Just a few years ago, there were very few options on the market for baby carriers. These days, babywearers are spoilt for choice! If you’re planning to invest in a structured (buckle) baby carrier, you have SO many options…
Of all of the above options, I would say that the last point will have the biggest impact on comfort and useability if you’re buying for a small baby or newborn.
Let’s cut to the chase… newborn inserts are generally best avoided for a number of reasons. Curious as to why? Read on!
When you have a small, floppy, or squirming baby, it is sometimes pretty hard to wrangle them into things, whether it’s a nappy, a onesie, a pair of socks, or a baby carrier! The first time I used a structured baby carrier, even though it didn’t require an infant insert, it was a bit of a learning curve – it sort of felt like there were buckles and straps everywhere! Adding the insert into the mix would have definitely reduced my chances of getting it right the first go and probably giving up.
Unless you’re in the middle of winter (here in Australia), an infant insert is probably going to overheat your baby. Some parents say that their babies who run hot tend to overheat even during winter! The padding and extra fabric reduces airflow and can result in a very sweaty baby (and carer) And this normally means lots of crying.
An insert is just one more thing you’d have to bring along. Baby stuff takes up enough space as it is! Why go for more bulk if you don’t need to?
Babies are expensive! In addition to buying your carrier, if it requires an infant insert, you might be looking at another $50 to be able to carry your infant or small baby in it until they get bigger. For the same price (minus the extra expense of the insert), you could buy a carrier with one built in!
Because infant inserts are annoying, bulky, and expensive, a lot of the time, people decide to skip them altogether. Instead of the legitimate insert, some people add their own makeshift “insert” (perhaps a rolled up towel), fold the waistband (against manufacturer guidelines) or simply over-extend their baby’s legs. This can especially happen when people buy their carriers secondhand, without the original packaging and instructions. Not only is this dangerous (slumping and suffocation risk), but it can also be annoying for the wearer and uncomfortable for the baby.
Babies all have reflexes on the bottom of their feet. They have them there so they can ‘push’ themselves out of the womb. In the early weeks, babies can often still be sensitive to this so putting pressure on the feet may cause a baby to push against it. Unfortunately, this is the position an insert requires baby to be placed in. Certain babies will be more sensitive to this than others and may cry and try to push themselves up off the carrier or just be unsettled.
I find that people usually only buy carriers that require infant inserts if they are unaware of the range of options available to them. It seems that most of the mainstream baby shops only stock popular brands that require the inserts and employees are usually offered incentives and bonuses to sell certain carriers rather than meeting the needs of each individual customer. Many new parents don’t realise that it might be a better idea to shop at a specialty babywearing store, rather than limiting their options to mainstream brands.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options on the market today that are perfect from newborn (3.5kg+) to toddler, without requiring an extra insert. So you can save money, space, and avoid the hassle! I can recommend the Manduca and Kokadi Flip & TaiTai (baby size is suitable from newborn), both of which we have in stock (and available through AfterPay). There are also lots of other options, so do your research to find out what’s best for you.
If in doubt, head to a local babywearing meet. You’ll usually find a wide variety of carriers that you can play with and figure out what fits your needs best before you buy.
Even better - book in for a consultation with a qualified babywearing consultant, who should also have a range of carriers you can try on, along with assistance to make sure you get the best possible fit.
Wearing your baby is an amazing parenting tool, and while choosing the right carrier is going to help, if you’re not sure on what to buy, just jump right in. And if you already have a carrier with an infant insert, that’s fine too, if you’re finding it comfortable and it’s working for you. Don’t miss out on those precious cuddles! If you decide your carrier isn’t right, you can always re-sell it to someone else who will love it. Just don’t stress because carrying your child should be simply bliss!
Copyright Brooke Maree © 2017
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I thought it was time to talk about shopping while babywearing. After all, it’s a bit of a different experience than shopping with a pram ;-).