Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I love Babywearing.

Happy Babywearing Week

The munchkin hardly ever travels in a stroller.  I love carrying him close, and he seems to much prefer riding on mama than in any contraption that straps him in.   Here is a round up of my favorite ways to carry the munchkin:

A Stretchy Wrap

We started our babywearing experience with a SleepyWrap, which is now the Boba Wrap.  I adored this wrap when he was little.  It was like instant naptime! It is really soft and comfortable.  It does take a little practice getting used to how to wrap it on, but it soon becomes second nature.  The material is really stretchy, so you can tie it tight and just pop them in and out without having to leave any slack or guess how much room they will take up.

The stretchy wrap is only appropriate for facing in, front carries, so it is a little limiting.  It also isn't as supportive or comfy once your baby is around 15 pounds.  Also, since the munchkin was born in April I soon learned that it gets pretty warm under all that fabric!  Even with those limitations I thought there was nothing better for cozying up with a newborn.  I think it was the only way I got anything done the first couple months.  The munchkin did not like to be put down!

A Ring Sling

Ring Slings are great for quick trips when you want to be able to pop them in and out easily.  They are also really versatile, you can carry a newborn up to a toddler in a Ring Sling.  Ours is a linen sling from Sakura Bloom.  You can carry your little baby on your front facing in, and once they have  head control facing out.  While facing out isn't great for babies since you can't read their cues as easily and they can become overstimulated, it is nice to have the option for things like museums, zoos, and aquariums where you do want them to get a full view of the world.   The ring sling lets a baby ride facing front with his legs tucked up in way that is safe for their hips  (unlike a carrier like the Bjorn where they dangle from their crotch).  I also found nursing to be super easy in a ring sling, and the tail was a great built in cover up (not that I'm ever really careful about covering up!)  Now that he is older, the ring sling lets me carry him supported on my hip.  I don't find the ring sling to be comfortable for an extended period of time because the weight is all on one shoulder. 

Mei Tai

Once the munchkin was about 4 months I decided I wanted another two shoulder option so I made us a Mei Tai based on this awesome tutorial.  A Mei Tai is basically a square of fabric with two straps coming over the shoulders and one around the waist.  It allows for a bunch of different carries (search You Tube mei tai for a ton of great tutorials!) in front and in back.  I find that the Mei Tai is very comfortable, and once you get the hang of it, pretty easy to get on even without an extra set of hands.   A Mei Tai also works for newborns up to toddlers so it is another great versatile carrier.   I had put my Mei Tai away for a bit when I got the Ergo, but now I'm loving it again because I can tie the munchkin in a higher back carry so he can see over my shoulders- which makes him very happy. Another great benefit is to the Mei Tai is that if the munchkin falls asleep I can usually careful untie and lay him down without him waking up. 

A Soft Structured Carrier

Kind of like a Mei Tai, but with buckles instead of long ties.  I think SSCs have the smallest learning curve... just snap them in and go.  There are no complicated ties to learn and you can carry them in front or back.  SSCs aren't suitable for newborns without special inserts.  We have an Ergo, but there are several companies that make great SSCs.  I find the Ergo to be really comfy, but Michy finds it a little too long for her short torso, so it is a matter of finding the one that works for you.  They are adjustable but not quite as flexible as a Mei Tai.  I bought the Ergo because I was looking for something a little easier to put on by myself that would be comfortable for carrying the munchkin on my back for long periods... like hiking.  I can wear him in the Ergo for hours and not feel strained.  Breastfeeding is also really easy in the Ergo, just put them in front and loosen the straps so they are at boob level :)  There is also a great hood you can use if they are nursing or fall asleep.  It is easy to stealthily nurse in the Ergo with that hood, most of the time people just think he is taking a nap.  I breastfeed him in it everywhere!

So those are the ways I carry the munchkin.  There are other babywearing options out there, this is just what I use and what works well for us.  I'm always up for trying something new, I've been eying the Boba Air to have a carrier that can live in the diaper bag... baby carriers are kinda like shoes or bags... you can never have too many. 

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