Baby wearing in western culture has grown beyond trend into a modern parenting choice.  A few years ago there was little available for parents who wanted to experience carrying their babies close, and to make their lives easier by being able to hold their child and go about their day.  But now, with sling designers using hot designer fabrics and baby carriers created with ergonomics in mind, baby wearing has become not only easier, but a lot more fun.

The eminent pediatrician Dr. Sears said, “The womb lasts eighteen months: Nine months inside mother, and nine months outside.”  Having a great fitting sling is a great way to continue the closeness mom and baby enjoyed for their first nine months together.  The two most common types of slings available in baby boutiques are the ring sling and the pouch sling.  The ring sling is a sling that, as its name tells, has a ring sewn in that allows the wearer to adjust the fit of the sling.  A well-fitted ring sling should not have any part pinching or digging into your shoulder.  The ring sling should also keep its fit, and not progressively get looser as you wear it.  Ring slings are great for moms who want a bit of versatility in their sling or who are going to want to share the sling with their partner.

The pouch sling has really taken slinging by storm.  These funky cool slings come in fun and hip colours and designs.  They are as much a fashion statement as they are a great way to hold and nurture your little one.  Different from the ring sling, the pouch sling is not adjustable, and so comes in different sizes; choosing the one that is right for you requires a bit of measuring (consider your shoulder width, bust, and length of torso). Like a pair of jeans, a brand or size that is perfect for a friend may not be the best one for you.  Try a few designers, like Hotsling, or Peanutshell for example, before you buy.

We’ve all seen the carriers where the baby is being carried facing out on the parent’s front.  These carriers and their popularity have been instrumental in bringing baby wearing in from the fringes.  However, with the baby’s weight primarily being supported by their hips in these front “parachute style” carriers, there is increasing concern that the prolonged hanging from the hips might be straining baby’s back and joints.  Not to mention the pain and aches suffered by mom and dad having the extra weight hanging off their front.  With the new soft back pack style carriers available, this strain no longer needs to be part of wearing your baby.  Soft back pack style carriers, like the Ergo Baby Carrier, can be worn either on the front, back, or hip, and are ergonomically designed to be more comfortable not only for the wearer, but also the baby.  In the Ergo, the baby is not hanging from their hips, a position many front style carriers use, rather they are sitting in a fabric seat.  This wider seat not only creates a carry position that is recommended by paediatricians and chiropractors, but also gives the Ergo carrier a much longer user life.  The Ergo can carry a child up to 40 pounds!

For a parent looking for the carrier that’s right for them there are a lot of options out there.  While there are some amazingly beautiful slings and funky carriers, one important aspect of a baby carrier that is often over looked is how does your little one fit in the carrier?  Look for a sling or carrier that fits babe snuggly, supporting their whole body, i.e. their head, hips and torso.  And don’t forget that the best part of carrying your baby in a sling or carrier is the extra cuddles you share with your little one that goes hand-in-hand with baby wearing.

by Kazia Mullen