Monday, 2 May 2011

Mothercare 4-way Baby Carrier

While we are on the topic of transport for the baby, I would like to discuss about Mothercare 4-way baby carrier. It can support baby's weight range from 3.5 kgs to 10 kgs and works in 4 positions, with baby in front, facing forward or towards the parent, with baby in the back (like a back-pack) and with baby in nursing position. It distributes the weight evenly through the back and shoulders for carrying the baby around comfortably while leaving both hands free to get some much needed house work done. It is machine washable and comes with a hood for the cold weather.
Anjalie with daddy in her carrier
We have used the carrier in 2 of the 4 positions regularly, i.e., with the baby in the front, facing us or outside. Anjalie was never comfortable with the nursing position, so never could get a good latch to remain while breastfeeding with Anjalie inside the carrier. So I gave up after a few tries with a protesting Anjalie. We did not use the baby in the back-pack mode mainly because all 3 of us enjoyed the cuddle-like position with her in the front.
Anjalie at 4 months with mum and Grandpa
Anjalie is on the smaller side (in the 9th percentile) so this baby carrier was a little big for her as a new born (Anjalie weighed 3.3 kgs). Until Anjalie was 3-4 months we had just used a long soft cloth to make into a sling (my cotton saree served the purpose well) and it was comfortable for her. Initially, she was not very happy to be transferred to the baby carrier and had to get used to it. It is not as soft and cozy as a sling for her. Compared to a sling (which was not pre-made), the carrier was easy for me to put on and take off. Initially I would worry about using the carrier, by myself, afraid that I might not be able to get the buckles in properly. But after a few practice sessions, when my husband was around, we both got the hang of it. It is easy to clip on and take off with one hand. The back has adjustable straps for waist size and height, so both my husband and I could use it with small adjustments. Also it is a lot easier and safer to make all the adjustments and clip the carrier on to yourself before putting the baby in the carrier. It gives great support to the back and is very comfortable for us. Even now I am able to comfortably carry Anjalie for a quick trip to the grocery in it and she is now 9.3 kgs!
Anjalie at 8 months with Mum and Grand-mum
From 4 months until she was 9 months Anjalie showed a particular preference to the sling more than her pram and would be very excited when she sees me put it on. It cannot be simply because she was going out since her excitement was not the same with the pram. I think she was happy to be held close to her parents while she was outside and seeing things. We only stopped using the carrier regularly, for long trips, when Anjalie turned 10 months and was walking around on her own. She was getting a bit heavy to carry around for long by then anyway. The carrier was a lot easier to travel with since we do not have to deal with the bulky pram. Most of all, Anjalie  was happy to go out in the carrier and when she got tired, I used to just turn her around to face me and, she would fall asleep quickly. She seemed quite comfortable to sleep like that until she was 10 months. However, once Anjalie got a bit bigger (after 10 months) it was not always as comfortable as a pram for her to sleep in for long. By no way can this be a replacement for a buggy, however, it has some advantages like ease of travelling in public transport.

This is not suitable for outdoor trips if the weather is foul. The baby will be much better protected from the elements in the  pram. Also the hood does not always fit properly. It either covered her eyes and annoyed her when she was little or it was not fitting over her properly when she got bigger. So we never used it much. 

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