This graphic was doing the rounds of Facebook the other day, and it got me thinking. Do we really need to justify why we have more than one carrier (or wrap or sling)? I see some women with a sense of guilt that they want more than one carrier, feeling like they should make do with one, that it is greedy or materialistic to want more. But I think Jamie Owens is definitely right – nobody should have any regrets about their babywearing journey, it is such a short time that we get the opportunity to carry our babies, we should enjoy it as much as possible while we can. If you want more than one carrier, and you can afford it, then go for it!
If that’s not enough, consider some of these other reasons why you might need more than one carrier.
While it is possible to use the one carrier (or wrap or sling) for all your babywearing needs, chances are, sometimes the carrier you have just isn’t quite right for what you need it for at that moment and it feels awkward or inconvenient. For example, using a stretchy or woven wrap is often super comfortable, but when it is raining outside and you’re trying to wrap 4 or 5 metres of fabric in a car park full of puddles you’ll be cursing yourself that you haven’t got something a bit shorter or quicker to put on. Having a ring sling or a buckle carrier in your stash for these times can be a great idea. On the other hand, if you only have a ring sling, as your baby gets older and heavier you may find you can’t carry them for long periods without some discomfort from the one-shouldered carry.
I love a soft structured carrier (Ergo, Tula, etc) for walking, at the shops or outings like the zoo, but I find at home I prefer a wrap where I can carry my daughter high on my back so she can see over my shoulder easily and stay involved in whatever I’m doing. A soft structured carrier just doesn’t provide that same feeling for me (not to mention my Tula generally lives in the car….hmmm, perhaps I need a second one for the house). And I love the convenience of a ring sling for popping into the shop or picking my older kids up from school.
As much as I love a stretchy wrap for a newborn, if you’re having a baby at the end of December in Australia, it’s going to be pretty warm. Babywearing in the height of summer is hot no matter what you do, but there are definitely cooler options than a stretchy wrap. So perhaps you might like a stretchy wrap for when you’re home in the air conditioning or at a shopping centre, and a light cotton ring sling for wearing outdoors as well. As for woven wraps, it is perfectly legitimate to have some nice thick woolly wraps during the winter, and move to something thinner and lighter in the summer. You wouldn’t wear the same jumper all year round, and it shouldn’t be any different with wraps.
You’re probably not going to want to take your $250 silk blend wrap to the beach, but your baby still needs to be carried, right (have you ever tried pushing a pram on sand?). Learning to torso carry in a beach towel is one option, but if you’re not that ambitious, you’re probably going to want something cheap and cheerful that you can use in the water and on the sand. And if you own a bit of land or enjoy gardening, a plain black soft structured carrier that wont show the dirt is a great option, but you might also like to have something prettier (and cleaner) for when you go shopping.
There’s really no reason why carriers, wraps and slings can’t be considered accessories in the same vein as handbags and shoes. Sure, they serve a function, but I don’t think anyone would question you for owning more than one handbag or more than one pair of shoes. I could get by with one pair of shoes and one handbag if I absolutely had to, but that pair of shoes and bag wouldn’t quite work for all of the different things I do in my life. So I have a few pairs of shoes (or 10) and a couple of handbags (ok, 5 or 6) to serve different purposes.
Same goes with babywearing. I could get by with one carrier, but I’d rather have a few different items to choose from. And in Imelda Marcos-like style, there are some people who have enormous collections of wraps, carriers and slings. Not because they think they need them all, but because they enjoy the collecting, the aesthetic, the fashion of babywearing. There is nothing wrong with wanting your carrier to match your outfit, just like your shoes and bag.
The fashion of babywearing means there are many talented artisans making amazing textiles and carriers for carrying babies, because carrying your baby doesn’t just have to be about getting from A to B, it can be a truly joyful experience and an important part of your growing relationship with your child, so why not make the most of it?
Whether you’ve got one carrier, 10 or 100, don’t feel like you need to justify yourself to anyone. And try not to feel jealous when you see huge stash shots on social media, not everyone can afford a carrier for every day of the week (or month!). Just enjoy your babywearing journey while it lasts – keep them close in whatever way YOU want!