I wear my babies from the first day they are born. Okay maybe not that early, but they are skin on skin immediately and I try to hold them as much as I can. When I need both my hands, and with older children to care for I definitely need my hands, I end up wearing my babies. Not all newborn baby carriers are the same. I feel it is really important to give your newborn the support they need. This is because newborns are healthiest staying on their backs until around 6 months of their life. See Bestforparents.co.uk for more information. I think every mom needs three carriers. One for the newborn stage (day 1 to about 3-4 months), one for the little baby stage, pre sitting up (3-7 months) and one for baby to toddler stage (sitting to the weight limit of the carrier). Once baby is a toddler and has outgrown the baby carrier but still wants to be carried you would need a toddler carrier. But not everyone gets to that stage so we will focus on the first three carriers today. Click here to see a full review of Nesting Days and VIJA Designs.
For the newborn stage I strongly feel one should not use a soft structured carrier with a newborn insert such as Tula, Lilebaby, Ergo and so forth. Baby is super tiny and needs specific support. While infant inserts offer some support, there are better options. I highly suggest the Nesting Days Carrier or VIJA Design Skin-to-Skin Kangaroo Care T-Shirt. Vija Designs is a t shirt that is also a baby carrier and comes in many different sizes, colors and shapes. There are shirts designed for men to baby wear. There are long sleeve, short sleeve or no sleeve. This allows you to wear baby next to your skin. I loved to wear my diapered baby around the house skin to skin in this shirt. When we were out and about it was a great way to keep my clothed baby next to me. With a winter baby this was great to keep baby extra warm. I found my Vija Designs shirt lasted until my baby was about 3 months old. She was born at 10 pounds, so a smaller baby might last longer in this shirt. The Nesting Days carrier is something you can wear alone or on top of clothing. I was able to use this carrier until 4 or so months. Again, the size of your baby may allow for longer use. With Nesting Days I could wear baby skin on skin or clothed.
Once baby outgrows these carriers I highly recommend using a sling or wrap. If a wrap is intimidating, Baby K’tan ORIGINAL Baby Carrier is a great carrier. It is similar to a wrap but takes less practice to get used to it. You can also use a sling, wrap or K’tan from birth. This would eliminate the need for a newborn carrier but if you have the money to buy one of the newborn carries mentioned above I highly suggest it. It is money well spent and you will not regret it! These carriers give baby the extra support they need without using an infant insert. These carriers allow baby to be in the perfect position to support their spine, neck and head comfortably. Some of the wraps I have used and reviewed are the Happy Wrap and the ACK Wrap. Click on the names to see the full review. Purchase your Baby K’tan ORIGINAL Baby Carrier here, your ACK Wrap here and your Happy Wrap Organic Baby Carrier here. All wraps seem to be similar, the difference being length and texture.
If you still plan on using a soft structured carrier (ssc) with a newborn insert, here are some tips. Please NEVER use a ssc with a newborn WITHOUT using some kind of newborn support for them.
Once baby can sit up on their own you are now able to use a soft structured carrier without a newborn insert. Please do NOT use a ssc without a newborn insert until baby can fully support their head and sit up on their own. There are many different baby carriers on the market. I personally do not think one is better than the other. I love many aspects of each carrier and wish I could combine these aspects to make the perfect carrier. Some of the carriers I have reviewed are Olives and Applesauce, Tula and Lillebaby. Find the carrier that fits your baby and your body. Purchase LILLEbaby here and Tula here.
I highly suggest checking out your local baby wearing group on Facebook. To do this search on Facebook “Babywearing International” and your closest major city. Search under groups and you should find one. Babywearing groups have a large variety of baby carriers, slings and wraps. You can try them on and even rent them for a week or two to see if it is the right carrier for you. My main advice is, do not fall into the trap of THIS is the best carrier. Everyone has an opinion. Find which carrier works for YOU. The goal of babywearing is for both mom and baby to be comfortable. If you are most comfortable in a brand nobody has heard of, go for it! Do not let a brand be the reason you buy the carrier.