My first encounter with babywearing was when my daughter was 10 weeks old. She was my second child and once my family had all left after the brand new baby stage, I found myself struggling with dividing my attention between my two children at certain times during our day. As I began using a baby carrier, I was able to do many things hands free, while keeping my newborn close at the same time. That for me was a mommy win!
As I started diving into babywearing, I needed to learn about the various carriers that were available, how to get them, and most important, what sort of budgets they came in.
So let’s talk carriers and budgets! Once you have discovered what you prefer to use, you can source out where to get it. I always suggest starting local first if you have this option as this is the way we can keep small local businesses running.
Here are the different types of carriers, some pros and cons, and some approximate prices you can expect:
Stretch wrap. Pros: great newborn carrier, soft and comfortable for baby and parent, fairly inexpensive, widely accessible. You can also get Hybrid Stretch wraps, which are usable for higher weights and are suitable for back carries. Cons: only last until about the 20 lb stage, can’t be used for back carries (unless a Hybrid), won’t be your only carrier you’ll ever need. Price: $40+
Ring Sling. Pros: small learning curve, suitable for newborn to toddler, fun prints and colors, easy to breastfeed in, relatively quick to put on. Cons: not suitable if you have bad shoulders, can be uncomfortable to wear for longer time periods, limited carrying styles. Price: $60+
Meh Dai. Pros: small learning curve, fairly accessible, can be used for front and back carry, can even be done easily DIY if correct pattern followed, can fit in your diaper bag. Cons: not comfortable for long periods of time, straps can dig into your shoulders if not padded. Price:$30+
Woven Wraps. Pros: suitable from newborn to toddler, different fibre blends to choose from, multiple ways to carry, fun to learn new ways to carry, lots of styles to choose from, fits into your diaper bag, can be used as a cover while breastfeeding. Cons: takes time to learn how to wrap, harder to access locally in certain areas, takes time to put on/take off so not great if your in a hurry. Prices: $90+
Buckle Carriers. Pros: easy to use, quick to get baby in/out, very accessible, lots of styles to choose from, fathers more likely to use then other carriers. Cons: straps can dig in on cheaper carriers, more expensive for a comfortable style. Price: good quality one that is comfortable: $150+
I hope this helps parents that are curious about trying a carrier and are not sure where to start. My suggestion is to always attempt to try before you buy, if that is an option. Many cities have local babywearing groups, and some may even have a lending library where you can try various carriers to see what you like personally. Not every person likes to wrap, and not everyone likes a meh dai or buckle carrier, it really is a matter of personal preference and what will work for your lifestyle.