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Parentology: Slings, backpacks and
the scoop on baby-wearing


Baby wearing has been a hot topic of discussion among parents lately because of a recent warning by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission that certain kinds of slings, if used incorrectly, can lead to infant death.

Indeed, hazards aside, the variety of baby carriers on the market these days is overwhelming. This  month's Parentology column looks at how parents decide which one (or more often ones) to buy, and how in just six short years the Ergo -- a soft structured carrier that looks like a backpack -- has become the carrier of choice.

New York City seems to be awash in baby carrier consultants who will show up at a client's home with dozens of carriers for a new parent to try, but that kind of help is hard to come by in Los Angeles. So I asked Angeleno Lesley Doyle, mother of a 1-year-old, and lover of all things baby carrying, for her advice. Here's what she said:

1. Check out thebabywearer.com. It's the bible of baby wearing. It talks about all facets of baby wearing safety which right now is vital for people to know about. It can help you figure out if you are a ring sling person, or a woven wrap person. I think that is a good starting point for people.

2. If someone wants to locally connect with other moms who are baby wearing they can join Laura Brown's Meet Up group The Los Angeles Crunchy Parents. Once you do that you will have access to our calendar and see when there are baby wearing workshops and events.

3. There are two women in our area who don’t have storefronts, but will meet you for appointments and can sell you different types of carriers. There is a woman in Orange County, who has a website called SlingsIlove.com and if someone really thought they wanted a woven wrap, but didn’t want to order one online they could go have an appointment with her. There's also bebewearingmamas.com. She will do free consulting, show you some beginner carries and has some inventory of woven wraps.

Thanks to Lesley for her help. You can read my full story on baby carriers here.

-- Deborah Netburn

Photo: Members of the meet-up group Los Angeles Crunchy Parents wear their babies during a hike in Griffith Park. They are, from left: Amanda Gates with Daphne in a hiking carrier; Jean Lee with Noelle in a Mei Tai carrier; Brettney Perr with Solace in a Metrowrap carrier; Melissa Burch with Marcus in a Beco carrier; Laura Brown with Chandler in a Mei Tai carrier; Erin Demos with Tristan in an Ergo carrier; and Hilary Asher with Pilot in an Ergo carrier. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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I am laughing as I look at this picture. It brought back good memories. Those who are using the "Mei Tai" wraps are especially interesting. I carried my sons and daughter in those 41 years ago.
I just had came back from Japan. And it was a traditional method of carrying a child. My husband was stationed there. And my eldest son was born there. I used them when we were living in New York. I loved that my hands were free, but my baby was safe and near me.
I still have them,tho packed away, I even have a special winter coat ,to wear over the back carrier, for cold winters.

When I read articles like this I cannot help but think of the thousands of parents in other countries who use slings etc and you never ever hear of the hyped dangers like you do here in the states. Either Americans are not as smart and advances as some would like to think, or we simply have a few people who don't know how to wear baby slings. Back in the 60's and 70's we were making baby slings via the La Leche League group we were in. Never heard the hyped hysteria we see now.


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