How to Choose a Baby Carrier
Ask ten parents which baby carrier they like best, and you will likely receive ten different answers. There are so many fabulous and innovative selections on the market today, how does a parent choose? We've compiled a few basic questions to help you narrow down your choices. The road to finding a carrier you and your baby will enjoy for many months to come is shorter than you think!
What to Consider When Choosing a Baby Carrier
Who will be using the baby carrier?
Your own personal comfort should come first and foremost when deciding on a baby sling or baby carrier. There are just as many babywearing options available as there are body shapes and sizes among caregivers. The first question you will need to ask yourself is whether you need baby's weight to be balanced over both shoulders or whether you would prefer a one-shoulder design. Many parents prefer how quick and easy one-shoulder baby slings can be to use, whereas other parents find that they need the weight of their baby to be distributed evenly over both shoulders.
Also important to keep in mind is that some baby carriers are sized to fit the wearer. So if more than one parent will be using the carrier, you may need to ensure you are looking at a carrier that offers flexibility in sizing and that adjusts quickly and easily.
How old is your baby?
If you have a newborn or young baby, would you like a sling or baby carrier that will be suitable for carrying an older baby or toddler as well? Or would you prefer to invest in a different style of baby carrier in the future, that may be more suitable for carrying an older baby? One style of baby carrier may be more suitable for you during the early days with a newborn, and yet another carrier that distributes weight differently or allows for back-carrying may work best as your baby grows. Some carriers are more flexible than others, and many will offer various carrying positions designed for use from birth through toddler hood.
What will you be using your carrier for?
Are you looking for a carrier to accomplish hands-free nursing? A baby sling may be your best choice. A sling may also be more appropriate for short trips such as running an errand or picking up an older child from school. However if you are an active parent and you plan to carry your child during longer periods such as hiking, traveling or while you work, a carrier that supports your child's weight over two-shoulders or one that displaces some of this weight to the hips and upper thighs may be a more comfortable option. You might also consider a more compact and portable baby carrier - perfect for the parent on the go!
A baby carrier for any budget!
How much you have budgeted for your baby gear may be a deciding factor for many parents when choosing a baby carrier. A smaller budget does not mean you can't have a great baby carrier! A simple, adjustable ring sling may be found at a much lower cost than specialty ergonomic baby carriers and the benefits of carrying your baby will be no less than if you were using a more expensive sling. If your budget allows for something extra special, you may choose from luxury prints and fabrics, or you might even consider purchasing more than one baby carrier, depending on your baby's age or stage. This may sound extravagant but when you consider the high cost of many luxury baby strollers, two baby carriers is only a fraction of that cost! More importantly, many parents find they end up using their baby carrier much more than expected, and for some, even more so than their stroller. This is an important item for you and your baby - you don't want to cut corners!
Which style of sling or baby carrier appeals to you?
There are many styles of carriers to choose from and one may simply be the most appealing to you based on style, fabric or print. If you don't like the fancy tying techniques a wraparound carrier uses you may opt for a buckle carrier. If you prefer the traditional look of a mei tai baby carrier, there are many different styles and prints to choose from. The good news is that you can easily find a baby carrier today that will work from newborn to toddler that's not only comfortable but will look great too.
The PERFECT Baby Carrier?
Each style of baby carrier has its advantages and disadvantages and unfortunately no one carrier is complete in serving all purposes perfectly. A parent must consider their own needs and then select a baby carrier that meets these needs the best. Try not to get too hung up on finding the “perfect baby carrier”. It’s been said that there are as many ways to wear a baby as there are ways to make a baby smile. Relax and enjoy this time with your baby. The benefits of wearing your baby close will last a lifetime.