired, fretful baby.

With your hands free, these carriers/slings/wraps make it easier to take care of baby, while still taking care of yourself and others. Eating a meal with both hands! Holding the hands of your other children, or helping them to go to the potty! Even navigating stairs alone, riding the bus or subway or moving through crowded stores without a bulky stroller to deal with. Baby is also safer, from strangers touching them, or even protect them from kidnapping. I wonder if that's why so many stars are carrying their babies in public?

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing any type of baby carrier, wrap, or sling:

Lite-on-Shoulder Baby Sling

Lite-on-Shoulder Sling
» Buy US | CA UK

♥ Look for a product that is comfortable for both you and baby. Test drive the ones you're contemplating, rather than simply asking a friend for a recommendation. A carrier/sling/wrap that works well for your friend may not be best for you.
♥ Look for a product that offers good neck support for your little one, since babies' necks are not strong enough to support their head during the first months of life.
♥ Most products can be used until your baby weighs about 45 pounds, though they feel too heavy and uncomfortable before baby reaches that weight. However, your strength will increase each day you carry your little one.
♥ Make sure the product is the right size for your little one's size and age. All baby carriers should list minimum age and weight and maximum weight limits. Do not use carriers/slings/wraps with babies who do not meet the age and weight requirements set by the manufacturer.
♥ Avoid carriers that you cannot manage by yourself. You won't always have your partner or friend nearby to help you get your baby in and out of the carrier. Practice at home, till you can manage on your own.
♥ Look for products that support your baby's hips in a natural position. With the hips flexed and supported to the knees.
♥ If others will be using the carrier/sling/wrap, such as your partner or care-giver, be sure it will adjusts to fit everyone who will be using it.
♥ Make sure the product is easy to wipe clean or can be machine washed.
♥ Look for a baby carrier that provides waist and lumbar support to help distribute the weight of your baby evenly across your whole back and allow you to remove pressure from your shoulders.

Moby Wrap Baby Carrier

Moby Wrap
» Buy US | UK

Soft Front Carriers

Front carriers are made up of two shoulder straps that usually crisscross across your back, supporting a fabric seat with leg openings. They are designed so your baby sits against your chest in an upright position, with his or her head supported by the back of the baby carrier. Some also allow babies to face outward as they get older and stronger. Be aware though, that carrying baby face out can put a unnatural strain on baby's hips. Even when baby is facing in, make sure there is good hip support for your baby. Front carriers are a good choice for parents who don't want to deal with a lot of fabric, who want a product that distributes weight across both shoulders, and allows baby's legs to freely stretch outside of the carrier.

♥ Front carriers are good for newborns and can comfortably hold babies to 30+ pounds.
♥ The snug fit can be warm, so choose a breathable fabric that won't make you or your baby too warm.
♥ Look for well-padded shoulder and waist or hip straps to save your back and shoulders from strain.
♥ Look for a sturdy headrest that will support your sleeping baby's neck and head.
♥ Check that leg holes are covered with soft fabric that won't bind or irritate your baby's skin.
♥ Look for a product you can take off easily and lay your baby down for a nap.

Baby Slings

Traditional Slings, popular worldwide since the beginning of time, are simply a wide piece of fabric that hangs across an adult's upper body, supported by one shoulder strap. Slings are usually fastened by rings or simply tied in a large knot. Slings allow infants to lie in a curled up position, close to your heart, and are wonderful for discreet breatfeeding. As baby gets older, you can use a kangaroo-carry position or hip-carry position if they want to see more of our world.

Baby Hip Hugger

Baby Hip Hugger
» Buy US | UK

♥ Slings are comfortable for the wearer and allow your little one to rest in a natural sleeping position. The soft material of a sling wraps around your baby, simulating a snug and cozy swaddling blanket. Your swaying motion may help your baby to sleep.
♥ Slings are an easy carrier for breastfeeding discreetly.
♥ Look for a sling that is comfortable and well padded.
♥ The large amount of fabric slings use can seem bulky. Look for a sling with no unnecessary fabric to cut down on the bulk.
♥ The sling should include an instruction manual or videotape demonstrating the different holding positions.

Baby Wraps

Baby Wraps are simply made of a long piece of sturdy, unpadded cotton fabric. The extra fabric allows for more adjustability options, making wraps a good choice for parents who drastically differ in height. The design of a Baby Wrap uses your entire back, as well as your shoulders, to carry the weight of your baby. Unlike other carrier styles, which usually have narrow shoulder straps or go only across one shoulder. There are no buckles, snaps or other fasteners to fumble with or dig into you. It is simple to adjust the fit of your Baby Wrap by how tightly you wrap your baby and yourself. You can wear your baby facing you, facing the world, sideways, or on your back.

Hip Baby Carriers

Simple hip carriers often are just a canvas seat that sits on your hip, a strap around your shoulder and a strap around your waist. Others are simply a back supporting belt with a shelf for baby to sit on. With less fabric than a sling and higher weight limits than most carriers/slings/wraps, hip carriers make the perfect low-hassle choice for carrying older babies and toddlers who are too young to walk long distances, and yet too old for a carrier or sling. It allows you to carry older children naturally on your hips, without the usual strains to your back.

And, if hiking and camping with your little one is in your plans, a child carrier backpack will be your best choice since even the most rugged strollers won't get you through those trails and woods with ease. For baby, they have the added benefit of being up where the action is, and even the chance for a chat with Mom or Dad.

Chicco Smart Support Backpack

Chicco Smart Support Backpack
» Buy US | CA UK

Child Carrier Backpacks

A child carrier backpack is similar to the kind you use for camping except it has a seat for your baby instead of a bag to store your stuff. The frame and straps help distribute baby's weight evenly over your shoulders and hips. Most child carrier backpacks even come with a storage compartment so no need to lug along your diaper bag. Your baby needs to sit upright without assistance to go in a child carrier backpack, which is usually about 6 months old.

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing any type of child carrier backpack:

♥ Baby is old enough to ride in a backpack when they can sit without assistance (about 5 to 6 months).
♥ Backpacks are sometimes difficult to get on and off without help. Practice with your baby until you can do it easily.
♥ It isimportant to be sure the backpack fits you correctly and is adjusted properly to wear comfortably.
♥ Look for a lightweight backpack with an adjustable inside seat and a safety harness for baby.
♥ You want a support stand that allows you to prop it up while putting baby in or taking baby out - it makes the process so much easier.
♥ Buy a protective canopy to shelter your baby from the elements, if you are planning on hiking and camping.
♥ Look for a backpack that comes with a waist belt; this will help transfer some of the weight from your shoulders onto your hips.
♥ Roomy, easy-to-access pockets for all your baby gear will make your trips so much easier.

Safety Tips for using carriers/slings/wraps/backpacks:
  ♥ Carriers/slings/wraps should never be used while driving, jogging, skating, or riding a bike.
  ♥ Frame-style carriers should only be used once your baby can sit unassisted.
  ♥ When bending over or picking something up, always bend at the knees so that baby doesn't fall out.
  ♥ Do not cook while your baby is in the carrier.
  ♥ Stay off high stools and ladders while wearing your baby in a carrier.
  ♥ Do not reach for overhead items that could fall and hit your baby on the head. Baby Buying Guides
Read all of their Baby Buying Guides for more product and safety information and gift ideas. From nursery furnishings to strollers, from high chairs to safety gates, they can help you prepare for and welcome the newest addition to your family.

Recommended Reading & DVD:
  ♦ The Value of Baby Carriers in Today's Society (Born to Love article)
  ♦ Make Your Own Rebozo Sling Pattern (Born to Love article)
  ♦ Babywearing: The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition by Mary Blois - » Buy US | CA | UK
  ♦ What Can You Do With a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla, Amy Cordova - » Buy US | CA | UK
  ♦ Tummy 2 Tummy The Babywearing Instructional DVD » Buy US | CA | UK

  ♦ Soft Front Carriers - » Buy US | CA | UK
  ♦ Slings & Baby Wraps » Buy US | CA | UK
  ♦ Child Carrier Backpacks » Buy US | CA | UK
  ♦ Baby Carrier Accessories » Buy US | UK


JUMP TO BABYWEARING: Buying Guide - Best Sellers - Top Rated - Hot New Releases - Most Gifted - Most Wished For

MORE: Cloth Diaper Supplies - Breastfeeding Supplies - Car Seats & Accessories - Strollers & Accessories - Child Safety - Babywearing


This article compliments of Born to Love.


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Last updated - February 12, 2016