Hi there! So this post if for all of my new and expecting mamas who have an interest in one of my favorite things about motherhood: babywearing! Let me start with this statement. Babywearing changed my life. It made me a better mother... It made Grace a happier child. It made me a better wife, and it's going to make me an amazing mother of multiples (someday) haha.
Today, I'm going to be answering some SUPER basic questions on babywearing for first-timers, and those who are interested, but have NO clue where to start!
Here are the types of carriers you can use for babywearing... I have used every single one of these! Most are multi-use, but many of them I use for different reasons, and some I stopped using altogether. So here is a list, and I go into detailed explanation about my preferences below!
-stretchy wraps (I stopped using this at around 4 months, and probably will never use one again as I prefer woven wraps for newborns)
-soft structured carriers
-SSC wrap conversions
Fun fact: Did you know that Babywearing International has a local group in just about every major city? They host a library of carriers that you can go and try before spending money on your own! You can check out the carriers for a month, try out a new carry, and talk to a VBE (volunteer babywearing educator) about babywearing!
Things to consider:
Not all carriers are cheap, but there are different reasons for that. Most of it has to do with demand/market value/availability if they aren't readily available. Some of my favorite readily available buckle carriers, wraps, and ring slings are on TulaBabyCarriers.com!
Who is the carrier for?
Is this for your toddler? Or both your newborn and toddler? SSC's (buckle carriers are great for toddlers, but in my opinion, not as comfy as newborns. Woven wraps and ring slings, however can be used for both age/weight groups with ease, so it's more bang for your buck!
Who will use the carrier? You or your spouse?
Back when I thought I only needed one baby carrier (lol) I made sure to get something that was husband-proof, but now he is super into babywearing and has a carrier he uses often, so I don't have to worry about making sure he can use any of mine. Buckle carriers are easier for dads. Ring slings are as well... but I know a super awesome babywearing dad who wraps (I'm doing a WHOLE post on him next week!) so I will share more about that later on!
*Photos by Audrey Roundy Photography
As you can see above, there are a couple of stash shots of a few of my woven wraps. These are pieces of fabric that are used to do different types of carries. The most popular carries are FWCC (front wrap cross carry), FCC (front cross carry), DH (double hammock), and a rucksack carry. There are A TON of carriers for woven wraps, so don't get overwhelmed if this is where you start! Try and perfect ONE carry at a time! Here are some beginner carries, and here are some more advanced carries.
Woven wraps are great if you don't want to fork over a ton of money. They last from the newborn days all the way into toddlerhood!
Sizing of woven wraps:
I get tons of questions on woven wrap sizes. All you need to know is that the size depends on two things... 1. the wearer/child being worn, and 2. the type of carry you want to do.
Here is a list of carries that coordinate withs size. Most of the wraps in my stash are my base size (6) and that's everyone's base, typically unless you prefer a 7 for more length, or a 5 if you are petite. The shorter wraps, like 2's, 3's, and 4's are for specific carries. They are measured by meters, so here are the conversions here:
(source: sweet baby wraps)
If you are beginner it's a good idea to start with a simple, size 6 wrap, as the carries are more for beginners, and when you master those, and see the need to try out other sizes/carries, you can go for a "shorty" ;)
Soft Structured Carriers:
SSC's (soft structured carriers) are pieces of fabric sewn into a structured carrier... So basically the fabric is sewn to have buckles and be worn as an Ergo type carrier! These are great for kiddos around 6 months and up. They can be used for inward facing front carries, and inward facing back carries.
These are all from Baby Tula. They are my favorite SSC, hands down. The top three are canvas carriers (this has to do with the type of material) and they retail for around $149 at TulaBabyCarriers.com.
The bottom three are wrap conversions (woven wraps sewn to have buckles!) and they retail for around $360 and up - several of these have a very high market value. The black and white one is going for around 1K right now. I typically get a lot of questions as to why they are priced so high and the answer is simple: supply and demand. There are not very many of those kinds, and lots of people like it/want it, so they will pay a lot to own it! Some Tula's can go as high as 3-4K if they are OOK (one of a kind).
Accessories | Suck Pads and Reach Straps:
'Suck pads' are a type of accessory for any SSC. They protect the sides of the carrier from being damaged from a slobbery/teething babe. Gracie looooves chewing on the sides of her carriers!
'Reach straps' are kind of random, but if you do a lot of back carries, they attach to the bottom of the hood, and allow you to reach down and pull the hood above the baby's head to support it while they are asleep. Many mamas like the look of them though; you can get fancy bows or cute hearts and feathers. One of my favorite accessory shops is Just Wee Three.
Where to buy baby carriers:
Okay, so there are tons of places that sell brand like Lillebaby, Ergo, and Moby wraps (i.e. Buy Buy Baby, Target, Babies R Us, Amazon) but if you want a specific wrap or carrier that is highly sought after, you probably need to check out the Babywearing Swap group on Facebook, or the Tula Carriers Buy Sell Trade. Tulababycarriers.com has tons of carriers, and they also are now for sale online at Target.com, but if you're looking for something specific, be sure to check out those Facebook pages.
Also, lots of small baby boutiques sell carriers online and in stores, so be sure to check your local boutiques too! The owners are usually very avid babywearers, and super helpful!
My favorite brands:
Tula (SSC, woven wraps, ring slings)
Pavo (woven wraps, and ring slings)
Wildbird Slings (ring slings)
Meeyoo (woven wraps)
Brands I've heard good things about:
Little Frog (inexpensive)
Solly (not a fan of stretchy wraps, myself but some people like them!)
I think that's it, for this post anyway. I could go on aalllll day! Thank you SO much for reading!
Be sure to leave your questions below so I can answer them in my next babywearing post!