I love babywearing! Mothers all around the globe have been wearing their children since... well, forever! It's only just recently (last century or so) that our ideas about child rearing has become, sadly, "detatched". I honestly don't know how or why anyone wouldn't babywear. Wearing your baby allows you to be productive without having to choose between "being with your little one" and "getting stuff done" =)
Anyone with kids understands exactly what I mean. Sometimes, you can sit baby down with a pile of toys and he's fine. You go about the house, doing laundry, empty the dishwasher, etc. But other days? Oh dear, if you step even an inch too far away from baby, he'll unleash his mightiest, most gut wrenching cry to put you back in your proper place (right by his side) Whether he's teething, going through a Wonder Weeks Leap or just having a bad day, babywearing can save everyone's sanity.
The key to successful BWing is finding the right kind of carrier for both your body, you're baby, and your budget. There are a few different categories that most carriers fit into. Then it's just a matter of picking quality, availability and price.
>> Soft structured carriers are my favorite. These are carriers that have shoulder straps and buckles and allow you to carry baby like a backpack. Most carriers are multi position, so you can carry baby on front (facing in towards your chest) carry on your hip, or carry on your back. The most important thing to look for in this type of carrier is a hip belt. These designs distribute weight evenly across your torso to reduce aches, pains and fatigue. My favorites are ErgoBaby and Beco, and for a wallet friendly option, check out the Evenflo "natural carrier"
>> my other carrier of choice is the Mei Tai carrier. This is a soft tie on carrier. These can be homemade very easily if you have basic sewing experience or can be purchased from a variety of online and in store distributors. The nice thing about these is that they pack up small for travel, they are typically very decorative and are generally a lot cheaper than the name brand structured carriers. The down side of Mei Tai carriers (IMO) is the way you have to put them on. First you tie the belts around your waist, then place baby against your chest, throw the long belts over your shoulders, reach behind, cross the belts, bring belts around front, cross again and take behind your back again to tie off. All this while still holding the baby with one hand. With practice, it's gets pretty fast and easy, but you can see that this is not going to be your "running to the store real quick" BWing carrier. I only use my Mei Tai at home, but I definitely love it.
>> some other BWing options (but I don't have personal experience with these) are:
~ ring slings. I've wanted to try one of these for a while now, I just haven't yet
~ wraps. Available "stretchy" (the Moby is the most popular) or woven. These can also be made at home easily and economically. Wraps are basically just a very long piece of fabric that is wrapped around your body and tied off. you then fit your baby into one of the folds. The woven versions have a heavier weight rating, so they are going to last you longer
~ slings. Not to be confused with the above mentioned RING sling, these carriers are a fixed size of fabric, usually worn like a sash across the body. I tried one of these and neither of us liked it. T man cried every time I put him in it and the weight of him pulled on my neck so badly I had a headache within minutes.
~ hard structure carriers. These are (I think) strictly forward facing. They are also referred to as crotch danglers. These carriers get a lot of bad press with the crunchier moms due to the carriers lack of baby support. This type of carrier has baby's legs hanging straight down with all of his body weight resting on a thin seating area right below his crotch (hence the nickname) There are other arguments with this carrier, such as "baby can't protect himself from outside stimulants/environment" (chest to chest, baby can hide his face on your chest) "you can't BF" (obviously) "it strains his neck" (baby can't rest forward on you when his neck gets tired) I agree with all these points and simply said, I don't like these. I think my baby's health and body wellness is more important than his desire to see where we're going.
No matter what type of carrier you choose to use, make sure you carry your baby safely.
Always follow the carrier instructions, and make sure you can easily "kiss the baby". This is your guideline for how low is to low when BWing. Baby needs to be up high enough on your torso that you can kiss his head.
I hope you enjoy BWing as much as I do =)