The process of buying a baby carrier for your child can be an overwhelming experience. With jargon such as buckles, meh dais, woven wraps and ring wraps, add in the vast amount of different styles and choices, you would be forgiven for feeling confused. The baby carrying experts over at Izmi are here to help break down and demystify the world of baby carriers for you.
A Beginners Guide to Baby Carriers from the experts at Izmi
Babywearing simply means using a wrap or carrier to keep your little one close and your hands free. Baby wearing can work for every family - you don’t have to use a particular type of carrier, or parent in a particular way. Carrying offers awesome benefits for both parents and babies, there are so many options that every family can find a wrap or carrier that works for them.
So, let’s breakdown all the options, and have a closer look at the well- documented benefits of using wraps and carriers.
Benefits of babywearing
Many parents find that their little one will cry unless they are being held, this is completely normal! Your baby needs to feel safe and secure; whilst a baby is being carried they experience parents movements which help to develop their spine and core muscles, whilst soothing them and easing symptoms of colic and reflux. So, with your baby settled safe and snug in a supportive carrier, both mums and dads can get a bit more peace and the use of their hands back. Win win!
Carrying also provides a great way to develop a bond with your baby, and as they get older being able to share experiences with you promotes their speech and social development. With the right carrier you can carry your baby safely and comfortably whether for a few minutes, or many hours at a time - without hurting your back or shoulders. But with the bewildering range of options available, how do you know which wrap or carrier will be the right one for you?
Types of wraps and carriers -
Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs):
Fasten with buckles around the waist and over the shoulders. Different brands/models offer different age-range, features and carry positions. Every brand fits varying adult shapes and sizes in different ways, so trying on is a must!
Perfect for newborns, these are suitable from day 1 up to around 6-12 months. Stretchy wraps tie around you to securely carry your baby with excellent weight distribution and without pressure points. Different brands offer different levels of stretch and support.
Semi-structured soft carriers which fasten with tied straps around the waist and over the shoulders; meh dai carriers offer a range of tying options and carrying positions from newborn to toddler.
Ring Wrap or Pouch:
Worn over one shoulder, Ring Wraps and Pouches are quick to use for front and hip carries from newborn to toddler. Pouches are often sized so make sure you get one that fits.
Lengths of specially woven, non-stretchy fabric that can be tied in various ways for front, back and hip carries with all ages of baby and toddler. Versatile and adaptable, woven wraps have a steeper learning curve than other options, but when tied correctly they offer excellent support and weight distribution.
How to choose a carrier to suit you...
Everyone is different! Reviews and articles will never give you the experience of using a particular wrap or carrier yourself with your baby. What works perfectly for one parent or baby may be completely impractical for another. The best way to discover what feels right for you and your little one is to try things out for yourself. You may be very surprised by how something feels when you try it, so be open minded.
The basic requirements of a good wrap or carrier
Whatever carrier you are considering, check that it will provide the following:
- Safe, comfortable support for a baby’s spine, head, and airways. Your baby should be held high and snug on your body with their face visible. The T.I.C.K.S. guidelines are a handy checklist you can use to check for safe positioning in any wrap or carrier.
- Weight comfortably distributed for the carrying adult. Carriers that distribute the weight across both shoulders and evenly around the torso and hips will offer the best comfort.
- Straightforward to use. What you find easy to use will differ from what other people find easy. Check that you can get your carrier safe and comfortable by yourself, and get help from a Carrying Professional if you need it.
Other things to consider
there are a number of other factors to think about when looking for a carrier to suit you:
- How old is your child? Wraps and carriers all have a guideline weight range, but these don’t always reflect the true useful lifespan of the carrier. ‘Birth to toddler’ options can be great if you want to buy just one carrier. However, a new born baby has very different needs to an active toddler and so it’s worth considering different options for different stages.
- Most babies will go through phases with carrying, preferring different positions at different stages. They may want to be carried less whilst mastering a new physical skill like crawling or walking and they’ll often want to be carried more when they’re ill or teething, or when they’re taking a jump in emotional or language development. As a result, it might be worth investing in a carrier that has the option to carry baby in multiple positions.
- Last but NOT least…. Do you like how the carrier looks? Don’t underestimate the importance of how you feel when you’re using your wrap or carrier! Your baby will enjoy being in a carrier more if you’re feeling secure and relaxed in it too. So, make sure the carrier you choose is one that you’d feel happy using and confident to walk down the street in!