I kind of always knew I’d be into baby wearing. I’m a pretty snuggly gal. But when Eco-Thrifty Baby was born I really had no clue what kinds of slings and wraps were out there, no less how to use them. Luckily we were gifted about 6 or 7 hand-me-down baby wearing devices to try out. Here’s a summary of the ones we tried and kept or ditched.
ETB fully endorses napping on mom.
Fixed length sling– FAIL
We were gifted several of these. The most highly recommended was my brother in law’s self-named “duderus”, a stretchy cotton fixed-length sling which he lovingly passed on to my husband. Passing the torch in an act of brotherly love. Unfortunately the duderus didn’t do it for either of us. It felt too loose, too floppy, and like she might get lost in there. Its possible that it was the wrong size.
We try out a fixed length sling. Strawberries were good, sling not so much. But it was pretty.
We also tried a non-stretchy fixed-length sling. I think this one was definitely the wrong size. I think I used it twice, but always kind of felt like I had to keep one hand under it or she might fall out. It also kind of hurt my shoulder/neck on one side. Even my little peanut of a babe felt like too much weight just to have hanging off of one shoulder. I wanted to love this, I did. But it just wasn’t for me.
Adjustable sling – Eco-Thrifty Mama: FAIL Eco-Thrifty Papa: WIN
Eco-thrifty Papa loved a sling that we called “The PeaPod”. It was an adjustable sling that clipped at the top and has drawstrings on both sides so you could cinch them closed. It was easy to get her in and out, even when asleep and he found it really comfortable. I, however, just could never quite shake the feeling that if I took my hand away, she wouldn’t just fall down. So, I ended up walking around with one hand always under the sling. Not very effective.
ETB asleep in “The Peapod”, taking a break from harvesting that cauliflower no doubt.
The Improvised Sling- Obviously a Massive life WIN.
Sometimes we just didn’t have our act together in those early days. And since our baby does her best (read: only) sleeping on me, having some kind of baby-wearing device was totally necessary. When she was little a muslin blanket with the corners tied over my shoulder worked really well.
Shooting hoops at a work event. ETB slept through the whole thing.
Stretchy Wrap – Eco-Thrifty Mama: WIN Eco-Thrifty Papa: FAIL
We had “The Ultimate Baby Wrap” and I seriously adored it. So comfortable. So secure. ETB loved being in there and I could do anything in it. See ETB’s first game of tag, below. Really, ETP also loved wearing the stretchy wrap, he just couldn’t be bothered wrapping it. So, as long as I wrapped him up in it, it was a win for him too. And to be honest, it was kind of a pain to wrap, but after a few days I was super speedy and could even take her in and out without re-wrapping.
ETB’s first game of tag. 9 weeks old.
The only problem with our stretchy wrap was that it was really stretchy. So by the time she got to about 3-4 months it seemed like she was too heavy for it, because it would stretch so much. But, it was good timing, because by then she had fairly good neck control so we upgraded to the Ergo. I think I would really love a non-stretchy wrap for ETB now that she is bigger, but haven’t been able to find one in New Zealand. It is definitely on my wishlist for our upcoming trip to America.
Our first time ever baby wearing. ETB about 1 week old. Sooooo little.
We do the dishes. Doesn’t happen often, definitely worth taking a picture of.
Ergo – WIN WIN WIN
Our Ergo was handed down to us by my sister and brother-in-law, so I already had lots of practice carrying around the ETNeices in it during my many summers of nannying them. We love the Ergo. We started using it fairly early, although I preferred the stretchy wrap until she outgrew it. We used it as a front pack until about 7 or 8 months, and now use it both front and back. Getting in on with her on my back was a superhuman one-person job at first, but is getting easier as she gets better at standing. I don’t know where we’d be without our ergo, it is where ETB does most of her napping and hence is where I do most of my working.
ETB tucked into the ergo at about 3 months.
Right: Baby belay. ETB is my anchor in the ergo.
Frame pack – Eco-Thrifty Papa: WIN Eco-Thrifty Mama: 3/4 WIN
We really love our frame pack, and ETB seems to too. We started using it at about 6 months, and had to rig the straps up to make them small enough so she wouldn’t fall out the sides. We like it because it is cooler on our backs, seems to take the weight off our shoulders, and ETB gets to look around more. I still tend to use the Ergo more than the frame pack, but ETP definitely prefers the pack.
Left: We need to invent some kind of holster for the frame pack so ETB can nap in there without me wearing it. Right: ETB learning on the job. Laziest apprentice ever.
I hope that was a little helpful to anyone thinking about buying a carrier. I’d love to hear any recommendations from other baby wearers, especially anyone who uses a wrap for their older baby or toddler.
Here is ETB at the farmer’s market with her Aunt Molly selling the world’s best garlic.