Saturday, April 09, 2011

From pouches to wraps: my babywearing collection

I've been wanting to write something about my growing collection of slings/wraps/carriers/baby-holding-contraptions, but kept putting it off.  Then Lily Alayne started a virtual "carrier fashion show" and then Quinn went to bed early and easily, and so here you go.  A peek into my newest obsession. ; )

I dipped my toes into the world of babywearing when Donovan was a baby.  I had a couple pouch slings that Zach and I both used constantly in those early months, along with a hand-me-down Snuggli that Zach liked a lot till D got too heavy to wear comfortably in it.  At four months I did order a Moby wrap, but D wasn't a big fan of it so it hardly got used.

Rockin' Baby pouch sling
New Native pouch sling (my favorite at the time, but got lost during a trip back home to Texas one year...)
mom's photos
A solarveil water sling that I bought for this one trip to Texas, then never used much after (mainly b/c it's kinda rough and scratchy)

While I had loved our pouch slings, I knew that for my next baby I'd want something with two-shoulder support.  The first new carrier I bought was a Catbird baby Mei Tai, which is today my go-to carrier while we're at home (I'd use it out and about, too, but I still don't like the idea of the straps dragging on the ground while tying...).  I'm amazed at how well this carrier distributes Quinn's now 17+lbs so that my back never feels very strained, even when I wear him several hours in a day.  I've also started being able to wear him on my back sometimes (though front is so far easier, faster, and a bit more comfortable).

I did get a bit more use out of the Moby this time around, especially the first 1-2 months.  It just felt cozier and more secure during that super-squishy newborn stage.

I then decided I wanted a soft structured carrier, and spent a while debating between the Beco Butterfly 2 and their newer Gemini.  Turns out I ended yup with both-- I bought the Gemini, then shortly after a friend offered me her used Butterfly which I was happy to accept.  The Gemini is my second favorite, I think, after my mei tai.  It's been really nice for keeping in the car and using while out and about, since it's so easy and quick to put on and take off (at least after you get used to the two-handed buckles...).  I love that the straps cross in the back, which I find more comfortable than when they buckle at your shoulder blades.  Zach really likes it because he can now put Quinn in it facing outwards (while still keeping baby in a bit more ergonomically-friendly position, supporting under the thighs rather than just the groin).  My one concern about the Gemini is that between the dark color and thick, padded body, it might be too hot to use much during the summer.  So, I guess we'll see.

The Butterfly took a bit of getting used to and I felt I had trouble getting everything adjusted properly. I'm not a huge fan of the Y-panel, but it does make for a more secure transfer for back-carries which is pretty nice.

I then became drawn to non-stretchy wraps. I shopped around a bit, and settled on a BabyEtte gauze wrap which I love because it's gorgeous.  It was also pretty affordable, so I felt ok trying it and not feeling too bad if I couldn't get the hang of it.  I've had some success getting Quinn into a back carry with it, which will usually last about 10-20 minutes before he starts fussing. But, that's enough time for me to get a few things accomplished that are much easier to do when he's not on my front.

I also have a couple of ring slings (the Solarveil water sling above, and a newer BabyEtte purchase).  I don't use them that often because I think they put too much strain on my shoulder (or maybe I haven't quite figured out the best placement yet), but they are nice for short periods of time, and I may use them a bit more once we graduate to hip-carries.  One very nice advantage of ring slings is they are, in my opinion, probably the easiest carrier to breastfeed in.

So, to sum up:
2 pouch slings (though 1 got lost somewhere between here and Texas)
1 Catbird Baby mei tai
1 Beco Gemini
1 Beco Butterfly 2
1 Moby wrap
1 BabyEtte woven wrap
2 ring slings

When I list them all out it seems ridiculous that I'm still thinking of buying more carriers.  Then again, I use at least one of these just about every single day, sometimes for several hours in a day, so they've definitely been worth it.  I used to make fun of Zach and how he had several different backpacks that he'd use for hiking, from super light ones that held just a sweater and some water, to a massive beheamoth for week-long backpacking trips.  Now I'm the one convincing him of the subtle but very important differences in form and function between different carriers...

Let me know if you have questions about any of these carriers, I'm happy to answer as best I can.  Also, check out some of the other ladies showing off their babywearing stashes (you should be able to see links to their posts below).  And, of course, always practice safe babywearing. ; )


  1. I started listing out our carriers, inspired by you, and yeah, we have you, um, beat. As it were. And there are still more I want. (And, actually, have a custom being made for us by a friend for the new baby.)

    But like you, we used (and, I imagine, will use again) our carriers for hours every day, and nearly always had at least a couple in the car and a couple at home, and they really do have different strengths, and using different styles works (and strains) different muscles, making variety rather a good idea.

    Plus, give me nearly any piece of fabric large enough, and I can find a way to safely carry a baby with it. This is a skill I'm not ashamed to be proud of, even if it came in part at the cost of having a dozen and a half carriers.

  2. Alright, Sweetie, I love you and I also was a Baby Carrier fine (had 6 total at one stage). But it might be time to stop.

    Especially as Quinn is already 17 lbs. I found that once Nicholas hit about 20 lbs, it became a lot harder to carry him for any length of time without straining my back. Linnea just hit 20 lbs recently (at nearly 18 months!), but she was not a fan of the baby carriers past the newborn stage, so we stopped with her at about 4 months old.

    Guess what I am saying is hold off. Just in case Quinn is too heavy or also doesn't care for the baby carriers past 4 months old!

  3. Thank you for posting your collection with photos. I have a bit of a carrier addiction, but like you, we (myself, dh, my mom, and our wonderful sitter) use them everyday. I have two ssc's that I still wear my almost 50lb 4y8mo in. We still wear our 2y7mo. And, of course, the 9mo is worn almost constantly to get anything done, plus nurse, and let him nap while chasing said older children.

  4. What a great collection! Seeing all the photos makes me really want to expand our (pathetic)collection. All I need is just a baby to put in them all! That BabyEtte looks especially good!

  5. I've heard many a carrier collector say that it really is because you need different carriers for different things. It's so true. I really love the ones with two-shoulder support too but I loved my Moby-like wrap for the itty-bitty newborn stage too.

    I've seen plenty of photos of kids in Ergos and similar that were toddlers, BTW. I say, wear baby as long as he'll let you!

  6. Thanks for this post. I have a Moby that I love using for Ellowyn right now when she can't hold her own head up, but I'm looking for a more structured carrier to use when she's a bit older and less floppy. I'm debating between the ergo and the becco. Do you have any enlightening experience to share?

  7. That's a lot of carriers! When Angelina was a baby, I used the pouch sling (new native) and love love loved it. Then I also got a solarveil ring sling for summer. Loved that too and F used it a lot. But I was lusting after an ergo. I finally got it when I got pregnant again, and as it turns out, is the only one Lenaic would let me carry him in. I've tried other carriers with him and he's totally uninterested. This works fine, since he's now 25.9lbs, so the ergo is great.

  8. I agree that there are different carriers for different things. I have a mei tai, a Baby K'Tan, a Scootababy, and a Beco Butterfly II. Now that Kiarda is older, I primarily use the Scootababy, which I keep in the car for quick errands and such, and the Beco for longer outings and such. I would have gotten more use out of my K'Tan if I had gotten it before Kiarda was 14 pounds or so; I look forward to using it for the newborn stage with the next kiddo.



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