November is here already! And it got cold in a hurry this year– be sure to check out our Winter Babywearing posts for tips on staying warm. We were able to dig into our group stash for this meeting as an expecting mom came to learn about all her options for babywearing, including carrier sizing and three ways to create a ring sling without sewing. And one of our regulars came to visit, wanting to talk about woven wraps and to troubleshoot back carries with her little one.
It’s always difficult not to overwhelm someone who is new to the world of babywearing and still expecting. There are so many options to consider and of course, we have this massive stash of carriers– which one should they get. We have to be honest: we just don’t know. And that is one of the reasons we’re here (and why we have so many carriers available to try). There is no ideal carrier– though Kelsey thinks a mei-tai comes pretty close– what will work for you depends on your body, how you plan to wear, and on your baby’s temperament, development, and health. But there are a few things to consider before your baby is born to help narrow down the choices.
What season will your baby be born in? What is the weather like where you will be living?
A winter baby in Iowa is going to require more protection from the elements than a summer baby. For summer, you’ll want to look for light-weight, breathable fabrics that wick away moisture and potentially provide UV protection. In the winter, something that you can keep on under your coat and pop baby in and out of without much adjustment is ideal. In the fall or spring, you might consider investing in a babywearing vest or poncho.
Breast or Bottle or Both?
While it is possible to breastfeed in every carrier (save hybrid harness carriers), some will be easier than others. A stretchy wrap or ring sling is ideal for handsfree nursing of newborns– though a stretchy wrap might be better for a winter baby than a summer baby. Bottlefed newborns can be fed from any carrier and for those with GERD or who are just spitters, feeding in an upright position can really help them keep their meals down.
Who will be the primary caregiver for the baby? What kinds of things will they (or you) be doing after baby is born?
A stay-at-home-parent with one child will have different wearing needs than a stay-at-home-parent with a house full of older kids to care for. The latter may need a carrier that can be used as or in conjunction with other carriers for tandem wearing. A parent who works full time outside the home needs to prepare dinner and do housework after work will need a carrier that can be used for back carries asap. Work at home parents will need to consider which position carry will best suit their tasks.
Did you know there are different sizes of ringslings? Or that while wraps are measured in meters, ring slings are measured in inches? The longer the ring sling the larger (or taller) the person they will fit around, however, some folks will purposely get a very long ringsling in order to use the tail for specialty carries, for example, a highback ruck.
There are a few means of getting a ringsling style carry without have to own a ring sling:
1. half hitch knot in a length of fabric
2. No-No-No Carry using only fabric tension.
3. No-Sew Ring Sling
Fitted pouches are like a ring sling without the rings or tail. They are, in effect, just the pouch formed from a folded tube of fabric. The diameter of that tube is determined by the wearer’s shoulder-to-opposite-hip measurement, not the baby. Once you have the right size you can wear any size baby (or toddler!) in it.
While some brands have adjustable pouches, we’ve found them to be a bit of a hassle to adjust, whether internal D-rings or velcro. Generally, a fitted pouch can be adjusted to pull the top rail closer (for smaller babies) with a shoulder flip.
“What size should I get?” The size is determined by 1. your measurements 2. which carries you want to do. For more information click here or see the video below.
“How do I keep the ends off the ground when wrapping?” We recommend tucking them into your back pockets or clothing while you wrap and unwrap. Having the wrap semi-started helps, so long as you can tuck your baby into it safely when semi-pre-tied. With a stretchy wrap (for newborns) you can pretied and just pop baby in and out of it without worrying about the ends.
“ZOMG! There is a wrap for sale for $800!” Yep. That is high-end babywearing for you, check out this interview with Kelsey on the subject.