Sunday, May 29, 2011

The baby gear you need (you just don't know it yet)

I recently found out quite a few of my friends are expecting--and it got me thinking--What baby gear items have I found truly essential to survival, and which ones could I live without?  I orignally began this post thinking it would be a relatively short list of the things I've loved and used the most, but instead it's become a post about babywearing.  So, instead, I'm going to do a series of shorter posts each with their own theme.  Today's theme is babywearing, something I've discussed before.  My babywearing essentials:

1) A Moby Wrap.  By far the most universal, cost effective, and comfortable baby carrier on the market.  You can use this carrier from birth on up to 35 lbs, which means I could still carry Staci in it if I wanted to (ahem, if she'd let me).  A wrap style carrier like the Moby, Sleepy, or Maya wrap is the best type of carrier for a newborn--HANDS DOWN.  Put a fussy, tired baby in a moby wrap, walk them around for a few minutes and VOILA!!  Happy, sleeping baby on your chest. You can use one of the straps to anchor their head to you and it becomes completely hands free.  *con*--it is hot and takes *forever* to put on.  OK, only about 30-45 seconds, but when you have a screaming baby, 30-45 seconds is a REALLY long time!

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2) A *well made* ring sling, like a wallababy ring sling.  Nowhere near as hot as the moby!! I recently used a ring sling that, in my opinion, was NOT made well. Carrying a 14 pound newborn in it was nothing short of excruciating.  When buying baby carriers, as with so many other things, *you get what you pay for*. A baby carrier is NOT the place to skimp or cut corners, peeps.  Why do you need a ring sling AND a Moby wrap you ask?  The answer is simple--they each have their place.  The Moby wrap is GREAT for long carries, but it does have some cons.  I love the ring sling b/c I can throw it in the diaper bag, toss it over my shoulder and have the baby in it in about 3.2 seconds.  It's great for walking in and out of the gym with, b/c carrying an infant seat and keeping a toddler from running into the street is next to impossible.  Also, I'm not messing with a 6-foot-long piece of fabric.  If I had to choose between a moby and a ring sling, I'd choose the moby, but honestly, YOU. NEED. BOTH. Other than quick trips and that it folds up small enough for the diaper bag, a ring sling is awesome for a hip carry--and especially the safety carry.  I used to use it while cooking dinner with Staci on (well, behind really) my hip and it is fabulous for that!! ring sling cons--They have a pretty steep learning curve.  You need to give it 10-15 good tries before you are really comfortable with it, but allow yourself to be a beginner and just keep adjusting it until you find what's comfortable.  Trust yourself, and your baby.  Another con is that they are not as comfortable as a moby wrap or soft structured carrier.  A ring sling only goes over one shoulder, so the weight is not as evenly distributed as it is with other carriers.  This gets me thinking--a ring sling tutorial (and perhaps my first Vlog) is coming to explain more about this!

3) An Ergo baby carrier. One of my favorite things about this carrier is the learning curve--there is practically no learning curve at all.  You just can't get it wrong with this thing, and it's SO comfortable.  In this picture, Staci is about 4 months old, and you can see she is JUST big enough to not need the infant insert.  This carrier can be used as a front carrier, back carrier, or side/hip carrier. Honestly, I hate the side/hip carry on the Ergo.  It is useless because one of your arms is left behind the baby and virtually unusable, and the straps dig into the muscles on the side of your neck/shoulder.  it isn't comfortable AT ALL. Want a hip carry? Use your ring sling! However, the front and back carries are awesome.  Why do you need this carrier as well? You can't use a Moby Wrap for back carries (well, you CAN, but IMO you just shouldn't)  and a ring sling doesn't lend itself to back carries, either. There are a few other soft structured carriers similar to the Ergo that also get great reviews, but I haven't tried them. Check out the babywearer for more info, reviews, and other baby carrier craziness.

**a note on babywearing--there are rules for baby-wearing safety.  Make sure you know them**

I'm sure if I had more baby carriers, I'd have reasons for why I like those specific carriers for different tasks.  These are the 3 I have, and I use them all almost daily. I know it sounds extreme, but now that I have two babies, carrying one hands free is a necessity. I'd never get a single thing done without my baby carriers!

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