Thursday, July 19, 2012

A million baby carriers

Dear Readers,
I have been determined to succeed at the whole baby-wearing thing. I started off with what seemed like a million different carriers, and until recently, never really found 'the one.' Since I have tried pretty much all the most popular models (at least from what I can tell), I thought I would share my experiences so that I can maybe save someone from having an entire house full of baby carriers like I ended up with :)

1. Moby Wrap I had heard from so many people that I just had to get a Moby Wrap. So I did. Actually, I bought it when I was pregnant with Stevie, so by the time I actually had a baby to put in it, I was pretty excited to try it out.

Elliot, 2 weeks old

The ridiculously long wrap spans the length of our front hallway
Comfort. The Moby is made out of stretchy jersey knit cotton and once its on, its very comfortable. 

Versatile. You can tie the Moby on in a variety of different ways. I only ever tried the front carry (pictured) and the cradle carry, but it comes with a straight-up book of all the different ways you can use the wrap.

Fit. Since the Moby is essentially one big, long piece of fabric, it can fit pretty much anyone, including my giant of a husband (6'10, 300 pounds). 

Not great for bigger babies. I enjoyed carrying Elliot in the Moby when he was a little newborn, but after he hit about 12 pounds (which for us was when he was 5-6 weeks old), the wrap started to sag and stretch out while he was in it. I never felt like I could tie it tight enough to feel safe and secure.

Annoying to store/put on. First of all, the Moby is seriously like 10 feet long. It comes in this fabric bag, but I have no clue how you're supposed to get it back in there after you take it out. So you have this huge pile of fabric laying around the house--kind of annoying. I also had to resort to youtube to figure out how to put the thing on. Once you get the hang of it, its not hard, but it does take a long time. Longer than I want to spend when all I'm doing is running into Target for toilet paper, for example. 

Hot. The fabric really doesn't breath well and it covers almost your entire torso, so as soon as summer hit, I had to retire the Moby. 

Overall, I liked the Moby during the newborn stage, in cooler weather. If you don't think you are going to have a giant baby like me, who will outgrow it in a matter of weeks, it may be worth the $50.

2. Ergo I was lucky enough to get this Ergo carrier as a hand-me-down from my friend and former boss, Vicki. I really want to love it (and I know a lot of people do!), but it hasn't worked that great for our family for a couple reasons: a) it doesn't fit my small shoulders and b) it doesn't fit my big husband.

Elliot without the newborn insert, 7 weeks old

Elliot with the newborn insert, 1 week old

Elliot, 10 weeks old

Aside from the shoulder straps not fitting correctly, comfort. I'm not sure if I have abnormally small shoulders or what the deal is, but even at the tightest setting, the Ergo always feels like its slipping off my shoulders. Aside from that, its really comfy. The hip strap (the part that goes around your waist) is super plush and soft and so are the shoulder straps. The Ergo also helps distribute the weight of your baby really well so you can hardly tell you're carrying around a kid--great for parents with chunky babies!

Easy. There's really nothing to figure out--no fancy wraps or ties to perfect, just buckle up and go.

Convenient. The Ergo is easy to hang up by its straps. I also like that it has a pocket in the front--you can fit your keys, cellphone, and wallet and leave the diaper bag in the car for quick trips to the store or walks around the block.

Not very adjustable. Like I mentioned before, it doesn't fit me or Andy quite right. Too big for me and way too small for him (he can't buckle the hip strap around his waist even at the largest setting). The buckles make it an easy carrier to get on and off, but they also make it less adjustable. Its definitely not a 'one size fits all' carrier.

Not good for newborns/small babies. In order to use the Ergo with a newborn you have to use a special insert (see picture above). Honestly, that thing was a major pain to use. Like so much so that I didn't even bother with it again after the first time until El was big enough to go in the carrier without it.

Overall, if the Ergo was more adjustable and I could get it to stop slipping off my shoulders, I'd really like it. I'd suggest trying it on (with a baby inside) before you throw down the $125 to make sure you don't run into the same issues I have!

3. Baby Bjorn. We got the Baby Bjorn carrier from our good friend Bjorn :) This ended being Andy's favorite carrier to use (before you tell me about how bad it is for babies, I am aware front-carrying your baby all the time is not the best position). Andy loves the Bjorn, but I rarely use it.

Elliot facing in, 3 weeks old

Elliot facing forward, 8 weeks old

Cooking dinner with Dad, 11 weeks old

Super easy. Easy enough for my husband to want to use on his own, which is really a huge pro if you ask me. 

Compact, lightweight, and easy to store/travel with. The Bjorn is small and is very easy to throw in the back of the car or even shove in a large diaper bag.

Ability to face forward. I know front-carrying is a no-no in some circles, but Elliot REALLY likes it. He loves looking out and watching people when we're walking around the mall or taking the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. As he gets older, he is starting to get really mad when he isn't able to be a part of what's going on around him.

Its a 'crotch dangler.' According to many reputable sources, the way the Bjorn holds your baby, almost dangling from his/her crotch (rather than in a seated position like the Ergo, for example), is really not good for their hips.

Not good for big babies. Elliot's chunky thighs and arms are already pushing the limits of the Bjorn, and he's not quite four months old!

It hurts my back. Andy doesn't find it uncomfortable, but for me, the Bjorn hurts my back or gives me a side-ache after wearing Elliot in it for more than a few minutes. Rather than distributing the weight of your baby to your hips, I feel it all over my back with the Bjorn.

Overall, I'm glad we have the Bjorn because it gets Andy excited about baby-wearing, but I'm also glad its not our only (or primary) carrier.

4. Baby Hawk. I am so, so thankful my friend Jessie sent me her Baby Hawk Mei Tai carrier because in it, I think I have finally found 'the one.' I almost has the same basic concept/design of the ergo, but because the straps tie rather than buckle, its completely adjustable for a person of any size (and shoulders!)

Elliot after a nice little hike, 15 weeks old

Checking it out, 15 weeks old

The design of the Baby Hawk

Comfort. Everything I like about the Ergo (padded shoulder and hip straps, awesome weight distribution) plus shoulder straps that I can get as tight and secure as I need them (you cross them in the back). The Baby Hawk is also really lightweight and doesn't get too hot in warm weather.

Fully adjustable. The Baby Hawk comfortably fits 5'6 me and 6'10 Andy. 

Versatile. Although I didn't have this until a few weeks ago, it would work great for little newborns, and also works awesome for big babies who have good head control and like to look around. Elliot both enjoys sleeping in it, with his head snuggled into my chest, and being awake in it, with the ability to look around from side to side and take in the world around him. You can also do hip carries and back carries (I haven't tried either yet, but plan to soon!)

Can't do a front-carry. Like I said, Elliot really, really likes facing forward in the Bjorn. The Baby Hawk doesn't allow for that type of carry.

Overall, I love this carrier and have been using it all the time since getting it a few weeks ago. Highly recommend!

5. Seven Sling. My wonderful friend Bethany sent me this simple sling because it didn't fit her. Its not very supportive or comfortable for long periods of time, but it is super simple and nice to keep in the diaper bag for times when you just need to get from the car into a restaurant or something. I won't go into all the pros and cons because its just not worth it for a $10 sling :)

Its literally a circle of cotton fabric

A little support while holding a heavy babe on your hip (Elliot, almost 4 months old)

I also just tried a ring sling for the first time at our New Mama group on Wednesday. I really liked how simple it was for doing things around the house and will probably invest in one soon (because clearly one more carrier is just what I need, ha!)

So there you have it. Hopefully this will be helpful for at least a couple moms or moms-to-be as they're trying to put together their baby registries. I'd love to hear what your favorite carrier is too, so please share!

Have a great weekend you guys!



B. Wilson said...

I agree. I have FOUR carriers and find pros and cons with each. Ergo is my fave as I apparently have normal shoulders (?!), like the forward-facing on the Bjorn but hate how hard it is on my shoulders/back... and I don't have a Moby but a K'tan. It's two loops instead of a super long piece of fabric like the Moby. But, B is not a fan of getting in and out. It's tricky getting him in without pissing him off! It's secure as it should be, but almost too tight sometimes? I prefer the Ergo the most to all of them at this point, but even that's not perfect.

Shaylen Maxwell said...

LOL! We have every one but the sling (which I knew would kill my shoulders/back - as I have pretty severe scoliosis, 40 degree curve). That said, I absolutely love my mei tai, though I only loved it between the ages of 1 mos and about 6 mos. Then it was the Ergo from then on out. My chunky boy was starting to hurt me in the mei tai at that point. We're still wearing him in the Ergo. The Moby was a total curse. So fricken hot for my May babies. I used it, uh, three times for my boy, none for my girl. And ZOMG the Bjorn is like a torture device. My spouse also loves it, but three minutes in it kills me. Do you have the back strap done up (tightest possible) for the Ergo? I find it still feels a bit like it's going to slide off when I do it all the way up, BUT the sensation is not present at all when you wear it backpack style. When Elliot is 6 mos+, try it. I guarantee you'll fall in love with the Ergo all over again. Like I said, we're still wearing our first in the Ergo (back carrier). He loves it. We love it. And I even managed to wear it whilst pregnant, comfortably. Shock! :D

Holly said...

woven wraps are nice too. they are like the moby but not stretchy so good for older kids as well as the littles. I don't grab for mine as much as I'd like though so I'm actually destashing.

Melissa said...

Jake and I loooooove our Maya Wrap (ring sling). I keep it in the car and use it whenever I don't want to haul the car seat around. I also have a moby which I love for in the house and an Ergo that I haven't found the perfect use for yet. Jake loves all the carriers so it's really about what's most convenient for me and the situation. I would say he's a medium big baby 13 lbs at 2 months and the Maya Wrap is more comfortable than carrying him around for sure.

AnotherDreamer said...

I like our Bjorn, and I do use it forward facing. BUT I don't use it very often (I've used it once a month, and never longer than an hour). I read the stuff about it too, but honestly I think the key to anything is moderation.

I wanted to get a different carrier, or a sling, but my son was a big baby (almost 9lbs at birth) and just kept growing and growing, so carrying him became impractical. If I'm ever lucky enough to have another baby, I think I'll look more into carriers.

Becca and Logan said...

I love my Lillebaby. Gideon too loved to forward face at around 4 months old, so it's great that it had that option. It doesn't seem to be as padded all the way through as the Ergo, but it wasn't uncomfortable until he surpassed 20 lbs.

Right now, I'm trying to decide if I want to invest in a Pognae while I'm in Korea, because I can get it for around $40 and it seems to be very similar to the Ergo. My theory is that Koreans seem to wear their children for a LONG time, so it might work better for an older child. There are still times when I need to carry my two year old, and having him in a carrier definitely helps.

My little sister made me a mei tai style carrier and I too have the impossible to store Moby Wrap lying around, but I haven't put much energy into figuring out either.

belli said...

Hi I am an Aug 2010 Mama who follows you : )
I LOVE my Ergo.....Just to let you know the straps are falling off your shoulders because the back buckle is in the wrong spot. The back strap should be high up (almost to your neck) on the padded part of the shoulder straps, you should be able to buckle/un-buckle from up over your shoulder/head, not from under your arm (not like you do a bra strap)
try it again because if you like the Mai tai you will like the ergo if you have it buckled right.........OH they have a video on their website you can watch, it tells you exactly how it all should go!!
And I am still using my Ergo everyday it is a totall necessity in the grocery store these days!!
Good luck!

Hope's Mama said...

I can still sometimes use the Moby on very chunky and very heavy Juliet, at almost 1 but I have to get it on just right, and she does start to sag after a while. Just love how snug it keeps them. But the Ergo is our go to sling now. We got the sports model (second hand) and it fits my husband and I both very well. Would love to try a Mei Tai.
Great post!

Crystal said...

I'm the oddball out! ;-) I've never owned a carrier. I honestly never thought about getting one. Great info, for future reference, if I have another baby.

0s0-Pa said...

You're right, there are lots of different baby carriers to choose from. I really have enjoyed my petunia pickle bottom baby carrier, but would be curious to try a few others as well.

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