Disclaimer: I really in this post, so if you know all about the different types of baby carriers, just scroll down to the end for my opinion on what I'd get if I was starting from scratch. The rest is info for people who are "new" to babywearing if you are interested
Okay, I am not a sling fanatic, but some of my best friends are, so from what I've gleaned from their conversations, here's some additional sites to check out:www.peppermint.com
(information and all kinds of carriers for purchase)
- Baby Wearer is an independent forum that not only has info and discussions, but a trading post where you can buy and sell carriers specifically.
Finally, NINO is an organization http://www.nineinnineout.org/
that may be of help and may have local chapters where you could even "try" slings as well.
Here is what is "hot" in the baby wearing world as far as I know (again, this is secondhand info from true fanatics who are some of my best friends):Wraps:
Didymos, Moby, Girasol, Easy Care, Ellaroo Wrap are some "namebrands" - wraps are long (like 15 feet, or 5 yards give or take) strips of cloth that you (surprise, surprise) wrap around you in all kinds of different ways and are from what I hear GREAT for newborns/infants, but many people swear by them well into toddlerhood as well. You can not only front or back carry, but "rucksack" and even create a "sling" effect with a wrap.Mei Tai:
Kozy carrier, Mei Tai Baby, Free Hand are some of the hotter places to buy from. These are essentially a square of fabric with 4 straps coming out at the corners. You tie the bottom straps around your waist and the other straps go over your shoulders and then around and under baby's bum to form a seat out of the square of fabric. They can be used with newborns, but from what I've heard are better for older infants (6mo+) through toddlers and can be used for front or back carrys.Ring Sling:
Maya, OTSBH, Taylor Made, Zolo are some of the names that come to mind here. These are just what they suggest a carrier with rings at the shoulder that make the sling "adjustable" They are great for nursing in as the "main hold" is like a cradle with baby at your breast, but they can also be used to hip carry, front forward carry and even back carry if you're proficient in their use. Thoughts I've heard are that the OTSBH (Sears recommendation) are just too padded and bulky and most of the mamas I know who prefer ring slings really like the maya.Pouch:
Hotsling, New Native, Maya has a version, Kangaroo Korner are the names that come to mind. These function as a sling in that they can "cradle" your baby, but are not adjustable so size will be important. You can also use a pouch do most everything a ring sling can, but I've mostly heard that they are most useful for newborns and young infants but can transition into toddlerhood.Soft Carrier:
Ergo, Sutemi, Baby Trekker - think Baby Bjorn or Snugli but like 80X better!! I absolutely *love-love-love* my Ergo. It works from newborn but I still in fact can be found to carry by 4 and 6yos in it. My husband is not a babywearer, but this is the type of carrier that most dads IME are willing to use. It functions a lot like a mei tai in that you can front carry and back carry, but you can also hip carry and with a baby trekker you can front carry with baby facing out. But instead of tying straps, there are adjustable straps with buckles. They aren't as "pretty" as most slings, wraps, pouches and mei tais, rather they are more practical and plain looking. Another thing is that the sites will say you can breast feed with babe in these carriers, but I don't think that's realistic or comfortable - but they are great for long walks and hiking and really easy to get baby in and out of.
There are other carriers of course, but these are the typical versions. A podegai
for instance is like a really wide mei tai with only two longer straps. It's like a blanket that goes around baby and you and then you bring the straps all the way around you under their butt and tie to create a seat. I don't see how you could nurse in one though. Rebozos
are like wider and shorter wraps that can function much like a sling or pouch.
Personally what I have and what I'm going to use is:Sutemi
(this I think is going to be more comfortable for wearing a newborn than my Ergo - I received this as a gift)Podegai
(I got this for really cheap or I don't think I'd own one, the thing I like most about it is that b/c it's as wide and long as a big baby blanket when I wear baby in this, it will cover my fat
whereas the sutemi is going to be strappy and exentuate my rolls)New Native
(this is a pouch that my friend lent me, I think I'll be using this a lot with a newborn for discreet breastfeeding and just having bean close!)Homemade Wrap
(I bought 5 yards of fabric and hemmed it and have my own wraps, I'll use these, but I don't know how much b/c in my opinion having all that material wrapped around you is going to be hot and this will be a summer baby)Ergo
(I know I'll use this all the time once baby turns 6mo or so - I really like it!)
I may also get a mei tai or moby wrap from friends of mine for a gift.If I were starting from scratch, I think I would just get a pouch OR ring sling AND a wrap. And then maybe at 4-6mo, I'd try to sell off those and buy a mei tai and/or Ergo.
Have fun!! It's like CDing - there's a whole world to discover!!