The Evolution of a Baby-Wearing Mama and the Carriers I’ve Grown to Love
Like cloth diapers, baby carriers can become a bit of an addiction.
Over the past seven and a half years, as I’ve gone from one sweet baby to four little ones, I’ve tried my fair share of baby carriers. They are one of the tools that makes my mothering infinitely easier and I grab for one at least once a day and sometimes more.
There are lots of reviews out there on specific carriers if you’re looking for one to purchase. Today I’m going to take you on a journey from my first experience of baby wearing, to what I presently use with my 4th baby, and all the things I’ve tried in between.
This was the beginning of my baby-wearing journey. It was what everyone else seemed to use back then. Come to think of it, they didn’t wear their babies very often or for very long… hmmm.
I used a borrowed Baby Bjorn with my first baby. I’m sure they’ve improved over the past 7 years, but I wasn’t impressed. My shoulders and back literally ached within 20 minutes, the straps rode up my back and I was constantly yanking them back down, and the carrying style options were extremely limited. If baby needed a different position, it was a no go. Sorry about that, baby.
There are many rings slings, but this one is a Maya Ring Sling
My first ring sling was from a thrift store. It was too big and I couldn’t get it tight enough to hold my daughter snugly. I had to hold her tight to me whenever I bent down or moved in any quick manner.
Then I tried a custom-made ring sling that belonged to a friend. I could immediately see that hers was quite a few steps above mine. It tightened nicely, and she could use it to carry her slightly older baby on her hip. She adored using it. I was tempted, but didn’t want to fork out the money.
At the very least, it got me thinking that there might be something to this whole baby carrying thing…
I made it to my daughter’s first birthday without a carrier. Then she began cutting molars and wanted to be held every second of every day. And suddenly investing in even an expensive carrier sounded like a very good idea.
I was hearing really good things about the Ergo and decided that that’s what I needed. I promptly used some saved up birthday money to purchase an Ergo original style baby carrier.
It was the best thing ever and worth ever penny. I wore her on my back, and once I got the hang out getting her in and out safely, it was quick and easy to use. She was delighted to be carried around all day, and I was delighted that I could actually do it for an hour or more at a time. I sometimes used it as a side carrier, but having her on my back was my favorite. The sitting position she was in seemed very comfortable to her and she frequently fell asleep while being carried.
Ergo with Newborn Insert
Eventually, she outgrew being carried and I became pregnant with #2. I knew that Ergo also made a newborn insert, so I made sure to purchase it before baby came. If I loved the Ergo so very much, surely I would also *heart* the newborn insert, right?
Wrong. There were a few major problems. For one, it was difficult to get my new baby situated comfortably in the insert so that the circulation in his little legs wasn’t compromised. One time they actually started turning blue! For another, he was born in late May, and even when dressed in only a onesie, the insert was roasting hot for his poor, sweaty little self. It felt extra bulky to wear and made me hot, sweaty and cranky. I got rid of it in a thrift store purge before my 3rd child was born, having worn it less than 10 times.
I do have to mention that while writing this post, I noticed that they now have a new version of the newborn insert than what I used… perhaps it’s an improvement?
While pregnant with my 3rd child, I decided that it was time to pursue slings again as a newborn option, to use until baby was big enough for the Ergo on my back (around 4-5 months, when they can hold their heads up well).
A fitted sling appealed to me, as one negative of the ring slings was the extra fabric that hangs down and flops around. I know some moms like it, because they can use it to cover themselves while nursing in public, but it drove me nuts. After looked into fitted slings, I found a Hotsling in my size (these come in 6 sizes based on your measurements) on Craigslist.
Slings are very convenient. They slip on and off at a moment’s notice, which is ideal when you have 2 toddlers and the baby is screaming. Sometimes, they are just perfect for calming a newborn baby, because of their snugness. Other times (especially with my 4th baby), it’s just a bit too snug and even a newborn will want to be more upright than a fitted sling allows.
They do fold up small and so they’re convenient for travel, for church, for grocery shopping, etc. Ultimately, they still hurt my back and shoulders, although I can tolerate wearing one for about 30-45 minutes.
Chai Wrap Tai
(These are actually no longer available, but they’re very similar to a BabyHawk Mei Tai)
This unique carrier is a hybrid between a traditional Asian Mei Tai and a wrap carrier (like a Moby). I received one for review when Johanna was already about 18 months old and though I liked the idea of this carrier, she far preferred to run around than be carried.
I set it aside for baby #4, unsure of how much I would use it. Knowing that I was planning to write this baby wearing post, I pulled it out a few weeks ago to give it a fair trial.
I’m in love.
Although this is a wrap style carrier, with very long straps that need to be tied a certain way, it was far easier to put on than I anticipated. I had it down after about 3 or 4 attempts. The reinforced solid fabric front (like a Mei Tai) holds baby in very snuggly, but allows them to be upright. You can also pull the head covering up over them and snap it in place if they fall asleep, to provide them some darkness and keep their head from bobbing around.
Best of all? I can wear it for an extended period of time, without pain or strain. Baby is soothed quickly in this carrier and as he gets older, I can try using it for side and back carrying as well.
I had seen these before and felt intimidated by the yards of long fabric. I had heard amazing things about them, but wondered how I would ever learn to wrap this thing properly? When Courtney (a writer here at KOTH, and also the owner of Simply Nurtured, an online shop with natural essentials for baby and mom) asked if I wanted to try a Moby Wrap with my new little one, I was definitely intrigued.
Before trying it, I read through the manual over and over, trying to wrap my head (no pun intended) around this tying business. I didn’t do it perfectly, but nonetheless, once I slipped my fussy baby in, he calmed down quickly and I was pleased by how snug and secure this wrap felt as I went about cooking dinner and cleaning up after children.
After having used both the Moby and the Chai Wrap Tai these past two months, I’m a fan of them both, but for different reasons. The Moby fits so snuggly, spreads the weight evenly across my back, shoulders and chest, and makes it easy to be mobile. The Chai isn’t quite so snug or supportive of my back (it is those things, just not as much as the Moby), yet it’s easier to put on, feels lightweight, and folds up smaller. They’ll both grow along with baby, allowing for different carrying styles.
Four Babies In: My Final Thoughts
I say final knowing that by the time baby #5 or #6 comes along, I may have gone ga-ga over another type of carrier, but this is what I think thus far:
Quickest to put on: Fitted or ring sling
Cheapest: Sling or Moby Wrap (and it depends on the brand, of course, but many fall between $30-$50)
Best for small babies: Moby Wrap or Mei Tai style
Best for large babies and toddlers: Ergo
Best for packing up small: Sling or wrap style
Best for local walks and hikes: Ergo
Overall top choice for an “everything” carrier: Mei Tai (with Moby coming in a close 2nd)
You’ll notice I didn’t include “Best for nursing”. Truthfully, I just don’t like nursing with my babies in a carrier. I know plenty of moms do. If you’re one of them, would you comment on what type of carrier you like best for nursing purposes?
I’ve also realized that I prefer to have multiple carriers to use at different times. If I had to, I could get by with just one style, but having several is nice as it allows you to really pick and choose according to each carrier’s strengths and weaknesses.
I have a Beco Baby Butterfly – similar to the ergo, but you can do outward facing as well, which I liked having the option for. For future kiddos I am looking at the Boba!
I have an Ergo which I loved through two babies, but my third baby (4 months old) does not enjoy the Ergo for long. I end up having to take her out and carry her up against me facing out. She likes to see her surroundings, so I am now looking for a carrier that is comfortable on the back and comfortable for baby in an outward facing position. Even though the Beco Baby says that is can be used facing out, I cannot find a picture of it used that way and it seems to me like it would be uncomfortable. Did you use it facing out and if so, how did it work? Does anyone else have any recommendations?
BBIIs don’t have a forward facing out option as far as I know. Are you sure you don’t have the Beco Gemini, which does? I like Becos, but don’t find them as comfortable once my kids hit 18mo or so. Bobas are great for bigger kids though!
I liked nursing in my ring sling the best. Now slings come with long tails so it’s easy to be discreet and functional at the same time. I wasn’t as successful with my moby and nursing. Did you try the baby k’tan? Its kind of like a moby with half the work done for because it has two loops instead of the looooong fabric. Its not as adjustable for that perfect fit like the moby though.
I had not really tried wearing my first two babies. But when we were preparing to adopt baby #3 I knew I wanted something, mainly bc I knew we would be flying across the country with a week old infant to bring her home. I landed on the sleepy wrap, and I loved it! (it’s basically just like the moby wrap.) I ended up wearing my daughter often over the first months of her life. Not only did I think it helped with bonding, but she loved it, and it was a great way to bring her to parties and public places. She would sleep and it automatically kept people at a distance fom her. I am one of those moms who can’t stand it when kind strangers (or anyone really) leans over the baby stroller and touches the newborn without washing their hands. 🙂 I’m due with baby 4 in July and look forward to wearing this one as well, esp early on.
May I also recommend meitaibaby.com I don’t own the site and I’m not affiliated in any way, but I bought one about three years and two kids ago and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I agree that the mei tai style is the best all-around carrier, and this company just sends it right over the top! You can custom-order the straps in many different colors and then change out the decorative fabric panels! They have so many adorable fabrics to order, but you can also easily make your own for a really personal, fun touch. I’m very petite and I wear my babies a lot, and this is simple to use and comfortable. I can’t say enough good about it!
For my oldest son who is now two, we used the Moby and a fitted sling. Whenever I had to nurse in public during the first 4 months, the fitted sling was my favorite! Instead of using the fabric on the top part of the sling to support his head, I slid it up over his head and used my arm for support. It covered me completely, and at times even our parents didn’t know I was nursing! I found it to be much more discreet then the Moby.
Whenever it came to carrying him for longer periods of time or while doing chores around the house, I went for the Moby. I first put him in when he was about 2 weeks old (that’s when I finally got off the couch and started getting used to my daily activities again), and I was immediately impressed with how well it fit, and that I didn’t have to worry about him falling out when I bent down. Since it was a bit more work to put on and off, during the first six months I would wear the Moby all day long and put him in/take him out as he wanted. I found that to work great.
By the time he was 9 months he no longer wanted to be carried, and hasn’t shown any indication of wanting to since then. We are expecting our next baby in August, so I’m starting to look into better options for toddlers now. I anticipate that when he sees me carrying the new baby, his interest will return even if it is temporarily.
Just yesterday I met a woman in the supermarket who had a BoBa Carrier (looked very similar to the Ergo). We talked for a minute and she said that her son was very tall, and found the BoBa to be much more comfortable for both of them with his legnth. The website for the Boba is here http://www.bobafamily.com/.
I’ve tried a slew of different carriers and slings, both with my own 2 children, and in my in-home daycare. I haven’t liked any of them. They hurt my back and limit my movements. I prefer to carry the baby on my hip or in my arm/arms. My sister in law had twins–she is a strong girl from years of swimming–she would carry both babies in one arm while she did stuff around the house.
I’ve tried most of the carriers you have, as well. My favorites – in general AND for nursing – are the Ergo and the Beco Butterfly (THE ORIGINAL VERSION – without the infant insert which seems to keep one from nursing). While I used the ring sling and a wrap similar to the moby for a while, I found them cumbersome and not natural to nurse in.
I’ve been thinking about trying to find an Ergo….I think you sold me. 🙂 With my first, my Moby wrap was my favorite, with the Mei Tai coming in close second.
Thanks for the review!
The Boba is very similar! I love it! I just got whichever one I could get the best deal on at the time. Now….I want to try a Moby this time!
I really didn’t baby wear with baby #1 (I know–sad!). The only carrier I tried was the awful Infantino sling that was later recalled! I had no clue and in desperation during her “colic” stage, I just grabbed the first sling I saw at Target. I’m so glad she really didn’t like it and that I only used it a few times–since babies actually died in that sling!!
With my second, I used a Sling Ezee ring sling and a Boba (very similar to an Ergo). The Sling Ezee was OK. I never really got the hang of it, and it would pull on my back. I did put her in it while cooking and doing household chores, as she was a very “attached” baby. I also wore it out some, but, again, it wasn’t SUPER comfortable…BUT it may be because I never knew how to really use it correctly.
I absolutely LOVE the Boba! I HIGHLY recommend it! It is SO easy to put on and SO comfortable! You can wear older babies (from 4-6 months to age 3!) on the front of the back. I wore her in it in the house, but it’s PERFECT for out–like picking berries in the summer, going to the zoo, etc.
I would really love to try a Moby with my baby that is due in August. I have stayed away from Moby-like carriers because I thought I’d never be able to figure it out, but everyone tells me they are very easy! Katie from Kitchen Stewardship has a video on her blog of her putting hers on. If I can figure it out, I think a Moby-like sling would be more comfortable on my back.
Do you (or anyone) carry your toddlers while pregnant? I know I could still be using my Boba with my 18-month-old, but I am honestly a little scared to use it while pregnant.
I have never been able to nurse while using a carrier/sling either. I did use the sling ezee fabric to toss over myself as an impromptu nursing cover!
I used the Moby for the first six months with my first son, and I would put the wrap on me in the morning and leave it on all day. I could slide him in and out of it as he wanted, and if needed just adjust it throughout day.
I wore the Ergo when I was pregnant with my 2nd, up until around 5 or 6 months. I just made sure it was really comfortable and pushed the waist band below my belly. It was fine, for me, at least.
I carried my then 22mo old son daily in a woven wrap while pregnant with my second. I even wore him comfortably on a long walk at 41wks, 2days. I sometimes found that having the 25lbs on my back helped balance out the 25lbs on my front, lol. I still used my NuzzleMe Creations toddler sized mei tai and Boba on occasion, but didn’t always find the waist strap comfortable. There were times that I preferred the strap above my belly, and other times below. Being able to tie the woven wrap entirely up at my chest (in what’s called a tibeten tie), made it the winner though.
I am currently 28 weeks pregnant, and I wore my 2.5-year-old daughter yesterday on my back in a Didymos woven wrap. Woven wraps and ring slings are really the only reasonable option for carrying a heavy toddler late in pregnancy. I definitely can’t use my Beco (like an Ergo) anymore. But with a woven wrap or a ring sling, I can position the fabric to above my belly, and the materials are strong enough to hold my 30 lb toddler without stretching out or sagging. I don’t wear her too often anymore, as she’s big enough to walk most of the time, but there are times where I feel safer when she’s being carried (busy streets, crowded shopping areas), and it’s definitely easier to wear her than carry her in my arms at this point.
I never could get the hang of the slings, they just didn’t feel right. I LOVE both my Moby style wrap for babies and my Ergo for when they get a little older. I couldn’t imagine living with out either one.
I defnitely love the Obimama silk ring sling – it’s washable silk – beautiful and wonderful. she also make Mei Tai wraps. She is local to our area, but her work is wonderful! http://www.obimama.com
I also have an ergo and love it – but not the insert. I had the same problem with the baby’s legs turning blue!
I started out with a Moby, moved to a homemade Sweetpod, then a mei tai, then a ringsling, then an Onya, then a woven wrap. I love them all for different reasons, but the Onya is probably my favorite all-around carrier right now. It’s so comfy for my toddler! I love babywearing!
Also, check out thebabywearer.com if you’re in need of advice or a new carrier. They have tons of resources and a FSOT board too.
I got an Ergo for baby #1 but only used it a handful of times. I wasn’t fond of all the clips and found it difficult to adjust back and forth when DH and I switched using it. And it was so bulky that I just didn’t want to lug it around or find a place to store it when not in use. So I sold it on craigslist.
For baby #2 I found a Hotsling on the cheap ($12 at a consignment store) and fell in love. So comfy, quick to put on (even with Baby in my arms) and perfect for a newborn. After the first couple of months, I rarely wore DD so I didn’t bother with anything else.
For my current baby, who is 5 months now, I have used my Hotsling mostly. I was salivating over the Moby late in pregnancy but just couldn’t afford one, so I decided to “make do” with my Hotsling and turned out to be SO glad I didn’t spring for the Moby. I’m sure I would have loved it, but the Hotsling worked so well I didn’t think twice about it. This baby was VERY fussy and I wore her non-stop for the first couple of months in the Hotsling.
Now that DD is no longer a newborn, I don’t really wear her at home much. She is mostly content on her own, thankfully. But for going out and about, I have a borrowed Babyhawk that I am happy with in addition to the Hotsling. I like the Babyhawk for grocery shopping or other things that require more activity, as it’s a bit more “hands-free” than the Hotsling (which has somewhat restrictive movement on the over-the-shoulder side). I like the Hotsling for its compactness – it fits in my diaper bag along with everything else and most of the time it’s just what I need (for walks, hanging out with friends, going to church, etc.).
So, in summary, I use my Hotsling most of the time and I love how compact it is and I take it everywhere. I will stress that it MUST FIT SNUGLY. The only times I have issues with back or shoulder pain is when I’ve gone too long without washing it and it stretches out a bit. A wash (and LINE dry) firms it back up and I’m good to go again. LOVE my Hotsling!
I have a fitted sling made by a friend, which my first practically lived in until he was nearly one, but it killed my back and shoulders. It was the only thing that would get him to sleep though – he was a high-needs baby – and we called it the magical sling 🙂
Then we got an Ergo, and oh my goodness – HEAVEN. Love that thing. I am due in 8 weeks with our third, and was just about to buy the infant insert, but now I’m second-guessing. I’ve heard someone else say they didn’t like it either.
I also have a moby, but never got the hang of wrapping it myself. Hopefully this time I will so that I can avoid the shoulder-killing sling!
I’ve never liked nursing in a carrier either! I prefer to get them properly positioned, etc… especially because I have so many issues with leaking and spraying etc in the first many months.
Don’t write off the ergo newborn quite yet. Carriers are so personal, it seems to have a lot to do with the unique preferences of the mom and baby – and both as a team. I had a friend who went back to teaching shortly after her son was born mid-semester. He was perfectly content in the ergo newborn. Even today, 14 months later, the ergo is his favorite place when feeling fussy.
19 years ago when my first was born, we had a Snuggli. I didn’t wear him or #2, 3, 4, or 5 around the house. Just when we were out shopping. As they got older we had an aluminum frame back carrier. My husband loves to wear that one when we are hiking. It’s not so good for around stores as it is bulky. With #6, I bought a fitted sling. It worked great, but also hurt my shoulders and back. So with #7 we tried a ring sling. We used that sling A LOT! Even when she was a toddler. She has been our only one to want to be in the sling constantly. Now that #8 is coming in the next couple of weeks, we are going to be trying a Mobi Wrap. A friend gave us one she didn’t use. My body just isn’t as young as it was with the other babies, so I am looking forward to the added back support this is supposed to give.
I love my Moby, but my husband thinks it’s too girly for him to wear. He didn’t mind wearing the babies when they were in a Baby Bjorn though.
We currently have the Bjorn; hubby loves using it because our baby girl can face outward to see all that is going on. I’m not such a big fan since it tends to hurt my back after more than 20 minutes. I’ve been looking into the Moby for our next newborn, and the Ergo for me to use when baby girl gets a little older. Has anyone had problems with the toddlers being discontent in the Ergo since they always have to face your body?
My toddler wasn’t a fan of the Ergo as he got older, because it sits so low in back carries, BUT he still (at 2.5) loves high back carries in a woven wrap or mei tai. You can actually do a high back carry with an Ergo as well, if you buckle the waist strap at your natural waist, or even just below your chest, rather than your hips. He has much better view in crowded places up on my back than he does in a stroller. I started putting my second son up on my back (NOT in a stretchy wrap like a Moby, though) at 2 weeks old, and it’s still probably his favorite place to be at 8.5mo. He can see and interact at the same level as everyone else, and he’s comfortable for me to carry for long periods of time (he’d have outgrown the bjorn weight limit at 4mo).
You can use Ergo in the hip or back positions if the toddler no longer wants to face you, although I didn’t have this problem with my first daughter. I started wearing her in the hip position only because it was too cumbersome to wear her in the front when she got bigger. I never got the hang of the back position, but I know a lot of people who love it that way. I love my Ergo and it’s truly one of the best pieces of baby gear I bought. I have both styles of the infant insert and I personally didn’t love either of them. The new style one is quite bulky, but my baby seemed comfortable in it. However, the rules for usage of the old one have changed; I think due to the Infantino sling recall, they no longer recommend a cradle position with the old style insert like they did when I bought it in 2008.
I’ve used a fitted sling in the newborn stage for the last two babies. (Found a tutorial and sewed it myself to save money!) And I’ve used my Baby Bjorn for all three of my boys. I have the one that has the extra back support piece, and I’m guessing that makes a big difference! Still bugs my shoulders after a while once they get big, but once my boys start walking they don’t exactly want to be held much anymore! 🙁
When I had my second, just 18 months ago:) we didn’t have a lot of money, still don’t…but my husband could see how i was struggling with nursing so he bought a Moby wrap and surprised me with it. I didn’t know anything about slings or baby carrying, I tried it once with my daughter when she was a newborn (with a different carrier from my sister), but she very much needed and desired her own space:) even at that age:) Anyway, my man read that its best for baby to be near momma especially when nursing to create a bond, he thought it’d help:) and i just went for it as i thought that was super swell of him, especially since we haven’t been in the best financial standing in the past two years, plus to think he took the time to read about something FOR me that i was struggling with, love him!! so I didn’t get a choice, nor would I have known much about other carriers anyway, but I gotta say, I really like the Moby. My son nursed ALL the time, so yeah, I’d end of tying him closer and snuggling him down in and nursing him while shopping at Costco! the issue was people wanting to look down in at my new baby and telling them they couldn’t because I was nursing! Nursing while carrying my baby isn’t ideal FOR ME though:) but it works when the baby starts fussing in public and you don’t wanna bother others or whatever:) and the Moby seems to provide the privacy one needs, sometimes I’d forget to grab a small blanket or my nursing cover!
thanks for the info, I now have a better knowledge of baby carrying for the next one! yay:)
for my first we used a moby and the ergo (with the newborn insert) – but, it was cold and damp when she was born and very tiny – so we didn’t mind the newborn insert and used it for all of our long walks (all we did was walk in those early months with #1), but with my second she is MUCH bigger than my older daughter was, and it’s warmer she screams with the newborn insert, and I could never get her situated in the moby just right, so we just bought a babyhawk mei tei, and we both love it. Now, I can carry her around with ease and we are both super comfortable. It’s not that great for long walks – but, these days we don’t go out walking for hours on end anymore. 🙂
Has anyone heard any comments on the sakura bloom slings? They seem to be really nice, but do not know anyone who has used one.
I have one that I absolutely love! My first ring sling was from Sleeping Baby Productions, and while it was great and much cheaper, once I got the Sakura Bloom, I could immediately see why they are more expensive, and they are totally worth it! Mine is the single linen style, and the gathered shoulder makes it so easy to get it adjusted perfectly for my body shape, and the linen is strong enough that I can comfortably carry my 30 lb. 2.5-year-old for about 30 minutes before the shoulder with all the weight on it starts to get sore (I am 28 weeks pregnant as well, so I get sore faster than I normally do). It doesn’t sag at all. I wish I’d had it when my daughter was younger!
It sounds like you have been able to try all of the carriers out there, Stephanie. I saw the picture of the Moby wrap and thought of a site that does similar wraps.
Ethan (my currently almost three week old son) and I are still slowly trying to get used to our Wombfruit Wrap. I say slowly because he doesn’t always like being close and I am learning that it will work best when he is not hungry. Things will most likely improve as he gets older. Our housemate, Emily, has a Boba which she enjoys very much.
I have 2 children and never used a carrier. My mom gave me her old sling, but I could never figure out how to use it without killing my back! I stay home all the time, and never felt the need to carry my baby around.
A friend of mine made her own moby style wrap. I’ve seen instructions before online and will likely try that if we have another child. It’s just 5 yards or so of knit material. You don’t even have to sew it. Just search “make your own moby wrap”.
I have done this – made my own – works awesome and is super cheap to do!
I was given a Didymos wrap for my first child and found a wrap style that I liked and supported my back well. They have a lot of tying styles and the wrap came with a book and video of the different wraps to try (http://didymos.com/index.php?s=tying_methods&t=tying%20methods). For this pregnancy I was given an Ergobaby carrier. While my little one is an infant I’m using my Didymos wrap but am looking forward to trying the Ergobaby when her head control is better!
Someone gave me a Moby-like carrier before I had my second child and I loved it! I tried the Bjorn and a sling with my first, but both hurt my back. I like the Moby because you can spread the weight out across your back and shoulders. We have a navy blue one and I even convinced my husband to use it! 🙂 I used the Moby all the time up until my son hit about 20 pounds (around 6 months) when he was getting too heavy to carry on my front. I never did master the Moby for side/back carrying. I’m expecting our third child at the end of the year and I’d like to try to find a used Ergo to try for after the baby turns 6 months old.
After 7 kids, and trying the Baby Bjorn style (aka Mommy Torture Device!) a padded ring sling, and an unpadded ring sling, I finally found what worked best for me. Hands down the unpadded ring sling, it’s fast, easy and not bulky. I found the padded sling to be too bulky, too hot in the summer. I think I would feel the same about the ergo & wrap style. Anyway, I loved the ring slings so much, I started making them. And I added pockets to mine, cause a Mama ALWAYS needs another pocket!
I have a moby and loved it for the first 8 months or so. But now my son is bigger and wants to be a part of things and look at things more. I’m looking at getting another that would allow me to put him on my back. Would you recommend a mei tei or a ergo as a complement to the moby for an older child? Thanks!
I began my babywearing journey with a Moby, then spent 2 weeks torturing myself with a Bjorn (ouch!) before buying an Ergo. I loved my Ergo until my son was 8mo or so and I was ready to do back carries. Ergo back carries sit so low, he would get bored and bite my back (again, ouch!). Luckily I lived in a city with a large and active babywearing group, and was able to go to a meeting and try a woven wrap and fell in love with babywearing all over again.
18 months later, I’ve moved and now run the Bellingham Babywearers and own a lending library of 15 woven wraps (Didymos, Girasol, Elleville), a Boba, a Beco, an Ergo, a Bloo Kangaroo XT, 2 NuzzleMe Creation mei tais, 3 Sleeping Baby Production ring slings, 2 Hotslings, and 2 Mobys. Of my carriers, I use the woven wraps mostly. Once I got the hang of tying them, I fell in love with their incomparable comfort and versatility. I was even able to comfortably carry my toddler while 41wks pregnant! I love having quality carriers to lend to new moms so everyone can find their perfect fit for their body and lifestyle.
My goodness, you should have written this post! You’ve tried pretty much everything! 🙂
Could you share your website? Do you lend to only locals or will you ship? I’d like to try Woven but want to try a rental service first.
I have a Moby wrap and I love it! I love fabric in general, so the long piece of good-quality fabric appealed to me (geek, I know!). Two things I tell people who are interested in one:
1) Try putting it on before you say you couldn’t figure it out. Just reading the directions is very confusing, but when you’re actually doing it, it makes a lot more sense.
2) You will probably feel like you’re wrapping it around you tighter than you should, but then it will be just right for your baby. If it’s too loose, the baby won’t feel secure and you won’t like it. So put it on pretty tight (especially for newborns) and see if that helps.
I also love the way it spreads the weight out across my back and shoulders, and it’s almost a sure-fire way to prevent meltdowns in the grocery store. 🙂 I’ve gotten so many comments on it while out and about–it’s a great conversation starter!
My experience has been highly similar 😉 I am currently really happy and almost exclusively using my Beco Gemini with my 7 month old, but I do really like the moby wrap style with the tiny newborns. And like you, I have never been able to nurse in any of them 😉 I can be much more discreet just taking it off and nursing if I need to!
I didn’t wear my first. 🙁 But with my second I borrowed a Bjorn for one day and hated the thing. Then I read about how it hurts their backs. I felt bad having my daughter in it for the hour she was. I had a Moby for when she was newborn. I got the hang of wrapping it, but my daughter didn’t like being in it at all. I tried different positions and levels of tightness and she never did like being in there. I found a used Hotsling for nothing and gave it a try. It was great for wearing her on my hip (she was older by then). I’m due with another in Sept. and I’m wanting to try the Beco and Boba as well as the Ergo. I’m not sure about the Mei Tai, but I’ll try it on, too. I saw a mom with a 3 week old in a Ergo last week and she said she loved it. The baby was sitting down in there froggy legged. I’m a larger sized mom so I know that I’ll just have to get to one of the shops and try them all on. Thanks for the reviews!
My favorite for a newborn is a Moby. By the time they are a few months old I prefer woven wraps because they are more supportive. My first mei tai was a Babyhawk, loved that and learned to make my own mei tais. I love MTs for babies 6 months and older. My dh has an Ergo, it never worked for me – I have rather narrow shoulders and small waist, and I could never get it adjusted right. For errands, once they can sit on my hip, a pouch sling is always in my car. I love babywearing. My second child has always been very on the go, so I didn’t wear her nearly as much as I wore my high needs son. We are expecting #3 in September and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to wear him or her.
Just have to pop in and say that the Ergo is NOT for everyone. I bought one and really wanted to like it. I had used a moby and a fitted style before and found both to be useful. I’m guessing the Ergo didn’t work for me because I am short… 5 foot. It rubbed the back of my arms no matter how I adjusted it. I ended up with chaffed spots. I was sad that it didn’t work out.
I made one from this tutorial: http://www.stilllearninglife.com/2008/01/diy-hood-to-headrest-mei-tai-tutorial.html
I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s like the Chai Wrap Tai (which I learned about from this site!), and I made the straps wide and not padded.
I don’t use the mei tai wrap when they are real young, but once they are about 3 or 4 months old. And for those of you who want to use a Moby, they are a so easy to make. It’s really just a very long piece of fabric. You can google for instructions on how to make them and how to use them.
I agree the Ergo isn’t for everyone. Many of my friends have and love them, but one friend who has a larger chest says that makes it uncomfortable for her. It’s just a matter of trying different things and figuring out what works for you!
I’m expecting #5 in a few months and am looking for a new carrier. I have used a pouch sling with my last two and liked it for when they are small. So small and compact and easy to put on! Perfect to tuck in your purse/diaper bag or leave in the van 🙂
I’m tossing around either getting an ergo or a mei tei for this new peanut because I want something that is truly hands free. Both have rave reviews so it certainly isn’t an easy decision! Thanks for your input!
I LOVE my Ergo and have “converted” a half-dozen friends on it and carriers like it (Boba, Beco). I found it worked fine with my newborn without an insert, either using rolled-up blankets in the bottom to raise her so her head was level with the top of the carrier, or putting her in froggy-footed, or off-center so only one leg poked out. I also had a simple wrap (like a moby) that my SIL made for me out of a long strip of fabric– talk about a cheap option! It was great for a newborn, too. I found both were equal in terms of weight distribution; I preferred the ease of the Ergo for on-off, though, and for older, heavier toddlers.
Oh yes, and I nursed successfully in the Ergo the few times I needed to (it’s not my preference)– my most famous success was in the Museum of the Paris Sewers! 🙂 No one knew, and no one was disturbed by a screaming hungry newborn… and I didn’t have to try and sit somewhere in a sewer pipe…
I love my maya wrap for nursing. I adore my moby but am not comfortable nursing in it.
I have a woven wrap, and I love it. Its good for newborn front carrying, but because its woven, it can also be used to back carry, which I love. Best of all, mine is 4 metres of fabric I bought from an Op shop for $8.
I actually had my sister bring me a “baby carrier” home from Indonesia (she’s a missionary). Its apiece of batik sryle fabric about the length of a ring sling. Instead of using a ring you just wrap it around itself a couple of time as if you are going to tie an overhand knot and the weight of the baby tightens it down on your shoulder. It’s AMAZING for newborns and infants. In Indonesia, women carry their kids around until they’re quite large in these,rotating them to their back once their a toddler. I don’t have experience with a bigger baby because my son was super mobile fairly young 🙂 Great Reviews, thank you!
Great retrospective on your babywearing journey. Maybe you will attempt to use a woven wrap with number 5 🙂
I love babywearing stories! My “evolution” is somewhat similar to yours. My stash now consists of an Ergo, a Sleepy Wrap and a BabyHawk (mei tai). They all have advantages and disadvantages for different ages and situations. Addicting, yes – sort of like cloth diapers!
I currently have two children (22 months & 5 weeks) and own a pocket sling (homemade, by my mom), an Ergo and a Moby Wrap. My daughter (the 5 week old) doesn’t like the sling and is too little for the Ergo, but we both LOVE the Moby. I wear it almost daily. It’s great for going out; she’s in the wrap and my son is in the stroller (or cart, at the grocery store). I don’t have to mess with a heavy double stroller and she’s content to snooze while we’re out and about.
I love the Ergo for a bigger baby and toddler. I wore my son in it until I was about 15 or 16 weeks pregnant and it was no longer comfortable for me. He was never particularly clingy, but still enjoyed being carried. And it was great for trips where it was a hassle to use the stroller (I especially liked wearing it to the farmer’s market and on hikes).
The Ergo’s hip carry seemed awkward to me and I didn’t enjoy that position. However, once my son was older, I liked using the sling to carry him on my hip for a quick trip to the store or something. I did that much later into my pregnancy since that didn’t put any pressure on my big belly.
I love wearing my little ones. Not only does it keep them happy and my hands free, but it’s just so sweet to be able to lean down and kiss your baby’s head whenever you want! 🙂
You have yet to try the best carrier ever! The Beco Butterfly! It’s similar to the Ergo but it has an inner butterfly panel that allows a mom to safely move baby from a front carry to a back carry or to switch care givers without having to remove the baby from the carrier. It does front and back carries up to 45 lbs!!! I wore my son at work for 3 hours a day. I started to ache towards the end but no other carrier could handle that. It also has a removable insert panel for babies as small as 8lbs! It keeps them upright so there is no safety concerns about poor oxygenation from bad positioning. I LOVE my carrier and use it still with my 2 1/2 year old from time to time. So if you are considering it but don’t want to pay full price I suggest you check out thebabywearer.com. Like any carrier you either love it or hate it!
I loved my moby! When I was trying to figure it out, I got a lot of help from youtube! There are some great video demos of different positions and ties. I don’t think I ever went back to look at the written instructions; when I wanted to try a new position I just searched for a video of it.
I wanted to comment that I found it quite easy to nurse not in but around the sleepywrap/moby carriers. If you remember to wear a top-access shirt, just pull the shoulder strap closer to your neck on the side you plan to nurse and pull it back down when your done.
i love my sleepy wrap (like a moby but much stretchier)! it is the most comfy by far and my 4th son would go in it for a long time. i use my ring sling for quick trips because it is so easy. my husband will only wear the bjorn if he wears our babies. i figure each has their use, so i keep them all around.
One time at Sam’s (the store like Cotsco) I saw a rather large lady (not judging, just saying for visual effect) carrying her baby in a Moby-like wrap. It’s (you just can’t tell the sex when they’re that little and lacking a bow on their head!) little legs were really blue and mottled (can you tell I’m a medic?). I went up to her and said “Ma’am, I’m only saying this because I know you can’t see from that angle, but your babies legs are really blue.” She just looked at me and said “I know, they always do that when he’s in this” in a mean voice…I always wondered, so mom’s let me know, should I have just not said anything? Wouldn’t you want to know? It was disturbing…I can only imagine what the increased risk was for blood clots with his little legs like that. I know normally the wrap shouldn’t do that. I really like that Ergo…I’m definitly going to be stalking the site (and Craigslist) for a sale…
I would have wanted you to tell me – thanks for speaking up!!
I used a ring sling when my daughter was newborn (Dr. Sears Balboa Baby), an Ergo Sport when she got a little older, and a Boba Carrier after that. They all felt right for the stage she was at the time. Right now she is 13 months and practice walking lots, but when she is up for being worn again I will pull out my Boba. The nice thing abut the Boba is that it has foot straps so baby’s legs aren’t dangling and losing circulation. It can be worn front or back carry. http://www.bobafamily.com/
Thank you for these great reviews of different types of carriers. With my next baby (here is hoping) maybe I’ll get brave enough to try a wrap 🙂
I have used the Moby wrap since my baby was born, 8 months ago and I LOVE it! I have nursed her in it several times in public and it is very discreet but now that she is 8 months old it is becoming a little more difficult to nurse her in it. I get so many questions and compliments on it because people are so impressed with it. I even had someone stop me in Trader Joe’s last week and ask to take a picture of it so she could buy it for her daughter who was having a baby. I have always found it very easy to put on although it is difficult to put on outside your home only because you are then dragging the material on the ground in a parking lot! Today I left the Moby in the car and didn’t want to go out & get it so I threw on the Bijourn (which was a gift) so I could get dinner made. I couldn’t even finish making dinner while wearing my baby because within 15 minutes my back and shoulders hurt so bad! I had to take Tylenol and lay down for a bit the pain was so intense! The Moby has never done that to me. I can wear my baby all day…around Disneyland, the zoo, stores, anywhere and not have any discomfort.
My baby boy just turned three months, and to date I have only used the Moby wrap. At times all the wrapping is overwhelming (primarily when he is fussy and wants to be held but I have to put him down to get the wrap on), BUT – I love how snug he is in the wrap and how fast he is comforted once inside the Moby.
I am now looking into getting an Ergo carrier from craigslist. We travel for a living, so I now want a carrier that is simpler to put on, and better suited for carrying a larger baby/toddler. (My boy was born at 8 pounds even, and is now at 14 lbs. 8 oz! So an upgrade is imminent.)
In my experience, it is definitely best to have an assortement of carriers. For the newborn stage I would rate a wrap/mei tai carrier as the best option. For infants and toddlers, a SSC (soft structured carrier) like the Ergo or BabyHawk Oh Snap is most practical.
Happy baby wearing!
Gypsy Mama (www.bermudaglobetrotters.com)
My favorite by far is the Beco Gemini. I find the crossed straps in the back to be much more comfortable than straight straps like other carriers.
I’m very large chested so nursing in slings is hard because baby needs to be a belly button level almost! (Go ahead-laugh at my knee-knockers) So I much prefer to nurse in the upright position of the Moby 🙂