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When my youngest daughter was born, I had a dilemma over transporting both children. My eldest was 3 at the time so I felt a double buggy would be an expensive option as it probably wouldn’t get used an awful lot. My eldest would walk quite a bit, but if I was going on a major shopping expedition chances are her legs would start to ache before I had finished my shopping. Also, we live in a very rural area and often go for walks round local footpaths.
So I decided a baby carrier would be my best option. If I was going shopping, I could put the baby in the pram to start with and the carrier would go in the basket. Then when Caitlin (my eldest) got tired, baby could go in the sling, I could convert the pram to pushchair mode and we could carry on our merry way.
The next decision was which sling? There are many on the market – forward facing, rearward facing, reversible, with straps, with poppers – the decision was daunting. So I used the tried and tested method – ask the opinion of everyone I know who has used a sling (this was before I discovered Ciao – of course now I would just read through the appropriate opinions!). The general consensus was that the Baby Bjorn carrier was the best – everyone who had one raved about it. However, a friend offered to lend me her carrier (can’t remember the make) so I could see how I got on with it. I hated it! Felt very insecure and I kept feeling like Mia was going to fall out so I had to keep one hand on her all the while.
So, off I went in search of a Baby Bjorn. First stop was Boots, as I had loads of Advantage points to spend. Carrier was around £45, but I couldn’t pay with points. All the cheaper carriers were available with points, but not the Baby Bjorn. Typical! Thwarted in my efforts – and not wishing to pay full price – I decided to look second hand. A search through the local advertising newspaper proved fruitless. But then I remembered – there was a National Childbirth Trust Nearly New Sale coming up! Always a good place for a bargain. So off I went early in the morning to help set up (always the best thing to do – you get to spot the bargains before they get put out for sale) and there it was – a navy tartan Baby Bjorn, in good condition for the bargain price of £15! So I bought it straight away and plonked Mia straight in, where she calmly stayed for the rest of the sale while I helped out.
So, what is so great about the carrier? For me, it is the support that the baby gets. While the baby is still tiny, they face you and the carrier securely supports their back, neck and head. The straps take a bit of getting used too, but once you get the hang of it, it is easy to put on by yourself and get the baby in without needing an extra pair of hands. The straps cross over your back, spreading the weight well, and they are easily adjusted to fit most people. I found the easiest thing to do was put the carrier on and adjust the back straps. Then, open one side of the front and carefully slide baby in. You can then do up the open side while baby is in the carrier. The poppers and clips feel extremely supportive and the baby is carried very close to your body. I didn’t feel as if I needed to support her at all while she was in the sling.
Once the baby is bigger and has more control over her neck and head, you can fold down the top of the carrier and turn baby round so she is looking forwards. I carried Mia this way until she was around 9 months old.
The carrier can be used once your baby weighs 8lbs or more and the maximum recommended weight is 33lbs. It is made from 100% cotton.
The instructions do say that you can breastfeed while using the carrier (come on – did you really think I would get through a baby op without mentioning breastfeeding!), but unless you are a contortionist, I can’t see how!
The Baby Bjorn comes in several different designs so you are sure to find one to suit your taste. They are widely available, although the second hand market can be a bit short on supply as people don’t seem to want to get rid of them (I know I’m hanging on to mine for a while longer!)
If you are looking for a carrier for your baby, then I would highly recommend this. It is easy to use, comfortable to wear and lasts well. Can also be thrown in the washing machine when baby decides to regurgitate her last feed!
And despite the high price tag, I still think this carrier represents excellent value for money. In hindsight, if I hadn't been able to find one second hand, I would gladly have paid full price.
For further information (and to decide on your colour scheme!) see www.babybjorn.com