Wraps, Slings and Carriers, Oh my!

The pros of babywearing and how it can help you! The different types of carriers and which one might be right for your family.

The world of baby carrying, or babywearing, is nothing new to man and womankind; for as long as babies have been born, parents and caregivers have been carrying them.
Babywearing is of the utmost benefits for so many reasons, including but not limited to:

  • the reduction of SIDS (Sears)
  • helps encourage a healthy supply of breastmilk and weight gain in the baby, including with babies who are “problem suckers” (La Leche League, 2006)
  • reduction in crying and colic symptoms (La Leche League, 2013) (Sears)
  • stabilizes breathing, heart rate and temperature (La Leche League, 2013)
  • discourages flat head syndrome, enhances learning (Sears)
  • promotes bonding, promotes bonding in the mama who is struggling with depression and can even alleviate depression symptoms (US National Library of Medicine, 1996).

Plus it’s fun! Carrying is not a “woman only” job; many men enjoy carrying their children and the bonding element it gives them. Babies/toddlers can nap, nurse and explore all from the comfort of being close to their care givers.

I received my first babywearing tool from my older sister, Jasmine. She gave me a chocolate brown Moby wrap, which I still have to this day. I started wearing my middle child, Jasmine, named after my sister, as a newborn. As a mother who suffered from severe PPD (postpartum depression), babywearing allowed me to still connect with her without trying. It also gave me the freedom to care for my older daughter, Mae. I stopped wearing Jasmine once she out grew her acid reflux and colic stage and started up again when I discovered carriers made for older children.

My son, and newest child, Blake, has been worn since birth and daily, if not multiple times a day. With three kids, one being a newborn (now 4 months old) whose only desire is to snuggle close, carrying him was/is a life and sanity saver.

Diving into the world of babywearing can be intimidating. There are so many options to choose from, and many parents are confused at which option is best for them. Here is a brief intro into some of the many different types of carriers:

  • Soft Structure Carriers or SSC:

These types of carriers are similar to backpacks, or ‘frontpacks’. They are usually made from canvas or a woven material. They will have straps that connect to shell (where the baby sits) and a strap that wraps around the adults waist. Some SSCs are buckle types, meaning the straps are connected via a buckle (similar to a buckle on a life jacket), and other SSC’s are secured by tying them around you. These are quick and easy and great for beginners. Most users recommend using them on older infants, however infant inserts are available for some SSCs so the parent can wear the baby from birth on up. Brand examples: Ergo, Tula, Beco, Líllébaby, Kinderpack, Babyhawk.

  • Wraps:

Wraps are one long piece of fabric that, like the name suggest, is used to wrap the baby to you. Many parents like wraps because they are comfortable and easily worn on newborns to toddlers. Wraps enable parents to wear their child on their chest, side or back. While tricky at first, there are many YouTube videos on proper wrapping techniques. There are numerous types of wraps; some stretchy, some not. The list is almost endless, so really it depends on what suits your needs. Brand examples: girasol, Moby, Boba, Baby K’Tan, Wrapsody.

  • Ring Slings:

These are similar to wraps in that its one long piece of fabric, but instead of tying the fabric around you, it’s threaded through two rings and held in place securely. These are quick, easy and versatile. They are great for newborn through toddler ages. Ring slings can be worn on chest, side and back. Brand examples: Comfy Joey, Sakura Bloom, Maya Wrap, Ellaroo.

  • Hiking Packs:

These types of carriers have a metal frame and are used for hiking or long walk purposes almost exclusively. They are intended for more endurance style excursions and kids who are able to sit up by themselves securely. Brand examples: Kelty, Osprey, Deuter.

 

Sources: 

La Leche League. (2006, 11 17). The Benefits of Babywearing
La Leche League. (2013, 03 25). Babywearing
Sears, D. B. (n.d.). 3 Reasons Babywearing Reduces SIDS
US National Library of Medicine. (1996). Depressed mothers’ touching increases infants’ positive affect and attention in still-face interactions. 

What has been your favorite baby carrier? Have you tried more than one? What would you recommend to a brand new mama who wants to give babywearing a try?

One Response to Wraps, Slings and Carriers, Oh my!

  1. Pingback: My Heart Creative Ring Sling Review & Giveaway Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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