As parents are becoming aware of the advantages of baby wearing, they tend to seek the best baby carriers and slings. Baby is important, so parents want to ensure that baby gets the best baby carrier there is. And as the popularity of baby wearing increases, so does the growth of the carriers that are deemed the best.
So, which baby carrier or baby sling is really the best? The choices seem endless, and it would be unfair to simply mention a brand. The web is covered with articles and links and advertisements from companies claiming they have the best baby carrier or the best baby sling. The truth of the matter is their baby carrier or baby sling may actually be the best, for some parents and their babies. We all have different needs when it comes to finding the best baby sling, or the best baby carrier, and we all come in various different sizes. What we can help you with here, is to offer a few guidelines on selecting the perfect baby carrier or baby sling.
Where to start?
1. How old is your baby? Do you have a newborn, is your baby sitting up by themselves, or do you have a toddler running around the house, creating havoc wherever he/she goes.
Newborn baby: Parents of newborns tend to veer towards baby pouches, front carriers and wraps (stretch or woven).
- Pouches are quite simple to use, enabling you to get baby in and out relatively fast. They also come in great designs. Some pouches have been recalled in the recent past, so I would suggest doing your research if you are considering a pouch.
- Front baby carriers are extremely useful and popular. They are relatively easy to put on and take off too. However, be careful when selecting one for your new born. Some front baby carriers only start from 3 months, or a specific weight. As such, some of these may not be of any use to a premature or very young baby. The baby carrier may not be able to support the baby's head, so make sure you look into this before buying. Also, they tend to be bulky. This is a great feature because you want baby to be protected, but once baby is out and you have to carry that front baby carrier in your diaper bag, it can get a little tight.
- You can opt for stretch wraps and woven wraps. Stretcher wraps are recommended for smaller babies, while woven wraps enable you to carry your newborn, up to 3 years old. Baby wraps are relatively comfortable and safe. Most baby wraps on the market are of a good quality and you could use it from generation to generation. It is a great way to carry your new born, and it comes recommended by several pediatricians. Wraps very comfortable and versatile and they provide great support for newborn babies. But, there are few disadvantages of wraps. Many parents complain that there is “too much fabric”. In essence, your baby wrap is a long piece of fabric. Some parents have trouble figuring out just how to wrap their child because there are different styles, and it can get confusing. For experienced baby wrappers, it may be easy, but inexperienced wrappers may find the task daunting. Also, you may find it uncomfortable in the summer. The fabrics of most wraps are relatively thick, so both you and baby may feel the heat.
Older babies and toddlers: Parents of this group tend to gravitate towards baby slings and baby hip carriers. These carriers go by various different titles: sling baby carrier, baby sling carrier, baby hip carrier, hip baby sling, etc. As with the newborn baby slings and baby carriers above, there are various different choices when it comes to finding the best baby sling, or a baby hip carrier. Most parents like baby hip carriers because, in one word, they are EASY. You can put it over your shoulder, place your baby inside the baby sling, and you are done. These baby hip carriers do not support baby's head, so they are definitely not recommended for newborn babies. For the most part, your baby should be able to sit unsupported by themselves, before you consider using a baby hip sling.
If this is what you are considering, finding the best baby sling will be daunting because, just in this category, there are several brand options. Some hip baby slings are adjustable, some not. If your baby hip sling is not of the adjustable variety, you will have to choose the best size for you and your baby's fit, and this can be a task on its own. Most baby hip carriers are available in several different colors and designs, and textures. You will want to take note of the texture because this aspect will be important as you use your baby hip carrier from season to season. While most baby hip carriers are relatively light weight (a definite plus), you will want to do your homework, and steer away from baby hip carriers that are not breathable. This can be very uncomfortable during the summer.
Many parents also like baby back carriers – the kind that allow you to carry baby on your back. This is another great option for parents of older babies and toddlers.
2. What will you be using it for? Once you have found the best baby carrier, or the best baby hip carrier, will you using it to connect with your baby, to be able to move around easily with your baby, or both? Will you be using it for long periods at a time, or short? Pondering these two questions is important as you consider the placement of your baby, and long term or short term comfort.
3. How long do you plan on using it. Now that you have found the best baby carrier, or the best baby sling, do you want it to grow with your baby? While many baby carriers and baby slings offer growth potential, it is not practical to take advantage of their growth potential. For example, some manufacturers of baby front carriers claim that you can use the baby carrier up to 30lb. However, would you want to carry your baby on your chest up to that weight and size? Some parents may hope to use their front carriers on their backs once their babies get older, but you will have to research this too because not all baby front carriers can be used on the back as well. But while the growth option does not work for some baby carrier and baby sling manufacturers, they do with others. Particularly with baby wraps and baby hip carriers. Adjustable hip carriers can be adjusted as baby grows, and some that do not adjust, stretch as baby grows.
4. Variety. Some people describe specific carriers as the best baby carriers simply because of the variety of options it offers. Some carriers can be use on the front, back, and side. Some carriers, like baby hip slings, are a little more limited as they are only meant to be worn on the side.