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Babywearing: Everything you need to know

February 5, 2018
A guide to carrying your baby

Babies love to be held – by wearing your baby, you free your hands to accomplish your tasks and for this reason, many parents consider a wrap or carrier their most important piece of baby kit.  Here, specialist baby carrier retailer, Slumber-Roo, share their advice about what you need to consider when buying your first baby or toddler carrier.

What are the benefits of babywearing? 

“Carrying helps you bond with a new baby in a practical and active way.  You won’t spoil your baby or make her clingy, she will soon become independent and want to roam but in the meantime, babywearing makes daily life easier.  You can get on with all the things you need to do – make a quick snack, sort the washing, pop to the shops or chase an active toddler around the park.  You’ll feel more confident and less tied down, while your baby feels warm and secure.

When should I start?

If you’re pregnant or have a newborn baby, that’s a great place to start but if you already have a bigger baby or toddler, there is no need to miss out on the benefits of carrying your child – you’re already used to picking them up, it will just take a little time to adjust to carrying them for longer periods.

How long should I carry for?

As your baby grows, your body will adapt to their increasing weight and if carrying is beneficial to your routine, with a good quality, size appropriate carrier, you can continue to carry comfortably well in to the pre-school years … think about those weary toddler legs on all those fun adventures!

How do I decide on a ‘style’ of baby carrier?

Parents or caregivers who frequently carry often have more than one kind of carrier as different types are suited to different situations – for example, an elegant ring sling snuggles a newborn close or offers a handy hip carry to an active up/down toddler, whereas two-shoulder carriers (soft-structured buckle carrier, meh dai or woven wrap) are better suited when carrying a heavier child for extended periods of time.

If you’re looking for a buckle carrier to truly last from birth to 18/24 months, then consider a carrier with either an infant insert of adjustable base and back panel.  If you’re still carrying your child after 2-years, then consider ‘up-sizing’ to a toddler or pre-school carrier.

How much do I  need to spend?

To start, as little as £30-£60 for a stretchy wrap to carry your baby during the first 4-6 months as you both adapt to this exciting new chapter in your lives.  If you’re likely to carry your child for longer, then consider a budget of £60-£135+ for 1 or 2 carriers to cover the first 18-24 months of your baby wearing journey.

What is a ‘good’ carrier?

A good carrier should be comfortable for both baby and wearer but most importantly, support your baby safely in an upright position, snug and high against your body. REGULARLY check your baby’s positioning and breathing – ensure they’re not slumped and their face is not covered.

Where should I buy from?

Be counterfeit aware – only purchase from an authorised retailer of the brand/product you’re considering. If in doubt, contact the brand manufacturer to verify and also check the product has been responsibly manufactured and tested to current US or EU safety standards.

What should I do when my carrier arrives?

Once you’ve purchased your baby carrier, it’s important to read the manufacturers instruction manual thoroughly and, if available, view online videos produced by either the manufacturer or a sling consultant.  But remember – practice makes perfect and the more you use your carrier the more confident you’ll become.

Beco 8

Does every baby like being carried?

Sometimes babies protest, especially if they’re tired or this is something new for you both, but they usually settle quickly once you start moving.  Take a little time to check their positioning and, once secure, potter around the house or go outside for a short walk.

Is there additional help & support?

There are many UK sling libraries where trained peer supporters or babywearing consultants can help you choose a carrier that will suit your lifestyle, or offer fitting tips when you’ve received your carrier. Visit: www.slumber-roo.co.uk/libraries

 

THE STAGES

BUDGET OPTION
Stage 1 – YOUNG BABY, 0-4/6 months+

Top Recommendations: Stretchy or Hybrid Wrap
Budget: from £30-60

Boba Wrap Organic

Stretchy Wraps are a single length of jersey fabric that you wrap around yourself and pre-tie – a sling consultants top recommendation for this age category.  They can stay on throughout the day and baby can easily be swapped in-and-out for nappy changes or feeding.

Hybrid Stretch Wraps offer the nurturing environment of a standard stretchy wrap but remove the need to pre-tie.

Useful Consideration: An ideal choice if you have a caesarean scar, as a stretchy wrap can be adapted to avoid or support your scar (possibly aggravated by a structured waistband) and provide excellent support for your back, stomach and core.

 

POPULAR WHEN SHARING
Stage 2 – OLDER BABY,
4-12/24 months
 plus Stage 3, Toddler 18 months+
Top Recommendations: Soft Structured Buckle or Meh Dai Carrier
Budget: from £60-£135+ (repeat if ‘sizing-up’)

Beco Soleil Front Carry

Soft-Structured Buckle & Meh Dai Carriers are similar to well designed rucksacks – two shoulder straps which attach to the body panel using webbing and buckles or ties to hold the child’s body close to the wearer.  Many have a structured waist belt which helps distribute the child’s weight between the wearers’ shoulders and hips; especially useful when carrying heavy toddlers.

One of the most familiar carrying aids, buckle carriers offer a variety of carrying positions and are a supportive and practical option when carrying your baby for long periods of the day, or sharing with other caregivers.

 

ELEGANT, VERSATILE & COST EFFECTIVE
ALL AGES/STAGES: Newborn-to-Toddler/Pre-School
Top Recommendations: Ring Sling or Woven Wrap
Budget: from £30-90 upward (simple cottons to luxurious blends, from budget to high-end)

Beco Ring Sling

Ring Slings are long, single pieces of fabric that thread through two rings to form a pouch to carry your baby.  Worn over one shoulder, they are highly adjustable to fit wearers of different sizes and particularly useful for snuggling a newborn or offering a quick and convenient hip carry to an older baby or toddler who is up/down frequently.

Woven Wraps come in a variety of lengths and a huge range of patterns, colours and fabric blends.  It may take a little practice to learn how to tie your wrap on your back, but it’s well worth the effort if you’re looking for just one beautiful carrier to take you through all the stages of babywearing.

Where can we find out more?

For further advice, telephone 01803 782959, email: info@slumber-roo.co.uk or visit: www.facebook.com/slumber.roo

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