Baby Wearing - Which Baby Carrier?
When I was pregnant with Gavin, I confess I didn't know anything about baby carriers, baby wearing nor had I even heard of attachment parenting. Even after I heard about it, I don't think the concept of attachment parenting really sank in until Gavin was born and I started to care for him.
I bought my Bjorn baby carrier on the advice of my BFF and have never regretted it once. The carrier was a Godsend especially since we had a baby who hated his pram. Although the hubby secretly thinks we spoilt him when we failed to "train" him to sit in the pram, I like to think that Gavin just happens to be one of those babies who dislikes sitting in a pram. Nevertheless, after reading up on attachment parenting and the many benefits of baby wearing, I'm glad I never "trained" (read: cry-it-out) Gavin to sit in his pram.
Baby Wearing - Great for Mom, Wonderful for Baby
As a pro-attachment parenting Mom, I believe that babies are meant to be carried close to Mommy or a carer. Since a sling offers the flexibility to carry baby while performing other tasks, I feel it is one of the best inventions ever. I'm obviously not the only one who thinks so because Gavin agrees, too. From the first day he sat in his carrier (he was just a few days past one month), Gavin has loved being in the carrier. You just have to look at the smile on his face in the photo on the right to see that he felt right at home in his Bjorn carrier.
One of my friend's also related a story about her daughter and her hubby's experience with the sling. Her daughter normally fusses the moment she has soiled her diaper. One afternoon, her hubby took her daughter for a walk in the carrier. Her daughter was so happy in the carrier that she endured a poopy diaper without a fuss. Clearly, her enjoyment of being in the sling outweighed her discomfort from a soiled diaper.
Carriers and Slings - Which is the Best?
Individual preferences vary and only you will know which one is most comfortable for you and your baby. Having used three different slings and carriers with Gavin who is soon to be one year old and still happy to be in a carrier, here are my thoughts on each one that I personally own and use.
Baby Bjorn - Active
Weight Limit: 3-12kgs
Comfort: Average - weight distribution over two shoulders and some to the back. After a couple of hours, it starts to feel like I've been hiking with a 10kg day-pack.
Ways of Carrying: Two.
Pros: minimal learning curve. Easily adjusted so you can breastfeed baby in the carrier on either breast.
Cons: low weight limit, leg holes are quite tight (when you have a chubby baby with thunder thighs, it tends to impede circulation to the feet), although the weight is distributed over two shoulders, the lack of padding makes it uncomfortable after a while.
Weight Limit: 30kgs - so you can even carry a toddler
Comfort: Poor - weight distribution over one shoulder. It doesn't take long for my arm to feel numb. Not a practical method of carrying baby if you intend to do some serious shopping.
Ways of Carrying: Five - forward facing, inward facing, on the hip, sleeping, on the back.
Pros: very versatile - many ways to carry baby, good weight limit. Easy to put on and carry around.
Cons: has a bit of a learning curve to get used to it, and can't carry baby for extended periods of time. You can only breastfeed baby on one side.
Weight Limit: Not mentioned.
Comfort: Very comfortable for both Mummy and baby. It distributes weight evenly over both shoulders and hips.
Ways of Carrying: Two
Pros: the snug fit is great for young babies because it micmics the womb, you can breastfeed a younger baby discreetly by tucking the head under one of the straps . Very comfortable, even if you have a heavy baby.
Cons: has a steep learning curve. Difficult to breastfeed an older child while in the sling. Messy to take off and put on.
Availability: Baby Bunting. You can also buy it online directly from Hug-a-bub.
Price: Hug-a-bub costs A$110 - rather steep for something that is basically just a piece of fabric. The one seen in the pictures above is home-made. You can check this link to make the baby sling yourself.
What's the Verdict?
Personally, I like the Hug-a-Bub best. I find it the most comfortable both for baby and Mummy. Although, I recently came across a new wrap which promises to be even better than the Hug-a-Bub, although I won't be able to provide an in depth review until I try one out for myself...