When I was pregnant with my first baby a baby carrier wasn’t even on our list of things to buy, other than seeing the occasional celebrity in OK magazine wearing their baby in a carrier this wasn’t something that any of my close friends or family had used so it really wasn’t on my radar.
That changed though when my daughter was born! No matter what I did I just couldn’t keep her happy in the pushchair! I tried straight after a feed so I knew she wasn’t hungry, when she’d just had a nap so she wasn’t too tired, when she was tired so she’d hopefully go to sleep on the move…you name it I tried it but I just couldn’t get her to settle in the pushchair. After lots of ‘googling’ I quickly became familiar with the fourth trimester and the understanding that just because I had a shiny new pushchair and a lovely comfortable Moses basket my baby just wanted to be carried and near me so she could still feel like she was in an environment that she had familiarised herself well with over the past 9 months! Wish I’d have done that reading up ahead of buying all the fancy stuff I thought were essentials!
By the time my daughter was three weeks old we decided to buy a baby carrier from a brand one of the mums I knew had suggested and it was also probably the only one I’d actually heard of. We didn’t exactly have the luxury of time to really start looking into it a lot either. The day I began to use a baby carrier was an absolute game changer…..I was now able to parent hands free! I could hang washing out, cook tea, go for long walks, go shopping, meet with friends and my baby was content at being carried and close to me. The relief I felt was like nothing I’d felt before! I felt like I started to get some normality back in my life rather than spending my days walking around with baby in my arms. I managed to use this carrier until my daughter was about five or six months and then I started to find my back ached after short periods of carrying.
When I was pregnant with my second baby top of my absolute essentials to buy list was a new carrier. I didn’t bother to look at double pushchairs as I knew for at least the first few months my baby would prefer to be carried (by which point my daughter would be hopefully old enough to manage walking) so instead top of my list was a variation of baby carriers. Looking this time round I was actually able to give myself a bit of time to research into carriers more and understand the pros and cons of different ones (rather than just going for the first one!). I couldn’t believe how much choice there was and actually how hard and overwhelming it could be for first time parents as even I was struggling and I’d used one before!
What I quickly realised was really important to me was knowing if the carriers were hip-healthy (some people all it hip-happy). Everyone has their own priorities but for me knowing a carrier is approved to say ‘hip-healthy’ made me feel more reassured that the position I’d be carrying in wouldn’t harm my baby. I came across this useful site too http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/ which has a set of really easy to remember rules for safely using a baby carrier - T.I.C.K.S (tight, in view at all times, close enough to kiss, keep chin off the chest, supported back). Would recommended checking that out even just before the first time you use a carrier because you won’t forget it.
I also discovered so many interesting bits of info along the way too on even more benefits of using a carrier (more than just allowing me to do some basic chores around the house more easily) like how it can promote emotional attachment, reduce post-natal depression (I mean WOW), it can improve your babies digestive system, help reduce reflux, can help stabilise their heart rates temperature and breathing… the list just goes on. It also made me realise from reading other parents stories through my research on which carriers to get that I’m not the only parent to feel the way I did initially when I was struggling to get my daughter to settle in a pram or anywhere but on me! That’s also quite powerful knowing you’re not the first to experience problems and there’s others out there feeling the same way or having had similar experiences!
For the first 3 months I wanted something soft that I could wrap baby in and keep them close, warm and snuggled in and for when they were slightly bigger I wanted something that was going to be much more supportive for both baby and I and hopefully could be used for longer than 5 or 6 months. I also wanted a carrier that my husband would find easy to use (not fussy really…!) After lots of research I found the Nuby 3 in 1 ergonomic carrier, it was a hip healthy carrier that is accredited by the IHDI so I knew this would be comfortable for my baby boy. The price was very reasonable and it was a great design for both my husband and I to use. When I received the carrier I wasn’t disappointed, it was so easy to use from newborn and very comfortable for both me and my son (padded straps were a bonus!). So, for us, so far so good! We can’t wait to start using it in the front face position (Leo isn’t the right age just yet for that position but as soon as he can support his neck we will try him in that position because he loves nosing around at everything!)
Whatever carrier you choose, I’d recommend doing some research first and do some practicing before your baby arrives (these carriers are also possible to put on if you’re on your own too – don’t be put off if you’re a single parent – once you’ve got the knack of it becomes second nature!) as you’ll probably not have the time or patience when your little one comes along! I’m now that mum who encourages any of my pregnant friends or friends of friends to pay more attention to choosing a carrier than deciding on a pram! Most have totally bought into the idea and I won’t give up any time soon on the others!
About the author: Lucy is a part-time working mum of two – Grace & Leo. The opinions expressed her blog are her own and based on her own experiences. They don’t necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation, employer or company.