A baby carrier can be a great help when you have a child, especially in the city. Most people know what about your basic infant carrier, such as a BabyBjorn, and quite a few are familiar with some of the other options, like the very popular Ergo carrier. However, many people don’t know how many really great options there are beyond those easily found at your larger baby stores. There is a very wide variety of brands, styles and features that will suit any baby type, carrying style and size of baby or toddler. There are even carriers that can help protect your child from the sun and water friendly carriers that can help you at the beach or in the shower. Finding the right carrier can make all the difference in the world between a sore back and a cranky baby and hours of comfort for you and your baby.
My first son was a huge and very quickly outgrew the infant carrier I was given as a gift. At that point I started looking into other options to carry him and was very lucky to try out a Mei Tai at a friend’s apartment. I found my own Mei Tai immediately and quickly moved on from there. Not only was I able to go out without a stroller, I was also able to get him to sleep in a Mei Tai when nothing else worked. Once he hit 30 pounds, I moved on to wraps and could happily take him all over the city in comfort once again. Now that I have 4 children, I cannot get through the day without a carrier or two. Now, pouches and Carriers with buckles work best for us, but they are still an essential part of our day. They are where my daughter sits while I feed her brothers, eats when I can’t quite sit still to nurse and, as she is right now, does all of her napping.
Whether you just want a bit of hands free time within your apartment, something small that will fit in your diaper bag for when you need to pop your baby somewhere or an alternative to a stroller for trips around the city, these are some of the very many options available.
Soft Structured Carriers- these carriers evolved from Asian style carriers, like the Mei Tai. They offer the features of an Mei Tai, but their buckled straps offer a quicker on and off and prevent your straps from dragging on the city streets. For the front, back or both, these carriers offer proper leg placement for comfy, developing legs and nice parent features, like pockets and lumbar support. These are great for naps or nursing on the go and for long trips. A few to look at: Connecta (the Solarweave is great), Catbird Baby Pikkolo, Beco Butterfly or the new Gemini, Babyhawk Oh Snap!, Boba G2 Carrier(shown at left), Mama by Design Calyx
Pouches- a pouch is a great option for running out for a quick errand or for a carrier to tote with you in your stroller or diaper bag. A pouch looks tiny, but is still able to offer many carrying position options, is easy to use and can still carry your heavy toddler. I always have one with me. No buckles, rings or tails to fiddle with, just pop on and go. Unfolded, a pouch can double as a stroller blanket or sunshade. A few to look at: Peanut Shell (my first pouch and I still love it), Kangaroo Korner, Zolowear, Baby K’Tan (shown at right), Petunia Pickle Bottom
Wraps- a very versatile option, that often scares a novice is a wrap. As complicated as it looks a few tries and a little bit of help (or really good instructions ) and anyone can be wrapping like they’ve done it for years in no time. Great for spreading out the weight of even the heaviest child, adapting easily to different wearers and carrying options or for wearing when you know you will be popping that baby in and out over and over without taking your carrier on and off. The only problem, really, is that there are so many gorgeous choices that they can easily become addictive. A few to look at: Storchenwiege, Girasol(shown at left), Didymos
Of the many, many carrier I own, these are the ones I’ve been using most lately:
Líllébaby EveryWear Organic: This carrier is easy to use, very soft & lightweight plus very comfortable. It’s been my daughter’s favorite since the first time we tried it. Facing in or out on the front, hip or back carries are all possible in this carrier.
Puj Go Sling: This pouch is so easy to use, no folding in half or lining up seams, just throw it over yourself and your baby and you’re ready to go, you don’t even have to put your baby down. It folds up quite small, so perfect for your diaper bag or purse and it’s pretty too.(shown at left)
BabyBjorn Comfort Carrier: A new carrier from BabyBjorn for larger children (over 13 lbs) that is super easy to wear and so comfortable too. I can wear my now 22 pound daughter in it for hours and it always feels good. This is for front carries only, so it’s designed to be really comfortable on the front even at the point where in most carriers you’d want to move your baby to your back.
Scootababy: A great, comfortable hip carrier for a bit older child with good head control. It’s still comfortable when your baby start getting heavy and really wants a better view. Very easy to get on with a comfy Polartec fleece shoulder, my children love to ride in it and it’s my husband’s favorite carrier. We keep one handy in the car.(Shown at right)
In The Pocket Baby Carrier: I never leave the house without this one in my bag. It’s an adjustable pouch hip carrier that packs up into its own little pocket. One size fits all and really adjusts so easily on the go. (shown at left)
Moby Wrap: This is a stretchy wrap, so not only is it easy to pop your smaller baby in and out, it’s a great starter wrap, not too expensive and easy to use.
A good place to start is looking for a local babywearing group or class. Trying before you buy is a great way to find what’s right for you. In the city, Metro Minis is a great place to visit both in person and online. They offer a great selection of carriers and babywearing related products as well as expertise that can’t be beat and classes to help get you going. It’s a great place to learn, practice and try out all kinds of carriers from simple pouches to complex wraps like the Tibetan carry. It's also owned by two Queens Mamas.
Here are the top carriers from Metro Minis:
Beco Butterfly – go from front to back without putting your baby down (shown at left)
Sakura Bloom Ring Sling – stylish and functional
Babyhawk Mei Tai – funky prints no buckles and clips needed
Girasol Wrap – Make all day carrying super comfy
Boba Carrier- awesome babycarrier for toddlers and beyond
An incredible online resource is www.TheBabyWearer.com for reviews of carriers, instructions and their forums for asking endless questions to help you on your way. Carriers can also be very expensive, used carriers are a great way to find what you want for less. The For Sale or Trade forum on TheBabyWearer.com site can be a great place to start.