Babywearing for Air Travel

Mother with baby in baby carrier

If you are preparing for airport travel over the holidays, consider wearing your baby rather than pushing a stroller. It is much easier to move through a crowd, and your baby will likely be happier up near the faces in the crowd rather than surrounded by a sea of legs.

Very young children might be bothered by the busy-ness and crowds at the airport. Babywearing gives your child a place to tuck into a familiar space and hide against you. Or, for a more adventurous child, babywearing gives your baby a good vantage point to see all of the excitement.


Choose a carrier that is very easy to get on and off.
You may need to remove it at security and carry your baby through in your arms. Some parents find that they are allowed to wear an all-cloth carrier (like a mei tai), but you will certainly have to remove a ring sling because of the metal rings. Be prepared just in case.

Choose a carrier that is comfortable. If you have to stand for a long period of time or if you plan to wear the carrier on a long flight, you will be glad you considered comfort. I wore a ring sling on every flight with a baby, and it was very easy to nurse or get up without too much fuss.

Front carry or back carry? You might find back carry easier as you check in or claim bags, but a front carrier will make it easy to just scoot into your seat if you are flying with your baby on your lap. A baby carrier that makes either easy is a good choice for air travel.

Greet the flight attendant. I think I’ve already told the story of me getting hassled for holding my baby in a sling on my lap on an Air Canada cattle car from Toronto to London. If you are going to have your baby on your lap, my advice is to board early and make sure the flight attendant sees your carrier and knows how you are going to use it. It’s better than having them threaten to turn around because you are a breastfeeding, babywearing threat to the flight. (I got to have a chat with the pilot while I defiantly breastfed. They didn’t turn around.) I understand that most flight attendants are better informed about breastfeeding on a plane now, especially to relieve ear pressure during take off, but just prepare yourself to calmly explain your carrier to avoid an incident.

Image © Sascha Dunkhorst | Dreamstime.com

6 Tips to Help Your Baby through Holiday Time

Mother comforting baby

Holidays are a stimulating, even over-stimulating, time for a baby. Especially if this is your baby’s first holiday season, there is likely to be a lot more going on than usual. Between parties and family, shopping and looking at lights, and other situations full of crowds of strangers, your baby may need a break. Here are a few tips to avoid an over-stimulated baby.

1. Keep Up the Routine
As much as you can, keep the same general structure that your baby is accustomed to. Don’t skip feeding and sleeping times.

2. Carry Familiar Items
If your child has a toy animal or doll that seems to spread calm, bring it. The more unfamiliar the surroundings, the more comforting familiar items and faces will be.

3. Explain What Is Happening
If your child is beginning to talk, the content of what you say might actually be helpful. For a baby who doesn’t yet understand your words, just the periodic sound of your voice will be reassuring.

4. Take Breaks
Before your baby gets anxious, take a break. Sing, talk, sway, or do whatever your baby finds soothing. If you will be in a noisy environment—a New Year’s Eve celebration, for example—build a relatively quiet break time into your plans.

5. Follow Your Baby’s Cues
Follow your baby’s lead. When your child starts pushing and getting restless, it’s time for a break. If you wait, you risk a meltdown, which could be far more uncomfortable for all involved. Just excuse yourself briefly for some rest time, to breastfeed, or just to go into a quiet place and talk face to face.

6. Wear Your Baby
When you wear your baby facing you, it is easy for you to face out talking while the baby turns in when she wants to. She isn’t stuck facing the unfamiliar with no way to make it stop. If she can nuzzle in your neck, she has a positive choice to make when facing out it too much.

Friends meeting your baby for the first time will want to hold and talk, but that during that phase at about 4 to 24 months old, most babies will not want to be passed around. Let this first introduction be at a distance if that is what your baby needs.

Give your child the best chance to be at his best when he meets friends and family for the first time. He won’t care about making an impression, but a lot of eager people really do have a genuine desire to get to know him. Help them both by bridging their expectations and being your baby’s refuge when holiday parties get to be just too much.

Image © Vanessa Van Rensburg | Dreamstime.com

Compare Baby Carriers – Soft Structured

Ergo soft structured baby carrier

Adding a few buckles and snaps to a Mei Tai, with some extra padding and structure, will give you a soft-pack or “buckle” baby carrier. Soft structured baby carriers include the popular Ergo Baby Carrier, a favorite for Dad, as well as the hip-carrying baby carriers that are gaining in popularity for toddlers and older babies. Just because baby is getting bigger, doesn’t mean you have to stop carrying them!

A structured baby carrier evenly distributes the weight of your baby across both shoulders and hips, making it comfortable to carry for long periods of time. Most parents find they can carry a baby, especially a heavy toddler, the longest in a structured carrier. Our best-selling Ergo Baby Carrier can be used with a baby more than 40lbs and the Beco Butterfly II can be worn with a child up to 50lbs.

Because the tiniest babies need more support for head and neck, a structured soft pack carrier is best for an older baby with head control (3 months+).

With their comfort, ease of use and mainstream appeal, it’s easy to see why soft-structured baby carriers are so popular among parents. If you do a great deal of walking or hiking with your baby, this is the baby carrier to choose.

This post is part of a series in which we give an overview of baby carrier styles, comparing the specific baby carriers available within each style. Despite the variety of baby carriers on the market today, nearly all fall into one of four basic styles.


Soft Pack Buckle Carriers


Advantages

  • easy to use
  • ergonomic, so weight is evenly distributed to hips
  • very supportive
  • usually Dad’s favorite
  • high resale value


Disadvantages

  • not usually recommended for newborns who cannot hold their heads up well (3 mo +)
  • does not fold compact for travel or in a diaper bag
  • can be more expensive due to the amount of workmanship required in their manufacturing


Soft Pack Baby Carriers Compared

BabyHawk Oh Snap Baby Carrier

BabyHawk Oh Snap Baby Carrier

Style: Soft Structure Baby Carrier
Age: 15lbs to 45lbs
Carrying Positions: Front (in or out), Back

Beco Butterfly Baby Carrier

Beco Baby Carrier, Beco Butterfly II

Style: Soft Structured Baby Carrier
Age: Suitable for newborn to 50+ lbs
Carrying Positions: Tummy to Tummy, Back Carry
Origin: Made in the USA and China

Beco Gemini Baby Carrier

Gemini Beco Baby Carrier

Style: Soft Structured Carrier
Age: Newborn to 35+ lbs
Carrying Positions: Tummy to Tummy, Back, Hip
Origin: Made in the USA and China

Ergo Baby Carrier

Ergo Baby Carrier also in Sport Style

Style: Soft-Pack Structured Baby Carrier
Age: Suitable for newborn (with infant insert) to 40lbs
Carrying Positions: Front (infant to toddler), Hip, Back (with older baby only)

Ergo Performance Baby Carrier

Ergo Performance Baby Carrier

Style: Soft-Pack Structured Baby Carrier, light and durable for activities
Age: Newborn to toddler
Carrying Positions: Back, Front, and Hip

FreeHand Baby Carrier

FreeHand Baby Carrier

Style: Soft Structured Carrier
Age: Newborn to 35lbs
Carrying Positions: Front (facing in or out), Newborn carry, Back carry

Pikkolo Baby Carrier

Pikkolo Baby Carrier

Style: Hybrid Mei Tai & Soft Structured Carrier (A Mei Tai with Buckles!)
Age: Newborn to 40 lbs
Carrying Positions: Forward Facing In or OUT, Hip & Back Carrying

Scootababy Soft Structured Baby Carrier

Scootababy Hip Baby Carrier

Style: Soft Structured Hip Carrier; a cross between a Mei Tai & a Sling
Age: From head control (approx. 5 months) to 40 lbs (toddler)
Carrying Positions: Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (short periods)

Compare Baby Carriers – Mei Tai

Babyhawk mei tai baby carrier

The Mei Tai baby carrier is comfort and fashion all in one. Mei Tai is pronounced “may tie” and is also referred to as an Asian baby carrier. Unlike baby wraps and baby slings, a Mei Tai adds padded shoulder straps and waist straps to a small, square body to give the Mei Tai unlimited options for babywearing positions. Because the adjustability is in the long straps, a Mei Tai is a one-size-fits-most baby carrier, easily shared between Mom, Dad and other caregivers.

We LOVE this baby carrier in particular for its versatility in the extremely varied weather of Canada. It can easily be adapted to use over light clothing in the summer time, or over a big, bulky coat when you need to keep warm during a blustery winter day.

Pikkolo hybrid mei tai baby carrier

Mei Tai Baby Carrier is comfortable and versatile like no other baby carrier. You have complete control in the positioning of the baby within the carrier, based on how you tie the straps. Baby likes to be tucked in and hidden? No problem! Your toddler wants to be propped up to see the world? A re-tie here and there, and you’re set! Baby’s arms are out and he can watch as Mom goes about her day. This adaptability means it is easy to get a comfortable fit on any wearer.

This soft, strappy baby carrier is easy to use, comfortable for you, fun for baby, and stylish. What more could you ask for in a baby carrier?

This post is part of a series in which we give an overview of baby carrier styles, comparing the specific baby carriers available within each style. Despite the variety of baby carriers on the market today, nearly all fall into one of four basic styles.

  • Baby Wraps
  • Baby Slings (includes pouch slings and ring slings)
  • Mei Tai Baby Carriers
  • Soft Pack Baby Carriers


Mei Tai Baby Carriers


Advantages

  • our favorite for back carrying a young baby (less than one year), especially when there is a second child to attend to
  • weight is evenly distributed over both shoulders and hips
  • very supportive
  • very versatile, offering unlimited number of carrying positions
  • can be used front and back with a newborn to 30+ lbs (3 years or more)
  • big variety of beautiful fabrics available
  • higher resale value


Disadvantages

  • not as heavily padded as most structured carrier (but this can be an advantage for a parent that wants less bulk!)
  • straps are long and can drag on ground when tying (difficult in the rain or slushy weather)


Mei Tai Baby Carriers Compared


FreeHand Mei Tai baby carrier

FreeHand Mei Tai Baby Carriers, also comes in Embroidered style
Style: Mei Tai Baby Carrier (Asian Inspired Baby Carrier).
Age: Suitable for newborn to toddler.
Carrying Positions: Front, Hip/Side, Back (all positions, infant to toddler)
Fabric: 100% cotton straps/structure. Printed fabric will vary.
Origin: Made in USA


Kozy Mei Tai baby carrier

Kozy Mei Tai Baby Carriers
Style: Mei Tai Baby Carrier (Asian Inspired Baby Carrier).
Age: Suitable for newborn to toddler.
Carrying Positions: Front, Hip/Side, Back (all positions, infant to toddler)
Fabric: 100% cotton canvas straps/structure.
Origin: Designed & created by work-at-home moms in the USA.


BabyHawk mei tai carrier in Calaveras print

BabyHawk Mei Tai Baby Carriers
Style: Mei Tai Baby Carrier (Asian Inspired Baby Carrier).
Age: Suitable for newborn to 35+ lbs.
Carrying Positions: Front, Hip/Side, Back (all positions, infant to toddler)
Fabric: 100% cotton straps/structure. Printed fabric will vary. Reverses to solid (except camo).
Origin: Made in USA


Pikkolo hybrid mei tai baby carrier

Pikkolo Baby Carriers
Style: Hybrid Mei Tai & Soft Structured Carrier (A Mei Tai with Buckles!)
Age: Newborn to 40 lbs.
Carrying Positions: Forward Facing In or OUT, Hip & Back Carrying
Fabric: All cotton (exclusive of trim)

Interested in other Asian-inspired baby carriers? Wondering about pods and onbus? See our post comparing Podaegi and Onbuhimo with the mei tai.

Compare Baby Carriers – Baby Slings

Sakura Bloom baby sling babywearing toddlers

Take a wrap baby carrier and sew it together (pouch sling) or add rings to enable easy adjustability (ring slings), and you have our next category of baby carriers: baby slings. A baby sling is as uncomplicated as any baby carrier gets.

Baby Slings are compact, sleek, and easy to use. Their simple design makes them one of the most popular baby carriers available. We firmly believe that NO new mother should be without a simple baby sling for an easier adjustment to life with baby. You will be an expert at babywearing in minutes.

Using a baby sling or pouch couldn’t be easier. Just put it on and take it off like a shoulder purse. The baby pops in and out quickly, making a sling the perfect choice for a little one who wants up and down (and up again!) all day long.

Slings are a favorite baby carrier for carrying a newborn and for nursing hands-free. When paired with a soft-pack baby carrier, you’ll have the perfect baby wearing combination from birth to toddlerhood.

This post is part of a series in which we give an overview of baby carrier styles, comparing the specific baby carriers available within each style. Despite the variety of baby carriers on the market today, nearly all fall into one of four basic styles.

  • Baby Wraps
  • Baby Slings (includes pouch slings and ring slings)
  • Mei Tai Baby Carriers
  • Soft Pack Baby Carriers


Ring Slings

Maya Wrap baby slings with dad

A ring sling takes the simple wraparound cloth baby carrier a step further. Rather than tying the fabric and using knots to secure it, attach two large rings and you have yourself a ring sling.

When the length of fabric is threaded through the rings, a pouch is formed where your baby will sit. You can adjust the size and shape of the sling through the rings. Baby can be worn snuggled in, laying down, facing out in front like a kangaroo, on the hip, or on the back looking over your shoulder.

Sometimes padding is sewn into the sides (“rails”) or shoulder of the sling, and a tail is left from the fabric that has been pulled through the rings. Some ring slings include a pocket in the tail to carry your extras while out and about.


Pouches

Hotslings adjustable baby pouch carrier

A pouch is a tube-style baby carrier, generally one long circle of fabric sewn with a curved seam to provide a pouch for your baby to sit in. There are no rings for adjustment, so usually a pouch sling is sized to fit the individual who will be wearing it. This is perfect for a baby who wants to sit on your hip.

Innovations to the basic pouch sling design have included zippers or snaps to make them adjustable, and a hybrid pouch—a pouch sewn into a ring sling for both comfort and adjustability.


Advantages

  • short learning curve
  • very compact, so it will fit into a purse or diaper bag easily
  • most loved for the newborn stage – easy transition from snug environment of womb to compact sling
  • easy to move baby in and out of carrier
  • easiest for hands-free nursing
  • pouch has no extra tail fabric to figure out
  • tail of ring sling can be used for a nursing cover up


Disadvantages

  • Sizing is important in a pouch sling for the most comfort. Ring slings make this easier, but some parents find the rings more difficult to adjust.
  • only one-shouldered support, so a sling is less comfortable for extended wearing or for heavier babies and toddlers
  • a pouch is less versatile for carrying in different positions


Sling Baby Carriers Compared

Upmama baby ring sling made in Canada

Upmama Hybrid Baby Slings
Style: Adjustable Unpadded Ring Sling Hybrid (ring sling/pouch)
Age: Newborn to toddler (35 lbs)
Carrying Positions: Cradle, Kangaroo, Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (toddler only)
Fabric: Cotton Sateen (97% cotton, 3% spandex)
Origin: Made in Canada

Maya Wrap baby ring sling


Maya Wrap Baby Ring Slings

Style: Adjustable Lightly Padded Ring Sling (padded in shoulder only).
Age: Newborn to 35 lbs.
Carrying Positions: Cradle, Kangaroo, Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (toddler only)
Fabric: 100% hand-woven cotton
Origin: Hand-loomed using fair trade labor in Guatemala

Sakura Bloom ring sling for dads


Sakura Bloom Baby Ring Slings

Style: Adjustable Unpadded Ring Sling
Age: Newborn to toddler (35 lbs)
Carrying Positions: Cradle, Kangaroo, Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (toddler only)
Fabric: 100% Irish linen
Origin: Made in USA

Hotslings adjustable pouch baby sling


Hotslings Adjustable Pouch Baby Slings

Style: Adjustable Pouch Sling (one-size)
Age: Suitable for newborn to 30lbs+
Carrying Positions: Cradle, kangaroo, front facing in & out, hip carrying
Fabric: 97% Cotton Sateen, 3% Spandex
Origin: Made in USA