As you can see from our Part I post, there is a lot of variety and many experienced babywearing mamas will own at least one of each style of carrier because of each carrier’s advantages, and to compensate for each carrier’s challenges. If this is all new you may be worried about where to start. Here are some great local resources that will answer your questions and get you on the fast track to safe babywearing!
- Fort Worth Babywearers – FWBW offers free, monthly, open-to-the-public meetings, specific instruction on a variety of topics, a carrier library that all visitors and members can “play” with during the meeting, experienced leaders that can guide you through the babywearing learning curve and help you find a good carrier for your needs, and membership for $30 a calendar year which allows mamas to borrow any carrier in the library for a month at a time to test drive carriers before investing in one.
- FWBW and North DFW Babycarrier FSOT on Facebook – when a good carrier could be considered an investment at $80-150+, many mamas choose to buy their carrier used. Buying used (particularly for wraps) means that someone else has spent time “breaking it in” and the carrier is now nice and soft and ready for you – think a good, quality baseball glove. Fortunately carriers also hold their value VERY well and a carrier that cost you $100 may sell used for $80-90 even after being used for a year or two. Check out this local swap for good deals.
When buying a used carrier, always look the carrier over very carefully – check for broken threads, open seams, and tears. Pull on each of the straps to make sure they are secure. Try the carrier on and make sure it is a good fit and you don’t notice any concerns. Nearly all used carriers are considered “all sales final”, so ask questions and look the carrier over carefully. A reputable seller will take her time to answer your questions.
Now that you have a carrier (or are borrowing one from the FWBW’s awesome library), you need to take some time to practice safe babywearing. Choose a time when you and baby are well rested, not irritable or hungry, and baby is freshly changed. Practice next to the bed or your couch and use a spotter if possible. YouTube videos can be great refreshers if you don’t exactly remember what a FWBW leader or other babywearer told you. If at any time you or baby become frustrated, stop, play a quick game with toys or get a snack, and then try again. Your baby can sense your confidence (or lack thereof) and will respond.
A Few Absolute Rules
1. Make sure that baby can breathe and that neither the carrier nor the baby’s position restricts the airway. Check that the carrier provides adequate back and neck support and never allow baby’s face to be covered with fabric.
2. Avoid any activity such as jogging, running, jumping on a trampoline, etc. that subjects your baby to shaking or places undue stress on the baby’s neck. “This motion can do damage to the baby’s neck, spine and/or brain,” explains the American Chiropractic Association.
3. A carrier can never be substituted for a proper carseat and should never be used in a moving vehicle.
4. Use only carriers and carries that are appropriate for your baby’s age, weight, and physical capability.
Guidelines for Everyday Safety
1. Inspect your carrier regularly and check the fabric, seams, and any buckles or other fasteners.
2. When using carriers out and about, check that your baby is secure by using reflective surfaces – such as car or store windows – as mirrors, by double checking the baby’s position with your hands, or by enlisting the help of another set of eyes.
3. If you shouldn’t do a particular activity while pregnant because of an enhanced risk of falls, you shouldn’t do it while carrying a baby.
4. If you need to wear protective gear while doing an activity, you shouldn’t do it while wearing a baby. Baby carriers do not provide hearing protection, eye protection, protection from projectiles such as rocks flung from a lawn mower, protection from fumes or dust such as occur during lawn mowing and some household cleaning tasks, protection from heat, or protection from falls.
5. Protect your baby from the elements. Be aware of sun exposure, risk of over-heating or becoming too cold, and extreme weather.
Please remember that you are ALWAYS welcome to come to a monthly Fort Worth Babywearers meeting where a leader will help you find a suitable carrier and teach you how to use it safely. Come follow us on Facebook to learn about all of our meetings and special events.
So tell us moms, what places or in what circumstances do you wear your baby?
Jennifer Hoover is the Vice President and Librarian for Fort Worth Babywearers in Fort Worth, Tx, an organization that aims to provide instruction and support in safe babywearing through monthly meetings, special events, a carrier library, and scholarships to families in need. Jennifer enjoys her time as a mommy to 2 year old Ryleigh and spends her daytime hours serving the children of a local elementary school as an Assistant Principal. She is very involved in the natural parenting community and has many interests, babywearing being one of her greatest passions.