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Monday, June 15, 2015

What to Wear Part 2

Baby Wearing AKA Freedom of Movement and Not-So-Achey-Shoulders

One of the very best gifts we asked for and received (thanks to lots of research and someone saying, "so what do you not have yet that you really need") was our baby k'tan.

I also asked for an Ergo carrier, thinking we would use this for the next years and that it is very friendly for my hubby to use. I was gifted a Maya sling and a Baby Bjorn, and will talk about all of these in this post.

My favorite for the first months has been the Baby K'tan. I really, really love it! We got it in blue but really liked the sage and eggplant colors as well. It's really important to get the right size! Hubby dear and I lucked out because we are able to wear the same size- medium fits both of us. We are 5'7" (me) and 5'11" and neither of us is super skinny or super heavy. Just kinda average build- he's a little on the skinnier side. If you can try one on first, that might help, or they provide measurements on the website. Here's an image from their site (so so cute!) :

Best feature: easy to use, even on the first days with a little bitty baby. This is by far the easiest carrier to put on and with a day or two of practice, for me, it was the easiest of all to position our baby in. He sleeps well in it and if I tie it pretty tightly, stays in a good position even though I move a lot.

It's so soft and comfy! It's like a hug you can put your baby into, and then be hands-free. The biggest perk for us is that we started to use it on day 2. Little baby dude (LBD) was born at 9 lbs 2 oz, so it was easy to place him inside this sling without worrying about losing him. I think if our child was a lot smaller, this may have been a concern.

We sometimes swaddled him then placed him inside, but generally both hubby and I really liked wearing it with no shirt underneath, and even with LBD just in a diaper. There are tons of benefits to this skin-to-skin contact, especially in the very earliest days, and he hardly left our arms for those first few weeks. The Baby K'tan really allowed us freedom of movement while keeping him close and secure. For our LBD, this meant warmth, comfort and a feeling of familiarity with us, but also food right there anytime he needed it.

Now, at 28" and 17 lbs, I'm starting to worry LBD may be almost too big. I talked to our local mom n pop baby consignment store owners and they suggested that we dry it after each use. They said this would shrink the fabric considerably and might help us use it longer, but that other parents say it starts to stretch too much by 15 lbs or so. I'm just so stubborn! It's super comfy, soft and versatile so I keep using it around the house and for short walks.

This is where the Ergo really shines.

Now that I'm walking longer with a heavier baby, and still want to breastfeed him while we're out and about, the Ergo Classic is absolutely amazing. Compared to the K'tan, it has much greater support for me, similar to carrying a backpacking pack. There is a wide band of foam with a buckle that fits around my hips, a snap to secure the shoulder straps crosswise on my back, and easy to adjust straps that fit over my shoulders. The best thing about this pack is the support it offers. I am able to stand up straight and lengthen my back and torso in a way that is much harder these days in the K'tan. After stretching my tummy muscles to carry the LBD, I really appreciate being able to hold him close in ways that don't collapse my chest down and round my spine and tummy.

The Maya Sling is pretty great, too, but we use it rarely.

I think it functions just as it is meant to, and well at that, but I don't like single shoulder carries. My shoulders carry enough weight with lactating breasts and a baby, so putting it all on one shoulder is not optimal.

With that said, I will use this in a pinch to do some cooking when I want to keep LBD at a distance from what I'm doing (I am not advocating for cooking while baby-wearing, but I do it) or if I want to just hold him close for a short time and then lay him down, for example in the yard while I'm working and I have a blanket setup for a nap. It's nice to lay him down in an easy-off carrier.

It's really nice that the extra material on the sling can be turned around front-wards to lay over his head if it's sunny or if he is breast feeding. Our LBD gets pretty distracted by pretty things, bright lights, our faces, etc and so I really like to cover him if he's sleepy enough to fall asleep while at the breast. Our Maya sling also has a big (6"x6", i think) pocket that would carry my wallet, phone, and a little snack, but I don't use it much (except if I get mail from the mailbox) because it just adds more weight. I do like the size of the pocket.

One downside to this sling is that even though it's easy (conceptually) to put on me, it's tough to get our active LBD comfy in it. He doesn't prefer to lay sideways against my body, but has preferred to be upright since, well, before he was born. LOL! Our LBD was breech, so I'm kinda being funny, but really since his first week whenever we've put him in a carrier he has preferred vertical alignment along our bodies. And that's cool. I try to work with his preferences, especially since he has little ability to do more than complain... and when complaining mounts to crying, I find myself scrambling to do what he wants. It's my biological drive- what more to say??

Finally, the Baby Bjorn is our 4th carrier.

We haven't used it much, so I will update this post shortly when I have more information to share.

I really like that it is super adjustable and I love the way the clips work on the sides. The design is super cool, however (and this is a BIG downside) I can't breastfeed wearing it.

That's pretty much a deal breaker for me, but I think this could be a good carrier for my husband, especially if we were walking somewhere and the LBD was awake and engaged. I think they both would really enjoy the outfacing and in-facing methods of carry and I think it offers really great support.

I used to use this very same Baby Bjorn carrier when I nannied years ago and it was gifted to me during this pregnancy. While I didn't even think of breastfeeding my nanny charge, I loved this carrier, second only to the Ergo carrier.

Other Baby Wearing Carriers and More to come: 

I'll soon be purchasing one of those wrappy carriers that fit similarly to the Baby K'tan but without the stretchy knit fabric. I loved how easy the K'tan was to put on, and sorta dread the difficulty of a 15 foot long fabric (is that an exaggeration??) but I'm sure I'll figure it out and keep up the baby wearing. It's such a joy to keep him close and see his smile... and to be able to kiss LBD's forehead so easily.

Ok, that's all on this for now. More to come when we've used ERGO and Baby Bjorn more.

Someone else's article on this:

These 5 Baby Brands Are Not As Awesome As You Think They Are
And here's a quick excerpt: (heee hee)

You knew this, right? Baby Bjorn is not that great. Their little potties are awesome (and discontinued). But the carrier, despite its popularity, is not the best design. Not only does it hold your baby in a crotch-dangling position (uncomfortable), but it also lacks a waist band for hip support. For some reason, men tend to really like this carrier. But for women, it usually pulls at the shoulders and causes back pain.

I really liked this post and I totally agree, point for point... hmmm

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