Babywearing: A Personal History

bjorn 2We decided to wear our baby before our first was born. I loved the idea and thought it’d be so much easier than maneuvering a stroller everywhere we went. When our first was born, we were still in youth ministry and just knew a stroller wouldn’t really suit our lifestyle. So, off to big box baby store we went. And we registered for the most expensive, “nicest” carrier they had. The Baby Bjorn.

bjornWe quickly realized that was a mistake. Though at the time, I thought it was just babywearing in general, since I did buy the best and all. (Ha!) My hands would go numb within 30 minutes of wearing the carrier. See how narrow the seat is on that thing? Yeah. You had to turn her back and forth to keep her comfortable. Poor little hips.

bjorn 3We didn’t use it at all with our second. It was just too uncomfortable. For our third, we needed our hands! So, we dug the Baby Bjorn back out to give it another shot. I’d been reading and researching baby carriers and I knew there were much better ones than the big box baby stores carried. I just didn’t know if I could justify the price tag. I was looking at spending double what I paid for my Bjorn! And would it be worth it? Or would my hands still go numb and the baby still have to be rotated like a roasting chicken? Finally, we decided to go for it. We NEEDED to be able to wear the baby. We had a baby and two toddlers. Something HAD to work. I ordered my very first Beco Butterfly from Carrymeaway.com.

beco in savannahFinally! We had our hands back! (And they weren’t numb!) Why didn’t we do this sooner? That first Beco was worth every single penny I paid for it. We used it so much more than the stroller we paid way more money for. It made our life so, so, so much easier!

beco beachFinally! We could easily manage two toddlers and a baby!

beco sees flamingosWe even learned we could still carry the toddlers in the Beco Butterfly! Anytime someone got tired at the zoo, we could load them up and carry them without wearing our arms out.

beco colar bear(My kids, for the longest time, thought a polar bear was actually called a “Cola Bear” because of this guy.)

beco butterfly

Suddenly the baby carrier became our one must have item. You could forget diapers at home. You could forget an extra change of clothes. But DO NOT forget the Beco or we’re turning the car around!

first becoIt worked so perfectly for our life. Suddenly we were much more flexible. Even church camp  became easy to tackle. (The Pastor is teaching a class with Emery in tow.)

empty beco(I think he is missing something.)

there's baby!(Oh! There he is!) dinosaut k'tan

When our fourth was born, I bought a Baby K’Tan carrier. It worked wonderfully for the newborn stage- keeping baby snug and cozy against mom. I used it daily- at home and out.

beco ff aquariumWhen the new Beco Gemini came out, we’d been discussing becoming a two carrier family, so we decided to go for it. We knew we’d get our money’s worth out of it. It ended up being The Pastor’s favorite carrier. (In the photo, you can see how much longer it is than the Baby Bjorn. You can also see how much wider the seat is, even with it snapped into the “narrow” position. It is ridiculously more comfy for baby and parent!)

out of beco museum

 

beco gemini pierWe got so comfortable being a double babywearing family that when I broke the buckle of my Beco Butterfly (I slammed it in the van door), I just knew I had to replace it right away. (Should have checked, because you can buy replacement buckles on Beco’s website.)

beco butterfly newSo we bought another Beco Butterfly.

church super bowl party becoAbsolutely worth it!

thumbs up

DITL- Momma BBThe Beco Soleil  joined our family earlier this month, and once again, we’re in love. We now own 4 baby carriers and I can tell you every single one of them was well worth the money.

soleil close upWhat makes them better than the cheaper versions? Well, quality, when we’re talking about something you wear, is always going to matter. The quality is simply not there in cheapo carriers.  You’re also dealing with a company that consistently makes a good product- always important when talking about baby items. The good carriers (if you don’t have any clue what a good carrier is, check out this site and browse around. They only carry good ones.) also last a really long time. Through washings, beach trips, zoo trips, being shoved in your bag, grocery runs, and ball games- these carriers hold up.  Good carriers have much higher weight limits! The Baby Bjorn maxes out at 25lbs. The Soleil maxes out at 45lbs.  That is a big, big difference! (And I can tell you from experience that the comfort level of a maxed out Bjorn is nil- while a maxed out Soleil is still incredibly comfortable and easy to carry.)

I’ve been asked frequently about the price of carriers. If you’re truly strapped and cannot spend more than Baby Bjorn price for a carrier, check out a wrap. They are going to be much more comfortable than a cheap carrier for both you and baby at the same price. You can still have a great carrier on a limited budget. If you’re expecting- you’ll use the carrier way more than the stroller, pack and play, exersaucer, etc. So invest the money in the carrier! I have never regretted the money spent on my carriers.

beco christmas tree * Note: You’ll notice that most of my carriers (the Baby K’Tan is the exception) are buckle carriers. There are plenty of other kinds of awesome carriers out there! Here is an article to help you decide which carrier is for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beco Soleil Vs. Beco Gemini

happy carriers

We are a predominately Beco baby carrier family. I loved my Beco Butterflies. The Pastor loved his Beco Gemini.  So when I got the chance to try out the new Beco Soleil, I was thrilled. After wearing it around for a couple weeks, I now have a good feel for the similarities and differences between it and the Beco Gemini. soleil sun

The new Beco Soleil in Micah print from Carry Me Away.

soleil close up

front carry collage with textYou’ll notice on this comparison shot that the Soleil is wider than the Gemini. (And by the way, this is Topher, my 3 month old. He’s about 15 lbs. right now.) You can also see how much shorter the Gemini is on Topher. He seems to prefer the Soleil right now because he likes the snuggles and gets easily overwhelmed. (I can tell you that when Imo was a baby, she would have preferred the Gemini. She hated not being able to see absolutely everything going on. Just proof that every baby is so different.) If you were a Butterfly lover, the Soleil does not have the fabric sling inside, so you can’t move the baby around as well. You can, however, breastfeed much more easily.)

soleil butt close up

front carry hood collage with textThe Gemini has a flip up hood. It clips onto the straps. The Soleil has a detachable hood like the Butterfly had. There are two attachment spots on the Soleil.

soleil under snaps

Snaps under the flap.

soleil upper snaps

Snaps above the flap.soleil snaps covered

The flap.

soleil pouch close upAnd unlike the Butterfly, the Soleil has an actual pouch to store the hood in! This pouch is on the waistband. You can also get a Carry All bag to go on your Soleil. On that note- go “like” Carry Me Away on Facebook for special deals periodically. Like, right now if you buy the Soleil, you can get the Carry All bag for FREE! Add both to your cart and use coupon code CARRYALL. Only good through tomorrow!

soleil leg padding close upThe Soleil also has this nice leg padding for baby. That is one of my favorite new features of the Soleil!

back carry noob collage with textYou can back carry with both. (And once again, you can see how much wider and taller the Soleil is. If you’ve got little babies, you may want to stick with the Gemini.)

hip carry with textYou can also do a hip carry with both. I like the Soleil better for the hip carry because the extra width makes them feel more secure in the carry. I don’t use a hip carry very often. You can see The Pastor is having trouble with the hip carry because, well, boys don’t have hips like girls do.

soleil key ring close upThe Soleil has a key hook! How awesome is that? (I can also fit my cell phone in the hood pouch with the hood. FYI.)

soleil toy loop close upThe Soleil also has a toy loop! You’ll notice that the Soleil hooks like the Gemini, on the side, not like the Butterfly at the shoulder. I always hooked toys or a paci around the Butterfly strap and it was easy because it buckled there. I have more trouble getting things to stay on the Gemini. On the Soleil, the toy loop solves that problem entirely.

back carry 2yo collage with text

back carry soleil 2yoThis is my two year old in a back carry in both carriers. (We usually only back carry beyond 18 months. For me, I can’t see over their heads anymore beyond that. For The Pastor, well, he doesn’t want to get kicked in the you-know-whats by a long legged toddler.) You can see that the Soleil holds his legs up properly and they kind of dangle a bit with the Gemini. He is still well within the weight range for both.You can also see that the Soleil comes up higher on his back. Both hold him in securely and he likes both.

back carry 4yo collage with text

back carry 4yo close up soleil

back carry gemini 4yo 2This is my four year old in a back carry in both. You can see he is too big for the Gemini but still fits in the Soleil really well. He prefers the Soleil. And surprisingly, it is easy to carry him like this. (You know those times you take the kids somewhere and they all suddenly refuse to walk? Yeah? 4 year old in the carrier can solve that problem for you.)

soleil criss cross backBoth carriers can criss cross in the back or be worn over each shoulder with the strap in the middle. I don’t like crossed straps. The Pastor loves crossed straps.

ff gemini kiss

ff geminiThis is the only thing the Gemini does that the Soleil doesn’t. I do not like wearing my kids facing out. The Pastor likes wearing the kids facing out. So, he prefers the Gemini and I prefer the Soleil. You can see with a smaller baby, the hips are in the correct position facing out. (Hips and knees bent.) As they get bigger, not so much. (Which does not stop The Pastor from forward facing them from time to time.)

thumbs upAnd this is why every adult in the family needs a baby carrier! Sometimes, you’ve got to haul more than one! (And with a wagon and two baby carriers, we can get all 5 tired souls to the car after a long zoo trip.)

close up Topher

A Day In The Life of This Babywearing Momma

DITL- ball field closeI’m going to take you through a day in our life, focusing on how wearing the baby makes all this easy. (Well, actually it just makes all this possible!) I’ve got 5 kids. Bigger than average family = busy Saturdays! This baby carrier makes those busy Saturdays easy on little Topher (he’s 3 months old) and doable for me!

DITL- BallgameWe started our Saturday at the ball field. I only have one child that plays baseball. And my husband usually helps out in the dug out (or as Aidan call it, the Hang Out), leaving me to wrangle the 4 that aren’t playing. What is it with toddlers and bleachers? I need both hands to catch the many attempts at diving off the top of those things. And of course, hands free to get water, give gum, give more gum because they swallowed the first piece, brush the dirt off a skinned knee, and the list goes on. In fact, right after this picture was taken, I got stung by a yellow jacket trying to get it off the toddler’s ring pop.

DITL- Baseball BabyYou can see Imogene in the act of running off. (Though thankfully out ball field has a fence all the way around and only one exit.)

DITL- Out of CarBack in the car after the game and off to grab a quick bite to eat. In the pic, I’m in the process of putting Topher into the Beco Soleil. Putting a baby into a carrier is much quicker than getting under all the baseball gear and digging the stroller out of the back of the car.

DITL- McDsBoth hands free to order at McDonald’s. (Don’t judge me! Quick food is what it is.) (And the cashier was only slightly freaked out about having his picture taken for the interwebz.) Both hands to grab the tray and fill up drinks. Topher slept through all this. He’s in his own little world in there. (Thanks to that super handy hood.)

DITL- Corn MazeAfter a quick lunch, we head to the Corn Maze with a group from church. My kids are back there hopping around on that “pillow”. Topher is sleeping in his cozy little world close to Mom.

DITL- RajAdam had to carry Ransom (2 year old) in the Beco Gemini from the parking field because in typical toddler fashion, Ransom refused to walk that far. And since we had baseball that morning, the wagon was at home to make room for the baseball equipment and the umbrella stroller was buried beneath the bat bags. (Plus, we didn’t want the stroller to tote around all day with no kid in it.)

DITL- Corn Maze CloseishWalking through the corn maze with Topher in the Beco Soleil was so much easier than pushing a stroller through. (Have you ever tried to push a stroller through a corn maze? I tried it a few years ago and don’t recommend it.)  Plus, I was able to breastfeed Topher as we walked!

DITL- Daddy is TiredAdam got tired after two rounds through the maze, so he is using the Beco Gemini as a pillow. And Ransom thought it was the perfect time to use Daddy as a jungle gym.

DITL- Cracker Barrel HelpsAfter the Corn Maze, we hit up Cracker Barrel for dinner. Which was a mistake on a busy Saturday night. The kids were in meltdown mode. Topher was just hanging out, as you can see. (He’s kind of out of the carrier here. He’s propped up so he can look over my shoulder, but the carrier is still mostly supporting him so I can eat with one hand at least.

DITL- Wrangling CatsWrangling the cats with my hands free.

DITL- Cracker BarrelHappy, fed kids with only one stop of the day left! Yay!

DITL- KrogeringWe ran by Costco, but who knew they closed at 7pm on Saturdays? I sure didn’t. So we went Krogering. Grocery shopping with a baby carrier is a life changing experience if you’ve got a baby and never worn them in the store. No huge car seat taking up the entire buggy. No wrapping the front seat part to try and stick baby in there. You just strap them on and go. Of course, with 4 other kids, I’m usually pushing a car buggy with 2 in the car, 1 in the seat part of the buggy, and 1 walking. But I only had to grab a few items, so I convinced all 4 other kids to walk.

And finally, the long Saturday is over. And Topher has been happily in the Beco Soleil from 9am until 8pm.

DITL- Rock HandTopher says, “Babywearing rocks!”

If you’re looking for a baby carrier, check out Carrymeaway.com!