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WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LOOK AFTER YOUR BABY?

Bringing up a 'green' baby

One of the cheapest and most convenient ways to transport your newborn baby is in a baby sling or carrier. Newborns seem to like them as the sling keeps your baby snuggled close in where she can feel your warmth and heartbeat.

Slings and carriers are also easy to use on public transport, in shops, on walks, or off the beaten track. You can walk through places that would be inaccessible with a pram or buggy.

If you use your sling or carrier correctly your baby's weight will be evenly distributed and should not be a strain on your back. There are several different kinds available so it's a good idea to try various types before you buy.

Ask friends for their experiences and if you can borrow an older baby to carry in the sling while you 'test drive' it, you'll get an idea of how much use it will be as your newborn grows.

What is comfortable for one person is not necessarily right for another. You may also find that the suggested age range for the sling or carrier is not workable for you.

Take your choice

Here's an outline of what to expect from the different types of baby carrier available and how some other parents found them to use:

Wrap-around sling

Basically a large piece of material with a buckle that creates a 'cradle' which your new baby rests in. They can fastened in various ways and can also be used to secure an older baby or toddler balanced on your hip.
"This kind of sling was very useful for breastfeeding out-and-about when Alice was small and as she got older for 'short hops'. I'm 5ft 2ins tall and I found it wasn't really the answer after a year old, as she weighed so much."
Jacqui, mum to Alice, two.

Drop-in baby carrier

The baby is 'worn' on your front and dropped into a pouch on your chest, which features leg and armholes so she sits securely. Most drop-in carriers can be worn facing inwards for newborns and outwards for a slightly older baby.

"This was great for Callum as a newborn, since it held him very securely. I used it a lot for the first few months and I hardly bothered with the pram. I really think you could do without a pram if you had one of these and didn't need to carry anything else apart from a changing bag around with you. But the carrier wasn't very comfortable after he reached six months as the weight did pull on my shoulders."
Kim, mum to Callum, nine months.

Back packs

After six months or when your baby can sit up, a backpack-style carrier can be a great way to transport your growing baby. They usually have a sturdy metal frame, offer the baby a great view, and if you buy a raincover they can be used in all weathers.

Some versatile backpack carriers even have a pull-along feature with wheels and a handle so they can be used as a 'mini-buggy' over short distances.

"The backpack is one of our most used pieces of equipment. I'd much rather use it than a pram and it's good for taking Kelsey out on my own when I don't want to be weighed down with lots of kit.

Ours has a stand, which means I can stop for a cup of coffee in a cafe and she can be parked quite easily on the floor. I can feed her without getting her out, but you do need some help in getting the backpack back on."
Richard, dad to Kelsey, 10 months.

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