Some photos by Jenna Sparks Bradbury and others by Kim Brooks
You might be visiting this blog because you were given a card like this:
Whichever reason, you’re welcome and we hope that you’ll find some answers here.
Mainstream carriers, found in big box stores may seem like an obvious option for many parents. They’re easily found and are sometimes accompanied by a pretty good price point. These kind of carriers, however, are generally not ergonomic and can be hard on the wearer, especially once the baby hits a certain weight. Most Baby Bjorns and Snugglis (which seem to be the most common brands) do not have a waist belt and have shoulder straps crossed over the back. The ‘crossed in the back’ shoulder straps can be super comfy for many wearers but the lack of a waist belt can can create a lot of discomfort for the wearer since all the weight of the baby is carried on the shoulders and upper back. Also, if a parent is wearing their baby facing out, the baby will lean forward changing the centre of gravity and putting the weight on their lower back which again is uncomfortable for the wearer. Essentially any carrier that spreads the weight across the shoulders, back and hips will be more comfortable.
It is recommended that parents should also look for a carrier that will spread the seat from baby's knee, to baby’s other knee. This will support baby in an optimal position for healthy hip development. (This image from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute shows why this is important; http://www.hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/) As babies get bigger and older, around 6 months or so, parents may find it more comfortable to wear them on their back, since our backs are designed to carry weight better than our fronts. Choosing a carrier that offers a variety of positions (front, back and hip, for instance) from newborn to toddler sized can be a thrifty way to future proof your babywearing family.
Some people like SSCs (soft structured carriers) which include the Beco, Boba 3G, Ergo or Manduca. These all offer various carries (front, back and sometimes hip) and give great support with waist belts and adjustable shoulder straps. Some of these carriers allow for the straps to be crossed in the back which many people find very comfortable. They can generally be used from early infanthood into toddlerhood and sometimes up to 45lbs worth of kid! (To put that into perspective my 5 1/2 year old is only just 40lbs!)
ttp://catbirdbaby.com/index.php/babywearing-support-belt-black.html) that extend the user life of the MT by creating a padding for the waist straps.
ttp://www.wrapyourbaby.com/. You will also find many useful links for WWs, and other carriers, in our COTW posts.
Ring Slings (RS) can be great to just pop baby in and out when going to the grocery store or making multiple errands. RSs are adjustable and allow for a few different positions including front, hip and back although the front and hip positions are most common for this carrier. RSs are also great as you can easily slip it into a diaper bag; they can be a favourite carrier to use when traveling as they store easily in a carry on bag.
Be careful to avoid bag carriers. These are carriers that look like a bag and where the baby lies at the base of the bag. These are not safe carriers and have been linked to some infant deaths. Most of these kind of carriers have been recalled and removed from the market but many remain available as hand me downs and through Kijiji and other ‘previously used’ sites. This blog goes into more detail about the dangers of bag slings; http://babyslingsafety.blogspot.ca/2008/05/concerns-about-bag-slings.html
To find out more about babywearing you could visit one of our wonderful local Ottawa stores. Milkface (www.milkface.com) is in Old Ottawa South on Bank and in Westboro on Churchill, Extraordinary Baby Shoppe (http://www.extraordinarybabyshoppe.com/) is on Wellington in Hintonburg and Belly Laughs (http://www.bellylaughs.ca/) is in Kanata. They all have awesome staff who know their stuff and should be able to spend some time with you on working out what your needs are. You are most welcome to come to one of our meets, where you can try out other members carriers. Watch out for events posted weekly on our Facebook group page here; https://www.facebook.com/groups/122837831174389/
Happy shopping and even happier babywearing!!