I always knew I would use a baby carrier. We specifically did not buy a bucket style car seat (where the car seat can be detached and carried around). I know they have their place and can be very convenient, but in my opinion, they are heavy and awkward to move around. I also have back issues, and I knew carrying one of those around (they are often 10 lbs or more, plus the weight of the baby) would cause me never ending discomfort.
I bought a moby wrap, assuming that I would have a tiny baby (I'm small, my husband is small, I only gained 30 lbs in the pregnancy, it made sense in my head). When I had a 9lb, 4 oz. baby girl, we were surprised, and the moby wasn't a great option.
I'm not saying the moby doesn't work for others, it gets great reviews and works for a lot of people, it just didn't work for me. Sylvie was heavy, but floppy, and her head always popped out of the wrap so I was constantly holding on to her. I found it difficult to wrap and get her in securely, especially when we were out. Sylvie was also born in July, on the hottest day of the year, so all the fabric was hot to have wrapped around me.
When Sylvie was about 5 weeks, I went for a midwife appointment. A new baby store had opened up next door, we were getting our cloth diaper service from them, so I thought I would pop in and put some faces to our name and our delivery address. As soon as the shopkeeper helped me get Sylvie in the Beco Gemini, I was in love. She was little and needed support but she felt so secure and safe and snuggled up against me. I became incredibly excited because for the first time in 5 weeks, I had two hands free!
|Sylvie in the carrier at 5 weeks old|
The Gemini is great in a lot of ways. The baby can be worn in 4 ways (front, back, hip and with the baby forward facing). It is comfortable and ergonomic. There is a fold down head support piece for when babies are very little, no additional insert (or additional expense) is required. Additionally, the straps make it fully adjustable, so many people with many body types can wear it. Some carriers are sized and that might mean the mother and father would each require a carrier. In our case, both Alain and I easily wear the carrier. He simply adjusts the hip belt since he has a smaller waist.
So far I have worn Sylvie on the front and forward facing. Most carriers are not well suited for forward facing. They are not good for the developing hips and spine. While Beco does not recommend using the forward facing position regularly, I think it's nice to have the option for a trip to the zoo, aquarium, etc. Forward facing can be quite overwhelming for the baby. There is a lot to see and take in and when she is facing me I know Sylvie appreciates just being able to snuggle down and turn the world off when she needs to. Sylvie loves looking around while we are out and about but usually snuggles against me and falls asleep within half an hour or so.
|Sylvie at 4 months|
Now that it's winter, I find it more difficult to get the carrier on over my winter coat (its possible, but I have to adjust the straps for when we are out and then readjust them when we get home and I'm not wearing the coat anymore. I have gotten into the habit of slipping into the backseat and put the carrier on underneath my coat if possible. I continue to wear Sylvie around the house and whenever we are out so that I have my hands free to open doors, shop, whatever.
When a baby is little, its legs are froggied up inside the carrier (see the photo above, of Sylvie at 5 weeks). As the baby gets bigger, it is safe to pull the legs out on either side of the carrier (shown below in the forward facing position). When the baby is facing mama, its legs and bum will almost look like she is sitting on a little chair.
We only started using the forward facing position at the beginning of January, and don't use it very often. Sylvie can kick her legs a lot more in that position, which is less comfortable for me. I have also found that her weight is distributed differently, also a comfort issue. Still, it's nice to have the option.
|Sylvie in the carrier, forward facing at 6 months|
The carrier is super easy to get on and off in the front wearing position. It's a little trickier when the baby is big enough to be worn on the back. I have tried wearing Sylvie on the hip as well, but she was smaller at the time and didn't feel secure.
I also haven't had any luck nursing Sylvie in the carrier. There are youtube tutorials showing how to do this with a smaller baby, but I haven't figured it out with Sylvie being her current size. I don't usually have to feed her on the go, so it hasn't matter too much. The one time I did have to nurse her a little (in Michaels craft store!) I just ended up holding her and giving her a bit, just enough to get us through the long pre-Christmas line up and to the car for a longer nursing session. I tried to use the carrier, and it gave a little support, but I'm sure I wasn't doing it right, and her neck was through a strap which felt like a strangulation hazard.
Whew. This is a long post! Regardless of the last few paragraphs outlining a few minor drawbacks, I really do love our carrier. It is truly the best money I have spent since Sylvie arrived and makes it a lot easier to do errands with a baby.