SO for this post I think I’ll talk about my experiences with baby carriers!
Oh man have I had a hell of a time finding a good baby carrier. Now as you know I am visually impaired. I work with my guide dog Gailanne, so I only have one free arm, and am not so confident pushing a full size stroller. Baby carriers are my best and safest method of transportation for Marshall while I’m alone.
Like most new moms, I had looked into the best carriers before Marshall was even born. I even tested out a few. For me, those fabric wraps were way too confusing to tie all those knots and thingamajigs… and I wanted something that was durable and wearable for a long time. After looking at a lot we decided to go with the Ergo Baby. The east of the clips and the positioning for baby were just amazing.
The design is so comfortable and I found I could wear the carrier for long periods of time because of all the padding on ALL straps. This carrier has three carrying positions. front side and back. Personally, I love the front and side and super dislike the back, I’ll tell you why in a moment. In all positions baby is supported properly and his weight was aligning evenly with no strain on his legs and hips.
Babies can be carried from 7 – 45 lb (3.2 – 20 kg), which was so amazing to find because Marshall was born at 9.1lbs and by the time he was three months he was already 16lbs and outgrew MANY infant carriers.
Basically this carrier was the perfect fit for me. It has two comfortably super paced shoulder straps that are fully adjustable to fit your size and for tightening and a very padded waist band. Your baby isn’t actually strapped into anything with this carrier, instead the carriers hold your baby close and securely to you which in my opinion is super great for bonding. Each buckle is heavy-duty best compared to rock climbing buckles opposed to small school bag buckles like most carriers. and there is also an extra nylon strap to slip the waste buckle through in case of it accidentally opening it will catch and baby won’t fall.(comes in handy)
UNFORTUNATELY, we were only able to use it for the first few months. (As you know Marshall was born with a slightly clubbed foot.) So, at three months, he started his lovely adventure with castings. Every week we had to go to CHEO and Marshall’s left foot was placed in a series of casts to slowly straighten out his foot. BOY did this screw things up when it came to carriers. The infant position in the front caring position calls for the baby basically to be cuddled on your tummy with their feet tucked under their bum. Well with a giant cast on marshalls leg this was impossible. What to do now… I had found the perfect carrier but there was no way around the cast. Marshall was not big enough for his legs to hang out the sides yet so off it was to hunt down another one. Unfortunately we had to go with a leg dangler carrier. Now I know it’s not the BEST for baby but I had no choice. I couldn’t carry him any other way and those moby wrap things were impossible for me to figure out.
We ended up going with the Snugly. I could wear Marshall on the front or back, but he was mainly carried on the front. It was a decent carrier that did the job, and again had a waist strap and shoulder strap. My favourite thing about this one was I was actually able to place Marshall in like a fabric seat. Leg holes and arm holes, plus Marshall could look forward or at me which was a bonus. We used this carrier until Marshall was 6-7 months old. At this time Marshall was done with the castings and on to the braces. His brace is two little open toed leather shoes with a metal bar in-between to secure his feet in certain positions.
AGAIN we hit another challenge. Marshall had to wear them 24 hours a day, except for bath time…. NOW HOW IN HECK AM I SUPPOSE TO CARRY HIM? You think it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but that bar hurts! Having it smash into my legs and stomach constantly was just crazy, and I would have to take the brace off every time I needed him out or in the carrier, diaper change, feeding, anything.. (Have you ever tried breast-feeding a baby with their legs sticking straight out in front of your face?) So, after speaking to the doctor, we decided it would have to stay off while I carried him. His foot was doing way better than they expected anyway, so they figured everything should be perfectly fine as long as when we were done the brace went back on, which it did. So at that point I went back to the ergo baby. I found once Marshall hit 20 lbs the Snugli started digging into my back and shoulders and it felt like I was carrying a lot of dead weight even though the carrier went to 30 lbs.
It was so nice to be back in the Ergo. Marshall was secure, snug, and happy. He started experimenting with what he could do, grabbing mommy’s face, sunglasses, and pulling my hair.. How fun. So, we tried sitting him on the hip. With a few re-adjustments and re-clipping of the clips you can configure the ergo so your little one can sit on either hip. This was actually a pretty nice set up, but slightly awkward when travelling on the bus, at least when he was on my chest he basically sat on my lap, now he was closer to strangers..Pulling at them, fun,fun,fun.
As Marshall started to grow and grow some more, I really wanted to try him on my back. This is my only negative thing about the ergo. IT’S SUPER HARD, by yourself, to figure out how to get them in the carrier and onto your back, even once I figured it out it was weird. I have no BUTT! Now this may sound random but it felt like the waist strap was just slowly pushing down my pants and falling off (thus the need for a BOOTY). I’ve tried a million different things to tighten the strap, but it still just wasn’t comfortable. So time to search for another carrier, really at this point I was so sick of different carriers… Marshall was now too tall and too heavy to sit on my hip constantly or to be on the chest. The next carrier we tried was ok, honestly it wasn’t amazing but it worked. It was the Infintino Flip. This was like the Snugi, he could sit on the chest, or the back and was like a little seat you strapped him into and then put him on like a very small backpack. It says it can go to 35 pounds but once Marshall hit 20-25 it was too much for my shoulders. I could wear it for an hour and then afterwards could barely move my arms. It was pretty brutal. There was very minimal padding.
It happened by chance. My mom and I were snooping around in a Babies R Us while on our way back into Ottawa when we literally bumped into the box. For some reason it was in the middle of the aisle.. lucky for me:)
It was a Kelty kids lightweight metal frame backpack carrier. NOW it was discontinued, not for a recall or anything, just so they could make newer models and this particular carrier was a return. Nothing wrong with it, I guess they just didn’t like it again plus for me. This carrier regularly went for 260-300$ and we got it for 100$ THE BEST 100 $ spent. The carrier is lightweight, not even 10 pounds and goes to 45-50 pounds. It evenly distributes the weight and has its own compartment within the frame for diapers and wipes, and what ever else we need. It has a four point harnessing system and heavy-duty hiking buckles and straps. Honestly this is the best company and carrier I have ever dealt with. For someone like me who is dependant on public transit, and cannot push a stroller in winter this was the ultimate carrier. Your baby can use this carrier once they are sitting up on their own, but before that I would definitely suggest the ergo baby.
Rough Price list of our carriers-
You can find all of these except the Kelty version I have, at Babies R Us. They have newer version of Kelty backpack carriers at www.kelty.com