BABY CARRIERS

Babies love being held, but even the most dedicated parents need a break from carrying their babies. A baby carrier offers an easy way to keep your child close and comforted while your hands are busy doing other things. A carrier can come in handy while you are out running errands or busy with other jobs around the house. Using a sling-style carrier is not recommended due to safety reasons.

Soft baby carriers let you “wear” your baby by strapping him/her close to your body. Since babies love to be held close, they enjoy the feeling of being strapped around you. For some, it might even ease their fussiness. With some carriers, you may be able to position your baby properly during breastfeeding.

There are three major types of soft baby carriers: front strap-on models, hip carriers, and slings or wraps. Most soft baby carriers specify a maximum and minimum weight limit. You might find that your baby will be too heavy to carry if he reaches the maximum weight limit. "They're wonderful for infants and newborns, but you should consider an alternative when your baby gets older," says Jill Boissonnault, P.T., Ph.D., W.C.S., a spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association. Examples for alternatives are a stroller or a backpack carrier.

Slings and other front-mount soft baby carriers can pull your body forward, which makes your carrying position difficult. Once your baby has full control of the head and neck and can sit up unassisted, you should switch to a backpack carrier since it will provide more structural support and put less stress on your body.

Types

Below are the three major types of soft baby carriers.

Front strap-on carriers

This type of carrier holds a baby in an upright position. An infant faces inward, while an older baby faces outward. The carrier consists of a padded fabric pouch with leg holes that’s attached to an adult’s shoulder and waist belt. This supports the baby.

The BabyBjörn Miracle Baby Carrier can be used with an infant up to 15 months. It's adjustable from the front so you can transfer the baby's weight between your waist, hips and shoulders. It can be used by a baby weighing 8 to 26 pounds, with the child facing either in or out.

Hip carriers

Hip carriers are like a cross between a sling and strap-on carrier because of their adjustable straps. They are designed to be worn on your hip. With a hip carrier, your baby faces you just like you would naturally carry her. Your arms do not carry the weight, which makes it easier for parents. The Scootababy Baby Carrier lets you wear the baby on your hip or your back.

Some front baby carriers can be worn on the hip as well. The Lillebaby EveryWear Style, for example, lets you use it in six different ways, including a front carrier and a hip carrier. You can use it with children from newborns to toddlers.

When you're wearing your baby in a front strap-on or hip carrier, you'll fit better in cramped elevators and other places where strollers can't easily go. And in some cases, it can also be safer. For example, it is preferable to wear your baby in a strap-on or hip carrier when you are grocery shopping, rather than placing a car seat carrier on top of the grocery cart. Strap-on and hip carriers are safer than slings because they offer supportive infrastructure.

Sling (also called wraps)

We recommend against this option due to safety concerns. Slings consist of a length of fabric that you wear over one shoulder and around your waist. A sling forms a comfy, portable nest for an infant, but babies should not be completely enclosed because of the possibility of suffocation. You will wear your baby in front if your baby is still an infant. As your baby gets bigger and can hold hia/her head up, you can shift your baby in the sling to your hip.

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