When Sydney was born it was clear that she LOVES to be held. Samuel was much more independent, even from the beginning, so this was new to me. It seems 90% of the time when she's crying she just wants a little attention by being held and talked to. She's a people-person, what can I say! My husband says I used to complain that Samuel wasn't a cuddler and now I got my cuddler! Anyway, after Syd's birth I had to find a way to hold her often yet keep up with my busy 2 year old! And that is how I discovered the world of baby wearing!
Here is a link for pediatrician Dr. Sears' take on baby wearing to help explain the concept.
So, how to wear the baby you ask? Check out the following for information on baby wearing and determining what sling/wrap is best for you: thebabywearer.com
As for me, I have not found a one-size fits-all answer to this. I can only tell you what has worked best for ME personally, which I've outlined below.
Oh boy how I love my Moby! It's basically about 5 yards of stretchy fabric that you wrap around yourself and allows you to hold the baby in several different ways. As the baby grows you can change the hold position to best fit that age.
I found this sling is especially helpful for when baby is brand new. It's really the only sling Syd liked at that stage and it allowed me to nurse her in the wrap very easily. I was at a gym once with a friend and all of our kids. I mentioned to her, as I was chasing my 2 year old, that I was nursing Sydney and she could NOT believe it. The sling not only served to hold Syd and keep her happy - but nurse her discreetly as well (thanks also to the help of my FAVORITE nursing tops by BOOB brand - no lie on the brand name)!
What I also love about the Moby is it is definitely the easiest on my back of any of the 4 slings I've tried.
My mother-in-law made me a hand-made Moby out of fleece that I used in the winter time. It was such a perfect way to get Sydney and Samuel outside more easily in our sub-freezing temps! I'd put Syd in the wrap and then put my husband's coat over us! That way I didn't have to bundle her up in outdoor winter wear and she still stayed very warm. I had a whole assembly-line-style process for how to get the 2 young kids outdoors. It was a necessity for my 2 year old - there will never be a winter to slow this kid down! Here are some pics of my outdoor winter baby wearing get up.
Step 1: get baby in sling/wrap. Ensure you are wearing an easily accessible nursing shirt and bra for feedings if necessary. My favorite is by Boob (which is what I'm wearing in this picture) because it doesn't require you to lift the entire shirt up in order to nurse & it's a flattering shirt.
Step 2: Put a big coat over you and the baby and viola you look pregnant again! I used my husband's coat.
The downside to the Moby - well, some say it's complicated but I don't find that. Don't let the look or directions intimidate you! True, it took a few tries to figure out how to wrap that sucker around me but it actually is a very simple concept once I got a couple practice rounds in. The Moby wrap comes with great instructions, which they also have available on their website. The Moby plays on a method of baby wearing used successfully all over the world. The downside in my opinion to the Moby is that it's slightly bulky as it's about 5 yards of fabric. When I want to travel with it, it takes up a good chunk of my diaper bag - yet still entirely portable. The Moby can also can take a bit longer to put on than some of the other slings.
2. The BABY BJORN!
The BABY BJORN is fantastic for when I'm doing really active things. I take a music class with Samuel that requires a lot of dancing and in that class I feel most comfortable using the BJORN. I've worn the Moby in that class before but seem to always have to readjust her a bit after all that dancing but the BABY BJORN requires no readjusting - it's always at a fixed position (though you can change the settings relatively easily for a different user) with no slack in the material. What I also love about this sling is that my husband feels the most comfortable wearing this one (it's more guy-friendly. lol.) and I'm all for anything that helps him help me! :) This carrier is probably a great option for hot summer days too since it doesn't involve the baby being wrapped up blanket-style.
So what is the downside to the BABY BJORN? Well, unlike other slings and wraps there really is only 2 ways to hold the baby - facing in or facing out. Therefore, I didn't like it as much for brand brand new babies. I really prefer to hold newer babies in the cradle position as it seems the most comfortable and they sleep so much at that age. The only other drawback: although I got the active carrier, for some reason the Baby Bjorn still puts a lot of stress on my shoulders. This carrier is also one of the more pricey ones.
3. The hotsling!
I wasn't sold on this sling at first - other than how darn CUTE they are! I just felt like Sydney was too confined in there. I know babies like to be snug but her head seemed really cramped and she wasn't very happy. I wondered if I was wearing it wrong but I have heard the same response from many other moms. Fast forward to Sydney's 4th month... I got tired of putting that Moby wrap in my diaper bag because it took up so much room so I broke out the hotsling and guess what: SUCCESS! Now that Sydney's head can be positioned on the outside of the sling both she and I like it! I still find the Moby or Baby Bjorn more comfortable but this sling is great in the fact that it travels easier & it's faster to put on.
The downside to the hotsling? Not all Moms find it comfortable for her and/or baby - but that is maybe true for any sling. This sling requires a sized fit as well. I'm not sure the size I bought was quite right after Syd was born but now that I've lost all the baby weight and Syd can sit in it with her head out of the sling, it seems perfect. Like the BJORN, this sling can be on the more expensive side, though some of their fabrics are more affordable than others.
4. The ring sling
I tried one and did not at all like it. It just didn't seem to fit my short 5'3" body at all. I don't really even think it would be fair for me to comment on this one because I was never sure if I was doing it right and I'm not certain of the name of the brand I tried.
That summarizes my adventure in finding the perfect sling! In the end I have enjoyed having 3 slings as I love them each for different reasons. If I had to recommend just one sling it would be the Moby wrap due to the fact that it's affordable and offers the most long term flexibility in baby wearing since there are so many ways it allows you to hold the baby.