I've had a bit of a complicated relationship with babywearing, as with many other things that can get taken somewhat seriously in this town of ours. The "attachment as lifestyle" trend goes a bit far sometimes, for me. Luckily, now that I'm a dad and get to experience it myself, things are less complicated: I love it, probably more than my daughter does.
I do my best to not do the "I'm babywearing, how attached am I" look that sometimes goes with the wearing of the baby. And I try to maintain some sense of my own style (which does not generally include being draped with bolts of indigenous fabrics) while I do it. And thus, I bring you my own idiosyncratic list of fave slings and things:
Our favoritest, most versatile babywearing device has been an adjustable fleece pouch, from Kangaroo Korner. Works great for facing-in infant snuggles, facing-out kangaroo hold, sidelying, and my favorite, the hip carry. The sherpa fleece is snuggly, just warm enough, and stretches just right. Bonus for me: no rings, no big tails of fabric. But for those of you that can work that look, I hear ring slings are fabulously versatile, and great for breastfeeding. And for those who like being tied up, the Moby Wraps sure are popular.
Soft Structured Baby Carriers
These let you carry a baby, toddler, even preschooler facing-in, either on your frontside or back. You can adapt them for hip carry, but it's kludgey. They hurt my back a lot less than Baby Bjorns, and are more snuggly and nap-tastic. The Ergo carrier is the easiest-to-find version of this, and it works great for lots of people. We struggled with the fabric choices (they all looked a bit "I wear hemp" for me), and wound up with a Yamo baby carrier, in fabu red surf fabric, from Israel via German Ebay. Yes, people get that crazy about their baby carriers. But we sooo love it. To find people even more nutty about their babywearing than I, go to the TheBabyWearer reviews and forums. The reviews are excellent, and the "for sale or trade" section is hopping.
Our daughter ended up feeling that a hip carry was a nice compromise between snuggling in and facing out. And so along came the Ellaroo Mei Hip carrier, in a luscious array of organic fabrics. You can do this carry with a pouch or ring sling, or the Ergo-type carriers, but this one is both easy and comfortable. Ellaroo also carries more traditional Mei Tais, not to mention Guatemalan-fabric slings and wraps.
And that's what we're rocking so far ... I hear these really come into their own when you've got two kids. For toddler adoptees, the soft structured and hip carriers are a great choice, as they comfortably handle bigger kids. I hope you find one (or more) that suits you and your child. But remember - it's still OK to put them down from time to time. How else will they learn to sit/crawl/walk?
Please post your own favorites below. However, you may end up in trouble with my wife if you end up inspiring yet another carrier purchase.