Posted on May 16 2016
...Kellen Garcia of Closely Carried...
As parents, it goes without saying that we want the best for our children. Starting at conception we are flooded with advice and information on best parenting practices. We make choices that we feel are the right ones for our family and in my case, a choice I made was to carry my child, and future children, with the help of a baby carrier.
I was lead to babywearing because I needed a way to be able to go on beach walks… a stroller couldn’t help me there, and so my babywearing journey began. I started with a Soft Structured Carrier (Ergo) and a cotton ring sling. I wore the ring sling less than 5 times because I didn’t really know what I was doing and found it uncomfortable, it didn’t occur to me that getting assistance would be a good idea or that such an expert even existed. So I depended on my SSC (Soft Structured Carrier) until my son was around 5 months old, when I discovered woven wraps. They were beautiful, and the most versatile carrier I had seen. I had to have one. A woven wrap is a carrier that I knew I could not figure out on my own, so to youtube I went in search of video tutorials. After months of practicing and learning from educators on youtube, I found out there was a local babywearing group here on Oahu, Babywearing International of Oahu. I went to one meeting and immediately became a volunteer. I trained, became accredited through Babywearing International and began teaching. Wearing my son provided my entire family with so many benefits and I wanted to share this valuable parenting tool with as many caregivers as I could.
After a couple years educating with BWI and performing as Kindred's brand ambassador I was presented with the opportunity to take a babywearing certification course through The Center for Babywearing Studies. Becoming a Certified Babywearing Educator launched me into Closely Carried LLC, by offering professional babywearing services and doing consulting, I am able to reach even more caregivers with knowledge on this beautiful gift that is babywearing.
I am often asked, what carriers are the best? Unfortunately, there is no one best carrier. A variety of carriers can be considered the “best”, it comes down to personal preference, size of ones child, and what the carrier will be used for (or what the caregiver wants out of the carrier).
...HOW TO SELECT YOUR CARRIER...
When choosing a carrier keep these things in mind:
- The carrier should securely support the baby's natural position.
- the carrier should have an ergonomic seat, allowing ones baby to be in the spread squat position.
- It should distribute the baby's weight evenly across the caregivers body, this increases comfort for the parent or caregiver while wearing their child.
4 of the most popular carriers here in the US are : a Wrap (Woven or Stretchy), Soft Structured Carrier, Mei Tai, and Ring Sling. Each have their benefits, if at all possible, I recommend trying on the type of carrier you are attracted to before buying.
Woven Wrap - A long piece of fabric that can be tied in a multitude of ways to achieve a front, hip or back carry. Works well for children from birth onward. By far the most diverse carrier on the market.
Stretchy Wrap - A long piece of 4 way stretch fabric that must have 3 passes over ones child. Can be used for a front carry. This is a wonderful carrier for newborns and infants.
Soft Structured Carrier - A carrier with a body panel, waist strap and arm straps secured by buckles. Can be used for a front carry, and once the child meets a few qualifications, a back carry. Depending on how the SSC is made you may also be able to do a hip carry. This carrier is usually sized for different ages or comes with adapters.
Mei Tai - A carrier with a body panel, waist straps and arms straps that are secured by tying. Can be used for a front, back or hip carry. Mei Tais can be used from birth onward, a few brands also make larger, toddler sized options.
Ring Sling - A long piece of fabric with two rings secured at one end. Can be used for an off center front carry, hip carry, or advanced back carry. This is a one shouldered carrier. Ring slings can be used from birth onward.
...SAFTEY and POSITIONING...
While wearing your child it is important to follow these safety and positioning tips:
VISIBLE - While being worn, the childs face and airway should be visible at all times. Thecaregiver should be able to place two fingers between the child’s chin and chest, insuring that the baby’s chin is not on their chest.
KISSABLE - While wearing, the caregiver should be able to kiss the top of the child’s head. This insures that the child is high enough on the caregivers body to easily monitor their airway.
FROGGY - While in a carrier, the child being worn should be sitting in a spread squat, or “M”, position with their knees higher than their bum.
By keeping these things in mind while wearing, both you and your baby will be ready to conquer the world, hands free and in comfort… all while reaping the benefits of babywearing! -Kellen Garcia