I have 4 mo and I haven't yet mastered babywearing - we are still working on it. I tried a Maya Wrap ring sling and that hurt my back most likely due to technique as baby would get fussy when I put him in it and I could never adjust it properly before moving around to calm him. And I recently got a pikkolo and I'm working on it. Sometimes my back feels fine and at other times it hurts, again I just to play with the adjustments to find the right fit.
As of now, babywearing is mostly for practice and entertainment - about 15-20 minutes a day or so. But I want to be able to use it for practical purposes, like when I go for groceries, or a walk. And also be able to do chores around the house while carrying him. It takes me some time to wear my pikkolo and get my baby into it and adjust the straps, in the comfort of our home. Now, how would I do this in the grocery store parking lot in sub-zero temperatures. We have an infant car-seat and getting him out of it and placing him in my pikkolo and adjusting the straps seems cumbersome. What tips do you suggest for making BW work for me? I checked the thread about BW in winter, but I would like tips on BW in general. TIA.
My situation is a little different from yours because we live in a city and walk/take public transportation, but for me it turned out that was when I got most of my babywearing in. I also always wore (and still wear) DD on all our walks and errands, which usually take an hour or two a day. If you don't want to put the baby in the carrier in the freezing parking lot, can you just take him out of the carseat and put him in the carrier when you get in the store? I don't have a pikkolo so I don't know if this would work, but can you sit next to him in the back seat and put him in the carrier there?
We really didn't get a lot of mileage out of babywearing in the house. I could get away with it for maybe 20 minutes at a time before she got bored and fussy. She was happy to nap in the wrap at home, but just didn't really want to be in there long if she was awake.
For quick in and out poppability, nothing beats a ring sling, IMO.
It does take some practice to get the hang of. And, it can take some work to get the positioning and adjustments that work just for your baby.
With my now 2 year old, she loved being in the sling and snuggled up tummy to tummy, little feet tucked under her. When she got to be about 6 months old, she started wanting her feet out and we were doing hip carries.
With my 4 month old, she has wanted her feet out from the beginning, which has been a challenge for me. But, now that she's older, I am better able to get her situated with her feet out so that she's comfortable and I am as well.
Some of the keys with a ring sling
*the right shoulder. I make my own slings, so I worked with and tweaked the shoulder for one that works for me. I use one big box pleat with a 30in wide sling. This allows the sling to cap my shoulder just right, rather than riding up onto my neck, but without restricting movement of my arm. It also allows the fabric to spread wide across my back, which helps to distribute the weight best.
*the right adjustments. Finding the right position for the rings that is most comfortable is important as is that correct spread of fabric across the back that I mentioned. I find it's best to set these up right prior to getting the little one in the sling.
*creating a little seat or pocket for baby's bottom. As I mentioned before, legs out works best for us, whether baby is in front or on the hip. With legs out, it's important to have the knees bent up a big. This allows the bottom rail of the sling to come up under baby's bottom and sit in the crook of the knees. When the bottom rail is in baby's bent knees and higher than the baby's bottom, the sling works just like when you sit in a hammock and hang your legs over the side, it's like a little pouch that baby is sitting in, rather than just tying baby to you.
If you haven't been to thebabywearer.com, you should head over there. There is SO much advice there, and lots of women share videos of how they set up their carries. It's really great info.
If you don't want to put the baby in the carrier in the freezing parking lot, can you just take him out of the carseat and put him in the carrier when you get in the store? I don't have a pikkolo so I don't know if this would work, but can you sit next to him in the back seat and put him in the carrier there?
This is exactly what I do. I have a minivan so it's a bit easier. I climb up in the van, close the door and sit next to the seat. Take off my coat, put on the sling, adjust it so that all I need to do is tighten the rails a bit once baby is in. Then I put baby in, wiggle her into position and tighten the rails. Then put my coat back on over the sling and cover up baby, then get out and head to the store.
I use the heck out of my ring sling at all stages - chest-to-chest until babe was ready for a hip carry (6 months-ish for mine). Until babe hits 15 lbs or so, I also loved my moby-style wrap - I would put it on in the AM and totally go about my day. I'd have to tighten it at times as I took babe in and out several times over the course of the morning. We also found the Ergo and a firmer-fabric wrap helpful depending on the situation.
But, be patient with your learning curve, mama. I wasn't comfy with babywearing until I could put ds1 in the ring sling on my hip around 6 months (I wore him in a bjorn and a moby-style wrap before but I never tied the wrap tightly enough and it got very uncomfortable very quickly) - with my last two I've worn them from day 1.
"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton
If you have a wrap you can pre-tie it in a front wrap cross carry or front pocket carry and pop baby in while in the car and zip your jacket up.
The recommendations for a ring sling are great if they don't work for you try a twist just one across the middle of your back this done by un-threading your rings then re-threading once you have the twist, This changes how the shoulder works.
I babywear all.day.long. I would be tied to my house if I didn't. :)
I am a wrap person.
It took me a while and a bunch of carriers until I found the right one for me. :) I personally love the woven wraps because they are so versatile and pretty. I have a bum shoulder so any carrier (ring sling/pouch sling) would just hurt, and my shoulders and narrow so a lot of the Soft Structured (boba/ergo/beco) were out for me as well (a kinderpack with petite straps was wonderful tho). I do like the babyhawk as well, for quick ins and outs.
You just have to find the one that works well for you and practice practice practice. I live in Canada and it is freezing, so I have bought a couple accessories to help in the winter namely a MamaJacket, and have my eye on a peakaru vest for spring. I do a lot of pre-tying in the van or before I leave so that it is easier at my destination. My son also has his naps in my wrap so I can continue chasing my other two with no need to go home.
It just sounds like you need to keep trying it out. In the first little while it has a little bit of a learning curve, but once you find your groove it will be amazing. :)
As a side note I wore my first son in the worst sling ever, and then in a bjorn until he was 9 months (killed my back) and someone gave me a wrap...still couldnt get the hang of it until he was over 12 mos....then with baby #2 and #3 they were worn from day one.
You will figure it all out. :)
Also, since I am not sure I actually answered your question....
1. Find a carrier you like. Feels good, like the look of it, babe likes it.
2. Find others that wear their babies so they can help you trouble shoot.
3. Wear your baby when you go get the mail, clean the dishes, sweep/vaccum the floor.
4. Learn (if you are nursing) how to feed in your carrier.
5. Give yourself an extra 10-15mins when you go out to make sure that it is put on correctly.
6. Always have an extra in the car/stroller.
7. Babywearing when a child is sick or teething will SAVE.YOUR.LIFE!!! :)
8. If you can put the carrier on halfway before getting in the car to go out that is great!
9. If you have a coat that fits over the baby and carrier that is even better (DH coats work well in a pinch)
10. Enjoy the freedom it gives you. :P
The last one is tongue in cheek as I couldnt think of another one.
We like the ring sling for quick carries but need something more supportive for all the time carries (we use wraps). But a pikalo would work well too. Once you master it, you'll just get an aha moment at some point, you'll love it! The car seat is convenient for sure but it is heavy and hard on backs. This time around we just skipped the whole bucket seat altogether and went to a convertible as carrying babe into places in a carrier is much easier on my back.
Wishing you success in figuring it out mamma...and check out TBW for sure!!