Baby Carrier Buying Guide

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Baby Carrier Buying Guide

Baby carriers help parents and babysitters comfortably carry babies without straining their arms, occupying their hands, or using an unwieldy stroller. Baby carriers commonly look like backpacks or slings, and allow one to either hold and carry the baby either against one's back or against the chest and stomach. There are many different types of baby carriers, which are commonly organised into categories based on the style in which they hold a baby. Because of this, some options may provide more support or comfort than others, and parents should always carefully consider their options before settling on a specific type of baby carrier.

Many parents opt to use websites such as eBay to buy a baby carrier, as this allows them to take advantage of customer reviews, potentially reduced prices, and view a greater variety of baby carriers than most retail stores carry. But before shopping for a baby carrier, parents should familiarise themselves with the different types, and ensure they understand the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Sling-Type Baby Carriers

The most common and inexpensive type of baby carrier is called a sling baby carrier . This type uses one large, long piece of slightly stretchy, super-strong fabric to support the weight of a baby against one's chest or hip. This kind of carrier is subdivided into additional types based on how they attach to the user. These types of carriers do well when used with very young babies, as the cloth acts to support a baby's head.

Wraparound Sling Baby Carriers

Wraparound slings come in two different lengths. Longer lengths allow a wearer to wrap the ends around his or her shoulders, which more easily distributes a baby's weight, but takes longer to tie. Shorter lengths are tied very quickly, but are meant to be worn over just one shoulder, which can become uncomfortable when worn for longer periods of time. These slings are generally knotted to secure the slings.

Ring Sling Baby Carriers

Ring slings function much like wraparound slings, but with one significant difference. These slings have two wide rings stitched onto one side of the fabric, which allows the other side to be threaded through the rings for a secure fit. This is the most simple and easy-to-use type of baby sling, as the wearer does not need to be taught how to securely tie the fabric. Shoppers interested in this type of sling should ensure that they purchase a variety with padding located underneath the rings, which prevents the rings from pressing uncomfortably against one's shoulder.

Mei Tai Baby Carriers

Mei Tais are a modern recreation of a traditional Chinese variety of sling baby carriers . This type of sling features a large square or rectangle piece of cloth, with long fabric ties extending from each of the corners. The ties are meant to be knotted around one's waist and neck to securely carry a baby in the small pouch that the fabric forms. The unique arrangement makes the Mei Tai sling quick and easy to put on. The shoulder straps are usually wide and padded for wearer comfort, and unlike some other sling types, this kind may have special features for utility or baby comfort, including a sleeping hood, a headrest, and even pockets to store small essentials.

Pouch Sling Baby Carriers

Pouch sling baby carriers are the simplest of all baby carriers, being only a strong tube of fabric with an inward-curving seam. They are meant to be worn over one shoulder, with the baby cradled against the chest. Different sizes are intended for babies of different ages. Though they are inexpensive and incredibly easy to use, pouch sling baby carriers are generally less comfortable for longer periods, than baby carriers with straps for each shoulder.

Soft Structured Baby Carriers

Soft structured baby carriers feature soft sewn fabric and padding to create a structured seat for babies. They generally have one or two padded shoulder straps, and they can be worn either in the front or on one's back. These are generally for use with babies at least four or five months old, who can support their heads on their own. Soft structured baby carriers are typically organised into subcategories based on how the carriers hold the babies. Many parents prefer the additional infant safety and security offered by structured baby carriers, even though they are typically more expensive than sling-type baby carriers.

Front-Oriented Soft Structured Baby Carriers

Front-oriented soft structured baby carriers are meant to be worn with the baby carried in front of the wearer. Though this sometimes offsets one's centre of balance easily and places a great deal of additional pressure on the spine, it allows the wearer to be able to easily see and reach the baby. Many such carriers feature a soft headrest for the child. There are two types of front-oriented soft structured baby carriers.

Inward-Facing Soft Structured Baby Carriers

Inward-facing soft structured baby carriers are designed so that the baby faces the wearer's chest. This often allows the back of the carrier to support the baby's head and neck, and is ideal for younger babies. Some soft structured baby carriers manufactured with this orientation also feature small flaps, so that a mother may discreetly nurse her baby while in the carrier.

Outward-Facing Soft Structured Baby Carriers

Outward-facing soft structured baby carriers are worn so that the baby faces outward, in the same direction as the wearer. These are best suited to older babies who can easily support their own heads.

Back-Oriented Soft Structured Baby Carriers

Back-oriented soft structured baby carriers are different in that they are worn like backpacks, using two shoulder straps, and the baby is carried facing the wearer's back. This is oftentimes the most comfortable option, and is the least likely to dramatically shift one's centre of balance. However, many parents prefer to have their baby oriented toward the front, so that they can always see or reach the baby in a hurry, if necessary.

Framed Backpack Baby Carriers

Framed backpack baby carriers are similar to back-oriented soft structured baby carriers, with one significant difference. Rather than using thick padding and fabric to create structure, framed backpack carriers use harder materials such as plastic or aluminium. Though this plastic is often covered in padding and fabric, these types of carriers can be less comfortable for some babies. However, the additional structure typically makes it easier for the wearer to set the baby into the carrier, and it also acts to provide additional security. Unfortunately, most framed backpack baby carriers are meant to be used with children old enough to sit up on their own, making it a non-option for the parents of young babies.

Urban Framed Backpack Baby Carriers

Urban framed backpack baby carriers are more lightweight than traditional framed backpack carriers, which are oftentimes quite heavy, and they are usually designed to look like a traditional backpack. For this reason, they are also sometimes marketed as 'lightweight' framed backpack baby carriers. These are easier to store, and they are great for quick trips to the park or the store with baby, but are likely to become uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time.

Buying a Baby Carrier on eBay

Using eBay to buy a baby carrier is likely to help shoppers save significantly on the retail cost of baby carriers, which can be surprisingly expensive. To begin searching for a baby carrier on eBay, first go to the eBay home page or one of eBay's internal pages. Once there, look for the search bar, click it, and begin typing the words which describe the type of baby carrier you are looking for. Some good examples are " sling baby carrier " and "backpack baby carrier". Keeping your search terms fairly brief and to the point ensures you get a large number of results. When you are finished typing, press "enter" to view the list of items on eBay which match your description. Mammas & Pappas have a wide range of baby carriers you can purchase on eBay.

Contact a Seller

In some cases, you may see an item which looks exactly like what you want, but you need a few questions answered before making a purchase. To ask any questions about an item or to request more photos of an item, simply look for the " Ask a Question " link on an item's listing page.

Conclusion

There are many different varieties of baby carriers,, and when selecting one, parents should consider many different factors, including the carrier's price, comfort for the wearer and the baby, the intended orientation of the baby, and safety. Sling-type baby carriers are known to be cheaper, but many parents may not feel that they are as safe as soft structured or framed backpack carrier types. Soft structured and framed backpack baby carriers are also heavier, and they may not feel as comfortable for some wearers.

Whatever type of baby carrier buyers decide to purchase, shopping online at a website like eBay is likely to help mitigate the cost and expose shoppers to many more brands and varieties than may not be seen at most retail stores. Getting a baby carrier for as little as possible can be quite important, as some babies respond poorly to being carried upright and they may become fussy. This leaves some parents with no choice but to let an expensive baby carrier hang unused in a closet.

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