When I was pregnant, I was pretty clear that I wanted to baby wear. I talked to people who had used carriers and felt I had a pretty good idea of what I needed. So off I went and bought an Ergo with infant insert (soft structured carrier) and a Moby (stretchy wrap). I read the manuals and the instructions on how to carry a newborn. I felt well prepared.
Bubs arrived and we didn’t wear him to start with as we were doing a lotus birth and I didn’t feel comfortable wrapping him with his placenta (Looking back, wrapping him and his little package probably would have made life easier). Once that complication passed I got out my long stretchy, my instruction book and my wriggly baby (he was never a particularly chilled baby) and I tried to wear him. Let’s just say Bubs and the Moby didn’t make immediate friends. He wriggled and squirmed and that alongside my nervousness about wrapping him too tight, meant a less than successful experience. I tried a few more times over the next week or so but each time Bubs got agitated and cried. Out came the Ergo with insert. I know some people love these but I really felt like I needed a degree to work out how to get Bubs in the insert and then into the carrier with his legs in the right position and his head supported. Again, tears, wriggling and all that jazz ensued. I persevered and I decided to bite the bullet and go for a walk but I wasn’t happy with his positioning so kept adjusting. I finally managed to get Bubs to sleep but it was the height of summer and he got super hot and woke up pretty soon. My next few attempts were less successful than those above. I won’t bore you with the detail but you get the picture.
My first foray in to baby wearing was less than successful. I was starting to think that perhaps baby wearing just wasn’t for us this time round. I then remembered a card I had pinned on the fridge for Babywearing Wellington (BWW) so I checked when the next meet was, rallied some of my antenatal group and along we went armed with our carriers. I got some great tips on how to use the carriers but whatever we tried it seemed that Bubs just wasn’t a fan. That’s where the sling library came to the rescue. One of the BWW committee grabbed some other carriers to try and one by one we gave them a whirl each time met with fierce opposition, that is until we tried a Mei Tai! It was such a relief to find something I could actually carry my little one in. Yes, there was still a bit of fussing whilst I got him in it, but I found distraction techniques – singing, bouncing etc. and as I became more confident using the carrier Bubs seemed to be happier in it. What’s more, I could get much longer sleeps out of him in the day by wearing him.
I understand the desire to get everything prepared before Bubs arrives – I sure had it. I wanted my carriers ready to go from day one!! But from my experience I really recommend waiting until Bubs arrives to decide what carrier to get. Perhaps you can borrow something from a friend in the meantime or hire something just before you are expecting. Or bring Baby along once you are ready to get out and about, and try things out. See how they work for you, and for Bubs. Having been part of Babywearing Wellington for a little while now, what I can tell you is there is no single perfect carrier. Everyone is different and a carrier that’s perfect for one person may not be at all right for another. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the carriers I mention above. I have friends that love them. Just not us. That’s the beauty of trying before you buy. So look up your local Babywearing group and if there isn’t one nearby, then know that there are places you can hire carriers online.
For months we relied on that Mei Tai (I chose to get a little love but there are lots of options) for sleeps and outings, for our trip to visit family in Oz. Babywearing moved from being a battle (which it shouldn’t be) to being the parenting tool I’d hoped it would be…and a whole lot more. Then at 8 months we decided to try a woven wrap. Bubs didn’t mind it, I fell in love…..but that’s a whole different story.