The topic of baby carrying has recently become one of the hot topics in the parenting world. Years ago, parents left their infants and newborns alone and without physical contact for hours at a time as they went about their day. Studies have found that infants tend to develop healthier, quicker, and more holistically when they are held close and remain in contact with another human, especially in the first three months out of the womb (also known as the fourth trimester).
There are an array of baby carriers to choose from. Some parents have a variety that they choose from depending on the activity they are participating in. Ring slings, pouch slings, mei tai carriers, buckle carriers, wraps, and infant car seats (as opposed to a convertible car seat) are a few examples of the types of carriers parents choose from.
SLINGS: PROS & CONS
Pros: Slings make for an easy and fast on and off. They make breastfeeding extremely accessible. Small and compact, easy to pack around. Dads can use these pretty simply.
Cons: Because slings are so simple, they have limited adjustability and there are fewer positions. They are one-shouldered, making them less comfortable for heavier kids or long-hours of use.
MEI TAI & BUCKLE CARRIERS: PROS & CONS
Pros: These carriers are two-shouldered, making them very comfortable for long hours of use and heavier kids. Dads usually love these. These are adjustable and are extremely easy to share between users of various sizes.
Cons: These carriers are not as snuggly cuddly as others; not as easy to pack and take a few extra minutes to load your toddler in, creating opportunities for his or her impatience.
INFANT CAR SEAT VERSUS CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT
There are pros and cons to both of these. Let’s explore.
An infant car seats’ pros: can be taken out and placed back into the car easily; your baby can remain sleeping while you unload the car and carry him with you, tucked into his seat. These car seats are snug and provide a great fit for your infant, as it is designed specifically for his size. These car seats can often times attach to a stroller and they can be checked as one piece when flying.
An infant car seat’s cons: this car seat is usually used for less than the first year of life, it is heavy and awkward to carry around, and limits your choices of strollers. New research has also found that when an infant is left sleeping for hours at a time in the infant car seat, their airways can be restricted because their necks are not strong enough to lift their heads. Relying on the infant car seat to carry your baby can also be a con if you are pro-baby wearing and see the benefits in keeping your newborn close to you.
A convertible car seat’s pros: this seat is used for a couple of years; can fit most children 5 to 40 pounds. If you decide to go with a convertible car seat, you will not need to purchase an infant car seat: money is saved! Because you don’t normally take this car seat in and out of the car and use it as a carrier, you have more physical contact with your baby, which is beneficial in many ways!
A convertible car seat’s cons: small newborns may not fit as snugly as they would in an infant car seat. Because you do not take this seat in and out of the car, you would wake your baby up to get him out. If you plan on using a stroller from day one, you would need to purchase a newborn stroller because you would not have an infant seat to attach to your stroller.
“We advise parents to carry their babies as much as possible, beginning right after birth,” write pediatrician William Sears and his wife, registered nurse Martha Sears, in The Baby Book // BabyCenter.com
There is much talk around the act of baby carrying, the types of carriers, and whether or not it is best for your baby. We believe the new research that has been shared about the benefits of carrying your baby is spot on: the skin to skin contact promotes bonding and breastfeeding; most babies fall asleep quickly when being rocked with the motion of walking or rocking.