Wearing Your Baby is the New Black
Author: Heather Slee
Babies are hot in fashion now! Well, you probably won't see someone with a baby carrier strutting down a runway anytime soon, but you have probably seen a number of moms and dads wearing their babies while out and about. When a clunky stroller won't do, or if you just want to keep your little one snug to you, slings and baby carriers are the perfect choice!
First, you can choose whether to get a sling or a carrier. Slings generally keep the baby in a reclined position, and carriers keep the baby upright, either facing you or outward. The sling is a pouch of fabric that goes over one shoulder and holds the baby between your bust and your waist, just as if you were cradling him or her in your arms. The carrier is sort of like a reverse backpack-two shoulder straps and a torso strap. Facing inward, your newborn can snuggle against your chest and feel your heartbeat. Outward-facing baby's can see the world!
Unfortunately, you really won't know which your baby prefers unless you try it out, so you'll probably want to wait until after your baby is born before purchasing one. But still, how will you know? You have a couple different options. One, you could borrow one from a friend and try it out after your baby is born. Two, you can keep the receipt and return the unwanted product. Of course, you could just wing it like we did and get lucky (Whew!). And you may get lucky and have a baby who likes both! If you can afford it, swing for both a sling and a carrier. They're great not only for shopping trips and walks, but even when you're doing housework or making lunch; anytime you need two free hands and your baby isn't in the mood for lying down on his or her own. Whatever you choose, remember that your baby's safety and comfort are the number one priority.
As far as safety is concerned, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website (www.cpsc.gov) for recall notices before you buy. Also, it is recommended that you do not buy used, as there have been recalls of numerous brands in the past.
Most baby carriers are good until your baby reaches about 20 pounds. Check your specific brand and model for their weight restrictions. Also included in weight restrictions is a minimum weight requirement: most are eight pounds. There are a few brands out there made specifically for smaller babies and preemies, most notably Weego. Be sure to adhere to the weight requirements for the safety of your little one. Once they get too big (and can sit up on their own), you can opt for a backpack carrier.
Lastly, you will have many options of looks. If mom and dad are sharing, there are many slings and carriers that have a more "unisex" look, if anyone is concerned with that. Slings come in a multitude of different colors and designs. You'll have fun picking one out!
Slings and carriers can be a comfort to your baby by holding them close to you, being jiggled while you move (babies love motion!), and keeping them snug and feeling safe. Also, slings and carriers are a great comfort to parents who need their hands free, or who need to navigate around stroller-unfriendly areas. Whichever one you choose, you'll be glad you decided to wear your baby!