In honour of International Babywearing Week I thought I’d go through my experiences thus far using several different types of wraps/carriers and what the overall experience has been like.
Like most things with newborns, it can change from day to day. There’s been no one perfect must-buy-now carrier as different ones have accommodated different needs at different times. Thus far I mainly wear Luella as a form of transit. Still no pram and still no desire for one. In the early days Jim sometimes wore her at home to settle her – she loved being all snuggled. But increasingly, she only likes being worn while we move around. There’s only so much pacing you can do in a tiny apartment so we don’t wear her at home much, preferring to just take her for walks instead. I sometimes wear her while prepping dinner and one time even baked cookies with her strapped on, but mostly she roams free at home.
Onto the different carriers…
This was the first we tried, in Luella’s first week. Jim quite liked it, but try as I might I never felt it did an adequate job of supporting Lu’s head. I tried it again around 8 weeks when she was heavier (and I was less scared of damaging her) and it became our favourite wrap for a month. True to its name, she started taking most naps in there. Until one day last week she just decided she hated it. Possibly due to the hot weather? Possibly she’s now too big fot the “newborn carry” and we just need to try a more suitable position.
This is one of the less common carriers I’ve seen, but we used it tons in Lu’s first two months. It provided the support of a more structured carrier (see the Boba, below) that are generally too big for newborn babies. She loved it and I carried her confidently. However, there were a few downsides. The straps are difficult to tie up on your own which can be stressful for a new mum out in public and Lu would often scream while I tied it up (but be fine once we settled). Also I think they’re not really designed for men. Now that she’s grown, the straps are too short for me to tie her around Jim. So we may be retiring it.
Oh happy day when I tried my Boba last week! Now that Lu is 15 lbs (!!!) and can hold her head up she can be worn in this one. It’s super secure, truly hands-free and much better on my back. So far it’s my favourite, save for one tricky detail which is that for the best fit for me, the back strap falls right into that one part of my back I can’t reach, so I really struggle to put it on alone. Hoping I’ll get there! And unfortunately, we can’t seem to make it fit right on Jim. He’s tall and skinny, but with broad shoulders and perhaps more importantly, the lack of boobs means we can’t get Lu against him quie right. Maybe when she’s bigger?
I bought this because it was on sale and when I was struggling with my Mei Tai, I’d read these were fool-proof. Well, I must be a fool! I can get Lu into it, but can’t seem to ever pull it to fit her right around her back without making it too tight around her legs. Also it kills my shoulder after about 10 minutes. To be fair the one I purchased is made of mesh, meant for carrying in the water. I’ve not tried it yet in water but I thought it’d be nice and breathable in the summer. Perhaps a lightweight linen ring sling would work better? I use this when I need to take her out for a quick errand and can’t be bothered with something I need to tie.
Also, in case anyone is reading this post because they’re thinking of giving babywearing a try, I’d suggest seeing if there’s a meetup group in your area. I joined a Sydney group on Facebook but have only gone to one meetup. It was suggested that I try out a woven wrap which work like sleepy wraps, but sturdier. (And twice the price! Eep!) But even better to go before you’ve actually got a bub so you can try before you buy, practice wrapping, and get more opinions.
It’s also prudent to note some safety issues when it comes to babywearing. Follow the TICKS system:
IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES
CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS
KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST