Our Tera Evelynne is probably the most content baby I have ever met. And since she is the first baby, I can often just leave her on the floor while I do household chores, go to the bathroom or read a book.
Until a few days ago. A few days ago, several things happened at once. Tera’s cousins arrived to live with us (for an on and off month). They LOVE precious Tera and will touch her, sing to her, play with her, and talk to her for as long as Tera will tolerate (and I’m finding that she absolutely LOVES this for a good, long amount of time!). They are also 6, 4 and 2 years old, and I feel a little nervous leaving Tera on the floor while they play freeze tag or wrestle or even just run/walk/jump around.
Then, Tera started getting really, really cranky. It doesn’t seem to be a cousin-induced thing….and I actually think she might be starting to get a tooth. I don’t know the ways of babies, and I know 3.5 months is very early, but they say Mom intuition is like no other, so I am predicting a tooth will be popping through in the next few weeks.
Tera does not want anything to do with being left to sit alone anymore. I am afraid that she has reached the “carry me/hold me, Mommy (or Daddy)!” stage.
So, I decided to haul out all the different wraps and carriers I have collected over the past few months. I have 5 different carries, and I tried her in each one today. There are pros and cons to each one, and please remember that this is just my OPINION.
For ALL of these, I had Theo’s help getting Tera in. All of these take some practice, so don’t give up if you try it once and find it difficult. It is difficult, but gets easier with practice.
Pardon the messy background of all the pictures. Our house is kind of a mess right now. More details on that later.
For information on how to tie/wear all of these wraps, I went to YouTube and just searched how to tie them. So many people have already made awesome videos that are really helpful. For several of these, there is more than one way to tie the baby on (front, back, side, etc.). Right now I’m still wearing Tera in the front because she is still a little bit wibbly-wobbly.
A friend ordered this carrier for me. I gave her my measurements, and she ordered it as a gift. It is similar to a ring sling, but has no ring and no adjustments need to be made. The baby has to be able to hold their head up in order to be carried around in it, as it is basically an extra arm that holds the child onto your hip.
I absolutely love that this sling is made by a Mom. It’s not a name-brand sling and it is helping to support a mother. I’m all about that cause! I also love the variety of pretty cloth and embroidery that is used. Mine is just plain black, but there are tons of other options. Go check them out!
This one is great because it is super small and super simple. It doesn’t have 19-foot long straps, or 18 yards of cloth that you have to stuff in a diaper bag. It can be easily folded up and put in a small purse or an outside pocket of the diaper bag. It’s also super simple, even more simple than a ring sling. Since I used my own measurements, it fits me perfectly and I don’t have to make an adjustment every time I put Tera in it. I just drape it on over my shoulder and stick Tera in it. Really, that is it.
This one is not so great because it runs a little small. I don’t think Tera will be able to fit in it for too much longer, and I’m dissapointed because she is only now able to start riding around in it. Otherwise, I think this carrier is great.
2. Ring Sling
A ring sling is simply a large piece of cloth that is threaded just right through a ring- resulting in a little side pouch for the baby! I absolutely love the look of these, and I love that is is one simple piece of cloth- although these can be 10 feet long if you (or the baby) are on the smaller side and have lots of extra cloth.
I’m just going to say it right now- scratch my review of the ring sling. Someone we know gave me the ring sling that she used on her kids about 10 years ago, so it is old, outdated and rather bulky. This was my least favorite of all the carriers I tried today. However, I think if I had a newer, slimmer model I would really enjoy it.
The pros to the ring sling are many- putting the baby in it is not at all difficult, there are no straps to tie. It’s easy to transport and fold. There are so many beautiful colors out there for the cloth. AND, I have heard that they are very simple to make.
The one thing I noticed about the ring sling (and it might simply be my sling) is that I still had to have a hand ready to hold Tera in place while moving around. It could be a combination of Tera’s wobbly neck, or this particular sling, but I didn’t have that problem with the other carriers I tried.
I actually have two Mei Tai carriers. One of them is an actual mei tai from the company, and one of them is a mei tai copy, made by girls at the orphanage I used to volunteer at in Niger. I love the mei tai for heavy duty baby-wearing, like going for a walk or doing my huge monthly grocery trip. I don’t know if I would trust myself to carry Tera in a ring sling or seven wrap or moby going for a long walk or hauling/pushing tons of stuff around the grocery store. This carrier is wonderful for that, because that baby is not budging, even if I have to bend over to pick up something heavy.
This is also one of the versatile ones- I can carry Tera in the front (facing out or in), on the back or on the side.
One of the things that I dislike about this carrier is that it a hassle to haul around and a little bit of a hassle to get on, simply because it has super long straps (I can’t tell you how many parking lots I’ve dragged those straps through).
This one is one of my favorites…mostly because I have used it from the beginning, and I love how sturdy it is (I don’t feel like I need to use my hands at all to hold her in).
P.S. If you wanted to buy a Mei Tai carrier in African fabric from the girls at CSEN, please let me know.
4. The African version
I grew up in West Africa, and EVERYBODY carried their babies on their backs. Here is my Mom carrying me:
And I searched and searched for a picture of me carrying an African baby on my back (I did it ALL the time), but all I could find was this…. me carrying…… a puppy? I have no clue why this was a good idea. And talk about an extremely skinny, extremely white girl!
There is no purchase involved in this carrier! The perfect cloth is an African zara, or wrap-around skirt. The trickiest part is balancing the baby on the back while tying it, but after that it’s wonderful. This one is so comfortable to me, and it actually doesn’t put as much strain on the back as some of the other carriers. I also love how it is 100% hands/shoulders free.
Unfortunately, you can’t really sit down and lean back with a baby tied to your back. The other downside of this method is that you have to know and practice how to tie them on. And it’s hard to get the baby tied on securely without practice.
Since I packed away all my skirts, I used a bedsheet. It worked well enough, but just a straight piece of cloth (about two yards) works perfectly.
Ah, the classic moby wrap. I think that you either love them or hate them…there is no in-between. I have to admit that I tried the newborn wrap on my cat before Tera was born and wondered what all the hype was about, but figured it must be because I was using a cat, not a child. Then Tera was born and it took about 5 people 20 minutes to get the kid in the thing and then she was hungry and wanted none of it. So I kept on trying, because I want to be an awesome baby-wearing Mom, and finally got to the point that I could do it…but I still didn’t like it (and therefore neither did Tera). One time I tried to get my screaming baby into the Moby wrap all by myself and by the end of that attempt, we were both collapsed on the floor in tears. I threw it into the closet and only pulled it out again today.
Today I looked up a different way to wrap the Moby for “older” babies, and I absolutely LOVED it (and so did Tera- asleep in 30 seconds!). It felt so much more secure and was SO much easier than the stupid newborn wrap.
Again- I just have the standard black Moby, but I also have a pink one that someone made and then handed down to me. I love the plain colors of the Moby, but I just saw on the Moby website that they even have some designs and patterns now!
A downside of the Moby is that it costs way too much for a super long piece of cloth. I got both mine as hand-me-downs. It’s also unfortunate that it is such a long piece of cloth. Since I am such a small person, I always feel like I have a 9 foot tail dragging beyond me whenever I wear it. No matter how many tails I tuck in, another one seems to pop up somewhere. It’s hard to fold up this long piece of cloth and put it in a diaper bag or stroller, but it is possible to transport it around (just not the easiest).
So, in conclusion…my favorites are the Mei Tai (for out and about baby wearing/carrying like hiking, walking and grocery shopping) and the Moby and African wrap for carrying her around the house.
What about you…what do you use to carry your baby? Or do you prefer to not carry your baby?