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As you prepare for the arrival of your baby, you’ve probably considered purchasing a baby carrier of some sort to help you move around with your child more easily. But the amount of options can be overwhelming. What are the pros and cons of these different styles and, more importantly, why should you invest in a baby carrier?

There are a range of benefits to the practice of babywearing. The most obvious one being that it allows you to keep your baby close to you while freeing up your hands. While there are few feelings better than that of your sleeping baby resting on your chest or in your arms, the reality is moms and dads have a lot they need to get done and using a baby carrier can make daily life much more convenient. Second, babywearing is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, help them feel safe and secure and soothe them when they’re upset —  just following your breathing and feeling your heartbeat can do amazing things for their mental and emotional state. Third, keeping your baby upright will help their digestion to prevent upset.

Now, when it comes to choosing a baby carrier for babywearing, there are a variety of options. Which one is right for you? Here are six of the most popular styles to consider:

  1. Structured
    A structured baby carrier has the most hardware and isn’t generally convertible. The good ones provide excellent back support, which may matter a lot to some Moms. Basically, it’s a wearable seat for your child, this type of baby carrier is popular because of the firm support it provides for your baby’s head and neck. These types are said to be unsuitable for preemies or tiny babies.  In the beginning, they’ll be positioned facing you, but can be turned to face away from you once they can hold up their own head. Due to the straps that can dig into shoulders and the more rigid construction, the biggest complaint for this style can be comfort. You will need to re-adjust the straps if more than one adult is using this type of baby carrier.  This type of carrier is at the pricier end of the spectrum.
  2. Ring
    This type of baby carrier is a sling that can hold an infant as well as a toddler. The width of the fabric allows you to cover your baby’s legs as well and hold them more securely to you. With padding sewn into key spots like the shoulder as opposed to the hard edges of a more structured carrier, a ring sling is one of the more comfortable, adjustable options available. They are available in all types of fabric, from lightweight easy-dry fabric to plush beautiful woven (expensive) fabrics. Price of this type of wrap goes from inexpensive to extremely expensive
  3. Boba Wrap
    The Boba wrap style is the most customizable type of baby carrier in that it is simply a piece of long, slightly stretchy fabric. The little bit of stretch allows you to contour it to your body and that of your baby for a snug fit that won’t constrict you. This breathable wrap is a favorite among women who breastfeed, as it holds baby securely in place and allows for coverage when in public. This design’s lack of straps or clips makes it very comfortable, but it can take a lot of practice to get the hang of tying it. The price of this type of wrap is mid range.
  4. Mei Tai
    Combining both comfort and a bit more structure, the Mei Tai baby carrier has long straps that are used to wrap around mother and child much like a sling, but with a seat that holds the baby in a natural, seated position. Ideal for older babies who can hold their own head up, this baby carrier helps support mom’s lower back for less pain. Price tends to be mid range.
  5. Tiny Carrier
    For infants up to 20 lbs, a smaller, sling-style carrier can allow you to carry your baby in front of you in a cradled position. These carriers are similar in shape to a hammock, supporting baby in a reclined position from head to toe. They can be closed more to protect baby from the sun and help them sleep. This type of carrier is ideal for when your baby is small, as the design could cause some strain on your neck and back as they gain more weight. It is also a relatively inexpensive option.
  6. Front or Backpack
    For versatility and structure, go with a baby carrier that allows you to position your child in a number of ways as they get older and heavier. A carrier that can accommodate a young child facing towards you and away as well as a toddler on your back gives you plenty of options to find what’s comfortable for you. As well other structured models, the straps can pull if not adjusted properly. These versatile front or backpack types of baby carriers can be very pricey, but if you are a family who does lots of hiking, then this may be the one for you.

There is no best choice for everyone, just the best choice for each mother. The important thing is for you and your child to feel comfortable and secure – using a baby carrier can help you feel more confident, free and relaxed during the early days when you’re learning to navigate this new routine. As you go about your day wearing your baby, you’re exposing them to so many new things and have the opportunity to talk to them as you get on with your daily routines.

Best of all, babywearing can help strengthen the bond between mother and child and there’s no other perk better than that.

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