How many wraps, slings and carriers can the expectant mum choose from? It's a hard call, even if like me you have tried a good few in the past. Having had the experience of a baby who clearly resented her pram and who was rather partial to being carried (and still is), I was often seen pushing an empty pram while carrying Cubling in her front carrier. In Germany these are only recommended from 6 weeks of age, and while here nobody seems concerned about using them from birth, I was still cautious and tried a wrap with cradle position in the first weeks. The wrap was short, and really it was the only position I could create. Cubling didn't like it, and neither did I.
However, the front carrier worked well - she liked it, never cried, she slept in it, I managed to get to town by public transport and with minimum hassle. It worked so well that I really wondered why I had bought a pram at all (from 12 weeks, Cubling was in her buggy, facing forward, much to my dismay, as I would have preferred to have had eye contact with her).
The only problem with the front carrier was that it did hurt my shoulders and back. And it only lasted until she was about 9 months and got too heavy.
This time, I plan to babywear from the word go, rather than bother with the pram in the first weeks. And I'm looking for the perfect baby carrier. I quickly found out that stretchy wraps are good for newborns but not so good for a heavier toddler, while woven ones last longer but may not be as snug as the stretchy ones. Knowing how I struggled to even get a simple position wrapped around my baby, my main worry is that it would take too long, baby would get fed up before we're even ready to go, I'll get frustrated with it and there's a danger I won't try again. Still, I like the versatility of wraps. Maybe I like the idea but not the practice of it? What I do know is that a short one won't do me, and I failed using one I had before.
Some makes come recommended: There's Didymos, Ellevill Zara (with very lovely designs), Calin Bleu, there's Ellaroo too, to name but a few. As with cloth nappies, the choice is massive and it can be more than confusing when you don't want to buy an expensive item that you then won't use.
For a rather long time, a sewing pattern for a mei tai has been sitting in my pattern box. I like the look of the mei tai, but don't trust myself to sew one that would actually be safe enough for a baby. In a way I also feel that the mei tai is basically the same thing as the front carrier I already have, just a bit nicer.
I'm intrigued though with the idea of having a crossover between a wrap and a mei tai and when PhD in Parenting reviewed it a couple of days ago, my mouth began to water. I love everything about the Hop-Tye, the combination of mei tai ease with the wrap like distribution of weight across your body. Oh and the designs. I love the designs, if it comes to fabric, it has to please my eye.
I've also come across so called sling meets. Basically they offer an opportunity for past, current and future babywearers to come together and exchange experiences, and even try out some of the carriers. I just wish I hadn't missed the last one by a week, but I'm glad Glasgow has a sling meet and it's still in good time before my due date (although I'm partial to getting a carrier that would double for getting Cubling off my shoulders NOW).
I haven't quite made my mind up yet, but I guess you can see where I'm heading. So if you have any experience or recommendations to share, I'd be grateful, and maybe so would others who are confused by choice and lack of experience of actually using a range of baby carriers.