When I fell pregnant with Eloise and was plunged into the ‘what the fuck is that’ world full of baby products I’d never heard of before. I never really looked too much into baby wearing at first. I don’t think I properly wore her until she was about 5 months old. I was a bit of a pram whore if I’m completely honest, I went through about 5 with Eloise in the first 2 years (and now there’s me with a shitty old florescent pink piece of crap I hardly use that cost me a fiver off a Facebook selling page.)
The first baby carrier I ever owned was one of those foam filled things that was chunky and uncomfortable and shit in general on so many levels. I used it about once before retiring it to the back of the hallway door at my Mums house (it’s probably still there actually) which was more than likely a good thing as they are more often than not, terrible on baby’s hips. Especially the cheaper ones.
My next venture into baby wearing came in the shape of a bright pink Baba Sling. Eloise was about 5 months old at the time and I hated it immediately. I tried a hip carry and it felt really unsupportive and like she was going to topple out of it at any second. For a younger baby I could see it being more useful, especially for breastfeeding out of but even then I’d feel quite uncomfortable doing anything in it because it offers very little support to a more wiggly baby. The Baba Sling also resigned itself but this time to the depths of the garage, never to be seen again.
Next up was the Connecta AKA my first non rubbish carrier. I remember debating on whether it was worth blowing the best part of £70 on as Eloise was about 10 months at the time and had just started walking and as she was my first baby I was under the false presumption that she would actually walk places soon (you can all laugh at me). I ended up spending so long umming and ahhing I just thought ‘fuck it’ and bought it one day after spending even longer trying to decide on a print whilst accepting the fact it was FOR Eloise technically to avoid any purchase guilt.
I got it, figured out how to breastfeed in it and gushed over the prettiness and quality of the fabric. I got the standard size if I remember correctly and due to the fact breastfeeding actually helped me lose weight first time around I found the straps super long and I couldn’t tighten it enough over my scrawny 6 stone something body (I know right). I tried and tried but I couldn’t get it high enough to be comfy so it was always hanging and eventually my back decided it hated it and my heart cried. If you’re tiny then go for the petite straps which I had no idea about at the time. They also stock Liberty of London prints which are beautiful beyond words and I absolutely need one.
My next venture didn’t happen until my second baby, Lily, when I ventured deeper into the confusing depths of baby wearing in the form of a wrap. My lovely Ben bought me a stretchy wrap for my birthday which conveniently happened to be a couple of weeks before Lily was born. Top timing there. By far my favourite baby wearing majig ever.
Once I got my head around how to wrap it (YouTube and baby wearing pages on Facebook are your friends) it was the most comfortable thing ever. I could wear it under a coat and put baby in it once I got out of the car or what have you so no fucking trying to wrap it in a car park. I could breastfeed in it too which is always a bonus. I wore it around the house and it kept tiny arms wrapped up and out the way enough for me to actually do things whilst breastfeeding. Lily would calm own the second she was put in it and I loved it. Problem with stretchy wraps is once baby gets to a certain weight (around 3 months if you have an average sized baby) they begin to be less awesome and more baggy and the more wiggly baby is the more unsupportive they become. For the newborn/first few months (or 6 if you have a teeny baby like me) then I would really recommend getting a stretchy wrap. Doesn’t have to be a fancy one, I think mine was off Amazon and definitely under £20 but invaluable if you have a baby who point blanks refuses to be put down.
I went for another wrap after the stretchy, slightly more expensive this time coming in at £45. I bought (Ben bought) a beautiful rainbow woven Little Frog wrap which is very fitting as Lily is my rainbow baby which made me love it even more. Now this is where it gets fun. It’s a bit harder to wrap than the stretchy because you cant get away with putting baby in after and the endless different wraps you can do is quite overwhelming at first. I have mastered the Kangaroo Carry and this is the one I’m most comfortable using as it’s pretty much the same as the stretchy wrap style. Don’t get me wrong, when I first looked at the instructions I sat there with a gormless look on my face whilst whispering ‘what the fuck’ for a good 5 minutes.
I did have a bit of trouble holding Lily whilst doing it and mastering the ‘seat’ but once it clicks you’ll look back and wonder how on earth you didn’t get it. Comfort wise it’s by far the best type of sling for support, I have hypermobility syndrome (super flexible everything in a bad way, pain and dislocation central basically) and I find that once it’s on, it doesn’t pull on my shoulders much at all compared to my Mai Tai. It feels much more secure in terms of preventing baby escape; Lily tries pretty damn hard sometimes and with my other carriers I feel like she *could* fall out. Obviously this would be unlikely but this of *feels* more supportive and secure. You can also buy a fleece wrap for it for those colder days and the horrid winter schools runs.
Last but not least it’s my cheap as chips rubbish Mai Tai off eBay, by Palm and Pond. It’s great for just chucking them in and off you go but it’s really not comfortable (understatement if your baby weighs more than about 15lbs) and this is the one that worries me a bit lately in terms of Lily leaning out of it. Realistically, she’s not going to fall out but the Mum side of me sees it a bit like she’s leaning off a cliff. She is 15 months now but only 20lbs so not a big baby at all.
The leaning also completely knackers my back and my shoulders are usually agony after wearing her in it these days. I also find myself holding her for more support now she’s bigger (as you can see in the photo below haha) because I feel like it’s a bit short and skinny on the fabric side of things. It does have tie straps which I prefer to buckles because buckles make me overly paranoid (again, Mummy paranoia). The little pocket on the front is good for money and phones (also snacks). It has a little hood that poppers on to the back which is a bit crap but the thought was there. All in all it’s served me well but it’s also a bit shit if I’m honest.
So that’s my experience so far with baby wearing. I have since bid goodbye to the Palm & Pond and have bought a Connecta so expect a review on that soon. I bought a standard size with regular straps again but I’m hoping it’ll be fine now I weigh more than a flea. I’m am embarrassingly excited about finally getting another decent carrier that I can put on easier on the days my arms don’t want to play ball with the wrap. Now here’s hoping it doesn’t get “left by the bins” like a worrying number of my parcels get dumped.