Choosing Your Babycarrier
There are a lot of different types of baby carriers available and also from all different brands and designs. It can be confusing and not easy to find a sling that works best for you. A frequently asked question is ‘what type of sling suits someone who is new to babywearing?’. The answer isn’t that simple, as some may instantly love wrapping and others just can’t get the hang of it and just love the ease of a structured carrier. The best way to find your perfect baby carrier is to try on as many different slings and carriers as possible. Go to a sling meet or sling cafe, talk to other babywearers, attend a babywearing workshop or book a consultation with a qualified babywearing consultant.
First it is good to know what different types of baby carriers are out there and you can find a brief overview below:
Soft Structured Carriers / Buckles
Also shortened to SSC’s or buckles. These carriers follow the same principle as a Mei Tai but instead of straps they are tied with buckles. The straps and waistband are usually padded and more structured. Some are suitable from birth but others may require an infant insert (usually up till about 5 months) or will need to be cinched at the base. Always check the measurements and suitable age range for an SSC as they tend to have different sizes for babies or toddlers. These carriers are usually chosen for being quick and easy to use. However some SSC’s need some more adjustments based on the wearers body type and therefore are not the easiest for sharing. Most SSC’s fit average body types but it is highly recommended to try a few before you buy to make sure the straps adjust to fit your body shape.
Mei Tai Slings (Asian Carriers)
Mei Tais are a tie on carrier and are a traditional type of Asian baby carrier. They can be used from newborn through toddler years. They are very adjustable and basically ‘a one size fits’ all for the wearer and therefore easy for sharing. A Mei tai consists of a rectangular shaped piece of fabric with two long straps at the base and two at the top. The lower straps are tied around the waist and the top straps are tied crossed over your shoulders and brought forward to cross under your baby’s bottom and then tied around your waist. You can carry your baby on your front, back or hip. They are very easy to use and comfortable as the weight is evenly spread over the shoulders. Some styles have a headrest or sleephoods and some have smaller or larger panels which may suit either baby or toddler size. For small babies you usually need to cinch the base.
Ring slings can be used from birth through to toddler years and it is a great sling for popping your baby in and out and they are also easy to use between parents. Generally they are made from the same materials as woven wraps and it is basically a long piece of fabric with two rings sewn at one end. They are worn on one shoulder and they form a pouch for your baby to sit in. Some people find a one shoulder carry straining on their shoulder and back as their baby grows.
A wrap sling is the most versatile type of baby carrier and basically it is a long piece of cloth material that can be wrapped and tied around your body in different ways in a secure and supportive way. They are ideal for parents wishing to share a sling. There are two types of wraps; stretchy and woven.
Stretchy wraps are particularly suitable for newborns and they are made of a soft stretchy cotton material. Because they are stretchy you will get most use out of them until your baby is about 6 months, depending on weight and size of your baby.
Woven wraps are suitable for newborns through to toddlerhood. It may take a little bit of time to get the grip of the wrapping techniques but you can wear your child in a variety of different positions on your front, back or hip. They come in different sizes to suit different body types and different carrying positions. Woven wraps are available in many different weaves of fabric and types of material used, and therefore they can vary quite a lot in price.