Wednesday, November 12, 2008

International Babywearing Week

Today is the start of International Babywearing Week and it is a bit bittersweet for me since the girls and I seem to be at the end of our babywearing career. It seems a bit fitting that the Sunday of IBW will be spent on a plane and in airports and that we are only bringing the double stroller to Israel and a selection of carriers and my Suse's Kindercoat. In honor of IBW (and because I had told a couple people that I would get around to it) I'm going to share reviews of Aba's and my favorite carriers. Again it is fitting since all but one of these carriers will be making the trip to Israel with us.

First up is a stretchy wrap. Most common seems to be a Moby, but I have a gifted Israeli one. This is basically a long strip of stretchy t-shirt material. You wrap yourself and your baby in it and head out. I was pretty faithful to a "front wrap cross carry" and wore the stretchy wrap until the girls were too heavy for it to support their weight. I wasn't able to breastfeed, but i did bottle feed the girls in this wrap and breastfeeding is supposed to be wonderfully easy. (This is the carrier that isn't going to Israel with us.)

Then we have a traditional mei tai. I own a few brands, but my current favorite is a Nurslings Hemp Tai. The body is wide and soft. The straps are padded, comfy and long. The panels are gorgeous. The hood is easy to put on all by yourself. I really wish I had splurged on this carrier at the beginning of our babywearing journey.

Next is the Calyx. This carrier is a version of an Asian-style carrier. Instead of tying it on, you buckle it. Inside is a seat to help support your child. There is a learning curve with the internal harness, but it isn't that bad and if your toddler will stand still then it is even easier. The shoulder straps are curved and padded and are among the most comfortable straps I've tried. The curve also keeps them in place without the chest clip. This makes it a lot more comfortable as the chest clip isn't pulling and digging. My only complaint with the Calyx is the hood. It is different than most carrier hoods so there is a learning curve which I don't mind, but I have a hard time getting it up by myself.

Another buckle carrier that I love is the Connecta. This British carrier is so light and easy to "pop" the girls into. This is the one you will find flapping behind me as I wander after the girls while we are out and about. I leave the waist buckled and then lossen the shoulder straps to let the girls get up or down. The hood on the Connecta is also wonderful and I can easily get it up without any help.

Aba has his own favorite buckle carrier. He likes the Yamo. This Israeli carrier is a bit more "manly" looking which he prefers. The shoulder straps on this carrier have dual adjustments. This gives an even better fit. The body is narrower than others and the hood is pretty easy to get on alone. My complaint with this carrier is the short body. Aba doesn't seem to mind, though, and it is his carrier.

Aba's second favorite carrier is the Ellaroo Mei Hip. He really liked the pouch but the girls quickly outgrew the carry he felt comfortable using with the pouch. I tried to teach him to tie a mei tai for a hip carry, but he claimed it was too involved for him. I found a Mei Hip on The Babywearer's FSOT board and he used it pretty regularly until we got the Yamo. The only drawback on this one is that you can only use it as a hip carrier. If you use that carry a lot, though, this is something to look into.

I'm not sure if I'll be bringing any wraps. I have quite a few but I've fallen into the catch-22 of babywearing. I don't feel comfortable and secure with a wrap so I don't use them; I don't use the wraps so I feel uncomfortable and insecure with them. I highly recommend learning to use a wrap when your child is old enough to have their legs splayed. It is sort of like driving a stick shift. You might not need to, but you have the skill and can use it if needed. I've been working at it, though and took a long walk with Chaya in a wrap and it was comfy.

Missing from my list are pouches and ring slings. I just don't like them. I always feel like I need to hold onto the baby i'm wearing. I had a couple and used them until I got the stretchy wrap.