From the early days of my pregnancy I’ve had friends recommend various ways to carry the baby for a variety of purposes. Baby wearing had been a tradition for hundreds of years and definitely has its practical and emotional advantages.
There is a lot to be said about having one or both hands free while keeping baby close to you throughout the day. There is no doubt that for some babes, they feel comfort in the proximity and are more at ease. After all, they just spent nine months being carried around, it only stands to reason. The freedom it grants parents is great, especially in those early days when the baby won’t settle easily…or you just can’t stand to put baby down. Slings and carriers also give you the freedom to go places strollers might be unwieldy and keep from exposing your newborn to too much unwanted physical contact. Here are a few I’ve used so far:
Peanut Shell sling: I got this on the recommendation of a friend and loved the simplicity of it. It’s essentially a wide length of fabric sewn into a circle. You double it over upon itself and nestle baby inside as it rests across your back and shoulders. While my baby was very small this worked perfectly. A few weeks in, my baby decided she was a bit claustrophobic inside and due to my height and wider than average shoulders, the space inside was minimal at best. Sadly, I don’t think this is a great option for us any longer but I’ll continue to try the other wearing positions as she get older.
Balboa baby sling: I bought this sling for my husband as he is also tall and has broad shoulders. There was no hope of the peanut shell fitting him! The balboa sling is adjustable but much thinner and less sturdy than the pea it shell. It is much easier to slip the baby in and out of as it doesn’t fit very snuggly But rather handmade from a well padded strap across the shoulders. This definitely not a practical solution for us beyond household use but it’s been a lifesaver in getting the baby to sleep during her fussy periods. The high sides allow you to block out light while keeping baby close at hand.
Baby bjorn: I borrowed this from a friend and can definitely see the appeal. It is very simple to use, adjusts easily for comfort and the baby is securely held but still able to look around. After a long hike however, my back and shoulders were aching. The weight is definitely distributed to those two areas and takes its toll after a while. The baby is also supported by a strap through their legs and don’t “sit” in this carrier. This made me a little nervous about long hikes.
ERGObaby: I finally managed to try this out recently. Having tried the bjorn, I was drawn to this because of the way it supports the baby in a seated position and distributes the weight to your hips. The shoulder straps are well padded and are very comfortable once fastened. The one negative I’ve found so far is clasping the back straps together myself. With an infant, I hesitate to do it while supporting the baby’s head. This carrier also appeals because of the various ways it can be worn in front, back and side positions. I look forward to trying these out as Adelena gets bigger! Since she’s still rather small we’ve been enjoying the front position and I just position her legs to one side rather than separating them so she’s nice and comfy.