Intro to Baby Carriers

Posted by  | Sunday, October 7, 2007  at 11:07 PM  
Baby Carriers are a great way to tote your little one around – you can use one while at the store, around the house, or to church. The following post will include 1) Types of Slings, 2) Different Ways to Carry the Baby, 3) Benefits of Each Type of Carrier, and 4) Helpful Links.

TYPES OF CARRIERS

Ring Slings – A one-shoulder type carrier. They are adjustable because of the rings that hold the fabric together around your body. They can have a short tail (the part that hangs down in front) or a long tail. A longer tail can serve as a cover-up for wind protection, nursing, or sleeping babies who don’t want to be disturbed.


Pouch Slings – Also a one-shoulder type carrier. They are not adjustable, and must be made/purchased according to the size of the wearer. They are the easiest to use of the carriers because there is no adjusting to be done – you pop baby in and out fairly easily. These are now being sold at select Target stores under the Hotslings brand name.


Mei Tai – A two-shoulder sling that requires tying. There is a body and four long strips of fabric that make up this sling. The bottom strips are tied around the waist, and the top strips are wound around in different ways to carry baby.


Wraps – A long strip of fabric that can be tied in a number of ways. There are wraps made of stretchy, t-shirt like materials (i.e. Moby Wraps) and wraps made of woven fabrics. The fabric is wound around mom and baby to create different carries.


Ergo Carrier – A constructed carrier that distributes the baby's weight evenly over the parent's body because it has two shoulder straps and a very supportive waist belt. There is also an infant insert, blanket-type thing that can be used with small babies. This carrier is especially great as your baby gets heavier.


Structured Carrier – The most popular being the Baby Bjorn. These carriers are worn over two shoulders.

TYPES OF CARRIES
This is easiest to show with pictures - click through the slideshow to see each carry. I listed the name of the carry underneath the picture. I tried to show the carry with each type of carrier. Here are the the types of slings/carriers that can be used for each carry.
1)Cradle Carry – Ring, Pouch, Wrap & Ergo w/ Infant Insert
2)Tummy to Tummy Carry – Ring, Pouch, Mei Tai, Wrap, Ergo & Structured
3)Kangaroo Carry – Ring & Pouch
4)Front Facing Carry, Legs Out – Structured (this is not a recommended carry because baby's back is not encouraged to round, but to hollow. Also, all of his weight is being held by his crotch.
5)Hip Carry – Ring, Pouch, Mei Tai, Wrap & Ergo
6)Back Carry – (Can be done in Pouch & Sling – but it’s awkward), Woven Wraps & Ergo

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PROS/CONS
Ring Slings - PROS: inexpensive to make, pretty fabrics; CONS: not as comfortable w/ toddlers, fussing w/ the rings
Pouch Slings - PROS: easiest to use, pretty fabrics; CONS: not adjustable
Mei Tai - PROS: good weight distribution, pretty fabrics; CONS: long tails of fabric, more cumbersome to put on
Cotton Wraps (like Moby) - PROS: good weight distribution, holds baby securely; CONS: plain fabric, takes time to wrap it around, covers your whole outfit
Woven Wraps (like Didymos) - PROS: good weight distribution, holds baby securely, very versatile; CONS: must learn to wrap each carry, fabric drags when putting it on
Ergo - PROS: great weight distribution, very comfortable; CONS: a little hard to snap on
Structured - PROS: inexpensive, can be bought in a store; CONS: not good for baby's development, not comfortable

I’ll also throw in here my top picks for a few categories. I’m sure the other authors will chime in as well with their picks.

For a Newborn Baby, I pick a Ring Sling or a Cotton Wrap because these mold the best to the little newborn ball of a baby.

For Someone who can only get ONE carrier (boohoo for you!), I pick an Ergo because this really is the cream of the crop. I’ve heard tons of raves about it and never heard of someone who didn’t like it. (Ironic: I don’t actually own one of these! I drool over them and borrow them from friends, but I haven’t been able to afford one yet. Believe me, it’s on the Christmas list!)

The Easiest in my opinion is the Pouch Sling. This is probably the one I’ve used the most through Samuel’s first year. I still use it now on a daily basis – Samuel is 14 months old and 20 pounds. I use the hip carry and take him in the store, to church, and out and about with it as opposed to putting him in a stroller.

HELPFUL LINKS

http://www.slingyourbaby.blogspot.com/ (I know, a personal plug!)

8 comments:

NotesbyNewsome said...

Where did you get your pouch slings? Are they the hotslings brand or did you make them?

And I can't say enough how much I love this new blog!!! You ladies are awesome, and you provide such great information.

Leah said...

Michelle,
I made all my own pouch slings. Well, really, I've made all my own slings - any of the ones you see here. There are a few links to instructions in the Helpful Links section. This is really a CHEAP way to get a sling.
I'm glad you like the blog - it's been a lot of fun to do.
Leah

NotesbyNewsome said...

I made my own sling, using your instructions!! You'll have to check out my blog...I posted pictures of my creation! Thanks again!!

Jimmy and Hilary said...

I wish you guys would have been doing this forever!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the topics, the straight-forwardness and the time that you have obviously spent writing/researching these topics. Thank you! And thanks for sharing it with me Hollie!

Hilary

Sanders said...

Really enjoyed this post! You did a great job laying it all out - especially with the pics! What faberics do you use to make your pouch slings? I've had several made for friends (live in asia and really miss target) but they really don't have the same feel as mine.

Leah said...

I personally like making pouch slings with two layers of fabric - a pretty fabric of my choice on the outside, and a baby flannel on the inside. This makes the pouch very cozy. The fabric most similar to most pouches sold on the internet would be a 97%cotton/3% spandex. The extra stretch can be helpful, but it isn't necessary. I have a hard time finding a pretty design in that fabric at the stores, but you can order really great stuff online (just search fabric).

The Eckerts said...

Leah,

I have bought the rings to make a ring sling but I'm having a hard time deciding on how to sew in the rings. What kind have you had the most luck with?

I don't have a super powerful sewing machine so I'm wondering if that will limit my options. I was only thinking of doing a single layer of fabric, but I definitely like the idea of the two layers if my machine will allow.

Thanks!

Leah said...

Amy (The Eckerts),
The instructions on my babywearing blog have you thread the sling onto the rings without actually sewing them in place. This is because it is easiest to do and doesn't require more sewing. If you wish to sew your rings in place, I would recommend Jan Andrea's instructions, which can be found here. Good luck and let me know if you need more help!

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