by Michal Chesal, President of Baby K’tan
Before I developed the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier, I was faced with so few options on the market for baby carriers. Today, the options are almost limitless. With such a wide variety of carriers on the market, including wraps, structured carriers, unstructured or Asian-style carriers such as the Mei Tai, slings and pouches, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
At Baby K’tan, we are dedicated to safe baby wearing and truly believe in the benefits of doing so since our company was founded on those very ideals. In hopes of helping you find the best carrier for you and your baby, we’ve developed a few attributes to consider.
We believe that wearing your baby safely and properly will always have benefits associated with it. Studies show that babies whose mothers’ wear them in slings are calmer and cry less. Carrying your newborn in a carrier can serve as a natural transition from the quiet womb into the world. Being close to your baby has also proven to help them regulate their bodies, enhance their visual and auditory alertness as well as speech development.
One of the first things you will notice about a carrier is the type of material it is made with. Some carriers on the market consist of many different types of fabric including cotton and polyester. Others are 100% cotton. And most recently, many carrier brands are offering organic versions of their carriers. When looking at the material, you should consider your geographical location. In cooler climates, you may want a carrier with a softer, warm fabric like thick cotton, whereas in hotter weather, you may want to choose a carrier that is lightweight and made with thinner layers of fabric such as mesh or gauze.
Easy to Use
Buying a carrier that you will enjoy using is a vital part of wearing your baby. The truth is, if you purchase a carrier that you won’t take the time to figure out, you will end up storing it in your coat closet. Many retail locations have a carrier expert that can show you how to use the carrier before you purchase it. Some retailers such as ISIS Parenting even post videos online with step by step instructions. It is always important to read through the entire instruction manual to be sure you are using your carrier safely. Remember, it may take a few tries until you are able to get your carrier on without looking in a mirror!
There are so many different types of carriers on the market today including structured carriers, backpacks, slings, wraps, Mei Tai style carriers and even “ready-to-wear” wraps. When choosing a baby carrier, you should consider when and where you will be using it to care for your little one. For example, if you live in a city where you do a lot of walking, you will want a carrier that is lightweight, comfortable and can fold up easily for quick storage. Or, if you will use your carrier mainly for running errands, you will want to make sure that the carrier you choose will be easy to pop on in the parking lot. If you are hiking or doing a lot of outdoors activities and your baby is a bit older, a framed backpack might be a good choice for you.
Newborn babies have very different characteristics and needs than those of 9 month olds. When choosing a carrier, consider the changes that your baby will have during the primary baby wearing stages. At first, your baby will want to be close and tight to you. They might enjoy being swaddled on your body in a wrap style carrier. Then, when he or she is a little older, they may want to stretch their arms and see the world! Try to choose a carrier that will grow with you and your baby. A carrier that has multiple wearing positions will allow you to choose the position based on the age of your baby.
As you explore the many options available for baby carriers, these tips will help you find the right carrier for you and your baby. Remember, not every carrier is right for everyone. Consider your needs and expectations for wearing your baby and consult experts at your local retailer as well as online to help you make your decision. Your local baby wearing group may also have a lending library that will allow you to try out a few different carriers before you buy your own. Also, be sure to check the store or retailer’s return policy.
These tips should get you on your way to safe and healthy babywearing with your precious baby.