Well my wife’s been winning so hard at life (also known as eBay) that it seems like we’re going to have to crawl out from under a drift of gently-used diapers (I know, right?) just to get to the hospital so we can birth that baby. So that seems like it’s more or less taken care of. We have Fuzzibunz, we have some Thirsties Duos, we have some Green Mountain prefolds and a couple of Thirsties Duo Wraps, and probably more that I don’t even know about because I’m like the Worf on board the starship Diaper-prise. I’m big, I’m hairy, and I’m not really helping. So anyway, my loving wife is taking care of all of that, while I try to turn our house into a home. She’s also working on figuring out baby carriers, hence the title of this post. I don’t think she’s playing Top Gun on NES, which would be a better explanation for the title of this post.
Okay, so you wanna carry a baby? You got arms (I’m so sorry if you don’t got arms), so what’s the problem? Maybe you wanted to use those arms for other things. Like eating an apple, commanding troops, or mercilessly beating a goat (I don’t condone goat-beating, but I completely understand if that’s your thing. They have weird eyes.). Whatever you want to do, you need to free up those arms. So that’s why someone invented baby carriers. But good lord, were they an overachiever. There are so many baby carrying systems out there now, it’s impossible to keep track of them all. But, they generally break down into a few categories.
Wraps – Unstructured
These are things like the Moby Wrap, where they’re essentially just a large piece of fabric that you wind around your body to create a carrying pocket for your spawn. They’re supposed to be super versatile (dozens of ways to strap the baby in there) and easy to care for (machine washable/dryable) but they take some effort to put on and take off. Try to imagine winding a scarf around yourself while holding a watermelon in one hand. Also, the watermelon is screaming. Ick. That just got weird and dark. Maybe just go straight to imagining a baby. Okay, so you’re trying to wrap this thing around yourself and then put a baby into it, but maybe your baby is uncooperative. Because you are the carrier-engineer, this could be problematic. So, that’s worth thinking about. Maybe it’ll be more trouble than it’s worth? I don’t know, that probably depends on you and your baby. A plus is that these work well for a wide range of sizes of both people and babies because they’re just a big long thing of fabric. So one wrap can work for both dad and mom, which can be tough to find with other carriers if dad is twice the size of mom, as it so happens in our family. I call my wife ‘My better third.’ We’re adorable. They also are supposed to work for baby from newborn into toddlerhood. Maybe? Because it’s unstructured, we’ve heard some people say it gets uncomfortable to use with babies once they get past a certain size. We’re going to experiment with this one, but it will definitely have a place for us with our baby when he’s still new.
Hybrid – Semistructured
I think the K’tan and the Mei Tai would fit into this. There’s a little more structure, a little less versatility, but you don’t start the process with a scarf, so they can be much faster and easier to deal with. You may have some kind of hardware, or you may still be wrapping and tying, just with something that’s shaped a bit more like a baby carrier and less like a toga. These are nice because they can still be quite versatile. You can usually use them on your front, back or side, and there are a lot of variations. Not as many as a simple wrap, but still enough to work for most folks. Most should also still be machine washable and dryable, since they’re still mostly just fabric. Upsides to these are that they can be faster than the wraps, easier to care for and cheaper than the beefier designs, but still have some versatility. A potential downside can be that some brands are sized for the person doing the carrying, so the same one may not work for mom and dad. Worth thinking about.
Structured – Structured
These are like the Baby Bjorn and the Ergo Carrier. It’s buckles, straps, padded fabric waistband, etc. These are like a car seat for your body. They are supposed to be the most comfortable for carrying heavier loads, or carrying for a long time, since they can have padded waist and shoulder straps, and can keep your baby balanced right where he ought to be. So that’s good. One downside is that some of them don’t really work well for noobs, so you have to buy an extra insert or some junk to make your noob fit into it. You also lose some positioning versatility. I’ve seen people using the Bjorn in a way other than prescribed and it just looks awkward for you and your baby. Also, they can be expensive, and tough to clean. The carrier, not the baby. Maybe both. Anyway. Whenever I see something that says “Easy to clean! Just wipe with a damp cloth!” I pretty much want to find the person who wrote that, set them on fire and then strangle them. I’ll get burned too, but it’ll be worth it, because then they really know you’re serious. The problem is where am I going to find a damp cloth? Wait, that’s not the problem. The problem is that I am going to be drowning in damp cloth diapers, damp cloth wipes (maybe, we’re leaning that way but aren’t fully committed yet), onesies covered in vomit, and who knows what else. My life is going to be one long line of wiping things up with a damp cloth interspersed with asking “Does anyone have a damp cloth I can borrow?” So I’m not a fan of that idea. I like the idea of the adjustable buckles and straps, and the padded waist belt and all that jazz for longer trips. I don’t like the idea of the expense (over $100 for some of these) or the cleanup, but I think the long-term comfort may still mean one of these finds its way into our rotation.
Okay, so here’s our plan. I think we’re going to buy, borrow or steal a Moby wrap from some friends. That will probably be what we use for the first few weeks while our baby is still so tiny. He’s going to be drooly, poopy and we are both going to be splitting baby-management duties since I’ll be staying home from work for a few weeks, hopefully. Having a versatile, easy-to-wash carrier will be perfect. We already have a K’tan in size small (from my wonderful mother-in-law) which I think will work well for Jenna. It’s faster than a Moby, so it should be easy for her to get the baby into and out of during the day, but is still really easy to clean. I’ll probably continue using the Moby around the house and for short trips. For longer trips, once he gets bigger, I think we’ll buy and use an Ergo carrier. My thinking is that it makes sense to have the right tool for every job (you should see my garage), and there’s definitely a place for a more structured carrier. We’re going to the zoo, the museum, or on a long walk, let’s say. If I’m going to be hauling the tiny dude around for an hour plus, that padding is going to be nice. If I’m just running to the store, or wearing him out to the garage with my while I work with power tools (you and I both hope I’m kidding, but we can’t be sure) I think the Moby will still work pretty well. I’m a big dude, so I think I’ll be able to manage the less-structured carriers even after he gets bigger. We’ll see, I guess.
So I guess that’s about it. No real reviews from us just yet, but that’s my breakdown. I’ll definitely let you know how things go once we actually try some of these out. Thanks for reading!