I don’t really consider myself a Crunchy Mommy. I’ve never had a child without medication, we don’t cloth diaper, hang clothes to dry or shop at local markets (though the latter is more because we can’t seem to get out of the house before they close). But I have fallen in love with something that has been associated with Crunchy Mommies all over the country (globe?).
I’m talking about baby wearing.
Between both of our girls, we have used no less than five different baby/toddler carriers. Honestly, I can’t imagine how we would have gotten through either of our girls’ first year without them! In the interest of putting out yet another opinion on different baby carriers, I thought I’d go through all the different brands and styles we’ve used:
I know, I know, this style of sling got a bad wrap with all the Infantino recalls a few years back. But is is by far my favorite carrier for newborns and small infants.
What I use: We have the Balboa Baby, endorsed by crunchy Parenting guru himself – Dr. Sears. It’s actually a sort of pouch/ring combination, which means it’s adjustable without all the extra fabric typical of most ring slings. It tend to lose a good bit of baby weight very quickly, which means I need a sling that can adjust to whatever size I’m wearing that week. I also love that it’s padded along the edge, which is nice and comfy for baby as she sleeps.
Pros: Easy, easy, easy! There’s nothing faster than throwing a sling over your shoulder and plopping the baby in. No wrapping, no twisting, no buckling. It’s also very compact for travel and versatile for different carrying positions.
Cons: All the weight is on one shoulder, so they’re not really comfortable for long wear or larger and older babies. Also, caution must be taken to make sure that baby is positioned correctly to avoid the restricted breathing issues that caused deaths in the pouch slings back in 2010.
These are some of the most popular infant carriers out there. They are fairly affordable and are quite versatile as well.
What I use: The basic Moby wrap. No frills necessary.
Pros: The biggest pro is that the baby’s weight gets distributed pretty evenly across your shoulders, hips and back. This means it has a longer useful life than a sling, and is more comfortable for long outings. There are also tons of ways to carry a baby in a stretchy wrap, which makes it extremely flexible.
Cons: While the stretchy fabrics are nice and comfortable, you also need to be very careful if you have a little wiggle worm. I can’t tell you how many times L tried to fall backward out of the Moby to stretch out (or just to let out an extra loud scream!). Also I found it needed washing more often than the sling just because it would stretch out, and would be less secure than the first use or two after being freshly washed.
Note to c-section Mommies: I didn’t have the Moby with T, but tried to use it within two weeks of having L. Bad decision. Because of the way it wraps around, a lot of extra pressure was on my lower abdomen, which was really painful. Stick with the pouch until you’re well healed.
Another very popular category of carriers, Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) are often used well past infancy and into toddlerhood.
The ones we tried and hated (both gifts): Baby Bjorn Classic and Snugli
Pros: SSCs are especially useful for crowded places and traveling. We never would have been able to manage the last six months without our Beco. There were many nights when the only way I could keep L calm before dinner was we wear her – and she had far outgrown the other carriers we had. Later we were able to manage going on a cruise and other family outings with just an umbrella stroller for T and strapping L onto either me or the Husband. It was also the easiest carrier for nursing.
Cons: With all that padding, SSCs can get hot for both you and baby. Also – this may sound a little vain, but it’s the truth – if you’ve got a little extra gush around your hips like me, you’d better be comfortable with it being prominently displayed for everyone to see.