This first post comes from one Sara. who has been babywearing since her ten month old daughter was born.
I consider myself new to babywearing, with a small stash. Of course, it's all relative. My family thinks I have too many carriers.
I first heard the term “babywearing” when I took the Bringing Baby Home course, offered by the
Ottawa Childbirth Education Association. After trying out a selection of the carriers that the ladies from Milkface had brought with them to the course, I took a liking to the Mei Tai. I figured it would last me the duration of my babywearing days.
I picked a Freehand from Milkface. I didn’t really have a great reason for picking that brand, aside from liking the design (as you'll see, I have a thing for trees and leaves).
I still really like the design and loved it when my daughter was small. But, I found that I liked it less as she got bigger (which happened faster than I expected). I think this is due to a mix of unrealistic expectations and the design of this brand. I expected the Mei Tai to work for bigger babies, which they generally do not. Also, I found that this carrier, in particular, has very narrow straps (shown in picture to the left). So, it didn’t feel like it supported the weight of the baby as well, once she was old enough to have her legs out and the straps went around her bottom).
My second wrap, which I received as a gift, was a Moby wrap. I like stretchy wraps for newborns. However, I didn’t use it very much because my baby was born in the summer. It was too hot for all of the layers. I’d probably get more use out of it if I had a newborn at a cooler time of year. I’d also consider a Boba. Everyone I know that has one, loved it.
After a couple of months of attending the Breastfeeding Café, which takes place at Milkface, I would hear bits and pieces about a Facebook group for babywearing in Ottawa. So, I decided to join and lurk for a while. I thought the pictures of babies being worn in woven wraps looked beautiful, but very intimidating. I hemmed and hawed about attending a gathering for a while and finally psyched myself up to go (this was kind of a big deal for me, since I’m fairly shy around new people and my first inclination is to avoid larger groups).
It was at this gathering that I bought my first woven wrap. Another group member in attendance was selling several of her wraps to fund the purchase of an Uppy, which she won the chance to purchase. I kind of think it was fate that I attended since this wrap is still my favourite colour combination of all the Girasols I have seen. It’s a size 6. After trying different carries (and I’m still experimenting), my favourites have been the reinforced ruck with a reverse Tibetan tie and a double hammock, tied at the shoulder, with a candy cane chest belt
(Yes, my hair is being pulled in the above picture, on the right. It's a hazard of back carriers).
Or, if I’m looking for some carrier-supported snuggles, I go with a front wrap cross carry.
The one and only time my husband has used the woven wrap
By the time I bought this wrap, it was pretty much the only one I could use to adequately support my baby’s weight. But, I wasn’t comfortable trying to wrap my baby outside of my house. I knew I needed a soft structured carrier, which would be very supportive, but easy to take out of the house and quick to put on.
I had heard good things about the Manduca (e.g., good quality, very supportive, very adjustable, good for front and back carries). I tried one out, briefly, while at Milkface and decided to give it a go. Note: I’m not a great shopper – it would probably be a good idea to do more research and try out a variety of options before making your purchase. I probably also should have held out for a different colour (I’m not a big fan of brown). I’ve since seen the petrol ones and really like them. I’m also thinking about attempting to ”pimp” my Manduca.
Thankfully, we’ve been very happy with the comfort of our Manduca. It’s the carrier both my husband and I use most often. I can happily carry my 25 lb. baby on my back for 2-3 hours and on my front for about 45 minutes. I use it at Salsa Babies, while grocery shopping, around the house (cooking, cleaning, gardening), walks around the neighbourhood, hiking, in the airport, etc.
Although the Manduca is fairly easy to put on, I felt like it was overkill for the times when I want a shorter wear. I would watch moms with their ring slings and wish I had bought one sooner, so that I could carry a squishy baby in one. I thought I had missed the boat on that one. But, it turns out, ring slings are good for older babies too. I liked the shoulder on the Chimperoo, which I tried out and bought at Milkface.
To be honest, I don’t use it very often. I will toss it my diaper bag when I go out. But, I think I need more practise with it. I specifically want to master wearing it with the ring on my back, since I think it would feel more supportive that way.
My most recent purchase took place a couple of weeks ago. I met Justine McNeely, who owns A Buschel and a Peck at a craft fair. I liked that she was a local, would work with me to find a design I’m happy with and sold wraps at an affordable price.
This wrap and I are still “getting to know each other.” It’s a size four, so I’ve been trying out carries that work with shorter wraps. So far, I’ve tried the short cross carry, a basic ruck and our hip carries of the week (week 17).
As for my next purchase… Well, if you ask my husband, I’m done buying carriers. But… I kind of love the design and fabric of the Natibaby Linden. More recently, I saw this wrap conversion in crimson. Sigh.
I better stop here before I do something rash. I'm looking forward to learning more about others' stashes.