Or, why we cannot tell you what kind of carrier to buy or use over the internet based on baby’s age alone.
There are so many styles of carriers, so many carries that each carrier can do… in addition there are body types to consider (for wearer and wearee), physical limitations/development, weight, how baby prefers to be held, how caregiver prefers to hold baby, what activities will be done while wearing, what season it is, budget, interests, ideal longevity of carrier, lifestyle choices (are you vegan?), breastfeeding status, mode of birth (cesarean incision?) — all of which need to be taken into account when choosing a carrier.
This is why we offer local meetings and for those who cannot make the meetings the opportunity to connect with local babywearers in person. The best approach is to try out the carriers first. It saves so much hassle, not only in seeing options but having an experienced babywearer show you how to use it so you don’t miss an opportunity to use a carrier that really works for you and your LO.
Mother of average size and height comes in with newborn, was told online to use a stretchy wrap because her baby is newborn. She tries it but it’s not working for her or her baby. She has very stiff shoulders and finds it extremely difficult to manage the wrap. She is heat intolerant and it’s a sweltering summer, the wrap makes her feel woozy. She has a limited budget and wants a carrier that will last a long time. We look for an longer-term alternative to the stretchy wrap.
She asks about an Ergo because someone online told her that that would be the next carrier to buy because it would last forever. I ask her how tall the baby’s father is, and he’s nearly 6’5″, her baby is already in the 90th percentile on the growth charts. An Ergo is not likely to last very long because of it’s short body, but as it is in the style of all SSC’s we try it on. Baby freaks out. Hates it. Every trick in the book is tried and mom realizes that baby hates having his knees apart. So at least for a while SSC’s are not going to work for them.
I ask her to show me how she normally holds him. She nestles him into the crook of her arm, hand under his knees and thighs. So we try a linen ring sling. Baby is settled into a semi-cradle position as close to the position his mother held him in naturally. He settles down to sleep. Mom isn’t overheating. She feels confident in her ability to write her papers and nurse him hands free in the carrier– and re-adjust it without hurting her stiff shoulders. We demonstrate how the ring sling positions can change as the baby grows.
Mother purchases a fitted pouch sling. She has tried desperately to get it to work but it always feels too loose and her baby keeps trying back bends. We all trouble shoot with her and her carrier. It is the right size, the pouch ends just above her belly button, shoulder flips galore… then we notice her figure. She’s dramatically pear shaped: full hips and very delicate shoulders. A smaller pouch would be too small to fit the baby near her waist, and the correct size is too big for her small shoulders. The fitted pouch simply won’t work for her. As she preferred baby to be upright we tried an Ergo on her and the adaptability of the shoulder straps and chest belt made the carrier very secure, even with the back-bending baby.
Choosing a carrier requires more than the baby’s age and weight. I am certainly not implying that one must attend a meeting before purchasing or making a carrier, simply that it might be less stressful and costly to do so. While we can rule out certain carriers based only on age and weight– for example, a 10 month old and a Moby stretchy wrap do not mix, we cannot pin point the best carrier for you.
We want babywearing to be fun for you and your family. Spending money and time with a carrier that while perfect for another family but isn’t working for yours is a pain that we hope to avoid! I hope you understand!