When I was pregnant with my daughter Cora, I immersed myself in all things baby gear – strollers, car seats, swings. There are even “in” snot suckers, who knew? For many of the products, I wasn’t exactly sure how they would fit into daily life with a newborn. After all, I’ve never been a mom before, what do parents really do all day with a new baby? And, to make matters even more complicated, I read that there was even a possibility that our baby may not even like half of this stuff. But like a good Girl Scout, “always be prepared.”
One product that I wasn’t sure about was the baby carrier. ‘People wear their babies? What happened to strollers? Oh, people have those too?’ I had a lot of research to do. Of course, like any other product, there are never just a few options to choose from. There were soft ones. Structured ones. Front carry, back carry. ‘What’s side carry?’ Slings, wraps, oh my! What would be the right choice, how would I decide?
What I Chose & Why
For those of you in the throes of carrier research, I ended up with 2:
Do you need 2 carriers? Of course not. Here’s what I liked about having 2 carriers and these carriers in particular:
- Look, ma, no hands! Carriers of any kind are great for freeing up your hands. I didn’t know it when I was a blissfully ignorant mom-to-be, but our baby needed nearly constant contact. She didn’t like being placed in “containers” (strollers, car seats, swings, you name it) – she wanted the real thing. So getting anything done around the house would require us to strap her in. She was happy and I was getting things done.
- Magic wrap. Once we figured out how to actually use it (there can be a learning curve; YouTube was very helpful), I really liked the wrap for the newborn phase. Where the Ergo felt like a bit much to wear around the house and take casual strolls around the neighborhood, the wrap was perfect – lightweight, breathable and, probably most important to me, Cora seemed so happy and peaceful. It also happened to be the only thing that could calm her colicky outbursts. Like magic!
- Wrap fashion. Something I didn’t figure out until later in my “baby-wearing game”: some parents wear their wraps all day. Like, they don’t take them off, they just take baby out and put baby back in. Mind. Blown. Okay, so not exactly a fashion statement (but then again, neither is wearing the same outfit 3 days in a row and being covered in spit-up), but this would have saved me a lot of wrapping and unwrapping, so you’re welcome.
- Baby-wearing daddy. Another thing I also liked about the wrap (and perhaps this wrap in particular, as I’m not sure this is true of all wraps) was that it was “one size fits all” and my husband (who is a bigger dude) could wear it too. He wasn’t really “in” to the whole “wearing our baby” thing, but the few times he tried, the wrap worked perfectly for him.
- My Ergo “purse.” The Ergo, on the other hand, is a great solution for more active outings and even going to the store. It’s easy to throw on and off (no wrapping involved) and there’s a pocket in the front, which is a great place to stash your phone, wallet, etc. and basically eliminated my need to carry around a purse.
- Versatile carries. Another great thing about the Ergo is that it can grow with your baby (the Original goes up to 45lbs) and is versatile in terms of supporting different carries.
- Will you be breastfeeding? If so, consider one that will allow you to nurse while baby is strapped in.
- If baby is coming in the hotter months, there are wrap carriers made out of mesh material and even ones that you can wear in the water.
- If you plan on wearing your baby in colder months, consider a carrier cover to keep baby warm.
- Think about how long you’d like to be wearing your baby (just as a newborn? Until she goes to college?), as each carrier has different size limits.
For those of you who have purchased (a) carrier(s), do you like yours? Why or why not? What other advice would you give to parents shopping around for the right carrier solution(s) for their family?