As you know, I am a big proponent of babywearing. I believe that it not only is the best for baby, but it also makes life a lot easier especially in the beginning… and it really is an integral part of my parenting belief.
So what are my favourites…
A sling is an amazing carrier… simple yet versatile. It was my first carrier and the one that I used the most often for if I put all four kids together. However, they are not the best carrier for long periods of time nor are they the best for larger babies. When a baby is bigger or you have a toddler, all the weight is on one shoulder so even if the sling is positioned well after a while you start feeling the weight more.
Ease of use: They are great for quick in and outs, pretty easy to learn how to use and pretty versatile..
Positions: Great for newborn and breastfeeding (cradle) positions and then for front positions facing in or the Buddha position facing out and great for the hip position….
What ages: Newborn to toddler and even longer depending on weight…
My favourite is a good length woven wrap that doesn’t have much (or any) stretch… (such as Storchenwiege, Didymos or even the thinner Ellaroo among many others….) Stretchy wraps are only good for the first few weeks and is a very limited carrier.
Ease of use: Though they do have a learning curve and many people are frightened by the amount of material (on average about 5 metres long) I believe that they are the most versatile and the most comfortable carrier…
Positions: They are great for newborn carries, breastfeeding (cradle), front carries, hip carries, back carries and pretty much way you could imagine wearing a baby… (note* Stretchy wraps should NEVER be used on the back)
What ages: Although stretchy wraps (Moby, Cuddly wrap, Maman Kangourou etc) are great for newborns and the first weeks or even a few months if the baby is small, they do not hold up for large babies… And in my experience, people who have bought a stretchy wrap as their only carrier, as the baby grows they are more likely to give up on baby wearing because it becomes uncomfortable or they need to invest in another carrier after a few months.
~A Mei Tai or other Asian inspired soft structured carriers~ (Ergo, Beco, Boba etc)
I love these once babies are big enough… we have two Ergos and a Babyhawk and I love how easy they are to use and how comfortable they are (The carriers with padded waists are more comfortable and easy to use and adjust than the ones that tie in my opinion)… they are quicker than the wrap to get on for back carries (though I think that I can wrap almost as quickly ) and are the most comfortably for long walks.
Ease of use: Pretty easy to use and best for quick in and outs in the back position.
Positions: facing in on the front or on back and can be used for a newborn with the newborn insert. (very bulky though)
What ages: These are not good for newborns or in the first months without special inserts… They are great however for older babies, toddlers and even “pre-schoolers”…
Pouches are at the bottom of my list… sure they can look stylish and are seen a lot… they are easy to put on and easy to use… but they also have to be fitted right so they most often cannot be used by both parents and post partum size can change so it the size that you buy at first might not be the size you need a few months later…Again, the one shoulder use, means that you will eventually get some shoulder strain after a while…
Ease of use: very easy which is probably why they are so popular…
Positions: facing in on the front, hip, facing out in the Buddha position or cradle for breastfeeding.
What ages: Newborn to smaller toddler.