When parents come to me to find a carrier it is always great to be able to marry their needs with the functions of different carriers and find the one that is right for them. For many it is the start of a journey, and they may well own several carriers during their time baby wearing or they may be wanting to select the one carrier that will be able to see them through the carrying years. For others they have already begun the journey but are finding the carrier they have is no longer working as well so they are looking for the carrier that will allow them to continue babywearing comfortably.
With a newborn I would advise that a stretch wrap is a great first carrier to use. Going for a two way stretch will mean the carrier will last for longer and therefore often represent better value for money. I find the thinner options are both easier to use and more comfotable to wear and weight can well be an important consideration.There are many good brands to buy, all safety tested, but if babe is tiny it is good to know that the Hanababy is one of the few tested for tiny babies.
However, some parents very quickly want to find a comfortable buckle carrier as wrapping isn’t for them. With so many on the market it can be a bewildering choice and an expensive mistake if the wrong selection is made. Many parents ask friends and family for advice, and others have seen some of the patterned carriers advertised and are keen to try one of those. But, before we begin trying any carrier I like to use a check list to help me narrow down which, in my view, are their best options.
- Structured or unstructured?
- What will you be doing when you are baby wearing?
- Crossed or Ruck straps preferred?
- Are both parents going to wear or just one?
- If both are the parents very different in size?
- Is it a carrier that needs to grow with the child or will you be prepared to trade up as they get bigger?
- Have parents any back problems that we need to think about?
- Has baby any health problems?
- Are they prepared to buy an additional insert for their newborn?
- How do they feel about security buckles that are two handed openers?
- Are they looking to buy new or second hand and is there a budget consideration?
Running through the questions above in our initial conversation will help me to select 2 or 3 carriers for the family to try, and of course we always include any carrier they have come asking to try in this selection. We can then decide which works best for them, and they can even then hire the carrier for a fortnight or month to check it really is the best fit choice.
Once we have discovered which carrier meets the family’s needs they can then be confident buying and making their fabric and pattern choices, knowing that they will have a carrier that not only do they love but is fit for purpose and will be regularly used.