When I heard about babywearing, it piqued my interest - I knew that having my hands free would help a lot in taking care of a newborn and a toddler at the same time. I researched different products and talked to friends who had different styles of carriers. From all of that information, I chose two products to try - the Moby Wrap and the Maya Wrap. I was also given a gently-used BabyBjorn from someone whose baby had outgrown it.
Here are my thoughts on the different carriers, after using them for about six weeks:
1. Moby Wrap
The Moby Wrap is an 18-ft long piece of slightly-stretchy cotton knit. It feels a lot like a comfy old T-shirt. It comes with an instructional booklet that is easy to understand, illustrating how to wrap it and different positions for carrying your baby. It takes a little practice, and it takes a few minutes to put on, but it is by far the most comfortable of my three carriers. When David rides in it, I don't feel any pressure points; his weight is evenly supported along the wrap. There are many different ways to carry a baby with the Moby Wrap. Right now we use the Newborn Hug Hold and the Cradle Hold; I look forward to trying the other holds as soon as David is developmentally ready!
- Advantages: very comfortable, very versatile, easily washable
- Disadvantages: need practice to wear baby confidently, can be hot due to all the fabric
2. Maya Wrap
The Maya Wrap is a lightweight woven ring sling. It comes in different sizes for different body types; mine is actually too big, but that just means the tail is too long - and we can work with that. There is a nice zipper pocket in the tail for storing the Binky or Mama's cell phone or whatever. It comes with an instructional DVD that clearly demonstrates how to wear the sling & how to position baby comfortably - it even shows you how to wear more than one sling if you have multiples. I haven't used the Maya Wrap as much as the other two, because I've had a hard time getting David comfortable in it. The material isn't stretchy at all, so it takes a little time to adjust it. The woven material is nice and breathable, and it's definitely the coolest of my three carriers. There are a few different positions for carrying baby; we've only tried the tummy-to-tummy and the cradle. I think with more practice, I'll prefer the ring sling for certain situations.
- Advantages: simple to put on, much cooler than the other carriers
- Disadvantages: no stretch - not quite as comfortable as the other carriers
The BabyBjorn is a structured carrier for wearing baby in a tummy-to-tummy hold. It is very easy to put on, and is easily adjusted for different wearers. The seat and back are padded for baby's comfort, but the padding does restrict airflow. The top edge can be folded down once baby has good head control, so that he or she can look around while being carried. My BabyBjorn lives in the car, because it is the easiest to put on and use when I'm on the go. It's also a good carrier for James to use, because it is so simple, there's just no learning curve to it. It's fairly comfortable but can get hot since it isn't breathable. It's also not quite as secure for babies without good head control; David's little noggin can get to bobbing around quite a bit if he's trying to look around.
- Advantages: Very easy to use, fairly comfortable
- Disadvantages: Not breathable, only one carrying position
Babywearing is often tied to attachment parenting. We aren't into attachment parenting per se, but wearing David definitely has benefits. He is more calm and content when he is in one of the carriers, especially during times when his tummy is upset or he is fussy. He generally settles right down & goes to sleep. David is a natural snuggler, and would happily spend all day being held & carried around. That makes it difficult to take care of Wendy & get other things done, so wearing him has definitely helped. (I don't wear David 24/7 - some days I don't wear him at all, it just depends on what we're doing.)
I've also noticed that wearing David helps him to stay asleep in situations where he might otherwise be disturbed & wake up. I've worn him in the grocery store many times, in the backyard playing with Wendy, and even during Bible class last Wednesday night. If babywearing helps him to sleep when he needs to sleep & helps us keep to a more normal schedule, I'm all for it!
I hope this has been helpful for anyone interested in babywearing. This information is all based on opinion and my limited experience, since I've only been trying it for about six weeks, and only with a newborn. As David gets bigger, I definitely want to try a mei tai carrier and an Ergo carrier, because I've heard such good things about both of them.
Do you have any experience with baby carriers? What's your favorite?