Registry – Baby Carriers and Baby Wearing Resources

babywearing picturesWelcome to installment five of our registry for working moms: babywearing gear! Babywearing is a must for urban moms and other moms who do a lot of walking — but which are the best? What accessories? And where should you find them? We’ve already talked about carseats and strollers, cribs and sleeping gear, and now: carriers for babywearing. As I’ve mentioned before, I envision the entire series going through these categories (stay tuned!):

  1. Carseat — necessary from coming home from the hospital!
  2. Stroller — how many have you tried? How many do you keep? (e.g., big stroller, umbrella stroller, jogging stroller)
  3. Cribs and sleeping gear — crib and bassinet rocker, if necessary
  4. Baby clothes — daytime clothes, baby socks
  5. Babywearing carriers — infant and 15-lb.+ options
  6. Baby toys — swings, seats, and other Big Things to register for (Exersaucers, etc)
  7. Essential books
  8. Diaper bag
  9. Nursing clothes
  10. Breastfeeding pillow
  11. And one final category: The Biggest Flops (stuff you hated).

As for babywearing… I nearly included this with my roundup on baby clothes, because what your baby is wearing will definitely affect which carrier you want to use. For my $.02: We received a Boba 3G as a gift and really liked it for both boys once they were over 15 lbs. The newer version has an infant insert, I believe, but I have no experience with that. When the boys weighed less than that, we used a Bjørn Air, which was also a gift; I also used a Maya sling for a bit when Jack was younger. (There’s a picture of me and Harry in the sling, below, but I’m not quite sure I had it on right that time — we just never got the hang of it this time.)  Almost all of my friends loved the Ergo carrier the best.

One of the best tips we got was from friends who told us we could take a babywearing class — we even found a consultant who came to our home for $100, brought a number of different types of slings and carriers, showed us how to put them on appropriately, how to make fit adjustments, and even some tricks on how to make them more comfortable for the baby. (For example, with the sling, she suggested that if the baby passed out on you, you could roll up a washcloth and tuck it into the sling to make a mini pillow for the baby’s head.) (In NYC ours came from a baby shop on the UWS that some friends recommended.) One thing she noted was that the Baby Bjørn is actually not the best for regular wear with babies — something about how it’s bad for their spine?  — so once the boys got to the minimum weight for the Boba (or another soft carrier) we switched them to that. (But this Skeptoid post ponders whether that’s a myth.)

I never quite got the hang of breastfeeding in the carrier — I really believed I’d be doing it all the time with baby #2, and must have watched this YouTube video a million times trying to figure it out… but aside from one fairly memorable trip to the big Train Show where I walked around and fed Harry in the Boba (and realized afterward that using the hood would have been PERFECT for additional modesty), I never really did it. I was also never really comfortable cooking while wearing Harry — even prepwork like chopping seemed kind of precarious! — but at the end of the day I often did end up wearing him around the house while we got things ready for Jack. Harry liked the closeness, Jack liked that Mommy was more mobile…

Note that if you’re babywearing in the winter, your coat should cover you AND the baby — you never want to risk the possibility that you’ll be all warm and snuggly while your kiddo is freezing. They do make blankets that go over the baby carrier like the Ergobaby Winter Weather Cover (which we used with our Boba 3G) or the Kowalli cover; you can also buy coats like the M-coat or Sweet Mommy coats that have baby pouches built in. For in-between weather where one minute you need a blanket and the next you don’t, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love the ROSK Woobee blanket. (You can use it with a baby carrier as well as a carseat or stroller.) I also would wear some of my husband’s zip-up hoodies if it was slightly cool; they were large enough to zip up over the baby and me.

Allegedly the Boba 3G is good up to 45 pounds (and has an option to wear the baby like a backpack that I’ve never quite gotten the hang of); now that Harry is about 23 pounds we stick him in the stroller anytime we can. Three other points:  1) If your baby is teething and gnawing like crazy on everything, you can buy teething pads for the straps; you can wash them more easily than you can the carrier itself.  2) In terms of which diaper bags (or regular bags) to wear while babywearing, I preferred a backpack (like the Mosey) with the Bjørn, but a crossbody (like the LeSportsac Everyday or our beloved BabyCargo diaper bag) with the Boba, due to the strap placement. 3) If you’re traveling with a baby, please read up a bit on babywearing in taxis — I know many moms who did it without a second thought, but The Car Seat Lady’s admonitions against it were enough to scare me.

Finally: I like to illustrate these posts with pictures of my kids in the products I’m recommending, and I have a zillion pictures of me babywearing, but they’re all really poor… so here’s a collage, below. (I’m not even wearing makeup in half of them, I don’t think… fun…) Clockwise: 1) Harry in the Maya Sling. (I’m not sure I had it positioned correctly here!) 2) Harry in the Baby Bjørn. 3) Jack in the brown Boba, with the red fleece cover on top of him, with a sweatshirt zipped up on top of both of us for a walk. 4) Harry in the Baby Bjørn, with a silly but functional iPlay sun hat on. 5) Jack in the Boba, with the ROSK tied around the strap, with me wearing a regular winter coat (just worn open). 6) Harry in the Baby Bjørn. 7) Harry in the Boba, wearing a fleece jacket, with the red fleece cover on top of the Boba (me wearing another regular coat, just worn open).

babywearing

 

Further reading:

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Comments

  1. I have a Sollybaby wrap and a Boba 4G. The Sollybaby wraps like a Moby, but a) is not as long and b) is limited to front carry with a baby under 25lbs. I really like this for my peanut. The Boba I have does have the infant insert, which is a small pillow for a 7lb baby to sit on until s/he hits 15lbs. That said, I preferred the wrap exclusively until about 9-10lbs.

  2. Philanthropy Girl says:

    We used the BabyBjorn once LO reached the right weight, since we didn’t have a newborn insert. I think it was about 10-12 pounds. When he outgrew the BabyBjorn we chose the Boba Air, which I love. Like the Boba Kat mentions, it is both a front and back carrier, although I’ve used it exclusively as a front carrier until now. It is small enough to fit in my diaper bag – which is awesome, because I now always have it on hand. I took it hiking with me a few weeks ago and it was perfect for short half-day hikes. I could see the shoulder straps getting a bit uncomfortable for much longer than that because they aren’t well padded – but for our needs I couldn’t be happier. I wanted a Moby, but my sister talked me out of it because she didn’t care for hers. I didn’t have much call to baby wear in the early weeks, but I could see that it would be more useful with an active toddler and a newborn.

  3. We used a Baby K’tan from a few weeks old (when we got it — wish we’d had it from the beginning) regularly until about 4 months/15 lb, and started using our Ergo 360 at about 2 months. Still use the K’tan occasionally.

    The K’tan was amazing, a gift from g-d for getting the baby to take really long, restorative naps, plus it was soft so you could sit down or lie down while wearing it indoors. Once the baby hit 12 lb, it wasn’t great for walks because it has no hip strap — it can be hard on the back. We did legs out almost from the beginning in the K’tan, after researching a lot; our baby was MUCH more comfortable that way than in the “kangaroo” position, which he hated.

    Ergo 360 is awesome because it can be front inward-facing, back, or front outward-facing. Baby loves all of them. The infant insert is really hot and we used it a grand total of twice. My one beef with the Ergo is it doesn’t fold up very small — no self-pouch or anything, or easy loop for hanging it up. K’tan is much easier to throw in your bag, but by now, with a 17-18 lb baby, it’s hard to use for any length of time.

    • We have this same combo. I expect ergo to get more use as babe (4months) gets older. My husband uses it now sometimes. Agree that infant insert gets hot. I love the k’tan. I used it a ton around the house when he was like 1-3 months so I could get things done with 2 hands. I still use it all the time for running errands. We live in burbs but if I need a quick run (drive) to cvs or grocery store or something, its so much easier to toss k’tan in my purse and put him in that at the store rather than messing with stroller. I love it so much and especially for newborn stage. Only downside is its not adjustable so you need to buy 2 or just get it to fit parent who will use it most (assuming you can’t fit same size).

      Carriers are also great if you have to go to large gatherings and want baby to sleep. Also helps ward off strangers/acquaintances from trying to hold your baby, if you want.

  4. Tunnel says:

    Am I the only one who did not end up using her carriers as extensively as I imagined? I have a K’tan and a Lillebaby and while I know how to use them and like them both, I really just don’t have a need for them. I realize that I am fortunate to have a good napper and generally happy baby, but I am kind of annoyed I spent all that money on unnecessary baby carriers.

    • Apart from napping from months 2-4, we mainly use the carriers for walks — went out daily during maternity leave and every weekend day, and my husband and I find strollers annoying to use. I think many people who use strollers probably use carriers less. We didn’t use the carrier in the house unless the baby was sleeping, since he was/is happy to play on a blanket, and by this point he will only nap in his crib anyway.

    • Meg Murry says:

      We didn’t use our carriers nearly as often as I had imagined we would – often we would get somewhere and say “Oh, we should have brought the carrier”, or the opposite – it would get left in the trunk when an opportunity to wear baby around the house came up.

      We had:
      -A bunch of rings from slingring.com that I had grand plans of sewing into a sling but never did for myself (although I did for other people). I did make homemade DIY slings out of a bedsheet though, I’ll see if I can find a link to the instructions. That was good for around the house when baby was little, except for the fact that when I was wearing him he slept, and when I set him down he would pop right back awake when I was ready to sit down and relax and rest.
      -A secondhand carrier from Snugli that was similar to a Bjorn, and could be used when baby was pretty little. This one was convenient because it had a way to get baby out quickly when he fell asleep. My husband and MIL used it some too, but the shoulder straps weren’t very padded so it wasn’t great once baby got a little older.
      -A toddler Patapum (or Papatum?) that isn’t sold in the US market anymore but that I actually liked way better than the Ergo – larger pouch, better padded straps, baby felt more secure in it, fit on my hips not waist. It was technically marketed for 18-36 months, but we used it starting at around 12 months. It was my favorite of all the carriers
      -A secondhand Ergo I bought from a friend. I thought Ergos were the gold standard, and the friends used theirs all the time, and I was shocked how much I hated it compared to the cheap Snugli and the Patapum. The pouch felt too short and like it didn’t hold baby very well, the waist strap was too small for me, and even with an extension it slid up to my waist instead of on my hips, and I felt like I was all tangled every time I put it on. I know they’ve done a lot of marketing to be “the” carrier, but I really didn’t like it much at all, and I was glad I bought it secondhand and didn’t pay full price for it new. To be fair, I had an older model, so maybe it is better now – but it was the model that was new when my oldest was a baby and they had just started to be a really big thing.

      We live in a small town that is car centric but bike friendly, so we tended to just use a Snap-and-Go stroller with infant carseat when babies were under 1, and then switched to using a bike trailer or front bike seat once they were 1 – that got far more use for us than the carriers did, and we still use them now that my oldest is almost 4, and probably will continue to as a grocery hauling trailer.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I didn’t use mine at all. I’m a petite weakling and I have a giant baby and a bad back… it just did not go well. I think you have to start using them early and use them consistently and frequently to build up the right muscles.

      That said I had an Infantino Mei Tai and thought it was great in terms of quality. And it was like $30 on amazon.

    • I would trade you a well-used Ergo + colicky baby (until 5-6 months) combo any day of the week. Not my kid, obviously, whom I love, but…you know. Having done it once, I would trade a couple of inessential digits for a non-colicky baby. Definitely worth a lightly-used array of baby carriers.

  5. I really liked using different carriers–I experimented with several.
    I liked the moby wrap when our daughter was small–it was snuggly and could easily be adjusted for me or my husband. It didn’t have enough support and was kind of warm to wear when she got older. We also used the ergo first with the infant insert (she was under 7 lbs at birth) although I came to love the ergo much more after she was older–it really became my primary carrier. I carried her in it regularly up until she was two although I switched to the back carry around 16 months. We also bought a baby hawk mei tai–which I thought my husband might use when we stopped using the moby since it was more adjustable than the ergo and still had a waist strap. Unfortunately, we never really used it and it didn’t seem to support the baby’s weight as well when she got bigger. For shopping trips, I tended to use a ring sling which folded up compactly and could be adjusted in different ways as the baby grew. I could easily tuck it in a bag–unlike some other more bulky carriers. My husband’s primary carrier was a new native once piece carrier that was kind of a pouch-like sling. When my daughter turned one, we bought a backpack carrier by Kelty Kids but we never used it as much as I thought we might. It is useful for hiking and other situations where a stroller isn’t workable.

    If I had to recommend just a couple of carriers I would recommend a ring-sling or some other smaller more compact sling because its so portable and an ergo because its versatile and comfortable even when the baby gets bigger.

  6. I bought a Nesting Days carrier (sized to me) and a Moby (so either me or my husband could use it). Haven’t been able to use either of them yet, but I like that the Nesting Days one has some stomach support (you kind of wear it like a tight shirt, so no hands). I’ve tried it on once and it seems pretty easy to use, but I’m not sure how much babywearing I’ll be doing around the house – don’t anticipate going out much in the winter and it’s only for babies up to four months or so.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I did quite a bit of babywearing around the house – it was sometimes the only way I could have two hands to make and eat a sandwich while on maternity leave (at least, if I wasn’t up for a screaming baby while I ate). Also helpful for grocery shopping, since you would otherwise have to put the big infant seat into the cart and stick your groceries around it. The few conference calls I took on maternity leave were taken with baby in a sling, since then I could use my hands to take notes and she would stay quiet/asleep.

  7. I never did much baby wearing, but for the toddler years, we have an Osprey backpack carrier that I love. It’s fabulous for hiking, the zoo (DD is up high and can see the animals without getting in and out of the stroller 8000 times), trips to the pumpkin patch and corn maze, etc. We use it more than I anticipated we would (partly because it was crazy expensive, so we are trying to get money’s worth).

    • Maddie Ross says:

      That’s so funny that you love yours – we have literally never used it and I feel really guilty about it (because as you mention it’s crazy expensive – thank goodness it was a gift).

      • We hardly use our stroller with this one (vs. my twins who lived in their stroller), so I have that to feel guilty about. :)

    • I love the frame backpack too. I have the Deuter Kid Comfort Air which I find comfortable and lightweight. It folds down a bit flatter than the osprey which is key since I brought it on a flight and needed to squish it in the overhead. Hated a second hand Kelty I had, so it really does take some trial and error.

  8. Katarina says:

    With my first, I had an Ergo with the infant insert. I love the Ergo, but not the insert. We used it almost exclusively from 4-12 months, while our stroller collected dust. I loved the pocket, I would just through a few things in there, and keep my diaper bag at home or in the car, so putting it in the car was no issue. It worked well for both my husband and I, although we are pretty different sizes. I would like to buy something geared towards the first few months for my second, but all of the options seem to have a major flaw. Wraps seem complicated, and my husband and I could not use the same K’tan (we both baby wear a lot).

    • My husband and I lucked out that we could both wear the same K’tan (same height and he’s a lot more broad shouldered but it worked nonetheless). I loved it so much I would even recommend getting two (should be able to get them, or at least one, used if your neighborhood has a parents’ listserve), one for each of you. I really have no idea how we would have survived months 2-4 without it.

      • I would ditto this in all particulars. My husband and I shared the same K’tan but if we couldn’t, I would pony up for two. (Or, I guess, learn to wrap. People do it. It can’t be that hard!)

  9. A question:
    Has anyone tried a woven wrap? I think they are mostly made in Europe but are supposed to be more supportive and less hot than the stretchy-knit type wraps I’ve mostly seen and used with my daughter. I’m expecting again–due in February and might be in the market to try something new especially something that would be more wearable in spring and summer.

    • Loved our woven wrap for when the kids were light enough to front carry. Gorgeous and comfortable. I had the girasol rainbow. Size 6 seems standard to start with for most newborn front carries. It’s best to take a class at a local boutique or via baby wearing international. I never got the hang of back wrapping (moved away from our local boutique and could no longer get to meet ups) so switched to a framed backpack (deuter kid comfort air) which I love and use frequently.

  10. Burgher says:

    I liked the Boba wrap for the earliest times under 15 pounds. The stretchiness was good to hold them close when they don’t have much control of their head or anything else. I liked the more structured Bjorn for the in between stage when they are starting to be mobile and can hold themselves up. However, I feel like it’s not very comfortable once they start to get bigger and heavier. Once we got to around 1 year we upgraded to a backpack Osprey Poco and a Tula. If I had to only get 1, I’d get the Tula since it’s more versatile (front and back wear, I’ve used it in the same day with a 6 month old and a 3 year old), but the backpack was great for hiking and longer shopping trips. Also, the Osprey was camping-gear-like so my husband was more into wearing it. Not that he didn’t wear all the other ones, but I feel like he was more enthusiastically wearing it.

  11. Univlawyer says:

    I used the Ergo (with large infant in a warm bear suit in winter–no insert) and then toddler Tula. Couldn’t get the hang of Moby and hated the wrapping and knotting. Preferred straps that were adjustable. Soft structured is great for the airport.

  12. Eb0220 says:

    I really wanted to comment here and now I finally have time! I wore my first mostly while traveling, but I have worn my second often. I’ve used many babywearing devices at this point:

    – Moby (Stretchy Wrap): Soft and secure if wrapped correctly, but super hot and not supportive beyond ~15 lb.
    – Ergo Sport (SSC): Used this until my older daughter was about 18 months. Lightweight version of the ergo. Much more comfortable than the original, in my opinion, and much cooler.
    – Woven Wraps: Got into wovens when pregnant with #2. I love these and have used them for a year and half now, with both my older and younger kids. They are so supportive, flexible and pretty. There is a learning curve, though.
    – Ring Slings: I have a love/hate relationship with them. I had a linen sling that I used when my baby was tiny, but she never felt secure. I always had one hand on her. That being said, it was cool and easy to nurse in. I just got another woven wrap conversion ring sling, which is really nice for quick ups now that my youngest is one. Not great for long-term wear but good to use around the house.
    – Kinderpack with mesh (SSC): My favorite SSC by far. Has a mesh panel for cooling and the infant version has an adjustable seat so no infant insert required. Downside is that they’re very hard to get and come in multiple sizes (which is a bit confusing).

    Dislikes:
    I did not like the Boba 3g or the Beco Gemini. Ring slings are tough if your little one wiggles but they have their place. Anything with an infant insert is a big pain.

  13. Leslie says:

    I agree with the Boba wrap or a similar stretchy wrap for the early months. It was invaluable to me in the first few weeks when our daughter needed to be walked to sleep, and it was comfortable for me to stand or sit with her in the wrap while she napped. Around the twelve pound/three-month mark, we started looking for a soft structured carrier. We purchased the Lillebaby Complete Airflow, and so far, I highly recommend it. We chose the Airflow primarily for the breathable mesh and the lumbar support. I’ve ended up using the carrier quite a bit for walks/hikes in our local parks. Our daughter is now seventeen pounds, and I can still comfortably wear her in the Airflow for over an hour of walking over easy terrain. The lumbar support is terrific. We have only used it in the inward-facing infant position, but look forward to trying the other positions now that she is more reliably sitting up on her own.

  14. I love the Bjorn One. Once our daughter got to 11 pounds or so, something with a waistband was a must. She’s now 16 months, 20 lbs and 31″, and we still use this several times a month–sometimes inward facing like for a newborn, if she’s particularly tired. I haven’t practiced enough to feel comfortable getting her on my back on my own, but it can be done.

    I also have a Baby K’tan–it’s the kind of thing that I wouldn’t buy again, but since I have it, we use it occasionally. It didn’t feel secure when she was an infant, but was nice when she was several months old. We used it when we were out and about, and she was tired and needed to be snuggled into napping.

  15. I’ve tried out a variety of carriers.

    Cheap-o Infantino SSC: Made my back feel horrible. I got it free, and gave it away.

    Seven sling: This is the one that they always offer free for shipping. It was great for practicing babywearing with the cat, but couldn’t get the human baby situated and didn’t feel secure.

    Baby K’Tan: Reasonably quick to put on, but still didn’t offer as much support as I felt I needed.

    Ergo: Now we were getting somewhere, but it still wasn’t quite right.

    Lillebaby: Used this pretty exclusively until she was about a year old. I liked that we could carry her front-facing, since she is very curious and always wanted to look forward. I know it’s not as good for their hips, but she was happier. My husband could wear the same carrier. Great back support.

    Kinderpack: I’ve been using this to back carry since she turned 1-ish. It’s my favorite so far, but they’re notoriously hard to come by. Great support, has a mesh panel for warmer weather, range of sizes means that you can get something that fits you (straps) and the baby (carrier). If, that is, you can snag one in a stocking.

  16. I’ve always found wraps to be the most versatile. Light and easy to carry and can be used for front and back carrying. Only problem I have is, there are not many companies making trendy nice looking baby wraps.

  17. We used a K’tan (with mesh) for the early days out and about and slightly less-early days indoors; we then used a hand-me-down Ergo (plus infant insert) for #1 when she was in the 6 week-4 month range (which was also weather-appropriate). We used the Ergo until she was 2+; I would strap her in every morning for the MTA ride to her daycare and feed her a banana for breakfast. The only thing I didn’t like was that there was no front-facing option. We also had a babyhawk mei tai which was used much less frequently, but was really great when my back needed a rest from the Ergo setup–I could cross the mei tai straps to change it up–and it really saved my bacon a few times. Even though the mei tai was cooler, I mostly preferred the Ergo for ease of use.

    This time I may or may not have purchased the Ergo Omni 360, which 1) has front-facing; 2) lets you cross the straps in back; 3) still has a rain-hood (aka sensory deprivation device for an unwilling-sleeper); and 4) does not have the reportedly-obnoxious velcro of the Ergo 360. Side benefit: does not require the infant insert. I’m stoked and optimistic.

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