Aloha mommas of O’ahu,
Happy New Year! I hope you had a memorable holiday season.
It’s a busy time, but the tradition and novelty never wears off for me. Our family has been busy moving into our new condo in Kapolei. We are loving it so far. The community is full of life, lots of kids, and amenities for fun adventures. I grew up on the North Shore, but perhaps soon I’ll be convinced that the #WestSideBestSide.
For those of you in the market for a baby carrier, you are in for a treat this week. My friend Courtney Caranguian of Wearing and Caring has the low-down for you. She has been a babywearing educator for four years. She is certified to travel to her clients and provide private one-on-one or group consults. Get in touch with her now, mommas.
Read to the end to find out how to contact her and get a special discount by mentioning this blog post.
When you're strolling through the baby stores making your registry or just browsing around you may end up near the baby carriers and wonder "Should I get a baby carrier?" and "Which carrier should I get?"
It can be a guessing game, you could google search, or ask some friends. At the end of the day knowing some of the basics of baby carriers may help you understand your options a bit more.
"I like this carrier!" - Infantino Ergonomic Union
Should I get a baby carrier?
Yes! Although I am biased being a fan of baby carriers myself I really do believe every parent could benefit from using a baby carrier. Some of the benefits of using a carrier are:
Being hands free
Get out of the house a little easier
You don't have to use a baby carrier all the time but having a baby carrier that you love can truly help you in the times you need it.
Using a Soft Structure Carrier to carry my son on a hike.
Which carrier should I get?
Normally when you're at a baby store (Target, BRU, etc.) you will see soft structured carriers, harness carriers, stretchy wraps, and meh dai's "mei tai's". All of these options are fine options. There are also Woven Wraps and Ring Slings that aren't normally at mainstream stores.
Let's go over the types of carriers available to you:
Soft Structured Carriers
Soft structured carriers (SSC's) also known as "buckle carriers” have a padded waistband with shoulder straps that clip in the back/front. This allows the carrier to be more fitted per user. Depending on the brand, SSC's can be used for front, back, and hip carrying; newborn through preschool age. There are some SSC's that do allow forward facing out positioning, as well as, insert-less options for newborns. Overall SSC's are simple to use.
Harness carriers look similar to SSC's as they also have buckles. The harness part goes over both shoulders, then baby is put in, and the body panel buckles up over the baby's back. The two positions for this carrier are front facing and forward facing out (per manufacturer recommendations). This type of carrier is not for hip or back carrying.
Bei Dai/Meh Dai - "Mei Tai"
From Asian Mom Support Network:
Bei Dai/Meh Dai (bay-dye/meh-dye) - China Meh dai (Cantonese) or bei dai (Mandarin) are rectangles of fabric with straps at the top and bottom. Meh dai means “back carrying strap" where “meh/bei” means “carry on your back,” and “dai” means strap. Using the syllables paired with other words to create mash up names is inappropriate.
The spelling “mei tai” does not reflect accurate pronunciation in either Mandarin or Cantonese, so we recommend ”bei dai” or “meh dai” for this carrier.
For more accurate information on East Asian Traditional Baby Carriers please go to this link.
As per my personal opinion on Meh Dai's, I highly recommend them. You can use Meh Dai's for front, back, and hip carries; newborn and up.
Stretchy wraps are long pieces of fabric that feel like the fabric of a t-shirt. This type of carrier allows a front carrying position. The K'tan shown in the right picture above is a double loop stretchy carrier giving the level of comfort a stretchy wrap would with the elimination of needing to wrap. There is a learning curve in using either of these carrier choices but once learned it is a nice option especially in the newborn days.
A woven wrap is a piece of fabric that can come in a variety of lengths and fabrics. You can use a woven wrap for front, back, and hip carries; for newborns, toddlers, and children. There is a learning curve to woven wraps but just like anything practice makes perfect. Woven wraps aren't commonly found in stores but ask an educator and surely they can help route you in the correct direction.
A ring sling is a one shouldered carrier. It is fabric with rings securely attached at one end. The fabric is threaded through the rings to adjust to the wearer’s body. You can use ring slings in an offset front, hip, or back carry (as needed). Ring slings are great for newborns and up, quick up and downs, a run to the grocery store, and a great carrier to keep in your diaper bag. If you're pregnant and have an older child that likes to be carried then you may like using a ring sling for that child.
Get hands on help!
Now that you know your choices you may want to try them out before you purchase one. Getting hands on experience and learning how to use each type can help you figure out which one you like best.
Check out Babywearing International of Oahu. They offer free monthly meetings to give you hands on help.
If you are looking for an educator that travels to you, I offer private consultations in the comfort of your home. Consultations are tailored to your needs.
Malama Momma clients can email Courtney to ask questions and arrange your consult.
Mention this blog post and get $10 off your initial consultation.