Sometimes a pram just doesn’t cut it.
If you need your hands-free, or for the more intrepid, if you’re walking in an especially muddy environment, or one where the ground is uneven, a sling or a baby carrier really come into their own. Some people like using them in busy cities or on public transport too for the extra mobility they allow.
My personal experience was also a brisk walk with the baby onboard in one of these was about the most reliable way of getting them to sleep when they’re very young too. Close to all the sounds of a human chest and the walking motion is a very good proxy for being back in the womb. Mrs Bleary Eyed Dad also found the carrier useful while alone in the day as it liberated her hands and comforted the baby, allowing her to get on with life for an hour or two.
I suggest you buy one that switches from a front to a back hold as your baby gets older, extending the shelf life of one of these baby carriers potentially to two or three years. We opted for the BABYBJORN Baby Carrier, and below are a few considerations:-
Both yours and unsurprisingly that of that baby are key considerations. Any carrier you consider should be endorsed by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. As many as 1-in-10 newborns have problems with their hips without further exasperation from ill-designed equipment.
From your perspective, adding a writhing baby to your body mass could result in problems with your back. Most carriers have an array of straps and buckles to adjust to your own body. Try a few on and see which works. The BABYBJORN does feel very comfortable. I have a long history of back problems. Even a stiff breeze causes my back to seize. To date, the BABYBJORN hasn’t caused me any problems, and I’ve racked up the miles.
Ease of Use
What you gain in comfort you probably sacrifice in ease of use. The numerous straps and buckles take a while to adjust and ‘dial in’ to your body. If two or more of you use the carrier with regularity the process of adjusting it to your body is a bit tedious.
Equally, I feel actually getting the baby into the carrier is a two-person job and one that takes some perfecting. Holding the baby in place while clipping the respective clips in place is a fiddly task. Once in and secure, the benefits of the carrier is quickly apparent.
Suddenly you have the use of both your hands!
Bleary Eyed Dad Verdict
Is it essential?
In the early days, I used the carrier regularly in walking the baby to sleep, and it’s an incredibly effective tool for this. As the baby has got older and grown accustomed to sleeping in the pram, its use has dried up a bit.
It’s a nice to have to date from my perspective. I can imagine if you live in a city it’s something you’d use with more regularity. I think it forms part of the seemingly endless arsenal of kit that you’ll use, but not every day.
We’re going on holiday in a few weeks, and anticipate doing a bit of walking. I don’t doubt it will again come into its own.