Baby/ Behind The Butter/ Mom Stuff

The Babywearing Post

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I’ve been meaning to write this post forever so here goes!

When it comes to “babywearing” (aka wearing your baby in a wrap, sling or carrier) there are SO MANY OPTIONS. And while I’m no babywearing expert, I have tried tons of different carriers in the past six months. I’ve bought, sold and traded carriers. I’ve been gifted carriers and I have gifted carriers myself.  I truly love babywearing and hope to continue wearing Grayson into toddlerhood.  I wear him, on average, for several hours every day. I wear him when I do chores around the house, when I cook dinner, when we take walks and when he gets fussy. He’s teething right now so I’ve been wearing him more than ever. Wearing him in a woven wrap calms him right down every.single.time. We hardly ever use a stroller anymore! He loves it and I love the attachment it fosters between us. I wouldn’t consider my parenting style to be strict “attachment parenting” but I do love that aspect of the style. I’d rather consider my parenting style to be a blend of several different styles…but that’s a different post for a different day. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s such a touchy subject so I’m not even sure I should go there. Anyway, I digress. This post is meant to be my experience with different carriers. It’s really different for everyone and what I like might not work for you.  And, obviously, please be safe. Don’t wear a baby if you aren’t sure on the proper carry. There are tons of YouTube videos dedicated to that.

So…different types – there’s stretchy wraps, woven wraps, ring slings, mei tais and soft structured carriers (like ergo). Out of all those things, I have tried them all except a mei tai. This post is funny because it’s SO personal on what you like and why you like it. So please keep in that in mind.

So yes, I have tried pretty much everything but my picks are super duper simple.

For a newborn, solly wrap HANDS DOWN. Nothing else comes remotely close to the softness of this thing. I had Grayson in mine pretty much 24/7 when he was a newborn. He would go to sleep immediately in the wrap and it made travel so much easier. Sure, there’s a lot of material and there’s definitely a learning curve but oh, it’s so wonderful. I already can’t wait for my next babe so I can use the solly again. It’s love.

For an older baby, I love woven wraps. Rather, I am absolutely addicted to woven wraps. They are soft, cozy and Grayson just loves being all wrapped up. Woven wraps, unlike solly wraps, are not stretchy at all. They are handwoven and come in different sizes. Most average sized people wear a size 6 woven wrap as a “base size”. I have wraps in sizes four, five and six and they all fit well. I just love woven wraps. My friend Kacia talked me into buying one when Grayson was just a week old, saying it was the “best baby item she ever bought” and it’s true.  There’s so many different ways to wrap up baby in them! And it doesn’t hurt that they are just so darn pretty. I wear Grayson in a forward cross carry every day (like above photo) and have just mastered wearing him on my back as well.

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All those other carriers are great but I’m just a wrap girl, plain and simple. It just works for me! The Ergo started to hurt my back once Grayson hit 20 lbs. I don’t know if that’s common or not but every time I wore it, my shoulders would kill after a few minutes. I literally have no pain at all when I’m wearing him in a woven wrap. And Grayson is a big boy, y’all.  I find them much more supportive than soft structured carriers and really do prefer them. They take a few extra minutes to get in and out of, but worth it.

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A carrier I thought I would love but didn’t? Ring slings. I had a maya wrap when Grayson was born and I was just too sleep deprived to figure it out. I ended up selling it after it sat in the back of the nursery closet for four months. Then, I bought a Sakura Bloom and ended up selling that, too, after only two weeks. I just couldn’t get as cozy or comfortable of a fit than I could with my wraps. I LOVE the way ring slings look but sad because they just aren’t for me. Now I know!

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So, to a pregnant friend I would tell her to invest in a Solly wrap and then a woven wrap once the baby is out of the newborn stage (3 months-ish). A soft structured carrier is awesome to keep in the car to throw on when you run quick errands to the post office and what not…out of the four I have tried (ergo, lillebaby, baby bjorn and lenny lamb) I just love the lenny lamb. It’s actually made out of a woven wrap so it’s incredibly soft. And it doesn’t hurt my shoulders like the ergo did. Plus, it’s reallyyyyy pretty.

For instructions on how to do different carries using woven wraps, I really love Babywearing Faith’s videos on YouTube. I finally, after weeks of failed attempts, got Grayson on my back by watching her videos.

And for more information on babywearing, check out Babywearing International! They have chapters all over the world and provide awesome support and instruction for safe and proper babywearing. 🙂

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‘Cause there’s nothing cuter than a new squish all wrapped up on mama (or daddy)

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54 Comments

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    November 14, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Awww, Jenna, just seeing this post reminds me of babywearing my daughter, sniff, almost 8 years ago. I loved it and soooo much easier for me than strollers were. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  • Reply
    Maryea {happy healthy mama}
    November 14, 2014 at 3:24 am

    This is really interesting! Both of my little ones (6 and almost 3 now) were not into being worn. Maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance, but they didn’t love it when I tried it. You make babywearing look so cozy! 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 14, 2014 at 4:30 am

    I really want to try out the ring sling! My friend has a year old boy she always carries in one and it looks so sweet! And easier that buckling up the ergo. Definitely something I think i’d borrow before purchasing. I also think I’m going to try to make a woven wrap. Still searching for the right fabric!

    And the AP post?? I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole! : )

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 14, 2014 at 6:27 am

      Also, can you share what websites you use for selling and trading carriers?? I have one I was given brand new but never used and it’s just chilling in my closet. I’d love for it to get some use by a new mom!

      • Reply
        Catherine Parks
        November 14, 2014 at 6:43 am

        I am interested in this as well. I have a ring sling that I need to sell. He never liked it. It never even left my house! 🙁

      • Reply
        jenna
        November 14, 2014 at 7:21 am

        Facebook groups! There’s practically a buy/sell/trade page for every carrier in the world. Just join the group then you can list your carrier 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Runs & WODs
    November 14, 2014 at 6:21 am

    People underestimate what a workout carrying a baby around it!

  • Reply
    Amy
    November 14, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I actually liked the mai tai… it was a little less intimidating to me than the wraps. And mine was pretty cheap, comparatively. I still throw my 2.5 year old in hers occasionally when she’s being extra terrible two-y. 🙂 But the wraps do look soooo soft and cozy!

  • Reply
    Grace
    November 14, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Grayson is such a cutie, and looks so adorable in all those wraps! I love babywearing! We LOVED our mei tai and our Ergo, and didn’t really care for woven wraps. My almost three year old will still ride in the Ergo on some occasions, and I love it! Honestly? We got a stroller at our baby shower, used it a handful of times, then gave it to grandma (who preferred it to babywearing), and never looked back!

    I’ve got a dumb question, though… you said that babywearing puts Grayson right to sleep, but in an earlier post, you said you think Grayson’s such a great sleeper because you always put him down awake for every bedtime and nap from day one, so he learned to self-soothe very early on? I thought that was interesting because I “broke” a lot of the sleep rules (always nursed to sleep, I’m very lazy, ha) and my daughter didn’t sleep well for the first year, so I was interested if the “put down awake” thing really worked like you had posted about, or if it’s really more flexible than the sleep books would have you think?

    And ha, yeah, I probably won’t post about parenting styles… SUCH a touchy subject! Especially since the attachment parenting folks and the Moms-On-Call/sleep training folks are literally on two opposite ends of the spectrum… I think you’d be kicked out of the AP camp for even mentioning the phrase “sleep training”! But hey, whatever works, right?

    • Reply
      jenna
      November 14, 2014 at 8:03 am

      I meant it put him right to sleep when he was a newborn. He would get in the solly wrap and fall instantly asleep while I did chores around the house 🙂

      • Reply
        Grace
        November 14, 2014 at 8:09 am

        Thanks for replying! At what age did you start putting him down wide awake? We’re thinking about kiddo number 2 and I’m debating if I should do anything differently this time with sleep (although I’m probably just be lazy again and co-sleep, ha!).

        • Reply
          jenna
          November 14, 2014 at 8:36 am

          I started doing that around 2 months

          • Lori
            November 15, 2014 at 9:23 am

            Every baby is different. Remember that. Putting a 2 month old down wide awake is not the norm. Jenna’s little one seems to have done great with that, but it’s not what my pediatrician friends recommend (I’m a doc, but don’t work with kids). Please decide for yourself how you want to raise your children.

    • Reply
      Mish
      November 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      I’ve worn her since day 2 and we use moms on call (gasp!) she falls asleep on me AND self soothes. We sometimes co-sleep and sometimes she sleeps in her crib. She’s a great sleeper and I attribute it to moms on call and BW!

  • Reply
    Kristen
    November 14, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I also love my woven wrap – so versatile!

    Just a quick note about your ‘leave in the car’ comment – the buckles on soft structured carriers aren’t the same grade of plastic as the clips in car seats and can degrade over time with temperature changes. So in many climates, they probably shouldn’t ‘live’ in the car. (I don’t want to sound critical – just want to make sure babies stay safe!)

  • Reply
    Jaclym
    November 14, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. There are way too many carriers out there, it’s so overwhelming!

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on other baby goods… Like the “must have” pack & play. Is it really necessary? When you’re not carrying G, what is he hanging out in all day? I’m trying to be a minimalist 🙂

    • Reply
      jenna
      November 14, 2014 at 8:55 am

      I don’t think a pack & play is a must. When I’m not wearing Grayson he hangs out on a blanket on the floor with some toys 🙂

      • Reply
        Amanda L
        November 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

        a pack n play is a must for us, as we have large dogs. But otherwise I totally agree – the floor works just fine!

      • Reply
        Brenda
        November 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

        With my first baby I didn’t understand why a pack & play was on all of the “needed” lists. We used it for a portable crib, but that was it. Then I had baby #2.. and #3… and more. What I discovered was a pack and play was very handy to have to keep baby safe from the roaming toddler. 🙂

        Great babywearing post! I miss wearing my little guys who aren’t so little anymore.

    • Reply
      ashley l
      November 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Do you find that it’s hard for him to sleep in your wrap now. I find my little one slept all the time in the wrap but now it’s too stimulating for her. For that reason when we’re out for a while I use the stroller do that she can take a quick cat nap if she gets tired. My baby is 4 months old and I still use her solly baby wrap. She’s 16.5 lbs. I am looking into woven wraps as she nears 20 lbs.

      • Reply
        ashley l
        November 14, 2014 at 10:17 am

        sorry the above post was supposed to reply to the above comment. Not sure why it jumped down.
        We only use a pack and play for travel as a crib. Our baby plays on the floor on a blanket with toys too.

  • Reply
    kelly Blechertas
    November 14, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Which wovens have been your favorite? Fabric type and brand?

    • Reply
      jenna
      November 14, 2014 at 8:55 am

      I have a cotton bamboo Ellevill that I loved with G was smaller….my current favorite is my 100% cotton Vatanai that I bought secondhand off a local babywearing mama. I just ordered a cotton wool blend wrap and am excited to check it out as the weather gets chillier!

  • Reply
    Casey
    November 14, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Hey Jenna!

    What brands of woven wraps do you like? I’m not sure of the difference between a woven wrap or anything else…like is a Moby woven? I’m due in March with my first baby and have no idea about any of this! haha.

    Thank you 🙂

    • Reply
      jenna
      November 14, 2014 at 8:54 am

      I have an Ellevill and a Vatanai. The Ellevill I bought new and the Vatanai I got used – I LOVE the Vatanai and it’s been my go-to wrap. I highly recommend checking out different babywearing groups on Facebook as a way to learn more about different types of wraps. And no, a Moby is a stretchy wrap. I’ve never tried one though so I can’t comment!

      • Reply
        Mish
        November 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        I second a BW group! They have sling libraries and a million options. I went before I had my daughter and still go. BW is the absolute best and I love it.

    • Reply
      Laura
      November 14, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Casey–I used a moby wrap and loved it. But, it is a very heavy, thick fabric. I love in the South and my daughter was born in May. It was impossible to wear it outside with her. I loved it when we were grocery shopping/anywhere indoors but if where you live gets pretty hot, just know you’ll be limited to where you can use it. The solly is great because the fabric is so lightweight.

  • Reply
    Michelle Rollins
    November 14, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Ah! I love babywearing! I have a Moby wrap, which I loved for the newborn stage and look forward to using again. I also have ring sling and a camouflage Boba soft structured carrier (SSC). The ring sling is GORGEOUS, but it’s not comfortable for long outings. I prefer it for quick in-and-out trips, and I found it the easiest to nurse in (being able to nurse in public comfortable was a priority of mine!). The SSC is our standard carrier now. It’s the only one my husband will use! He wears our 15 month old on his back, while I wear him on my front (hugsandcuddles!). We don’t have a stroller since they’re so expensive, and we found only two circumstances in where we could have used one, and both times were really more for a place to unload our bags!

    I’m a member of Babywearing International of Hampton Roads, and I love being about to check out carriers from their lending library. I already know that when I get pregnant again, I’ll be investing in a woven wrap! They’re so versatile and are much easier to use with a pregnant belly!

  • Reply
    Erin
    November 14, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for another interesting and informative post! I have son just a couple months younger than Grayson and I really enjoy reading your views on motherhood. Please keep on posting! Just a quick question, do you have a specific brand of woven wrap you reccomend or place to buy one? Thanks!

    • Reply
      jenna
      November 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

      My first woven wrap was a cotton bamboo blend from Ellevill – it’s the only wrap that I purchased new. I buy wraps secondhand from buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook. That’s how I scored my Vatanai wrap (the blue one with the whales in the photos) for much cheaper than retail.

      • Reply
        Aimee Peterson
        November 14, 2014 at 9:33 am

        Can you recommend a group on Facebook? I just looked and had a hard time finding a group to buy/sell/trade. Do you have one specific to where you live? I live in Mew England so not sure if you joined a west coast group. Thank you!

        • Reply
          jenna
          November 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

          I would search for Babywearing International —— (your city name)…or the biggest city near you!

  • Reply
    sonia the mexigarian
    November 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Expecting early next year and my girlfriend has been encouraging me to baby wear. I already planned on doing so since members of my family have been doing it for generations 🙂 I already have a small collection of different wraps that I purchased or was gifted, and am looking forward to learning how to use them. I joined the Baby Wearing Intl as well and am learning quite a bit. Lots of expensive woven wraps I see. Do you think that the price factor determines the quality of a wrap?

    • Reply
      jenna
      November 14, 2014 at 8:52 am

      Yay! Congrats. I do feel like the price determines the quality in woven wraps. That being said, I buy all my woven wraps secondhand from other mamas and it’s a great way to save! Join the babywearing swap group on facebook and you can really get great deals on wonderful wraps.

  • Reply
    Madeline
    November 14, 2014 at 9:16 am

    What are your favorite carries with your woven wraps? My little guy is getting so big and I think I need to try a few new ones out!

  • Reply
    Angie
    November 14, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I loved the moby for the tiny baby stage. Once they got bigger, I used a mai tai a lot. I liked that I could carry a small baby on my back safely in a mai tai. It makes it much easier to deal with older siblings when the little one can spend some time on the back.
    We also used an ergo a lot but mainly for back carrying when they were bigger.

    Baby wearing is a complete lifesaver!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork
    November 14, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Thanks for this post! I’m definitely saving it for a later time. I don’t know that I’m the attachment parenting type, but I’m definitely the “get stuff done whatever way possible” type!
    Do you buy and sell your items on Craigslist or on some baby/child-specific site?

    • Reply
      Mish
      November 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Check out your local baby wearing group on FB (just search) or a buy sell swap baby wearing page.

  • Reply
    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance
    November 14, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Oh my goodness those sweet cheeks!! He is such a doll baby!

  • Reply
    Kate
    November 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Hey Jenna! Long time follower of your blog here (never commented before!). It’s so wonderful to see you embracing babywearing, definitely fun to see you pop up on the swap. Wrapping/wearing my babies has been such an incredible gift and I love seeing people share. I only have one tiny comment, that you are free to disregard. I see you love the front wrap cross carry, it is one if my favorites as well, but I see you aren’t quite making sure that Grayson has a proper seat and hip placement. Not sure if he’s just leg straightening before you take your photos, but you should make sure that his legs and bum form an “M” shape instead of the infamous crotch dangle like a bjorn. Anyways, enjoy your bub and keep sharing the wrapping love! -Kate

  • Reply
    Sarah
    November 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Which kind of wrap is that where you’re wearing him in your hip??

    • Reply
      jenna
      November 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      That is a ring sling.

  • Reply
    Laura
    November 17, 2014 at 6:24 am

    I love wearing my son, too! He turned two in September, but still rides on my back now and again (at the age where he likes to walk on his own… Mr. Independent!) in the Ergo.

    Just an idea for anyone else who had shoulder pain with the Ergo… I have found that if I hold him up higher (one hand lifting him under the bum after he’s been put in the carrier) while I am tightening the shoulder straps he ends up settling higher on my body and it keeps my shoulders from hurting. I find this method: http://youtu.be/6jUZMK0D2As of getting him on my back is easiest and fastest (vs. the back carry instructions that came with the Ergo). Also, as the baby gets stronger he can support himself a bit more which also helps alleviate shoulder pain.

    For the tiny baby stage, I was a fan of the Baby K’tan. It’s basically just two loops of fabric vs. having to figure out how to manage several yards of fabric (which also makes it easier to put on in places such as the parking lot of a store).

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy
    November 17, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Love this! My husband and I plan on having kids in the next 3-5 years, but it’s never too early to start doing research…I’m obsessed! 😉

  • Reply
    megabrooke
    November 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Aww, I love these! They seem great!
    Does your husband use them too? Just curious if these are more for women… I see pics of men wearing them on the Solly site, but I don’t know if I can picture my husband doing so?

  • Reply
    Coty and Mariah@quirksandtwists
    November 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    So happy to have this to reference back to! Very informative!

  • Reply
    AQ
    November 18, 2014 at 8:17 am

    I tried every wrap and carrier under the sun and they all made my daughter unhappy, uncomfortable and generally cranky. I SOOOOOO wanted a kid who liked to be worn but it was not in our cards, and it definitely wasn’t for lack of trying! She does tolerate the ergo now as a toddler, but that is very few and far between. Just wanted to throw it our there that not all kids love to be worn, and that is fine and normal. I was so sad to give up my dream of this happy baby who I could carry everywhere and would be content and sleep! Its funny how these little ones totally throw everything you thought you would do as a parent up in the air 😉 I now have a very, very independent 16 month old who walks/runs everywhere. Its a PITA sometimes when I really need to get something done (shopping can be a total nightmare) but we just use those times as teachable moments. I have kept some of our carriers in the hopes that our future children may like them.

    • Reply
      Laura Ann
      November 19, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Thank you for pointing that out. I absolutely love wearing my baby, but sometimes – much to my dismay – he prefers to face me in the stroller. He seems much happier when he can see me and we can smile and talk. I’m going to keep trying different wraps and carriers, but ya – their preferences don’t always match ours!

  • Reply
    Kristen @ Vitamin K Girl
    November 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for the babywearing advice! I’m expecting my first little one this Spring so I need to learn about these things that I havent a clue about:)

  • Reply
    Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel
    November 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Jenna you and your baby are above and beyond stunning <3

  • Reply
    Jess
    December 7, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Great post. I too have trouble with the Ergo… I find it very difficult to do up the back center buckle on my own when front carrying. It also starts to hurt my shoulders and back after 15 minutes or so, and my guy is just little. I did buy a Cuddlywrap (looks like the Solly), and find it so much more comfortable. It has been a life saver as baby loves it and will calm down right away when I put him in.

  • Reply
    Jillian
    January 26, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Hi Jenna,

    I’m a long time follower of your blog! I’m expecting my first in June (I’m having a boy as well!) and investigating baby wraps. Your post above mentions the ring sling didn’t work for you.. But recently I’ve seen you wearing the Sakura. Did you try again with success? Wondering what changed? I’m thinking I’m going to get both a Solly and the Sakura. Let me know, thanks so much for your input!

    Jillian

    • Reply
      jenna
      January 26, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      I got more comfortable with the ring sling and now I use it all the time – actually I think I use it the most of anything! It just took me awhile to “get” it. For a newborn, I would still get the Solly wrap…but a ring sling is great for an older baby because it’s super quick!

  • Reply
    Weekend in Gualala
    January 26, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    […] few of you have asked about my ring slings because I mentioned how I didn’t like them in the babywearing post I wrote awhile back. Well, I have to report that I finally got used to them and now I use them all […]

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