I couldn’t decide between the two titles for this blog post. So I titled it with both.
My own babywearing journey is so intrinsically tied in with the modern/ urban baby wearing movement in India; hence it kind of makes sense.
Those who have followed my blog from even before I became a mother (which is very few of you) know that I was following the evolutionary lifestyle with regards to exercise, food, and other lifestyle parameters. I was a huge fan of Mark’s Daily Apple and loved his commonsense approach to health and fitness and just for the general joie de vivre. So when he wrote this post on why you should wear your baby 3 months after my first baby was born and also wrote this helpful post on baby carriers. I was sold!
Though I was carrying N at that point in an awful front facing non-ergonomic carrier; I quickly did my research and ordered my first ergonomic carrier a Maya wrap. From what I read, the front facing carrier with the legs dangling and with a narrow seat (also known as a crotch dangler) did not follow the normal ergonomics of a baby
and was not conducive for the natural growth of the baby. An ergonomic carrier like the ones discussed in the next couple of posts lends to a natural curve of the spine imitating the position in the womb and the M shape of the hips and legs (where the baby’s bottom is below the knees) are also natural and healthy for the growth of a baby. An ergonomic carrier also equally distributes the weight for the wearer.
The sling, the baby and I were quickly inseparable. It absolutely helped with a baby like N who just never wanted to be put down ever. I ordered another one soon after.
When N was around 16 months (early 2014) I saw some posts on Facebook mom groups by a mom named Rashmee who was launching this stretchy wrap called Anmol. To me, that was the birth of modern baby wearing in India. I started wearing N in a stretchy wrap when he was around 17 months. While it did sag and he was over weight limit I loved the idea of having him so close and wore him quite a bit in it.
The hybrid wrap by Anmol baby carriers is one that I recommend to ALL new mothers I meet with my work in lactation. Wrapping babies in a hybrid or stretchy wrap in the first few months is my go to tool for mothering newborns.
In June of 2014 I was due to travel to the US and the London with N who was 19 months and I bought my first Soft structured carrier. – The Tula – toddler – and had it delivered to the B&B we were staying at in London, (because there weren’t any Indian ones then) and paid a lot of money for it. It’s a real beauty and totally worth it for the hours and hours we have walked with our son in it.
Also in 2014 Soul Slings launched ring slings and many other smaller brands, who sold carriers more word of mouth started upping their online presence.
Anmol baby carriers launched their SSC around in early 2015 – just in time for my second baby. I remember receiving this beauty on my birthday in May last year (on my birthday no less) when my second boy was just a month and since then the choices are endless.
When I bought my first ergonomic carrier in early 2013- The Maya wrap ring sling – there wasn’t a single one I could buy in India. Today ring slings, woven wraps, full buckles/ SSCs, mai teis – choices and brands are just endless.
Thanks to this blog I’ve had the opportunity of trying and reviewing various brands and I even hold meet ups for the South Mumbai wing of the Mumbai Sling Library where we rent out carriers and have mums try out various carriers before making a purchase.
So what all is out there?
First before I get into the individual brands, here is a dummies guide to the different carriers.
- Hybrid wrap: a stretchy fabric, which has to be tied around you with a printed front that doesn’t stretch. You can put it on and then put the baby in and it takes the shape of the baby. Ideal for newborns, great for older babies too.
- Woven wrap: a woven piece of fabric in various sizes that can be wrapped around you and baby in number of different ways. This doesn’t stretch so can work from a newborn to a heavy toddler or preschooler. The true all purpose carrier for all ages.
- Meh Dai: An Asian style carrier, which has a structured panel but long bottom and top straps to tie as you wish. Versatile, structured, but still unstructured.
- SSC or Full buckle: SSC = Soft Structured Carrier, the least versatile, great for front and back carries, and has the least learning curve. Superb for dads and other caregivers.
- Ring sling: a piece of fabric stitched at one end to rings to adjust as required. Worn on one shoulder. This has far less fabric than a wrap so much easier to manage and put on and take off. Great for summer, for older babies who want to hop on and off and to look all around.
- Onbuhimo: A waistless buckled carrier that is perfect for high back carries and for toddler. great for quick ups and downs and also easy to carry around in a handbag.
Read on for comparison and reviews of different brands and carriers in India.
Updated to add: If you live in Mumbai, I also do personalised babywearing consults with families to help them figure out which carrier is best suited to their needs, so do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org