How to Shop for a Baby Carrier
Deciding on what type of Baby Carrier to invest in can be overwhelming. But having one can be a huge blessing for parents on the move. Just remember that many parents start with one type of carrier, and then move to different styles of carriers as their babies grow and change.
There are basically 3 different types of baby carriers, slings, front-pack carriers and backpacks.
The first thing to consider when you are ready to buy your carrier is the age of your baby. The younger the baby, the closer he or she should be to their mom or dad. A sling or front pack is the best option. If they are still young and need attention from mom, a front pack might work well. They usually offer the option for the baby to be able to face in or out. If the baby is older and able to hold their head up on their own, then a backpack is the best option. It will help on long daytrips or just to keep baby occupied while you cook dinner.
Think about when do you plan to use the carrier? Defining its use or purpose will help narrow down your options and make the selection process become much easier. Will you use it at home so you can tend to other children or do you need something to carry your baby when you shop? Will you wear it for long periods of time, or just for short time? Will you need to get the baby out of the carrier without waking them? Many parents who use baby carriers a lot end up with several styles as they baby and needs change over time.
Fit and Usability
Does it fit you, fit the baby, and fit your needs? Does it fit your body and the baby well? Can you carry the baby without putting strain on your body? The best way to buy a baby carrier is to try several on, and preferably with your baby. That way you can decide which is most comfortable for you AND the baby! Can you get your baby in and out of the carrier or do you need help? Are you able to take in on and off by yourself? Some models will require a little practice before you get the hang of it. There are also many options and designs so consider these as well when you are deciding.
Appearance and Features
Do you like the way it looks? Do you like it well enough that you will wear it? What features does the baby carrier offer? Do you need them; are they worth the extra money? Take time to read up on carriers online and see what options are available. They can be as simple as a quick release strap or as complex as having a built in stroller in a backpack.
Adjustability and Adaptability
Can it be easily tightened or adjusted to fit you when you are outside wearing a coat? Can you re-adjust it easily for use by others? Will it work for your baby now and continue to be used even six months from now?
Safety and Construction
Is it the safest option for my child? Will it be secure for my baby and a good fit for mom? Does the construction provide the adequate support for my baby’s age and needs? Does the fabric suit my wardrobe, climate and needs? Will you need a lightweight fabric because you will use it more in the summer, or something weatherproof for outdoor use?
Is it easy to care for, and wipe clean? Can it be machine washed? If this is important to you, you might want to consider this before you purchase a carrier.
Ask other parents which carriers work for them, and what they like or don't like about the baby carriers they own. They may even be willing to let you try on theirs or let you have their old carriers as their babies out grow them.
Hopefully that will help you get started on your quest for the best carrier for you and your baby. Remember to be flexible because no single baby carrier can be right for all parents/babies because each one has different needs and/or preferences.