babywearing

By Kristina

carriers

Babywearing is amazing for being able to get things done around the house while holding a (sleeping or awake) baby, for commuting on the bus or T, or for taking the baby on outings where a stroller would just be too bulky. I registered for the Ergo360 and infant insert, thinking that it would cover all my babywearing needs. I had to wait to use the Ergo until Parker weighed over 7 pounds, and was a bit nervous about using it at first, so I ended up trying a few wrap carriers around the house and then on short outings before trying soft structured carriers. I would tell expectant or new moms to just wait until their babies are born and then try out carriers with a group such as Babywearing International or from friends who already own them before making purchases.

Baby K’Tan
We originally got this from Babies R Us after hearing how much easier it was to use than the Moby. It comes in sizes to fit the wearer (not the baby) and can be arranged in different holds (e.g., the kangaroo hold for newborns) on the front and hip. However, I sent my husband out on a shopping trip to go get it in size S, thinking that S was the smallest size. I tried it on with Parker and it felt like he was sinking too low. I checked the website and realized that women 5’2″ or under should size down and that a size XS exists. Unfortunately, Babies R Us didn’t have any XS K’Tans in stock when I tried to exchange it, and specified further that they wouldn’t be carrying them.

Boba
I ended up exchanging the K’Tan for a Boba wrap (which was in stock and was one size fits all). One of my coworkers highly recommended it as well. I found the Boba really great for the newborn stage (with legs froggied in) and a little after (with legs froggied out). It kept Parker snuggled really close, much like a swaddle. This was great for calming him down–sometimes he would pass right out after being put in it when he was fussy. It was more complicated to learn than the Baby K’Tan at first, but the steps got much easier with practice. The fabric is really long, so I only put it on at home or in my mom & baby classroom (didn’t want it dragging on the ground). You can put it on at the beginning of the day or before a car ride, then just put the baby in it. However, it’s not that useful for long walks outside. I liked it best for around the house or in other indoor situations such as eating at a restaurant. I’ve heard that these are only useful for up to 15 pounds, but I stopped using it around 11 or 12 pounds because Parker didn’t seem to get calmed down by it anymore.

Ergo360
I tried the Ergo around the house before venturing out to the library, restaurants, hiking in the Fells, and the Head of the Charles Regatta. Initially, I found that my back hurt after wearing the Ergo, but I learned (ironically when trying on a different carrier) that I’d had the waist belt on too low. It was much more comfortable after I moved up the waist belt so the bottom edge barely hit the top of my hip bone. I found it well suited for outdoors events and commuting. It’s thicker and padded, which felt good in cooler weather–I think it would have been unbearably hot in the summer. We got gray, which goes with everything. My husband was okay with wearing the Ergo, whereas he didn’t even want to try the Boba because it seemed more cumbersome. Parker never seemed very comfortable with the infant insert. Though he needed the height boost and head support, it seemed too narrow for him. I also tried to just put him on top of a rolled up receiving blanket, but a few of those times he peed on me. Having to add the infant insert or the blanket before putting him in from the car seat felt inconvenient. Another inconvenience was having to carry a small purse for my phone and keys.

Lillebaby Complete All Seasons
Because the Ergo wasn’t exactly suiting my babywearing MO, I researched other soft structured carriers (such as Tula, Beco, and Lillebaby). I settled on the Lillebaby carrier in the Guncles print. So far I’m really happy with it. The Guncles print is very cheery and distinctive. It was hard to settle on just one pattern (and it turns out that many people purchase multiple carriers because they love collecting pretty patterns). I’m cool with just keeping the Ergo as a backup in case Parker vomits, pees, or poops on it and we need a carrier while the Lillebaby is washed and dried. The Lillebaby is reasonably easy to put on, even with a fussy baby. I sometimes misalign the buckle for the back strap when attempting to fasten it, but it doesn’t take too long to correct that. It doesn’t require an infant insert–to carry babies under 6 months, you can put the carrier into a narrow seat formation and use a mesh head support. Figuring out how to convert the seat from wide to narrow is a little weird at first though. The lumbar support makes it really comfortable, and will be even more essential as Parker gets bigger. Poor form isn’t that bad when carrying a tiny baby, but would make babywearing awful for a big one. I prefer the buckle on the waistband to the Ergo 360’s velcro. It takes less time to put on, isn’t loud, and can remain set for my waist size. I also prefer the mesh head support to the Ergo360’s infant insert or the flap. It’s easier to attach with the buckles than to add the insert or unbutton/rebutton the flap on the Ergo. I love that it has a pocket (though the pocket’s a little small). Parker is nowhere near this size, but the max weight is 45 pounds (compared to 35 pounds for the Ergo).

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