My First Stash
When starting out in the babywearing world, not only are there so many DIFFERENT WAYS TO WEAR your baby, but it feels like there are infinite options of WHAT TO USE to wear your baby……. because expecting a new baby (or 2) isn’t overwhelming enough right?
When getting started, having a few of these answers in mind can definitely help you narrow down which option may be best for you!
THINGS TO CONSIDER: What are the GOALS of your babywearing journey?
Why are you wearing? (multiple children to care for? “stage 5 clinger”? active/on-the-go? tired of your baby crying? teething? for free snuggles?)
Who are you wearing? (one baby? twins? siblings?)
When are you wearing? (for outings? house work? for walks? while running errands?)
Where are you wearing? (store? bus stop? at home? in and out?)
How big is/are your squishy(ies)? (nb? infant? toddler? preschool? <– yes, you CAN wear that long!)
Since the only person that can make the best decision for you is YOU, here are a few “highlights” about your options!
REMEMBER SAFETY FIRST!!
*The purpose of this post is to highlight the main features, pros, and cons of each carrier option in the babywearing world, and is NOT suggesting that all carrier options (i.e. back) are safe for beginners. Back carries are addressed in each section, however it is important to be fully aware of back wearing safety, before attempting! Check to see if there is a babywearing consultant/group in your area. PLEASE always use your discretion when it comes to your baby’s safety!
These are great for starting out with wrapping AND for newer squishies, but the amount of fabric can be slightly overwhelming, especially for beginners. (Note: we are talking about wraps like Moby, Boba, Solly Baby, etc.) Keep in mind that even though you are also going to be limited to a handful of carries that you can do with this wrap, it is a great place to start learning what wrapping is all about. The great thing about this option is that with these carries you can PRE TIE them before you leave the house, which means that you just have to “pop” baby in and tighten. (VERY useful for “quick” stops or in/out errands!) Keep in mind that after a certain size/weight, the stretch in the material and the weight of your baby will find each other and can tend to cause the wrap to sag, which simply means that you may have to readjust the wrap. (If you like the wrap option, this is a great time to start looking into wovens!).
Remember NO BACK CARRIES WITH A STRETCHY!!! (WATCH WHY NOT HERE!)
Budget Friendly Tip: Check your local children’s consignment shops.
MEH DAIS (MD)
Meh dais are Asian inspired carriers that happen to be a personal favorite. They are an unstructured happy medium of a woven wrap and a soft structured carrier (SSC). It has the panel of a carrier, but straps that give you a wrapped feeling. Generally, you have the option to front/back/ hip carry with a MD. You can use a MD from birth* until your baby hits the weight limit, or gets too tall for the body panel. As long as you do not have to make any modifications and you have EXPERIENCE (or help) with back carrying, you can use a MD on the back before your baby can sit. (If no experience/help, it’s best to wait until baby can sit.) You can also tandem wear two MDs or use a combination of carriers and a MD!
*please check your manufacturer's recommendations/consult with a babywearing consultant/educator if you are unsure
Ring Slings (RS)
Read more about ring slings in our "Getting to Know Your Ring Sling" collaboration post with Jan from Sleeping Baby Productions!
Woven wraps can be used from birth through an extended amount of time. (There really is no weight limit on a woven wrap!) You can use a woven wrap to front carry, hip carry, and back carry. Similar to the meh dai, you can back carry baby before baby can sit. You can back carry with a woven as soon as you are experienced, and comfortable, enough to do so. And when you feel safe to do so with baby. You can also use one woven wrap to tandem wear two littles- as long as the carries are tied independently from each other. Woven wraps come in different sizes, which vary by meters. Different lengths are required for different carries, and different bodies. Please visit our babywearing section for a small taste of the carries that you can do with a woven wrap. (YouTube is another great resource to find more carries!)
Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)
Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) inspiration comes from the meh dai, replacing the straps that tie off with buckles to click on the go. These carriers have the capability to front carry, hip carry, forward face carry, and back carry- depending on your specific carrier. These carriers were initially designed for babies who are 6 months (sitting) and older, but due to the convenience, ease of use, and "on the go" capacity it holds, they have become and increasingly popular carrier to use from birth through toddlerhood. In the past these carriers have required an infant insert to accomodate holding a smaller baby, but due to advances and meeting the customers requests, newer carriers offer the "grow with your baby" feature- removing the need for the infant insert. The "grow with baby" feature allows the panel to adjust more narrowly at the bottom to support smaller babies hip development, and also in height so that the baby can be supported by the panel, not consumed by it.
*Babywearing education may vary between organizations/educators, however please note it is important to reserve back wearing for either experienced wearers or if you have an consultant/educator’s assistance, or until baby can sit unassisted.
Click on the photos below to see the various ways (and stages) of wearing!