8/13/2005

Baby Wearing 101

So you've got yourself a baby. And you've got 2 arms. And whoa! How come you never ever get to use your arms anymore 'cause they're always filled with baby?

Is the solution really to just be able to put baby down? 'Cause baby sure doesn't seem to think so!

But those dishes!

Okay, let's start at the beginning. If you still dont' believe you ought to wear a baby, go read When to wear your baby for a few ideas on why baby wearing is for you.

Now, let's start at the beginning.

If your baby is a little-little, you can get by with a sling, or (shudder) that other front carrier you're using. I'm not going to name names but I will say that the sooner you get your baby out of that thing, the better. It's not doing baby's hips any good. Check this article out if you don't believe me: http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/spinalStress.html.

So a sling will do but a wrap is nicer.

And best of all is a soft front/back carrier like Ergo Baby Carrier or the Patapum Baby Carrier. What's so great about these? Well you get your baby off the ground, hands-free, and it's ergonomically correct for you both. I suffer from back pain and yet I can still carry my baby on my back for hours. Because a lot of the weight is supported on my hips, my shoulders never tire. Actually, this is a bit of a miracle because I've worn traditional frame backpacks and frame-style baby carriers and found them so bulky and heavy but also they caused a lot of neck pain. With the Ergo or Patapum, that issue just doesn't exist for me. It's a streamlined carrier that is simple to use with no pain!

Now, some of you are simply sick of having your baby on the front but don't feel comfortable with a back carry yet. But you still want your arms back. That is when a hip carrier comes into play and I have found the Ultimate Hip Carrier! The reason I recommend this carrier so highly is because slings throw your back out of whack and other hip carriers with waist supports do not have a comfortable shoulder support system. This is the only hip carrier where the shoulder strap spreads out and cups the wearer's shoulder, so the weight is distributed evenly. A plain old strap will ride up to your neck. To compensate for this discomfort, you might try wearing the strap on the outside of your shoulder, but that's not a wise move. It will pin your arm to your side and you will always have to be adjusting it. A strap that cups the shoulder and stays put is the way to go.

If you're like me and my friends, you'll switch around between a few carriers. After all, do you only have one pair of shoes?

2 comments:

Alex said...

I have been researching for days on this topic. I only have the Bjorn hand-me-down and I am not too fond of it, esp now I read how bad it is for the baby's growing spine and hip joints. I was all set on purchasing an Ellaroo Mei Tei due to the hot climate where I am and keeping my baby cool is important to me. I also really like the look of it. However, I ran across the Beco Butterfly and it seems easier to use and I like the idea of being able to switch from me to my husband or from front to back carry w/o taking my son out of the carrier as well as having easy buckles. But I'm afraid the extra padding it seem to have might make it too hot for us. They seem very similar and I can't decide. Which one do you suggest if following are important to me?

- Keep baby cool
- Have head support for baby when he is sleeping
- Easy on shoulders and back (my husband has a bad back)
- Does not irritate baby's thighs even during long wear
- Easy to adjust (even getting the easy Bjorn on while my baby is throwing a fit annoys me so I don't want to fiddle with something hard)
- Good for long wear

On a separate topic, how do you deal with wearing your baby during hot sunny days? I use the stroller a lot just because I can shield him from the sun. I don't see how this is possible with any carriers which is concern for young babies where using sunblock product is not recommended.

Thanks!

SoBeBabies.com, Inc said...

The fact is, babywearing is hot. So is just holding your baby. Heck, when it's hot, the stroller is hot for the baby as well; all strollers are made out of sturdy materials which tend to be pretty hot (except that MacLaren Volo and perhaps a few others that I don't know about).

I've been in a warm climate for over 5 years. Before that, I wore my older child through hot northern summers. Both can be unbearable but interestingly, once I acclimated to the heat, I find it more bearable than I ever found summer up north.

That said, I don't tend to go out during the strong sun periods for very long. And if we are out, we tend to stay in the shade as much as possible. So that is the first line of defense: Stay out of the hot sun! If you do find yourself in the sun, use an umbrella (oops, I mean parasol). Why not? Many strollers have clip on umbrellas, so why not just carry one for shade and look charming at the same time? I think this is always preferable to using sunblock.

As to which baby carrier is warmer, I can't personally test this anymore, but I'd guess that the Butterfly might be just a bit cooler than some others because of the layer of fabric between you and the baby. On that note, I have a theory that if you put a layer of fabric between you, depending upon the fabric, it could help to cool you down.

For all the other needs you mentioned, I suggest any soft structured buckle carrier or mei tai. Personally, I prefer buckle carriers not just for their ease of use but for comfort, but some feel the opposite and only like mei tais. The only way to know which will work for you is to try them both.

Good luck!