It’s International Babywearing WeekÂ and we’re all big babywearers at BG, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite slings and carriers. Babywearing has so many benefits for you (convenience, bonding, comfort) and your baby (security, closeness, sleep, relief from tummy problems) Back when I had Alfie (all of three and a half years ago), babywearing was pretty straightforward – if you were a hippie you chose a wrap and if you were an urban parent you had a Baby Bjorn. Being an urban hippie I was torn: I never really liked the hangy down legs/pressure on the bits element of the BB and wrapping seemed a bit complicated, so I opted for a BabaSling. Alfie absolutely loved it – it would always send him to sleep and Harry rarely used the Bugaboo, preferring the freedom that babywearing allows. It was such a hit I never felt the need to try anything else, and it remains a favourite with Kitty, but this time round I decided to be a bit more adventurous. Here are my findings.
THE ORIGINAL theBabaSling, from Â£39.99
Best for… Convenience. Breastfeeding.
The BabaSling is suitable from birth to two years and has five different positions – Alfie favoured the Easy Tiger, while Kitty likes the Koala Cuddle.There’s a buckle at the back with straps to adjust the rails – tricky initially, but quick to master. It’s light and compact, so ideal for taking on holiday and also handy for those times when discreet breastfeeding is the order of the day. It’s washable and has a lifetime guarantee, so with prices around the Â£40 mark it represents great value. You can choose from an array of colours and prints in the Classic version and there is a Lite option for summer and a quilted Cozy for winter.
Cons? Like most slings, it takes a while to master the different positions, but once you have you can slip it on easily. If you strongly favour one shoulder you may find that it aches after a while – if you can swap it’s fine.
THE STRUCTURED CARRIER Stokke MyCarrier,Â Â£139, Back in Action
Best for… Extended wear, minimalist style.
Be still my beating heart. As a self-confessed Stokke obsessive, how could I resist the charms of the MyCarrier? Luckily, it lives up to the hype. It comes in two parts and the various components, clips and carabiners look daunting at first, but the instructions are clear and simple, so we were up and running quickly. We have a dog (hi, Peggy, if you’re reading), so go on lots of long walks and even the trusty Cameleon has been known to struggle with some of our offroad adventures – the MyCarrier has no problem with them and I didn’t have a trace of backache after even a lengthy hike. We’ve tried both inward and outward facing with great success – instant sleep is always the outcome with the former, while the latter produced coos of glee. I love the sleek, minimalist looks that also mean Harry is more than happy to wear it – the MyCarrier would definitely get the Dad vote. It also comes with a back carrier attachment that I’m keen to try out when K is a bit older. Choose from navy, beige or red.
Cons? Not really, but I guess that the one downside is that it’s quite bulky.
THE SOFT STRUCTURED Beco Gemini, Â£94.50, Slumber Roo
Best for… Ease, a splash of colour.
The Beco Gemini is definitely the most eye-catching carrier I’ve tried. And it’s the one I find myself rolling up and popping in the changing bag as I know Kitty loves being in it and it feels really soft and protective for a young baby. The ultra-padded straps and waistband make for a very comfortable wear and the clips render it easy to put on, take off and pop baby in. Also, although I was a little resistant to it at first, I have warmed to the patterned panel. We have a bright floral design which Harry is slightly reluctant to wear, but I think he could handle the latest design, Foxie, due in stock this week. Suitable from birth to pre-school with four positions – front facing, inward facing, back and hip.
Cons? The only comment I have is that the cords that attach the head support do loosen over time, so need to be retightened after a while.Â
THE POUCH Â MiniMonkey, Â£36, Lula Sapphire
Best for… Versatility and value.
Like the cheeky little sister of the BabaSling, the MiniMonkey is yet another lovely piece of (fully washable) Dutch design. It comes in some super-bright colourways (the zingy orange is fabulous), so you can make a real statement with your sling. It’s a 4-in-1 design – use the banana position for baby to sleep, the kangaroo for getting around and the front and hip carry with older babies. As an added bonus, it can be used as a hammock over a cot or playpen – we used a Mibo hammock with Alfie and it’s a guaranteed sleep technique – great for colicky or restless little ones. Easy to use as you just slip over your head and go.
Cons? Again the one shoulder design is probably its only flaw.
THE WRAPÂ JPMBB (Je Porte Mon Bebe), Â£69, Maverick Baby
Best for… Comfort, Gallic chic.
In a parallel universe I’m French, squirreling away at my latest tome in a Parisian garret, so of course Je Porte Mon Bebe had instant appeal for me. And the wrap didn’t disappoint. The brainchild of couple Keren and Olivier, the super-stretchy wraps come in amazingly stylish dual colourways (I’d expect nothing less from an ex Paul & Joe art director) and, once you’ve got over the initial ‘Oh my god, I’m about to carry my baby in a piece of fabric! What if the knot comes undone and it falls out?’ phase, is surprisingly easy to use. The benefit of the stretchy material (exclusive to JPMBB) is that after you’ve done the initial tie you don’t need to undo to take baba in and out. I love the feeling of closeness and (as we say in Wales) cwtchiness that comes with a wrap, although I admit I’ve only tried two front positions so far. The instruction videos are well-filmed and comprehensive, with a cool soundtrack. All entirely organic and suitable for children up to 14kg, JPMBB also produce an ultra cute doll wrap so your littlie can be just like mama.
Cons? Only the intimidation that comes with transforming a massive length of fabric into a baby carrier. You’ll feel invincible once you have.
So those are my recommendations. What are your favourite wraps, slings and carriers and why?
Disclosure: I have been sent a large number of slings and carriers to try and these are the ones I got on best with. All opinions are my own and your experience will depend on your height, shape, baby and many other factors.