I’ll admit it, I’m still kind of a noob when it comes to baby wearing. I had a knock-off brand BabyBjorn style carrier for my firstborn but I never could get it adjusted to a comfortable fit for me or her so I used it all of maybe twice before sending it to Goodwill along with all the other baby crap you really don’t need but seem to think you do as a first time parent (I’m looking at you diaper genie!) Mostly, my husband or I just carried her in our arms wherever we went. Sure, it was inconvenient at times but we made it work and I soon became an expert at doing absolutely everything with one hand.
Years later when I found myself expecting baby number 2, getting a carrier didn’t really cross my mind, but when my boss picked me up a Peanut Shell sling carrier at a kid’s consignment sell, I thought, what the heck, why not give it a try?
At first, it was a little confusing figuring out how to wear the sling and how to position the baby but with the help of tutorials on YouTube I figured it out and it became indispensable for those early months when Little Man would only sleep for five minute intervals if not nestled against me. It was also helpful in places like the grocery store or other errands where I would have to tote baby. With my daughter, I would have just carried her in my arms, but my son is a lot heavier than my daughter was as an infant and it killed my arms and back after just a few minutes. The sling definitely helped with that.
Unfortunately, the sling was one of their older models which are not adjustable, and required sizing. I think the one I got was meant for a smaller woman and while it worked for the first six months of my son’s life, by this point, it’s a rather tight fit, and my shoulder and neck muscles really feel it after wear. So, I started doing some research and looking for a new carrier.
The first thing I learned on the Internet about baby carriers is that they can be hella expensive. Most Tula wrap conversions cost about half my monthly rent and I’ve seen Tulas that actually cost MORE THAN my rent. 😨 They look cute and comfy, but those prices are unbelievable! Even if I had that kind of disposable income, I don’t think I could bring myself to drop that much cash on a baby carrier when women have already been carrying their babies in carriers for centuries before this kind of insane commercialization of the practice. Other brands are a little less pricy but still out of my price range. Boba, Ergo and Lillebaby carriers tend to run in the $100 to $150 range. The Moby wrap and K’tan as well as various brands of ring slings seem to be cheaper but they look a little complicated to use. I was considering getting another cheapie like I had with my daughter but I read that because they lack support they tend to cause back pain for the wearer and can even contribute to his dysplacia for baby. I found out I needed a carrier that supported both baby and my back. The Tulas fit the structure I was looking for, but again, the price was insane!
A little more research determined that a mei tai style carrier was what I was looking for so I went with the most accessible and reasonably priced one I could find. I got my INfantino Sash mei tai for about $30 at Target. There were cheaper carriers available but this is the cheapest mei tai I have managed to find. A Ukranian woman sells mei tai for $30 on Etsy and there is another cheap seller based in Mexico but once you add in international shipping the price is higher.
I love this carrier! It is so comfy for both me and my little guy. The instructions were very comprehensive, and the I love how the straps allow for a more adjustable fit. I will definitely keep it up through his toddlerhood and I have been wearing him way more since I got it.
Will I get more carriers in the future? If I have any more kids (or perhaps even with Little Man) I’d like to try out some other carriers. I’d love to learn how to use wraps and even how to make my own but for now my little Target bought carrier is pretty darn awesome. If you’re new to baby wearing like me and looking for an inexpensive but simple and ergonomic carrier to get started in, this might just be the one for you too!