You might be struggling with which baby pouch to put on your shower gift registry. Fear not! I’ve got you covered with the basics on how to make a good choice with this baby carrier review. In this post, I’ll explain the different types, their pros and cons, and what I used.
The Baby Pouch
The anthropologist in me wanted to wear my baby because that’s what mothers have been doing for millennia. It keeps baby close and your hands free—what’s not to like? It’s sort of a trend too, and because of that, there are numerous makes and models on the market. The basic types are wraps, slings, and what I would term a back/front-pack.
Do You Need One?
If you think you’re going to use it, yes. Again, the major advantage is that you can still utilize both hands while holding baby close. This is a nice way to take walks with a newborn (it could be too cold where you live for baby to comfortably be in a stroller), do some basic housework, or grocery shop. Infants like to stay close, so it’s convenient.
Another issue with newborns is the “witching hour.” This term commonly refers to a three-ish hour timeline in the evening when your baby is pissed, no matter what you do. Food? No. Change diaper? That wasn’t it. Often only holding or rocking helps, and this quickly becomes exhausting. This is where the pouch comes in.
If it looks like hippie hell, save your money. All of this baby gear is only worth it if you use it.
The sling variety has a strap that goes over one of your shoulders, and you place the baby in the U-shaped fabric against your chest. Slings work best for small babies because there’s not much support for an adult’s back or body. Twelve pounds hanging off your neck will get tiring, so if you go the sling route, you may or may not use it for very long (some adjust for larger children). Here are a couple I never tried:
The disadvantage is having the baby in too loose or in an incorrect position (should be snuggly, facing adult with air passages clear). You might want to think about that if you’ll be bending over (say, to clean or do laundry) a lot because you don’t want baby to fall out. The ones that tuck baby in a bit more firmly might be harder to put on. I realize it looks very simple, but I found most of these contraptions a bit intimidating—especially because I was trying to cram an often unhappy baby into one of them before I knew what I was doing.
I ordered the K’tan carrier, which appeared to me to be a sling/wrap/carrier hybrid.
I liked that it comes in a mesh fabric, which would have been breathable in hot temps. I ordered the size I would wear not being pregnant (or freshly un-pregnant), as advised. I’m not sure if it was just too small or if I just didn’t have the patience, but I had a hard time figuring out how it went on, and when I tried to jam W inside of it, he freaked out and so did I. This doesn’t mean you’ll be confused, however. Plenty of people like them. Make sure you practice with a stuffed animal or doll first!
Interested in being hippie-chic? Want a nice, snug, cuddly, adjustable fit? Are you willing to learn how to tie the damn thing? Then the wrap might be right for you.
The advantages are the custom fit, the fact there is no weight minimum (can even carry preemies), and no buckles/metal hardware that might be uncomfortable. It’s a soft fabric that comes in multiple colors and designs.
The disadvantages are that it’s a LOT of fabric. I got one of these things, and it was a non-starter because it would have been way too hot in this sunny climate. The other disadvantage is figuring out how to tie it—again—with a wiggly, impatient newborn involved. There are YouTube videos, and this has been the style for millennia, so again, I’m sure you can figure it out if you wanted to do it.
The Carrier Pack
And now we come to my personal choice in the baby pouch realm, and that is the pack. People, I wanted to want a wrap. I selected a sling. I’ve been looking at mamas breastfeeding babies in a bit of fabric since I embarked upon my anthropology studies at 18. Those ladies weren’t wearing no baby backpacks.
Oh, but they should have been. Why? Buckles, folks, buckles. Question: have you ever used a buckle? Okay, you’ve got this.
Allow me to repeat. All of this nifty baby gear is utterly worthless if you don’t use it. I’ll speak for myself and say that as a new parent, the last thing I wanted to do was:
- Learn something else that was new.
- Piss off my baby by forcing him to deal while I attempted to figure out a contraption.
- Risk dropping him.
Target accidentally sent me an Infantino baby carrier instead of what I originally ordered.
I was going to send it back without even trying it, but my mom encouraged me. I buckled it around my waist. Then I placed my baby inside, I held him close to me as my mom buckled the top buckle (near my neck, in the back). He was in. We were walking. It was that simple. I soon realized it wasn’t even hard to buckle him in myself. And, it was lightweight.
The nice thing about the Infantino (and most of them, honestly) is that it grows with your child—but you don’t have to learn anything new. I put W in the pouch, legs in, when he was a newborn. Keep in mind that to avoid hip problems with your infant, you should be mindful of her leg position (remember, she was in the fetal position for nine months), especially in the first six months.
Later, your baby can dangle his legs to fit more comfortably.
I carried W in the Ergo through the Portland airport this summer when he was 2.5 years old and 35 pounds. Money well spent!
I’ve known plenty of people with a Baby Bjorn.
They seemed happy, but the original is meant for kids only up to 25 pounds. It’s a personal preference (or lack thereof) that makes me dislike a baby dangling off my chest, facing outward. It’s also a misconception that baby can’t see or doesn’t like to face in. They just have to look to the left, right, or behind you. In short, it’s okay to face in. In fact, it mimics the natural way you carry them. Ergo makes a similar product.
I hope this information helps you choose the baby pouch that’s right for you! As always, there’s no right or wrong answer, there’s just what works best for your needs, your climate, your preferences, and your comfort level.
Q: Any other tips or tricks you’d add to this advice on picking out a baby pouch?