There’s a saying, “hold your kids close, time flies!” Parents all around the globe have found a nifty solution to keep their bundle of joy close while juggling the challenges of modern life: baby carriers.
But, what’s the real deal with these? Here is your ultimate guide to understanding and selecting baby carriers.
Baby Carriers: The Basics
What Are Baby Carriers?
Simply put, baby carriers are devices that allow parents to hold their babies close, hands-free. They come in a variety of types, each suited for specific ages, activities, and parent preferences.
Different Types of Baby Carriers
There are four main types of baby carriers: wraps, slings, structured carriers, and backpacks. Each type has its own strengths and drawbacks, and what works for one family may not work for another. So, when choosing your baby carrier, consider your baby’s age, your lifestyle, and your personal comfort.
- Wraps: These are long pieces of fabric that are wrapped around the parent and baby to create a secure hold. They can be used in a variety of positions and are adjustable for different sizes and shapes of parents.
- Slings: These are similar to wraps but are simpler in design, often being a single piece of fabric looped over one shoulder.
- Structured Carriers: These are typically made from durable material and have padded straps and a waistband. They can be worn on the front or back and provide a comfortable and ergonomic fit for both parent and baby.
- Backpacks: These are designed for longer periods of carrying and are ideal for active parents who enjoy hiking or travelling. They usually have a sturdy frame and lots of storage space.
Baby Carriers: The Benefits
The physical benefits of baby carriers are significant. The skin-to-skin contact promoted by baby carriers can have a calming effect on babies, reducing crying and promoting sleep. Plus, carrying your baby close can aid in their physical development and provide excellent opportunities for bonding.
The psychological benefits for parents are just as powerful. Baby carriers promote bonding and can help parents feel more connected to their baby. They also reduce stress and anxiety as parents can keep their baby close while still having the freedom to move around and complete daily tasks.
Choosing the Right Baby Carrier
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Comfort and Ergonomics
When it comes to baby carriers, comfort is king. Look for an ergonomic carrier that distributes your baby’s weight evenly across your body to avoid straining any one area. Check for proper head and neck support for your baby, and make sure the carrier doesn’t press uncomfortably against their legs or hips. As well as proper support for you to avoid back and neck pain from carrying.
Safety should always be a top priority when choosing a baby carrier. Ensure the carrier fits well and securely, and always use it as instructed. Remember that baby’s face should always be visible, and their chin should not be resting on their chest, which can restrict breathing.
Ease of Use
Some baby carriers have a steep learning curve, particularly wraps and slings. You might want a carrier that’s easy to put on and take off, particularly if you’ll be doing it alone.
Adjustability and Longevity
Choose a baby carrier that grows with your baby. Many structured carriers and backpack carriers offer adjustable settings to accommodate your child as they grow. Some even transition from newborn use to toddler use, offering excellent value for money.
Some baby carriers offer multiple carrying positions, such as front inward, front outward, hip, or back carry. The more versatile the carrier, the longer you’re likely to use it, as you can adjust the carry position based on your baby’s growth and development.
Baby Carrier Reviews
Soft Structured Carriers (SSC’s) Reviews
BabyBjörn Mini Baby Carrier
Baby Tula Explore
Baby Tula Free-to-Grow Carrier
Baby Tula Standard Coast
Ergobaby Omni 360
Graco Cradle Me 4 in 1
Infantino Cuddle Up
Infantino Flip Advanced
Infantino Go Forward
YOU+ME 4-in-1 Baby Carrier
Baby Wrap Reviews
Baby Carriers: The Top Brands
Ergobaby is well-known for its comfortable, ergonomic design. These carriers are adjustable, offering multiple carry positions. Ergobaby carriers are well padded, ensuring comfort for both parent and child. See our Ergobaby round up here.
BabyBjorn carriers are renowned for their simplicity and ease of use. They offer excellent head and neck support for newborns, and many models also have an adjustable size setting to accommodate growing babies.
Tula carriers are fashionable as well as functional. They come in a range of attractive patterns and are known for their comfort and durability. Tula offers both structured carriers and wrap-style carriers.
LILLEbaby is recognized for its 6-in-1 carrier that provides an array of carry positions, which includes lumbar support for parents. The carriers are known for their longevity, serving your child from infancy through the toddler years.
Baby Carriers: The FAQs
1. When Can I Start Using a Baby Carrier?
Most baby carriers are safe to use from birth, provided your baby meets the weight minimum (usually around 8 lbs). Some carriers require an infant insert for newborns. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
2. Is It Safe to Carry My Baby Facing Outwards?
Yes, it’s generally safe for babies who can hold their heads up (around 4-6 months) to face outwards in a carrier. However, be aware of overstimulation, and turn your baby inward if they seem uncomfortable.
3. How Long Can My Baby Stay in a Carrier?
Generally, as long as your baby seems comfortable and happy, it’s okay to keep them in the carrier. However, remember to reposition them frequently to prevent discomfort and check for signs of overheating or distress.
4. Can I Breastfeed in a Baby Carrier?
Yes, with some practice and a little adjustment, many parents can breastfeed in their carriers. Make sure your baby’s airway remains clear while feeding.
5. Are Baby Carriers Bad for Babies’ Hips?
Not if used correctly. Ensure your baby’s legs are in an “M” position, with knees higher than their bottom. This position is considered safe and does not increase the risk of hip dysplasia.
6. Can Baby Carriers Cause Back Pain?
If you’re experiencing back pain while using a baby carrier, it’s likely that the carrier isn’t adjusted correctly. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed, and use a carrier with good lumbar support.