August 25, 2013 Evie 9Comment

Even before A was born, I was curious about “babywearing.” I thought it would be cool and convenient not to have to bring our stroller around with us everywhere we went. Plus, I imagined how sweet it would be to have my happy little munchkin all snuggled up on me.

My instincts were good, it turns out, since study after study has proven the incredible benefits of babywearing:

  • It enhances immunological protection.
  • It prevents ear infections and eases the symptoms of GERD.
  • It regulates body temperature.
  • It enhances lactation, the prevalence, and the duration of breast-feeding.
  • It enhances growth/weight gain.
  • It supports babies’ “quiet alert state,” optimal for observing and processing.
  • It reduces apnea and uneven breathing patterns.
  • It stabilizes babies’ heart rate.
  • It relieves stress reactions.
  • It’s linked to higher scores on mental and motor development tests in the first year of life.
  • It increases oxygenation of the baby’s body.
  • It provides longer periods of restful sleep.
  • It mimics the environment of the womb.
  • And it can even save lives: when preterm infant are held skin-to-skin within the first week after birth and breastfed, there’s a 51% reduction in newborn mortality.
  • (Source: Boba, “Babywearing’s Health Benefits: Beyond Hands Free”)

Whoa! Little did I know!!

About seven months into my first pregnancy, I stood in front of the wall of baby carriers in Babies ‘R Us, overwhelmed by the selection and my total ignorance. I ended up settling on something that looked like a Baby Bjorn (the only brand I’d heard of) but didn’t break the bank: Chicco’s UltraSoft Frontal Infant Carrier—my gateway into babywearing.

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We didn’t love the Chicco, though. I had the hardest time getting A in and out of it, and she never seemed to be particularly happy in the thing for more than about 15 minutes.

Then, one of my friends gave me a Moby Wrap. Well, this was something different! Although the novel-length instruction manual was a little off-putting, I quickly got the hang of it and found that A really liked to be worn, forward-facing, while I did my housework and grocery shopping. It was a huge lifesaver!

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Apparently, wearing babies forward-facing is frowned upon in the babywearing community (SMH)

I probably wore A in this ultra-long piece of cotton fabric until she was about seven or eight months old. But after that, she was pretty much too big for the Chicco infant carrier, and the stretchy Moby fabric would get all saggy from the weight of the baby each time we used it. This was when I figured my babywearing days were over.

When Baby J was born a few months ago, I broke out the Moby, my old friend, once more, and sure enough, sweet Baby #2 loved to be wrapped up against mommy as well. But I started to notice a lot of other moms with this Ergo thing. It kind of looked like my old Chicco, but…bigger. More substantial, more supportive.

When I looked into the Ergo, I realized that there was a whole world of “soft-structured carriers” that I knew nothing about. And a UNIVERSE of babywearing lingo, contraptions, and collective knowledge that I’d completely missed the first time around. For instance, that first carrier I owned falls into the “crotch-dangler” category, a snobby babywearing term for carriers that don’t provide babies with knee-to-knee support, which is ideal for hip development. Uh, oops?

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20130810-064411.jpgBabywearing humor

Weary of choosing another dud, this time with a price tag over $100, I did my research. I came across The Portable Baby’s Carrier Comparison Chart and studied it carefully. That’s when I learned about the Boba, a carrier that could, hypothetically, hold my newborn and my almost three-year-old. Pretty neat. I had to try it, so I went to a meeting of my local Babywearing International group before contacting Boba to request a carrier to try.

Here’s what I loved about the Boba on paper:

  • As I mentioned, it converts to allow me to carry my tiny little baby or my big kid (7-45 lbs.) without any pricey inserts. (FYI, when I tried wearing A on my back, she said, and I quote, “I like the carrier. Put me down.”)
  • It provides extra head support to newborns since you can cinch the top of the carrier body.
  • It’s more lightweight and compact than some of its competitors.
  • It has a taller carrier body (2-3 in.) and unique foot straps that accommodate big kids better.
  • It has a much wider waistbelt fit range (25-58 in.) than similar carriers.
  • And it gives you the ability to adjust the closeness of the child at the top of the carrier body so you don’t end up with them leaning away from you (super uncomfortable!).

The awesome people at Boba sent me the gorgeous Boba Carrier 3G in Soho. You should have seen me the day the package arrived: I was like a kid on Christmas!

soho-vertical

I have to admit, Baby J was about three months old when I first stuck her in our new carrier, using the newborn hold, but it just didn’t work for us. You can see in this video that you basically flip up the waistband and snap it into place to make the carrier body several inches shorter for newborns, but that just seemed to create a pocket for her to slide into, no matter how tight I made the waistbelt.

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When I spoke with a babywearing expert at Boba, she told me that given Baby J’s weight, she was just at the “in-between stage” of 12-15 pounds, when babies are almost ready for the full-body carry. The problem was that when I put Baby J in the carrier with the body at its full height, she disappeared into it: I couldn’t see her face, and she had no view, which made her frustrated.

When I returned to my Babywearing International group with my new carrier in hand, they suggested that I roll up a receiving blanket to put under her bum to lift her up just a couple of inches. That did the trick! The only downside is that the receiving blanket prevents her from having a truly proper seat, with her knees higher than her bum.

It took a little getting used to, but during our recent vacation week in Rehoboth Beach, DE, the Boba was a huge life-saver!! Not once during the entire week did we get into our car, as this is a very walkable area, so we brought our beloved City Mini stroller for A, and I wore Baby J everywhere we went, for miles and miles each day. She loved this thing, napping in there, nursing regularly, and taking in the beautiful view.

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On the boardwalk

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Naptime at the playground (doesn’t she look cozy?)

In recent weeks, the Boba has actually become our primary mode for getting Baby J around since she’s so comfortable in there. My favorite thing about it is how quickly and easily I can get her in and out, because lord knows, babies need a lot of pit stops!

If you’re looking for a carrier, you can get more information on the Boba 3G and watch lots of demo videos on their site. If you have any other questions about our use of the Boba, leave me a comment below!

Happy Babywearing :)

Evie signature

 

P.S. If you’re the happy owner of a Baby Bjorn or a similar carrier that’s not technically ergonomically correct, you can make some adjustments to it that will help with that. Check out this video on YouTube.

P.P.S. If you’re new to babywearing, this infographic covers all the major points of keeping you and your baby comfortable and safe:

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9 thoughts on “Learning How to Wear My Baby the Right Way

  1. This is a great introduction to babywearing. It can be really intimidating at first because there are so many different types of carriers. If only I’d had the link to The Portable Baby when I was looking for carriers for N.–I might not have ended up with quite so many (including a Bjorn that was used about twice). In addition to the benefits for baby, I wear my baby because it is so convenient. When I first had N., I would lug around her car seat, but I found that it really hurt my back to get it in and out of the middle seat of my relatively low sedan. Plus, I would end up taking her out of the car seat for snuggles when she would cry. It is so much easier to throw N. in my ring sling for a trip to the grocery store, where I know she’ll be content (and even fall asleep!). I use a woven wrap around the house because it is super supportive and comfortable; definitely not practical for when you are out and about though. Since I’ve been back at work, I love to wear N. in the morning while I am getting ready for work–it gives me a little extra bonding time with her each day and means I’m not constantly running across the room making sure she’s not getting into too much mischief crawling around.

    1. I’m glad you liked the post :) Babywearing has been quite a journey for me, as I think it probably is for most moms. There are so many bad options out there, and you don’t even realize they’re crummy until you’ve already dumped a boatload of money on something second-rate!

      I know a bunch of moms, including Sarahlynne, who swear by their ringsling! I purchased an inexpensive one to try out, and I just can’t get into it. Maybe it’s one of those you-get-what-you-pay-for things; maybe it’s just not for us. I also bought a woven wrap for Baby J, but I find myself getting frustrated with all the fabric. I bought a size 6, thinking it would give me the most options in terms of different carries, but it’s always dragging on the floor—much too long for a FWCC :( I’m tempted to buy a size 4 to see if I’d find it more manageable and more useful, but wraps can be so expensive!

      I think babywearing before you head off to work sounds like the sweetest way to connect with N! I’m sure she loves, loves, loves the mommy time. So is she actually crawling?? You’re going to have your hands full with an early walker, I think!

      1. The thing about the ring sling, at least for me, was that it took a LOT of practice before I was able to get it right every time. I had several tutorials from other moms, and from BWI before I really got the hang of it…probably when N. was around 3 months. My woven is about a size 5, which is perfect for FWCC. It is a little long for my other go-to carry, the robin’s hip carry, but I still use it. I also have been tempted to get a short wrap, but wraps are just too expensive to justify having more than one right now. Also, N. and I love hip carries – distributes the weight better for me and she gets to see in any direction.

        Yes, N. is quite the early mover, which I was not fully prepared for. Our house is still only partly baby proofed (just the essentials like gates for the stairs). She crawls all over the place (loves to go under and over things), pulls up on everything (of course loves the most unstable things best), and cruises around a bit. It is so cute how proud she is of herself. I am terrified by the prospect of her walking. So not ready for my little baby to walk!

  2. Very informative post for those of us who are pregnant for the 2nd time and not satisfied with the carriers we invested in during round 1 (for me the bjorn and moby – i had the same experience as you with the moby). Does the Boba allow babies to be front carried, but facing out?

    1. Thanks, Amy! The Boba does not allow you to wear your baby forward-facing, unless they’re on your back. I’ve been told that positioning a baby looking out, worn in front of you, is not ergonomically correct (I think because babies aren’t supported knee-to-knee that way: see my photo in the Moby above). One of the women at the Babywearing International group also said that it’s not ideal because 1) babies can get overstimulated that way (which was never a problem for us); and 2) babies get used to being forward-facing, but eventually they get too big and heavy to be carried that way because it puts stress on the babywearer (something about the distribution of weight and the way the baby leans forward, I believe), so we shouldn’t even introduce that position to begin with. Of course, we all do what’s best for our baby, right? :)

  3. Great article. You mention your babe nursing while in the carrier. This is something I’ve read about elsewhere, but I can’t seem to figure out the positioning and logistics of it. Can you talk a little bit more about how you did it? I have a Moby and an Ergo.

    1. Good question! The only real trick to nursing while babywearing is lowering the baby sufficiently that they can latch on while upright. So, in the Boba, I would loosen the straps that adjusted how high my daughter was on my chest. In a woven wrap or a Moby, it’s the same concept: you need to loosen the fabric until the baby is level with your chest while they’re nursing, and then retighten the fabric once finished.

      Sometimes, it’s not totally possible or comfortable to get their whole bodies that low, so I would kind of tilt the baby’s body so it was a bit diagonal across my body (legs hanging out nearer my right hip while nursing on my left side, for instance).

      This link may help you: http://www.thebadassbreastfeeder.com/breastfeeding-while-babywearing/

      Good luck and keep trying! You’ll get it!!

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