> In the spirit of not wanting too much stuff...
Is there some magical carrier that will do all of the following?
1. Work for a newborn as well as it does for an older infant (with or without an insert/adapter is fine)?
2. Be OK for both my husband (6'2", 230#) and me (5'2", 130# when not pregnant) to use? (I know this is where we might get tripped up--not in feminine/masculine fabric prints but in sizing.)
3. Be readily available off-the-shelf? (I can repair a seam or sew on a button, but I can't construct things.)
4. Not be a magnet for "that baby's going to suffocate/fall out/etc. and it will be all your fault!" comments?
If not, is there a minimum combination that will do the same?
Moby! My sister is your size, and her husband is your husbands size, they both wear it. I am a tall thin mamma, my husband is 5'10, 150. All of us wear it.
One caveat: Men seem to have more trouble with it. I think they feel the baby is too tight, even though they are content and asleep.
My 4mo on went in cradle hold when younger and now hug hold. My older neices go forward facing at 1 yr. Can use on the back when older.
If you want something to go from newborn to toddler a woven wrap will be your best bet. Size 6/4.6 meters would probably be long enough for both of you depending on your DH's build, if he's very broad in the chest/shoulders it might be a bit short, but 7/5.2 meters will probably be too long for you (I'm a bit taller than you and I can do everything with either a 5 or 6). Moby and other stretchy wraps are fine until about 15 pounds or so, but can sag and be uncomfortable after that and they are NOT SAFE for back carries. Someone made a video demonstrating how it's unsafe, I'll see if I can find it if you're interested. That little bit of extra give allows a wiggly child to pop right out if they're motivated enough.
Woven wraps do have a bit of a learning curve, so if you or your DH want something easier a mei tai is a good option. Something with a standard body and extra long straps would fit both you and your DH, though you may have to wrap the shoulder straps around an extra time to use up the length.
Not sure if there's a good buckle carrier that would fit you both.. If that's what you're after it might be better to invest in a carrier for each of you. I think some custom carriers can be made with petite straps and longer webbing so you and your DH could both wear it, but it may get pricey.
I am extremely short waisted and my husband is 6'4 and it works for us both. We started using it when LO was about three weeks old, and it still works great at 9 months. My friend visited me and loved it for her 15 month (and ended up getting one of her own).
With a wee one you're supposed to use the infant insert. The newer heart-to-heart insert is supposed to be better than the older style (which we had). Once I figured out that I could put the kid in sideways I never used the infant insert anyways, but it meant that I had to use one hand to support his neck while walking, so it wasn't truly hands free. Here
is what it looked like. He was one month old in this picture.
If you want something easy to use right off the shelf, i'd go for an SSC, like a Beco, Olives and Applesauce or Ergo. Or A Mei Tai would work well too, but I think as baby grows, an SSC would be more comfortable.
That said, I'm a wrapper. I love them, I love the versatility and I love that I can coordinate my carrier with my outfit
. BUT I get in a lot of trouble spending all that money. LOL. Once you start, you can't stop.
Personally I would go for a Becco. The moby is great, but since it is a stretchy wrap it doesn't work that great for babies over 15 lbs. I have both an ergo and a becco and I like the becco better for a couple of reasons. First it comes with a built on infant insert which is nice, also DD hated the ergo infant insert so it was a complete waste of money. It was the older style though, so I guess I can't really comment on the new heart to heart one. Another reason is the waste belt on the becco is longer. Judging by the size of your dh that is something to consider. Another great feature about the becco is the inner panel that makes it much easier to do a back carry. The becco also has a taller shell which is nice. It is also made in U.S.A and the ergo is MIC. So yeah I'm a little partial to the becco over he ergo.
I have never used a woven wrap so I can't comment about those.
I've never used any of the SSC's, but I imagine one of those would work well. Especially for ease of use....
...But I love wraps, so another vote for wraps! I had a homemade stretchy wrap (like the Moby) at first but now use a woven wrap. The problem with stretchy wraps, in my experience, is that after baby starts to get heavier, they don't hold the baby tightly as well. So I say go with the woven if you want something that will work for a newborn as well as a toddler. I'm still using mine with my 15 month old.
You can get one that's long enough for DH and then just wrap the extra fabric around your waist an extra time, so sizing shouldn't be a problem for the two of you.
Yes, wraps do take a little bit of effort to learn how to use. But once you get it, its really not difficult. And they can be tied in so many different ways, there's bound to be a way that will work for you. One of the advantages of wraps is the versatility. If baby doesn't like to be upright at first, you can wrap them in a cradle position.
And as far as people and their comments about babywearing safety, I've never gotten a negative comment. Only "That's beautiful! Where'd you get it?" and "He sure is happy, isn't he?", etc...
I love love love my Babyhawk Mei Tai. I had my (very small--35 lbs) 4.5YO on my back in it last week, and wear my newborn in it every day.
Here's my winning trio of baby carriers (and believe me, I've tried MANY!):
1. Moby Wrap - this is my MUST have for a new baby. Perfect for newborns!! Comfy, easy to put on, once you get the hang of it, ready off the shelf, safe for even the tiniest babies, and because you tie it on it will fit anyone large or small with no finicky adjustment needed. When the baby is tiny, no one will even see them - many people thought it was a pregnant belly!! So they don't comment. When people did figure out what was in there, I did get maybe one or two suffocating comments, but I got many many great comments - "so comfy" "how nice for you both" "lucky baby" etc The fabric is stretchy so I don't find it as comfy to wear now that my DD is 23 pounds (she's almost 2 years old!) her weight stretches it out so that I just can't tie it tight enough for it to be comfortable.
2. Hotsling - now that DD is 22 months old, this is the sling I grab as I run out the door. I never got the hang of putting newborns in a sling - I tried several kinds. But once they have the head/neck strength to sit up, the sling is perfect for carrying on the hip.
PROS: I like mine because it is fitted so I don't have to do any adjusting. (And I don't find ring slings as comfortable.) It is small enough to fit in my purse now that I don't have to carry a dipe bag everywhere. It slips on and off quickly and easily. DD is on my hip so that she can look in the same direction I'm looking in (rather than facing me) and I can see her clearly (rather than having her on my back where I wouldn't be able to see her facial expressions.
CONS: Because I use the sling to hip carry, it isn't as comfortable to wear for long periods because my back gets uncomfortable faster than if the weight was distributed evenly. But DD is an active toddler so often she's up and then down and then up and then down running around. This sling is easy to pop her in and out for those times. The other down side is that it is fitted to me, but DH doesn't really do slings at this stage. He baby wore a *little* when the girls were babies, but he's really not into it (!) so I'm the one who uses the sling.
3. Mei tei - I have a baby hawk. This one rocks! I didn't use it for my *very* newborns, but once they were a couple months old I used it daily. This one also ties on so will fit anyone with no adjustments needed. Once you learn how to tie it, it is easy to do. When my girls were little I wore them on front, facing me. With both girls that was my magic trick hold - if we were in public and it was naptime I could strap them in and they would be snuggled up enough to fall asleep, no matter what the noise level. That, in itself, makes this carrier worth every penny!! Once they get older I carry my girls on my back. They LOVE it!! The great thing about this carrier is that it distributes the weight evenly so I can wear it for long, long periods of time without getting uncomfortable. I have even carried my four year year old in it!!!!
I'm not sure I could pick one or even two of these three carriers, I love them all so much. But if I was starting out I'd start with a Moby for the newborn and then see how it goes. All three had a learning curve in terms of getting them on comfortably. But with all three it really only took a couple of tries before I understood how to get it right.
Definitely a woven wrap. I used my Storchenwiege wrap for nursing, naps, travel, 8 hour hikes, etc, etc. Unfortunately, I didn't know about wraps when my son was born 9 years ago but for my daughter the wrap was a lifesaver and I carried her in it for years. I use it now as a shall, tent, blanket...
A wrap seems like the obvious choice, but I actually think a ring sling would be better. The reason I say that is because you would need a much longer wrap for your husband than for you. So, while you could share the same wrap, you would just be engulfed in a ton of fabric. Whereas with a ring sling I would buy it to fit you--and for your husband the tail would be short, but he could just wrap the short tail around the rings. Most guys prefer that look anyway.
The negative with a ring sling is that your limited in your carries. You can do front carries and hip carries easily, but you hardly ever see or hear of people doing a back carry with a ring sling. And because all the weight is on one shoulder, it's not the best carrier for doing housework, hiking, etc. But, it's fast on and off and easy to pack into your bag, which makes it an ideal carrier for errands or anytime you'll be popping the baby in and out.
If you want *one* carrier to do all of these things, it would for sure be a woven wrap. i've found that mei tais arent very comfortable for very long, and with an ergo or beco youd have to adjust the straps when switching between you and your dh, and to me that sounds like it would be annoying.
stretchy wrap is nice for nb, and can be sold easily when it's no longer useful... but a pouch or ring sling is also nice.
I think for my next baby I will aim to have a moby-style wrap, a pouch, a SSC and a woven wrap.
I have never tried a SSC, so I don't know if that would be better, but I vote for a mei tai. I had a Kozy, and I used it ALL the time. I didn't get it until DS was about 4 months but it would have worked before that too. And I used it up until he wouldn't tolerate it anymore at about 2 years old.
I also liked a fitted pouch sling for the baby stage (roughly 2 months to a year is when we used it a lot) but you would need two, one for you and one for your DH.
I had a wrap and loved it for the newborn and young baby, but it was too complicated for back carries and putting on and off all the time, so I stopped using it when I got the mei tai which was a TON easier. You can just buy a length of fabric, cut it, and voila! You have a wrap. So that one is easy and cheap to try at least.
SSC would need to be adjusted between you and DH.
I guess in summary I would vote for a Kozy. And then if you wanted to experiment/branch out more, I would get a pouch sling each for you and DH, or maybe a ring sling to fit both of you? I don't know about that. And possibly make your own wrap. But I think the Kozy would do everything, I really do.
I vote for some type of SSC. I have an Ergo and love it! If you buy the infant insert, it's good for infancy through toddlerhood. That's a pretty long life for any baby carrier! Yes, you will have to adjust it differently for you and DH, but for safety and comfort reasons
you should be re-adjusting the straps everytime you put LO in it anyway (think: like a hinking backpack).
I would not go with a Moby. They are only good up to about 15#. And you can make your own stretchy no-sew wrap much cheaper than buying a Moby. I can't really speak to a woven wrap because I don't have one. I do have a sling, though, but I wouldn't recommend it for long-term use. It got pretty uncomfortable when DD got around 20# (so about 1 y.o.).
In the spirit of reduce, reuse, recycle, you can find almost any baby carrier used and still in great shape. Have you ever been to The Baby Wearer
website? It's a great place to find reviews of carriers and they have a forum for folks who want to buy or sell used carriers.
I love my Ergo - with the infant insert it was great for DS since he was born (well, I didn't get it until a few weeks later), it's easy to use, and if you have any kind of back issues - it's great for keeping the weight off your back and on your hips like a well designed hiking backpack.
I like my mei tai baby, but I find that it tends to put more weight on my shoulders. Also, I feel like it slips down a little so maybe I'm doing something wrong...
I think of it like shoes-- if it is something you are going to be doing a lot of you need to have a few different ones for different stages, situations, etc. We have an ergo, a sling, a mei tei and a moby and honestly, with a one month old baby who we wear all of the time we use them all constantly. Some ne can nurse in, others are for daddy and nana to wear, some are too warm, some are easy to throw on but less comfy (for the store, etc), others take more time to get right but I can wear them for hours....
Just my two cents (and from a minimalist mom).
wrap, wrap, wrap. honestly much easier to use than what you think and super comfy too.
I wish those woven ones weren't so expensive!
pikkolo w/ waist belt which makes it a toddler size - easier front carry than ergo -or woven wrap