Baby wearing is a big thing these days although women in other cultures have been carrying their babies on their hips and backs for centuries. I have had such a hard time with finding an appropriate baby carrier that is both comfortable for Cubby and for myself. It has been a bumpy ride! Let me chronicle my adventures in baby wearing for you.
I had done some reviews of baby carriers prior to having Cubby and had decided that I wanted a carrier that could be worn on the front, back and the hip. I purchased a Snugli and kept it in the box unopened (www.snugli.com/soft-carriers/seated-snugli/). About a month before Cubby was born, I saw that Babies R Us had the Baby Bjorn carriers on sale. Of course everyone has heard of Baby Bjorn, and a few of my friends had them (www.babybjorn.com/products/baby-carriers/). So I decided to exchange my Snugli carrier for a black original Baby Bjorn, that was worn on the front with the baby facing in or out. When Cubby was about 3-4 months old, we started putting her in the carrier facing inwards. She was a small baby so while she seemed comfortable, I just thought that it looked too big for her. Also, I noticed that when we took her out of it after being in it for about an hour, she would have red diaper creases on her legs and buttocks from the way that she was sitting in the Baby Bjorn.
I had also bought a ring sling from the Baby Time Show before Cubby was born, but it was still really big for her and I did not feel comfortable with her in it, so I sold it on Kijiji. I have been using the Baby Bjorn until recently and Cubby has been enjoying it; she really likes facing forwards. It was a God send in Mexico as we could go for long walks and she was comfortable in it. Again, I have noticed that the crotch part digs into her legs and inner thigh after being in it for about an hour. I also noticed that my lower back would really hurt from carrying her in front of me and my upper trapezius and shoulder area would kill me from the straps. I thought that I should have gotten the Baby Bjorn with lumbar support and thicker straps to distribute the weight more evenly. I was doing some research online and came across the Ergo Baby Carrier. I read the reviews and met a lady who was selling it on Kijiji. I tried it out and it was amazingly comfortable for me to wear. When I took it home and tried Cubby in it, she hated it as she would have to face in and was so used to facing outwards in the Baby Bjorn. Again, I had to sell the Ergo Baby on Kijiji.
Recently, with Cubby’s separation anxiety and her crying every time I walk 2 feet away from her, I have not been able to get a lot done in the house. It has been frustrating as I have to either stay with her and not do any housework or carry her on one hip and use one hand to clean and cook with. I haven’t found a solution for her separation anxiety and I know it is not a phase that you can let her “cry it out” as she cries harder and harder and becomes hysterical. From everything that I have read about separation anxiety, she needs me to pick her up and she needs reassurance that I am there for her, or else it could get worse and she could become insecure. I have gone back to the drawing board.
A few moms have given me advice regarding using a back carrier so that your hands are free to cook, clean, etc. and she can’t grab at things in front of her. I have heard of the Beco Butterfly (www.becobabycarrier.com/cat-1/butterfly-2) the Chimparoo Mei Tei Carrier (www.chimparoo.ca/en/produitsMeiTai.asp) and the Ergo Baby Carrier (http://store.ergobaby.com). Recently, when I did the Fit Mom exercise spot on the local news, I tried out the Mei Tei Chimperoo. It felt great to have Cubby on my back and it was easier to exercise. The only thing was that Cubby is so small that she sunk into it and within half an hour, you could only see her eyes!
I went to the Baby Time Show this past Friday and tried Cubby in the Ergo Baby Carrier in the back carry position this time. She loved it. She looked really comfortable and became sleepy and subdued within 20 minutes of being on my back. I debated and debated and then ended up buying it. I tried Cubby in it today and was able to do an hour of making her baby food, cleaning the kitchen, watering plants and tidying up and Cubby was content on my back; just hanging out like a little monkey. Day 1: successful!
I know it seems like a waste of money to keep buying different carriers; however, you never know what your baby is going to prefer. One may be really comfortable for you, but if your baby won’t stay in it and keeps crying, you won’t really use it. I am still going to use the Baby Bjorn for active tasks such as my exercise class and going for short walks. I am going to use the Ergo Baby for indoor tasks and longer walks as it is more comfortable for me. Also, recently I have learned that the standards for baby wearing have changed. They say that a baby should be worn facing inwards for front carrying. I thought this was crazy as many babies like facing outwards. I think the problem is a safety issue as many people were putting their babies facing outwards and they didn’t have the neck control. The babies’ heads were too far forward or they fell asleep so it was cutting off their airway. Also, they are now saying that the babies’ hips and spine should be supported with a wide position.
There are lots of things to consider when choosing an appropriate baby carrier. Keep in mind that you may have to experiment with different ones as the baby gets older. Look at comfort, fit, price, fabric, size and weight of your baby, positions of carry and ease of use.