Infant Carrier Guide For First Time Parents
As a first-time parent, you want to make sure you consider an infant carrier so that you can take your baby where you go. If you don’t have a carrier, it will require you to carry the baby in your arms at all times. This can be uncomfortable for the baby and tiring for you – which means it should be avoided whenever possible.
There is a lot of cool baby stuff on the market today and that means that you should educate yourself on all of the different options available. There are wraps, slings, and various other types of carriers that you can consider.
Mary was a first-time mother and her husband, John just got deployed into the military. Suddenly she was faced with having to do all of the chores around the house and deal with a baby all on her own. Her baby was comforted by being near her, but she couldn’t get anything done when she was holding the baby all day long.
She began exploring the various carriers and found that she was able to keep her daughter happy by placing her into a carrier so that she had both hands free. This made it possible for her to vacuum, cook, and do much more without having to hold the baby in her arms. It was a compromise that her and baby could live with.
You will be able to gain all of the same hands-free benefits of a carrier when you find one that works well for you and your baby.
There are various makes and models, so the more you know about each, the easier it will be to decide on one.
Traditional Infant Carriers
The wraps are generally designed to accommodate a child from birth until about 35 pounds. The design can provide security as well as privacy when you are nursing. There is no kind of hardware involved, so it is easy to wrap the baby up and place him or her onto you. Not all of the wraps are adjustable and they can be limiting in terms of how well you can move simply because they may wrap too snug on your shoulders as a means of supporting the baby.
Slings are unique as well. These provide a pouch for your baby and can be lightweight enough to pack wherever you go. Depending upon the material that they are made of, they can allow you to carry a baby as well as a toddler. This allows you to choose a single infant carrier and have it grow as your child grows.
Mary purchased a sling and was able to use it until her child reached the age of two. By then, she had another child around, which allowed her to swap out between the two. There was a buckle ring that allowed her to make adjustments based upon who she was carrying.
When you explore the different wraps and slings, you want to consider:
– Machine washable
– Weight limit
The wraps and slings have been around for years and many come in beautiful prints and designs. This allows you to coordinate with the outfits that you wear so that you can look your best when you go out with baby in tow.
Easy to wash
Provides a close snuggle
Does not always provide support for baby
Worn only in the front
Often limited to infants
Not comfortable for the parent
There may be times when a wrap or sling is just what you need. In other instances, it may not provide you with the support or the comfort that you are looking for – and that’s when it’s important to explore some of the modern carriers that use new technology and innovation to provide a solution.
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Modern Infant Carriers
Many of the modern infant carriers are what you see most parents wearing. Mary was able to benefit from a modern carrier, especially once she had two children. Had she known about the modern option from the very beginning, she could have saved herself some money and been given a few more options in terms of what she could do with her baby. It would have allowed her to have some more movement and been able to get more done with baby in tow.
The primary differences between a modern carrier and the traditional wraps and slings include:
– Can be worn on the front or the back
– Provides more support for baby’s spine
– Offer dual shoulder straps to distribute body weight
When you use a modern carrier, you have the option of placing the baby belly to belly with you. This allows you to form a close bond and even breast-feed from this position. Especially when the baby is very young (within the first few months), this is the optimal position that you will want to maintain. Should you wish to do more things that require you to have your chest and overall front free from intrusion, you can switch the baby to your back.
Wearing your child on your back can provide you with the same hands-free benefits. Your baby will have his or her belly to your back and you will be able to attend to needs quickly as their head will be directly behind you. By having the front of you open, it allows you to shake hands with people, push a shopping cart, and cook without having to worry about placing the baby in harms’ way – all important aspects that you need to consider when shopping for a carrier.
When you decide that you want to buy a modern carrier, there are all sorts of things to be on the lookout for so that you and baby can be comfortable and fashionable while getting as much use out of the carrier as possible.
Some of the features to explore:
– Reversible design (many offer solid on one side and a print on the other)
– Secure indicators to ensure you have the proper latch
– Padded shoulder straps for comfort
– Additional space in carrier for carrying diapers, clothes and other cool baby stuff
– Adjustable straps to carry baby high or low
– Wide range for weight limit – some can provide support for kids up to 50 pounds
– Mesh fabric to keep things cool
– Removable diaper bag
– Special insert for infants to provide added head support
You will want to identify the features that are the most important to you. For Mary, she was concerned primarily with being able to get the chores done in the house while being able to keep her daughter close to her. If you are active and plan on going out and about for shopping, socializing and even to the beach, you may want to consider a modern carrier so that you can bring more things with you and have the carrier grow with you.
As soon as Mary’s husband returned from his deployment and they had another baby, they found that the modern infant carrier was the best solution because it provided more flexibility. The both of them were able to take turns wearing the carrier and this was something that was important to them. While the wraps and slings can be worn by men and women, most men find that the modern carriers are more comfortable for them.
Many of the ones that are on the market, from such manufacturers as Hunnt, provide reinforced stitching for durability, ensure that you are comfortable with padded straps, and are made from 100 percent cotton.
Before you purchase a carrier, you want to look at such things as:
– Ease of washing
– Overall flexibility
– How long it will last you
A carrier is going to be an investment so that you can make sure you have the necessary level of mobility that you need when you have an infant or small child with you. Whether you are doing chores around the house or you are going out to a local event, you want to make sure that your hands are free and that you and your child are comfortable.
This inforgraphic is from the kind courtesy of www.closeparent.com
Strollers may be on your list of things to buy for a baby, and they should be. However, there are going to be times when a stroller is insufficient. You want to make sure you have an infant carrier as well as a stroller so that you don’t have to worry about folding and setting up the stroller when you are going in and out of the store or trying to push the stroller on rough terrain.
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When a Carrier is Appropriate
Many new parents have no idea as to why they need a carrier. They have a stroller and so they make the assumption that they are set. This is exactly what Mary did and the stroller was not enough because she needed to go hands-free, especially around the house. She had to go out and purchase a sling and then eventually a modern carrier after the baby was already born.
If you haven’t already brought baby into the house, you want to start shopping around for a carrier that’s going to meet your needs. If you already have the baby, then you want to consider a carrier that is going to work based upon the size your baby already is – and find one that offers you some flexibility in terms of where you can go, how you can carry baby, and what size the baby/child is.
A carrier is going to be more appropriate than a stroller in many instances. A stroller is great when you want to take a walk around the block or you are not doing any shopping or activities where you need your hands constantly accessible.
Some instances where a carrier is better than a stroller include:
– Shopping at the grocery store because it’s hard to push a stroller and a shopping cart
– At events that take place on dirt or gravel
– When you are at home and running chores
– When you are going on a hike
– Anywhere that involves a lot of stairs
– Small and confined areas where pushing a stroller is not ideal
– Meeting with a client or friends
– When you want to breast-feed in a public location
Ultimately, you have to decide how mobile you want to be when it comes to having a baby around you. The bonding that can be done with you and the baby while in a wrap, sling, or carrier is incredible and ensures that you don’t get the sore arms that would inevitably come if you simply chose to carry the baby around in your arms.
Remember that just because you are buying it and using it when you have an infant, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be used as your child gets older. Some can be modified and used when they are toddlers and up to 50 pounds. This ensures that you gain mobility while being able to keep tabs on your child at the same time.
Male or female, you can wear a carrier so that you can take baby on the go with you. A stroller is important, but you should also have a carrier with you. With so many makes and models, you want to do your research to find one that is affordable, fashionable, flexible and comfortable. This will allow you to get your money’s worth out of the purchase and ensure that it is something that you can have for many years to come with your baby.
Are you for wearing your baby often? Which infant carrier do you prefer or which one does your baby prefer? Have your say below.