Our regular reader Kristin at Going Country asked me a question I hear a lot:
I know you wore both your babies, in various carriers, approximately 14 hours each day. So what baby carrier do you recommend?
Ooooh, that’s a good question. With wonderful, cuddly answers. BABIES! Kiss them and cuddle them. And eat their cheeks. And fingers. Their sweet little chubbsy fingers!
Where was I? Yes. Advice. Photos and videos at the bottom of the post. I make no links to stores because I don’t have strong feelings about where you buy. Check craigslist (not for Kristin, though, whose neighbors are sheep and horses and goats and can I move there soon?) Or search the name of the carrier with “clearance” and see what you get. Some of the best deals I got were from the manufacturer on their “sale” or “outlet” sections.
For an infant and newborn, I love love love Moby Wrap. Did I mention I love it?
It’s soft, it’s comfy, and it’s the only way you can nestle baby where they prefer: high or low, upright, diagonal, or almost sideways. It holds them in firmly without squishing them, it allows nursing, it fits regardless of how swollen your belly or breasts are. It’s cooler than other carriers in summer because it’s a light, stretchy cotton fabric) and warmer (because it covers so much) in winter. Babies don’t really outgrow the Moby because you can wrap it so many ways. As newborns, they cuddle in little lumps on your front, feet tucked under them like they’re still inside. As they age they can be more upright or face out (carriers like the Bjorn do this, but put too much weight on baby’s tailbone and are too structured for my taste). You can carry an older baby on your back with the Moby, but my kids are so active I could never get it wrapped before they ran into the next room, cleared the shelves, emptied the cabinets, stripped naked, and peed on the cat.
The only problem with the Moby Wrap is it takes a good minute to get on. Practice now, with a doll, and it’s easy as pie. There are videos and diagrams to help (see end of this post). It’s really easy once you’ve done it even one time. But with a toddler or older child (Kristin’s is Two-ish and will be under-Three-ish when baby comes), you can’t be putting it on and taking it off several times a day. The Moby is a “put on once and leave it on all day” kind of carrier. Put it on at home before you go anywhere. Baby can be strapped safely and securely to you all day if you want (comfortably without any pressure on shoulders or neck) and taken out easily for diaper changes. Baby can be in and out several times an hour if you need, once you get that thing on. But you need two hands free for a full minute to wrap it properly. And with a toddler that’s hard.
I cannot say enough how valuable the Moby is. I’d send mine if a desperately loved baby cooking RIGHT NOW in New York wasn’t getting our Moby this week. Ooooh, she’s gonna love it.
Also for newborns and infants is my favorite all-’round-until-they-hit-20-pounds carrier: the Hotsling. With baby in your arms you can pop it over your head and gently place baby into it. They can hang out in the Hotsling for HOURS as newborns or get in and out as needed when you need your hands for sandwiches and toys and plows and whatnot. If you bend over, as with potty learning tasks, put one hand on baby. They won’t fall out, but pouch slings aren’t as secure as the delicious Moby is. With the Hotsling, they can graduate to sitting and face out as infants (my favorite is this Buddha sit from about 4 months on), and it can hold them securely on your hip beyond seven months or so. I love these pouch carriers *if* you can get the right size. Ideally, try a few on. (Kristin, I guess you check to see if the chickens have a spare for you to try?) We bought two: one in a smaller size for infant and Mama and larger size for Papa and baby and Mama and toddler.
[Photos courtesy of HotSling and SlingStation; totally not photos of me.]
After 20 pounds, the pouch slings just hurt too much on your shoulder and neck. The weight is on one side only, and 20 pounds for one mile is my limit. Spouse can still use the pouch with a 25 pound toddler going two miles. But he has a higher pain tolerance than I do. Or rougher neck skin. Or something.
[NB: In *my* day pouch slings were not adjustable. I didn’t know until I searched for images for you that apparently enough people whined about this that Hotslings has an adjustable pouch. Meh. I like the sized version because there’s no adjusting and less material. I’d find an old school “classic” Hotsling if I were you. Their old sizing included special instructions for larger breast sizes, too. The new adjustable hotslings look as annoying as the models wearing them (Sorry, attractive teenage models. I’m a “judge Moms by their appearance” kind of Mom, and you look rested, showered, fit, and made up. In other words, like no mom I know.)]
For babies five months and older, I like a mei tai or an ErgoBaby. With a mei tai you can carry baby front or back, facing in or out.
Photos courtesy of meitaibaby.com
Wrapping is pretty easy, but as with the Moby, you need two hands free for at least thirty seconds, and you might never have that when you need it. Plus, the straps are long and dangle on the ground if you’re putting it on again) outside. Near the chicken coops, this will be an issue.
With the ErgoBaby, you have clips for your waist and shoulder straps (think more conventional backpack).
Both mei tais and ErgoBaby carriers easier on baby’s spine than a Bjorn. Ergo makes an infant insert so baby can cuddle in close (with knees up and feet tucked against you) to make it extra safe. WHY, though, when there are Moby wraps that are perfect for everything including nursing, hiking, and tractor rides? Mei tai has a slight edge with the 5-12 month baby because baby can face out while riding in front, which the Ergo does not accommodate. But Moby gives you that feature up to 12 months. ErgoBaby has an edge past 12 months, because toddlers want to get up then down then up then down then up again, and a mei tai’s shoulder straps are not fun after the third time. Mei tai is more versatile for baby is you don’t have a Moby; Ergo is more versatile for you.
If I had to choose, I’d get a Moby Wrap and probably, later, an ErgoBaby carrier. If you’re not going to have the Moby on all day every day for quick tasks. Get a pouch sling, too. I know that’s a lot. But all three on sale will cost less than a stroller and will be useful for every moment inside and outside. Plus no parking them or fighting to get them into the car.
Now. For the most awesome hot dad video instructional video I’ve seen. (Sadly, it’s not a video on how to be a hot dad. It teaches humans to put on a Moby. But “hot dad instructional video” has a nice ring to it.) This is only one way to wear a baby in the Moby. Since he’s not worried about nursing he can put the teeny bean a bit highter…search for more videos. But I love this one. I posted it on facebook long ago and my babywearing posse loved it. Now you can, too!
[Spouse wore Peanut in a Moby everywhere we went. He’d pace the back of the breastfeeding support group while I cried to strangers about thrush and Reynaud’s of the nipple and nerve damage and sleep loss and pumping and…and every one of those women ignored me and watched Spouse pace with a sweet lump nestled on his chest.]
Wow. A whole post (long! with links!) in response to a random question from a stranger. That’s impressive.
Duly noted re: the Moby. It does look pretty good; I like that sizing isn’t an issue. I found a lot of fit problems when I was nursing–with clothing and also baby wraps–because my chest was XXL (actually DD), but the rest of me was still a medium. Fit is hard. I tried a Hotsling with my last child that my sister-in-law lent me, but it was too small.
Doesn’t matter if I leave a wrap on all day, even without a baby in it. Who’s going to care? The sheep?
Believe it or not, the Not Quite As Small City about 45 minutes away has a pretty kick-ass children’s consignment shop, and I believe I can even notify them if I want something in particular and they’ll call me if they get one in. So I shall call tomorrow and tell them to save me a Moby wrap. I’ll tell them I MUST HAVE IT, because Christine said so.
Wow, I’m not sure if I’ve ever agreed so completely with anyone’s taste on baby carriers. Right up to the “meh” on the adjustable hotsling thing. But, the pouch would most definitely be in my must category, even ahead of the wrap. Anyways, great advice. I’m on a mission to “sling” as many babies as possible in Argentina…
PS: I still have every intention to send you an email one day soon. Don’t forget about me before I get around to it – pretty please! And I absolutely loved your last post about “nauseating”, but need quite a bit more time to sort out my thoughts on it all. In the meantime, I will see if I can get my monster to do the occasional “sorry drawing”, which is a brilliant idea.
Both of my babies lived in the mobi until around 5 months. My mother even made me one that was lighter weight for the warmer climate. I wore mine like it was a shirt all day. and therefore never struggled with putting it on, although I’m certain I looked quite silly. (And Kristin, the sheep in Los Angeles DO care…but I don’t). When my 15 month old broke his leg, I was 30 weeks pregnant. I broke out the mobi for him once again and broke it back in for his soon-to-arrive baby sis…belly and all!!! But mostly. after that 5 or 6 month age, we started going back and forth between the mobi and the Ergo which I still use for both (son is 2 and a half, daughter 1) I feel like both of those carriers are staples…MUST HAVES! So much so, that I have sent flip videos of myself teaching how to put on the mobi, to all of my expectant friends. I CANNOT stress this enough!!!!!!!!! :) But you already said all this!
dropped off the face of the earth for awhile during our move…In case you were waiting every day for my comments! :)
@Kristin I love babywearing. Makes me happy, baby happy, and peeing easier. Happy to have a reason to opinionate and pontificate.
@macondo Hi! I won’t forget. I miss you. I thought saying Moby and pouch and ergo was too greedy, so I disingenuously dropped the pouch. There’s one in my car, one in Spouse’s car, and one inside. One lent to a friend. Because most walks are 2+ miles, I didn’t use the pouch beyond 18 months. Butter is in the Ergo on my back every day. We only use the stroller so I can exercise.
@Emily hope the move went well. Broken kid leg in third trimester? Not cool. Hope that baby was late…yup. Moby and Ergo. Mmmmm. Good thing Kristin’s sheep are real sheep, not Malibu sheep. She can Moby all day, too.
Nope. Baby came early. 36 weeks. Baby boy got his cast off the day I went into labor with baby girl!
The first three things I typed (then deleted) were obscenities.
That’s just WRONG.
Hey, why is nobody expressing affection for the ideas and personality of hot dad who kisses his baby in Moby? If we can’t objectify a silent, babywearing dad, what the hell kind of society are we?
We wore our babies too. We started out with one of those Baby Bjorn things, but it was awful to try to stuff the baby into and extract her from. Next, my wife made a couple of slings that were basically just loops of cloth, and they were nice but not easily adjustable. Eventually, we wound up with a mei tei (I mostly used this) and one that was just a big long piece of nice fabric that you could tie in many different ways (probably a Moby wrap, or something comparable).
Daryl I really wish I were handy enough to make something as simple as the Moby (long strip of cloth) because it’s so freaking simple. But I’m lame. And I buy things used from other lame people who can’t or won’t do what your wife did.
I can’t stand the Bjorn. Bad for so many reasons. But it gets babies on parents’ bodies, so I can’t piss and moan too much. Anything to decrease the time tiny sprouts spend carried in car seats and strollers.
Hey, for those keeping score, that’s more than a few parents who say YES to pouch, YES to mei tai, and YES to Moby. I’ve gotten emails about the babyhawk mei tai and the Ergo. Anyone out there love a ring sling? I always thought either pouch or long fabric thing Moby) but why bother with combining them. I see a lot though. Anyone?
hi i’m sorry if i repeat… no time for reading everything! but i know you’ll be oh so surprised when i tell you my top 2 are a moby and an ergo.. and kristin, i’ve got DD ladies too, broad shoulders and there’s nothing petite about me, nothing. except maybe my sleep but i’m trying to get that to DD too. good luck!!! oh and i used an over the shoulder baby carrier too but ergo is my fav, we’re still using ergo for the 6 and 3 year old, it’s just so easy. by time moby is wrapped they’re gone and the ergo i find is easier to get on when your on the trail or in a parking lot with puddles.
Tara: Amen on wrapping a Moby or mei tai around puddles or dirt. Or bathroom floors. With tiny babies it’s no problem because once you wrap you’re good for a long time. It’s a big problem with bigger kids.
Sing it, sister.
I am an Ergo mama all the way!
Wearing 2yo in the ergo right now. I prefer back, he prefers front. I usually win but he fell on his face and needs a cuddle.
Update on my rare front-wearing: he fell asleep on the walk and I got to watch a movie with him nestled on me like a warm baby squirrel. Need to write the ergo people a check for two million dollars because I got to watch Real Genius (don’t judge) with toddler as though he were still a baby. SCORE!
i’d be 6′ under without my ergo, both of them, we got a 2nd when #2 came. worth double their weights in gold. when #1 wouldn’t be put down… till like 18mo?? i would put him on my back to cut veg, get dinner ready, take out the trash, bring in groceries…. all the stuff i needed 2 hands and a baby in a safe place to do. i have a stroller that is 7 years old and looks brand new but my ergo couldn’t pass for new anywhere. i heart the ergo people. and yeah bathroom floors… bain of my babyweraring existence.
like i said, worth double their weights in gold! change the sir to m’am and slippers to ergo… ha! “Sir, let me take this moment to compliment you on your fashion sense, particularly your slippers.”
Tara, Always…um…never…forget to check your references.
I don’t know why, but I have an uncontrollable urge, at random moments, to holler, “Laslo, buddy!”