Preemie Babywearing

A guest post from Alena Monkiewicz of So-Cal Babywearers…

Alena is a babywearing mother of 6 and leader of So-Cal Babywearers. Of her 6 children, 2 of them were preemie babies, so she has learned quite a bit about preemie wearing first hand over the years. This guest blog post is a summary of her experience and those of others compiled to provide some guidance to other preemie moms. As your preemie may have specific needs, please discuss with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about babywearing with your preemie. Don’t hesitate to contact BWI of Central Missouri directly to set up a time to meet with one of our VBE’s for in-person assistance.

Preemie Wearing

No one goes into their pregnancy planning to have a preemie. It’s not usually something you research and prepare for. Usually you find out days to minutes before your baby’s birth that you will be a mother to a miracle. It’s a lot to take in at once.  Babywearing is an amazing tool and even more important for preemie moms to help recreate that womb like experience for a baby that lost their nest too soon.

I am actually a mother to 2 preemies. With my first preemie I was scared to death to touch him, much less wear him. I attempted a mei tai and a pouch sling and quickly realized he was much too small to wear either safely. I put them away and decided to wait until he was bigger and stronger. With my second preemie I was already an avid wrapper. Not only was I experienced in wearing my own babies, but I had started teaching others how to wear their babies. I had a lot of confidence in my wrapping skills and was still surprised at how different wrapping a preemie is.

It was impossible for me to wear my son in the NICU. He had so many wires and tubes that it wasn’t possible for me to wear him properly. That did not stop me from bringing my wraps. I would drape it over us and mock wear during kangaroo care. It helped me regain a bit of privacy and also helped to start create a bond in our special piece of cloth. I will never look at that wrap as just a wrap again. It is so special to us.

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My first time attempting to wear him was on discharge day.  He was finally completely wire free! I slipped him into my ring sling and went to tighten it. I was pretty sure I was wrapping air and not my brand new baby weighing in at 5lbs 2oz. This was so new compared to my 30lb toddler. Once we got home and settled in I decided to give a few other carriers in my stash a whirl.

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What I quickly learned:

– Stretchy wraps are not good for preemies.  I placed him in and no matter how much I tightened or how high I wore him; he would slip into unsafe positioning. I later learned that stretchy wraps are not recommended for preemies because preemies are just too floppy. They need the full support on their neck and spine that only a woven wrap can offer. The manufacturers recommended weight starts at 8lbs, and by the time my son reached that weight it probably would’ve been a safe option. I didn’t try it again because we were happy in our wovens.

– Thin wraps work best. He was teeny tiny and though he needed support, we didn’t need a ton of fabric. I adored my thinnest wraps and shortys.

– A woven wrap conversion ring sling was the easiest and fastest way to cradle my preemie safely. I love wrapping and usually reach for my wraps more than anything. But the ring sling was so convenient and a 1 layer carry that completely supported his body without being overwhelming.

– Mei tais and soft structured carriers are not ideal until baby has more core strength. For us this was around 4-6 months actual and 2 ½- 4 ½  months adjusted depending on the actual carrier. Always keep in mind your baby’s adjusted age when trying carriers with age requirements. You know your baby best and some babies catch up faster than others, but always use caution when trying new carriers.

– Froggy vs feet/legs out. This was a tough one for me. I was taught and advocated that baby should always be legs out. How can I teach this and not follow it? Well a preemie is a whole different ball game. I could not uncurl him until we reached his due date. I do not recommend forcing your baby into a legs out position until they are ready. Every time I placed him in a wrap or ring sling I would attempt to put him in a legs out position and followed his cues when he wasn’t ready yet.

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Always remember that preemies are not just smaller newborns, but still have developing to do outside the womb. Next to mom’s heart is the ideal place for them to do this. I will always treasure those early wearing days. Even though I mourn losing the end of my pregnancy, I am so happy we had another way to create that bond.

Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart” – Winnie the Pooh

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Babywearing Walk In The Park 2013

babywearingshoutitout

Shout It Saturday and the Second Annual Babywearing Walk In The Park!

Join us for our second annual Babywearing Walk In The Park at Stephens Lake. We had so much fun last year!  We will have even more fun this year.   We will begin the walk at 2:00 pm sharp.  The time has been moved due to the weather.  Bring your camera as well as family and friends!  Did someone say group picture opportunity?!?! We encourage you to make signs to post around the lake to educate people about the many benefits of babywearing and babywearing in general.

We will have giveaways on Saturday, but you must be present to win!

BWILOGO

International Babywearing Week October 7-13th, 2013!

It is that time of year again…International Babywearing Week is almost here!!!  Are you excited?!?!  If not you should be!  We have so much going on you will want to join in the fun!

First things first…  Have you seen our brand new beautiful logo?  We are having T shirts made to celebrate this wonderful week!  You can order your T-shirts at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1lG56lIh9wdmcCH-1ER1Se9gwQsN8CxAqLMMxtnpYBdg/viewform.  PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A PREORDER.  Your shirts must be ordered and paid for by 10/5/2013 at 10pm.  Please feel free to email CMissouri@babywearinginternational.org for more information.

BWILOGO

Our beautiful new logo was designed by Kate Oberg.

How is Babywearing International of Central Missouri Celebrating International Babywearing Week 2013?  Get you and your families ready for some fun!  Be sure your cameras are ready! We will be posting your pictures on our facebook page as well.  Please be sure to post pictures you are ok with sharing!  One lucky member who signs up this week will get a free membership.  What did that say?  You read it correctly, one lucky member will have their membership dues refunded!!!

Monday is Model It Monday

Strike a pose ladies!!!  Post a picture of you and your little one(s) in your favorite carry.  A winner will be chosen from those who enter.  Please be sure to post “Model It Monday” when you post your picture!   The Prize is donated by Paula Lister of Spa 4 You.  You can find out more about Spa 4 You at www.myjestore.com/paulalister or https://www.facebook.com/paulalisterje.

Traditional Tuesday

Back to the basics.  Post your picture and be sure to add “Traditional Tuesday” in your post.  Here is your opportunity to display the history of babywearing, carriers from different cultures, or even celebrate your own “workhorse” carriers.

 

Workout Wednesday

Post your favorite babywearing safe workout picture.  Nicci Howard from HeartStrong Fitness will be providing us with a babywearing workout today!  You can learn more about Nicci and HeartStrong Fitness at http://www.heartstrongfit.com/Heartstrongfit/ or https://www.facebook.com/HeartStrongFit.  Post your pictures and be sure to add “Workout Wednesday” to your picture! A winner will be chosen from all of those who enter.  The Prize is donated by Paula Lister of Spa 4 You.  You can find out more about Spa 4 You at www.myjestore.com/paulalister or https://www.facebook.com/paulalisterje.

Tutorial Thursday

Get Creative and post a creative video showing how you babywear or something you can do because you babywear! Work together if you want to, make it fun!  Today you can win a Little Frog Carrier bag from Sprouting Up.  Post those pictures or videos!   Learn more at http://www.sproutingup.com or https://www.facebook.com/sproutingup.

Funday Friday

Today is all about FUN! Have fun…as if you won’t be having fun all week! 🙂  Post your favorite silly picture today.  Be sure to add “Funday Friday” to your pictures! Friday’s give away is a members only drawing for a $25.00 gift certificate to Comfy Joey.  Learn more about Comfy Joey from their website http://www.comfyjoey.com/index.php.

Friday at 5pm the fun continues into the evening.  Join us for a fun, crafty night at Megan’s house.  Bring some snacks, whatever you’d like to drink, your creative sign-making materials of choice and get your crafting on!

Shout It Saturday

Join us for our second annual Babywearing Walk In The Park at Stephens Lake. We had so much fun last year!  We will have even more fun this year.   We will begin the walk at 10:00 am sharp.  Bring your camera as well as family and friends!  Did someone say group picture opportunity?!?! We encourage you to make signs to post around the lake to educate people about the many benefits of babywearing and babywearing in general.  Please feel free to join us at the sign-making fun on Friday evening!  We will have another give away on Saturday, but you must be present to win this one!

Social Media Sunday

Social medial Sunday is all about Social Media! Get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media sites you use and tell them all about babywearing!  If you are on Twitter, Babywearing International will be hosting a twitter party.  Post a babywearing picture, share our facebook page, share our website, thank the numerous babywearing week supporters.  We will be sharing pictures from the week!   Help us tell the world about Babywearing! Wear all the babies!  🙂

Please be sure to thank all of our wonderful sponsors and everyone who worked so hard to make this amazing week happen!

Shakespeares Pizza Fundraiser for BWI of Central Missouri

Do you like Pizza? Do you like Babywearing? If so I have the event for you!!!

On Sunday September 15th eat at any of the 3 Shakespeare’s Pizza’s locations and present this flyer, 15% of your receipt will go towards Central Missouri Babywearers! Everything on the menu counts, even gift cards! So even if you don’t want pizza on 9/15 you can still help our group!

We will be handing out flyers this upcoming Saturday at the meeting but if you can’t make it (or need more because you are giving them to all your friends, family, and neighbors, wink, wink, nudge, nudge) feel free to print more from the file attached in the link “Shakespeares Fundraiser” below.

*Please share this information and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask! Happy pizza eating brought to you by the convenience of babywearing!

– BWI of Central Missouri Member Liz Read-Katz

Shakespeares Fundraiser

Carriers on a Budget

       I think just about every new babywearer experiences a similar emotion when encountering the babywearing swaps for the first time. Sticker shock. In the world of baby carriers there is such wide range in pricing. When a new babywearer stumbles across carriers that cost upwards of $1,000, many find it surprising if not off-putting, but there are without question affordable options out there. It is just a matter of knowing where to look. Here are some carrier options that are priced at $100 or less.

Soft Structured Carriers-

Infantino Support Ergonomic

  • Infantino Support Ergonomic Carrier – $50

http://www.infantino.com/product.cfm?product_id=1414

http://www.toysrus.com/buy/baby-gear/baby-carriers/front-hip-baby-carriers/infantino-support-ergonomic-carrier-grey-200-125-12268634

  • Infantino Union Baby Carrier – $30

http://www.target.com/p/infantino-union-baby-carrier-grey/-/A-13260163?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C13260163&CPNG=Baby&kpid=13260163&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=13260163

  • Ergobaby Carrier at Marshalls – $60 to $70
  • Babies Beyond Borders Buckled Carrier – $80

Babies Beyond Boarders Buckle

Baby Buckle

http://babiesbeyondborders.com/catalog.php?category=23

Toddler Buckle

http://babiesbeyondborders.com/catalog.php?category=25

  • Babies Beyond Borders Buckled Carrier Seconds – $45

http://babiesbeyondborders.com/catalog.php?category=28

 

Ring Slings-

  • Sleeping Baby Productions – French Twill Ring Sling – $40

http://www.sleepingbaby.net/basics.php

  • Wearlovestudio.com – $35 plus cost of materials

http://www.wearlovestudio.com

  • Babyette Ring Slings – $50 to $90

Babyette Ring Sling

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BabyEtte

  • Taylormade Ring Sling – French Twill – $57

http://www.sproutingup.com/item_190/French-Twill-Ring-Sling.htm

  • Little Frog Wrap Conversion Ring Slings – $53

http://www.sproutingup.com/item_772/Little-Frog-Ring-Slings.htm

  • Colimacon et Cie Wrap Conversion Ring Slings – $73

C&C Ring Sling

http://www.sproutingup.com/item_751/Colimacon-et-Cie-Ring-Sling.htm

  • Chimparoo Wrap Conversion Ring Slings – $90

http://www.sproutingup.com/item_725/Chimparoo-Woven-Wrap-Ring-Sling.htm

 

Mei Tais-

  • Infantino Sash Mei Tai Carrier – $35

Infantino Sash

http://www.infantino.com/product.cfm?product_id=1415

  • Infantino EcoSash Mei Tai Carrier – $45

http://www.infantino.com/product.cfm?product_id=1415

  • Babyhawk Mei Tai – $80 to $90 new

http://www.tendercargo.com/catalog/babyhawk.html

  • Taylormade Mei Tai – $95

http://www.sproutingup.com/item_775/Taylor-Made-Mei-Tai.htm

  • Freehand Mei Tai – $75

Freehand Mei Tai

https://www.togetherbe.com/freehand-mei-tai-2

  • Freehand Podaegi – $75

https://www.togetherbe.com/freehand-custom-podaegi

  • Babies Beyond Boarders Half Buckle Mei Tai – $75

http://babiesbeyondborders.com/catalog.php?category=13

*occasionally may have seconds in this style for less

  • BBB Half Buckle Mei Tai – Toddler – $85 to $90

http://babiesbeyondborders.com/catalog.php?category=22

*occasionally may have seconds in this style for less

 

Stretchy Wraps-

Moby Wrap

Moby and Boba stretchy wraps retail for around $60, but it is often recommended that babywearers check the swap boards and their local craigslist for these carriers, as the resale value is often much lower. Stretchy wraps can typically be found second-hand for anywhere from $20 – $30. Many babywearers decide to go the DIY route when trying out stretchy wraps and find it to be a great option.

 

Woven Wraps-

  • Little Frog Woven Wraps –  Starting at $57

Little Frog Woven

  • Colimacon et Cie Woven Wraps – Starting at $97

http://www.sproutingup.com/item_752/Colimacon-et-Cie-Miel-et-Malice.htm

  • Chimparoo Woven Wraps – Starting at $98

http://www.sproutingup.com/item_726/Chimparoo-Woven-Wrap.htm

  • GypsyMama Bali Breeze woven – $60 to $90

aphrodide

http://www.wrapsodybaby.com/shop/breeze.php

  • Marsupial Mamas 40% off sales

http://www.marsupial-mamas.com/

There are excellent deals that can be found during Marsupial Mamas sales. You can purchase high quality woven wrap brands for around $100 or less.

 

Stalking the Swaps-

There are often great deals to be found on the online babywearing swaps, though it can be a matter of patience. Some of the brands to keep an eye out for include Didymos, Hoppediz, and Storchenwiege. These are all very reputable brands, but you can currently occasionally find them priced below $100. The main Facebook babywearing swap offers an album specifically for carriers under $100 ( https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.576821189006850&type=1 ) and there is also a separate swap specifically for affordable carriers, Babywearing on a Budget (https://www.facebook.com/groups/156002947911287 ).

 

Do It Yourself (DIY)-

There are DIY options for nearly every type of carrier, so this is a great route for those looking for affordable babywearing. Numerous online resources for DIY babywearing exist, but it is important to seek out a reputable source so that DIY carriers are safe and sound for carrying a child. A few of the many solid resources include “Babywearing DIY Advice and Support” on Facebook  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/334070496681248/ ), TheBabywearer’s DIY Forum (http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?76-Do-It-Yourself ), and Jan Andrea of Sleeping Baby Production’ DIY tutorial pages (http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/ ),  though there are certainly more out there to choose from as well.

As this list shows, there is much that exists in the way of reasonably priced baby carriers. The wonderful thing about babywearing is that you can make it work for each parent and child’s individual needs. Making babywearing fit your life by making it suite your budget is only one of many examples of the versatility of this incredibly beneficial tool.

Warning: Please be aware that knock-off carriers do exist. In recent years, knock-off Ergos, BabyHawks, and Freehands have been an issue in particular. Purchasing fake baby carriers is far more concerning than purchasing a knock-off handbag because of the safety implications. Legitimate baby carrier brands are safety tested and lead tested among other things. When it is a product meant to carry your most precious cargo, it is not a good time to purchase a product made of questionable materials. If you would like to check on a retailer to see if they are included in Ergo’s Authentic Retailers List, please check here: http://store.ergobaby.com/index.php?page=locations  .  To see a comparison between an authentic Ergo and a fake Ergo, please check here:
http://thehumbledoula.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/how-to-spot-a-fake-ergo-baby-carrier/

Megan Oberg, VBE

Babywearing: Benefits and a Brief History

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While many believe that the current babywearing trend is a fad, it is actually a practice that has been around for thousands of years. Anthropologists claim that babywearing, in some shape or form, has been around as long as humans. In the beginning, it was done with whatever was available; bark, reeds, animal hides, etc. It was a way for parents to work or travel while still having their child safe and close. Because of this basis in the very early history of humankind, various types of babywearing can be found in nearly every culture and civilization. Each culture seems to have adapted it somewhat differently, which has given us much variation in our options of carriers and types of babywearing. While babywearing underwent a distinct decline in American culture during the early 1900’s in favor of strollers and a more distanced parenting style, it has experienced a gradual revival over the last 50 years due to its many benefits.

Benefits of Babywearing:

  • Convenience

Babywearing has endured despite the popularity of strollers and portable carseats in large part due to its convenience. Babywearing allows the parent or wearer to keep their child safe and close, while still being hands-free. This is helpful not only during the early days of infancy, when babies crave touch and the sound of their parent’s heartbeat, but also into the toddler years. Babywearing is wonderful for toddlers when in an area that is unsafe for quick little feet to roam or when cuddling comfort is necessary with a sick toddler. Babywearing allows new moms to more easily transition back into everyday life. Whether it simplifies doing necessary tasks around the house or being able to chase after older children, all the while the mom is able to keep her young baby close. With babywearing, trips out of the house become much easier without a carseat to lug around or a stroller to fuss with. Babywearing also offers the added benefit of means to easily breastfeed if the mom chooses. These are only a few of the many ways that babywearing can simplify life for a family with small children.

  • Aids in transition from womb to world

After spending 9 months in the womb babies desire warmth, closeness, touch, a reassuring heartbeat, and the familiar smell of mom and dad. Babywearing, especially in a wrap or ring sling, simulates the feeling of the womb, which is reassuring to an infant. Many refer to the first 3 months following birth as the “4th Trimester”, during which babies respond best to stimuli similar to what they have experienced in utero. Stimuli such as familiar voices, continuous rocking movement, and the feeling of warmth and snugness all tend to have a comforting effect on newborns and are easily provided through babywearing. With babywearing a newborn is able to gradually experience and absorb their new surroundings while still having the reassurance of all that they have known prior to entering this new, chaotic world.

  • Healthy for moms and dads

It has become popular to use infant car seats for carrying babies outside of the car. The problem with this is that it puts strain on the back and hips of the person carrying the seat. Following birth, moms still retain an excess of relaxin in their bodies for some time. This hormone relaxes the ligaments, which is great for childbirth, but not good for heavy lifting. When lugging around an infant seat a mom is not only carrying additional weight because of the seat, but she is often doing it in an awkward manner with the weight unequally distributed. While this is worse for a new mom with high relaxin levels remaining in her system, it is not ideal for anyone to do on a regular basis since it puts such a lopsided strain on the spine. On the other hand, when babywearering is done properly, it evenly distributes the newborn’s weight and alleviates the excess weight of carrying a car seat or stroller.

  • Safe environment

With the aforementioned popularity of the portable infant car seat has come the practice of placing the car seat on the top of shopping carts. Unfortunately, the clip that keeps the car seat secure in its base inside the car was not designed to secure the seat atop a shopping cart. Because of this fact, there have been numerous cases of infants being injured when their seat toppled off of the cart and tragically even a few deaths as a result. Large shopping chains have begun to place warnings on their carts to discourage parents from placing car seats on top of the carts, urging them to instead place the seat inside the cart’s basket. Babywearing offers yet another safe alternative. Some added benefits to this option are the additional space in the cart basket when the car seat is left in the car and the close proximity of mom to baby, allowing the baby to be easily soothed should the need arise.

shoppingcart

  • Easier breastfeeding

The benefits of babywearing to the breastfeeding relationship are numerous. Many babywearing moms find it easier to nurse their babies more frequently, which aids in infant weight gain. If a mom feels uncomfortable nursing in public, babywearing can add some comforting privacy. It is also beneficial in how much easier it is to notice a baby’s hunger cues when they are already so close to the breast. Because of this, a mom can easily place her baby to the breast before her baby cries in hunger, thereby drawing even less attention to the fact that the baby is nursing. The coverage offered by babywearing while nursing not only offers privacy for a mom who desires it, but often helps to keep the nursing baby from becoming distracted. Moms who are experienced at nursing while babywearing are often able to do it hands-free, which is definitely an added convenience considering how frequently new babies need to nurse.

Picture courtesy of PAXbaby.com

  • Aids in babies’ cognitive development

When babies are worn as opposed to being carried in infant seats or pushed in strollers, they see the world at their parent’s level. When they are up at their parent’s height, they are able to watch them interact through verbal language, facial expression and body language. Studies also show that babies cry less when worn, which allows them to more calmly take in their surroundings. They are reassured by the constant closeness of their parent and are able to comfort themselves by turning into the safety of the parent if the surrounding environment overwhelms them.

While being worn a baby experiences constant varied movement, which aids cognitive development, specifically in the areas of the brain associated with balance. The constant varied movement helps build pathways associated with balance, but also helps develop the part of the brain associated with core muscle strength and spinal musculature. Recent research shows that babies experience accelerated brain maturation when they are worn, especially among preterm infants. These benefits are unfortunately not provided to the same degree with infant seats and strollers. Babies are typically only moved in a single direction at a time and are moving less of the time in strollers or infant seats.

With babywearing, as opposed to other methods of carrying, young babies’ development is also aided by simple closeness or proximity to the parent. This closeness helps regulate breathing rate, heart rate, body temperature, emotions, stress levels and immunity levels [2].

  • Aids in babies’ physical development

With instances of positional plagiocephaly (a flattening or misshaping of the back of the head due to too much time spent lying on one’s back) on the rise, babywearing is a great way to encourage proper skull formation.

“Concern over plagiocephaly also led the American Academy of Pediatrics to suggest in 2003 that infants should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning.” [3]

Often, when infants are carried in infant seat they end up spending more cumulative time in the seat than is realized.

“Thomas R. Littlefield, M.S., is affiliated with an Arizona clinic that treats plagiocephaly. In an article in the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics, he notes that 28 percent of infants who attend the clinic spend 1.5 to 4 hours daily in car seats or swings, and nearly 15 percent are in them for more than four hours per day. Another 5 percent of infants are allowed to sleep in these devices. Littlefield observes that cranial distortion resulting from overuse of car seats and swings is more severe and complex than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress. Consequently, he recommends reducing the time spent in car seats and swings, if possible.” [3]

Babywearing also aids in proper spine development. At birth, a baby’s spine is naturally in a C curve. Over time, gravity causes the spine’s curvature and proper formation. Babywearing, when done correctly, supports the baby’s spine in a C curve and in an upright position. This allows gravity to function normally on the spine, which aids the process of spinal development and maturity. When an infant spends much of it’s time in a supine position, gravity is pulling down against this natural curvature and possibly slowing development. It also interferes with the development of core muscles that aid the baby both in being able to hold itself upright and in being able to hold up its head. Head and neck control is extremely important developmentally, as the ability to move the head out of dangerous breathing positions is imperative for a new baby.

In discussing the many ways in which babywearing is beneficial, it becomes obvious why the practice has always been around in some shape or form. While the popularity of babywearing may ebb and flow, babywearing will continue to benefit both parents and children alike.

Happy International Babywearing Week!!!

**Written by Megan Oberg as a guest blog for Bella Vie Baby Planners – October 29th, 2012**

 

[1] Gross-Loh, Christine, “Babwearing is Best for Baby,” Mothering Magazine 161 (July – August 2010).

[2] Dodge, Dr. Andrew, “Benefits of Baby-Wearing vs. Car Seat Carrying,” Onya Baby (June 2012).

[3]McKenzie, Catherine, “Carseats are for Cars,” Pathways to Family Wellness 23 (September 2009).

Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)

February’s topic was Soft Structured Carriers which are also referred to as SSCs.

Soft structured carriers are carriers many people love to use.  You may have heard of the Ergo, Boba 3G, or Beco carriers.  These are all examples of soft structured carriers.  Soft structured carriers come in all shapes and sizes so keep in mind what works for your friend may not work for you and vice versa.  If that happens do not worry.   The babywearing world is filled with many wonderful carriers and you will find one perfect (or a few :)) for you and your little one!

Safe babywearing is very important.  Please verify manufacturer age and weight recommendations before using any carrier. If you have questions feel free to come to a meeting, call, or email for help.   No matter which carrier you choose you will want to have your child be safe, comfortable, happy and healthy.   The optimal seating position is a spread squat seated position with the knees higher than the bum.  The base of the seat should extend to and allow knee to knee coverage for your child.  This simply means that the carrier is underneath both knees which allows for a comfortable seated position, not a dangle position.  The carrier should also allow your little one to have a nice C-Curve in their spine.  This allows for proper spine development.  You should also look at the height of the carrier and make sure it provides adequate support for baby’s head and neck.  When babies fall asleep this is very important.  Forward facing is not recommended as it often leaves baby in an uncomfortable dangling position, can throw the wearer’s center of gravity off, and lacks head and neck support especially when baby falls asleep.  Boba has a great post on why forward facing is not optimal.  You can read it here.

Soft structured carriers are great carriers, but like everything they have pros and cons.  Soft structured carriers are great for wearers who prefer not to wrap.  They are quick and usually easy to adjust.  Soft structured carriers, like many carriers come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors.  Many carriers have very adjustable waist belt ranges for the wearer, some have waist extenders.  Some carriers require an extra infant insert, which may be to hot for your little one in these lovely Missouri Summers.  Infant inserts and waist extenders do cost extra.  Some carriers are have wide seats and you will need to watch your little one’s hip spread while getting them into the carrier.  You may have to wait until they have a wider spread.  You will find an abundance of features depending on the carrier.  Some carriers have infant inserts that are needed, some seats adjust to fit smaller babies, some have cool panels for hot weather, some even double as a portable high chair! This is one of my favorite things about babywearing! There really is a carrier for everyone!  It may be a Soft structured Carrier, but it could be a Wrap, Mei Tai, Ring Sling, or one of many other carrier types.   You have so many options.

beco gemini

Beco Gemini                                                                                               

  • Great for smaller babies
  • Manufacturer allows 4 carries, but we do not recommend forward facing carrying
  • Too short in the body for older toddlers
  • No sleeping hood, but it does have a headrest
  • Width at the seat is adjustable and ranges from 7-11″
  • Hieght is 14″ with headrest down and 18.5″ with headrest up
  • Waist belt range is 28-57″
  • Weight range is 7lbs-35lbs
  • Made in the USA
  • You can nurse in this carrier
  • Great for petite wearers
  • Plus sized may have issues with using this carrier
  • Straps can be crossed in back for comfort

becobutterfly2

Beco Butterfly 2

innerypanel

Thanks to this photo by PAXbaby you can see the inner Y panel of the Beco Butterfly 2.

  • It has been discontinued
  • Works best for newborn to 18 months
  • Newborn insert needed for smaller babies
  • Allows for front and back carries
  • Hood for sleeping babies
  • Y panel to hold baby and enables you to easily switch wearers or positions without removing baby from carrier
  • Width of seat is 13″
  • Height is 16″
  • Waist best range is 24-57″
  • Great carrier for all sized wearers
  • Weight range is 7lbs-45lbs
  • It can be difficult to nurse in due to the inner panel
  • Made in USA and China

boba

Boba 3G

   bbobaair2

BobaAir

  • Great carrier for toddlers, but can be too wide for newborns
  •  Sleeping hood
  • Allows front and back carries
  • Width at seat 14.5″
  • Height is 16.5″
  • Waist belt range 28-57″
  • Weight Range 7lbs-45lbs
  • Works for all sized babywearers
  • Cannot cross straps
  • Made in China and Taiwan
  • Breastfeeding is easy in the Boba 3G.
  • BobaAir weighs only 0.7lbs and is perfect for travel.  It folds into a small pouch.

ergo-origanal-med

Ergo Original

                                                   

Please use caution when purchasing an Ergo baby carrier.  Unfortunately Ergo is highly counterfited.  Please purchase carefully  or through an authorized dealer.  If you find a counterfit carrier or think you may have, please contact Ergo.

Ergo Original

  • Ideal for 6-18 months
  • Ergo recommends an infant insert that may be hot in the summer and some find it bulky
  • If you choose not to use the infant insert the manufacturer recommends waiting t use until your little one is 4-5 months old and has good head and neck control
  • Can be bulky for petite wearers
  • Allows front, hip, and back carries
  • Sleeping hood
  • Width at seat 14″
  • Height is 13″
  • Waist belt range is 25-43″
  • 15-45lbs (7lbs+ with the infant insert)
  • Fits average sized wearers.  Petite wearers may find it bulky.  Plus sized wearers may need an extender
  • You can breatfeed in this carrier easily
  • Made in China
  • You can criss cross straps

ergo-sport-sm

Ergo Sport

  • Ideal for 6-18 months
  • Ergo recommends an infant insert that may be hot in the summer and some find it bulky
  • If you choose not to use the infant insert, the manufacturer recommends waiting to use until your little one is 4-5 months old and has good head and neck control
  • Lighter weight only weighing 1.5lbs
  • Allows front, hip, and back carries
  • Body vent for heat relief
  • Sleeping hood
  • Width at seat 14.5″
  • Height is 14.5″
  • Waist belt range is 32-55″
  • 15-45lbs (7lbs+ with the infant insert)
  • Ergo built this carrier for larger wearers, but it works well for petite wearers as well
  • You can breatfeed in this carrier easily
  • Made in China
  • You can criss cross straps

ergo-pro-sm

Ergo Performance

  • Ideal for 6-18 months
  • Ergo recommends an infant insert that may be hot in the summer and some find it bulky
  • If you choose not to use the infant insert the manufacturer recommends waiting to use until your little one is 4-5 months old and has good head and neck control
  • Breathable material
  • Allows front, hip, and back carries
  • Sleeping hood
  • Width at seat 13″
  • Height is 14.5″
  • Waist belt range is 29-55″
  • 15-45lbs (7lbs+ with the infant insert)
  • Fits most wearers
  • You can breatfeed in this carrier easily
  • Made in India
  • You can criss cross straps
  • Tapered shoulder straps keep baby closer to wearer and more comfortable for longer periods of time

kinderpack

Kinderpack

  • Comes in four sizes
  • Has a unique design and rounded seat
  • Infant size has an adjustable base to change the width of the carrier
  • Sleeping hood
  • Can breastfeed easily
  • Made in the USA
  • Can be purchased with a koolknit panel for cooler babywearing in the summer months

Infant – 15h x 9-15w        Newborn-18 month (8 lbs+)

Standard – 16h x 17w       8 Months – 3 years (Up to 3 years old 20 lbs+)

Toddler– 18h x 19w          18 Months- 4+ years (35 lbs+)

Preschool – 20h x 20w    3-5 years (35 lbs+)

  • All Kinderpacks have a 50 lb weight limit
  • All measurements are without the headrest.  Add 2″ for overall height.
  •  Sized to fit the wearer.  You get a carrier to fit your body.

Petite size XS and 5’2 or shorter (16″ straps)

 Standard size 4 – 22 (19-20″ straps)

 Plus Size 18 and up (24″ straps) big busted and tall men

tulaTula

  • Sleep hood
  • Front and back carry positions
  • Newborns will need an infant insert
  • Fits average sized babywearers
  • Excellent for breastfeeding
  • Made in Poland

Standard

15-40 lbs

15.5″ height

14.5″ width at seat

Toddler

18 months to 4+ years old

25-50 lbs

18″ height

19″ width at seat

onya_home3Onya Baby

  • Available in two types of carrier Outback and Cruiser
  • Allows for back and front carries
  • It can  even be used as a highchair
  • 25-45 waist range.  An extender is available for bigger wearers
  • 16″ height with headrest folded down
  • 18″ height with headrest up
  • Sleep hood
  • 15 lbs – 45lbs
  • Can criss cross straps
  • Breastfeeding can be done
  • Made in Philipeines

babyhawk

BabyHawk Oh Snap!

  • 15-45 lbs
  • No sleeping hood, but it does have a headrest
  • Great for all sizes of babywearer
  • Great for breastfeeding
  • Carry on front or back
  • 14.5″ seat width
  • 16″ height
  • 25-69″ Waist strap range
  • Made in the USA