Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby Wearing Gear

There are many different ways to 'wear' your baby.  Which way works best depends completely on your needs and your lifestyle.  Don't give up if one style doesn't work for you.  Here are the different types that I've tried.

The Ring Sling:  The ring sling is a large piece of fabric that has two large rings attached to one end.  The way that you use it is by threading the open end through the rings and then hanging it over one shoulder.  The ring sling is nice because you can adjust it to give a nice firm hold with an infant or sleeping baby.  You can also loosen it to use on your hip with a toddler.  You can easily make your own ring sling.  Here are some directions.  The downside is that you have a large amount of fabric hanging on one side.  Also, using a ring sling on one shoulder for a long period of time or with a larger baby or toddler can be very hard on your back and shoulders.  It changes your posture and can cause aches.


The Wrap:  The Wrap is a long piece of fabric that you tie around yourself.  It is very versatile and there are many different ways to use it.  You can tie it like a ring sling to use as a hip carrier.  You can also tie it it many different ways to use as a front or back carrier.  It can be used with infants or with toddlers. Here are different ways to tie it.  Moby Wraps are one of the most popular wraps.  You can easily make one yourself.  It takes 6 to 6.5 yards of fabric.  Choose something that is light, breathable and stretchy.  I prefer jersey knit.  You can usually get 2 to 3 wraps out of your fabric by cutting it in half or thirds length wise, leaving you with about 20 inch wide and 6 yard long wraps.  The drawback to wraps is that they do take practice.  They are awkward to use at first, and take a little time to get used to.  The other drawback is when taking them on trips.  It can be hard to keep them clean when you have to use them outside.  The plus side is that if you make your own, you'll have extra to use while one is in the wash!

The Carrier:  Carriers come in all shapes and sizes, but the basic idea of them is that they are like a backpack that you can put your children in.  They have shoulder straps, a waist strap and some sort of 'seat' for the kids to go into.  You can use them to carry infants and toddlers.  You can use them to front carry and back carry.  I've never heard of anyone making a carrier for themselves, but I suppose with some really great sewing skills, the right materials and a ton of patience it could be done.  The drawback to carriers is that they are bulky.  Some of them are also not so great for your children.  Those would be the ones that just let their legs dangle and don't support their lower backs.  Definitely do your research before purchasing a carrier.

The Sling:  The sling is a circular piece of fabric that goes over one shoulder.  It's similar to the ring sling, but it is not adjustable.  They have a line of padding to help support your child.  Personally, I think the sling is not the best for daily use.  It is hard to support your child properly in a sling unless you happen to get the perfect size...which can be tricky to find.  This is because you can't adjust it to fit you and your child.  The sling is also somewhat limited in how you can carry your child too.



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