Baby on a Budget: Just One Baby Carrier

Wrapsody Hybrid Baby Carrier Wrap

 

Before you have a baby, you probably aren’t sure exactly what you need. I’m sharing my experience to help you avoid buying stuff you won’t use.

A baby carrier is one of the baby essentials I recommend for you, even if you have a short list and a tight budget. Save money by buying just one baby carrier.

Why Is a Baby Carrier Essential?

  • Your baby gets what s/he wants: being close to you.
  • You keep baby close enough to kiss, so you become atuned to your baby’s needs. (The “attachment” in attachment parenting.)
  • You are free to use your arms and keep moving.

Especially in the first few months, most babies want to be very close to their parents. After babies start to move around, they will still spend a lot of time asking to be picked up. You have a higher vantage point to see the world. You are comfort when there is too much stimulation. Even a toddler wants to be held a lot. I still think of my little boy (before he was 6′ tall) saying, “Hold me,” and me getting out the sling that was sturdy enough to hold a toddler.

You will hold your child a lot. A baby carrier makes that a lot easier.

How to Save Money on Baby Carriers

Baby carriers are an expensive item because they involve a lot of high-quality fabric. I wouldn’t advise you to save money by getting a low-quality carrier or low-quality fabric. This is a safety issue. The baby carrier industry has done a great job in the past few years creating a standard that keeps your baby safe. It’s worth choosing a carrier that adheres to the high standard.

So, my alternative method of saving on baby carriers is to get just one carrier that works for all sizes and situations.

The One Baby Carrier: Wrapsody Bali Stretch Hybrid

The staff at bynature.ca recommends the Wrapsody Bali Stretch Hybrid as their most versatile and economical carrier over the lifetime of your use.

  • Wear newborn to toddler
  • Use as front carrier, hip carrier, or back carrier
  • One size fits all. 6 yards of fabric with hemmed, tapered ends so it is easy to tie
  • Soft fabric doesn’t create pressure points on your body, like heavier wraps or too quick wrapping sometimes creates
  • Compact enough to fit in your bag
  • Includes a DVD to help you learn wrapping

It is perfect for newborn.
Wrapsody Bali Stretch Wrap Aphrodite pattern

Perfect for napping babies.
Wrapsody Bali Stretch Wrap Alyssa

And also perfect for toddlers who really need to see the world.
Wrapsody Bali Stretch Wrap Chronos

What makes this carrier a particular favorite is the soft, stretchy fabric. This 100% cotton fabric is soft like a stretchy wrap but strong and supportive enough to function like a woven wrap.

One of the most important things for about a baby carrier, since you will be spending a lot of time wearing it over the next few years, is what it looks like. I hated my baby sling that had pastel baby patterns on it. I always reached for the one that matched my clothes (black). Think about how you dress, and buy your baby carrier accordingly. You will save yourself having to buy another one because you hesitate to wear the first.

With the Wrapsody Bali, the choices are gorgeous. Each one is unique because of the variations in hand-dyed and batiked fabric (from Bali, Indonesia). You can get a beautiful pattern, if that fits you, or a rainbow stripe, or a more subtle, neutral color. You have choices, and they are all dyed with baby-safe dyes (no heavy metals). You baby will suck and chew on the carrier, so that is important.

You will probably be wearing this carrier every day for a year, most days for the year after that, and occasionally into the third year. You will get a lot of wear out of your baby carrier. Don’t let the price tag scare you into skipping the baby carrier or opting for a cheaper version that you will have to replace.

Choose wisely the first time, and you will save in the long run.

More Baby on a Budget

All this month we will feature posts on saving money with babies.

See my short list of baby essentials and the stuff you will find on all of the other lists but you probably won’t use: “Baby on a Budget: What Do You Really Need?”

What is the best way to save on cloth diapers? Find out in “Baby on a Budget: Cloth Diapers.”

And, simplest of all, what do you need to buy to breastfeed? My answer in “Baby on a Budget: Breastfeeding Supplies.”

Cool Babywearing in Hot Weather

Sakura Bloom baby ring sling

When you are babywearing in hot weather, there are three elements of summer cool.

Fire – Stay out of the Sun!

First step for summer cool, stay in the shade whenever possible. If you have a baby less than six months old, you should avoid sun exposure completely. If you have to be out in the sun, consider making your own shade with a big-brimmed hat or an umbrella (or, more appropriately, a parasol—which means “for sun”). Of course, if you are dealing with humidity as well as heat, the shade might keep you from sunburn but it won’t necessarily keep you cool.

A sun cover, either a sunshade made for the purpose or the long tail of a ring sling, can help keep the sun off you and baby.

Water – Drink Enough!

Stay hydrated. If you are breastfeeding, you will need a lot more water than you did before baby in order to stay hydrated and healthy this summer. Keep drinking water, and keep feeding your baby.

If you feeling too hot while babywearing, stopping in the shade to unwrap and drink could give you the break you need.

Air – Allow a Breeze!

Face it: you are going to sweat. Maybe it’s just Me of the Desert, but this was the most miserable part of summers for me when I lived in a humid, coastal area. Once you just let it happen, you can deal with it. Dealing means seeking a breeze. If nature doesn’t give you a breeze, make your own with a fan or a waving sling tail.

A lighter weight baby carrier will allow some cooling through the fabric itself, so choose the lightest weight carrier that gives you the sturdiness you need. Walking around town you will need less structure than hiking up hills wearing your baby.


Which Baby Carrier Works Well for Summer?

We’ve added two new wraps to bynature.ca that are perfect for the heat. Because we get many cottagers and boaters in our area who are escaping from Toronto for some rest and relaxation, we just had to bring these in.

Wrapsody Breeze Baby Carrier
Wrapsody Bali Breeze Baby Wrap Carrier
Wrapsody Water Wrap Duo
Wrapsody Water Wrap Duo

Though it’s still too soon to tell, we think the Wrapsody Breeze is going to be a best-seller this summer. Parents that have come out to the store to try one on are just loving how light and airy it is. Nature Mom has been a personal fan of Wrapsody’s gorgeous hand-dyed and hand-batiked prints for years.

Wrapsody Bali Stretch Hybrid Wrap
Wrapsody Bali Stretch Baby Wrap
We’re also carrying Wrapsody’s Stretch Hybrid, and, while it isn’t as light and summery as the Breeze, this lighter version provides the same function for parents who love woven wraps. The fabric is buttery soft, lightweight, and perfect for a newborn or toddler alike. In the store, we just love this wrap and it’s amazing fabric. Watch out, though. This wrap might give you baby fever, leaving you wishing for a little tiny newborn to snuggle up in one!
Sakura Bloom
Sakura Bloom baby sling

Sakura Bloom linen slings are a best-seller this time of year, and their colours have recently been updated.

Babywearing in Winter

Peekaru vest baby carrier

In winter, you can protect your baby from the sharp bite of the frosty air by babywearing. Keeping your baby close to your chest allows you to share body heat. Just remember to keep the rest of your baby covered.


Use a Wrap Carrier

Baby wrap carrer from Blue Celery

For younger babies, this is the ideal season to use a wrap baby carrier. Baby wrap carriers don’t leave as much room for air flow, which is a good thing in the wintertime.


Cover Those Baby Legs

Baby Spats for warm ankles

If you use a baby carrier that leaves legs free, be sure to cover your child’s legs to keep them warm. Pants can ride up and leave bare skin. Baby spats and baby legs will protect little legs.


Wear a Baby Carrier Cover

Peekaru babywearing vest

Rather than covering each spot the wind and snow try to sneak in, you can wear a cover over you both. Peekaru’s fabulous vest covers every little hollow between you to keep the cold out. This vest fits over you and your baby together. If you only want to cover the baby and the carrier, Catbird Baby makes a baby carrier cover that works with most styles of baby carriers.

Keeping Newborns Warm in Winter

Mother with newborn baby

Newborn babies need a little help maintain their body temperatures in any season. Winter can mean cold winds and warm houses that leave it difficult for a baby to adjust. Be aware of your baby’s needs to help maintain a consistent body temperature.

Normal body temperature for a newborn baby is 97.5-99.ºF (36.5-37.ºC), about the same as your normal body temperature. Babies, though do not yet have the ability adults do to regulate their body temperature. They don’t have the insulation through layers of fat, and their large body surface area in relation to low body weight means more heat loss. You don’t need to pull out the thermometer every hour, though. Just feel the back of your baby’s neck for a quick temperature check.

We give babies a little extra help through clothing and coverings, adjusting room temperature, and keeping them close to us.


Around the House

All newborn babies need some help maintaining the right body temperature, but, if your baby had low birth weight, was born early, or is sick, take special care to monitor body temperature and keep your baby warm.

You are your baby’s best warmer. You can warm your baby through skin-to-skin contact, also called kangaroo care. Put your naked or diapered baby against your bare chest, then cover you both with a blanket. This is perfect for breastfeed. Even without kangaroo care, breastfeeding gives your baby warm milk and warm skin. Babywearing, whether just around the house or when you go out, also keeps you and your baby close.

Clothing. Choose clothing that allows the baby’s skin to breathe, using one more layer than you need. If you are in a T-shirt, add a light jacket or a footed suit in addition to a T-shirt. If you are wearing a sweater, you baby will need at least a sweater, too. Do not, however, layer your baby in too much clothing, causing overheating. If you are wearing your baby, count the wrap or sling as a layer. Don’t forget cold legs when pants ride up in the baby carrier. Baby legs or handknit socks will help.

Hat. Especially during the winter, your newborn will probably need to wear a hat, since babies lose heat through the head. Have lightweight cotton hats for indoors and a warmer, woolen hat for trips out.


Bath Time

Make sure the air and water temperature are comfortably warm without being hot. After the bath, dry the baby immediately. If the room temperature in your house is cool in the winter, you might want to opt for warm sponge baths for your baby. The most important step in keeping a newborn warm during bath time is drying off quickly to avoid heat lose through evaporation.


Nighttime

Your baby doesn’t need a blanket, not in the traditional sense of a large rectangular covering. Babies obviously can’t adjust their covers, so a blanket not only doesn’t stay put but could become a hazard. Your baby is better off wearing the blanket in the form of a worn sleeping bag for newborns or a footed sleeper suit as babies get older. Wool is perfect, since it breathes naturally and helps sleepers regulate their body temperature.

If your baby takes well to swaddling, this will also help maintain body temperature. Not all babies like being wrapped up so snuggly, but do try swaddling.


Going Out

Keeping your baby just the right temperature when it’s biting cold outside is tricky. Have a great insulted suit with legs, if you are going in the car. Although you baby will stay warmer with legs together and those newborn legs naturally want to curl up, you need legs separated for a car seat. If you are on foot and wearing your baby, a vest that covers you, your baby, and the baby carrier, like our Peekaru fleece vest, lets you keep your baby warm with your own body heat.

Be careful not to overheat your baby outside, though. Avoid direct sunlight, especially in the car, and don’t leave an insulated suit on for long drives in the car. Choose light layers of clothing that are easy to remove one by one as you move through your day and the temperature changes.


You
are the perfect temperature to keep your baby warm but not too warm. Keep your newborn baby close this winter.


Resources

Image © Kati Molin | Dreamstime.com

Your Summer Baby Carrier

Ergo Baby Carrier for summer

Windows are open. I notice the occasional warm breeze. It’s time to ask whether you have the right carrier to take advantage of this beautiful weather with your baby or toddler. Do you have your summer baby carrier?

As you are out and about this summer, how active will you be and for how long?


Mei Tai Baby Carriers

If you will just be walking around town or going to the park, a soft mei tai baby carrier gives you a good balance between comfort and support for both you and your baby.

The FreeHand Mei Tai Baby Carrier is soft like traditional Asian baby carriers.

Free Hand baby carrier at bynature.ca

The BabyHawk Mei Tai Carrier has thicker, padded shoulder straps.

BabyHawk baby carrier at bynature.ca

Both of these mei tai carriers get great reviews from our customers.


Soft Pack Buckle Carriers

If you will be hiking and spending a lot of time wearing your baby, a soft-pack buckle baby carrier will give both of you more support.

The Ergo Baby Carrier is our most popular baby carrier—lightweight an very comfortable.

Ergo baby carrier

The Boba Baby Carrier takes the traditional mei tai shape and adds zippered pouches, straps, and buckles to make this adaptable for long periods out.

Boba baby carrier

Ergo always gets great reviews, but none of our customers has reviewed the Boba yet. Be the first!

A comfortable baby carrier that fits your lifestyle makes an active summer with your baby so much easier.