Of the many things I'm learning as a result of being a new mom, one of the most interesting has been about different ways and reasons to "wear" babies.
Ring slings, mei tais, wraps, front carries, hip carries, back carries... It's like learning a new language! There are so many options and opinions that it is a bit overwhelming to know where to start. Especially if you are trying to practice on a live wiggling baby!
I started out with a ring sling and a couple of others borrowed from my sister-in-law, but quickly settled into using the ring sling almost exclusively. Now that Elizabeth is a bit bigger we're starting to experiment with a few of the others.
I'm quite interested in a new carrier that I received from my Aunt Mary. She lives in Pagnirtung, Nunavut, and this jacket with a built in baby pouch on the back is sewn in a style that is apparently quite common up North.
Actually, my aunt says there are three different kinds of carriers. The amauti (a winter coat used to carry and infant / child), a summer amauti like the one I have or the more traditional summer amauti which has no zipper and is less vest like. The more traditional version has cloth straps from both shoulders to opposite sides at the waist and a pounch for the baby at the back. I've used it a few times with Elizabeth, but she isn't quite tall enough yet to see which doesn't suit her. So we'll try again in a few weeks.
I've also been using a cross wrap quite a bit which Elizabeth seems to really enjoy. I looked into buying one, but they wanted half an arm and part of a leg so before Auntie Janice left for Angola we went through our fabric piles instead. She leant me a sheet like piece of fabric that she bought to make a dress mock up out of. It's double the required width but exactly the right length for us at the moment (5 yards I believe). Most sites imply that a stretchy fabric is best, but although this particular fabric is almost denim-like I find it extremely comfortable. The knot is a bit bulky though because there is so much of it! I used this wrap for the first time when we took the baby sailing on Canada Day. I felt I needed a different babywearing style since it's useful to be able to go completely hands free on a boat and I was also a bit worried about Elizabeth's safety. Incidentally, did you know that that there are no life jackets that are Transport Canada approved for children under 9kg (20lbs)? We thought about buying the infant life jacket offered by MEC anyway, but decided that strapping Elizabeth to Mom would be safer.
The biggest problem I have with a wrap is that I don't know how I'd tie up a wrap of this length when out and about - it drapes on the ground which would tend to make it dirty, no? Even the instructions that explain how to tie a baby wrap using a single piece of fabric show it draping on the floor.