As babywearers, we are always enthusiastic about finding solutions to make life easier with little ones. Babywearing provides us with a way to free our hands and continue to keep our babies close while meeting their (and our) needs! Once you’ve discovered which carrier provides the best fit for your family, you may find that certain tools can enhance your babywearing experience. Whether you’re an accessory minimalist or fierce fashionista when it comes to accenting your babywearing ensemble, we’re going to highlight the best items to add flair while you babywear!
Any accessories should be used under adult supervision at all times. Inspect your accessories regularly for damage that could pose a choking or entanglement risk to your child or harm your carrier. We recommend purchasing products that adhere to current federal safety standards for products intended for children.
For Busy Hands and Teethers
I quickly discovered as my baby grew that they explore EVERYTHING with their hands and mouths. Hair pulling, biting, or pinching were all common occurrences while babywearing and while I wanted to encourage my baby’s curiosity, I found it best to direct that energy in more comfortable ways. Teething jewelry is a wearable option that allows you to accessorize in a variety of styles and colors, and is also baby friendly! There are several retailers, including Chew Beads. Another chic option that many babywearers love is Mama Metal.These are silver, artisan made pieces that are constructed to be strong and safe for babies to hold onto and can last long after those babywearing days are over. Examples of Mama Metal can be found at Wonderment Jewelry among several other retailers.
Sun Protection, Hair Pulling, and Babywearing with Head Coverings
Hats are excellent for sun protection, not only for caregivers but for baby as well! Just make sure baby’s face, nose, and mouth remain uncovered and fresh air can circulate, especially if you’re back wearing. Foldable hats are a good choice to putting in the diaper bag on the go, and wide brimmed hats worn by the caregiver can help provide additional protection to little ones resistant to keeping a hat on. Small retractable umbrellas are a great choice for sun or rain protection.
Wrapsody makes a variety of hair wraps to coordinate with their wraps to tuck hair back and away from tugging hands. You can purchase them here, or you can get one of your very own orange headbands seen at our meetings by becoming a volunteer for Babywearing International of Greater Austin! Wrapsody also provides a video on how to style your hair wrap in different ways.
Headscarves worn for religious, modesty, or personal reasons can be part of your babywearing outfit! Babywearing International of DC-MD-VA has created an excellent blog post on this very topic!
Protecting your Carrier
Who knew that the shoulder straps or panel of your baby carrier could be so delicious to your baby? Drool or bib pads wrap around the exposed areas of the carrier and provide extra absorbency and protection from little teethers. They can also be coordinated to your favorite carrier. Beco, Pognae, Lenny Lamb, and Ergo all make drool pads to fit their carriers. Ergo also makes a drool bib for the 360 carrier. If aftermarket, custom products are purchased from a seamstress, we recommend buying from a producer who adheres to proper labeling and testing standards for children’s products set forth by the CPSIA.
Keeping an Eye on Baby
If you’re just starting out with back carries or want to keep an eye on your baby, we recommend using a store window or mirror to check on baby and observe their positioning. When neither are available, we love this clip on, retractable mirror from Chisco. It features a convex mirror that can be clipped to your carrier or keyring to check on little ones and store when not in use.
Hip pouches and fanny packs are making a return from the days of yore and they make an excellent babywearing accessory. Thanks to the trusty waistband, you don’t have to worry about your bag sliding off your shoulders! They can be found in resale shops or large retail establishments. Baby carrier manufacturers such as Tekhni, Onyababy, and Ergo make hip pouches to coordinate with their carriers.
Shoulder bags are another option that can be slung across the body or shoulder in a way that doesn’t place additional weight on the baby. Manufacturers such as Lenny Lamb, Smitten, Cari Slings, Catbird Baby, and Girasol make coordinating bags to go with their carriers.
Backpacks with convertible straps that can be worn as a shoulder bag provide versatility if you change your carry style frequently, such as front carries to back carries. Regular backpacks can be helpful for front carriers because you can “tandem” wear the backpack with your child on your front.
Other helpful bags include a clutch bag when you only need a few items. Water bottle carriers which feature a strap to be worn over the shoulder or across the body help to tether your water bottle. For caregivers who partake in frequent outdoor activities, Camelbak water packs are a favorite for wearing in the back while baby is in a front carry.
Storing your Carriers
Thirty-One and Target sell a utility style tote in a variety of prints that is a favorite amongst babywearing hobbyists for storing carriers when not in use. They can be folded down flat for storage. Ikea makes soft-sided, zippable storage totes in their characteristic blue and yellow color scheme for storing really large stashes.
We will be discussing all things babywearing accessories with the opportunity to see many of them in person during the 102 portions of our meetings for the month of May, and lucky for you we have four, free opportunities to do that in the greater Austin area! We hope to see you there!
You also have a chance to win two awesome goodies from our friends at Monkey and Mortimer. These adorable suck pads and accessory bag are the perfect combo of useful and stylish, a great way to jazz up any carrier! Tell us below what your favorite babywearing accessory is then complete this form to win either suck pads or the bag!