Baby carriers for beginners

“Put your hands up, put your hands up” 🎢

Baby carriers are considered a must-have item for most parents registry. Also known as babywearing, it allows you to cuddle with your baby and keep your hands free at the same time. If you are new to the baby carrier world, there is quite some information you need to learn! I know it is boring and time-consuming, but it is absolutely paramount in order to keep your baby safe and yourself confident! And I promise we made it easy to read!

Ring Sling: Hip Baby Wrap

Here is what we will cover:

  • Are baby carriers necessary?
  • What are the types of carriers in the market?
  • Is it safe for newborns?

This post does not have personal opinions on safety matters.
All safety information is from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the International Hip Dysplasia Institute websites. They are accordingly referred throughout the text.


Are baby carriers necessary?

No, they are not. Not in the sense of being mandatory by law, like a car seat. So, if you don’t want to buy it or you can’t buy it, you don’t have to.

However, they can be very (very) helpful, depending on your lifestyle and your baby personality. Most newborns love it from the beginning, some babies hate it. Most parents love it, including for working out and discrete breastfeeding. Some parents can’t wrap their minds around it.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babywearing brings a lot of benefits for the baby. It can be a good response to crying and contribute to parent attachment which can help with baby development.

For you, it can be a convenient alternative to strollers when you face the crowds (or even if you don’t want to buy a stroller at all). At home, it can be a cheaper alternative to bouncers. But again, it really depends on your preferences.

Wrap: LILLÉBaby

What are the types of baby carriers?

There are basically 4 types of carriers in the market: Ring sling, Wrap, Soft-structured and Framed.

That’s not only for sales purposes, but for safety.

When it comes to carrying babies, it’s all about their right neck, back, and hip positions, and each model is more suited to better accommodate the baby as they grow and have more muscular control.

In general, each type has specific features for age, weight and seating-positions. But, each brand and model has its own characteristics, as follows:


Ring sling

❍ Long soft fabric with a ring

❍ More used from 0 to 6 months

❍ Over one shoulder & across torso support

❍ Carrying positions: Newborns facing in. Babies with head control face out. Older, heavier babies on the hip.

❍ Discreet breastfeeding friendly

❍ International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommended for babies under 6 months

✰ Some parents find it uncomfortable if you have preexisting back issues, but it’s easy to assemble


Wrap

❍ Super long soft fabric

❍ From 0 to 18 months

❍ Over booth shoulders & around mid-section support

❍ Carrying positions: Newborns facing in. Babies with head control face out.

❍ Discreet breastfeeding friendly

❍ International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommended for babies under 6 months

✰ Some parents consider it too complicated to assemble & it can get hot, but it is more comfortable on their back and shoulders.


Because babywearing has become very popular in the US over the years, there are some well established famous brands in the market, approved by the CPSC, the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, and loved baby specialists and parents. Since the price range varies from US$30 to over US$100, there is an option for every budget.


Soft-structured

❍ Ergonomic backpack-like with defined baby seat

❍ From 0 (some models) to toddler

❍ Adjustable shoulder straps & around the waist support

❍ Carrying positions: Newborns facing in. Babies with head control face out.

❍ International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommended for babies after 6 months old (except for approved models)

✰ Most parents prefer soft-structured carriers for older babies, with neck control


Frame Carrier

❍ Framed backpack with baby seat

❍ After baby can hold own neck to early childhood

❍ Adjustable shoulder straps & around the waist support

❍ Back carrying position

✰ Parents love it for hiking or longer outdoor activities


In conclusion, what you must consider to decide which one to buy is basically:

  • age-appropriate, safe & comfortable for the baby;
  • comfortable for your back;
  • convenient for your lifestyle.

And yes, you are thinking right: most parents who opt for babywearing have several carriers. So it is really on you! πŸ˜‰


Is babywearing safe for newborns?

It is. As long as you follow the positioning safety recommendations.

There are 2 main hazards for wearing newborns in the wrong position: suffocation and hip dysplasia. However, according to the CPSC and the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, both risks may be prevented by properly wearing the baby in the “M” position, no matter which type of carrier you choose.

The golden rule for baby carrying is: Newborns facing in. Babies with head control face out. Older, heavier babies on your hip.

Since babies can’t fully hold their necks and back for the first 5 or 6 months, positioning them in the “C” shape may cause suffocation hazards on young infants. Also because newborns are still developing their hip ligaments, their hips should be supported most of the time.

Because of that, the carrier must be ergonomic and appropriate for their weight and age, so they can be placed in a safe position.

In 2017 the CPSC approved a federal safety standard for slings and carriers. Therefore, carriers sold in the USA must comply with their standards.

And remember to always check the manufacturers’ instructions tag before using your carrier.


Wow! That’s a lot of information!

What about you? Feel like wearing your baby?


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