Originally Posted by GiJohnsGirl
I have a two week old baby girl and a four year-old son. I did not do a sling with my son because I was always so nervous about the safety; however with a little more knowledge under my belt and a four year-old wanting to play I really want to try a sling to have both hands (and my daughter loves to be held to my chest). I was wondering what a good economical sling that would be safe for my daughter in our hot southern climate where it frequently stays in the 90s? She is 8.7 lbs and 21 inches long.
Originally Posted by GiJohnsGirl
And would a mei tai be ok for a younger infant?
Welcome to Mothering and to the wonderful world of babywearing! I always tell parents that it's great if you discover babywearing with your first but an absolute essential for #2 and higher so that you can take care of more than one child at a time.
First of all, on safety -- your arms are the absolute safest place for your baby, much more so than a swing, stroller, carseat, crib, etc. As long as you pay attention to a few simple safety positioning rules, your baby will be safe and happy in a carrier that does the job of your arms so you have your hands free for other activities! Keep your baby in the "babywearing zone" between your collarbone and your waist -- the same zone you'd hold her in in your arms. Make sure her sweet little head is close enough to kiss -- you should be able to bend your neck and kiss the top of her head. Make sure the carrier is snug enough to keep her from slumping into a chin to chest position, and make sure there's no fabric over her face. That's really all there is to it!
Second, in terms of carrying options -- a two-shoulder carrier is a great choice for a newborn, to keep her securely centered against your chest in the position that she loves as well as to give you both hands free to take care of your son. A mei tai is a fine option, and has been use-tested for countless generations in East Asian cultures for newborns on up. It's very easy to learn to use, and very versatile. I also think it's one of the easiest carriers to adjust for nursing, which you can do upright -- and baby can nurse from either side without needing to switch positions.
The three tricks with a mei tai -- one, bounce and tug on the top straps before you tie them off to make sure that your baby is in the proper babywearing zone, not too low and too loose. Two, tie the straps over the small of her back so that she is well-supported and doesn't slump. Three, stick your hands in either side of the carrier and make sure her feet are flat, parallel to the waistband, with toes pointing to the outside -- this will put her feet and legs in the proper froggied position.
A lightweight wrap such as the Wrapsody Bali Stretch or Wrapsody Bali Breeze is another two-shoulder carrier that's great for newborns, especially those in hot weather. A wrap will have a bit more of a learning curve but will also give you the most versatility in the long run for doing all kinds of front, hip, and back carries.
In terms of the hot weather, nurse your baby often to keep her hydrated, stay out of the worst of the sun, and dress both of you very lightly -- a diaper and a onesie will be plenty! If the fabric of the carrier covers her from the sun she'll be fine, and the carrier and your body will keep her plenty warm -- you don't want any extra layers on her or on you.
I think Joie's idea of the cold gel pack is an interesting one although I haven't tried it. I personally think the Heart to Heart infant insert is too hot and bulky for a summer baby, although the Performance is a nice cool carrier. I'd recommend getting a lightweight carrier (mei tai or wrap) for now and considering a different carrier like the Ergo later on if you're interested.