It can be hard choosing a baby carrier with all the different types of carriers and brands to find one that is going to suite you and your family and that you will enjoy using! From woven wraps, ring slings, meh dais, half buckles and full buckles it can be overwhelming at times. We brought about 3 different carriers before we found another two that I was confident using and got a good fit for me and Emily; this was an expensive journey and I wish at that time I was aware of these areas to consider! I also recommend some research online (babywearing facebook groups are great), attend a local babywearing meet to try some options, or book a babywearing consultation to find a carrier that you will like.
My top areas to consider when you are choosing a baby carrier:
Is it a Safe Carrier?
This is probably the most important question! To ensure that your carrier is safe the main parts are:
– does it meet T.I.C.K.S requirements?
– is your baby in an upright position?
– are they secure?
– are their airways clear and there is no space to slump which can affect their airways.
For more about babywearing safety see Babywearing Safety.
Is it adjustable for your baby?
Having a carrier that can be adjustable will assist your baby to be comfortable and ensure that they are in an optimal position. The main area to be adjusted is in the seat so that the material goes from one knee crease to their other knee crease without over or under extending their legs and hips. You also want to make sure that the back panel is not too high where it covers your baby’s head or has additional room that they can slump into which is a breathing hazard.
Personally I prefer baby carriers that don’t require an infant insert and with an adjustable seat as they allow you to fit your baby from the start and as they grow. This is why I only stock carriers that are adjustable to get the best value and comfort for you both. There are a lot of carriers that have an infant insert which works for some babies but not all. Because of the inserts being ‘one size fits all’, it can be harder to achieve an optimal position for YOUR baby and there can be an in-between stage where your baby won’t fit the insert but is too small for the carrier alone. Plus inserts are often hot and bulky making the learning curve a bit harder!
Is it comfortable for you?
We all come in different body types and sizes and often what works for one parent/child combo will not work for another. If you don’t find it comfortable, then more than likely you will not use this amazing tool! Trying before you buy helps and you want to look for a baby carrier that is adjustable for you.
Some things to consider include:
– Are there different tightening options to get a good fit?
– Does it fit your body type or can it be easily adjusted over different body types?
This is especially important if there is going to be multiple people wearing the same carrier.
– Are you able to put on the carrier relatively easily?
– Can you get your carrier tight enough to wear your baby safely?
– Is your baby’s weight distributed evenly?
– Do you have a health condition/issue that might affect how a baby carrier fits or what you find comfortable?
– Do you find the position of your baby comfortable?
Is it the right size for your baby?
Baby carriers do come in different sizes eg baby, toddler, preschool or the manufacture only recommends them from a certain age/weight. Check to make sure that you are getting the right size for your baby NOW, never go a size up in the hopes that it will last longer as carriers that are too big can be a safety risk for your baby. You never know how long your babywearing journey will go for and you can always decide later whether you want to invest in a bigger sized carrier.
Do you feel confident?
With all the different types of baby carriers (see more here), some will appeal more for you personally. Some people will love the ease of a soft structured carrier whereas others will love the versatility of a woven wrap. It is definitely worth seeing a carrier in action (either in person or YouTube has some amazing tutorials like ‘Wrap You in Love’) as this can often change your opinion as some carriers are a lot easier to use than initially expected.
Often mums or parents are alone when we wear our babies and if you don’t feel confident putting it on by yourself, you probably aren’t going to wear. To build your confidence (like any new skill) I recommend reading through the instruction manual, watching your brand’s instructional videos and practising as much as possible. Going to a babywearing meet or seeing a babywearing consultant or a kangatraining instructor can help as they will often give you tips so you feel confident.
Do you love your baby carrier?
If it isn’t love, then you probably aren’t going to wear! There is a reason why there are so many beautifully designed baby carriers on the market as if you love it you will push through the initial learning how to use it phase.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong baby carrier if it meets safety requirements so have fun while choosing! If you have any questions about baby carriers please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Certified Babywearing Consultant