5 Things to Consider When Choosing YOUR Perfect Carrier

by Michal Chesal, President of Baby K’tan | www.babyktan.com

Before I developed the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier, I was faced with so few options on the market for baby carriers. Today, the options are almost limitless. With such a wide variety of carriers on the market, including wraps, structured carriers, unstructured or Asian-style carriers such as the Mei Tai, slings and pouches, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

At Baby K’tan, we are dedicated to safe baby wearing and truly believe in the benefits of doing so since our company was founded on those very ideals. In hopes of helping you find the best carrier for you and your baby, we’ve developed a few attributes to consider.

Benefits
We believe that wearing your baby safely and properly will always have benefits associated with it. Studies show that babies whose mothers’ wear them in slings are calmer and cry less. Carrying your newborn in a carrier can serve as a natural transition from the quiet womb into the world. Being close to your baby has also proven to help them regulate their body temperature, enhance their visual and auditory alertness as well as promote healthy speech development.

Material
One of the first things you will notice about a carrier is the type of material it is made with. Some carriers on the market consist of many different types of fabric including cotton and polyester. Others are 100% cotton. And most recently, many carrier brands are offering organic versions of their carriers. When looking at the material, you should consider your geographical location. In cooler climates, you may want a carrier with a softer, warm fabric like thick cotton, whereas in hotter weather, you may want to choose a carrier that is lightweight and made with thinner layers of fabric such as mesh or gauze.

Easy to Use
Buying a carrier that you will enjoy using is a vital part of wearing your baby. The truth is, if you purchase a carrier that you won’t take the time to figure out, you will end up storing it in your coat closet. Many retail locations have a carrier expert that can show you how to use the carrier before you purchase it. Some online retailers like Diapers.com also feature Instruction videos as well as Consumer Review Videos on their website to help give you the low-down from a real parent’s perspective. It is always important to read through the entire instruction manual to be sure you are using your carrier safely. Remember, it may take a few tries until you are able to get your carrier on without looking in a mirror!

Style
There are so many different types of carriers on the market today including structured carriers, backpacks, slings, wraps, Mei Tai style carriers and even “ready-to-wear” wraps. When choosing a baby carrier, you should consider when and where you will be using it to care for your little one. For example, if you live in a city where you do a lot of walking, you will want a carrier that is lightweight, comfortable and can fold up easily for quick storage. Or, if you will use your carrier mainly for running errands, you will want to make sure that the carrier you choose will be easy to pop on in the parking lot. If you are hiking or doing a lot of outdoors activities and your baby is a bit older, a framed backpack might be a good choice for you.

Versatility
Newborn babies have very different characteristics and needs than those of 9 month olds. When choosing a carrier, consider the changes that your baby will go through during the primary baby wearing stages. At first, your baby will want to be close and tight to you. They might enjoy being swaddled on your body in a wrap style carrier. Then, when he or she is a little older, they may want to stretch their arms and see the world! Try to choose a carrier that will grow with you and your baby. A carrier that has multiple wearing positions will allow you to choose the best position based on the age of your baby.

As you explore the many options available for baby carriers, these tips will help you find the right carrier for you and your baby. Remember, not every carrier is right for everyone. Consider your needs and expectations for wearing your baby and consult experts at your local retailer as well as online to help you make your decision. Your local baby wearing group may also have a lending library that will allow you to try out a few different carriers before you buy your own. Also, be sure to check the store or retailer’s return policy.

These tips should get you on your way to safe and healthy babywearing with your precious baby.

 

Is Babywearing Right For You?

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This week is international babywearing week, and we are loving every minute of it! Although it is already Friday, and the week is nearing its end, we still have plenty of babywearing talk left in us :) . We wanted to point out a few of the great benefits of babywearing and remind parents (mom and dad alike) why their little babes just love to be cuddled so close!

Check out these awesome babywearing facts:

babywearing promotes healthy mental and physically development
Wearing your child in a wrap, sling or carrier will result in beneficial, permanent brain changes, enhancing baby’s IQ, in addition to long term benefits of good health, psychological security and independence

carried babies cry less
Research shows that babies who are carried (either in parents’ arms or in a wrap or carrier) cry LESS. In cultures where babies are carried almost continuously, babies cry much less than those in non-carrying cultures.

babywearing helps you bond with your baby
Babies who are worn in a baby carrier, sling or wrap are significantly more likely to demonstrate a strong and secure attachment to their mothers, according to a study done at Columbia University. Babies who are not held need more verbal interaction and eye contact, just to be reassured that you’re there. Carrying your baby is a great way to connect with him or her (and provide stimulation too). Additionally, your baby is “right there” to enjoy whenever you feel like snuggling or kissing!

babywearing enables caregiver to have hands free
Babywearing enables caregivers to to keep baby close and safe while still having both hands free. Caregivers have the freedom to care for other children and tend to everyday tasks while carrying their baby close to their heart.

babywearing helps prevent “flat-head” syndrome
Studies have shown that nearly 1 in 2 babies in North America will suffer from positional plagiocephaly, or “flat head syndrome” (6). This is believed to be the result of over-using devices such as car seats, swings and bouncy seats, as well as the “Back to Sleep” program which was implemented in the early 90′s. By regularly carrying your baby in a baby carrier, wrap or sling you will avoid the constant pressure that is placed on the back of your baby’s head in these devices, and you will be promoting a healthy and natural head development!

babywearing counts as tummy-time!
Tummy-time is important for your baby’s physical as well as emotional and intellectual development. It helps them learn to hold their head up, grasp at items to help develop motor skills, and observe the world around them (9). But you may have noticed that even though it’s good for your baby, he may not be a huge fan of tummy-time. It’s a serious workout! Wearing your baby in the Baby K’tan or other carriers and wraps will allow your baby to exercise his neck, head and back muscles. You can also hang a small toy from the side of the carrier to help your little one develop his motor skills. But best of all, you’ll find that your baby gets this “babywearing tummy-time” regularly, and you don’t have to schedule it into your day!

In honor of this week, we have donated a whole bunch of Baby K’tan Baby Carriers for giveaways throughout the country! Be sure to take part and don’t miss your chance to win! Here are a few giveaways:
www.naturalmothermagazine.com
www.greenchildmagazine.com
www.thewisebaby.com

Baby K’tan was also featured along with a whole bunch of other awesome carriers, wraps and slings in this month’s issue of Green Child Magazine! Read it here.

And to end with something furn for you to do, take this Babywearing Quiz, created by our friends over at Onya Baby and published in this month’s Green Child Magazine:
Babywearing Quiz

Kangaroo Care Awareness Day

Did you know that today is International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day? Practicing Kangaroo Care in the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier can be an amazing experience for both parent and baby!

Kangaroo Care
Kangaroo Care is the practice of holding or wearing a newborn skin-to-skin.

Benefits to baby:
- helps regulate baby’s body temperature
- more rapid brain development
- close hold enhances successful breastfeeding
- decreased crying
- earlier parent-child bonding
- warmth mimics calming environment of the womb

To practice kangaroo care in the Baby K’tan simply remove your shirt and your
infant’s shirt, and place your newborn skin-to-skin in the kangaroo position

Babywearing Safety Q&A

With the holidays approaching, many of you will be gifting, receiving and especially traveling with a baby carrier! To help make this holiday season as safe and cozy as possible, we wanted to share some important safety tips with you. Take a look at our “Babywearing Safety Q & A” refresher and even submit your own babywearing safety questions! http://www.babyktan.com/safetyqa.html

Is it safe to carry my newborn in a Baby K’tan?
Yes! The practice of babywearing keeps babies in the safest place possible — a parent’s arms. Baby’s face should always be visible to the carrying adult so that baby’s breathing and positioning can be regularly monitored. Babies are vulnerable in their first few months of life and they require constant supervision, which is why babywearing is a wonderful tool to assist in the well-being of infants.

In order to ensure a safe, comfortable and cozy babywearing experience, be sure to read and follow all warnings, instructions and safety tips found in your manual and online before placing your baby in the Baby K’tan.

My newborn does not yet have head control; what positions can I use? How do I support baby’s head?
The Kangaroo and Hug Positions can be used with an infant that does not yet have complete head control. The fabric of the Baby K’tan can be used to support the back of your baby’s head. After placing your baby in the carrier, spread the fabric at your shoulder to create a head support for your baby. Ensure that the fabric is supporting the back or side of your baby’s head and does not cover baby’s face, nose or mouth.

My baby is less than 8lbs. Can I use the Baby K’tan?
As per the Baby Carrier Industry standards, the minimum weight limit on the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier is 8lbs. This minimum assists in stressing the use of extra care and safety when using a baby carrier with a newborn infant. While worn properly, the Baby K’tan can be very beneficial for newborns and kangaroo care with preemies – consult an expert or doctor if your infant was born with a low birth weight, such as a preemie or twins, or if your infant has respiratory illness or other respiratory problems. Extra vigilance is required with these babies.

How do I know my baby is positioned correctly?
Baby carriers are meant to mimic the way you would hold your baby in your arms. Check your baby’s position after placing him/her in the carrier by embracing baby in your arms; baby’s position should not shift significantly in your embrace.

Check to make sure you can fit your finger between baby’s chin and chest to ensure that baby’s airway is not restricted.

How do I know my baby’s face and neck are positioned correctly?
You should be able to see your baby’s face at all times. Make sure that your baby’s face is not pressed into your body or into the fabric of the carrier. Your baby’s head and neck should be supported, with baby’s chin off chest. If baby’s chin is pressed tightly against his chest, this can restrict baby’s airway. When positioned properly, you should be able to fit your finger between baby’s chin and chest. Check often to ensure that baby’s airway is not restricted and that baby is breathing regularly. If you hear that your baby is snoring or grunting, reposition baby to a more upright hold.

How do I position baby’s legs for proper hip development?
- Kangaroo Position:
When placing your baby in the Kangaroo hold, baby’s knees should to be tucked to tummy in a “froggy style” position. A simple rule is to keep baby’s legs in the shape of the letter “M”, with baby’s bottom making the dip in the middle of the letter and baby’s knees making the two peaks.

- Hug, Adventure and Two-Hip Positions:
When placing your baby in a position where legs are free, baby should be in a natural seated position with knees bent and hips spread – straddling the wearer. Spread the fabric of the Baby K’tan between baby’s legs so that it reaches the bend in baby’s knees.

Once my baby is positioned correctly in the carrier, am I done?
No. Babies can shift their positioning in the carrier, especially during walking or movement. Parents should attend to and check on baby often, especially those less than 4 months of age.

Can I safely nurse in the Baby K’tan?
Yes, but please keep in mind that every individual is different and some may find it easier than others. After nursing in the Baby K’tan, return your baby to a proper carrying position with head above the breasts and face free of fabric and turned away from the mother’s body.

Babywearing safety info