Baby Carriers-A super-comfy way to lug your little bundle of joyBuying Guides in Baby Carriers

'A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.' Victor Hugo

While nothing beats a mommy's caressing arms to mollycoddle her tiny tot, a Baby Carrier unfetters the mum from constantly toting her little one, and lends her the privilege to manage other chores while holding her baby tight and close, right next to her bosom. Although there exist numerous ways of carting your baby around town-a stroller, a car seat, a baby buggy, nonetheless, a Baby Carrier remains the unanimous top choice for most parents, as the ease-of-use, along with the snug and cosy feeling of closeness provided by a Baby Carrier, is simply beyond comparison.

Baby carriers allow you to cuddle your child tight against your body, while allowing you the privilege of being hands-free, a win-win situation that most parents would love to be in! Strapping your baby in a Baby Carrier lets you navigate your way swiftly around jam-packed places, and also manage daily errands while your little one snoozes in peace right next to you! In fact, several health care experts, notably paediatricians, maintain that fuss-free baby-wearing through a Baby Carrier, which remains a sure-shot way to mollify a colicky or finicky toddler, in addition to lowering the hazard for the mom against irksome postpartum depression. Needless to say, such close physical proximity takes the bonding between you and your baby to a whole new level! As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon to find several doting dads go into raptures over Baby Carriers because of the sheer ease such apparatus lends them to spend copious amount of one-on-one time with their newborn tot. Dads would simply give their left arm for the expediency and bonding they can enjoy when their little one cuddles up against them, while they sit at their work desk going about fixing urgent office files! Who said only women can multi-task adroitly!

While some parents prefer to use Baby Carriers only in the early months when the baby is lighter in weight, and find it uncomfortable to use once the baby reaches a stocky 15 to 20 pounds, some others merrily carry their kids long past this point, even up to four years of age! In fact, some new and advanced Baby Carriers are designed to be absolutely safe for children weighing up to a whopping 40 pounds! Such Baby Carriers make it comfortable to carry the heavy baby-weight load by positioning the weight evenly on your hips rather than on the shoulders and back.

If you happen to be new fangled proud parents scouting for a first-rate Baby Carrier to tote around the joy of your life, the following broad guidelines shall help you make a truly informed buying decision:

Types of Baby Carriers

If the sheer variety of baby carriers available in the baby care market has stumped you, here is a quick low down on the kind of baby carriers you may choose from:

Front Baby Carrier

A Front Baby Carrier comprises two shoulder straps supporting a fabric seat. Such a carrier, along with your baby, is worn extremely close to the chest, and initially, the newborn is fixed in such a way inside the carrier that he/she faces inward, towards you. Five to six months down the line, once your baby acquires good head control and is capable of sitting up, mommies may turn the baby outward to look at the world around him/her. Additionally, some Front Baby Carrier variants are designed such that they can also be worn on the back, which is certainly more comfortable for mums when their kid is heavier, apart from lending a great view to the child.

Nevertheless, a few gripes associated with Front Baby Carriers need to be considered. Firstly, front baby carriers do not facilitate effortless breastfeeding while wearing the baby. Also, a Front Baby Carrier may feel pretty oversized and unwieldy for your newborn. In exceptional circumstances, Front Baby Carrier may expose the baby to a heightened risk of dehydration/ heat exhaustion.

Sling Baby Carrier

A Sling Baby Carrier is a wide swath of fabric worn across the torso and diagonally over one shoulder. Sling Baby Carriers come in several variants-padded, unpadded, without rings, and with rings for adjustment. Unlike Front Baby Carrier, a Sling Baby Carrier is ideal for moms, who breastfeed because the loose fit and generous fabric allow them to nurse the baby inconspicuously. On the downside, generous quantity of fabric used in designing a Sling Baby Carrier makes it quite cumbersome to lug around, especially for petite women. Also, the one-shoulder support becomes fairly uncomfortable, particularly in case of hefty kids.

Also, mums with babies younger than 4 months, prematurely born babies or babies with a cold or respiratory problem must certainly consult the physician before using a Sling Baby Carrier.

Wrap Baby Carrier

A Wrap Baby Carrier is a wide piece of fabric usually worn around the body and over both shoulders, in a balanced way. Such Baby Carriers enjoy immense popularity because of their sheer versatility - these can be worn in numerous possible ways, and can be easily adjusted by pulling on the fabric. Akin to Sling Baby Carriers, Wrap Baby Carriers ensure fuss-free breastfeeding of the baby while wearing him/her snugly.

A drawback associated with Wrap Baby Carriers is that strapping them on and taking them off may prove to be a time-consuming exercise. Moreover, similar to Sling Baby Carriers, Wrap Baby Carriers are not fit for carrying heavier kids, as they lack the padding and support offered by Front Baby Carriers.

Important: On a precautionary note, when wearing their baby in a sling or wrap, mums must check on the baby quite often to ensure he/she has not slid into a curled up chin-to-chest position, or that the baby's face is not pressed up hard against the mum, or the fabric. Both these positions are quite perilous, and may lead to fatal suffocation, within a span of minutes.

Apart from the above prominent categories, Prams, Car Seats, Strollers, Bouncers and Carry Cots may be loosely termed as Baby Carriers.

Primary Deliberations before Buying

Prospective buyers must pay due consideration to the following facets before zeroing in on the perfect Baby Carrier for their little monster:

One Size does not Fit All-Choose the Correct Type

Each Baby Carrier will have a distinct fit, depending upon your body as well as your baby. While some models may work perfectly for some mom-baby duos, they may not be apt for some others. It is advisable to try a couple of Baby Carrier designs and sizes to ascertain the one that fits the bill rightly for you. An ill-fitting or oversized Baby Carrier may cause heaps of discomfort to both-you and your baby.

Mom's Comfort

You must always settle for wide, well-padded straps, in addition to a sturdy fabric, so that the baby's weight gets evenly distributed, without exerting too much of strain on your neck, shoulders and upper back. Another noteworthy consideration here would be the use of the Baby Carrier by other people around you, for instance the baby's caregiver or a grandparent. To accommodate various body shapes and dimensions, it is prudent to buy an easily adjustable/customisable Baby Carrier model. In fact, several Baby Carrier variants come in regular as well as extra-large sizes for plus-sized or very tall parents. It would be a worthwhile investment of time to do a thorough market research and factor-in all these contemplations before buying the perfect Baby Carrier bespoke as per your unique requirements.

Baby's Comfort

If you are buying a Front Baby Carrier, it would be wise to look for padded leg holes with a loose-fitting, so that your baby's thighs do not get constricted. Nevertheless, the leg holes should not be so loose that your baby runs the risk of slipping through them. Furthermore, you need to account for the fact that your baby may probably like to sleep in the carrier, so a model with a firm yet soft padded headrest, providing adequate support to the baby's head and neck, would be a great alternative. When buying a Sling Baby Carrier or Wrap Baby Carrier, one must ensure that the base fabric is pretty soft and breathable, so that the baby does not feel discomfort from over-heating.

Versatility

While few parents prefer to begin with a Sling Baby Carrier or a Wrap Baby Carrier for a very young baby and like to upgrade to a Front Baby Carrier as the baby grows older, many Baby Carriers are flexibly designed for customisation as your infant grows. In fact, some Front Baby Carriers may require a special add-on insert for newborns. It is advisable to determine the kind of customization you are expecting from the Baby Carrier model.

Sturdiness

Before putting the Baby Carrier to use, it is imperative to ensure that the seat and straps support your baby securely, and all the buckles, snaps, and belts provided are durable and in excellent working condition. After all, you'll be entrusting your baby carrier to hold your most prized possession, so it better be really sturdy and steadfast!

Ease of Use

One must ensure that the Baby Carrier is capable of navigation in an easy and fuss-free manner, preferably with one hand, as you'll be taking it on and off pretty frequently, and you will also be required to tuck in your baby/take your baby out, at times without any help. Some Front Baby Carriers are designed such that they can be unbuckled easily to allow movement of the sleeping baby into a stroller or crib, without disturbing his/her siesta.

Nursing-friendliness

If you wish to breastfeed your baby while wearing him, Sling and Wrap variants are certainly better than Front Baby Carriers.

Check Appropriateness as per Local Weather Conditions

Some Baby Carriers may prove to be too warm for the sweltering summer days, owing to heavy fabric and dark colour. Thick fabrics and deep colours make the Baby Carrier heat up pretty fast, leading to a lot of discomfort for your little one. Therefore, if you plan to move around with your baby amidst really hot and sultry weather, it is wise to choose a Baby Carrier constructed of very light fabric in a muted pastel shade that will keep your baby cool and comfy for longer hours.

Effortless Cleaning and Maintenance

Kids are messy, they drool, pee and pooh all the time. Hence, a machine-washable Baby Carrier would be a life-saver for mommy dear. Also, one must go for Baby Carriers made of very light fabric, so that it takes less time to dry up.

Vital Safety Measures

While a Baby Carrier undeniably makes it pretty comfortable for you to carry your baby, you must be discreet enough to take the following precautionary measures:

  • When wearing your baby, always watch to ensure that the baby does not get overheated. Babies tend to get too warm when pressed up against your body for long hours on a hot and sunny day.
  • Always ensure that you can see your baby's face/ eyes in the sling, and also make sure that your baby can see you. Unless you are nursing your baby, his/her face should be visible at/above the rim of your Sling or Wrap.
  • Post nursing their baby while wearing him/her, mums must ensure that they reposition him/her such that the baby's face is visible, and remains placed at/above the rim of the Sling or Wrap. Also, make certain that the baby's face should be at a safe distance from the fabric, and from your body.


Key Brands

End-users may choose the perfect Baby Carrier from a wide array of brands available in the market. Some of the popular manufacturers of sophisticated Baby Carriers include:

  • Chicco
  • Mee Mee
  • Farlin
  • Sunbaby
  • Mac Baby
  • Little Angel
  • Graco
  • New Native
  • Infantino
  • Breeze Baby
  • Baby's Alley


Monetary Consideration

Cost would essentially depend on the brand, along with the features. As a general rule, Wraps and Slings are far less expensive than Front Baby Carriers. In fact, some upscale Baby Carrier models proffer enhanced comfort of wearing, so that you can wear your child for protracted hours during the day. Such premium variants may also boast of fancier fabrics/added frills such as a nice sleeping hood for the baby. Needless to say, such Baby Carrier models cost a lot more than the simple entry-level ones!

Make a Judicious Buying Decision

The aforementioned scrupulously put together facts reinstate that selecting the right Baby Carrier for your newborn essentially depends on a horde of factors, viz., your baby's age and weight, maximum comfort for you and your baby and ease of operation and maintenance. Therefore, end-users would do well to make use of the above exhaustive information and buying tips to make a cerebral buying decision and cherry pick a Baby Carrier as per their distinctive requisites, budget and optimum comfort. Happy baby carrying!