More and more moms and dads are walking with their baby in a carrier or a wrap. It’s a fun way to keep your child close and yet have your hands free. Because of its popularity there are an increasing number of different baby carriers and wraps. But which carrier is the best?
A sense of security, closeness, comfort but above all great fun! That is what a well-fitting baby carrier gives you and your baby. You can discover the world together, from the play forest around the corner to a beautiful mountain path in Austria. And all that without getting bogged down with the stroller. But these adventures are only fun if you and your child use the right baby carrier. One that perfectly matches your lifestyle and your body. So how do you choose the perfect baby carrier?
Safety and ergonomics
First and foremost, of course, you should choose a baby carrier with a CE mark so you know it has been verified as safe. In addition, it is best to use an ergonomic baby carrier. It ensures that your baby is in the ideal position and is comfortable for you to carry.
Your baby sits with his belly against your body, with his knees a little higher than his bottom and is supported widthwise from hollow of knee to hollow of knee and all the way up his neck. This is called the spread squat position and is the most natural position for young children.
For older children, the support over the back may be a little lower, but never lower than his armpits. Carriers in which your baby’s weight is carried around his crotch and his legs hang down are not recommended. Compare it to being in a climbing harness, instead of a lovely hammock.
An ergonomic baby carrier is also much more fun for you to wear. It distributes the weight over your entire upper body and therefore pulls on your neck or shoulders much less. You shouldn’t experience any pain when carrying your baby.
What about the fit?
Just like a pair of tight jeans, a pair of shoes or a bra, your baby carrier needs to fit your body shape. Therefore, your best friend’s favorite baby carrier may not fit you well at all.
This is why it is best to try on many different baby carriers with your child before buying one and not to rely on online reviews or advice from friends. Some baby stores carry several different models, but it is even better to visit a baby carrying specialist in your area.
They often have a large selection of baby carriers. There you can try them on to your heart’s content, receive professional advice from someone specially trained for the job and learn how to use your baby carrier correctly. This ensures that you don’t make a bad purchase.
It is often possible to rent a baby carrier, for example for a weekend at the seaside or a hiking vacation.
The weight limit for your baby is often mentioned on the packaging of a baby carrier. This doesn’t really say much about how big your child can be so that the baby carrier fits properly, but it does say what weight the carrier has been approved for. It is better to look at your child’s clothing size to choose the right baby carrier. Did you know that there are also baby carriers suitable for older children? Ideal for their tired little legs during a long walk.
Different types and styles
There are many different types of baby carriers.
A mei tai is a carrier that is based on Asian carrying systems and consists of a flexible rectangular back panel with four long strips of fabric attached to it that you tie completely yourself.
A full buckle carrier, or soft structured carrier, has a contoured soft back panel with a waist belt and shoulder straps. Both the waistband and shoulder straps are attached with straps and buckles.
A cross between the mei tai and the full buckle carrier is the half buckle carrier. It does have a buckle to secure the waistband, but you tie the shoulder straps yourself as with the mei tai.
The choice between a mei tai, a half buckle carrier or a full buckle carrier is very often a personal preference. However, you should choose a system that suits you in terms of size and cut. More and more baby carriers allow you to adjust the back panel in width and height so that it fits both a small baby and a larger child.
You can also choose a baby carrier that can be used on your belly, hip or back. Baby carriers are becoming more and more versatile and are now often equipped with shoulder straps that can be worn either straight or crossed, with UV-resistant materials, with storage pouches and separate sleeping covers. They also come in a variety of materials such as sturdy canvas, cuddly sling fabric and breathable mesh. Not to mention the huge selection of colors and prints.
The standout products are the frame carriers. These are back carriers with a metal frame where your baby sits in a kind of chair. You often see these with people who go on long treks with their baby. When you put these on you will immediately notice that the weight distribution is very different than in an ergonomic baby carrier. Your child is further away from you and is often less well supported. So we prefer an ergonomic baby carrier.
– Make sure you choose a baby carrier with a wide base and a flexible back. That way you know you have an ergonomic baby carrier.
– A baby carrier that doesn’t support your child to the hollows of his knees is too small. If you have loose fabric in the hollows of the knees, it is too large.
If your baby was born premature it is better to choose a woven sling.
If you and your partner both want to carry your baby, it is useful to choose a baby carrier that you can easily adjust. This way you can easily alternate between mom and dad.
There are also baby carriers that allow you to carry face forward. This means that your child’s back is against your belly. This allows your child to look around more. Very nice at the zoo or at the petting zoo, but not suitable for very young children. It is much harder to put your baby in the right position and the extra stimuli can be very overwhelming so limit face forward carrying to a maximum of 15 minutes at a time.
Do you want to try on all kinds of different baby carriers and get personal advice? Then you can book a carrying consultation with a baby carrying advisor and doula Sofie Lobbens from Bloomilly in Aalter. She has more than 70 baby carriers in her assortment. With her years of experience, together you will surely find a perfect match.
Which baby carrier will you use next?