Its an age old question but one that you may be currently asking, “what sling is suitable for my baby”. There is no right or wrong answer, most slings can be used or ‘hacked’ to fit any age, that’s the beauty of babywearing there are no hard and fast rules except maintaining the airway.
We have complied a guide to those who are new to carrying their children.
Newborn 0-3 months
New babies have just come out of a cocoon of warmth and limited space, the womb has held them allowing movement, albeit restricted so a stretchy wrap would be my first suggestion for new babies. Stretchy wraps have a wonderful give whilst still fully supporting baby, they allow baby some freedom of movement similar to the womb and are snugly and warm. Tying using a front double hammock or PWCC (pre-tied wrap cross carry) are 2 ways to tie i recommend regularly. Ring slings can be fab in a front carry for new babies as the hammock pass of the fabric doesn’t over extend little hips and are very comfortable for parents as baby is still very light. Woven wraps can also be used, a tie such as the kangaroo carry is a perfect single layer carry and the flipped shoulders feel very supportive.
3 – 18 months
Once baby has opened there hip gap, then the world is your oyster, soft structured carriers (SSC’s) that previously were not as good an option as a stretchy wrap or ring sling can now be used with less worry. Stretch wraps usually loose favour at this time due to the sagging of the fabric, but its good to realise that this is more to do with the wearers inexperience to tie well enough rather than the fabric being unsuitable. Those that like to wrap usually move onto woven wraps at this time and Mei Tai’s prove popular for those who are not to keen on SSC’s.
Time for a toddler carrier??
When is the right time to trade up to something beyond a standard can be a hard subject and really depends on baby’s size, just because a child can walk, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to trade up. As a general rule of thumb a carrier that is no longer knee to knee or is short on the back could indicate that a larger carrier is needed. Toddler carriers can be quite large and although the standard can seem snug at around 18 months for average sized kids, it sometimes can be not until over 2 years that the toddler carrier fits well. Of course this again depends on size of baby larger centile children have been known to fit in toddler carriers from 9 months. So its always good to try before you trade up.
Don’t think that just because your child can walk competently that they don’t need a rest now and again, i regularly carry my 5 and 3 year old when they get tired. You can buy many brands of SSc’s made especially for older children which have wider seats and higher backs. Alternatively woven wraps and ring slings work as they are very much one size fits all.
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