Use of baby carriers has been there since centuries ago. Every traditional society would design an improvised carrier, a skill that would be passed from one generation to the other. Today, due to improved technology and creativity, numerous evolved designs have emerged that give both the mother and baby a great experience.
Types of baby carriers
Modern baby carriers are designed to make baby wearing easy and safe. The major types have been developed from the traditional back packs, wraps, slings and papooses. You can choose any of the following major carriers available in the offline and online market:
Pouches also popularly known as slings are the most common baby wearing materials. They are ideal for the newborns and you can decide to have either the adjustable or fitted version. Pouches are firm to hold up to 35 lbs of baby weight without breaking. They are easy to use and quick to wear hence great for errands. They allow mothers to nurse their babies especially the adjustable version. Pouches are economical to buy, compared to other carriers. A pouch allows for tummy to tummy and cradle baby wearing hence good for the newborns. However, wearing a pouch over a long period of time can be tiring as the weight is not evenly distributed. It is not convenient for older babies as back carrying is not possible.
Baby wraps are long fabrics that are wrapped around the wearer and the baby. To use the carrier, the wearer has to learn the tying technique in order to provide secure and supportive structure. Wraps are ideal for newborns and kids below one year of age. You can choose to have the woven, gauze or stretchy design that allows for front, hip and back carries. This type is compact enough to carry up 55 lbs. Buying a wrap is recommended for the heavy weighted babies, as they come in two shoulder design for even weight distribution. Note that they can be intimidating for long trips due to the size of the fabric.
Mei tais originated from Asia designed using a long fabric with supporting straps. This carrier allows for front, back and hip baby carrying techniques. To firmly support the baby, the wearer takes the straps around the waist and over the shoulders. A mei tai is a great choice for older babies as the weight is distributed over both shoulders. In addition, it is not complicated to use and comes in different colors and fabrics hence a wide variety to choose from. It is not designed for cradle position technique thus not recommended for newborns.
This carrier design is similar to a wrap as it is made of a long piece of fabric that comes with a pair of rings. In order to fit the wearer’s body, the sling edge is threaded through the pair of rings. The sling is adjustable hence suitable for wearers with varying body sizes. Once the baby is in place, there is a long loose fabric that can be used to cover the baby during sunny weather or nursing. It is best for cradle position hence good for newborns and infants. However, this sling is not good for older babies as the weight is carried on one shoulder and it can be rather tiring.
Hip carriers come with a set of buckles that makes it easy to wear on and off. They are designed for older babies as the weight is distributed evenly on both shoulders and around the hip area. The carriers are great for long trips and are effective for hip to hip position only. The design facilitates close connection between the baby and the wearer. It provides adequate baby head control. Though it is comfortable to wear, it cannot be used for newborns.
Why use a baby carrier?
Here are the benefits of using baby carriers:
Frees wearer’s hands
Right from birth, babies love to be carried, cuddled and walked around. This may be hectic for most mothers and care givers who have some chores accomplish. Use of a carrier keeps the baby close to the wearer while freeing the hands to do other tasks.
Relieves the weight
Babies gain weight on daily basis, making it a tiring affair to carry them around. A carrier helps in distributing the baby’s weight around the shoulders which is a great relief for the mother or a care giver.
Babies learn through observation. Using a carrier helps the baby to observe when the wearer is carrying out chores. As the baby grows, he or she starts to imitate some of the things they observed being done.
Baby carriers promote closeness between the baby and the mother. When using a carrier, body to body contact is created hence strengthening the bond between the wearer and the baby.
How to choose the best baby carrier
Availability of different types of baby carriers with each having a unique design makes the buying process difficult. Here are some tips to help you choose the best baby carrier:
A carrier that guarantees your baby’s safety should be made of a strong material that poses potential danger of suffocation. In addition, it should have sturdy straps and buckles to hold the baby firmly in place.
Choosing the right design of the carrier brings comfort to the wearer and the baby. For example, the carrier for a newborn should allow for cradle baby carrying position while those for a toddler should be designed for hip, back or front upright positions. Also, carriers for bigger babies should have straps to run over both shoulders for weight distribution.
Easy to use
A good baby carrier should be easy to use. When shopping for a carrier, you need to remember that a simple mistake in wearing process may lead to serious accidents such as baby dropping off. Therefore, you should buy a carrier that you can easily understand and remember how to use.
Easy to clean
A carrier will get dirty at some point as the baby drools and spits on it. In addition, it is regularly put in diaper bags and trolleys hence exposed to dirt. This may leave the carrier with spots that may turn to be permanent stains. For this reason, you should only buy a baby carrier that is easy to clean.