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Carriers and Wraps

image001Not much beats the feeling of holding your baby close and having their heart beat against yours. It’s especially rewarding when your hands are free to do other things at the same time. This is exactly the flexibility a carrier or wrap gives you.

A carrier or a wrap is good for when you’re on the go, both out and at home. You can strap your baby to you when taking a stroll or just hanging out. And when the little one’s fussing and needs to rock or bounce, you can ‘wear your baby’ and give your arms a rest. Some babies actually prefer it.

One thing to keep in mind is, that although the baby may be snugged up against you, it’s not advised to cook or bend forward when carrying your little one.

Carriers

Carriers can be a lot of fun and stylish. You can find different fabrics, colours and buckle styles from a number of brands. Check your carrier manual for weight limitations but generally you can carry your baby up to 2-3 years of age. While any carrier you choose will be safe for you and your baby, here are a few things to consider with regards to style.

Front and Back Carriers

This style is recommended for infants, and at that age, your baby should be facing inwards so you’re chest to chest with them. This is the case for a number of reasons. First and most importantly, it’s so that they can use your chest as head support (they won’t yet have the neck strength to keep it up on their own). With them facing you, you’ll also have easier access to them so you can put their soother back in if it falls out, wipe up any drool and, of course, watch them smile or sleep.

Once baby can safely support their own head, you can place them in the outward facing position and let them see the world.

Soft carriers can come as slings, hip carriers, or in a traditional backpack-style. They’re the lightest back carriers, which is why they’re best for everyday use like a neighbourhood walk, a trip to the store or any other short-term excursion. They will not compensate for the inevitable strain that 20-45 lbs can put on your back.

Framed back carriers are bulkier and heavier, but are also much more comfortable and designed to be worn for longer stretches like a hike. They’re reinforced mostly by metal bars that better distribute the weight of your baby between your shoulders so it’s not putting pressure on your lower back. Many models have a stand so you can set it down without needing to take your baby out; and some even have added storage space.

Wraps

Unlike carriers that have buckles that you clip into place, wraps are usually just a piece of fabric you can use to wear your baby in a number of ways. Many parents prefer wraps over carriers because it is the ultimate in baby wearing and because there are no hard plastic pieces. And like carriers, there are different wrap styles for different stages and preferences.

Wraps are recommended for babies 35 lbs and under, both for their safety and for your back. Having said that, if your baby is under 35 lbs, you’ll be able to carry them for a while if you tie it snugly.

Practical for newborns (and new parents) because they’re fairly easy to tie and wear (once you get the hang of it). The woven comes in handy in the early months and will adjust as your baby grows.

 

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