Our Experiences with a Baby Bundler and with Frame Backpacks
Baby BundlerI used a "Baby Bundler" sometimes when Calvin was a baby. It's a long length of stretchy cloth that you wrap around the baby and your body so that it holds your baby close to your body either facing forward or outward. It's soft and comfy, and it was very kind to my back and shoulders! I loved to wear him in it when we went on long walks. I say "long walks" because I found it hard to take him out of it, and it wasn't terribly easy to put him in it. I never figured out how to nurse him in it, but I admit that I never tried very hard to figure it out.
I could still wear him in it as a toddler, but he likes to get up and down a lot, so I haven't been using it. I think I might see how he likes riding in it on my back.
Although a high quality frame backpack can be quite expensive, they are excellent for people who go hiking a lot and/or for those who want a backpack carrier that is easy on their back and shoulders. The added safety features such as a five-point harness to keep your little one from crawling or falling out of the carrier will help keep baby safer and cause less worry for the parents. There are some cool accessories available, too, such as a shield to protect the child from the sun or rain. If you plan on using your backpack a lot, and since you can use backpacks for several years--generally from age six months to four years old or 45 pounds, if you can afford it, the extra expense of getting a good quality backpack can be well worth it.
Some children really enjoy riding in frame backpack carriers because they sit up high and can see all around them. Before you buy one, be sure to research to make sure the one you are considering buying hasn't been subject to a safety recall.
Some parents prefer backpacks to slings or other carriers, but there are some drawbacks and limitations to frame backpacks. Little babies who cannot hold themselves or their head up should not ride in these carriers. Generally babies can start riding in them at around six months of age. Babies who cannot sit up shouldn't be placed in a child carrier backpack because a baby who can't sit up yet and is forced into this position will get a very sore back (and can result in other medical problems). Slings are best for little babies. Snuggled up in their sling next to their parent's body keeps them secure, safe, and warm. Also, when mom carries baby, it keeps baby right next to his food source, and he has easy access to it.
Child carrier backpacks are not as versatile as a sling since you can only wear your child in one position (on your back). Plus it's not as easy to put on and take off, though it gets easier with practice. Also, since your baby is not in front of you, you and your baby do not enjoy the eye-to-eye contact and facial interaction you can when carrying them in a sling or font pack carrier.
My husband prefers the backpack. We bought a really cheap on to wear our daughter in. My husband wore our daughter in one for long walks we took as a family. It lasted quite a while, but finally the material tore. Also, since it was cheap, it didn't have nice safety straps to securely strap her in. She never fell out, but you never know when you might stumble and fall on a walk in the forest!
We bought one that cost around a $100 to use with our second child. My hubby still is the one who mainly uses it. He wears our toddler son in it sometimes when we go for walks in the park. . . though our son usually ends up either wanting to walk or wanting to have me carry him. I really prefer using our sling because it's so easy to put on and take off. It feels more comfortable to me, and my muscles are more used to it. My sling is nice and lightweight, and my son is worn close to my body, whereas with a backpack I feel like I've got this huge bulky load on my back, but I use the backpack sometimes while I am cooking.
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