When Baby Doesn’t Like The Sling

I’ve been getting this question (and giving the following advice) for a while in-store now and have been getting GREAT feedback from happy parents on how well it works so I thought I should share it with you all too.

What do you do when your baby doesn’t like the sling? (Or carrier, Mobywrap, etc.)  She fusses and cries when she’s in, but is happy when you’re holding her in your arms.  She doesn’t want to be put down, but also doesn’t want to be in any carrier.  What to do?  My third child was like this.  She did not like the sling and would fuss in it, though she did want me to hold her.  When she was a few weeks old I told her, half-jokingly, “You are the THIRD child.  You WILL be a sling baby.  I just don’t have enough hands!”

If this sounds like your baby, first you want to rule out any physical discomfort.  Make sure the baby is properly positioned: chin off chest, back straight and not hunched over, face clear of fabric, head high enough that you can bend YOUR head down and kiss the top of HER head.  Make sure her legs are not too squished up, sometimes this can bother babies.  (If you have any questions about proper positioning please come into the store or meet with your local babywearing group.)

Once you can establish that there is no physical discomfort, it’s time to look at why else your baby may dislike the carrier.  If they are a baby who likes to look around, try to stand in such a way that they can see what you’re doing.  In a front carrier this does not necessarily mean facing out.  It can also mean facing you, while you stand sideways.  For example, in my (crappy) picture you can see that I am not facing the person I’m talking to, I’m standing perpendicular to them and turning my head.  That way the baby can also turn their head and see everything that’s going on.  If the baby is on my back, I try to hike them up a little higher so they can look over my shoulder and also see everything that’s going on.

If the issue is not your baby trying to see stuff (which you can usually tell by the fact that they’re craning their head all around), and/or your baby is too young to want to look around but she’s still crying, chances are she is just unnerved by this new weird position you’re holding her in.

The temptation is to jump right into babywearing with all its benefits, like being able to stick your baby in the carrier and basically kind of forget about them and go about your business.  And you’ll get to that point.  But first you have to get your baby comfortable with this new thing.

Start having a “daily babywearing time” just for 10-15 minutes.  Make sure baby is not wet/dirty, hungry, or tired.  Put her in the sling or carrier and spend the next 15 minutes actively interacting with her in the sling.  Talk to her, sing, walk around and look at interesting things, do the “mommy dance”, that strange hopping, swaying jig we all do that babies like.   You want her to experience sling time not as “time that mom sticks me in this weird place and forgets about me” but as “special mommy-and-me time when I get her attention.”  You’re also communicating by this constant calm interaction that you are fully aware of this new weird situation (the carrier) and you are okay with it, so she can be okay with it too.  Do this for 10-15 minutes for about a week and your baby will grow comfortable with the sling, to the point that you will be able to stick her in and go about your business.  Babywearing bliss!

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Test Driving the Beco Gemini

I must first say that I absolutely LOVE testing out the new carriers!  I feel like I’m building a relationship with each carrier. Silly?  Why yes I am!

Last week, I spent my time test driving the Beco Gemini.  It is a lovely, versatile and comfortable carrier.  I’m very happy to have tried the Gemini out for a week as it allows me to better sell the carrier when I’m working at Babies Bottoms and More.  Before I used the Gemini in real life, I was just able to tell potential babywearers that it just wasn’t the carrier for me.  I knew of it’s capabilities, but wasn’t wooed by the carrier as I was the Beco Butterfly 2.  Now, I feel very confident in assisting new babywearers and truly showcasing all that the Gemini is capable of doing.

The Gemini is a soft structured carrier that is very different from it’s sister the Butterfly 2.  The Gemini has a weight limit of 35 lbs, where the Butterfly 2 can carry a child up to 45 lbs.  (To be completely honest here, I highly doubt I will be wearing my child to those limits, but I reserve the right to do so if it makes both of us happy.)  The Gemini offers several ways to carry a baby: front carry, facing in; front carry, facing out; hip carry; and back carry.  A unique feature of the Gemini is the foldable headrest which can be used in front carry facing in or in a back carry.  Gemini eliminates the risk of losing a detachable headrest/hood with it’s foldable headrest, however, the headrest does not cover the baby’s head.  

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When testing the Gemini, I started with what feels like the most basic and natural position for me to employ in an ssc: front carry, facing in using the straps in the back pack style.  This position was very handy for allowing Norah to get used to a different carrier than our beloved Butterfly 2.  It allowed me to become familiar with the different features of the Gemini.  This was a preferred position for the nights when I needed to breastfeed Norah in the carrier in order for her to fall asleep.  I felt that the Gemini was very comfortable and far more accommodating for breastfeeding than my Butterfly 2 as the Gemini does not have an internal harness. 

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Back pack style straps.

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Crossed straps

I have to say that in the week I used the Gemini, my go to position was front carry with crossed straps.  I used this at home, at the park, and at the store.  It was just that comfortable to have the straps crossed.  It felt natural and very supportive for my bad back.  It made me wish that every carrier on the market offered this option. 

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Front carry, forward facing 

I have to admit that there isn’t much about a forward facing, front carry that entices me.  I did use this position one day for a long grocery trip and while it was comfortable and Norah LOVED the view, I did not love the carry.  It felt very unnatural to me and like Norah’s body was working against mine instead of with it.  There was nothing uncomfortable about it, but I felt like I had to be extra careful to not bump into the shopping car.  This carry also gave Norah way too many destructive ideas at the store since her arms were in front of her.  She did giggle and talk the entire time we were shopping and she didn’t ever get tired of the view.  I feel like strangers at the store were far more responsive to Norah in the carrier than when she is on my back in the Butterfly 2.  

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Back carry

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The back carry in the Gemini was comfortable and easy to employ despite my fears of dropping my baby.  (Yes, it’s true, my Butterfly 2 has spoiled me when it comes to easy back carries).  I did youtube videos of the best way to put the baby on my back and was always sure to test out the back carry while having her over the bed.  The back carry was easy to employ and the stiffer body of the carrier (when compared to the Butterfly 2 or the Boba 3G) reassured me that Norah was comfortable and positioned safely.  I did use this carrier during a warmer week and do not think that it made either one of us excessively hot.  

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Hip carry

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I’ll admit that the hip carry was not the most intriguing to me and only used it for a short time in my home.  I feel that a dedicated carrier for a hip carry, such as a ring sling, are far more comfortable for this position than the Gemini.  The Gemini performs well in a hip carry, but it does feel a bit bulky.  I much prefer my Hava Ring sling for the days that I want to keep Norah on my hip.  I can absolutely appreciate having the option of a hip carry in the Gemini, but would rarely use it in real life.  

Overall, I was far more impressed with the Gemini than I thought I would be at the beginning of this venture.  I feel like it offers a huge value for $129 considering all of it’s capabilities.  Spending a week getting to know the ins and outs of the Gemini has allowed me to be more confident in recommending this carrier to customers who desire a versatile yet comfortable soft structured carrier.  

Stay tuned!  I will review the Boba within the next week!

 

-Keila

Beco Butterfly, Beco Gemini, and Boba 3G carriers

For those of you considering a soft structured carrier (SSC), I thought I’d go over the differences between these three carriers.  SSC’s are great for heavy or squirmy babies because they do not stretch, and they do support the baby’s weight on both shoulders and hips.  Each one has small differences though that might be overlooked but can make worlds of difference to the person who is using it. 

Beco Butterfly II, 7-45 lbs

This carrier retails for $139 and of these three models has been around the longest.  Positions are limited to front carry (baby facing you) and back carry (baby facing you).  Shoulder straps are backpack style (attached at both ends to make a closed loop) and have an H-strap that connects the two shoulder straps across your back or your chest.  The thing that sets the Butterfly II apart is the inner sling made of fabric where the baby sits.  This sling is what keeps them in the carrier, so you can actually unbuckle the waist strap without the baby falling out.  This means you can “Pass the Baby” without taking him/her out of the carrier.  It also means that with an older baby you can put him/her in the Beco Butterfly II while sitting on a couch or something and THEN hoist them up on your back by the shoulder straps, and finally do the waist strap last.  If you plan to do a lot of passing back and forth, or are nervous about back carries, this is the one for you. 

The Butterfly II has an infant insert for babies 7-15 lbs and a detachable sleeping hood.  Both are included in the price of the carrier and storage compartments are built into the carrier so you never lose them. 

Because of the way the carrier is made, there are two things you can do with the Butterfly II that you can’t do with other carriers.  First of all, just like you can take the carrier off without taking the baby out, you can also take the baby out without taking the carrier off.  This comes in handy in cold weather when you have a coat on over the baby carrier.  You can take the baby out and into their car seat without having to take off your coat and stand in the freezing wind or rain while you buckle your baby.  The second thing you can do is if you can’t reach behind your back to buckle the H-strap, you can buckle it BEFORE you put the straps on your shoulders and then simply slip the already-buckled strap over your head onto your back.  You would do this before the baby is in the carrier, of course. 

Beco Gemini, 7-35 lbs

 

This carrier retails for $129 and can do a front and back carry as well as a front-facing carry and a hip carry.  It does not have the inner sling that the Butterfly II does.  It also does not have an infant insert (because of the way it’s made it doesn’t need one) or a detachable hood.  Instead it has a padded headrest that can be folded down when not in use. 

The Gemini has two features that the Butterfly II and Boba do not have.  First, the base can be made wider or narrower with snaps.  You would make it narrow for a tiny baby or for a forward-facinb baby, and make it wider for a bigger baby who needs more bottom support when facing you.  Second, the straps are not attached at both ends but buckle to make backpack-style loops.  This means you have the option of making an H-back or an X-back strap configuration.  Some people find the X-back much more comfortable.  It’s really good for moms with narrow shoulders because it never feels like it’s going to slip off your shoulders.  When you have the straps on the X-back configuration, though, it’s important to remember that you can’t just switch back and forth from front-carry to back-carry like you can when they are set up for an H-back. 

Boba 3G, 7-35 lbs

 

The Boba carrier ($120-125) has a simple design with lots of added bells and whistles.  The basic design is that of an Ergo or a Mei Tai: waist belt, shoulder straps, fabric seat for baby in between.  There is no inner sling like in the Butterfly II.  It can do front carry (facing mom) or back carry, but no forward facing or hip carry.  There is a detachable hood that can store in its own zippered pocket on the carrier.  Instead of an infant insert, the Boba uses set of snaps that makes the carrier body shorter to accomodate an infant as well as to make a headrest to cradle a tiny baby’s head.  When fully unsnapped, the Boba is about 30% taller than other carriers on the market, making it great for taller babies or those who want more support.  Straps are backpack-style, attached on both ends and include a cross-back (or chest) strap to make an H-configuration.

Where Boba really shines is in its added features.  There are two zippered pockets on the carrier, one just the right size for a smart phone and the other big enough for a small snack or keys and a wallet.  Small snap straps on each shoulder allow you to attach the strap of your purse or diaper bag to the carrier so it will not slip off your shoulder.  And (removable) footrests are great for the older child to prevent dangling legs and improper hip alignment. 

You are welcome to stop by our store, Babies Bottoms and More, any Tuesday from 10-2 or Saturday from 11-3 to try on any or all of these carriers.  The best way to decide which one is best for you and your baby is to try them on.  Please see our website, www.babiesbottomsandmore.com, for address and current hours. 

These reviews come from my own extensive personal experience with these carriers (I own one of each and use them daily). I have not received any free product or been compensated in any way for these reviews.