Are you a first-time parent navigating the world of baby carriers? If so, European Babywearing Week is the ideal time to shout about this hands-free hero!
We’re here to help break down all the different types of fashion styles and create simple steps that will make carrying like a pro easier than ever. With advice taken from a range of knowledgeable experts, such as Ergobaby or BabyBjorn, know that you can confidently shop around without getting overwhelmed by technical lingo such as baby slings and stretchy wraps.
Ready for some ‘carrying power'? Let's take a look...
Your beginners guide to baby carriers
Are you looking for a way to keep your little one close while giving yourself some freedom? Babywearing is the perfect solution! With so many options available, from wraps and carriers to ring slings and meh dais, there's lots of different styles and materials, so every family can find something that works best for them.
Best of all, babywearing offers great advantages for both parents AND babies – it's no wonder why this ancient practice has experienced such an increase in popularity over recent years.
Let’s explore these benefits together - come along on our exciting journey into learning more about babywearing!
What are the benefits of babywearing?
Being a parent comes with many moments of joy and love, but it sometimes bring up challenges that require a helpful solution. One common issue parents face is that their little one cries unless they are being held - which is completely normal!
Carrying your baby in a supportive carrier provides the perfect way to keep them safe and secure while giving you peace of mind (and use of both hands!).
We love that the benefits of babywearing aren't restricted to parents with certain body types, or body mass index (BMI), as carriers and slings are designed to adapt and mould to fit you and your little one together, comfortably. There's no need to be concerned to lose weight in order to be hands-free, simply refer to the instructions presented in the carrier belt to learn how to extend and secure when fitting your carrier.
After all, cuddling up close has lots more benefits than just calming down fussy babies; carrying helps develop spinal and core muscles as well as promoting speech development for when your angel starts getting chatty!
With so many types out there though, how do you choose? Let us help find the right support system for everyone's happy needs.
Types of baby carriers and slings
Before we get started, it's important to know what the main types of wrap and baby carriers are...
Soft Structured Carriers
A very popular choice, soft structured carriers from the likes of BabyBjorn and Ergobaby typically fasten with buckles around the waist and over the shoulders. Different brands/models offer different age-ranges, features and carry positions. Every brand fits varying adult shapes and sizes in different ways, so trying on is a must!
Great for newborn carrying, stretchy wraps like the range from Gaia and Freerider Co. are usually 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 but typically the fabrics are lightweight and breathable.
Baby sling or Wrap
Safe for newborns and worn over one shoulder, baby slings and wraps are quick to use for front and hip carries from newborn to toddler. The difference between the two are wraps are secured by tying into a knot, while slings are secured with a set of rings.
How to choose a baby carrier?
Everyone is different! Reviews and articles will help give you an overview of experiences using a particular wrap or carrier but it will be up to yourself with your baby to figure out what one is best. What works perfectly for one parent or little one 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 - like at our Natural Baby Shower store where our team of nursery specialists offer free baby carrier fittings! You may be very surprised by how something feels when you try it, so be open minded.
The basics of a good baby carrier or wrap
It's important when searching for a carrier to keep safety top of mind. That means making sure it properly supports your little one, distributes weight evenly and is easy enough that you can use it on your own—all key requirements!
However, there are also other factors to consider including:
- 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. Their hips should be positioned in an 'M' shape from their bottom to their knees to ensure hip-healthy positioning.
- 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 with baby carriers
There are a few other factors to also consider when looking for a carrier to suit you such as...
- 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!
Free baby carrier fitting
Now you're set to start out on your babywearing journey, it's time to put them to the test. For an in-person consultation that takes you through how to fit them and the finer details of safety, visit our Surrey store!
Look out for our Ergobaby Carrier mannequin as here is where our team will be able to come over and provide a free baby carrier fitting service - perfect, right?!