Whats Out There?
Let's start with the basic most well known type of carrier. The buckle carrier or ssc (soft structured carrier). Well known carriers that fit into this category include carriers like the ergo, the beco, the boba, the bjorn and most of the infantino carriers. There are tons of other awesome brands within in this category including the lillebaby, catbird baby pikkolo, action baby carriers, babies beyond borders, and my two most favorite the kinderpack and tula. This is not an extensive list, I am literally just pulling these out of the air from memory so I know I have left some favorites out and probably named a few random and obscure ones. The buckle carrier is probably the most daddy friendly carrier because it's pretty simple to use and it looks like a backpack! They also come in super daddy friendly prints even if that just means black. You can generally find these carriers in stores locally as well as online. Although most people may think that this type of carrier is a one size fits all carrier they are not actually. Buckle carriers are all build slightly different which means they all fit different body types differently. Some are better for petite people while others are a better fit for plus size wearers. Some people find that they like lots of structure and others may find that the less padding the better. With that said in general you can usually make them fit most body types but they may not be comfortable for extended wearing. I will also note that in the babywearing world there is lots of controversy around non-ergonomic carriers like the bjorn, chicco, evenflo, etc. Don't let that deter you. My stance is that all babywearing is good babywearing however all babywearing is not created equal :-) I always tell parents looking at these types of carriers (and I have been known to stop unsuspecting people looking at them at target) to just be aware that these types of carriers will become very uncomfortable the bigger baby gets because of the lack of support for the wearers back. This is a true story and not just a sales tactic I promise. Additionally, if you are going to spend $60-$80 on a carrier, get one that you are going to be able to use past say 15-20lbs! Why shouldn't you get your money's worth?
Another type of carrier that is similar to a buckle carrier but a bit more customizable in size is the mei tai. Mei Tai's are basically a square piece of fabric with four long straps, two for the waist and two for the shoulder. They are super great if you have a couple that is very different in size or stature and they both want to carry. They are not easy to find in local stores but easy to find online and you can usually get a pretty reasonable deal on them for well under $100 which is a plus because most buckle carriers cost around or over $100. They also fold down pretty small so you can easily stuff into a bag and go. Brands of mei tais include the infantino mei tai that you canusually find at places like target, the baby hawk, freehand mei tais, cat bird baby, etc just to name a few.
Ring Slings and Pouches
You will most likely need to purchase a ring sling online or you can sometimes find great deals on them used on places like craigslist. Ring slings are awesome for newborns and toddlers and pretty much all stages in between. They are basically one long piece of material with a set of rings attached at the end. The one downfall to these carriers are that they a one shoulder carry so they may not be ideal for long term carrying if you have back issues or as your baby gets older. They are awesome for itty bitty babies because once you have adjustments down you can easily pop them in and out and it's just one layer of fabric. For toddlers they are great for quick up and downs where they want a little attention but mostly want to be down involved in all the fun. Some of the more popular brands are the maya wrap, sakura bloom ring sling, zolo wear, and my personal favorite sleeping baby productions ring slings.
Pouches are similar to ring slings in that they are a one shoulder carry. They are just a piece of fabric made into a loop that you can form a pouch to put your baby into. Pouches are SUPER easy to find, especially used for very little money because most people buy pouches only to find that they have bought the wrong size and give up on them. And that my friends, is the biggest downfall to pouches. They can be really hard to find the right fit but when you find one that fits it's magical. They are fold down super easily and like I said, they can be really cheap so they are great car carriers. One word of advice, do not fall for the seven slings "deal". Most people find seven slings incredibly uncomfortable and wish they would have just saved their $12.99 shipping or whatever the cost is.
There are actually two catergories of wraps, stretchy and woven. Most people have heard of the stretchy wraps including the moby wrap, boba wrap and baby k'tan. These are especially great for newborn babies and are very forgiving to people interested in this type of baby carrier because you can prewrap them and then pop baby in. These types of wraps are markets to be used up to 35lbs however they generally sag after about 15lbs and have to be readjusted often to the point of not wanting to use them once baby gets heavier. Stretchy wraps are NOT SAFE for back carries either. DO NOT BACK CARRY WITH A STRETCHY WRAP. It is very dangerous as your baby can easy push out of the carrier and fall out.
Woven wraps on the other hand are completely safe for back carries and are customizable to all sizes and shapes of both baby and wearer. Woven wraps however do have the largest learning curve and take practice to use seamlessly. Woven wraps are woven specifically to safely hold large loads and have been tested to hold over 200lbs! They come in all sorts of colors, designs, fabrics, price points, etc. If you have ventured into the world of woven wraps you have been bitten by the bug. Our BWI president at one point said, "If you want to wear your baby buy an ergo, if you want a hobby buy woven wraps". It's true. My husband won't touch my woven wraps. That's fine because that means I don't have to ask his advice when I'm buying them in terms of colors or designs, they are allllll miiiiine!!!!
What have we been up to?
I'm not going to lie. Yesterday we had a no babywearing day. Hannah did however sleep through the night and take a three hour nap so the day was a complete success!