Mei Tai? SSC? Wrap? What? Navigating baby carriers can be daunting for people who are new to babywearing. Hopefully, this guide will help you.
A good place to start are pouches. Pouches are very simple tubes of stretchy heavy cotton that you wear around your body like a Miss America sash. They can be worn as a hip carrier and a snuggly newborn carrier (pay attention to your newborn’s airway if they are in a pouch. The chin should not be on the baby’s chest, the baby’s neck should be straight). They are very economical, and probably the fastest carrier to put on and take off. However, the ease of wear also means that comfort can be compromised, especially for older children.
Wraps are a great carrier for many moms. There are two basic types of wraps, (1) stretchy wraps, and (2) woven wraps. Stretchy wraps can be used only for young babies, ones they get heavier stretchy wraps, are, well, too stretchy. I can’t say that I ever loved them. they feel nice, but they get uncomfortable pressure points more than woven wraps. Woven wraps are probably the most expensive option, but they are also probably the most versatile. They can be used from the newborn period until preschool age. They come in many different colors, patterns, and fabrics. I love Didymos, Girasol, Vatanai, Storchenwiege, Gypsy Mama, and Elleville.
Mei Tais are a great go to carrier for most moms. They are very simple to put on, don’t take up a ton of room in the diaper bag, and last from the time your baby can hold their head up until preschool age. They can be worn on the front and the back. There are also some great economical choices, as well as some higher end carriers. I love Oliviabolivia, Freehand, Silly Goose, and Himmel, but there are many others out there.
SSC’s, or soft structured carriers, are great for moms and dad who want the comfort of a mei tai, but don’t want to tie straps. They are basically a mei tai with buckles. These are wonderful for a quick on and off, but are comfortable enough for all day. Some of them have great features like diaper bags that snap on, toy loops, and padded waists for heavier kids. They can easily be worn on the front and back, even for clumsier moms. Sometimes the buckles can be uncomfortable. These are carriers that most dads are happy to use, also. Some brands to look in to are Ergo, Boba, Beco, and my personal favorite, Bloo Kangaroo. There are also half buckle options, which are a hybrid between the two. I haven’t personally tried any of those, but many moms love them.
Babywearing is a very rewarding aspect of motherhood. I love the closeness that I feel with my children when I am wearing them in a carrier, it also is extremely convenient. The only drawback I can think of is how addicting all of these beautiful carriers are!