Thursday, October 25, 2012

BABY GEAR: Baby carriers

There are many different baby carriers out there, some are much better than others and they all have their pros and cons so it took me a while to decide which ones I wanted.  I originally intended to only have one baby carrier but we currently own three so I'll share my experience with each of them.
The three carriers we have are:
For a while I also had my eye on the Maya wrap ring sling too, but still have not gotten the chance to try it out yet

[1]Ergobaby Sport



This was my first choice. I really wanted a carrier that allowed me to wear my baby in a comfortable sitting position rather than the crotch dangling position of the Baby Bjorn carrier. The photo below really illustrates the difference between the two carriers.
  






I knew without a doubt that the Ergobaby was the right type of carrier for me, because it perfectly mimics the back carry seating position of the west-African cloth wraps that are a big part of my culture.



There are currently 5 different types of Ergobaby carriers and I was torn on which one to get. I wanted to buy the original one because it is 100% cotton canvas but I ended up getting the Ergobaby Sport.I chose the sport for a few reasons, because it is the lightest weight carrier they make, it has quick-drying materials and extra venting to keep both me and the baby from getting too hot, and most importantly because it has a few extra inches in the shoulder straps and waist belt to make it better suited for taller or bigger people. I'm 5ft 11 so this was an important feature for me.

The main pros and cons of the Ergobaby sport are:

Pros
-It carries the baby in a comfortable seating position
-It allows me to carry my baby in 3 different positions, front, back and side.
-It evenly distributes the weight of the baby on my back, shoulders, waist and hips
-Thick padding on the shoulder straps makes it comfortable to wear for long periods
-It comes with a little hood that you can put on the baby's head when they are fall asleep

Cons
-It is really tricky to get this on by yourself, especially if you want to carry your baby  on your back, I've been using this for several months now and its still hard for me to get it on by myself.
-Like all the other Ergobaby carriers this is designed to be used for babies 5 months or older. This is because the carrier is bigger so it poses a fall hazard for smaller babies and its softer and less structured so it doesn't provide enough head support for a newborn. If you want to use it with your newborn you need to purchase the infant insert separately. See below for my experience with the insert.
-The shoulder straps are a bit bulky for my small frame. I know I wanted a carrier for tall people but sheesh I'm not a giant or anything. This looks much better on my husband because he has broader shoulders. As you can see from the picture above with the red carrier, it looks as though the straps are almost coming off her shoulders because of how thick and bulky they are.
-The baby can only face in, you can't have the baby facing out like with other carriers. For me this is no big deal because I always want to carry my baby facing in anyway.

Bottom line
The Ergobaby sport carrier is my favorite carrier, it truly is the best for the baby and for the parent too but it is best suited for an older baby who can sit up with assistance, at least 4 months or older.



Ergobaby Original infant insert Heart2Heart







This insert essentially swaddles your newborn baby inside the carrier and gives the baby the needed head and neck support as well as a boost in height thanks to a small removable pillow inside the insert. I purchased the insert so I could use my Ergobaby right away when my baby was born but I never really like it much.  It is designed in such a way that the baby's legs are inside the carrier instead of hanging out and that can be a bit uncomfortable for both of you especially if you have a c-section incision. The insert is made of a thick padded cotton that can trap a lot of heat in the summer. My baby was never really happy in the insert so I decided to return it.



[2]Baby Bjorn Original

As you can see from the photos below, the Baby Bjorn Original and Active carriers are the most commonly used carrier by most celebrities and famous personalities.











The Baby Bjorn original has been around for such a long time that most people blindly trust it as the best option available. I have never liked this carrier and always thought babies looked quite uncomfortable in these, yes even in the Gucci version that Gwen Stefani used. The Baby Bjorn is a crotch dangler, plain and simple, and there's no other way to put it. Your baby is forced to pretty much dangle by their crotch and just hang there uncomfortably, especially when facing out. Either way I received it as a gift and decided to try it and to my surprise I actually liked certain elements about it.

Pros
- It can be used with a newborn baby (minimum weight and length is 8lbs and 21 inches) The carrier is very structured so it supports the baby's body, head and neck and keeps them upright even as a newborn.
-Once the child is older the neck of the carrier can be folder down and then they can face outwards to see whats going on around them.
-It is very easy to put this carrier on and take it off by myself
-To my surprise my baby was very comfortable in this and would always fall asleep in it within a few minutes
.
Cons
-It is a crotch dangler!! Need a I say more?  It really isn't the best for the baby's hip development, especially for older babies who are heavier.
- The weight of the baby is all centered on my shoulders and upper back so after about 20 minutes of using it my back and shoulders start burning in pain, which gets worse with each minute so I am forced to take it off.
-The shoulder straps aren't very comfortable especially with a heavy baby
-I can't use this carrier on my back, I'm limited to only carrying the baby on my front, which sometimes isn't want I want.


Bottom line: I like this carrier for short term use, such as a quick walk to the store, it is easy to put on and take off but I would only use this with a newborn baby. I stopped using this once my baby was 4 months old because it got more and more uncomfortable the heavier she got.


As a result of all the criticism, Baby Bjorn has now introduced a new carrier called the Comfort Carrier and it's bascially a copy of the Ergo in the sense that it allows the baby to sit rather than just dangle and has a waist belt for better distribution of the baby's weight. The main difference between this  new carrier and the Ergobaby is that you can still wear the baby facing outwards. However, when the baby faces outwards they are still pretty much dangling by their crotch.


[3] Seven slings

I received this sling for free, I only had to pay for shipping and I really wanted to like it. I tried it many times in different positions but I really do not like it at all and don't have anything positive to say about it other than the fact that it looks good in pictures.













The fabric of this sling is pretty cheap and not really soft enough for a carrier. The pictures make it look as though it will have a slight stretch quality to it but it doesn't, it almost feels like a trench coat. I don't know if maybe I order the wrong size, but I've never been able to really get comfortable using this, it always seems either too loose or too tight and my baby never seems happy in it either.





Maya wrap ring sling
I don't own this and I've never tried it on but I do really like the look of it and if it was cheaper I may have bought it to try it out. I like that you can breastfeed your baby in this carrier, and unlike the awkward fit of the Seven sling, the Maya ring sling is adjustable.






xoxo

3 comments:

  1. it is quite interesting how some of these mimic as it were varying ways of carrying babies in different countries across the continent of Africa.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Keeping them close to your heart. This gear is pretty good in doing that. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete