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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, July 22

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So you've finally made it out of the house, but damn, you sure hate lugging that stroller up and down the stairs. Or like me, you are irritated at the SUV-like size that strollers are reaching, making them a hindrance more than a help. Well, if you want an easier way to travel with your baby, a carrier may be just the thing for you both.

Not only is placing your baby in a carrier easy and comfortable for you, it is also beneficial for your baby. According to pediatrician Dr. William Sears, baby wearing," ... provides a safe, protective environment for baby when you are shopping or traveling in crowds." He also states, on his Web site, babies that are "worn" cry less and are generally smarter.

Mothers who wear their babies agree. Brooke, the mother of one-year-old Nate, loves the ease of mobility her carrier provides, "I live upstairs in an apartment building and I love that I can grab my Maya for short trips ... an umbrella or lightweight stroller is not an option for me as I have a very large baby. I have no problem slinging him though!" And Carrie, mother of 26-month-old, Jazzmine says, "Our sling was a life-saver at our very first Dragon*Con convention. My daughter was two years old, and in a crowd of over 50,000 people I knew that she was safe and secure in my sling ... Even now, at 26 months she loves to 'go for a sling ride' when we are out and about."

I have two carriers that I use for my son. One is a sling and the other is a front carrier. Not only do I wear him, but his father does as well. Baby-wearing isn't just for moms; fathers can enjoy the bonding and freedom this offers.

All of the trips, including those made for these articles, have been with Vincent in a carrier. While I can't personally review all of the carriers out there, I can tell you what I like and donít like about the two I own.

Sling Carriers

Sling Carriers

Sling carriers like the Maya, New Native Baby and such are great for all babies, but ideal for newborns, premature and high-needs babies. Since the child is worn very close to their parents' body in a prone position, babies are cozier and less exposed to their surroundings. When babies are older, however, they can sit up in their sling. Even children over the age of two still enjoy their sling time with parents.

I used my sling when my son was a newborn, and I felt it provided him with the enclosed safety and security of the womb. Once in the sling, he would usually drift off to sleep in his own private cocoon. It was also quite easy to nurse him in the sling.

At times, though, it was difficult for me to put him there without feeling as if I were losing him among the folds of fabric. When this happens, sling manufactures recommend placing a blanket or pillow inside to lift your baby higher, but I felt that just added more fabric to lose him in.

Front Carriers

Front Carriers

If the idea of a sling seems too complicated or "granola" for you, a front carrier may suit you better. While all of the straps and buttons may seem intimidating at first, once you get the hang of what goes where, youíll be able to pop junior in without skipping a beat.

For newborns, front carriers should be used with the baby facing your chest. This is important since they lack complete motor control and cannot hold their heads up on their own. Once your child is a bit older, you can wear them facing outwards. Many dads prefer front carriers to slings. I guess there's a more "manly" feel to front carriers than to slings.

What I like about my front carrier is that I feel Vincent can share my day more completely with me. He sees the world around him as I do, and can take it all in. He has been on the "L", to restaurants, parks, shopping, all the while experiencing the new environment that he has become a part of. One drawback, however, is that when it comes time to nurse, I do have to take him out of the carrier.

Look at photos of the carriers and try on several types, sizes and brands to see which suits you best. Whatever style you find right for you and your baby, you'll see that wearing him or her will provide more freedom, mobility and intimacy. Happy travels!

Check out more baby-wearing information.

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sarah / August 30, 2004 1:28 PM

thanks so much for writing about the benefits of babywearing! i'm 34 weeks into my first pregnancy, and one of the things my husband established early on was his desire that we use a sling for our baby. he works at trader joe's and sees a million new moms & dads come through the lines all the time, and he's determined that babywearing is the way to go.

one of things i've enjoyed the most during my pregnancy is feeling my baby squirm around inside of me, and i think i'd miss that if i were to transport my newborn in a stroller all the time.

there are so many choices for baby slings now. i've even seen classes on choosing them and how to use the more versatile baby wraps. has a great selection of slings and carriers and lots of info on babywearing as well.

Alejandra / August 30, 2004 2:07 PM


You're welcome. I have so many friends that are also new parents and they say if it weren't for their carriers, they would never get anything done -- I definitely recommend them to everyone.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and new family!


About the Author(s)

Alejandra Valera is a new mom and writer. If there's a baby- or kid-friendly place, product or event you think she should cover, email her at .

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