What is baby wearing?
Baby wearing is basically carrying your baby. It holds many advantages for both parents and babies. It promotes bonding and can encourage milk supply to a new mum in those first few weeks. Research suggests that babies are quieter and more contented when held close. Using a sling or woven wrap allows you to do this but also frees up your hands to carry out your daily tasks or hold your shopping bags/other children's hands.
Which carrier is good for summer?
Carriers that don't need an infant insert, such as Connecta Baby Carriers are perfect for hot weather with young babies. Connecta Solar Carrier or Comfy Joey water ring slings are ideal for use around water. Woven wraps such as Storchenwiege are thin, but strong, so more ideal than some other woven wraps for hot weather. Linen ring slings, such as Comfy Joey ring slings are more comfortabel than other ring slings in hot weather. By having your baby in just the bare essentials of clothing will help keep him or her cooler in high temperature. Woven wraps are coolest in single layer carriers (such as a ruck) and so you may prefer a shorter woven wrap, such as a size 4. Similarly, ring slings are just one layer of material covering your baby and so are ideal. Of course, this isn't too relevant if you're going to be avoiding the sun and heading for the air conditioner all summer!
What is the difference in materials for ring slings and woven wraps?
Briefly, cotton is the perfect all rounder. Linen is very strong, thin and airy, so the perfect material if you'll be in the sun or if you run hot. Hemp is strong and thicker than linen, so both are very supportive through toddlerhood. Silk is strong and luxurious.
I'm new to baby wearing, which woven wrap, ring sling or baby carrier is best for me?
It depends on how you will use it...if you are looking for a quick, hands free baby carrier for a run from the car into a shop, or the school run, then a ring sling is ideal. If you are going to wear for longer journeys/time frames, then a ring sling is a one shoulder carrier and so your shoulder may ache after a while if you have a large baby or toddler. Short journeys are still good though.
A woven wrap is very secure and comfortable. There are lots of ways to carry using them (instructions are included with each sale). They can be used to carry your baby or toddler on your front, hip or back. They are ideal for high back carries, ideal for a baby or toddler who wants to see what's going on. Both woven wraps and ring slings are suitable from birth. For simple carries, a size 3 or for would be idea, such as a ruck. For a multiple pass carry, a more secure carry for a leg straightener or a firmer carry for a newborn, then the average sized wrap needed (base size) is a size 6 (4.6-4.7m long). A more petite person may be able to use a size 5 and a larger person such as a man may prefer a size 7.
If you're looking for a more structured carrier, then half buckles are great. These fasten around your waist with a buckle, but keep the flexibility of a woven wrap by having straps which go over your shoulders and wrap around. These can be worn on your front for young babies and your back too once your baby is a bit older. To gain a high back carry, the buckle of these would need to be fastened higher than your waist.
From feedback and reviews, the Connecta Baby Carrier is the most popular baby carrier. It isn't over complicated, doesn't need an infant insert and when the instructions are followed, offers a snug, comfortable carry for all. It seems the most adaptable to adult sizes too - we've seen one be used comfortably by a 9 year old right up to a 100kg man. Don't believe me, check out our Instagram feed!
Websites of interest:
Sling Rings - tested and none welded ring sling rings
Slingmeets Australia - the place to find a local group for help and support
Baby Wearers Western Australia Inc - WA's local sling support group