A carrier or a wrap is a convenient way of keeping your baby close to you while having your hands free for other activities. Many parents find it easier to do chores, run errands, attend family gatherings, and indulge in other activities while baby-wearing. Baby-wearing isn’t just a trend or some old technique, but to many people’s surprise, it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Source). There are several types of baby wraps and carriers available in the market, and choosing one of them could be really overwhelming for you.
We’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of baby-wearing and how this technique has proved to be incredibly effective.
- Multiple angles and positions to carry your baby
- Offers a more nurturing and closer-to-mother environment for the baby
- Allows more skin-to-skin and bonding time for the baby and the mommy
- Being close to her mother calms a fussy baby down and helps them fall asleep
- Quick and easy to take the baby out of the wrap for feeding or changing
- Offers a cozy space for napping and nursing
- Ideal for early postpartum days
- Learning to wrap could be time-consuming
- Not suitable for older babies who are always curious and a lot more active than infants
Main Types of Baby Carriers
1. Classic Baby Carriers
Classic baby carriers support your baby’s head, back, and bottom with their soft padded structure. You can fasten and adjust these carriers around your body with plastic buckles and adjustable straps. Some of these classic baby carriers feature an insert for newborns. Classic baby carriers are worn on the front side of the body with the baby facing either your chest or outwards. Some baby carriers can also be worn on the back or the hip.
- Multiple buckles for optimal security
- Very popular and easy to find in the market
- Buckle-fastening needs practice especially when you have to do this while holding your baby
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2. Ring Slings
A ring sling is a long piece of fabric that is soft and non-stretchy, such as linen or cotton, and one end of the fabric is attached to two small rings. The other free end of the fabric is threaded through one ring and then tucked under the other ring forming an adjustable fastening. This sling fits diagonally, from one shoulder to the opposite hip, across your body. You can carry your baby facing inwards towards the hip or carry the toddler facing outwards.
- Slings are lightweight and easy to adjust
- Slings are helpful during breastfeeding
- The excess fabric of the sling may get caught up or dirty if you leave it hanging
- Ring slings can cause discomfort to your back if used for long periods
3. Wraps: stretchy or woven
Wraps are long pieces of fabrics that you can tie and fasten in different ways around your body for baby-wearing. Stretchy wraps use elasticated fabrics such as cotton jersey in their making. You wrap the fabric around your body and then stretch it enough to fit your baby inside the wrap.
Woven wraps are a combination or blend of two different fabrics, usually cotton with wool, hemp or linen. These wraps are more sturdy and ideal for older babies and toddlers.
- Wraps distribute the weight of the baby evenly across your body which is good for your back
- You can try multiple positions with wraps and go with the one that you find most comfortable
- Figuring out the right length of the wrap can be a task
- The long length of the fabric requires practice to tie it correctly around your body
4. Soft-structured carriers and Mei Tais
Soft-structured carriers and Mei Tais are long rectangular pieces of fabric with straps at each corner that you can wear on your front, back or even your hip. Its bottom straps are fastened around the waist, and the fabric is folded up to form a pouch for your baby to fit in. Soft-structured carriers feature padded straps with buckles, and Mei Tais have long pieces of fabric that you wrap or tie around the body.
- These designs offer excellent support for your baby’s legs
- They are easy to put on and adjust across your body
- The soft, unpadded material of the pouch makes some parents reconsider using them for their newborn baby
- Not suitable for older babies and toddlers, their weight can put pressure on your neck and shoulders
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5. Backpack Carriers
These backpack carriers work just like backpacks with a framed seat for your baby to sit in and sometimes have a storage place under the frame. Backpack carriers feature additional straps for extra security. These carriers hold your baby in a sitting position and are only suitable for kids who can hold their head and body well.
- Ideal for use when going on hiking and long walks with your baby
- A fold-out stand makes it easier for you to put the baby in or get her out
- Backpacks are bulky and sometimes require assembly before use
- Framed carriers are heavy and can strain your back
6. Pouch Carriers
Pouch carriers are a loop of wide length fabric, usually cotton or a cotton blend. The fabric is doubled over and worn diagonally across the body, from one shoulder to the opposite hip. The curved seam creates a small pouch for the baby to sit in. Pouch carriers are ideal for using on the hip.
- Easy to put on because it doesn’t have any ties, straps or buckles
- Compact and can be stored in the changing bag
- It doesn’t distribute the baby’s weight evenly which can cause your neck or back to ache
Above mentioned types of baby carriers, might help you decide which type suits you the best, and is comfortable for your baby.
How to use a baby wrap carrier?
You can learn how to use a baby wrap carrier in nine easy steps.
- Wrap the carrier fabric’s center on your chest, both ends hanging backward.
- While keeping the center on the chest, adjust its one side under your arm and across your back to the opposite shoulder and leave that side hanging in front.
- Repeat this with the other end of the wrap.
- Now that both ends are hanging over your shoulders and on your chest, it leaves a horizontal pocket across your chest.
- Hold and slide the baby into the pocket facing inwards or outwards, keeping her feet out through the bottom. Now hold the baby with one hand and bring one side of the wrap over the baby’s shoulder and adjust it under her thighs by throwing that side of the wrap across your back with the other hand.
- Again hold your baby with one hand and repeat the same with the other side of the wrap using the other hand.
- Now tighten the crisscross pattern of the wrap around your baby.
- Tie a double knot, and you’re good to go.
Make sure that the crisscross on your back and front is wide and flat, and not twisted to avoid any discomfort or pain.
How to use a baby wrap for a newborn?
Following safety tips must be followed if you’re wondering how to use a baby wrap on a newborn.
- Position your baby with her chin up to keep the airway clear for her. Your wrap should be tight enough to prevent her from changing position or curling up.
- Make sure that your baby’s spine is supported fully in its natural position with hips and legs tucked (like a deep squat) and not spread wider. Her bottom should be lower than her knees to ensure her healthy curvy position of the spine.
- Wrap your baby high on your chest in an upright position so that her face is always visible to you and her cheeks lay against your chest.
Newborn babies need to be dealt with very gently. Hence the wraps for newborn babies are soft and offer extra support for the developmentally appropriate position for the babies.
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How to use a baby wrap for a hip carry?
Woven wraps make the best and most versatile hip carriers. When you don’t want to do a back carry or a front carry, you can always do a hip carry for your baby and allow him to enjoy the view while having your one arm free. Hip carriers are recommended for babies older than three months or when they’re able to sit. Woven wraps are very customizable and easy to adjust in a way that you find more comfortable for you and the baby.
Learning about baby-wearing could be a lot of information, especially the ins and outs of baby wraps. Children who are more attached to their parents or caregivers and share a special bond tend to do better in their social lives compared to the children who’ve been deprived of love in their childhood (Source).
Baby wraps help your child’s physical and mental growth and development. The additional weight of baby-wearing makes regular movement feel like an exercise that is incredibly healthy for the mommies. When the babies get to snuggle up close to their mommy’s chest, it relaxes and soothes them, thereby reducing their crying routine.
Read Our Guide on Best Baby Wraps
In the market for a baby wrap? Check out this guide comparing the features of some of the best ones in our opinion.
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