29 February 2012, by Dannie Cho
It’s been a mere 6 months since Coco was born, and we have already tried out a variety of ways to tote her around.
Given that most parents will tend to face some sort of a budget/space constraint, I thought it might be useful to list the pros and cons of each item we used, along with our experience with it.
1) Pouch Slings
Pouch slings are single pieces of cloths with ends folded/sewn together, so that it forms a very snug pocket for the baby to rest in. Unfortunately, these slings cannot be adjusted for length or snugness. I could only use it for less than a month before feeling that my baby was being squished too uncomfortably against my burgeoning tummy. Yi Lin managed to use it a little longer, till about 1.5 months before we decided to abandon the sling.
While we were using it, baby certainly looked really snug. After all, being curled up like that, it is easy to imagine her still in the womb and looking like that. Enough to make one want to go ‘Aww….’.
Another advantage of the pouch sling is its relatively small space requirement. Easy to fold and put in any bag. Doesn’t take up much space at home either.
But still, as something that has a very short expiry date, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. Unless you feel like gallivanting around within the first month of your child’s birth!
2) Car Seat
A car seat is simply a necessity if you are going to be driving around. We have been using the same car seat since the first time we brought Coco home from the hospital till now.
The first car seat that you will buy will probably last baby till about 9 months. The specs declare that you can use it for a longer period of time, of course. But at six months, Coco’s legs are already bent against the back seat (the car seat makes the baby face the rear of the car, so that sudden braking motions will not cause a baby whiplash). And she gets fussy because the scenery doesn’t change for her. The moment she’s strong enough to be comfortable in a forward-facing car seat, we’re ditching this.
A car seat, however, is a pretty uncomfortable way of carrying a baby around. You must hold the centre of the handle if you do not want your baby looking like she’s going to fall off either side. And yet, you need to extend your arms a little so that the chair doesn’t brush against your thighs as you walk. Or maybe that’s just me and my little hangup. If I hold the seat in my left hand, then it hits against the phone in my pocket as I walk. If I hold it in my right, then it hits against the keys in my other pocket. And I keep thinking that sound travels best in a solid, and given the curvature of the car seat around the baby’s head, she’s going to be hearing loud knocking sounds from my phone or my keys!
Oh, and car seats plus baby’s weight, especially as baby grows, is no joke! I swear my arms have become longer!
We got the stroller when carrying the car seat around really got tough. Coco was about 3 months, and still could not really sit up straight yet. In fact, she was still unable to hold her head up for more than a few minutes at a time. We got round the problem by inclining her seat a little. That helped, but it was not ideal.
The stroller is great when we head out for dinner and want our hands free. Or when we are out for hours at a go and need someplace we can put her to sleep in. Or, as was our original intention when purchasing this stroller, if we simply decided to go for a little walk as exercise. In a pinch, we have even used it once as a diaper changing station!
But Coco doesn’t seem too happy with her stroller. I suspect she has this mild form of separation anxiety that Yi Lin has too. After all, Yi Lin once confessed to me that she doesn’t really like wakeboarding because she feels left out from the group of people on the boat while she’s hanging on to the rope during her turn!
One other major disadvantage of the stroller is that you can’t safely use it on escalators. And sometimes, it’s just such a pain to go around looking for ramps!
4) Baby carrier
The baby carrier, unlike car carriers and aircraft carriers, do not carry multiple babies. It is simply a bewildering series of straps and buckles that you fasten around yourself and baby, and voila! You are carrying a baby, hands free!
When using a baby carrier, you generally have the flexibility of facing the baby outward or inward. I have also recently started looping some teething toys in the straps, so that Coco can chew on them and entertain herself.
I especially love the closeness to the baby that the carrier provides.
But, till now, I have not figured out the straps, so Yi Lin must always be on hand to help me. If baby’s feeling wriggly, then it really becomes a 2-person job to strap the baby in, or take her out. But I found the major drawback in using a baby carrier alone a couple of weeks back when I was roaming around Centrepoint with baby while Yi Lin was indulging in a facial. It is pretty near impossible to pee when you have a baby strapped to your front! So, learn from my experience – if you ever have to be alone and using the baby carrier is your choice for toting the tot, then go empty your bladder first. And maybe cut down on liquid intake for awhile!
And that’s it! Hope this helps!