Lets face it, as a parent our lives are busy. We would love to hold our baby throughout the day but sometimes that is not practical. A baby carrier gives back the use of both hands to do mommy or daddy things. There are a wide variety of carriers in the market and with more being introduced every year making the choice harder and harder. What is difference between a baby wrap, outdoor baby backpack, sling or a soft structured carrier and which is the best for your child and you.
The most basic and traditional carrier is a wrap. It’s a piece of fabric made from variety of materials and sizes. It’s an ideal infant carrier and the most versatile to all baby and parent shapes. Infant wraps are the most intimidating of the carriers and does require a parent to be careful and consider the babies safety. As infants grow and become heavier parents find a wraps become uncomfortable. The fabric goes around the center of your body, the two ends going across your back and up over your shoulders to create an X. The center of the X on your back is were you will feel most of your babies weight from. The two ends will then come down the center of your body, in between the fabric and yourself, it will then be wrapped around your waist and tied off either on the back or the front of your body. It sounds complicated at first and will feel complicated the first time you try it. The baby will go between you and all the fabric, with each of the layers you created supporting the baby. For newborns that can’t support their necks yet, you can bring up the center piece high over their heads giving them the support they need.
Mei Tai are fabrics that are shaped like squares and have a strap coming off each corner. The bottom straps and top straps are generally different sizes and width. The longer straps go over the shoulder while the shorter straps wrap around the waist. Mei Tai are much like wraps but are easier to learn and offer more support however there are different variations. Depending on the variation Mei Tai can be used for infant to toddlers. A Mei Tai that is short and narrow is ideal for a newborn while a longer and wider Mei Tai is perfect for a toddler. The body of the fabric should be relative to the body of the child it’s supporting. It is important that the neck of the newborn is supporting, once the baby can support it’s own neck, a neck support is not as important. Most parents end up rolling their Mei Tai and using strings to customize the carrier to their babies size, the baby then grows into the Mei Tai followed by them growing out of it. Mei Tai’s are both front and back carrying for toddlers and only front carrying for newborns. Never carry a newborn in a way that you cannot easily kiss their foreheads, it is unsafe and dangerous.
Baby backpacks are carriers that are mostly designed for outdoor use. Depending on the make, the offer wide variety of features. As the name suggests, they are back carriers and generally feature many pockets, sunshade and are made for toddlers. These type of carriers are not ideal for newborns as they can slip between the bag, lack proper neck support and most importantly are extremely unsafe for newborns. If you love hiking, have a toddler and want to take your baby with you a baby backpack is something you should look at.
Baby Slings are designed to be hip carried. They generally feature a ring type structure and are ideal of toddlers. Some parents don’t like slings as they babies weight is on one shoulder, this becomes an apparent issue as the child grows heavier.