Personally, I’ve loved baby carriers with my own babies and used them in preference over a pushchair as much as I could. I believe, as little babies, they liked the close proximity of mum and seemed more content to sleep than if I tried putting them into a pushchair. Then, when they were bigger, I used a back carrier as much as possible. They undoubtedly loved the high vantage point to see where we were going. Meeting adults face-to-face with broad grins and giggles. I swear my little boys were little flirts particularly with women. As a family, we could continue to take long, healthy walks on any terrain whatsoever and to put them back down at ‘car-exhaust’ level in a stroller seemed disingenuous as an introduction to the healthy lifestyle I wanted for them.
Baby carriers have moved on a long way and particularly slings have become much more popular. I campaigned long and hard with Mother & Baby to include back carriers in the testing process. I had a good 8 years of use with mine with all my children. So, for mums like me who really enjoyed using them, it was a really good investment. Whereas a front carrier I found only really comfortable to use while they were really tiny for the first 6 months.
Here’s a little from Mother & Baby testers about the ones they love or have been testing throughout the summer.
Elaine Little said: “Testing baby carriers would have been a great excuse for lots of cuddles from your wee one and plenty of walks in the summer! I loved my Moby D Wrap and my son Harrison was always snug while my back was saved from pain – Fantastic buy!”
“I’ve been very lucky to be able to help a friend test some baby carriers this year. It’s been a great experience to try out a wide selection but absolutely nothing compares with an ERGO. We’ve had one since my first son was born, with the added insert they are good from birth but really come in to their own at around 4 months. The photo shows my husband with my eldest last year, he was nearly 2 but we still but him in the ERGO now even though he’s nearly 3. I use my ERGO almost daily with my youngest who’s 16 months. Comfy, Practical, washable and easy to put on. Can’t be beaten!!”
“We’ve had great fun testing backpacks and have got to go on lots of great walks because of it – we live in Scotland near Loch Lomond so have been making the most of the countryside and nice weather. My husband Dan has ended up with various sorts of sandwiches on his head as my son Koen (nearly 15 months) tucked into his lunch on some of the longer walks. We also ended up hiking a massive hill – not realising we’d taken the wrong fork in the road when we were looking for a loch. It was beautiful scenery at the top and given the fact I’m 24 weeks pregnant I was quite proud that I’d managed the hike at all. Needless to say my baby brain kicked in – and 15 mins into our descent I’d realised I’d left Koen’s coat at the top! Oops. Dan had to go all the way back again with Koen in the backpack as I waited tucking into my packed lunch. :0)
We also went for a walk with a few of my friends who are testing out the backpacks too and started off in glorious sunshine only to realise that there were dark grey clouds looming. We quickly turned around and headed back to the nearest town, but got drenched. My boy Koen giggled as we tried to make it to the nearest pub in time for a hot drink – shouting ‘quack quack’ as we did. His new favourite word now is ‘backpack’ as I’ve been saying it so much when testing.
The other funny thing to add is that some of my friends’ kids – who are around 17 months old – point blank refused to get in some of the backpacks. Some had to be teased in with the offer of food whilst another little girl – Frances – managed to kick my friend in the head! That was trying to get her into the most expensive one and my friend just said that she was glad she hadn’t bought it cos she wouldn’t have been able to take it back. Luckily after a few days the little girl managed to sit in it long enough for a walk.”
“I just wanted to show you some pictures of our testing of the baby carriers and say a huge thank you for picking me to test them. My son and his friends have had some great outings in them and we have had lots of fun. My daughter was a bit miffed that she was too big for them as she is a very tall 4 year old but she helped with the testing too by putting her dolls in the back and testing them out with us.
All the products we tested were great but I think the one that will help us out most on our imminent trip to Orlando is the Littlelife ultralight carrier, so easy to use and so compact we are to use it as a day backpack for most of it and when the little man gets fed up in his buggy we are going to put him in the carrier.
I have to say though the winner for making us laugh was the Phil and Ted’s instructions, they are so funny and appealed to our sense of humour!!!”
Over to you. Are you a ‘look-free-hands!’ baby carrier fan? Or do you prefer to use a ‘back-saving’ pushchair for its ability to transport lots of stuff?
Samantha Robson asked me to add this:
“I researched all kinds of baby carriers online and asked around baby groups when I had my first over 4 years ago.
My husband and I agreed we did not like the look of those big bulky ones with metal frames. Being only 5ft 2” myself I felt they would just be too big and bulky for me and to be honest they didn’t look very nice at all.
So we looked at the more natural carriers with ties and clips. I liked the idea of having constant contact with my baby especially as I was breastfeeding, the bulkier carriers did not seem to provide the snuggle feeling that you get with the strap and wrap carriers.
After looking over several we chose the ERGObaby Original carrier.
This carrier allows you to carry your baby from 4 months to 4 years.
And also from birth if you get the separate insert (I have not tried the separate insert as we got the carrier whan my eldest was 4 months old)
The carrier can be used on your front, back or hip.
The way the carrier is made and fits you it means the baby is sat in the “anatomically correct position for healthy spine and hip development” (quoted from the site).
The way the carrier is made and hold the baby it also evenly distributes the babies weight across parents hips and shoulders. I found this essential as I do have a problem with one of my hips.
I liked that my little ones were going to be sat snuggly against me and I knew it was not putting pressure on their hips and spine, or mine.
From 4 months you carry the baby on your front with them facing you. This is lovely as they can just snuggle into you and go to sleep.
You can also breastfeed whilst wearing this carrier which I have done on many occasion whilst wandering around the shops with my youngest.
All you have to do is loosen the strap on the side you are going to feed, adjust the babies head into the correct position and adjust the strap back to being secure and comfortable. It was so simple to do I was able to do this in the middle of a busy shop and then carry on shopping with no hassle.
The carrier was so easy to put on that after the first use I was able to put it on myself with no problems.
You fasten the carrier around your waist and adjust it to your size (you can purchase an extender strap if required) then snuggle baby up to your body. Whilst holding baby against you just pull the carrier up and place your arms through the straps then reach over your shoulders to fasten the clip behind you. You can then adjust the tightness of the baby against you by pulling the straps under your arms to tighten.
I’m only small but my husband is 6ft 8″ and it fits him easily with adjustments.
From the age where baby can hold their heads up unaided you can put baby on your back. Again facing you so if they fall asleep you can use the little hood to hold their heads up against you. Lean forward so baby’s head is against your back then the hood slides over their heads and is adjustable for different heights, you then strap the clips onto the straps of the carrier and this keeps babies head from flopping back as they are asleep. I also used this if we got a light drizzle of rain while we are out to keep babies head dry.
The carrier is made from cotton and is machine washable. (mine has washed up lovely every time)
It comes in several different colours and had a little pouch on the front that can fit a wallet, or a phone, wipes… something small in.
You can buy the carrier so it has a matching or contrasting hood.
And since I brought the carrier they have now brought out extra accessories.
I loved this carrier and intend to buy the infant insert for my next child so I can use it from birth.
It was definitely great value for money. My eldest is now 4 and she was using it till she was over 3 (on daddy’s back as he is stronger lol)
I have used it for my second and still do. It still looks like new.
Highly recommended from our family.”