This week Katie has come up with an INCREDIBLE RESOURCE!! We, of course, are all about practice and not product, but WHAT does that look like in the real world?? Bookmark this ish for the answer.
There’s no doubt about it. Caring for children can be an expensive task. In the babywearing world, it can sometimes seem like product (and price) are placed over practice. I would like to shout loudly from the mountain tops that this doesn’t have to be the case! You’ll sometimes hear the phrase: “Practice over product!” But what does that mean? For the educators of Babywearing International of Greater Austin, it means that we are committed to making babywearing accessible to all caregivers and the children they care for. I’ll be sharing the best tips for buying new or used baby carriers while exercising fiscal prudence, as well as my favorite carrier recommendations for under $100. You can check out our Pinterest page for DIY tutorials and our Pinterest Page for carriers under $100.
A Note on Counterfeit and Recalled Carriers
As always, our biggest concern when wearing our babies is safety. While it can be tempting to purchase a knockoff bargain at heavily discounted prices from various sellers around the internet, they are often poorly made and lack current safety and testing standards which can place children at risk. With that in mind, we strongly recommend purchasing a carrier that is compliant with those standards. You can learn more about compliant baby carriers, as well as how to identify counterfeit carriers from the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance. If you suspect a counterfeit baby carrier, contact the manufacturer for assistance in determining whether it is real. If you’re wondering whether a used carrier purchase may have been recalled (such as the case with the Infantino Sling Rider) you can perform a search through the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recall alerts.
Getting the Best Bang for your Buck
Research. Research. Research. The best deal in the world could quickly turn out to be useless if it fails to meet your needs or the needs of your child. If possible, I highly recommend trying on a variety of carriers in person prior to purchase. Not sure where to try on in person? Your friendly Babywearing International of Greater Austin chapter hosts four free meetings a month with volunteer educators on hand as well as a lending library with most major budget brands!
There are several reliable online retailers known for good deals, including 5 Minute Recess, Marsupial Mamas, Frog Mama, and our local BabyEarth. A number of retailers also offer layaway payment options, including Heart-Hugs, Purple Elm, Birdie’s Room, Hip Mommy, and Mom’s Milk Boutique. Target will occasionally have deals in their baby clearance section, and Zulily has been known to offer discount Ergos in certain colorways.
It’s best to avoid unknown, counterfeit, or no name brands through Ebay, Amazon, or group buys. Often times if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re unsure of a brand you’re researching, we encourage you to post to our Facebook group for help.
Use common sense when buying used carriers locally. Be safe and inspect carriers closely prior to purchase. Some things to look for in a well maintained, used carrier are:
-No tears, pulling seams or ragged edges
-Intact buckles and straps
-Three layers of stitching on a ring sling shoulder
-“Xbox” stitching for straps on a panel carrier
-No pulls or thread shifting that impacts safety on a woven wrap
When purchasing through Facebook or other online groups, check buyer feedback and abide by the rules of the group to help protect yourself as a buyer. Purchase via Goods/Service when using PayPal for buyer protection, and utilize PayPal-backed trades when trading for another carrier. If your used carrier purchase does not come with an instruction manual and you’re unsure of how to use it, the manufacturer may have an online manual on their website. Or better yet, come visit us at a meeting for hands on help on how to use it!
Carriers under $100
Action Baby Carrier – Available in a variety of fun prints for children 8-40lbs and can be used for front or back carries. Hip belt extends up to 53 inches.
Bitybean – A compact, light-weight carrier to be used for children over 3 months of age who weigh between 8-40lbs in front or back carries. May be used in water.
Moby GO – A front or back carrier for babies between 15-40lbs.
Boba Air – A lightweight, compact carrier for front or back carriers for babies between 15-45lbs.
Pognae – A front or back carrier for children between 7-45lbs available in several colors and prints. Features a zip down ventilation panel. Fits up to 49 inch waist with optional waist belt extender.
Infantino – Infantino offers a variety of buckle carriers with various features under $100, including the Flip, Balance, and Unison. The Balance is an ergonomic carrier for children 8-35lbs in front or back carriers. The Flip can be used for front facing in or out carries or back carries from 8-32lbs. The Unison is a nice option for newborns and fits from 8-25lbs in the front facing in or out position.
Catbird Baby – Offers five carrier positions for babies 8-35lbs. Available in a wide variety of prints.
Babyhawk – Available in a variety of prints. Can be worn on the front, back, or hip with babies 8-40lbs.
Infantino Sash – A perennial budget carrier favorite. May be used for front, hip, or back carries with babies between 8-36lbs.
Sleeping Baby Productions – Available in linen, twill, organic cotton, and wrap conversion styles in size XS to XXXL for babies 8-35lbs.
Maya Wrap Ring Sling – Available in lightly padded and ComfortFit shoulder styles in size Small to XL for babies 8-35lbs.
Comfy Joey Linen Ring Sling – Available in size XS-XL to be worn from birth to 35lbs.
Rockin’ Baby Ring Slings – Available in several colors, this can be worn from birth to 40lbs.
Beco Ring Sling – Available in two colors, can be worn from newborn to toddlerhood.
Moby – Available in classic, organic, and screen printed styles for use from 8-35lbs.
Boba – Can be used from approximately 8-35lbs. Available in several solids and a few prints.
ACK Wrap – A lightweight, stretchy wrap available in several stripe patterns. Can be used from 8-25lbs.
Solly Baby Wrap – Another lightweight option in a variety of solids to be used from 7-25lbs.
Ergo Wrap – Can be used from 8-35lbs.
Tricot-Slen – Can be used from newborns – 40lbs.
Little Frog – Available in a variety of prints and sizes from several US retailers.
Wrapsody Breeze and Stretch Hybrid – Both can be used up to 35lbs. The Breeze is woven cotton gauze and available in three sizes, and the Hybrid is cotton jersey and one size fits all. Both are available in hand dyed and batiked colorways.
Tekhni Budget Line – Available in three sizes. 100% cotton Aplos style or cotton/Repreve Arche (ideal for smaller babies).
Lenny Lamb – Broken cotton twill line available in size M and under for under $100 including shipping. Other deals may be available from US retailers.
Yaro Slings – Available from several US retailers in various sizes and prints.
Other Notable Mentions
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and you will likely find sales through several retailers for other popular brands. Many retailers will offer sales several times a year around certain holidays such as International Babywearing Week, Black Friday, etc. Signing up for newsletters is a good way to find out about upcoming sales and coupon codes.
Organizations Providing Baby Carrier Assistance
The Carrying on Project – Provides baby carrier donations to US Military families who would otherwise be unable to purchase one due to financial hardship.
Lift Me Up: Babywearing to Thrive – Donates baby carriers to families who (1) have a child with developmental disabilities that impacts family life (2) does not currently own an ergonomic baby carrier. The families may request a carrier for the child with a disability or for a typically developing sibling (such as the younger sibling of a child who is a wheelchair user).
Babywearing International of Greater Austin – For $30 a year, caregivers are invited to check out one carrier per month from our lending library. In addition to the lending library, gently used carrier donations are accepted to help local families in addition to monetary donations for membership scholarships and outreach.
Many things about raising children can be expensive. College. Changing clothing sizes 14 times in one year. All the things they inevitably break in their quest to conquer the world. Babywearing doesn’t have to be one of them! Now more than ever, there are a variety of safe, affordable options to help caregivers keep their babies close.Whether you’re buying new or used, borrowing from your local lending library, or going the DIY route, with a little research there are many economically sensible options to choose from. Please join us for the Babywearing 102 portion of our meetings during the month of February for more in-depth discussion on budget babywearing!