The Baby sling has been a method for carrying babies in many different cultures for centuries. It is not only the simplicity of wrapping a length of cloth around mother and baby to create a carrier that made them so popular, it is also the fact that they allow constant contact and personal bonding between parent and child that no other method of baby transport can. This is why the baby carrier has lasted the test of time
Today, baby slings are as popular as they have ever been and can be found in many different sizes, styles, colours, and fabrics, and it can be a real headache finding the perfect carrier for you and your baby.
Here are 8 things you should look for before you buy baby wraps for you and your baby.
Size and Weight Rating
Not all baby carriers are suitable for all sizes and weights of baby. Some carriers are more suited for newborns but are not ideal for larger babies, while other carriers may not offer the support needed for very small babies. You should be careful to check the weight rating for each product that you look at, and make sure it is suitable for your child.
Some baby carriers offer infant inserts which pad the inside of your carrier to accommodate smaller babies and newborns. These can be useful, but check they will not be too hot for your baby if you live in warmer climes, and ask if the insert is included or an added extra.
If your baby is bigger, or you want to be able to use your baby carrier as your baby grows, make sure you choose one that has a waist belt that transfers the weight of the baby to your hips and lower back rather than your shoulders. You will be grateful for this if you wear it for any length of time.
A Good Fit For You
Baby carriers on the whole are made for average sized people, and therefore if you are smaller or larger than average you will need to check if the carrier is suitable for you. Some carriers come with extra long straps, which are great if you carry a little extra girth, but can be annoying and get in the way if you don’t.
Both Mom and Dad Carrying
If your baby will be carried by both mom and dad, then you need to check how easily the straps can be altered (presuming Dad is not the same size as Mom of course). Some carriers can adjust the straps with ease, while others can be very difficult. Of course if the other parent is very big or very small, you will also need to take the size limits into account.
Front, Side or Back Carrying
When you are thinking of buying a carrier, you have to start thinking about what kind of position you will want to carry your baby in. Across the range of baby carriers you can get the choice of wearing on the front, the side, or on the back. On top of that you must make the decision if you will want your baby to face out at the world while on your front, or face inwards towards your chest… or both. Most carriers will allow you to do a few of these, while a select few allow you to choose all positions and offer complete versatility. Make sure you decide beforehand what you want and check that your carrier can accommodate you. Of course your baby might have other ideas once he tries it.
Strength and Build of The Baby Carrier
Obviously, all of the top models are completely safe and so this is not an issue, but you do want to make sure that your baby will be comfortable and protected at all times. Check the straps, the padding, the buckles, and all clasps. If the clasps are plastic, just check if they feel sturdy to you. Depending on the weather in your area, check the fabric that the carrier is made of to see if it will be too hot or too cold for your baby. For hot climates, you should look for organic materials like cotton and shy away from fabrics like polyester.
Can Your Baby Carrier Be Washed?
Germs and bacteria are not something you want on your baby carrier, especially as babies have a tendency to suck on the nearest part to them. This is why being able to wash your baby carrier regularly is very important.
This may be important if you want to travel light and don’t want to carry your baby as well as the diaper bag, and milk bottle, and wipes etc. Some baby carriers come with built-in pockets that can easily hold fresh diapers and wipes, meaning you only need to carry your baby and nothing else. If this sounds like something you would like, then check to see if your carrier has big pockets.