Looking for the Carp

Seize the carp! Or the day! Or the moment! Anything that will help make this life of yours richer, filled with love, and acceptance of yourself. This is my little journey to always be on the look out for that carp, grabbing it, and never letting go. This is the only life we have and it's too short for what ifs and maybe laters!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

16th Carp- Baby Wearing

Hello All! 

It took another baby and another maternity leave to get me in the blogging spirit. Life as a full time teacher and full time mom made it near impossible to keep up with all the writing that I wanted to do. However, I am going to try in the future to make this a priority as I love documenting interesting things that I have found about life, love, mommyhood and everything in between! 

So baby wearing and I have gone together like bread and butter since my first son was born. Since then I have grown quite a collection of carriers and have created lists of pros and cons for each and every one that I have used. I thought that others looking to compare and contrast carriers might enjoy this information from my personal experience. Also, veterans to baby wearing may see something they haven't tried before and, from my review, try it out! So here it goes. 

The very first baby carrier I purchased was a Baby Buddha that was included with a lot of children's clothing and products locally bought off of kijiji. The entire lot cost $80 from what I remember, so scoring a $129 carrier felt like a true find!  Plus I was extremely happy that this was a Canadian made product. This 'wrap' comes in three sections that can be worn as a pouch or as an ergonomic, legs out carrier that you normally see. Because it was the only thing I had, I loved it. My son was extremely colicky and needed a lot of extra care. This let me be close to him while allowing access to my arms to do all the things moms need to do in the run of a day. In the picture to the left, my son was about 4 weeks old. I used this carrier until he was big enough to sit legs out and upright during our walks. However, I found that after awhile he was getting 'too heavy' for the wrap and I would be constantly adjusting on the relatively short/ moderate walks we were taking. Now these do come in 'sizes' and since it was purchased second hand, the lack of support might have been due to incorrect fit. Their website and instructional 'how-to's' show that this carrier can be used from newborn to toddler, so I'm assuming that if you had the right fit it could be a great carrier for you. 

Because I wanted to do long walks with my son on country roads, I needed to make sure I had something that could last hours without having to adjust straps/ buckles/ snaps or ties. I read a lot of reviews and thought I would try the Ergo next. Since Ergo themselves do not ship to Canada, I purchased mine from Ebay. A bonus to this carrier is that they offer different styles to fit your needs and climate. The one I chose was the Ergo Performance which retails for $140. For the next year this was my go to carrier. I loved the support it gave me, and my son was content to be in it for hours. The only downside is how it made my post baby body look when I back carried. I wanted to make sure everything was nice and snug, which meant for a lot of... uh.... spill over in certain areas. That being said, I still enjoyed it immensely. So much so, I was a little bit over protective about it though as I didn't want anyone to adjust my buckles. I needed something I could put on at a moments notice and although this can be adjusted easily for different body types, trying to do so with a cranky overtired baby isn't very fun.

 I truly did love my Ergo and it will always be close to my heart considering the hours I spent in it with my son. I can see the benefits for it being a family's one and only carrier. However, my boy was getting bigger. He didn't want to stay in it for long periods of time and having to store it in a diaper bag during a young toddler's 'up and down' stage was next to impossible. So I needed to branch out. Find something compact and easy to adjust to the whims of a growing boy while still allowing him to be able to have the comfort of the baby wearing relationship we have fostered since birth. 

That's when I started eyeing wraps and slings. At first these beautiful fabric carriers were scary to me. I mean, how does one even BEGIN to tie one of those securely enough to keep a baby in? But I was ready, I mean, I was a baby wearing veteran by this time so I was up for the challenge. 

This photo was taken as soon as my sling arrived. The rings
are not in the proper position but I kept the photo because
I was so excited it finally came! 
I found this beautiful sling made in Canada by a working mom in Montreal. I loved that I was able to support a like-minded mother doing something she loved while allowing her the opportunity to stay at home with her son. Smigli slings offers a wide array of fabric and ring choices for approximately $100 depending on your preferences. I decided to try a ring sling as I thought this would allow for the best, quick change-over, process for me and my son. It was fantastic! We would get compliments about it wherever we went and was able to start conversations with other families about the benefits of baby wearing. And when he didn't want to be in it any longer, it could easily be stored in his diaper bag until next time. It's never left our car since the time of purchase so that we always have a J approved carrier within grasp. Personally, I preferred wearing J on the hip with this style as it gave him a lot of visibility to the world around him which is exactly what he craved at the time. However, I have never tried this sling for long walks as he was beyond that stage when I received it. I don't think it would have served well for hikes but was excellent for trips around the mall, crowded events, or visits to the zoo. 

Now with baby number two here you would think I would have this baby wearing thing figured out and grab my go to carriers and be done with it. Oh, how you are wrong. I am a baby wearing junkie remember? There is always something new to try from my experience and Babyhawk was the next carrier on the horizon. 

I was introduced to BabyHawk Mei Tei by a friend who was able to snatch a second hand one for me to try. I was lured into their beautiful carriers by all the fantastic prints and their design but after spending retail on two carriers and having three to choose from at home, explaining the need for a forth to hubby was stretching it a bit, especially without trying it beforehand (Note from Hubby: Hubby edits blog and agrees).

The carrier I won from Babyhawk :) 
Love, in short. I love my Babyhawk. It offers the same basic ergonomic design as the Ergo, with the same support, but without the buckles and can be folded nicely for travel. It's easily used by many people in the same family as their are no straps to adjust. It is extremely customisable as you can see from their website each Babyhawk Mei Tei is hand made in the USA which makes the choices of colours and fabrics endless. It can accommodate newborn to toddler without any additional accessories whereas other carriers, like the Ergo, need to have an infant insert in order to safely carry a baby. 

Since my second son has been born, he spends most of his baby wearing hours in a Babyhawk. Once I became a fan of their facebook page, I was excited to see that they have contests in which they offer a chance to win an array of their products. I would enter any I could because although I loved the functionality of the carrier I purchased, because it was second hand, it really wasn't my style. Not that I was complaining, but I thought I might try for a new one if I was lucky enough. I was ecstatic to find out I was chosen from an open contest of over 350 applicants (I lost count) in which we were asked to describe our "wishes" for our children to win a customized carrier featuring their new print.

My newborn has been happily carried in the Ergo by his father. (He laid claim to that carrier quickly once I moved on to the sling and Babyhawk.) I wore him briefly during a grocery trip in which I didn't want to lug out a stroller in the sling, which is still faithfully in our car. It was OK but I still prefer a sling for when babes are a little bigger. And finally, my new little guy gets daily carrying love in one of my two Babyhawk carriers. Usually my French Lilac one.... because it's just so pretty! His older brother ? Well, if you can catch him, you can try and wear him but that guy is on the MOVE! In his words, you better be wearing your 'fast skates' (What a Canadian boy) in order to stand a chance. 

Finally, I'm going to be happily trying out a woven wrap after I attend MommyCon in Boston; as it is a part of the VIP swag package. Eeeeek! I think that will mean I have officially tested every 'type' of baby carrier out there so stay tuned as I will update this baby review at that time. Hopefully this long review has helped shed some light through my personal journey of baby wearing to what option might work best for you and your family. 

Happy Carrying! 

What's your carp ?