The Beginner’s Guide to Babywearing

POSTED by Kate on March 20, 2011 | CATEGORIES: Babywearing, For The Baby, For The Belly

I’m so grateful that Stephanie Precourt of Adventures in Babywearing agreed to demo her favorite slings, wraps and carriers for a group of expecting and new moms at my home on Saturday. Steph is a mom to four and longtime babywearer; you can also find her writing here and here as well as directing and producing Listen to Your Mother on May 7 in Valparaiso, Indiana.

And without further adieu, The Beginner’s Guide to Babywearing with our own personal tour guide, Stephanie. A special thanks to Casey for capturing some great shots.

Photo by Casey

The Ring Sling

Who makes one: Sakura Bloom, Sleepy Baby Productions

What it will cost you: $88-$198 at Sakura; starts at $30 for a custom sling from SBP

Why Steph loves it: Perfect for newborns, great for nursing, comfortable, fashionable and versatile

Favorite carry: Tummy to tummy but Sakura Bloom’s YouTube channel will show you many more. Keep the ring high on your shoulder, similar to where a corsage would be pinned.

Update: Steph bought her first ring sling on eBay for $15! Shop around! You’ll find many options on Etsy.com, too.

The Pouch


Photo by Casey

Who makes one: Mod Mum, Petunia Pickle BottomHotslings (store closed but find a retailer near you)

What it will cost you: $40-$70

What Steph says: It’s typically less expensive than a ring sling, small and convenient, but they usually only come in one size so it’s difficult to get that perfect fit. Hotslings does sell an option that’s adjustable.

Favorite carry: You’ll start to see a pattern — Steph prefers tummy to tummy, which keeps the baby upright and against your chest. A cradle carry can be hard to achieve, especially with a tiny newborn with no head strength.

The Wrap

Who makes one: Moby, Sleepy

What it will cost you: $40-$70

Why Steph loves it: Another great carrier for a tiny newborn. It’s a little bit of work to get on, but it’s SO comfortable and has two layers of support for baby. You can also wear it all day because of the two shoulder support.

How to carry: You must watch this video of an adorable dad using a wrap. Moby also shows you many ways to carry here.

The Mei Tai

Who makes one: These traditional Asian carriers are sold by Baby Hawk and Mei Tai Baby.

What it will cost you: $80-90

Why Steph loves it: Like the wrap, the mei tai also has two shoulder support but it offers more structure. It’s also great for backwearing an older baby. Wait until baby is about 3 months old or has good head support to use the mei tai.

The carry: Front, back, facing inward or outward.

The Ergo

Who makes it: Ergo Baby (the brand name)

What it will cost you: Starting at $105

Why Steph loves it: “I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like the Ergo,” she says. “It’s also less intimidating than a sling or wrap.” It has more structure and bells and whistles than the mei tai, and it’s perfect for outdoor activities like hiking. Wait until baby is three months old or has good head support. Ergo does sell infant inserts for smaller babies.

How to carry: Downloadable instructions here.

Peekaru

What it is: A babywearing accessory to keep you and baby warm!

Where you can buy it: Find it here.

What it will cost you: $80

Another accessory we can’t pass up: Children’s Play Slings by Sakura

Questions for Steph:

I don’t know anyone who babywears. What resources do you recommend for me?
TheBabyWearer.com — forums, chat rooms, safety information and much more
Correct Positioning Guide (from TheBabyWearer)
Sakura Bloom’s YouTube Channel
A local La Leche League meeting (that’s how Steph was introduced to babywearing)

Where can I buy a carrier in or around Chicago?
Giggle, Belly Dance, Land of Nod, Galt, Be By Baby and more in Chicago
Mothering by Nature Center in Chesteron, IN

What age do you stop babywearing?
Stop when it becomes uncomfortable for you or when baby is too heavy. For Steph, that meant around age 3 for her son. Follow your carrier’s instructions and weight limit, too.

Can Dads babywear?
“Dads who babywear are hot!” Steph says. (We agree!) Encouraging your hubby to babywear may require you to buy a neutral carrier — stay away from pink and floral patterns. Babywearing is also great bonding for Dads, especially if Mom is nursing exclusively.

Can you babywear when you’re pregnant?
Stephanie says: “You can babywear while you’re pregnant. It’s recommended to carry whatever is most comfortable for you. The Ergo worn as a back carry is popular, with the belt worn low under the waist. I wore Gray in the mei tai on my back while pregnant with Ivy. I just tied the straps so that it was comfortable for my pregnant belly and back. If you find that you can still carry your child in your arms while pregnant, you can wear them in a carrier. If your doctor recommends that you should not lift or hold a certain weight while pregnant, then of course heed that advice.”

I’m scared to try babywearing!
Go with your gut, Stephanie says. Keep trying different carriers and positions until one if right for you and baby. If your baby starts fussing in a carrier, start moving. “It’s almost like a car ride,” she says. “It’s a guaranteed nap!”

Isn’t babywearing for crunchy moms only?
From Steph: “I think that no matter what your parenting style or choices, almost every new mom registers for a baby carrier like the Baby Bjorn when they first have a baby. Wearing a Baby Bjorn is babywearing! I think the traditional baby carriers are lumped into the crunchy culture because they aren’t readily available at big box stores and might be harder to find. I think many moms don’t understand the different types of carriers so they make assumptions about the people that wear them!

Now, of course moms that practice attachment parenting often rely on baby carriers to get through the day and keep their baby close. Those that parent this way are more likely to exclusively breastfeed and cloth diaper as well. But babywearing is really any act of keeping your child close in a carrier.

Crunchy or not, babywearing works wonders for parents and caregivers that don’t want to lug around a stroller, have multiple children to keep track of, or to just soothe their baby while they get things done, keeping their hands-free.”

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

adventuresinbabywearing March 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Thanks so much for the opportunity, Kate! It was awesome wearing a little baby again Saturday. :)

Steph

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Erin March 21, 2011 at 5:56 am

Because I super hardcore love the Hotslings pouch Steph is wearing, I do have to point out that it IS adjustable. Like you said, Hotslings sadly closed, but you can still find the adjustable pouches. Tommy lived in that thing!

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Sarah March 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

I love this! Thanks, Kate. Great resource guide for a beginner.

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Ali March 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Great guide! Just have to mention that Ergos start at $105, it’s the organic fabric ones that start at $120, although they are going up in price in a few days. Also shop around for ring slings! I found some great sellers on etsy, and my rings slings are definitely my favorites!

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Jennifer March 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

This is such an awesome post… I love the detail, I love the pics!
Nice work KSB! And, nice work Steph & Sarah & Viola too! :) :)
Hugs,
JC

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elizabeth March 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Also as a sidenote, ERGO is increasing the cost of their product as of 4/1. So if interested buy now!

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Fernanda March 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

We love your guide. Baby wearing is a great way to soothe and nurse your baby. We include it as part of our Soothing Essentials Guide (http://www.fefisbaby.com/baby-soothing-essentials). Our favorite is the Moby Wrap.

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