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Being brutally honest, I very rarely used a baby carrier with either of my two children when they were babies. However, when we visited a park or a wooded area where the terrain was just too rough and bumpy for a stroller then we had to use one.
While I don’t have extensive experience using baby carriers, plenty of my wife’s friends swear by them, and use them every day, even round the house as well as outdoors. For starters, baby carriers are great for babies who love to be close to their parents, and it’s a great to keep them calm and content. In this article, let’s look at this topic in more detail.
Do you really need a baby carrier?
There are several benefits to having a baby carrier. For starters, a baby carrier is convenient for busy caregivers who want their hands free while transporting their baby. Another reason to buy a baby carrier is to comfort your baby. Sometimes babies just want close contact. Keeping a baby strapped to your body can reassure the child and help the child rest.
Are they worth the money? Why are some so expensive?
For many families baby carriers are definitely worth it, especially if you have a busy lifestyle and don’t always have your hands free to carry a baby. Research shows that babies need to be held because it improves their physical and social development. Carrying your baby in a carrier keeps them close at hand. A carrier is also a much more portable device than a stroller, so you don’t have to worry about fitting it into a car or on public transportation.
Some carriers are more expensive because they have extra features. For instance, carriers designed for multiple carrying positions are sometimes more costly. Also, some carriers have lots of amenities, such as cupholders, padded headrests and shoulder pads, and this impacts price too. The brand name will also impact the price.
What Are the pros and cons of baby carriers?
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of baby carriers.
- Allows you to conveniently carry the baby while you travel.
- Allows you to keep the baby close to you while freeing up your hands to make phone calls or carry bags, etc.
- Ensures close bonding time with your baby
- Can cause strain on a caregiver’s back.
- Baby is unsecured if you trip or fall down.
- Complex models are not always user-friendly, and they can be difficult to figure out.
What should you consider if you’re buying a baby carrier?
If you think a baby carrier might be for you here are some things to consider, including what type to buy, whether they are easy to clean, easy to use and reliable.
Type of carrier
The first thing you should think about is what type to buy. There are wraps, slings, soft structured carriers, backpack carriers and Mei Tai carriers.
A wrap carrier can be difficult to figure out. You have to wrap the cloth around your body and your baby at the same time. You don’t want the child swaddled too loosely or too tightly. If the baby is an infant, be sure to support its head. You should also be mindful of the type of cloth the carrier is made from. Lightweight cloth is better for hot weather. Heavier blends are better if you live in a colder climate.
Similar to a wrap carrier, the ring sling is a long piece of fabric that must be wound around you and your baby. With the ring sling model, you must loop the end of the fabric into the ring. It’s fairly easy to use this type of carrier, but it can cause shoulder and back pain, especially if you already have a shoulder or back problem.
A pouch sling is a carrier that allows you to carry your baby either on your hip or in front of you. It is similar to a ring sling, but the pouch sling doesn’t have any rings and does not easily allow you to adjust the length the way that a ring sling does. Like the ring sling, the pouch sling can also cause pain and discomfort in your back.
The Mei Tai is considered a hybrid carrier since it combines features of both the buckle and the wrap carrier. The Mei Tai works for both newborns, toddlers and it’s easy to adjust. However, on the negative side, it may take some time and practice to tie the straps properly.
The backpack carrier is worn just like a backpack. One downside to the backpack carrier is that it can only be used with a child old enough to support its own neck and head and sit up on its own. The baby will be sitting behind you, so you won’t be able to hold the child. Backpack carriers are generally heavier and bulkier than sling carriers and may not store as easily. However, these carriers are generally seen as among the best for active caregivers. You can strap the baby on your back while shopping or even hiking.
Soft structured carrier
The soft structure carrier is also called the “front pack” carrier or the “buckle” carrier. The baby can be worn in front or behind you, and the baby is held in place by straps and buckles. These carriers are easy to snap on. They are easy to adjust and versatile. On the negative side, the soft structured carrier is generally more expensive than both wrap and sling carriers.
Is it easy to clean?
Most baby carriers are machine washable. Always read labels for each carrier you’re thinking of purchasing. Some materials don’t do as well in a washing machine as others do.
Is it easy to use?
Snap-on carriers are generally easier to adjust and wear than the carriers that require you to tie them. However, the more you use a carrier, the more comfortable you will become with adjusting it.
Choose a carrier that is made of sturdy materials. You don’t want fabric that will easily tear or break. Make sure that the seat of the carrier is wide enough so that your baby has space to rest comfortably. Read product reviews online to learn more about the durability and reliability of each style and brand.
Most wrap and sling carriers are less expensive than other options. Backpack carriers and soft structured carriers typically have more features, such as sippy cup holders and padded headrests, so those carriers tend to cost more.
Should you buy a second hand baby carrier?
You can buy a second hand carrier. However, you should test it out before you use it with your baby. Make sure the carrier is sturdy enough to support an object as heavy as your baby. You should strap it on you and wear it around to get used to it and decide if it feels safe and comfortable.
How long can you use a baby carrier for?
Use your own judgement. However, you probably shouldn’t keep the kid in a carrier for longer than two hours at a time. If you’re using one with a toddler, you may start to have some back pain after carrying them around for a while. Also bear in mind that some toddlers can become spoiled, as they may want you to carry them everywhere. Be sure to make them walk often for their physical development.
When should you stop using one?
Most carriers are designed to be used when your baby is anywhere from a newborn to a toddler. Once a child is three years old, they are fairly heavy and difficult to carry around. Use your own judgement.
When can your baby start using a baby carrier?
Some parents prefer to wait until a child is able to sit unsupported and hold its head up high before strapping the child into a carrier. If you plan to carry a newborn, be sure to get a carrier that is designed specifically for newborns. A good newborn carrier will make it easy for you to support the child’s head and neck. A strong headrest is important. Most carriers are not designed for babies that weigh less than seven pounds.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.