One of the most comment Facebook messages I get from friends is some variation of the question "what baby carrier should I buy for my xx month old baby?" and I LOVE this question. I could talk people into buying things with their money all day.
I also love babywearing.
As I look ahead to our final babe I look forward to those first 9 months of babywearing, when they can't walk and they literally rely on their parents for being able to transport them everywhere. Before they find their feet and before you start to feel their ever increasing weight.
1. For the first 3-4 months the Solly Baby Wrap is my absolute favorite, and I've tried most of the popular options on the market.
The fabric of the Solly Wrap is soft and newborn worthy. You can easily put it on by yourself, compared to the Ergo for example which requires buckling a buckle that's located above your shoulder blades while you try to balance and keep a newborn baby balanced on your front. The Solly Baby Wrap, because of the design, protects their wobbly necks and hugs them in tight, compared to a sling that requires some extra tricks and effort, or a hand placed on their head at all times so that their little head doesn't accidentally fling back as you move around.
For our March baby I'm adding ochre to our shopping list.
2. Once your child has neck control I love Ring Slings. The Solly Baby Wrap will begin to phase out somewhere between 6-9 months (it maxes out around their 1 year birthday). Ring slings can be used truly from birth till your child is 4 years old / 35 pounds, at varying levels of comfort in those years.
Companies to shop first:
- Sakura Bloom: beautiful options and colors, silk as an option! (try it, I promise), wonderful community
- Wildbird: budget friendly prices, sweetest owner, wonderful community
Overwhelmed already? Keep it simple! Choose either SB or Wildbird and grab a single-layer linen if you have a child under the age of one.
You won't need the support of a double layer yet, and it'll be easier to adjust if you haven't used a ring sling before. Once you get the hang of it -- Google and YouTube should have you feeling like a pro at ring slings in no time (shoot me an email if not!) then I'd recommend grabbing either a double layer linen or a silk sling from Sakura Bloom. The silk is incredibly lightweight but has the grip an hold that you'd want as your carry your child around.
Options I'm eyeing for baby no. 3:
Wildbird Sandpiper + Sakura Bloom Fir (edit: their Fall line was released 9/28 am and those silks are SO good!)
3. A baby carrier for when you're hiking / on active adventures. While I've happily hiked while carrying our girls in a sling in Spring and Fall temperatures, when the temps rise you're going to want a little space between your two bodies for airflow.
Hiking carriers, though bulky, are wonderful for the job they're designed to do. Your growing toddler will appreciate the chance to be higher up on your back and looking around when their legs get too tired to keep up, or hike with you at all.
An Ergo can be the man for the job if that's what you have on hand, but it can get sweaty, even with the back carry option. Check out Deuter and Osprey, or Craigslist listings if you're not looking to drop coin on something that may only be used occasionally.
We've used the REI hiking carrier that my parents gifted us and will keep it going for baby no. 3!
For parents on a budget or that are hesitant about babywearing as a whole: for some reason baby carriers hold value like nothing else I've ever seen. In most cases you can trust that you'll be able to sell your carrier once done to another parent for right around what you paid for it. This seems to be because of the limited edition selling patterns of colors, and the stashes of options many mamas like to accrue.
Join a few BST groups on Facebook and learn the standards for resale -- important washing standards, even what detergent is best, and then you'll be in a group when it's time to list your carrier or trade out for a different color. Bonus perks - those groups are often a babywearing community full of parents available to help with getting it right as well. Let me know if you need help finding a specific group.
Finally, the way I see it, you're going to be carrying that child everywhere for the first year of their life. I prefer to leave the 9-15lbs car seat in the car and go for the few oz option. Trust me, your body will thank you. ;)