Carrying your baby close to your body is not only a bonding experience, but it also has many benefits for both you and your child.
Baby carriers allow you to keep your hands free while still holding your baby close, and they come in a variety of styles to suit your needs.
In this blog post, we'll cover the different types of carriers available, some health concerns to be aware of, and the benefits of baby wearing.
Different Types of Carriers
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a carrier is finding one that is comfortable for both you and your baby. Different types of carriers distribute weight differently, so it's important to find one that feels good for you. Here are some of the most popular types of carriers:
Wraps are long pieces of fabric that you tie around your body in various ways to create a custom fit. They can be used for newborns as well as older infants and toddlers.
Pros: they evenly distribute weight, can be used for different Holds, many can be converted into other carrying positions as baby gets older.
Cons: takes practice to learn how to tie correctly, not as much support for your back.
Slings are like a long scarf that goes over one shoulder and across your body, with the fabric cradling baby in an upright position next to you. They are best suited for newborns and young infants.
Pros: very comfortable once you get the hang of it, easy to breastfeed in.
Cons: can be tricky to put on by yourself, not as much support for your back.
If you think a Sling is appropriate for your needs, check out my blog The Best Baby Slings for Comfort and Convenience.
Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)
SSCs look like a backpack with straps that go over both shoulders and often have a waist belt as well. The carrier has buckles and straps that adjust to create a snug and secure fit. They can be used with infants as well as toddlers.
Pros: more support for your back than wraps or slings, usually have storage pockets.
Cons: can be bulky and hot in warmer weather, harder to breastfeed in.
If you think a Soft-Structured Carrier is appropriate for your needs, check out my blog The Best Baby Carriers (So You Can Actually Get Things Done).
Mei Tais are similar to SSCs but do not have the built-in structure, making them much lighter weight. Straps tie around both shoulders and around your waist, with the fabric panel attaching at the top in the back. They can be used with infants as well as toddlers.
Pros: more comfortable in warm weather than SSCs, easier to breastfeed in.
Cons: takes practice to get a good fit, provides less back support than SSCs.
Structured carriers are baby carriers that have a lot of support and tend to be more bulky than other types of carriers. They are best suited for infants and toddlers, and can be used with both newborns and older children.
Pros: One of the biggest benefits of using a structured carrier is that it provides a lot of support for your back, which can be helpful if you're carrying a heavy child.
Cons: Structured carriers can be quite hot in warm weather, and they can also be difficult to breastfeed in and are often expensive.
If you think a Structured Carrier is appropriate for your needs, check out my blog How to Safely Take Your Baby on a Hike.
Some Health Concerns To Be Aware Of
When using any type of carrier, it's important to be aware of some potential health concerns for both you and your baby. For example, hip dysplasia is a condition that can occur when babies are not positioned properly in their carrier, causing the hip joint to develop abnormally.
This is why it's so important to make sure you're using a carrier that is comfortable for both you and your baby and that distributes weight evenly between your hips and shoulders.
Additionally, it's important not take extended breaks while wearing your baby—it's best to carry them for short periods of time (30 minutes or less) so that they don't become sleepy or cranky while being worn .
The Benefits Of Baby Wearing
In addition to being convenient and freeing up your hands , there are many benefits associated with wearing your baby close to your body . For example, research has shown that babies who are carried crying tend to cry less overall than those who are not carried, likely because they feel secure and comforted being close to their caregiver .
Additionally, babies who are carried tend to develop stronger muscles and coordination earlier than those who are not, likely because they are constantly moving their arms and legs while being worn.
And finally, babies who are carried tend to gain weight more quickly than those who are not, likely because they are exposed to more opportunities for eating.
Childbearing comes with great responsibility. Not only do you have to think about what’s best for yourself but also what's best for your little one. With all of the different products on the market, its daunting to say the least. In this brief guide we went over some basics on best practices for safely carrying your newborn as well as pros and cons for each type of carrier.
When doubtful, you can apply the adage “if something feels off then it probably is”, err on the side of caution and always consult with pediatrician before making any decisions regarding your own health or the health of your child.
Babies are born with everything they need but they need us caregivers to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which they can grow and thrive.