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I am after a new sling as DS (3.5) is too heavy for the baby bjorn and my old overstretch kari me isn't always the easiest to use especially if me or DS need to undress (e.g at the swimming pool, in the bus).
My requirements for the ideal sling are: 1. a sling which is gentle on the back 2. a sling easy to use and put on 3. a sling I could breastfeed DS in if necessary
Also anytips to keep DS dry when he is in the sling and it is raining.
It's really not hard to put the Ergo on at all. Have you tried one? And I don't think it's recommended for the baby to face the world anyway iyswim. The babybjorn is terrible for your posture and the babys when you do this.
Facing out is not recommended, see here for a good article as to why, an alternatives.. Most good slings will not give a FFO option.
Babywearing coats can be very expensive so look out for one second hand (Natural Mamas FSOT board is good for this type of thing) or a BW poncho can be cheaper. Pregnancy coats often work, or a zip up insert for the front of a normal coat.
I have always used a normal coat with DD inside or outside depending on weather and circumstances, front or back. I use an umbrella in the rain and an elephant hood in the cold.
I'd recommend a Mei Tai like the babyhawk, Kozy, Front Back and Sides. What is it about the ergo you find tricky?
Have a look at Mei Tais - the sling guide site is a good one though not very helpful when it comes to brand names, it does have a lot of videos on how-to which you can look at to see how easy or otherwise the carries will be.
I wouldn't get an Ergo TBH - but a Mai Tei sounds like it would be great for you.
I think you would really struggle with any outward facing carries at this age. Not only is it not so good for the baby, it places all the baby's weight on your shoulders so it will be really heavy even if you do find a carrier which supports it.
What I used to do with DS was put him in a front carry facing me but with one arm out and one arm tucked in. I'd also slide the sling slightly around to one side, so he could see out as much as he wanted but also lie his head on my chest and sleep if it all got too much. I'd alternate which arm was out and which side I pushed him to to keep my shoulders less strained.
A back carry is also a good way to help your baby see out.
Some people prefer mei tais, others buckle carriers like beco etc, it's mainly personal preference - I prefer mei tais (kozy is my favourite brand), I find it easier to tie long straps than to bend my arms to do up buckles.
You could try a slingmeet (slingmeet.co.uk) - or some sling sellers do in person sales, you could google slings+your area.
Do you have a sling library near you? You can check online. There's often a slingmeet too where you can try loads and talk to other people who carry their babies.
I have a calyx by mamabydesign. It's fab and has an integral harness like the beco butterfly which makes back carries a doodle. The woman who designed them stopped producing them last month but you can still get them 2nd hand on the babywearer forum.
A Beco is similar to an Ergo but better (AFAIK) - if you like the sound of that then go for it It's slightly easier to put on than the Ergo because the part which holds the baby is separate so you can strap the baby in and then put it on, or something like that.
Thank you all so much for your suggestions. After much dittering I went to my local shop to buy the beco. I tried some mei tai, the beco, the ergo and the Pikkolo. I didn't like the mei tai...too reminiscent of my wrap sling. I have enough fiddling with the fabric of my kari me and having length of fabric on the dirty floor at the swimming pool. I absolutely hated the beco because of the straps clipped underneath the shoulders and behind the neck. Same for the ergo. So in the end I boughtthe pikkolo.
I also solved my rain problem by buying a ergo rain cover. At £35 it is a bargain compared to the babywearing coats!
I am soexcited now, can't wait to try my new sling!