Whenever I ask a parent what they want in a baby carrier, top of the list is always “something easy”. Over the years I’ve had different ideas about what makes a carrier easy to use, or easier than other carriers. I have come to the conclusion the biggest factor by far is not actually anything to do with the carrier or carriers in question but the parent’s personal experience and way in which their arms work.
You see, over the years every time I would think oh this carrier is easier than this other, a parent would come along and find the opposite. I had one hilarious sling library session a while back where parent A came in with a carrier that they found fiddly and difficult and so I suggested carrier B. Which they tried and adored and found soooo much easier and intuitive and then as they were trying this on and falling in love with it parent B walks in wearing carrier B, and says how difficult and fiddly they find carrier B and how its impossible and can they try something else. You can probably guess the ending here … yep Parent B falls in love with Carrier A. You see Carrier A just had buckles that flummoxed the first parent but made total sense to the second parent, while Carrier B had a strap the second one couldn’t reach but the first had no trouble reaching it and found this strap much more intuitively placed and much more secure. Easiness is not a measurable parameter – it depends entirely on the individual and is not something that can be easily guessed by reading reviews.
The only way to know if a carrier will be easy for you is to try it. Don’t listen to marketing gumpf… actually try it! Check for yourself that you can reach the strap, that you can undo the buckles, that you can tighten in that direction, that the method for putting it on and taking if off actually works with how your arms like to do things … what feels right for you.
In fact, actively beware of slings that market themselves as being “easier”. This ease often comes at a price. For example, I have blogged before about the Baby K’Tan, which markets itself as being very easy with nothing to tie or adjust. All of which is true but what it doesn’t tell you is that because you can’t adjust it, if it doesn’t happen by pure chance to fit your exact body shape perfectly, you’ll struggle to get a really comfortable safe carry out of it. This is just one example (of many) of a sling where comfort has been sacrificed for ease!
The key I have found is to try 3, once a parent has tried 2 or 3 they can start to articulate what exactly they are finding easier about one over another then it becomes an easy task to pinpoint what is working for that individual. This is where sling libraries and babywearing consultants come in, we have huge product knowledge and can easily spot these patterns once you’ve tried a couple of carriers on make recommendations to try based on what is suiting you personally. We can show you different ways to put a carrier on, ones that aren’t in the manual but may well be easier for you, and we can help you gain confidence not only in using that carrier but also that your spending your money wisely on something that will actually work for you. The easiest and best sling for you.