A baby carrier is one of the most useful products you can find - quick and easy to use and ensures quality baby time whilst you get on with life. The baby carrier also comes into it's own should you have a second child and your first child is almost finished his time in the buggy and it would be uneconomical to splash out on a twin buggy. Here is some general guidance:-
Hands-free use. The big advantage of a carrier is that it lets you keep your baby close to you while keeping your hands free, so you can go about your day. It also allows you to do what you need to do (for the most part) knowing the baby is securely fastened; a sling always requires more awareness because there aren't safety straps to hold your baby in.
Nursing. For nursing mothers, the sling offers the easiest, quickest, and most discreet access.
Your comfort. Parents who prefer carriers often argue that unless a sling fits you just right, it can hit you at a level that's uncomfortable. Also, most carriers come with back support and shoulder support (more like a good backpack), making them easier for the parent to carry, especially as the baby grows.
Your baby's comfort. A sling allows your baby to lay at your waist in a comfortable sleeping position and even leverages the natural swing motion of your walking, plus the material wraps the baby with a similar nesting effect to swaddling.
Longevity. The sling can have a longer useful life than the front carrier because you can also use it to support your toddler in the hip-carrying position.
It still mostly comes down to personal preference and what you feel more comfortable carrying. Our recommendation? Try a friend's before you buy.
Some mothers enjoy having one of each: a sling for nursing early on and a carrier for extra support during more active times.
Features to look for
Size and adjustability. If more than one person will be sharing it, make sure you get a carrier that can easily adjust to fit either person. It's important that the sling or carrier fits well, and also that you don't have to spend a lot of time adjusting it.
Machine-washable. No matter what kind of carrier you choose, it's going to get dirty if you use it more than just occasionally. Easy washability is a lifesaver.
Storage pockets. In a traditional carrier or backpack, smart storage pockets might just save you from having to lug along a diaper bag, too.
Back support. This isn't such an issue with newborns, but every month your baby grows, and so does your load. Make sure you pick a baby carrier that will provide you the back support you need, and definitely test before you buy, especially with traditional carriers and backpacks.
Backpack features. When evaluating a backpack, consider what its headrest options are (for the inevitably sleeping toddler), whether it provides sun protection, and how easy it is to adjust for your child (not to mention mom and dad!). Bonus features are storage pouches, bottle packs, and loops for securing toys and pacifiers.
Collapsibility. If you're transitioning into a backpack, you'll want to consider one that works like a normal backpack but opens up to expose a cushioned seat for your toddler. If you're mountain hiking with your child, you'll want a traditional backpack, but a collapsible backpack is ideal for the parent who wants to encourage their toddler to walk.
Price. For a front carrier, you get what you pay for. For the most part, what you pay more for is the addition of lumbar support and better shoulder pads. If you're going to be a heavy user, pay a little more for the one that will serve you best.
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What our customers say...
Wow. What can I say. I ordered at 4.00pm on Wednesday and the pillow arrived at 4.00pm on Thursday. And this was during the postal strike!!!! I have gained many brownie points for buying the pillow for my wife and all I can say is thank you very much boohoobaby!! We will both definitely be keeping an eye on the website as our new arrival gets nearer.
Sarah Bulman, Carlisle Read our testimonials