One of my fondest memories with my two girls was that special closeness that I felt with them those first few months of life. When I had my son, 10 years before, the idea of baby slings, baby backpacks, and carriers other than strollers or carriers with handles was a radical idea. However, by the time the girls were born, baby slings and soft carriers had come a long way and there were many on the market. I have done it both ways, with stroller and with baby carriers. It seems that at least in the beginning, whether parents used a baby carrier or a stroller seemed to cross some political boundaries. Strollers represented traditionalists and baby carriers represented more liberal parenting choices. Whew! I am so glad that those stereotypes are a thing of the past.
Now a woman is not judged by the way she carries her baby, or even whether she chooses to breastfeed in public or to use a bottle. She is now free to do whatever she feels is best for her baby and leave it at that. New mothers tend to be the most studious creatures on the face of the earth. Long before their baby is born she spends long hours on the Internet researching each and every option that will affect the life of her baby. You can be certain that she has scrutinized every safety report on every car seat or stroller ever made… as she should.
When it comes to the most basic choice, how to carry her baby, the choices depend on her needs. Strollers are what we most associate with mothers on the go. However, the baby carrier has many advantages. Babies love to feel snuggled in a warm womb-like environment. The baby is comforted by their mother’s smell and heartbeat. From my own personal experience, I found that the baby carrier was a much better asset than the stroller for those 3:00 AM pacing sessions. I found that one could go hands free, continue to rock the baby with a gentle swaying of the hips, perhaps to some light jazz, all while catching up on some late night reading. The hands free ability to sooth the baby was a definite plus and took a load off of tired arms.
The baby can see your face and can look at you. The baby carrier allows for more direct eye contact and the ability to study your facial expressions, an important part of infant development. An infant only sees things that are about 12-18” away at first. The ability to see you from a distance comes with time. The baby needs this most visual stimulation when they can see the shortest distance. Babies in a back facing stroller will see their mother as a blur for quite some time, because she is out of range.
Ok, so there are several goods points why a carrier is an excellent choice from a developmental standpoint, but what about convenience? The issue depends on your own personal lifestyle. I found that the baby carrier was an excellent choice for camping trips, hiking, and when you need to do the vacuuming but your little one is demanding all of your attention. The baby carrier was definitely a plus in places where a stroller would be cumbersome. However, it was a little unwieldy on shopping trips. When you had to reach for things or bend to pick things up often, it was in the way and there was a danger of coming off of balance, which would not be good for both of you. For shopping, I found that the stroller was the preferred mode of transport. Was I really cheating when I took the stroller to put the shopping bags in and the baby carrier for the baby? I don’t think that the decision to use a baby carrier or stroller is an all or nothing statement about one’s political persuasion. They both have their advantages so why not get one of each? I did.
Parental Guide offers two of the most popular basic types of baby carriers. The Baby K’Tan carrier is an excellent choice. It is made of organic cotton and can be used to carry the baby in up to 8 different positions. This is great because it allows you to do different tasks and change positions for more comfort. The built in back support band helps to reduce strain on Mom’s back too! Comfort for baby, safety and comfort for Mom, what more could you ask for… except perhaps for a little more sleep?
The Basic Baby Carrier by Milano and the Deluxe Baby Carrier by Milano are what is known as a rigid carrier. It allows you to carry your baby facing you, for maximum face time, or facing away from you so they can explore the world with you. One of its advantages over soft carriers is that it allows for even weight distribution. It has an enveloping head support that allows for discreet breast-feeding. The deluxe version allows for more positions.
My advice, if you know that you will be the type of Mom who likes to just pack up and go, a baby carrier is a necessity. Even if you plan to use a stroller, there are many times what the baby carrier will be a welcome blessing. I think that a baby carrier is a necessity that every mother will love at one time or another. Before choosing, explore the advantages and disadvantages to each type of baby carrier. Both styles of baby carrier are best for different types of situations. Examine what you plan to do before you make your decision.