Buying for Baby | Guide to Carriers and Slings

Monday, 27 April 2009  |  Admin

I'm writing this from the carriage of a train, en route to the Scottish Baby Show which I'm looking forward to. I'm hoping to get at least 15 minutes to have a mooch about at some stage to see who else is exhibiting and if I can pick up any (useful) bargains. The key word here is 'useful'....I know from past experience that although baby shopping is usually very tempting, there's only so many buggy snuggles / carriers / changing bags that you can actually use at any one time and there's always SO many to choose from.
Which brings me nicely to my next topic. When you finally venture out of the house post baby (1st time round it took me 3 weeks to do this on my own and WHAT a mission it was. Trust me it gets easier!), what pieces of kit will you need to make this as easy as possible?
A sling is always useful. I've tried 3 completely different types which have their pros and cons. With no1 son I bought a Baby Bjorn padded carrier. At the time it seemed to be the most highly recommended and to be fair my husband got quite a bit of use out of it. This carrier had adjustable straps which were padded and it gave good support around your back too. It could only be used on your front, but the baby could face inwards or outwards. I didn't use it a lot with no 1 son as I found it really tricky to put on myself, but I used it a lot more with no 2 son when I realised that it was easiest to keep one side completely clipped closed and then to slide the baby in, rather than trying to hold baby in place and then do the clips up.
As I said, I didn't initially get on with the Baby Bjorn, so when no2 son was due I looked around again for a different sling / carrier. I liked the look of the fabric pouch type ones as in the pictures the baby always looked cosy and comfy. I eventually settled on a Hotsling because they came in lots of cool and groovy colours (even reversible) – to the point that I bought two of them to match different clothes before the baby had even arrived. Foolish girl! No2 son absolutely hated it, screamed blue murder every time I tried to put him in it. I'm not sure if that was because I didn't get the right size, or wasn't doing it right or whatever but it just didn't work for me. What a waste! So I dug out the good old Baby Bjorn and had another go at using it and what do you know, I could do it. Probably should have waited until no 2 son arrived and tested it myself and then I would have saved myself £40, grrr.
By the time no3 was due, I was quite certain that I didn't need another sling. What I hadn't counted on however was a colicky, unsettled baby girl who couldn't settle herself to sleep during the day. With two older brothers who still needed attending to, I tried the Baby Bjorn around the house. It worked in that my GG would sleep in it, but it felt quite bulky to use indoors and I felt quite constrained by it. So I ordered my 3rd and final carrier, a Kari-Me. I'd actually seen one in use by a friend and it was very simple. It's just one long length of fabric which is wrapped around the wearer and the baby just slides in to be held securely and closely. It took me a couple of goes to get used to tying it at the right position, but I really loved it. It can be worn by anyone as it's completely adjustable and baby can be worn on the front, facing inwards or outwards, or can be carried on your back, piggy-back stylie. The only downside is that it's quite warm to wear, but I used to wear less layers if I was going to be using it. My husband preferred the Baby Bjorn still, but then he didn't usually have to look after the other children at the same time. There's other makes of slings like this available, one which is similar but less material is the closer sling which might lso be worth investigating.
Hopefully you'll have a better idea now of what might work or not for you, you can avoid the mistakes I made!

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