Babywearing / baby carrying is definitely regional. Totally agree.
I think the fact that the FSOT on TWB and the trading post here are so active show that most mamas want more than one carrier. And now that the choices are becoming more and more varied, who can resist the temptation of adding to an already great collection of carriers?
Imo, it's just a matter of time that more moms will get into the less mainstream carriers. I remember the Ergo was a major crunchy mama gear five years ago (which is just about the time Ergo started).
As for why the 3 major name brands are so popular is probably due to the fact that there are so many options out there, it can be mind boggling.
: I mean, there are SSC's popping up by the day. The calyx and the up and coming AMCII, for instance. Both are awesome products. And then, of course, there's the much anticipated Butterfly Beco. But unless you stalk the ABC/SSC threads all the time, you might not know about them.
Hope I'm coherent. Need coffee...
I sew enough to do a gathered shoulder ring sling.
Doing a mei tai or SSC just seems beyond me.
Actuallly, I was just coming back here to point out that it's not about "brands" - people also need to be aware that for less than the cost of a Moby (already the cheapest of the wraps), one can make a Fauxby, even if you can't sew! And gathered shoulder ring slings are within the reach of anyone who can do a straight line. Same with podaegis. Mei tais (although beyond my comfort zone
) and pouches are still pretty easy. Even SSCs are doable.
But even people on a budget don't necessarily want to have to make something. For all the reasons listed in this thread (and more), most people will still use the big name carriers, whatever those are at the time. The important thing in my opinion is to support babywearing no matter how and with what, and to let people know there are options
(smaller names, different types, easy DIY instructions) so that they can choose what works best for them. But that's still often going to be a big name, easily available, relatively cheap carrier, and that's ok.
I think it all varies by region more than just in terminology. I live in the pacific northwest and many mamas, myself included, love the ergos and other SSCs like that because we can wear them around town as well as for light hikes. Also, they are sold in brick and mortar stores so we can try them on and see what works. The more I wear my Ergo, the more I get comments to the point that the owner of the store where I bought it gave me business cards to pass out. It is fun to read about all the other carriers but they are expensive and you don't know, if you buy one over the internet, if they are going to work for you. I got a Mei Tai as a baby gift and love it but I would not have bought that for myself without trying them first. The store in town sells all sorts of carriers but she does not have as many as you all discuss. I love the Becos but I would not buy one without trying it on. Luckily, she has them so I can see them in person.
Wraps are beyond me. I have one and think they are pretty but I could not justify their expense. I think a lot of mamas feel the same which is why Ergos and such are so nice. They can be used by dh and mama and for years.
Soft wraps seem too hot to me but I can see why some would love them for newborns. Personally, I love my hotsling. They are also sold all over town, so I guess I am lucky to be able to have so many local choices.
If you go to babywearer.com, the most commonly discussed carriers there are also the most commonly discussed carriers here. They are just popular because they are available more places. Like fuzzi bunz or bum genius dipes; they are more common because they are more available. They are the gateway products into a whole world.
I think part of it is accessibility, just like with clothdiapers ... the bigger brands have plenty of stock, are easy to find, easy to order with no waiting lists or complicated options, etc. I use Fuzzi Bunz diapers for that reason, and I have a Hotsling and a Moby Wrap for that reason, too. I don't have time or energy to spend stalking what I want -- I just want to log on, enter my credit card # and have my sling a few days later.
I think it's also b/c they're good, easy-to-use, comfortable carriers.
I used to read all the time here about babyhawk, kozy, peanut shell and hotslings as well. I think that's still a decent range of options. I think some brands have just been around longer or the companies are bigger, so they are known more.
Hmmmm . . . good question.
I live in the town where Moby company is based, so they are all over town. It was the first wrap I tried and I loved it so much that I stuck with it. I've tried others and I'm sure I'll use another brand as DD grows, but for now I'm hooked on my Moby.