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Choosing a baby carrier or sling
As if being pregnant isn’t hard enough, suddenly you have all these new things to learn about. Although the shopping can be fun, deciding what you need to buy and which product to choose can be very confusing for first time parents. This article aims to help you to find out more about some of the slings and baby carriers that are available, and will help you to decide which will best suit your needs.
An essential piece of
When you’re out and about a sling is a great way of transporting a baby – your baby is kept warm and snug in the winter, and a fabric sling will keep them well covered in the summer sun. Plus you don’t have the added hassle of manoeuvring a pushchair around shops or up and down steps.
A sling is ideal for keeping a tiny
baby where they are happiest - close to your body where they are
reassured by your heartbeat, and can enjoy the rhythm of your
movements. An older baby will love being held up high with a good view
of the world, and get lots of opportunity to interact with you and with
Things to consider when choosing a sling or baby carrier
Comfort for you
Comfort for your baby
Research suggests that upright baby carriers which spread the baby’s legs wide in a seated 'M' position are preferable to ones with narrower bases where the baby hangs from the crotch with their weight directly above the pelvis. Although this wide legged position may look alarming it is actually the optimal position for the development of the baby’s pelvis. The carrier should then hold your baby close in against your body with support right along the length of the spine and it is important to follow the TICKS principles for safe babywearing.
What will you be using
How old is your child?
Types of sling and baby carrier
There are so many to choose from, that it can seem overwhelming at first. This section describes most of the main types of sling, and gives some of their advantages and disadvantages.
See our range of Ring Slings
See our range of Pouch Slings
• Takes a little practise to learn how to tie
Generally the Stretchy Wraps are less supportive than the Woven Wraps.
Stretchy Wraps are slightly easier to put on as you tend to use one tying method for all carrying positions. Plus you can put your baby down while you tie the wrap on, the stretch in the fabric will allow you to pull the fabric apart to put them in after you've tied the knot.
The Woven Wraps have a bit more of a learning curve as most carrying positions involve tying the wrap around yourself and your baby which is a little more fiddly for those who are new to wraps. However the woven fabric gives superior back support so these wraps work well even with heavy toddlers.
See our range of wraps Slings
Soft Structured Carriers
A soft carrier will have shoulder straps for securing the carrier and will often have a waist strap too. The baby is either supported by their crotch or across their entire bottom. Some are suitable from birth, but not all. Some are suitable for carrying on the hip or the back as well as on the front. Some fasten with clips, others wrap and tie.
Those that are suitable for smaller babies usually have a smaller 'body' to the carrier or fold down so that a newborn won't be lost in them. Some allow adjustment of the seat/crotch to make it narrower for smaller babies. Those that are designed for older babies and toddlers have a larger 'body' so they offer good back support even for older, taller children.
It’s not really possible to give a list of advantages and disadvantages as there is so much variety within this category. If you want to know more about a particular type of carrier then it’s best to get in touch with us for advice. Generally those that can be used for back carrying are suitable for carrying older, heavier babies. Most are fairly easy to get on and off for a front carry. Getting a baby into a back carrier is always harder but with practise it is possible to do this on your own.
See our range of Soft Structured Carriers
Would you like to find out more?
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